Sunday, October 22, 2006
Jacksonville > Houston
Philadelphia > Tampa Bay
Detroit < NY Jets
Green Bay > Miami
San Diego > KC
Carolina < Cincinnati (sorry Bushwack)
New England > Buffalo
Pittsburg < Atlanta
Denver > Cleveland
Missesota < Seattle
Arizona > Oakland
Washington < Indianapolis
NY Giants <<<<< Dallas
Tigers < Cardinals
Nascar at Martinsville
Jeff Burton will win and stretch his points lead
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
What a week for upsets, three of the four winless teams would finally walk away without a loss, 6 of the 8 morning games were decided by 3 points or less, the champs win, the Bears, well, let's just say there was some crazy shit going on out there today. Some will shake their heads at this game, while others will point out that the defense and special teams found a way to win, and that's the sign of a great team. My thoughts: this is a good time to be heading into a bye week to re-evaluate ourselves. 4. interceptions. is. no. good.
The Saints matched the Eagles down to the final minutes and pulled away with the upset on Sunday, and this should be the one that makes believers of many. In the end, either team could have come away with the win in this one, but the Saints took the day. New Orleans goes into the bye week in first place at 5-1, but most importantly they took down one of the most dominant NFC teams on Sunday. A victory over the soaring Philadelphia offense made a statement, really, the fact that they kept up with the Eagles said enough, regardless of the win. In no way am I slighting the Eagles. I was a believer in the NO attack but other facets following the Panthers and Buccaneers games gave me some doubts, but this game was a wake-up call. The Saints DO have the capacity to take on the NFL.
The Seahawks edged the Rams with a last minute field goal to win 30-28. This was the morning game I watched, and I was convinced Holmgren would have an Alexander-less plan to attack coming off the bye week. The first half was all St. Louis, the second Seattle. That's really the only way I can see it, St. Louis couldn't even be consistent through one game. With talent like Bulger, Bruce and Holt I've never said this was a bad bunch, but this team can really change from one game to the next. There's little to conclude with a 2 point victory, they could pull off the next match vs. Seattle, though it would be an entirely different situation.
The certain defeat Sunday morning came with the Giants taking down the Falcons in a highly anticipated NFC battle. Whatever Coughlin did during the bye week must have worked, New York has really clicked back into gear these past two weeks. After all the talk and numbers surrounding the Atlanta defense they allowed a huge running game by the Giants. This leaves a big question mark in the NFC East. The 'Skins (2-4) and Eagles (4-2) lose today, the Giants (3-2) and 'Boys (3-2) win. This is a different kind of division, there is clearly a genuine power struggle.
To finish this off, it's been a fun season thus far, I've gone 58-29 in my picks. As for the season itself , there's a lot of game left, many questions to be answered, rivalries to settle, and room for teams to rise. Props to the Titans, Buccaneers, and.... Lions for not giving up, and coming away with your first this week. I watched the finals to the Tennessee and Tampa Bay matches, and they were really a sight to behold. At the same time, congrats to the Steelers on a menacing game vs. Kansas City, this was very impressive and a totally different Steelers team than we have been seeing these past few weeks, I was glad to see this great team pull it back together.
While there are some holding their throats around the water cooler, describing the Arizona team's final minutes last night, I have to point out how prominent a game Matt Leinart played. The rookie did was he was asked and lead the offense to two early scores in the first quarter, and he looked like a damn good veteran leader doing it. Laugh at the Cardinals now, but I think given a few years the NFC West will rise again into a big division.
Ken Hawk will return in Week 9 for the Saturday Morning Huddle. Until then, keep the firecrackers out of your ass.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
This week's matchups include several with the NFC's top division leaders, including Philadelphia and New Orleans, a West rivalry between the Seahawks and Rams, and the Big Blue at Atlanta. The "appealing" games are limited this week, but a real tug-of-war exists in the NFC, as several teams look to dethrone the Seahawks.
