Football

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NFL: Limits and Stupidity with Colin Cowherd

I know, I know. He’s not a smart man. He acts like one. He postures like one. He speaks with the force and tone of a man who thinks before he speaks, but it’s all a front. I had the misfortune of overhearing ESPN’s bombastic Colin Cowherd’s assessment of Cam Newton after a week 2 loss vs. the defending champion Green Bay Packers. Newton threw for a rookie record 432 yards.  The finer points of the assessment were as follows:

  • He’s thrown for a ton of yards. So what! Everyone has. Look at the record book.
  • There is really nothing to see here. Keep it moving. 854 yards in 2 games by a rookie is not a big deal.
  • Andy Dalton has won a game. He’s deserving of as much attention as Newton. Wins matter most.
  • Newton is one of only 4 mediocre QB’s with more interceptions than touchdowns.
  • It’s early.

Well, it’s certainly early. With Week 3 not quite complete, the list of quarterbacks who have thrown more interceptions than touchdowns has some new names:

  • Philip Rivers
  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Josh Freeman

These are not mediocre quarterbacks…but this is what happens when miked morons like Cowherd go on uninformed rants. For what it’s worth, Newton is off that short list and now has 4 touchdown passes to match his 4 interceptions. He also has rushed for 2 touchdowns and become the first rookie to pass for 1,000 yards in his first 3 games.

As for winning games, Newton took care of that as well by leading the Panthers over the visiting Jaguars on Sunday. Dalton, for his part, remains winless in the real world. His Bengals could manage only 8 points against the San Francisco 49ers. His lone statistical win comes via an weird and absurd NFL rule that grants wins to the starting QB of the team that wins a game. If that QB plays for one down and throws a Pick 6, but his team recovers to win the game with the backup, the starter gets the win. For Dalton, it’s not much better. He was granted one of these statistical wins even though Bruce Gradkowski did the heavy lifting in Cincy’s Week 1 win over Cleveland. Dalton was knocked out with the Browns leading 14-13. He has yet to beat a real live, flesh and blood football team that plays with cleats and pads and stuff.

Andy Dalton: A Real QB in Search of A Real Win

So, what do we do with miked misinformation machines like Col(o)n Cowherd who talk crap about things they don’t understand? I suppose we just let the record speak for itself. It’s not as if his editors could actually make him WATCH the games.

The Village Idiot

2009 NFL Season: Week 6 Recap

There were some compelling story lines that emerged this week.  The Bengals took a not-so-surprising plunge back to earth after beating the Steelers and Ravens.  The Giants were undressed.  The “Sanchise” took it on the chin 5 times and the Jets found a new way to lose.  The Vikings showed just how tough they’re going to be down the stretch.  (It looks an awful lot like the Saints and Vikings are going to play for the NFC Championship.)  The Eagles did the unthinkable.  With all of these stories, perhaps nothing was more surprising that the rapid and complete demise of the once-proud Tennessee Titans.

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AP Photo - Winslow Townson

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2007 NFL Predictions – Week 10

I took a few weeks off, but I’m back with the picks. I had a hot streak there for a minute, but needed to tend to the little ones. There are some nice divisional games on tap today. Thank heavens the Jets have a bye week. That means the Steelers and Browns will be televised in New York City. Who wants to see a 1-8 team run around looking like chickens with their Mangini’s cut off? The Giants play this Cowboys at 4…and the night came features the Colts at the Chargers. Nice stuff there. The picks will be quick because time is of the essence. Here are the lines.

