Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NFL 2013: Week 9 Power Rankings

Looking Back at Last Week's Picks

Panthers (-7)  over  BUCCANEERS  (CORRECT  =  1-0)
Jaguars (+15.5)  over  49ers  (WRONG  =  1-1)
CHIEFS (-7.5)  over  Browns  (WRONG  =  1-2)
SAINTS (-11.5)  over  Bills  (CORRECT  =  2-2)
PATRIOTS (-7)  over  Dolphins  (CORRECT  =  3-2)
Giants (+6)  over  EAGLES  (CORRECT  =  4-2)
LIONS (-3)  over  Cowboys  (WRONG  =  4-3)
Steelers (-2.5)  over  RAIDERS  (WRONG  =  4-4)
BENGALS (-6)  over  Jets  (CORRECT  =  5-4)
CARDINALS (-2)  over  Falcons  (CORRECT  =  6-4)
BRONCOS  (-12.5)  over  Redskins  (CORRECT  =  7-4)
VIKINGS (+9.5)  over  Packers  (WRONG  =  7-5)
Seahawks (+12.5)  over  RAMS  (WRONG  =  7-6)

Week 8: 7-6

Year-to-Date: 67-53


Power Rankings

32.) Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8  =  86-264)

The Jaguars are on pace to score 172 points and allow 528. That would set a record for worst point differential ever. They'll probably end up a little better than those numbers because their hardest games are over, but let's just move on.


31.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers  (0-7  =  100-163)

And now the Buccaneers have entered the period where they stop caring too much. Even bad teams will give a damn until some point wherein after they'll just stop trying. They still might show up once or twice, and the Buccaneers are too talented to go 0-16 (unlike Jacksonville), but this is going to get really, really ugly. Also, for all the shit Jacksonville gets, why isn't Tampa Bay a candidate for Los Angeles relocation.


30.) Minnesota Vikings  (1-6  =  163-225)

The Vikings tried in that game. They tried. Christian Ponder played OK for Christian Ponder. The problem is the Vikings are just bereft of talent. They squeaked out a 10-6 record last year off the back of an easy schedule, an other-worldly season by Peterson and a defense that was one year away from being washed up. Well, it is one year later and that defense is washed up. Tough times ahead for the Vikings, who have three QBs, none of them good.


29.) Philadelphia Eagles  (3-5  =  176-211)

So bad. So, so bad. Yes, this might be an overreaction, but this supposedly unstoppable offense, an offense who's speed was going to revolutionize football has scored 3 points on offense total in the last two games, both at home against marginal to bad defenses. There probably won't be a lower low in the Chip Kelly era. I doubt it gets too much better either, with Matt Barkley likely starting next game. That is scarier than anything. I'm glad one of my NFC East predictions might turn out right.


28.) Washington Redskins  (2-5  =  173-229)

On one hand, the Redskins had a 21-7 lead, playing good defense in the first half. On the other hand, they were then outscored 38-0 in about 25 minutes, despite picking off Manning two more times (it should be noted both picks hit the hands of Broncos receivers before being intercepted). Yes, they fell victim to one of the scariest 25-minute periods of football by Denver, but they were a team over its head. That offense just isn't working, and I think it is more teams getting a handle on the read-option than just RGIII being nervous about his knee.


27.) St. Louis Rams  (3-5  =  165-198)

The Rams played about as well as they could defensively, but their lack of offense was shown in full force in their inability to score in the red zone. Three times they had 1st and Goal, and came away with two field goals and a turnover on downs. Kellen Clemens isn't terrible, but the offense is quite bad. My issue is they probably got really up for that game, outplayed Seattle, but couldn't win. That could psychologically kill them the rest of the way.


26.) Atlanta Falcons  (2-5  = 166-184)

I won't dock them too much for playing badly in Arizona, since Carolina, who is way further up this list, did the same thing in Arizona four weeks ago. The Falcons offense has no hope right now against any good defense with few legitimate players on the O-Line, and no receiving options right now. Matt Ryan is giving a game effort, but even he can't overcome this.


25.) Houston Texans  (2-5  =  122-194)

Let's see if the Texans can build back some momentum after their bye, but this might be the worst time to play a primetime game at home. The Texans are sticking with Case Keenum, which is probably the right move. When he inevitably fails, turning back to Matt Schaub might not be met with such horrible criticism as it would be today. The Texans are in a bad place. They really had one of the shortest Super Bowl windows ever.


24.) Oakland Raiders  (3-4  =  126-150)

The Raiders were supposed to be one of the least talented teams in the NFL. They probably are, but I'm stunned about how well their defense has played given their personnel. They basically hired a bunch of marginal players to one or two-year deals, patched them together and let them play. Kind of like the way the other team in Oakland built their club. Yes, this is a Moneyball defense. It isn't great, but it will keep them in most games. Shocking, truly shocking.


23.) Cleveland Browns  (3-5  =  148-179)

Jason Campbell continues to be highly underrated as a player. He's been decidedly average in every stop of his career (and probably above average in his Oakland tenure), and he played well against Kansas City. He showed better elusiveness than he ever did in Oakland or Washington. I'm glad they didn't trade Josh Gordon. Surprising, given how much the Lombardi regime has tried to distance itself from anything Holmgren did, but Gordon is good enough to stay.


