Monday, October 01, 2007

The NFL's contenders & pretenders

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

Before we get started - our man Quikdraw checked in yesterday with his thoughts on the MLB Playoffs - worth the read, especially if you are a member of Red Sox Nation, scroll down.

With week four, for all intents and purposes, in the books - time to start distinguishing between the early season champs and chumps. For teams that got off on the wrong foot, excuses for bad starts and promises of better days ahead get thrown out the window when you hit the quarter point.



Dallas Cowboys - the Boys are off to a 4-0 start and look like the best team in the NFC. While some could point to the strength of their schedule - teams with a combined record of 3-13 - you have to give them credit for getting better every week. The are not only beating the opposition - they are pummeling them into submission; the margin of victory continues to get bigger every week. The mark of a championship calibre team is to beat the teams you should be beating - Romo and the Cowboys are doing that.

New England Patriots - they came into the season with a few questions on defence and doubts about how well Randy Moss would adapt to the "Patriots way". The best thing to happen to this team was "videogate" - the questions about the validity of their wins and the criticisms leveled at them have have made them more focused, if that is possible. The Patriots offence is living up to expectations, shredding everyone they go up against - the defence has been dominant has been better than expected and has turned in three dominant performances. They are looking like the odds on favourite to win the whole thing in February.

Indianapolis Colts - the Colts have quietly posted a 4-0 start to the season; we say quietly because the focus has been on other stories around the league - videogate, the surprising start the Packers are off to, and the surprisingly bad start the Bears, Chargers and Saints are off to. Peyton Manning and the offence picked up where they left off last season and they are only going to be more deadly with Joseph Addai emerging as a legit top 10 running back. The defence that was awful for most of 2006 has answered the bell when called upon - they are still suspect, but you can't argue with what they have done so far.

Green Bay Packers - the Packers are the feel good story of the season thus far; that is, if you like those stinkin' cheeseheads. The Packers were considered a long shot to be an 8-8 team this year - but with Favre playing his best football in years and a revamped defence - they look like they have a pretty shot at winning a weak NFC North. They won't be a factor when it is all said and done (we think the clock is about to strike twelve on them), their lack of a running game and inexperienced defence will do them in when they play teams that are considered legitimate contenders; but they have proven to be a team with a few surprises up their sleeves.

Pittsburgh Steelers - they're off to a 3-1 start and have their fans talking about another dream season - forget it, it is not going to happen. The Steelers haven't played anyone of note - the Bills, Browns and 49ers are all in the bottom third of the league. The Steelers faced their first test yesterday - the Cardinals are touted as an up and coming team - and the Steelers failed. The Steelers balanced offence can be neutralized by quick aggressive defences; get up on these guys and they'll fold.

Seattle Seahawks - they're 3-1 record is flattering. They should have lost to the Bengals and weren't exactly dominant in their win over Tampa Bay. Their offence has been a bit streaky - Alexander hasn't looked like his dominant self and their receivers are still prone to dropping passes. On defence, they have to great cover corners - but you can run on them and wear them down. They'll win a very bad NFC West - but that isn't saying much. A playoff team - yes, a Super Bowl contender(?) not a chance.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - not much was expected of these guys coming into the season, when 38 year old Jeff Garcia is your starting QB, you are a team without viable options. Their defence is solid enough to get them eight wins - but their offence can't be counted on to deliver week in and week out.
Detroit Lions - these guys have to be the worst 3-1 team EVER. Their offence is one dimensional and proved that they can be shut down and dominated if your defence commits to the blitz. The defence is below average, and that's being nice - they've given up 20+ points in three of their four games against less than stellar offences. Kitna guaranteed tens wins this year - they might get it, but they won't win a playoff game if they have to travel.

Washington Redskins - their defence has been very good and the offence has done enough to win, but these guys aren't legit. The game plan against the Skins is simple - stuff Portis and you take away the play action which they use to hit a few big plays. Losing to the Giants automatically takes you out of consideration for being a contender.