NFL Lines For Week 10 – NFL Football Line Week Ten
NFL Game Lines 11/11 – 11/12, 2007

Date & Time Favorite Line Underdog Total
11/11 1:00 ET At Tennessee -4.5 Jacksonville 35.5
11/11 1:00 ET At Kansas City -3 Denver 37.5
11/11 1:00 ET Buffalo -2.5 At Miami 41
11/11 1:00 ET At Pittsburgh -10 Cleveland 47.5
11/11 1:00 ET At New Orleans -10.5 St. Louis 46.5
11/11 1:00 ET At Carolina -3 Atlanta 36
11/11 1:00 ET At Washington -2.5 Philadelphia 38
11/11 1:00 ET At Green Bay -5.5 Minnesota 41
11/11 4:05 ET At Baltimore -3 Cincinnati 44.5
11/11 4:15 ET Chicago -3.5 At Oakland 38.5
11/11 4:15 ET Dallas -2 At NY Giants 48.5
11/11 4:15 ET At Arizona -2 Detroit 44.5
11/11 8:15 ET Indianapolis -3.5 At San Diego 48

Monday Night Football Line

         
11/12 8:30 ET At Seattle -10 San Francisco 38.5

I like the Titans over the Jags. The Titans are simply a tough, tough team. The Jags are a physical team – and both teams will be without a serious force in the middle. Marcus Stroud has been suspended for violating the drug policy. Albert Haynesworth pulled a hamstring. I like the Titans to figure out a way this game in the final minute. Tennessee 17, Jacksonville 15. I guess Tennessee missed Albert more than Jacksonville missed Marcus.

I’m probably the only person outside of Kansas City who likes the Chiefs, but I do. They lost a tough one against the Packers at home last week. I like them to rebound at Arrowhead against the Broncos. I think Priest Holmes will make them more versatile. Kansas City 38, Denver 17. Okay, see, what had happened was…

I like the Bills big over the Dolphins. I like Lee Evans deep and often over anyone in the Dolphins secondary. I like Marshawn Lynch on the ground. Buffalo 31, Miami 14. This didn’t go as expected, but the Bills pulled it out.

My Steelers, their Browns. My QB on pace to throw 40 tds (Roethlisberger) vs. their surprise passer and his arsenal of young weapons. Steelers 38, Browns 34. I don’t think the Steelers cover the spread unless they can cover the receivers. I don’t think they’ll cover the receivers because the Browns should be able to stay out of 2nd or 3rd and long if they mix it up. If Cleveland has early turnovers, it’ll get ugly by 2:00 EST. Cleveland turned it over late and the game was almost as high scoring as predicted. Browns will be kicking themselves until next season after blowing a 21-6 lead.

I like the Saints over the Rams. I never pick the Rams – holdover from the Martz days. New Orleans 28, St. Louis 13. No what you want to believe about the Saints, the calendar keeps saying it is 2007.

If the Falcons were playing at home, I’d take them over the Panthers…but since the Panthers have already demonstrated they can beat this team, I like their chances at home – even with Your Cousin Vinny starting at QB. Steve Smith could have a big day against DeAngelo Hall. Carolina 31, Atlanta 21. My first mind said – “Go with the Fighting Petrinos!” I didn’t listen.

Washington hosts the boys from the Drug Emporium. The Eagles are a mess. They were a mess BEFORE Garrett and Britt were busted. They were a mess before McNabb was injured and before he recovered. The Eagles have been a mess for some time because they lack the essentials required to be a winning playoff team. The signing of Terrell Owens masked their essential weaknesses: offense balance and finesse running. Donovan McNabb is under a great deal of duress and is charged with running a system that requires receivers like Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. He’s got Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown. Garrett and Britt are not the only ones using drugs. Someone in Philly better snap out of it. The team needs a makeover. You see Brad Childress, the former offensive coordinator, is no aficionado of the Eagles system. He has two power runners and would have more balance if he had a mature quarterback. The failings of the Eagles lie mostly at the feet of Andy Reid. Washington 24, Philadelphia 17. If I cared enough, I’d probably write a big ass apology to Eagle fans – but what would be the point? There team is still a mess and it’s games like this that keep them from pulling the trigger on the McNabb-Westbrook combination. It’s good, but not good enough. Congrats Philly and Coach Reid. I’ll go back to my day job now.

Speaking of Brad Childress, the Vikings have been impressive at different points during the season. They certainly looked good last week against the San Diego Chargers. I don’t like them outdoors though. The Packers are physically tough enough to beat the Vikings at their own game. Green Bay 17, Minnesota 10. It was much worse than I expected.