Eagles haters may not like it, but as a fan of the game I see McNabb playing some of his best football ever. The offense ranks #1 in the league and why not, McNabb has always played a good game and makes choice decisions. Despite some injuries and a day-to-day running game, Philadelphia has truly resurfaced since that awful 2005 season. At the same time, the Saints continue to be the feel-good story of the NFL following an incredible 4-1 start. I never understood trading Drew Brees though I can't say San Diego is complaining now, and Brees has recovered and played damn well in New Orleans. And does it get much better than the one-two punch of McCallister and Bush? The Saints I think have the talent to keep up in battle with the Eagles, but I don't see them upsetting this soaring offense. While the defense has improved immensely the pieces aren't all here yet, New Orleans would have to have lucky bounces to take on some of the NFL elite.
The Seahawks return from their bye week after that loss to DA BEARS and face division rival St. Louis. The Rams kicked off their season with a thrashing of Denver followed by a loss to San Francisco, and now have won 3 in a row by a touchdown or less vs. Detroit, Green Bay, and Arizona. OK, so the play is actually fairly good, but wins against under .500 teams, two being close wins involving last minute fumbles, well, they don't gotten me on board with some saying to watch for this team as the season progresses. I watched the Arizona game, and I didn't see it. The defense is decent but the wins have come with last minute luck, and I've already gone through this with the Ravens. When scoring in the final second becomes a habit, it will be exposed. The Rams' numbers are increasing but this is a tough, talented Seattle club, and you can bet this is also an angry Seattle club.
The other NFC East vs. NFC South game on Sunday comes with Giants against the Falcons. I was a bit shocked to see NY beat back the Redskins last week following a near collapse going into their bye week. But the defense rallied, Manning threw well, and the Giants put a brake on the 'Skins who only a week before had topped the Jaguars. I still believe that this is a growing team capable of doing great things, though what with their shaky start and a tough schedule this may not be their year. The story in Atlanta this year hasn't been Mike Vick so much as the tremendous defensive power they have assembled. Aside from the loss to the Saints in that MNF return the Falcons haven't allowed an offensive touchdown and are ranked up at #3 for overall defense. The offensive rush is producing big time, though there have been some problems getting the whole job done; coming off a bye week it may take this match to fully assess how Atlanta will finish on the attack.
What stinks in here, is that Coach Hawk thundershitting himself eyeing this lovely lady? Nah, its that I have been doing fairly well in my picks, but not posting them on the site. A 13-1 week is pretty damn cool, but nothing to get a boner about if you have no proof. I have nothing to show for it other than the USA Today Friday edition sports section where I mark my picks. Well that changes here folks:
Seattle > St Louis
Philadelphia > New Orleans
Atlanta > New York Giants
Baltimore > Carolina
Cincinnati > Tampa Bay
Washington > Tennessee
Dallas > Houston
San Diego > San Francisco
NY Jets > Miami
Oakland > Denver... NOT!
Chicago > Arizona
Buffalo > Detroit
Kansas City > Pittsburgh = Upset of the Week
This is pretty much the only upset I can see happening, I think KC couldn't be finding the champs at a better time. As the mandatory upset pick goes, here it is.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
The defending champs hit a three game losing slump upon falling to the Chargers Sunday Night. Rusty has been the word people have been using for the Steelers this season but I struggle to see what is really happening here; the offense hasn't been consistent in it's running or receiving, even with the veterans like the great Hines Ward there's dropped passes and people failing to come up with the ball. In the past three games Ben has thrown 0 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Overall it looks like there's a loss of confidence on both sides of the Pittsburgh game and I'm really hoping this team can pull itself out of this hole; this is far from the club that took down Cincinnatti, Indianapolis and Denver on its way to the Super Bowl.