22.) New York Giants  (2-6  =  141-223)

Yup, they're only two games back. We may look back at that Tyron Smith holding penalty which allowed Detroit to come back and win as the catalyst for the Giants somehow winning the NFC East and making a run to the Super Bowl. Before you laugh this off, last year, through eight games, the Redskins were further behind the first place Giants than the Giants are now behind Dallas (3-5 vs. 6-2 last year against 2-6 vs. 4-4 now). It could happen, people.


21.) Pittsburgh Steelers  (2-5  =  125-153)

That was a crushing loss, but if Shaun Suisham hit his two field goals, they probably win the game. The Steelers don't really have a realistic shot at the playoffs at this point, but I can't see them throwing away the season yet. I still can't wait for Todd Haley to be unceremoniously fired later this season (or offseason, at the latest). That should be fun, to see that arrogant POS kicked to the curb.


20.) Miami Dolphins  (3-4  =  152-167)

Four straight losses have really killed what was such a nice start for Miami. They really blew that game. Just blew everything about it. I don't know if Sturgis hits that field goal if they win the game, but the Dolphins made every mistake, and got no breaks from the refs. That 'batting the football' call was bullshit. Either way, the Dolphins can't block anyone, and Ryan Tannehill cannot hit a deep throw. Two huge glaring areas for that offense to work on.


19.) Buffalo Bills  (3-5  =  176-213)

The Bills, much like Miami, had a game on the road with one key turning point. Here, the Bills were up 10-7, with New Orleans backed up facing 3rd and 10, and then gave up an 80-yard TD to Kenny Stills, and it was a wrap. They played New Orleans decently well, all in all. The AFC East teams aren't terrible, but I see some striking similarities in the Marrone Bills to the Gailey Bills, including good offenses that are more scheme dependent than personnel dependent, and a defense that gets injured as sin.


18.) New York Jets  (4-4  =  143-211)

Well, the 'Jets are making the playoffs!!' bandwagon lasted one week. That was every bit as bad as the 45-3 loss to the Patriots in 2010. 49-9 to the Bengals, a team that hadn't been able to put anyone away all year long. Geno Smith really does alternate good games with terrible ones. Still, he's better than Mark Sanchez already, and I think he can still be a long term QB in New York.


17.) Tennessee Titans  (3-4  =  145-146)

I still don't know what to expect with Jake Locker going forward. That team had such a nice formula and game style before his injury, and while they tried all of those things with Fitzpatrick, and actually played well against both KC and Seattle, in total it never worked. They lost to all good teams (vs.KC, @SEA, vs.SF), and their schedule is noticeably easier going forward. Honestly, they are a great darkhorse #6 seed competitor, with head-to-head wins over both the Jets and Chargers.


16.) Chicago Bears  (4-3  =  213-206)

Jay Cutler may be back earlier than anticipated, which should be a nice surprise for a Bears team that might just be able to start winning games before they get too far behind Carolina and Detroit. In the end, I think the defense has just lost too much at this point. They are so thin up the middle, and with Briggs still out, their second level is soft as well. It's odd to think of the Bears as being an offense-first team, but that is what they are.


15.) Dallas Cowboys  (4-4  =  230-186)

The Cowboys might just allow the worst thing for America to happen, they might just throw away enough games to allow a team that used to be 0-6 a division winner. I have no problems with what Dez Bryant did. I have a bigger problem with their injuries on defense and the loss of Brian Waters. The O-Line was awful on Sunday and will continue to be so without the services of Waters and with the services of Mackenzie Bernadeu.


14.) Baltimore Ravens  (3-4  =  150-148)

The #6 seed is not running away from the Ravens, but I hope they made some changes to that offense over the bye. Another week back for Jacoby Jones might get him a little closer to game shape. The big problem is that they've lost all ability to run the ball with any consistency. They have to depend on Flacco, who is languishing without dependable targets or blockers. Not really a good situation.


13.) Arizona Cardinals  (4-4  =  160-174)

The bad news is the Cardinals end the season @SEA, vs.SF. The good news is that they could be 9-5, and maybe even 10-4, coming into that. Look at this schedule after their bye this week: vs.HOU, @JAX, vs.IND, @PHI, vs.STL, @TEN. Look at that. The toughest game is either Indy at home (where the Cardinals defense turns it up to 11, or at Tennessee). Chances are they won't go 6-0, or even 5-1 in that stretch, but this is the most likeliest third team in the #6 seed race after Detroit and Carolina. By the way, they beat both of those teams.


12.) San Diego Chargers  (4-3  =  168-144)

They didn't play last week and are now the #6 seed if the playoffs ended today. Their season will totally depend on how they play the two Denver and KC games. One potential gift could be getting KC at home in Week 17, a game that may or may not mean anything to KC (and either way will likely mean a lot more to San Diego). Philip Rivers is playing out of his mind, so it would be a shame for that to go totally unnoticed, which it will if they miss the playoffs.