There was a time when the Ravens and Bengals would have been an intriguing matchup. I’ll take the Bengals big. Cincinnati 41, Baltimore 14. It wasn’t close, but the Cats didn’t maul ‘em like they should have.

The Bears have had a bye week to get themselves together or lose their chemistry. They are going on the road against the Raiders. Since it’s not a cross-continent trip, I suspect they’ll have the legs to get the job done – barely. Chicago 23, Oakland 21.  I didn’t see it, but I know it was close and have the feeling I didn’t miss a single thing.

The Cowboys offense is a juggernaut. Dallas 40, New York Giants 35.  Are the Giants sliding down the hole again?  6-2 before the game…6-3 now.  The Lions are up next and pose similar offensive threats to the Cowboys.  Is Eli getting the job done?  Are folks asking too much?  Maybe.  All I know is my guy has a ring, can make every throw and converted a third and 10 by running 30 yards for a touchdown – right down the middle of the field.  Gimme Ben any day.

This is the type of game the Detroit Lions ALWAYS lose. It’s a road game after a big home win…sounds like a recipe for disaster. I’m going against my book and riding the idea that the Lions may have actually turned the corner (even though they were destroyed by the Redskins for the 400th time since the beginning of the franchise). Detroit 38, Arizona 21.  The next time I tell myself the Lions are going to lose, I should listen.  I did this last year – same thing happened.  Of course the Lions will beat the Giants next week precisely because they’re not supposed to.

Colts over Chargers. Indianapolis 37, San Diego 23.

Monday Night: The 49ers are not you thought they were. Seattle 31, San Francisco 7.

Despising the Middle Man?

Everyone hates the middle man.  They hate the nickle and dime negotiator.  They hate the middle manager.  They hate the guy that you have to talk to before you can talk to the guy who actually makes decisions.  The middle man is usually one of two types: a greasy con artist or a mediocre malcontent.  In either case, you can’t win.  I was watching ESPN the other day and they were doing a story on their new series (E60) about the process by which young Africans wind up in Europe in search of a career in big time soccer.  It should go without saying that this does not typically end well.

In this process of identifying and gathering talent for big teams, there is a middle man – a conduit.  (It occurs to me that the process for major league baseball in the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean is probably very similar.  After all, MLB and FIFA are both looking for Africans who can add to the bottom line.  Whether that child is the next David Ortiz or Alfonso Soriano or Freddie Adu is such a potentially profitable risk that teams are lined up to roll the dice.  I don’t recall if the E60 (no relation to E40) piece discussed the potential monetary gains to teams, but they must be considerable for this type of talent hunt to be conducted.)  The middle man is typically African with some command of a European language and connections both in Africa and in Europe.  These persons may or may not be particularly knowledgeable about the sport, but they make promises to parents that children can be sure to find success if they pledge their loyalty and services.

I suppose extreme poverty, unfulfilled aspirations and sometimes a tinge of greed can create a burning desire to believe that this one thing which sounds to good to be true really is not too good – it’s just good enough.  That is a delusion that many Africans cannot afford.  For every Adu or Ortiz or Soriano, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of young people who are unable to escape or enrich their homelands.  They are unable to repay their parents for all the disbursements made to the middle man in hopes of creating a better future.   Instead, the dreams of these players never materialize and the team moves on to the next hot recruit.  The middle man moves on, having sold his bag of dreams to many very low bidders, from one team to the next.

The more I thought about this particular role, it occurred to me that there are thousands of Black folks with these very same jobs.  University recruiters for big time football programs are charged with getting the coffers to “overflow.”  That standard must be met just in case someone gets injured or decides to leave school early.  Music companies hire A&R middle men to increase their “stables of artists” while ensuring that there is a sufficient surplus to give the company options.  A few of the talent prospects make out well financially.  Most though never get anywhere close to their goals.

