Monday, January 31, 2005
One thing the article mentions was how Belichick worked him as a defensive back because of all the injuries last year in the Super Bowl. Belichick was criticized by some "experts" for trying Brown on defense. Some people just don't learn. "In Bill we trust."
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Saturday, January 29, 2005
But no, T.O. need to talk to that renowned "journalist," Michael Irvin. Doctors, trainers, and coaches are giving press conferences about a broken bone. This is what T.O. wants: his team made it to his Super Bowl and the story has to be about him.
Belichick gets criticized for not letting people talk about injuries, but now I see why he does it. The T.O. thing is a distraction his teammates should not have to put up with.
This is the last you'll here from me about T.O. until after the Super Bowl...unless the Godfather says something stupid about him. So, will Seymour play?
...Remember this: In 1972, the year before George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees, the Mets led the majors in attendance (2.13 million), and the Yankees drew 966,328.
...While on the Boston model, there were those who wondered why they went so hard after Edgar Renteria. But the Red Sox feel that Hanley Ramirez's skills are so exceptional that three years from now Renteria at short and Ramirez in center will be a far more productive middle of the field than Ramirez at short and whomever they can find in center because those middle field, multi-dimensional outfielders are so rare...
About pitchers changing leagues:
...The one exception after four progressively good seasons in Florida is Carl Pavano, who's not a swing-and-miss pitcher. Ron Shandler's "Baseball Forecaster" has a stat he uses to rate "dominance," a pure stuff indicator. Here are some of the pitchers switching leagues: Johnson (11.1), Clement (9.5), Martinez (9.4), Danny Haren (8.5), Wright (7.8), Wade Miller (7.6), Pavano (5.8), Mulder (5.6) and Hudson (5.0).
Translation: If Pedro is healthy, and there is no reason he won't be, he will vie for the Cy Young. Ditto Randy Johnson. But the most interesting is Clement. OK, he worked with one of the great pitching coaches in Larry Rothschild while with the Cubs, but he is, at the age of 30, capable of being an 18-game winner, in either league....
Friday, January 28, 2005
- I love watching Steve Nash play. All high school, college, and NBA point guards should be forced to watch highlights of Nash Clockwork Orange style. He does everything right: he always finds the open guy, blows by people quicker than him, and he runs the ball up every time. Imagine if an NBA guard who was actually fast ran the ball up every time.
- The Suns defense reminds me of something the great Tommy Heinsohn once said, "If your team scores 125, your defense only has to be good enough to hold the other team to 124."
- That being said, Payton needs to be traded NOW. Defense starts with the point guard and Payton doesn't even bother with defense now. Sure the Celtics would lose something on offense, but it's not like the Celtics have a well-oiled machine on offense. The Celtics need to give West and Banks playing time for the next few months, so they can make an informed decision if they need to find another point guard or stick with their young guys. Payton's leaving at the end of the season anyway.
- Pierce has actually looked better lately with the younger players. I'd still trade him, but I wouldn't give him away. I'd give away Payton.
- Looks like Mark Blount found the keys to Vin Baker's liquor cabinet. I don't believe the Celt's gave this stiff a contract. Somewhere Pervis Ellison is smiling.
- Is their anyone happier than Amare Stoudamire ? With Nash around his wrists must be bruised from dunking so much.
- So I saw a high scoring game (128-119) and heard U2 during commercials. Is it the 80's again? When's Silver Spoons on?
Thursday, January 27, 2005
By the way, when I think of J.R. Reid, I also think of a terrible draft starring Nervous Pervis, Danny Ferry, Stacey King, George McCloud, Randy White, and good old Michael Smith.
- I wonder what Rothlisberger's fake Spanish name is. Juan Escobar Fakebrokentoelio?
- Very interesting offseason coming up.
- What team will Moss end up with? Ravens and Raiders seem to be the most mentioned teams. Moss would go crazy in Baltimore with such bad quarterbacks. Could do well in Oakland because Collins can throw deep. Imagine him in St. Louis with Torry Holt?
- Where does Edgerrin James go? I say Miami. Indy will miss him a lot. Ask the Pats about Curtis Martin.
- Jim Bates, next year's defensive coordinator in Green Bay. He'll be their head coach the following season. Imagine going from a secondary of Surtain and Madison to Green Bays secondary of Milli and Vanilli.
- Herm Edwards will be on the hot seat right away because of his terrible coaching against Pitt. He better pray the Jets start the season well.
- Will Drew Bledsoe survive the offseason in Buffalo? How about putting him in Baltimore with Moss?