11.) New England Patriots  (6-2  =  179-144)

Low? Maybe. Some of it is anti-Patriots bias, but more of it is a total belief that the Patriots 6-2 record is built totally on smoke and mirrors. They've lost two of their most important players on defense in Mayo and Wilfork. They're offense has gotten everyone but Shane Vereen back at this point and still struggles to score 20 points. Tom Brady is playing outright bad right now. Somehow they're 6-2 due to an easy schedule, three attempts at comebacks and Geno Smith throwing pick after pick. Their schedule gets tougher. Sure, they could somehow smoke and mirror their way to the #2 seed, but I wouldn't pick them to beat any of the following 10 teams on a neutral field.


10.) Detroit Lions  (5-3  =  217-197)

Huge win for the Lions. This keeps them in striking distance of Green Bay (with the return leg in Detroit), and slightly ahead of Carolina. Of course, pulling out a ridiculous win doesn't make the problems they showed go away. They turn the ball over too much. Their secondary gives up too many big plays. Brian Broiles injury removes another non-Calvin weapon, and he won't have 329 yards every week. A huge win, but one that exposed some problems.


9.) Carolina Panthers  (4-3  =  170-96)

Sure, they've played no one in their three game winning streak, but they've dominated each of those teams (and the Giants, way back when), and their first two losses could easily have been wins. It would just be so much more comfortable for them if they didn't blow the Buffalo game. Not only would the division still be in play, but they would have a more comfortable position for a Wild Card. It will be interesting to watch them next week, playing a divisional rival that has given them challenges in the past in Atlanta. Can they kick them when they're down?


8.) Green Bay Packers  (5-2  =  212-158)

This might be low, but I think teams #8-3 are all pretty close. The Packers were definitely impressive, scoring on every possession despite missing a ton of offensive weapons. Their defense wasn't great (against a terrible Minnesota offense), but even the defense could get better when they get guys back. The Packers schedule is soft. 13-3 is not out of the question. Especially if Rodgers can score that many with Boykin is a major contributor.


7.) Indianapolis Colts  (5-2  =  187-131)

That may have been a bad time to have a bye, coming off of their biggest win of the year. The Colts have a very good team, but it will be really interesting to see what happens with Reggie Wayne not out there. Reggie Wayne hasn't missed a game since 2002. Andrew Luck's never played an NFL game without Wayne. Their schedule is really easy, so I think they're close to a lock to win that division, but getting a bye is important for a team that is so good at home, but that challenge got a lot harder.


6.) Kansas City Chiefs  (8-0  =  192-98)

The Chiefs have flirted with disaster too many times for me to take them seriously. They've gotten ridiculous QB luck so far, getting what will be a third straight 3rd QB next week (Keenum, Campbell, Lewis). Of course, I wouldn't be shocked at all if the Chiefs lose next week to Buffalo on the road. The Chiefs are 8-0, and had an easy schedule, and will have an easy schedule. This could be a repeat of 1997, where the Chiefs won the AFC West over a better Broncos team (13-3 vs. 12-4), but lost to them in the playoffs.


5.) San Francisco 49ers  (6-2  =  218-145)

Just like everyone wanted to crucify the 49ers after their 1-2 start, which included losses of 3-26 and 7-27, everyone wants to crown them as totally back off the back of five straight wins. Of course, the only team they beat at .500 is Arizona (who they looked sluggish against, in a win that was closer than the 32-20 score), and outside that were big wins against some of the league's dregs (Rams, Texans, Jaguars). The 49ers schedule isn't really ever tough (we really could have two 13-3 Wild Card teams), but they'll need to play better to win the division.


4.) Seattle Seahawks  (7-1  =  205-125)

The Seahawks better hope Russell Okung comes back quickly, because that O-Line performance was dreadful. The run defense had major problems as well. Still, it is scary how good that secondary is, and scarier how good Golden Tate is. This could be totally wrong, but I feel like had the Golden Tate Fail Mary been ruled an interception, Golden Tate never becomes nearly this good. Again, this could be wrong. It probably is. But I like to think certain season-altering plays effect careers like that.


3.) New Orleans Saints  (6-1  =  196-120)

The Saints looked sluggish, missed two field goals, and still scored 35 points and won by 17 with Drew Brees throwing 5 TDs. They are just so good at home - and so average on the road. I actually think getting the #1 seed is bigger for them than it is for Seattle. I don't think New Orleans can win in Seattle or Green Bay, but I can't see anyone hanging within 10 of them in the Dome.


2.) Cincinnati Bengals  (6-2  =  197-144)

That was impressive. This might be an overreaction, but I really like what I see from that offense. The O-Line is playing a lot better in recent weeks, and Marvin Jones seems to be a legitimate #2 receiver at this point. The defense is still dominant, and they can cover for no Leon Hall pretty well with a stable of good corners. The Bengals are really well built, play great at home, and luckily for them they've already beaten the Patriots and get the Colts later in the season at home.


1.) Denver Broncos  (7-1  =  343-218)

What the Broncos did in those last 25 minutes was absolutely terrifying. Their defense had played a good game up to that point (holding Washington to 14 points, and the Redskins needed numerous penalties and 4th Down plays to get there), but after that it was downright dominant. Von Miller was a beast. He's making Wolfe/Philips/Jackson better. The secondary played well. The Broncos were so good Manning could throw two interceptions after falling down 21-7, and they still outscored Washington 45-21. If the defense can play like that every week, this team might be a juggernaut. Just have to win that division, though.