The middle man does not sell an apprenticeship or a chance to considerably improve one’s skill set.  The middle man sells exposure because that is all that he has at his disposal.  He has no real power.  He can make a few introductions and glad hand you – but he can’t make you a star.  He can’t even convince his employers to make a commitment to you that matches your relative commitment to him.  For hopeful families in Senegal, that might mean cooking meals or making payments to a middle man.  The same would be true in Latin America.  It also means gambling with the most valuable asset that many families have – and they’re gamble is predicated on the words of the conduit…not the commitments of a decision-maker.

Middle men have established deep roots in athletics, music and other fields and many have been able to get off the plantation of trafficking in raw cultural production to a position of ownership, leadership or refining the finished product.   European football has not yet evolved to a point which is analogous to Georgetown basketball or Jive Records.  Providers of raw talent like old high school coaches or long time recruiters can make the transition.  The question is at what cost along the way.  In many nations, the prospects of a successful athletic career is so dramatically better than other options (and the window of opportunity is to tight), that young cannot be expected to do anything but work toward their aspiration.

NFL: 1 Team, 1 Game – Life or Death

If you could pick a team of NFL players to play one game for all of your marbles, who would you pick? If you could run one offense which one would you pick and who would coach? What about for defense? I suppose this is merely a variation on the question of “Who’s Number 1?” In this variation of the question, I’m not talking about who had the best career or who has the best stats or even the player whose star shone brightest. I’m talking about just one game – just 60 minutes.

A bit more context first…I will assume that every player will be in their prime and performing at their optimal level. So, for one game, imagine everyone at their absolute best. I imagine this game will be played in typical fall weather – 50 to 60 degrees, moderate wind, no rain. (A nasty December game might change a few things for me – and for you.) All right, that’s it. Here’s my squad:

QB: Peyton Manning

RB (2): Earl Campbell and Marcus Allen

H-Back: Todd Christensen

WR 1: Jerry Rice

WR 2: Randy Moss

WR 3: Steve Smith

TE: Shannon Sharpe

TE 2: Kellen Winslow (the Original)

LT: Orlando Pace

LG: Alan Faneca

C: Dermontti Dawson

RG: Bruce Matthews

RT: Anthony Munoz

K: Adam Vinatieri

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Offense – Joe Gibbs’ Motion, Multiple TE Offense (Pre-Al Saunders). I prefer this offense because it allows for an attacking passing game – and a power running game. Gibbs often featured three wide receiver sets and three tight end sets in the same game. It’s not easy to get the personnel to run this well, but when you have them, the results can’t be beat. Even though the “West Coast offense” is most frequently associated with the San Francisco 49ers and Bill Walsh, the roots are deeper and organically connected to Joe Gibbs.

Gibb’s offense emphasized the ability to attack deep, run with power and utilize motion to keep defenses off balance. With respect to “style of play,” I’ve always preferred teams who could throw deep and run with power. Speed kills – that’s always there…unless the weather is bad and the defense decides to sit back in coverage. Teams that run with power don’t care what the weather is – and they dictate terms to defenses, usually. I’d like my chances with this team – against most defenses, except the one I’d line up against them.

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DE – Reggie White

DE – Charles Haley

DT – Vince Wilfork

RLB – Lawrence Taylor

ILB1 – Levon Kirkland

ILB2 – Ray Lewis

LLB – Derrick Brooks

RCB – Deion Sanders

LCB – Rod Woodson

Nickel – Darrell Green

FS – Troy Polamalu

SS – Ronnie Lott

P – Ray Guy

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Well, that’s the defense. There are some serious legends of the game here. I believe in stuffing the run and making teams one dimensional. I also believe that if there is such a thing as a shut down corner, I’d like to have one – if not two. Perhaps as important as stopping the run with your front 7 is the ability to get pressure without blitzing. This team could get pressure against most teams without blitzing – and if they did, look out! Champ Bailey probably would have made this team if Ben Watson hadn’t tracked him down in the playoffs a few years back. Darrell Green and Woodson would have been waiting for Watson in the end zone with buttered popcorn and a frosty beverage.