- If you haven't noticed, I refuse to acknowledge the salary cap.
- Drew Brees/Phillip Rivers choice in San Diego. I'd try to trade Brees; his value will never be higher (I see him as an average quarterback). This is assuming San Diego believes Rivers is legit.
- What moves will Washington make so they can protect their title of Champions of the Offseason. I'll predict they sign Michael Strahan.
- Isn't it about time Jerry Jones gets sick of Parcells? Does his strong personality make people forget that he's done nothing without Belichick?
- Looks like Romanowski's involved with steroids. Also, sky is blue.
- Look out NFL, the Cardinals have a "tougher" looking logo
- With Jamal Lewis on board, the prison football team at federal prison camp at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montogery, Alabama will be unstoppable.
January 27, 2005 -- INDIANAPOLIS Colts quarterback Peyton Manning wasn't happy the way the New England Patriots ended his season. At Edith's restaurant in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, the other night, Manning "looked totally dejected and had a puss on his face of 'Don't bother me,' " a spy reports. Peyton drank Coronas and his wife, Ashley, sipped margaritas. "Everyone knew who he was, including the Mexican waitstaff . . . He kept telling the waiters, 'This week I am known as Javier Lopez.' " Manning devoured a platter of shrimp, lobster tail and filet mignon, but "he was avoiding all eye contact with everyone else in the restaurant and stared out into space a lot," said our witness. "At one point, his wife asked him if he was listening to her and when he did not respond, she grabbed his hand and asked him again and he said despondently, 'No, I was thinking about football.' And when it came time to pay the bill, the wife said she would put it on her credit card since it is the same account, and he said, 'Believe me, I know.' "
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
- Carlos Delgado signs with the Marlins: Patriotsy2k knows much more about the Marlin than I do, but I think this is an excellent move. Delgado would have put up better numbers in the smaller ballparks of Baltimore or Texas, but I love the idea of Cabrera, Delgado, and Lowell surrounded by a bunch of pesky, speedy players. Hopefully they'll beat up Pedro.
- Speaking of the Mets, Mientkiewicz will be their consolation prize: First of all, that's the last time I write his name, just too difficult to spell. It's a good move for the Mets. I've always felt that teams underestimate how important it is to have a good fielding first baseman. Mets pitchers should be happy. As for the Sox, they lost a great pinch runner and a great defensive replacement. Good pitching and hitting wins championships, but you need good role players too. Hopefully, the Red Sox find some.
HMMMMMMMM. From Tony B., of Monroe, La.: "Let's say that instead of the Steelers and Eagles playing at home this weekend, it was the Jets and the Giants. How would the NFL go about scheduling the conference championship games if they were to both be played in the same stadium? Just something I've always been curious about.''
[King's Answer]Good question. I asked a league guy that once, several years ago, and I think they'd either play at 12 and 8 on Sunday, or one Saturday and one Sunday.
My Answer: Terrible questions. That's like asking what I would do if Paris Hilton and Anna Kournikova bothed asked me out for a date on the same night. Since it will never happen, it's just something we don't need to worry about.
NFL cornerbacks plead with Brett Favre to return next season
Marty Schottenheimer really enjoying coach of the year award
Resolute Bush sticking with Colts as Superbowl pick
Shannon Sharpe yells louder to mask cluelessness
Go to thebrushback.com to read the articles
Nike offers jobs to South Asians displaced by Tsunami
Falcons fans - if they existed - would be crushed by loss
Team many calling the "Greatest Ever" tired of being disrespected
English tutor teaches Yao Ming the word "bust"
Phil Jackson says he'll coach Knicks if they fill team with superstars first
Report: NHL TV ratings only down 0.1 point
Patriots, Eagles first people ever to be excited to go to Jacksonville
Go to sportspickle.com to read the articles.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
"He just outplayed me," Agassi said. "He was too good. I would suggest to his next opponent that he doesn't look to me for advice."
Monday, January 24, 2005
- I really hated the 2001 Steelers. I thought they were a conceited team that didn't give the Pats enough credit for their win. I still remember all the dumb comments that were said going into the following season. That being said, I didn't mind this team. They said all the right things and they played the game tough. All the big plays were going the Pats way, but I thought the Steelers kept on fighting. If the same plays happened to the Colts, the score would have been 41-3.
- Maybe it's just me, but it looks like Roosevelt Colvin is suddenly looking pretty good. Hopefully, he's gotten over the injury.
- Rodney Harrison didn't make the Pro Bowl? At least John Lynch will be well rested for Hawaii.