Playoff Projections

AFC

1.) Denver Broncos  =  14-2
2.) Cincinnati Bengals  =  12-4
3.) Indianapolis Colts  =  12-4
4.) New England Patriots  =  11-5
5.) Kansas City Chiefs  =  12-4
6.) San Diego Chargers  =  9-7


NFC

1.) Seattle Seahawks  =  13-3
2.) New Orleans Saints  =  13-3
3.) Green Bay Packers  =  12-4
4.) Dallas Cowboys  =  9-7
5.) San Francisco 49ers  =  12-4
6.) Carolina Panthers  =  10-6


Looking Ahead to Next Week's Games

Byes: Broncos (7-1), Giants (2-6), Lions (5-3), Cardinals (4-4), 49ers (6-2), Jaguars (0-8)

13.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7)  @  Seattle Seahawks (7-1)  (4:00 - FOX)
12.) Chicago Bears (4-3)  @  Green Bay Packers (5-2)  (MNF-ESPN)
11.) Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)  @  Oakland Raiders (3-4)  (4:00 - FOX)
10.) Baltimore Ravens (3-4)  @  Cleveland Browns (3-5)  (4:25 - CBS)
9.) Minnesota Vikings (1-6)  @  Dallas Cowboys (4-4)  (1:00 - FOX)
8.) Tennessee Titans (3-4)  @  St. Louis Rams (3-5)  (1:00 - CBS)
7.) Atlanta Falcons (2-5)  @  Carolina Panthers (4-3)  (1:00 - FOX)
6.) San Diego Chargers (4-3)  @  Washington Redskins (2-5)  (1:00 - CBS)
5.) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5)  @  New England Patriots (6-2)  (4:25 - CBS)
4.) Indianapolis Colts (5-2)  @  Houston Texans (2-5)  (SNF-NBC)
3.) Kansas City Chiefs (8-0)  @  Buffalo Bills (3-5)  (1:00 - CBS)
2.) Cincinnati Bengals (6-2)  @  Miami Dolphins (3-4)  (TNF-NFLN)
1.) New Orleans Saints (6-1)  @  New York Jets (4-4)  (1:00 - FOX)

I call it "Maybe there's more to life in the Fall than Football" Weekend. So, this might be the worst collection of games ever. Not even one seems like it would be must watch TV. The Saints @ Jets game gets my #1, but that's more blind hope of what could be a good game. It could also be 41-14. The Colts @ Texans game should have been a fun game to help decide 1st place, now it is the Colts pushing the Texans back even further towards their old 2006-era irrelevancy. The NFL can't get it every week. They certainly haven't this week. This will make next weekend, with Carolina @ San Francisco, and Dallas @ New Orleans, and Cincinnati @ Baltimore all the more exciting.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

NFL 2013: Week 8 Picks

Last Week: 9-6

Year-to-Date: 60-47


Don't have much free time to write this, so it will be short.


Carolina Panthers (3-3)  @  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6)  (CAR -7)

The Panthers can dominate bad teams. They've shown that. Michael Silver's article that came out yesterday makes me like the chances of the Bucs playing a spirited game in primetime even less. This seems easy.

Panthers 27  Buccaneers 10  (CAR -7)


San Francisco 49ers (5-2)  @  Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7)  (SF -15.5)

High line, and I can't think of picking a team to cover it. This is a long trip for San Francisco to make also. I have to think they might play a little sluggish in this game. In the end, the line almost compels me to back the Jags to cover in another losing effort.

49ers 31  Jaguars 17  (JAX +15.5)


Cleveland Browns (3-4)  @  Kansas City Chiefs (7-0)  (KC -7.5)

I hate this line. Why is it so low? What does Vegas know? The Browns are starting their 3rd string QB on the road against the league's best defense. Yes, the Chiefs offense is playing worse by the week, but I still can't really get behind the Browns here. I think the better shot for a first Chiefs loss is next week against Buffalo.

Browns 13  Chiefs 23  (KC -7.5)


Buffalo Bills (3-4)  @  New Orleans Saints (5-1)  (NO -11.5)

High line here. The Saints have covered all three home games, two rather easily (Miami, Arizona). I think Buffalo is similarly talented to those teams, slightly better offensively and worse defensively. The Saints had a bye to prepare for this game. The big question is the status of Jimmy Graham. To make sure I have this covered, I'll give a pick if Graham plays and if he doesn't.

If Graham plays: Bills 16  Saints 31  (NO -11.5)

If Graham doesn't play: Bills 20  Saints 27  (BUF +11.5)


Miami Dolphins (3-3)  @  New England Patriots (5-2)  (NE -7)

Interesting game here. The Dolphins have lost three straight coming into this game, including a really lazy performance at home against Buffalo. With Cameron Wake back, the defense should be able to get to Brady like all the other teams have. I just don't see the Dolphins defense being able to do enough to cover this. The Patriots aren't losing to a team on a three-game losing streak at home.