In looking over this roster, I can’t imagine the defensive huddles. I can imagine the sheer terror this group would inspire. I decided to go with the 3-4 because so many of my favorite players have excelled in this particular formation. This team also has more than its fair share of nastiness. A friend calls it, “Grrrrh!!” From Lewis to Lloyd to Haley this team has it. It also has a nice balance of players with sterling on/off field reputations – White, Lott, Woodson, Polamalu, Green and Derrick Brooks. That’s enough character to save a city, if not a nation. If has resilience and fortitude. Look no further than Vince Wilfork. And, it has the best punter to ever lace up a pair of cleats.

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I’d like the defensive coach to be Belichick – just because he came up with (to the best of my knowledge) that funky 1-5-5 defense. The Super Bowl rings are nice – but he clearly knows something most other folks don’t know. Since I don’t know what he knows that other folks don’t know, I’ll go with him. My next option would be Dick LeBeau – defensive coordinator Pittsburgh Steelers or Bud Carson, creator of the Zone Blitz.

That’s the squad.

Duel in Dallas: What If Tony Romo is on that List of Names

I better get this off my chest now.  I’ve been wondering what the heck has been delaying the announcement of this list of names related to shipments of HGH and steroids and the like.  It could be anything – but it’s probably nothing.  I had an interesting conversation today with one of the writers over at TSF – we were talking about intuition and feeling waves.  I know – not exactly prime sports talk, but in the larger context it made perfect sense.

So, I felt three waves on this…

1) This announcement is taking forever.  I guess there is always legal wrangling and word at TSF was that the baseball union and NFL were able to establish different agreements based on relationships and humility (need to find that link).  Time will reveal.  The baseball season is OVER in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.  All that’s left are more under the radar “feel good” stories in Colorado or Arizona, aka the World Series.  Those stories could easily be tainted by an announcement involving key players.  Who knows.  I don’t expect much of that.  The thing is, though, that football is THE sport – and it’s football season.  The biggest game of the season will be played on Sunday in Dallas, Texas.

The game features the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys.  There is a lot of money and interest swirling around this game.  Perhaps this epic battle is somehow related to the delay.  Probably not.  Still, there is no denying the appeal of this game.  ESPN is already hyping this game (which needs no hype) as the Duel in Dallas.  And much of this hype has very little to do with either Randy Moss or Terrell Owens.  Writers have looked at the financial side of the question for Romo.  They’re calling it the Perfect Storm.

Where have I heard that before? – Here and  Here.  Rick Ankiel.  Of course.  The other wild, young Stallion who makes Americans want to be better people through the sheer beauty of his eyes – or something like that.

2)  Steve Young said something interesting the other day.  He said that Romo was stronger than he thought.  I wonder why Steve Young didn’t think Tony Romo was strong in the first place.  He is an NFL quarterback.  He is not slight in the mold of a Jeff Garcia.  Perhaps the strength is all natural.  Perhaps the strength was derived from services provided by suspended Dallas quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson.  Wilson, you’ll recall, had his name released the day after Rodney Harrison.  Patriots and Cowboys linked to HGH and steroids one month ago; biggest game of the season; must see TV; merchandising; buzz, buzz, buzz.  The buzzers are going off!

3)  A single post in the comments on ESPN:

Jayemel (10/10/2007 at 12:05 PM)

I wish Tony Romo the best of luck as he has inherited the media image that was revoked from Tom Brady this past offseason. Perfect storm, squeaky clean, underdog made good, role model…can we let these guys just play football from now on or what?

A simple plea for sanity.  No doubt it will go unheard.  The cash registers need to ring.

Tony Romo is the feel good story of the NFL this season.  While Bill Belichick has been branded and Bonded,  only the elevation or resurrection of New Tony Romo and Old Tony Romo (Brett Favre, according to Brian Urlacher) have inspired the release “feel good” hormones in Post-Ankiel America.  For some reason, America simply can’t get worked up over Randy Moss.  It would be a disaster for Mr. and Mrs. Feel Good if Tony Romo’s name is on that list.  It might even occasion a recalibration of all our calendars.

2007 – The Year of the Fall of the Holy Romo Empire.