- Has there been a team in any sport that completely changes the way they play each week? One week, the Pats blitz like crazy, the next they never blitz. One week the run like crazy, the next they dink and dunk, then they open it up and throw some bombs. The Colts "way" is their no huddle aggressive offense, the Steelers "way," is hard nosed running, what's the Pats way?
- Even the national anthem singer for the AFC was far superior than the anthem singer for the NFC.
- The Eagles seemed a little too happy about winning the NFC Championship. I'd hate to see how they'd react to a Super Bowl victory. Luckily, that won't happen.
- Can we even call Michael Vick a quarterback? He throws with no accuracy and looks completely lost in the pocket. Is it too late to make him a running back?
- McNabb still doesn't impress me, but the Philly 'D does.
- One television criticism: Fox was showing Mora steaming on the sideline at the end of the game, but never explained why he was so upset. An Eagle did a helmet to helmet shot on one of his players, and then taunted him after the hit. God forbid Moss pretends to moon a crowd, but let's ignore that classless play.
- I'm not Daniel Graham's agent, but watch replays of highlights. He's either pancaking players on a big run play or he's stiffling a pass rusher on a big pass play.
- One last note on the critical side. I didn't like how Dillon ran; he seemed to hesitate rather than nailing the holes. Also a little too much chest thumping after one yard runs.
- I can't end on a negative note -- I think Brady might be better than Pennington.
Thank you Bill Belichick, thank you Mo Lewis, thank you Theo, thank you Curt Schilling...
Great article on Willie
It's the 4th Super Bowl for McGinest, Vinatieri, Bruschi, Ted Johnson, and Troy Brown (I believe Johnson and Brown missed a Super Bowl because of injuries.) Some say the Pats would have beaten the Packers if Brown wasn't hurt and played special teams to takle the Rocket. But who cares now?
Sunday, January 23, 2005
This week they score 41 against the best defense in the league.
The writing's on the wall, the Pats are still good. Everyone talked about how Dillon missed the Halloween Bowl; more should have talked about Branch missing that game. He was the difference. The Pats don't dominate teams like they did last year. Instead, the manage the game and come up with the big plays. More on this game later.
It's a good time to be a Boston sports fan.
Saturday, January 22, 2005
In the Yao Ming article you wrote last week, you ridiculed him and the NBA in general. Last night I saw an excellent game between the Spurs and Suns, which the Spurs were able to pull out in OT, 128-123. This gave the Suns 6 losses in a row, and they had plenty of opportunities to seal this game before falling apart in the last minute. As great as Stoudemire is, he missed several freebies late in the 4th that started the Spurs comeback. If not for Marion's 3 at the buzzer, the game would have never even gone to OT.
This game was kind of like a throwback to the 1980's style of basketball. I was thinking last night during the game how these 2 teams pass around looking for good shots (with good shooters), run the floor, and drive to the hole. I was even more impressed with San Antonio's depth, and how they are all on the same page. With role players like Barry (crucial 3's down the stretch), Malik Rose, and even that guy Beno Udrih, they are the basketball version of the Patriots. Good coaching, plenty of depth, and a commitment to team play and winning.
As far as the Suns are concerned, they have an excellent starting five (Nash, Amare, Marion, JJ, and Quintin R) but little after that. This losing streak is a combination of Nash's injury and too much "1988 Celtics" emphasis. The schedule is VERY favorable to them coming up, so don't expect this losing streak to continue. They get to play the formidable division that's called the Atlantic.
So to sum this up......not all NBA basketball is a cause for ridicule. Looking at the schedule I would love to see the Bulls at Pistons or the Wizards at Pacers games. Unfortunately, I never plugged my receiver in so I cant watch them.
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Var beredd på årets största V75 nyhet!
Sensationen med absolut vinstgaranti!
PPELiA lanserar en helt ny och originell metod för att spela på V-75. Pro-Elite!
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Niofaldige pokervärldsmästaren, Phil Hellmuth talar om allt som du behöver veta för att bli en vinnare på pokersajterna på Internet. Han lär bl.a. ut hur man spelar utan utan insats och ändå vinner riktiga pengar.
Författaren tjänar 100 000:- i månaden på att spela Internetpoker."
Thanks for the letter, S�ren Olsson, VD
Friday, January 21, 2005
Enough about motivation, this game will be about talent and execution. The Patriots were outplayed in every aspect of the game during the Halloween Bowl. Everything was going right for the Steelers and wrong for the Pats. The Steelers had a bye week before the game and a hot quarterback the league didn't know much about. The Patriots were missing Brady's two best weapons (Dillon and Branch), and the offensive line and tight ends were beat up. On defense, the Patriots did not have a game plan ready for a game without Ty Law. There's plenty of excuses for the Pats, but the bottom line is the Steelers beat them up in October.