Dolphins 16  Patriots 27  (NE -7)


New York Giants (1-6)  @  Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)  (PHI -6)

The line went up quite a bit from their first matchup four weeks ago. That doesn't make a ton of sense since the Eagles are somehow worse now than then, and the Giants are playing better. Scary stuff, if the Giants win this game and Detroit beats Dallas, the Giants will be just two games behind 1st place. Anyway, I like the Giants to cover here against a potentially rusty Michael Vick.

Giants 23  Eagles 27  (NYG +6)


Dallas Cowboys (4-3)  @  Detroit Lions (4-3)  (DET -3)

My top ranked game of the week just makes me sad. Is this really the best game the NFL has to offer this weekend. Brighter times are ahead, but not next week, when the games might be even worse. As for this game, I think missing Ware and Murray will be more impactful here than last game against the Eagles. The Lions defense will also give the Cowboys a good test with their O-Line. Anyway, I like the Lions to cover a relatively low line.

Cowboys 20  Lions 27  (DET -3)


Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4)  @  Oakland Raiders (2-4)  (PIT -2.5)

This is a low line, given the Steelers were favorites against the Jets on the road just two weeks ago, and were favorites last week at home against Baltimore. To be just 2.5 point favorites seems low to me, especially since the Raiders haven't shown an ability to get after the passer against anyone not named Alex Smith. The Steelers seem like an easy pick. Too easy, maybe...

Steelers 27  Raiders 17  (PIT -2.5)


New York Jets (4-3)  @  Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)  (CIN -6)

I probably should have ranked this game higher, an interesting mix of defenses. Can the Jets defense stop AJ Green? Can Nick Mangold do Nick Mangold like things to Geno Atkins? Can Geno Smith survive a really tough road environment that basically swallowed up Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady? Those are my three big questions. I think the Bengals win this game and cover, since I think the answer to all those questions except for the Mangold one (awesome matchup) go the Bengals direction.

Jets 16  Bengals 24  (CIN -6)


Atlanta Falcons (2-4)  @  Arizona Cardinals (3-4)  (ARZ -2)

The Falcons go to the place that eats QBs alive. The Cardinals picked off Matt Ryan five times last season in Atlanta, imagine what they'll do in Arizona? Anyway, I think for once Carson Palmer may have time. I've picked way too many favorites this week. This could be a problem. It will be a problem. I'm due for a bad week anyway.

Falcons 20  Cardinals 23  (ARZ -2)


Washington Redskins (2-4)  @  Denver Broncos (6-1)  (DEN -12.5)

This is a high line, but I think the Broncos will come out seeking blood after that last performance. The offense should shred this defense that gave up 31 points to the Bears after Cutler left. The Broncos defense might have problems with RGIII, but another week to integrate Von Miller should help. I'm going all in on this favorites trip.

Redskins 20  Broncos 38  (DEN -12.5)


Green Bay Packers (4-2)  @  Minnesota Vikings (1-5)  (GB -9.5)

For the first time in a while, I'm picking an underdog to cover. I wouldn't be dumb enough to pick them to win, but there will be a lot of pressure on the Packers here, a road primetime game in a hostile environment without many key weapons against a potentially good pass rush. Also, I like Christian Ponder. I thought he was unfairly benched in Minnesota. I can see him having one last nice game and keeping this close.

Packers 30  Vikings 24  (MIN +9.5)


Seattle Seahawks (6-1)  @  St. Louis Rams (3-4)  (SEA -12)

I was tempted to take the Rams to cover this one as well, but I remember what happened last week. Teams that play TNF have a higher than normal rate of covering the following week with the extra rest, and the Seahawks destroy teams with bad QBs. I can definitely see the Rams defense giving the Seahawks problems, or even covering with a nice late backdoor TD, but I can't possibly wager on the Rams to actually do any of these things when they're starting Kellen Clemens.

Seahawks 27  Rams 10  (SEA -12)


Somehow try and enjoy these games!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Breaking Bad vs. The Wire; Ranking the Seasons

11.) Breaking Bad Season 1




It's really hard to rank a 7-episode season that spends its first three installments on one plot. During its initial run, people remember those three episodes as a show that hadn't really found itself yet, but looking back, it was the same show. Breaking Bad already knew itself back then, with the first 7 episodes showcasing the exacting detail the show would go to, the mountain of humor the show would mine from Jesse and Walt interacting, and the gorgeous photography of New Mexico. However, something has to be last, and a 7-episode sprint with a few severely underdeveloped characters (Marie is the worst, but Hank/Gomez/Walt Jr. are also drawn out poorly in the beginning) is the easiest candidate. This works better as a prelude than anything else.


10.) Breaking Bad Season 5.1



If it was connected to Season 5.2 in one 16-episode season, I may be more forgiving towards Season 5.1, but it really wasn't Breaking Bad at its greatest. It was a notably slower departure from the ridiculous tension that was most of Seasons 3-4. In a way, it was a return to Season 2's slower, deliberate and humored pacing, but without the early show gleam still on it. I was not of fan of either the Lydia character or Todd and his Uncle's Gang of Nazis, but enjoyed the Vamanos Pest scenes, and looking back the last real 'buddy-cop drama' scenes with Walt and Jesse ("Magnets, Bitch!"). Mike also had a great character arc concluded in this Season as well. Overall, the first half of a great final season set in motion a lot of what was to come, but was a step down from utter brilliance.


