by Ryan Meehan
My apologies to Bill Hicks for the title, or as he would say “Sorry Folks”!
Several writers who do sports predictions will use the phrase “it’s not an exact science” as a horseshit excuse after a bad week. I was wrong about pretty much everything I had predicted, and it doesn’t do me any good to try and weasel my way out if it so I’ll just own up. The weekend ended with an interesting twist when ESPN decided to pull Hank Williams Jr.’s opening theme song from the Monday Night broadcast due to an interview that aired the same day in which he compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler. I’ll let you guess which cable news channel that was on. Anyway…
Tennessee 31, Cleveland 13
Looks like we’re going to have to hear about the Titans for another week. You have to give them some credit…So far they’ve proved that they made the best free agent signing of the year in Hasselbeck, and they’re tied for first in a division where they are used to finishing last. Chris Johnson has finally got his ass in gear and it’s about time. As for the Browns? Colt McCoy threw 61 passes in this game. I WAS right about the Browns being a fraud.
Chicago 34, Carolina 29
The Bears should have won this one by a much larger margin. They might not even have won it at all if it weren’t for Devin Hester’s punt return touchdown, which broke Brian Mitchell’s record for most career punt returns for touchdowns. There was a really funny moment in this game where Marion Barber scored a running touchdown and then did a backflip. That’s silly sounding enough, but he didn’t land it correctly and his faceplant is all over Youtube this morning.
Atlanta 30, Seattle 28
I knew the Seahawks wouldn’t be able to win two in a row. As you can imagine, this wasn’t much of a ground battle, as there was a total of 80 passes thrown. As lame and irrelevant as the Seahawks are, you have to give Tarvaris Jackson props for hanging in there. OK, maybe not.
Detroit 34, Dallas 30
The best statistic I heard all weekend wasn’t even a statistic at all: Matthew Stafford went to the same high school as Bobby Layne and Doak Walker. That’s fucking awesome. It’s almost as awesome as the fact that the Cowboys were up 24 points in the fourth quarter and still blew it. Very poor clock management overall by Dallas’ offense. Why in the world would you continue to throw the ball on your own side of the field when you were picked off on the last drive in the same place? And if the Cowboys management and coaching staff are constantly saying that Romo shouldn’t have to prove anything, why the fuck must they continue to put him in situations where it appears that he’s trying to prove himself? I don’t understand. As for the Lions, Calvin Johnson is turning out to be one hell of a go to guy because he’s at least four inches taller than any corner in the NFL. If it’s a jump ball he’s got it.
Washington 17, St. Louis 10
If you’re a Redskins fan, here’s a stat that might bother you a bit: Tim Hightower (who is otherwise having a great year) only rushed for 24 yards on 8 carries. Other than that, this game was pretty boring.
Houston 17, Pittsburgh 10
The Texans are now 3-1, tied for first place in the AFC South. If this is the year they are going to make that push, they are going to have to hope the Titans bail at some point, because we have ourselves a division race now.
New Orleans 23, Jacksonville 10
I was right about this, I’m just skeptical that anyone watched it.
New York Giants 31, Arizona 27
So this one was a little odd…The Giants got owned pretty much all game. The typical stupid penalties: false starts, facemasks, illegal contact were just as routine as the shot of Coughlin that always follows. But then something happened. On the last two drives, Eli looked incredible. He moved down the field quickly and had control over everything that was going on. He escaped defenders and hung in the pocket and took his shots when the situation called for it. The Cardinals had this game in the bag, but Kevin Kolb is going to have to end up losing a few like this one in order to really earn his keep in the NFL. New York’s secondary was very poor…until it mattered most and then they were great.
Kansas City 22, Minnesota 17
My father and I were up at the bar Sunday afternoon and talking to guy who went to the Lions-Vikings game and he said that the Vikings appear as though they are playing to get Andrew Luck. I believe it. As bad as I imagined Minnesota to be, I figured they could at least beat the Chiefs. They couldn’t, and it serves them right: Anybody who would have taken that big of a chance with Donovan McNabb after last year in Washington is a dope and deserves it.
New England 31, Oakland 19
I was wrong to think this one would go down to the wire. Tom Brady passed Joe Montana to become ninth in career touchdown passes. Vince Wilfork is HUGE, and I would have loved to have seen him take that interception to the house. The only dark spot for the Patriots is they lost Jerrod Mayo to an injury, and it doesn’t look good.
San Diego 26, Miami 16
I expected this one to be a complete blowout. Contests like this one are the reasons I can’t ever really pick San Diego to go all the way. A Super Bowl caliber team beats the living shit out of a team like the 2011 Dolphins at home. It seems weird to say, but the best thing that could happen to the Chargers at the moment would be for the everyone in the AFC West to get a lot better. Let me explain: I think what has happened to San Diego is they’ve gotten so used to playing bad teams that when they get to the playoffs they get that kind of “Holy shit, this is for real…” feeling and then they get frustrated and self-destruct.
Baltimore 34, New York Jets 17
This game I figured would be very low scoring, wrong yet again. There was plenty of scrapping after the plays were over, as expected. Very little offense, not even 300 yards total passing between the two teams. The Jets fumbled the ball five times and lost 3 of them, and it was very obvious that they were not the same without Nick Mangold at center. They looked very confused on offense all night, and there was an odd moment in this one where Rex Ryan called a timeout to argue a fumble well after the play had been reviewed. But much like in baseball – you’re not arguing for the previous call, you’re arguing for the next one. It’s sort of an imaginary possession arrow and we all know it’s there. Either way, it wasn’t going to get them the ball back and I’m not certain it would have made much of a difference the way the Ravens were owning the field at that point.
San Francisco 24, Philadelphia 23
Wrong again here as well. But wasn’t the whole country? If anybody tells you they had San Francisco to win this game, they’re lying. This was a huge victory for the 49ers because it showed they could go on the road and beat a team that is supposed to be great. Frank Gore is the real deal, and the passing game was divided evenly between Morgan and Crabtree. Who Knew? Now the Eagles are 1-3 and looking up at everybody. “Dream Teams” don’t lose games like this.
Green Bay 49, Denver 23
Our guest playoff columnist from last year (Joe Feeney) said that if he had to grade the Packers’ performance from this game, it would be an A+ on offense, and a C- on defense. It’s cliche to say that defense wins championships (especially now with the way the league is protecting the quarterback) but I don’t care who you are, you score fifty and you’re going to win almost every time.
Tampa 24, Indianapolis 17
LeGarrette Blount weighs 255 pounds. And the Colts can’t play defense for shit, so it doesn’t surpise me that he ended up with 127 yards. Curtis Painter did a better job managing the offense, but who wouldn’t?
Topic to think about this week:
If the playoffs started today (yes, we realize that they don’t…) two of the teams who you might not expect to be in would be Washington and Tennessee, both 3-1. Now, from a fan’s perspective as opposed to some shitbag television executive, does this change your opinion of what the playoffs are supposed to look like? Does it make it any more interesting since there’s a team that doesn’t belong? And does the fact that Seattle made it last year have any effect on what defines a playoff team?
First Order Historians’ Fun Activity:
If you listen to AM talk radio this week, count the number of times that you hear the phrase “Changing the culture of losing” when they’re discussing the Lions and act as if that number means anything.
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