At the same time, San Diego looked GOOD. Despite a slow start Philip Rivers gave doubters a show by tearing through a physical Pittsburgh defense. I'm interested in seeing more of Rivers, though you have to give him credit for the primetime performance on Sunday, but the strength of the Chargers run game and the stiff defense has convinced me over the past several weeks. Last week, I didn't take away from the Chargers after that loss, and at the moment, I am thinking San Diego might be the best looking team in the AFC. It isn't about records or win streaks, its all about substance.
Elsewhere the Giants returned from their bye week to hold the Redskins to a field goal in their victory. After three declining performances I was thinking my original NFC Super Bowl pick was a bust. The criticism amongst the team and staff following that loss to the Seahawks wasn't quite at mutiny, but it made news, and that got louder. From the way the Giants handled things yesterday it appears these ripples have been settled for the time being. It will take a few weeks to see how this NY team will move ahead.
Indianapolis ended up with the win at the end of the day yesterday but their defense's performance over the season isn't fooling anyone, the rigid shield that the Colts amassed last year after years of problems with the D is simply not there anymore. Not to take away from the Titans, at all, who shut down the Indianapolis offense for a good slice of the game. And not too bad for a team who suffered such a humiliating round against Dallas last week, how about Young's TD run there? It's too bad there's some poor decision making here, maybe the Titans could pull it together in the next few years.
Indianapolis hasn't really clicked for me lately. You will see peoples power rankings each week (which I think would be a awesome thing to implement at this site) where the winners rise and the losers drop, and I mean, what the hell is that? Don't be fooled by the buzz, this is not the way to look at things, why do you think these guys move their #1 teams and apologize every week? Honestly, the Colts defense problems have stuck with me for weeks, and yesterday was enough for me to take them down a notch in my personal power rankings. This is a great team, but the defense problems will expose them this season. There are better rounded teams out there. Upcoming contests against the Redskins, Broncos, and Patriots will test that undefeated record of the Colts.
As a Chicagoan, and as a fan of the game, I was very impressed by the Bears' victory over the Bills. There is much talk out there of "the best team in the league" and already there are Bears fans buying Super Bowl tickets, and while I agree the Bears have found a successful offensive attack while holding one of the most vicious defenses in the league, I'm interested in seeing a match against a formidable AFC team. The Week 12 game against New England will be interesting. I don't look to be a downer but a voice of common sense with Chicago football fans. Hey, I'm all about the Bears. I love Chicago. The Bears could well be bound to win the NFC, I've been backing them every week! My point: enjoy the ride, but don't support yourself underneath hype you don't understand. There's too many folks reading the papers saying 5-0, hey, the Bears are perfect this year!
Monday night gave us an inside look at one of the breakthrough teams of the season, the Baltimore Ravens, when they headed to Denver for a primetime showdown. For the past few weeks I have been critical of the team's last-minute comebacks that some claim are the makings of a great QB while others simply claim it a bad habit. This was the epitome of a defensive game, you can't take away from either teams D with what an unrelenting contest both gave. In the end, the Broncos would come away with the victory and spoil the Ravens' undefeated season, and we would have some insight into the core of the Baltimore game. My conclusions, the Ravens defense IS that good. They were over Denver all night and only showed some weakness through hesitation and the rushing up the gut (and that TD in the last 2 mins). The talent on the Baltimore D is unquestionable, "unorganized chaos" is actually a fair description. However, I still have my doubts of the Baltimore attack. Steve McNair is a terrific athlete and a great complement to this Ravens team, but I had my doubts early and I hold them now, I do not see this team yet as the one that looks to suprise the AFC. One can't but help reminisce of the 2000 Ravens who took the season by storm despite a lackluster offense however this is a new year, and as I said these past few weeks, last minute luck will only get you so far.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
The talk of the week centers around Philadelphia where on Sunday the Cowboys and that funny little football guy visit their rival Eagles. The other NFC East teams clash in NY as the Giants look to save the ship, the undefeated Bears host the Buffalo Bills, the mighty Steelers hope to rebound in San Diego, and the Ravens look to make it 5-0 when they meet the Broncos.