9.) The Wire Season 5



The last of the Three Exception Seasons, as all of these three seasons were worse than any of the other seasons in each show's run, and the following 8 are all stellar (and were incredibly hard to rank), is The Wire's final season. It is basically universally considered as the weakest of the show's five seasons. It says a lot about the previous four when the final season of the show being just merely good doesn't ruin its overall repuation at all. Anyway, this season had the series' worst arc with the fake serial killer storyline, a misguided mistake by a show that made so few. Also, the new department that the show investigated created some concern. Creator David Simon came from the newspaper business, so there are definitely questions of whether his portrayal of the Baltimore Sun in the show was fair. The characters from the Sun definitely seemed more black or white than almost all of the characters before it. The final season did contain a pretty perfect final episode, though. The Wire may have not have had the best final season, but for Final Episodes, it is right up there.


8.) Breaking Bad Season 2



Honestly, ranking these eight seasons are really tough. I was surprised how well I found Breaking Bad comparing to The Wire. Breaking Bad Season 2 is actually a really great season of TV. It was the largest the Breaking Bad story ever got, as it was the only season I can think of that gave each character a really nice storyline. Hank got his exposure to the El Paso office, and his PTSD from being the sole unhurt person from La Tortuga's exploding head. Skylar started her distrust and loss of Walt. Walter himself had to mix both cancer and meth-making, and Jesse found love in Jane. What hurts the Season when comparing it to the three Breaking Bad seasons (and the 4 Wire seasons) ahead of it are the lack of stakes. There were few life-threatening situations in this season apart from the premier with everyone stuck at Tuco's. Breaking Bad depended so much on drama and tension, and mined those wells brilliantly. Season 2 just didn't have those heights.


7.) The Wire Season 2



I feel bad ranking Season 2 of The Wire as my 4th favorite Wire season, because it is generally considered negatively to the other three above it, but I feel like it is definitely underrated. A large part of the discussion on Season 2 surrounds the decision to focus on, let's be honest, white people. It was a jarring change of pace to focus about 50% of screen time of Season 2 on the dockworkers (who, it should be stated, aren't 100% a white community) and the decline of 'Blue-Collar America', and only made more jarring by never revisiting those people again. Of course, I thought it was brilliant. The storyline was artfully constructed, and connected well to the drug world the show investigated in Season 1. I personally thought the two directly related Sobotka's (Frank & Ziggy) were excellently constructed characters. This was also the shows only time delving into the prison system, which led to some interesting moments about the idiocy of the prison system in America. In the end, saying that this was a jarring departure of the season before it and the two after it is more a testament to how damn good The Wire is than an indictment on Season 2. 


6.) Breaking Bad Season 4



Everyone loves to remember the lasting image of Gus, with his face half-off, fixing his tie before falling to his final death. And why not? That is the best image from the show's run. In a way, that image kind of enhances the memory of Season 4 and underserves so much great work that season before that fateful moment. We had Hank getting as close as he ever got on his own to figuring out Walt was Heisenberg. We got some great backstory into Gus Fring, with a few trips South of the Border. The final three episodes of Season 4 were about as fast-paced and tension-filled as any in the shows run, started off with Walt maniacally laughing realizing that Skyler had given most of his money to Ted. If anything, Season 4 had some of the best shot sequences I've seen, with everything that went on in Don Eladio's estate, to Gus using the box-cutter to end a life, to Walt spinning the gun and landing on Lily of the Valley. Just great work in the show at its most tense.


5.) Breaking Bad Season 5.2



It is hard to really judge something I have just seen, but I will say that the season seemed a bit overrated, and most of this comes down to the Final episode. Breaking Bad was the opposite of The Wire, where it had, overall, an excellent final season but a less-than-stellar final episode. After having a season that detailed the collapse of Walt's empire, started with him finally being found out to him losing his position to the nazis. They literally named an episode 'Ozymandias', which was an Egyptian story of a King's empire falling within itself. They partially undermined a lot of that by making the finale into a quasi-Walt redemption story. Also, I was never a fan of Uncle Todd and the Neo-Nazi's, a clear dues-ex-machina installed to show the pure evil of the meth empire. Of course, Uncle Todd was never part of the meth empire. He had no connection to the meth business. Anyway, I thought all of their work with Hank/Marie vs. Walt/Skyler was perfect, and 'Ozymandias' might have been one of the best episodes of television ever.


4.) The Wire Season 3



Season 3 of The Wire works more as a companion piece to Season 4, but on its own it holds up really, really well. Season 3 was the first time the show really went outside the Cops vs. Drugs set-up they had perfected in Season 1 and slightly altered in Season 2. Here they added the government, showing how at the highest level in Baltimore, the city was corrupt and broken, and that is partially why the drug world exists as it does. The season introduced two notable characters that would dominate Season 4-5, in Tommy Carchetti and Marlo Stanfield, both casted well (even if I never loved Marlo's character). It instituted one of the best social experiments ever in Hamsterdam, as I spent way too long debating its merits and faults. It also did a great job presenting each side of the Stringer/Avon feud, and making that into a metaphor for the Drug Game in general. The death of Stringer Bell to cap the season was also a stunning moment, a show killing off what had been its lead character. Season 3 of The Wire showed that the real main character was Baltimore. Not Stringer, not McNulty, but Baltimore.