If Romo’s name is on the list, I won’t be surprised because the bell rung three times.  If his name is not on the list, that will be just fine and perhaps he can reap the benefits of his “Perfect Storm.”

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  Nothing like a petrified Sox fan to make my day.

McNabb Was Right

I really had no intention of mentioning this topic in the least. However, there was an historic event on Monday in the NFL which brought this back for me. The Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 25-24. The Cowboys defense allowed 3 points. QB Tony Romo threw five interceptions – two were returned for touchdowns. The Cowboys won the game because the defense stifled the Bills and eventually forced turnovers late. The Cowboys placekicker had a game for the ages by nailing two long field goals and a textbook onside kick.

If anyone wants to see how two QBs are perceived after awful performances, look no further than Monday’s contest between the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys QB Tony Romo threw five picks and he is being celebrated for his grit and resolve.

ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski tries to snuggle up to Tony’s nutsack. That little Romo throws five picks and gets compared favorably to Tom Brady. What a country!

USA Today’s Skip Wood kneels down for a whiff. Hmmm! Hmm! Romo!!

The Dallas Morning News’ Jean-Jacque Taylor beats a path to Romo’s doorway. “Cause he’s got personality!”

There are at least 1,000 national stories covering some aspect of the game. Google the love fest for yourself. It all stands in stark contrast to the reviews of McNabb’s struggles against the New York Giants last week. Of course the Eagles were playing a superior team and without their star running back – and their coach’s gameplan was abysmal, but that’s another discussion for another time.

If “white” folks stumble across this post, be sure to remind me that “this has nothing to do with race.” I already know. It’s because the Cowboys are popular; because Romo’s a new guy; because Romo’s likeable; because Romo’s mobile and he makes things happen; because Romo’s not involved in any controversy; because Romo smiles all the time; because Romo’s whatever…you fill it in. I wonder if he dodges the bullet if the Cowboys lose this game. We’ll never know. Next week’s game versus the New England Patriots will not offer the media or anyone else an opportunity for substantial criticism of the young QB. Every QB needs to see the Pats a few times before they can reasonably be expected to beat them.

Funny stuff – no matter how you slice it. And if you’re name is McNabb, that slice will have “a little extra.”

2007 NFL Season – Week 5 Predictions

We’re past the quarter mark.  This will be our first Separation Sunday.  There are a number of intriguing games across conferences and this should give us a sense of how much ground the NFC has made up.  Some of the AFC’s traditional powers are down (Baltimore, Denver, San Diego, Cincinnati).  NFC teams like Seattle, Tampa, Green Bay and Dallas are flying high.  Here are the picks.

NFL Lines For Week 5 – NFL Football Line Week Five
NFL Game Lines 10/7 – 10/8, 2007

Date & Time Favorite Line Underdog Total
10/7 1:00 ET At New Orleans -3.5 Carolina 43
10/7 1:00 ET Jacksonville -2.5 At Kansas City 36
10/7 1:00 ET At Washington -3.5 Detroit 45
10/7 1:00 ET At Tennessee -7.5 Atlanta 41
10/7 1:00 ET At Houston -5 Miami 43
10/7 1:00 ET At Pittsburgh -5.5 Seattle 41
10/7 1:00 ET At New England -16.5 Cleveland 48
10/7 1:00 ET Arizona -4 At St. Louis 40.5
10/7 1:00 ET At NY Giants -4 NY Jets 40.5
10/7 4:05 ET At Indianapolis -9 Tampa Bay 45
10/7 4:15 ET San Diego -1 At Denver 42.5
10/7 4:15 ET Baltimore -3.5 At San Francisco 35
10/7 8:15 ET At Green Bay -3.5 Chicago 41

Monday Night Football Line

         
10/8 8:30 ET Dallas -10.5 At Buffalo 45

Changing formats because of time constraints.

Saints at home over Cats without Delhomme.  Saints 31, Panthers 17.

Chiefs over Jags.  I like the Chiefs.  Been saying it for two years.  They’re doing something right.  Chiefs 20, Jagwires 14.