I am looking forward to the Baltimore-Denver match as I hope this will be the one where one of these teams convinces me, barring a sloppy game. The Ravens come in 4-0 with a tremendous defense and a new head at offense who has lead them to last-second comebacks in the past two weeks. The Broncos have their own issues, what with constant (and really unnecessary) media scrutiny of quarterback Jake Plummer. Give the guy a break. Three games into the season and a 2-1 record? It just doesn't seem the place to be shutting down shop on the guy who hasn't been perfect. Every game won't be the best of your life. Concerning the Ravens: I can't take away from their 4-0 record, and some say the last-minute comeback is a sign of a great quarterback. Still, what I've seen hasn't shown me enough to make me a believer. Monday night, at Mile High Stadium, is a big task. On the other hand, one bad half and the Denver fans will probably be booing Plummer. Nevertheless, I'm going Denver; if the Ravens can pull off a good match, consider me a believer.
The Giants look to turn out of the spiral when the Redskins come into town on Sunday. New York, you may remember, was thrown to the trash quicker than a Dustin Diamond video by Seattle two weeks ago, and immediately emotions erupted. Outplayed, outcoached, whatever, you all lost because you lose together. This is by no means a bad team, numbers against the Colts earlier this season were encouraging and there's planty of talent here. At the same time, the Redskins seemed to have gotten on track and are gaining speed, with victories in the past two weeks, this past win against the Jaguars especially impressing. I'm not feeling the NY defense as I was last year, and I don't think they'll be holding Washington on Sunday, put me down for the 'Skins as my upset this week.
At noon the Bills take to Soldier Field to - OK, does anyone really care about any story here? I'm going Chicago, and thats all you need to know. This says it all: Daaa Bearssse.
Last year, Pittsburgh and San Diego collided hard, with the black and gold taking a two point victory. The year before, the Chargers' breakthrough season was halted in the playoffs when the Steelers beat them in a first round overtime game. This time around, both are coming off of losses. The defending champs haven't looked so in the past few games, emphasis on the offense, what with Ben Roethlisberger's unusual proneness to injuries and bad luck. There have been some poor decisions here. On the other side, the Shockers are looking to regroup after blowing that lead to the Ravens last week. All the talk has been concerning "Martyball" and its uber-conservativeness. Fair enough, but its football, sometimes you take risks and fail. This is still one of the best all-arounders in the AFC. I say the Chargers win this round in a close game, but I'll be rooting for the Steelers. On one hand, as a kid I always thought they had the coolest name. On the other, this is a critical game for them and they are aware of it; falling to 1-3, what with the Bengals and Ravens providing some serious contention in the AFC North, might be too deep a hole to recover from.
Raiders and 49ers? Please.
I'm going to skip the drama fucking circus that we're all aware of and get straight to the point with Dallas at Philadelphia. This is actually a matchup I like, both teams putting up similar numbers, both coming off big wins and looking to carry the momentum into this rivalry. You have the Eagles with a short week from the Monday Night game, but also having home-field advantage, and I'm thinking those bleachers will get LOUD. You have the Eagles numbers adding up to the top offense of the past four weeks, but you also have some key injuries adding up on that side of the Philadelphia squad. I could really see this one going either way, I believe it is that good of a match. However, for the sake of having fun with the game, and to keep things interesting, I'll take the Eagles to win this one against BND's boys. What do you say bud? Joke's on you, you haven't even read any of this. HEY! DUDE! OVER HERE, HEY! STOP STARING AT BOOBIES FOR A SEC!
Huh? Did you say something. You forgot to talk about the eagles vs. The cowb....BOOBIES!!!!!!!!! uh, I mean eagles vs. cowboys.