Now to Sunday. The Patriots offense should do a much better job this week. I'm hoping Brady's bad game against the Steelers was because of injuries to his teammates, not because the Steelers "figured Brady out." The Patriots will have more than eight yards rushing this week and the offense will put points on the board.
My concern about the Pats is the defense. They beat up a finesse team last week, but will they be able to stop a power running team? Bettis and Staley ran all over them last time, so the big question is if Belichick and Crennel can develop a game plan to limit the success of the Steelers running game.
Then there's Ben Rothlisomethingorother. He had a terrible passing game against the Jets, but I am still impressed with a few things about his game. He is very good outside of the pocket and seems capable of running for a big first down. Also, he seems to stay confident even after he screws up, unlike Bledsoe or even Manning who just get worse and worse against Belichick as the game goes on. Overall, Rothlisberger will be fine if his running game is good and he can play with a lead. If the Pats get a lead, however, I don't see him leading the Steelers to a comeback.
Another concern I have about the Pats defense is their secondary. The Pats were great last week, but I lost a lot of respect for the Colts offense last week. The Colts receivers are wimps and Manning didn't want to throw interceptions so he refused to challenge the Pats defense by going deep. The Steelers won't make the same mistakes. Their receivers are tough and they will throw the ball deep at least once.
My final thoughts on the Pats defense is that beating the Colts does not prove that the can beat the Steelers; the Steelers are a completely different team. I'm seeing this game as a shootout, and I like Brady's chances in a shootout. Prediction: Patriots 35, Steelers 24
The Eagles offense still looks bad, even when they played the Vikings weak defense. The big story for the Eagles however was their defense. If the Eagles go to the Super Bowl, I see them making it in a similar fashion to the Ravens -- with dominate defense and an offense that doesn't screw it up.
Michael Vick looked incredible last week, but will he be able to do the same against a good defense, a defense that actually knows how to tackle? Also, how will a dome team play in the snow conditions of Philly?
The snow could be the big story of the game. On paper, the Falcons look like a team better built for bad conditions. While the Eagles don't run much, the Falcons can pound away with Duckett and Dunn. Also, many snow games come down to the one big play, and Michael Vick has the best potential to make that play.
I seem to be changing my mind as I'm writing this. I just wrote how the Falcons may be successful because of their running game, but now I'm thinking of Brady's performance against the Raiders in the snow game. A snow storm does not always stop the passing game.
Now for a prediction: I'm going with the team with the better defense. The Eagles defense looked so good last week, it's forcing me to ignore their offense. Eagles 13, Falcons 7
After an amazing college wrestling career, Neal wanted to try the NFL despite having no experience. Kind of like how Shaq got his wonderful acting career started.
Anyway, here's an excerpt:
Belichick initially tried him on defense, a decision he called stupid, before switching him to the offensive line. That spurred Neal's long climb to his current job.
"When I tell you he didn't know where the field was, he didn't know where the field was," Belichick said. "He didn't know how to put his pads on. He didn't know where to line up. He didn't even know where to go in the huddle. When I say starting from scratch, we're starting from below scratch."
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Cav's aquiring Baron Davis and/or Jamaal Magloire for Zydrunas Illgauskas and Jeff McGinnis.
To me it looks too good for the Cavs and there's a lot of cash involved. But if it does happen, the East better watch out. I'd love to see this happen.
Monday, January 17, 2005
"No, we let (Mike) Vanderjagt kick a field goal," he said. "We let that bum kick a field goal. Mr. Know It All. He got his three points so I guess he did his job." -McGinest, again
"I'm just trying to think of what excuses they're saying in that locker room right now, what rules they want to change now. I was just tired of it. I was tired of hearing this and that, talking about the last game and how we didn't win the game, how they lost the game by giving the ball away. To hold that offense to three points - I mean there's no doubt what Peyton Manning did this year and I respect them as players - but sometimes, you've just got to be quiet and play football." -Tedy Bruschi
Kornheiser: I didn't see the Falcons much this year because they weren't on TV much
Wilbon: What about the dish
Kornheiser: I don't have one
Wilbon: I bought you one
Kornheiser: I didn't plug it in.
Maybe you had to be there, but I thought it was funny. Also, they interviewed Freddie Mitchell, and if the Eagles make it to the Super Bowl the national media will love him.
Now if ESPN could fix the other twenty-three and a half hours.