The Lions are biologically incapable of beating Washington in DC.  Foreskins 34, Lions 33.

Titans too tough on the ground against the new air game of the Dirty Birds.  Titans 24, Falcons 20.

Texans over the struggling Dolphins in a high scoring game.  Texans 34, Dolphins 28.

Seattle doesn’t have to deal with Hampton or Polamalu.  Somebody better step up.  Steelers 27, Seahawks 24.

Patriots 38, Browns 14.

Cardinals have more than enough to stuff Gus Frerotten.  Cardinals 20, Rams 14.

New Jersey – New Jersey!  Giants 28, Jets 21.

Broncos can run on San Diego.  Broncos 17, Chargers 13.

The Ravens are struggling.  Enter the 49ers.  Thank you, Raven god.  Ravens 20, 49ers 17.

Chicago always rights it ship in ‘Sconsin.  The Pack’s good, but 1 dimensional on offense.  Bears 35, Packers 21.

Super Bowl rematch week continues.  Cowboys 45, Bills 10.  Of course the Bills will shock the worrrrrrld!!

Daunte’s Inferno Burns Dolphins

This season the Miami Dolphins proved the old school saying, “God don’t like ugly.” Daunte Culpepper, still rehabilitating from tearing all cruciate ligaments in his knee while with the Minnesota Vikings, was engaged in a protracted battle for “liberation.” Culpepper began the 2006 season as the Dolphins starter. The feeling in Miami was that he probably tried to play too soon – that injuries such as his would require at least two years to heal. This is the second year and Daunte looks much better.  Two passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, and one power move late, Culpepper looks like a player with the ability to recapture some of his old form.  At his best, Culpepper is as good a passer as anyone in the game.

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clipped from www.signonsandiego.com

MIAMI – Daunte Culpepper thought about the moment he would send the football world a message about his right knee. That moment came in the third quarter as he sprinted to his right and escaped the grasp of Miami Dolphins linebacker Donnie Spragan. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback then leaped toward the end zone, football extended toward the goal line for his second rushing touchdown.He stood up, pointed to his knee and, with a hand gesture, declared it OK.

Culpepper, starting his first game since he was a Dolphin on Oct. 1, 2006, threw two touchdown passes and ran for three more scores in his return to Dolphin Stadium in the Oakland Raiders’ 35-17 win over Miami yesterday.

Behind Culpepper and a dominant running game, the Raiders (2-2) won their second game in a row and ended a 12-game road losing streak dating to a 16-13 win at Washington on Nov. 20, 2005.Thirty-five points are the most by the Raiders since they scored 38 against Buffalo on Oct. 23, 2005.

  blog it

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Quarterback Daunte Culpepper (8) listens to Miami Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron following the Raiders’ 35-17 victory at Dolphin Stadium in Miami. Culpepper was cut by Cameron before the season began and then signed with the Raiders. Chronicle photo by Chris Stewart

2007 NFL Season – Week 3 Predictions

Another week. Another slate. Time for the latest in misbegotten prognostication. So much is made, every single year, of which teams make it to 2-0. In a season that runs for 17 weeks, I can’t put too much stock in the first two weeks. I am aware that there is a strong correlation between making it through to the beginning of Week 3 unscathed. Still, I would rather wait and see what happens. Last year, the Giants came out blazing. They blasted through the early part of their schedule and won a tough game in Philadelphia with a sudden death pass to Plaxico Burress. Those two early wins did not translate into a great season and it didn’t preclude this team from falling apart at the seams. It’s a long season and no one gives hardware for getting to 2-0.