3.) Breaking Bad Season 3



Yup, Season 3 of Breaking Bad is my topped ranked Breaking Bad season. I don't think any Season of Breaking Bad combined all the elements that made the show great as this one did. You had exacting, small detailed moments, capped perfectly in their 'bottle episode' 'Fly'. You had excellent Jesse/Walt work late in the season. You had the introduction of Gus as a mainstay character, and Mike as well as Gus's #2. You had the introduction in full of the Cartel, with the cousins playing 'Big Bad' in the first half of the season. Then you had the tension. Holy Lord, the tension. First was Walt and Jesse trapped in teh RV with Hank directly outside. Then was Hank battling and somehow beating the cousins. Later in the year was the capper, with Walt running over the two drug dealers who cornered Jesse, killing them and telling Jesse to 'run'. Season 3 of Breaking Bad was the show at its chaotic but beautiful best, the only time when the simplicity of the RV-era meth business met the Superlab-era.


2.) The Wire Season 1



If I had to pick a season of The Wire to rewatch, I'm picking Season 1. It was by far the simplest of the 5 seasons, with little exposition outside the drug world and the Baltimore Police Department, but it was just so startling to see a show so honest. The Wire was greedy in its narrative exposition, never holding back at showing the reason why the drug world exists, the inequity in that world, and the ineffectiveness of the Police in stopping it. The show introduced so many characters with no spoon-fed characterization. Instead, they challenged viewers to keep along, to remember the names and faces and how they all interact. The show showed the dire situation of the drug world, with Bubbles and so many of the other addicts. It showed the politics in a police department hell bent on not stirring up too much shit. Finally, it humanized drug dealers while dehumanizing the 'good guy' cops. Season 1 of The Wire was so clean, so perfect an introduction into this world of Baltimore. 


1.) The Wire Season 4



Many people compare the entirety of The Wire to a novel, and that comparison fits. But Season 4 itself was a novel. A perfectly constructed, brilliant, deep novel. In television terms, it was 13 perfect hours. I have some general complaints, like missing the Barksdale organization and not warming up to the purposefully cold Stanfield group, but those are tiny blemishes. Yes, it was a cruel trick of creating four characters that are impossible to hate in the four kids, but it worked so well. Season 4 of The Wire was the show at its fullest, with storylines in drugs, policing, goverment and education, giving Baltimore it's largest exposition yet. It showed in crushing detail how vicious the cycle is, why kids in schools fail and turn to drugs, why kids in school fail and turn to dealing them. How the drug world gives kids the appreciation they don't get in the classroom. It also had great side stories like Cutty's gym taking off or a relatively flaccid McNulty turning into a family man. The Wire rarely left stones unturned, but in Season 4 they didn't come close to missing anything. 13 perfect episodes.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

NFL 2013: Week 8 Power Rankings & The Rest

Eff Ronnie Hillman. He ruined what would have been a classic ending, to see if Manning could pull another great comeback. Anyway, on to the next week.


Looking Back at Last Week's Picks

CARDINALS (+6.5)  over  Seahawks  (WRONG  =  0-1)
Patriots (-4)  over  JETS  (WRONG  =  0-2)
Chargers (-7)  over  JAGUARS  (CORRECT  =  1-2)
Bills (+7)  over  DOLPHINS  (CORRECT  =  2-2)
Bears (+1)  over  REDSKINS  (WRONG  =  2-3)
PANTHERS (-7)  over  Rams  (CORRECT  =  3-3)
FALCONS (-6.5)  over  Buccaneers  (CORRECT  =  4-3)
EAGLES (-2.5)  over  Cowboys  (CORRECT  =  5-3)
LIONS (-2.5)  over  Bengals  (WRONG  =  5-4)
TITANS (+3.5)  over  49ers  (WRONG  =  5-5)
Texans (+6.5)  over  CHIEFS  (CORRECT  =  6-5)
PACKERS (-10)  over  Browns  (CORRECT  =  7-5)
STEELERS (-1.5)  over  Ravens  (CORRECT  =  8-5)
Broncos (-6.5)  over  COLTS  (WRONG  =  8-6)
GIANTS (-3.5)  over  Vikings  (CORRECT  =  9-6)


Year-to-Date: 60-47


Power Rankings

32.) Jacksonville Jaguars  (0-7  =  76-222)

They're still terrible. So bad that they couldn't score a TD in another home game. The Jaguars defense has definitely played better the last few weeks, holding two of the better offenses in the NFL to a combined 59 points, but saying that allowing 59 points over two weeks is an improvement shows just how bad this Jaguars team is. It will be hilarious if the only game they win ATS is that Denver game.