I was obsessed with tennis in the late eighties, but lost interest in the nineties. I never liked Agassi, and, although I was impressed with Sampras, I found his matches to be boring. Mens' tennis has some problems now including the rackets being too powerful and John McEnroe (the game's spokesperson) only talking about Agassi and the Davis Cup.
Despite's its problems, mens' tennis has one great thing going for it: Roger Federer. For tennis's sake I hope Federer wins the Grand Slam. I have never seen a player as impressive as Roger Federer. Do yourself a favor and watch him play when you have a chance.
- Wow. There's about a million great things to say about the Pats. Even Patriotsy2k was worried about the injuries, but it didn't even seem to affect them. It's interesting watching other games and the announcers make such a big deal about injuries (the Green Bay offensive line, Vikings secondary, etc.) Credit should be given to Pioli for giving the Pats good depth and the coaches for getting backups ready.
- Have I mentioned I liked Troy Brown? He looks like he belongs on the field now playing defense.
- Probably the last game we see Edgerrin James in a Colts uniform. I was really expecting him to be a bigger factor.
- That was the last game for Weis and probably Crennel as Patriot coaches in Foxboro.
- The Jets suck. The Pats could have had a home game against an easy opponent, but now they need to play a tough opponent on the road. Great play calling Edwards, way to earn your paycheck Brien.
- Manning's getting the blame, which I don't mind because he certainly didn't play like the best quarterback in the history of football (as we were led to believe he was). Anyway, Dungy should be the one to blame: his team played soft and they were out game planned.
- I thought the Vikings were better than they actually were because they beat up a bad Green Bay team. Will I make the same mistake when thinking about Atlanta? Probably.
- Mike Tice should be fired. There were so many mistakes in that game that were inexcusable. Plus, Collinsworth was right to criticize the Vikings for playing a soft coverage against the Eagles receivers.
- The Eagles made a lot of mistakes too. I'm still unimpressed by their offense, but I'm starting to appreciate their defense.
- Vick against the Eagles' 'D will be a great matchup
- While Rothlisberger had a tough time throwing, I am impressed with his pocket presence and his ability to scramble.
- When will the national media recognize Tedy Bruschi as an elite linebacker?
- A little statistical nugget: Since 2001, the Pats are 13-0 when playing a quarterback for the second time in a season
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Saturday, January 15, 2005
I agree with most of what the Godfather wrote, and I do believe the Jets have a chance to win. There is one thing the Godfather did not mention, however: Pennington's stomach flu. Yes, Penningotn will probably be find, but we need to remember that the flu is contagious. Could Pennington have handed off some germs to Curtis Martin as he handed him the ball? Jet fans better hope that Martin is a good hand washer.
I think both quarterbacks will be asked not to lose the game, so we'll see pretty conservative football. This will be a mistake for the Jets because the Steelers have more talent. So unless the Jets' coaches have a lobotomy and become aggressive on offense, here's my score:
Steelers 24 Jets 13
Rams vs. Falcons
I've read that the Rams could be coming together at the right time, and this could mean trouble for the NFC. I just don't see the evidence of the Rams improving much. Sure they beat the Jets at home and the Seahawks on the road, but the Jets didn't need to win that game and the Seahawks are the Seahawks. Also, I don't trust Martz coming up with a game plan to stop Michael Vick. I can see Vick rushing for 150 yards today: Falcons 28 Rams 17
Eagles vs. Vikings
I've had no respect for the Eagles since last year's playoffs. I don't trust Reid's coaching in big games, I don't trust McNabb's accuracy in big games, and I have no respect for their competition. Many Eagles stars haven't played significant football in over month; it will take them time to get the rust off. Also, as I mentioned before, the Eagles offense has not had a good game since they beat up the Packers defense in early December.
I thought the Vikings were going to be much better than a .500 team this year. If it wasn't for Manning, everybody would be talking about the season Culpepper has had. I also liked what I saw last week from the Vikings attitude-wise. That "us against the world" thing seems to work sometimes. My concerns about the Vikings are Moss's ankle, a dome team playing outside in January, the Vikings' defense, and Mike Tice. The fact that I'm picking this flawed 8 and 8 team to beat the Eagles shows what little respect I have for Philly. The Philadelphia championship drought continues: Vikings 35, Eagles 10
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Yao's playing against Jason Collins tonight so he should dominate, right? Here's his numbers going into overtime: 6 points, 7 rebounds. Remember when he was supposed to be the next big thing, the next Shaq's? Now I'd say we'd be lucky if he becomes the next Rick Smits.