Monday, October 02, 2006
A quarter through the season and we are beginning to see which clubs out there are for real and which will be at the Super Bowl - up in the box seats. A suprise came in a bolt of black and orange last year when a resurgent Cincinnatti squad took the AFC North by storm. Out for revenge after the rival Steelers ended their breakthrough season, this year the Bengals have looked more poised to take a swipe at the throne in an AFC that sees no ruling king at the moment. A New England team who we thought may be in the sunset days of its dynasty clearly exposed the Bengals on Sunday and slapped their hand away from the AFC crown. 10 sacks and 5 fumbles by your quarterback in two games is a red flag, it was enough to hamper the Bengals last week, and it killed them yesterday. On the other side, the numbers done by Brady and his backs raise several questions about a shaky Cincinnatti defense. In fact, this game may be the one that brought about more inquiries than answers, clearly this was not the Cincinnatti that looks to take over in the AFC. A big question mark is waiting in this conference.
Baltimore has staked its ground at 4-0 after defeating San Diego on Sunday. Following a near slip to the Browns last week, I was waiting for this team to convince me. Holding back the Charger's running game is no small task, nor taking the game from them in the final drive. While I don't look to take from their win (or from a 4-0 start), I am still interested in seeing more of this Baltimore team before making any calls; last minute wins from behind can only get you so far in a division where the Bengals and Steelers play.
If anyone picked the NY Jets as a sleeper this year they probably would have ended up groining my knee. A 4-12 team that in 2005 had a disasterous year with injuries and started five quarterbacks, now under a new coach? But this team kept up with the Colts yesterday, outwitted Indianapolis and caught them off guard several times during the game, including an onside kick during the second quarter. Make no mistake, there is a such thing as an impressive loss.
The game I had my eyes all over was the Sunday night match between Seattle and Chicago. The Bears had risen to 3-0 through kicking over the divisional rivals and looked to test their mettle against the NFC Champion Seahawks, who just last week delivered a colossal blow to the Giants that sent NY spinning into their bye week. But Sunday night, it was Seattle who would go home wearing a black eye. The Bears defense was as unrelenting as it ever has been, assaulting and sacking Hasselbeck all night to the point Holmgren would have gotten him killed had he stayed in, intercepting twice and forcing the Seahawks to stay conservative, giving up only two field goals; Chicago was all over Seattle's offense, who were clearly frustrated and off their mark. Yes, unquestionably Alexander's injury was the factor of the week, the reason the Bears wouldn't "truely" win in a close game, but hey, this wasn't a close game, and he couldn't help the defense out an inch. The Chicago offense that we thought we saw clicking was a machine at full speed Sunday night. Grossman was in great form, and really on target with some dead-on throws, and at the same time the Bears were able to hit the ground game and chew up stretches of yards there. There's no question, this team that has struggled for years to raise an offense pulled it together last night and proved they are more than a mediocre team in the NFC.
P.S. Packers suck.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
The cowboys come into today's match-up at 1-1, but overshadowed by this weeks unfortunate series of events involving Terrell Owens. Tennessee's record is a dismal 0-3, and made the decision to start rookie quarterback Vince Young. I am huge Longhorns fan and a huge Vince Young fan, so I think it is a shame for him to make his first NFL start against the Cowboys.
Putting aside T.O.'s problems this week, we need to remember that he had surgery less than two weeks ago and has a plate in his hand. He still started the game, and as of now (midway through the 4th qtr), he has had a big game. Julius Jones and Marion Barber have rushed for over 150 yards combined and the Cowboys are winning 31-14. Scratch that! Interception ran back for a touchdown 38-14.
One of the ugliest displays of lack of sportsmanship was witnessed after an earlier touchdown when the Titans Defensive Tackle Albert Haynesworth ripped the helmet off of Cowboys center Andre Gurode, kicked him in the back, then stomped on his exposed head. This resulted in a 30 yard penalty, Haynesworth's ejection from the game, and several stitches in the head of Gurode. There is no room in football for this type of behavior. The NFL must, and I believe will, make an example of Haynesworth with a very lengthy suspension if not expulsion from the league.
Damn, we scored again 45-14. Now, all three of or running backs have scored touchdowns. And that is how the game will end. Time to watch the rest of the NASCAR race at KC.