NFL Lines For Week 3 – NFL Football Line Week Three
NFL Game Lines 9/23 – 9/24, 2007

Date & Time Favorite Line Underdog Total
9/23 1:00 ET Indianapolis -6.5 At Houston 47
9/23 1:00 ET San Diego -5.5 At Green Bay 43
9/23 1:00 ET At Kansas City -3 Minnesota 33.5
9/23 1:00 ET At Philadelphia -5.5 Detroit 44
9/23 1:00 ET At New England -16.5 Buffalo 41
9/23 1:00 ET At NY Jets -3 Miami 35.5
9/23 1:00 ET At Pittsburgh -9.5 San Francisco 38
9/23 1:00 ET At Baltimore -7.5 Arizona 35.5
9/23 1:00 ET At Tampa Bay -3.5 St. Louis 38
9/23 4:05 ET At Denver -3.5 Jacksonville 35.5
9/23 4:05 ET At Seattle -3 Cincinnati 50
9/23 4:05 ET At Oakland -3 Cleveland 40.5
9/23 4:15 ET Carolina -4 At Atlanta 37
9/23 4:15 ET At Washington -3.5 NY Giants 41
9/23 8:15 ET At Chicago -3 Dallas 41

Monday Night Football Line

         
9/24 8:30 ET At New Orleans -4 Tennessee 45.5

Not a lot of story this week…just a lotta pickin’.

Colts 23, Texans 19. Another close one for the Colts. The familiarity and the hunger of the Texans will make this a close game.

Will the real San Diego Chargers please stand up? If they don’t, they’ll lose this game. If Favre (the NeoConservative version) was leading the Bears in Week 1, they walk all over the Chargers. Green Bay’s defense looked good against the Giants – and the Chargers don’t feature a wide receiver capable of garnering more than an occasional glance from a safety. The Packers should be able to focus on LT and Antonio Gates. Chargers 31, Packers 23. So what. Good NFC teams don’t usually beat top AFC teams even when they’re pulling a Namath – struh-guh-linnng.

Vikings 31, Chiefs 10. Too much rush defense from Minny. A hard hitting CB like Winfield eliminates all of the passing options that are not erased by Darren Sharper. If it’s close, it will only be because the game is at Arrowhead. Vikes big – especially if Adrian Peterson gets going early.

The Lions don’t usually games unless the element of surprise is on their side. Too many people are picking the Lions to win this game. This franchise can’t stand prosperity. I expect lots of screens and draws from Andy Reid trying to neutralize the Lions powerful D-line. Philly snaps out of the doldrums in a tight one. Eagles 23, Lions 20.

Patriots 38, Bills 14.

Rivalry games are always tough to call because records, injuries, and “hot play” are all irrelevant. Still, the Jets have looked better than the Dolphins and are slight favorites. They are playing at home. I still don’t know if they cover. Jets 28, Dolphins 27. I like Trent Green to get untracked today.

Steelers 49, 49ers 3.

Matt Leinart will be in school this afternoon. His instructors will be surly and dismissive. Body Slam 101 will be taught by Professors Lewis, Reed and Gregg. If ever there was a day to play hooky, it’s today. I like the Ravens by a slim margin. Ravens 17, Cardinals 13. I wish I could see all the pre-game love for the Hurricane reunion of Ray Lewis, Edgerrin James and Ed Reed.

If the Rams are as bad as they usually are, the Bucs should roll in this game. A little sunshine should go a long way. Buccaneers 41, Rams 28. If Galloway could do it last week, he should be able to do it this week. The Rams defense lacks punch and the Bucs should be able to run and pass effectively.

In what promises to be one of the more hard hitting games all day, the Broncos take on the Jaguars. I like the Broncos and Jay Cutler to have a nice game. Scoring should still be tough to come by. Broncos 22, Jaguars 16.

Cincinnati should put up a bunch against Seattle. The problem is they’ll probably give up more. I don’t like either of these teams. I like the 49ers to win the West and I think Cincy will be 3rd in the AFC North. The Bengals are on the ropes. Seattle is at home. Seahawks 30, Bengals 28.

The Browns will not find it so easy to score against the Raiders. Raiders 20, Browns 14.

Panthers big. Panthers 40, Falcons 17.

I like Jason Campbell – always have. Foreskins 24, G-men 20.

I like Chicago over Dallas (so does Jimmy Johnson). Bears 13, Cowboys 10.

New Orleans cannot stop the run. That’s no way to beat the Titans. Titans 24, Saints 17.