Now to what's wrong with the NBA. The Nets with Kidd and Carter don't run the ball and Van Gundy's offensive philosophy is to rest up for defense. Now to the biggest problem the NBA has: officiating. If the Rockets lose, it will be the officials faults. I know people aren't ever suppose to say that, but let's face it, sometimes it's true. I'm convinced that Jason Kidd has compromising photographs of every NBA official. When he is on defense he absolutely mugs the opposing point guard. And of course when Kidd has the ball, minimal contact, usually initiated by Kidd, gets a whistle.
Anyway, every close calls went to the Nets in the 4th quarter, which coincidently made the game close. I'd go into more detail, but it's kind of pointless if you didn't see the game, and knowing the NBA, you didn't watch this game.
Someday, hopefully there will be some expose on NBA officiating: maybe a gambling connection, maybe Stern influencing officials, maybe television networks influencing officiating. Who knows? There's just no other way to explain how bad NBA referees are.
Since I believe there's more to this game than Manning versus the Pats' defense, I'll analyze the matchups.
The matchup everyone can't stop talking about: Colts' offense vs. Pats' defense:
Manning and his weapons are impressive. On paper, there is nothing to complain about for this offense, talent everywhere with no big weaknesses. Everyone talks about the passing attack, but James has had a very good year. In the first matchup against the Pats, James ran all over the defense.
There are some concerns for the Colts. Some of this season's great stats can be attributed to weak opponents and playing in good conditions. Well, that's over now (unless they make it to the Super Bowl and play some poor NFC team). Then there's the turnover factor. Manning has a history of throwing the ball to Pats defenders and James has had some significant fumbles. This could haunt the Colts. Finally, there's the Manning Belichick factor; Manning's been dreadful against Belichick, will this continue?
The big story about the Pats' defense is their injuries. First Ty Law: he had a great game in last years matchup against Manning, so with him out that's one less thing for the Colts to worry about. However, when watching the Pats, many interceptions are more of a team effort rather than an individual effort. The Pats are still capable of having a good pass rush and confusing coverages, which lead to interceptions no matter who's in your secondary.
The injury I'm worried about is Richard Seymour, especially now that it looks like he can't play. Seymour is a great player, and I don't know if he can be replaced. This worries me.
The Pats defense dominated teams last year. This year, they're more of a "bend, don't break team." Because of their injuries, they play a ton of zone, giving up many small plays and first downs so they can prevent the big play. Most teams have been able to move the ball up and down the field against the Pats, but then they stall in the red zone. For this I give most of the credit to the Pats' linebackers who become so much tougher in a short field.
Because the Pats defensive isn't as dominant as last year's, they depend more on the big play. Fortunately, Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest, and Mike Vrabel all tend to make big plays in big games. If the Pats win, don't be surprised if an interception or a forced fumble from one of the above becomes the play of the game. Two other players who could come up with big plays: defensive back Troy Brown (he's a playmaker no matter where you put him) and Jarvis Green (had some big sacks late last year).
Final Thoughts: The Colts will move the ball, but it won't be like they're playing the Broncos game. The story of the game will be if Manning and James can avoid mistakes. Since, I'm a homer, I say they'll make costly mistakes.
The matchup everybody should be talking about: Pats' offense vs. Colts' defense:
While the Pats are weaker on defense this year, they are much stronger on offense. Brady and his receivers are as good as ever, and now they have Corey Dillon. Along with newcomer Dillon, the Pats have David Patten back, and he's been a very good deep threat this year. A big negative is that Kevin Faulk might not be available, and he's always dangerous.
The Pats run well, pass well, and make few mistakes. I see two concerns however. One, against the Colts the Pats have had trouble converting in the redzone. It will be very tough for the Pats to win if they have to settle for field goals. Two, Corey Dillon's been fumbling too much. This scares me.
The Colts' defense is supposedly better this year, but I'm not convinced. Mathis is out and Freely is a good pass rusher. However the Pats will negate Freely's talent by running at him and by having Daniel Graham help out against him. I don't have much to say about the Colts defense other than they haven't stopped the Patriots' offense yet, and I see nothing new about them that will make Sunday different.
Final Thoughts: I see this matchup as a big advantage for the Patriots. The only question marks I have is Dillon's fumbles and red zone proficiency.
Special Teams. They're called "special" for a reason:
So many games are determined by special teams, but people tend to ignore them when previewing a game. That said, I don't know much about the Colts' special teams this year. Since I haven't heard anything, I think it's safe to say they're not great and they're not awful. Speaking of awful, the Pats coverage team has been awful. This could haunt them. On the bright side for the Pats, Bethel Johnson always has the potential to return a kick for a touchdown (he did it against the Colts before).