Tennessee Titans - their defence is solid and the backbone of the team. Vince Young has found a way to come up with the big play and their running game looks solid. They play everyone tough - just ask Peyton Manning. They look like they are ready to go to the playoffs - though they won't hang around long.


Baltimore Ravens
- the so-called offensive genius, Brian Billick, can't seem to get his team going - the once dominant defence has been just OK. They aren't going to be a factor.

Denver Broncos - Jay Cutler looks like he's got a long way to go. The Broncos inability to control the ball has made their small and quick defence vulnerable to wearing down during the game. Their decent - but nothing more than that.


San Diego Chargers - they came into this year talking about taking the next step, they pointed to week 2 against New England as a statement game for them - they have accomplished nothing other than beating a bad Bears team. The dominant defence of last year has looked ordinary and vulnerable to the big play; the offence which rolled on the back of LaDanian Tomlinson and promising QB Phillip Rivers has been ordinary and prone to turnovers are crucial points in the game. This team is a mess - not surprising considering Norv Turner is the head coach; we love the guy, but he's a brutal field boss. Their only saving grace is that the AFC West is so bad that they still have a chance to win the division - but that isn't enough for a team that was talking Super Bowl. We're hating these guys today because the killed us in a huge suicide pool - stinking chumps.

Chicago Bears - the trials and tribulations of QB Rex Grossman are well documented; and Bears fans found out yesterday that Brian Griese isn't the answer. The Bears have some big problems - Cedric Benson isn't looking like a number one back, certainly not a guy who was drafted fourth overall; their receivers have dropped balls killing drives at crucial times, and their defence is banged up and not nearly as dominant as they were last year - they are not a playoff team. The Bears are paper tigers - Dallas proved you can stand up to the bully by punching him in the mouth. The Bears, much like their leader Brian Urlacher, are vastly over-rated.

New Orleans Saints - last year's feel good story of the year has fans puking in their collective mouth. Their defence is awful - as bad as last year's Colts D and their offence has been sputtering mainly due to awful play calling by coach Sean Payton, who looks like he's coaching with a chip on his shoulder. On offence, the Saints look lost and confused about what it is they are trying to accomplish - they have fallen into a ridiculous pattern of throwing incompletions on first down and running for no gain on second and long. Drew Brees has more like a professional bowler than a Pro-Bowler. Don't expect these guys to suddenly snap out of it and rattle off six or seven wins - their defence will let them down.

Philadelphia Eagles
- we've said it since day one here, these guys are counterfeit. We've said enough about these clowns, so we aren't going to rehash everything.

Dallas Cowboys WR Patrick Crayton had seven receptions, including two TDs, for 184 yards to lead the Cowboys to a 35-7 pasting of the injury riddled St. Louis Cardinals.

Green Bay Packers QB Brett Favre passed Dan Marino for number one on the all-time TD passes list - we're getting tired of this guy.

Indianapolis Colts RB Joseph Addai rushed for 136 yards on 19 carries and had a TD in the Colts' 38-20 win over Denver.

We had a great week finishing the week at + $1,015; unfortunately we didn't check in yesterday afternoon - it would have been great, just check the pool picks for the week. The total for the year now stands are a very respectable + $765. Tonight's suggestions.

New England - 8 over Cincinnati - Tom Brady should have a field day against the Bengals, that's a given. The Patriots will be able to pin their ears back and go after Carson Palmer who won't have RB Rudi Johnson to hand the ball off to. Lay $100 on the Patriots.

San Diego over Colorado - if you had to win one game, wouldn't you go with Jake Peavy? even in Colorado? against Josh Fogg? Lay $100 on the Padres - $140.

Wozniewski looks like he'll make the team on D

Maurice gives Toskala kudos in loss to Wings

More on Toskala's performance on Saturday night

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, we hope things are groovy in your world.

We're Out!


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