As for the specialist: the punters look even, but then there's the place kickers. Vanderjack's good in a dome and especially good in providing the Pats bulletin board material. The Patriots have Adam Vinatieri. Enough said.
Now that my thesis is almost over, some things I might have forgotten.
- I love the idea that Belichick had two weeks to prepare for this.
- I keep thinking of when the Pats beat the Rams in the Super Bowl. Their secondary supposedly didn't madchup with the Ram's receivers, but Belichick found a way.
- Officiating. This could drive me crazy. The Pats' linebackers will try to beat up the Colts' receivers, and Manning and his receivers will cry murder every time there's an incomplete pass. I have a feeling there will be a lot of calls against the Pats, but I think the Pats are ready to deal with it. They'd rather take a penalty than a big play.
- The winner of this game wins the Super Bowl.
- I guess I'll make a prediction: Patriots 34, Colts 27
I'll give you some snippets if you promise to read the whole article:
...But I will mention one thing about a trend I've noticed in the regular game telecasts, something that was just raising its head last season but now seems to be spawning: Talking through live action. Failing to describe or even notice it. Talking through a referee's announcement of a penalty, even though it might be important to the game. They just turn down the ref's volume, so that, if I hold my ear next to the speaker, I might get a faint murmur, without really catching the words. All at the expense of ... what? Story lines. Themes. Informal essays. Anything but honest reporting and a real interest in the panorama that unfolds on the field....
...Brett Favre apologists abound, but when the guy screws it up, for God's sake say it, don't cop out every time. No interception was his fault; it was always the guy running the pattern. How about the one where he overthrew Javon Walker, and Collinsworth said Walker had screwed it up because he was supposed to run a flat pattern instead of going downfield? Uh, if Favre were expecting him to run to the flat, instead of downfield, he would have underthrown the ball, not overthrown it. And then when Favre pulled that weirdie at the end of the half, near the Vikings goal line, running three yards past the line and underhanding it to Walker in the end zone ... and drawing a penalty...and then laughing about it. We heard this from Collinsworth: "The funniest part was Walt Anderson, the referee, could barely make the call without laughing." Hey, I watched Anderson, too, and I didn't see the hint of a smile. And the guys on the Packers weren't laughing after Ryan Longwell missed the subsequent field goal. This is what is known as dishonest reporting....
...And through all this, the slow, half goofy drone of Patrick, with every word emphasized, no matter how meaningless. "And tonight! We have sixty-three! Thousand! Fans!" (Whew). Oh, we get some inside stuff all right. Theismann on his exclusive interview with Pittsburgh defensive coach Dick LeBeau during the Steelers-Jaguars telecast: "I saw Dick LeBeau before the game, and I told him, 'Nice to have you back,' and do you know what he told me?" No, what? "Nice to be back."
I truly enjoy watching both teams lose, but unfortunately only one team can lose. Usually when I watch two teams I dislike, I route for the visiting team just for the thrill of watching despondent home fans.
Another thing to think about is what is the better matchup. If the Jets win, we get the pleasure of watching the New York/Boston rivalry. Let's face it, the Jets versus the Pats is exciting in September; I can't even imagine what it would be like with the Super Bowl at stake.
The big story in a Steeler/Pats matchup is the revenge theme. The Pats want revenge for the Steelers regular season win and for the Steelers ending their streak. The Steelers want revenge from the last time they met the Pats in an AFC Championship game. I remember Kordell Stewart saying that sometimes the better team doesn't win. I guess he didn't realize that special teams and a quarterback's ability not to throw the ball to his opponents are factors when determining the better team.
I'm still undecided on what I'd like to see. Anyway, I should be thinking more about whether or not the Pats can beat the Colts.
Written by the Godfather
I am a Jets fan and fairly biased, but this is my opinion. I figured there are enough Pats' fans to preview that game.
First of all, don't touch this game betting because the Jets will either win or Pitt will cover the spread (comfortably).
OK. The Steelers with a 14 game winning streak going against a Jets team that backed into the playoffs, winning one of their last 4 games (all of which were playoff teams). The Jets catch a break with a missed FG win OT to pull out a win at SD while the Steelers are resting. In week 14, the Steelers pull away late with a 17-6 win at Pittsburgh as Pennington throws 0 TD's and 3 INT's. So it will be the Steelers in a laugher, right? Here why the Jets CAN win.
The Jets most obvious weakness is their secondary. Rothlesberger has thrown more than 25 passes only once this year (against the NY Giants). The Pitt offense relies on Staley and Bettis to control the clock and Rothlesberger not to make mistakes. The Jets allow 97.39 yards a game against the rush. If they hold the Steelers in check on the running game, then they will force Rothlesberger to beat them through the air.
Now to the rookie QB. What an outstanding year he had. BUT he is a rookie. He is playing in his first postseason game. He did hurt his ribs in the regular season. He did not play in week 17 and had a bye last week, so is he rusty? I think the way to beat the Steelers to jump them early and get an early lead. Rothlesberger will not beat you though the air and a lead will prevent Staley and Bettis from beating you. An early passing attack from Pennington could put the Steelers in a hole early and force them to change their game plan.
Other factors to consider. Curtis Martin. He is just amazing. Lamont Jordan in the 4th quarter. Just a bruising back that can punish a tired defense late in the game.
Pennington's career numbers in the Red zone. 39 TD's. 0 INT's. No turnovers in the red zone. Critical. Curtis Martin has not lost a fumble all year long. The Jets have a great plus/minus ratio and they are one of least penalized teams in the league (with the exception of the SD game last week). The Jets do not beat themselves. I think they have a legit chance of winning this game. My prediction is the Jets 27 Steelers 17.
I know this seems ridiculous, but if my analysis holds true, the Jets should win.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
"Prejudice that surpassed objective reporting..." should be Fox's new logo (Fox News too).
More on this later ... maybe.
Some teams would have been better off not being aggressive in the free agent market. They should have spent some money on projects and hold on to the rest of their money until the trading deadline or until next year when they'll probably be able to get better players. This year's bad contracts might not hurt this year, but next year the Diamonbacks might be wishing they had some of Russ Ortiz's ten million dollars back when going after some talent.
The problem is most general managers cannot get away with not making deals; the media and fans would kill them for not "trying." Nonetheless, fans of the Giants, Diamondbacks, Tigers, and Nationals may regret that their general managers "tried" this crazy offseason.
Carter has the superstar mentality where everything had to go through him. One problem with the NBA is too many players have this mentality (earned or unearned), and unless you're Michael Jordan this doesn't help your team win in the long run.
And if you've read any of my posts before, you know I'll turn this post into an argument for trading Paul Pierce. Pierce doesn't make his teammates better, and he's hindering the development of Jefferson and Allen. Ainge should trade him now because it looks like Pierce's value will continue to plummet.
Back to Vince Carter, a quick question: the Raptors got two first round picks for Carter. Is one of those picks the Nets' pick? If it is, Toronto should be celebrating that Jefferson injury.
Anyway, I decided to look at a free agent list to see other ways the Mets could have spent $30 million. I'm ignoring the fact that some of these players might not want to play for the Mets, and I'm also ignoring trade possibilities.
Before the Mets signed Pedro and Beltran, they had needs at catcher, 2nd base (or shortstop if they move Matsui to 2nd), 3rd base, outfield, starting pitcher, and a closer. The Godfather will let me know what else I forgot.
Here's one option:
Jeff Kent (8.5) + Mike Matheny (3.5) + Joe Randa (2.1) + Jon Leiber (7) + Billy Koch (900,000) + Magglio Ordonez (7, hasn't signed yet so this is a guess) =29 (spend the extra million on potential prospects).
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Sure, Moss is a jerk who has no class and players like Barry Sanders and Jerry Rice would never dream of doing such a thing, but, still, it was just a pretend moon. Maybe someone who has children might be able to help, but I could have sworn I've seen kid shows or movies where characters pretend to moon people or actually do it. I remember a mooning scene in Fraternity Vacation, but I don't think that was on Nickelodeon. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, what Moss did was stupid, but this outrage is unwarranted.
I'm sure most are tired of this story. I don't even know if I want to bother sharing my opinion. One interesting thing I just heard though; someone said it's a tradition for Green Bay fans to moon the visiting bus as the bus enters and leaves the stadium. I don't know if that's true or not, so I'll put my researchers on the case.
Monday, January 10, 2005
When my judgment was a bit hindered, I agreed to tell the "Fastest Yard Story" if the Godfather would write an article for bartcopsports.
Here it is: in the sport of drinking yards, the Godfather is Belichick, Patriotsy2k is Manning. Patriotsy2k was dominating and letting everyone know it, but the Godfather wasn't ready to hand in the title belt yet. Spectators were reminded of the Sox comeback against the Yanks as the Godfather polished off his drink while a humbled Patriotsy2k stared at his few remaining ounces in disbelief. The Godfather is still the champ.