31.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers  (0-6  =  87-132)

It's hard to remember that the Buccaneers were, at one point, 6-4 last year. They then barely lost to Atlanta at home by 1 point, and followed that by losing by 8 in Denver (game was 31-13 with four minutes to go). Counting those two losses, Schiano's Men have followed up a 6-4 start with a 1-11 run. The only win, of course, was in Week 17 against a resting Falcons team. Greg Schiano, really, may become the posterboy for a terrible College Coach.


30.) Minnesota Vikings  (1-5  =  132-181)

Speaking of Schiano, his most spiteful act was the hatchetjob he did against Freeman, but it onverscored the fact that Freeman just isn't that good anymore. He was terrible late last season in Tampa, and looked totally lost in Minnesota. Sure, maybe he doesn't know enough of that offense yet, but then why was he playing? Anyway, when you can't score a single point on offense against what had been one of the worst defenses in the league, where else can you rank? Lovie Smith has to be crazy right now, seeing as this team's miracle run last season cost him his job.


29.) Oakland Raiders  (2-4  =  105-132)

Oddly, there aren't really that many terrible teams in the league, so when I rank the Raiders as my 4th worst team, I don't actually think they would make the Top 6 worst teams in most seasons. The Raiders still have some intriguing areas, like a defense that is playing better than anyone would have expected considering they employ the quintessential example of a unit built by spare parts. Terrelle Pryor still offers some excitement as well. The Raiders may be bad, but they have a cogent plan and at least they are exciting.


28.) St. Louis Rams  (3-4  =  156-184)

This ranking is definitely impacted by Sam Bradford's ACL tear. Bradford quietly was having a really nice year. Not a great year. Not a year that represents what a team would expect from a #1 overall pick, but by far the best year of his career. He had 14 TDs on the season before he got hurt, which was just one less than Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger combined (which is insane). I have no idea how they'll survive with Kellen Clemens. By the way, I'm shocked Kellen Clemens is still in the NFL. Here's a guy who's claim to fame was probably starting the 2007 Revenge Game between the Jets and Patriots (1st matchup after Spygate broke).


27.) Atlanta Falcons  (2-4  =  153-157) 

The Falcons got a win, and they won more convincingly than that score, but the Buccaneers are a terrible team. The Falcons still have no real explosiveness of offense unless Harry Douglas does what he did each week going forward. The defense is still manned by mostly no-names. The schedule gets tougher as most of their toughest games are still upcoming. Matt Ryan is quietly having another stellar season, though, which is a nice bone to throw to Atlanta fans.


26.) Washington Redskins  (2-4  =  152-184)

What a game. The Redskins did something extremely rare, beating the Bears when Devin Hester returns a punt for a TD. That's only happened three other times (because it's Hester, that's actually really bad since he's returned kicks for TDs way more times than 3). The Redskins offense had by far its best day of the season, but the Bears defense is awful right now. The Broncos defense is not much better right now, so they could do something similar against them this week. The Redskins defense remains terrible, though, which hurts their chances in Denver more than their offense helps.


25.) New York Giants  (1-6  =  126-216)

Living in New York, I'm not surprised to hear most Giants fans being totally unexcited about getting their first win. That was ugly. I'll be honest, I didn't watch it. That may be the best decision I've made this season. The Giants have a chance next week to win another game against Philadelphia, but it won't matter. This season is gone, and even in victory, the Giants are inspiring absolutely no confidence, and worse, no joy for their fans.


24.) Houston Texans  (2-5  =  122-194)

Case Keenum wasn't bad. He has little pocket presence, but Schaub didn't really have any either. Case Keenum, I would say, wasn't the main reason they lost, but it say something about the talent on the rest of that team that they could hang with KC for most of the game. JJ Watt is still incredible, and the rest of the D-Line is still playing well. The Texans won't disappear, but I think their playoff chances are basically shot by now. They HAVE to beat Indy at home in two weeks to have any shot.


23.) Cleveland Browns  (3-4  =  131-156)

The Browns didn't play any worse in Green Bay than it seemed. They just aren't good enough with Brandon Weeden. The scoreline would've been closer had they kicked FGs instead of going for it on 4th so often, but you shouldn't settle for FGs when trying to beat a team as explosive as the Packers. The defense continues to play tough under Ray Horton, and it was nice for Paul Kruger to finally show up. The Browns still aren't a very good team, and their 3-2 start seems like months ago.


22.) Philadelphia Eagles  (3-4  =  169-196)

There might not be a more surprising final score than the Eagles, and their good but inefficient offense losing 17-3 to the Cowboys and their bad defense. Of course, getting Nick Foles injured hurts, but Foles was terrible up to that point anyway. It's humorous how bad Matt Barkley was running that offense, throwing 3 picks in just 20 attempts, but it is clear that he is definitely not the answer at QB in Philadelphia. Michael Vick appears to be ready to go next Sunday, and they need him because the division is still there for them, but they can't afford to suffer through more Matt Barkley performances.


21.) Arizona Cardinals  (3-4  =  133-161)

That pass protection was decent the first few weeks, and I put most of that on Palmer, who over the years is good at getting rid of the ball (of course, with Palmer in recent years 'getting rid of the ball' meant 'giving it to the other team after a hurried throw'). The pass protection fell to a D'Anthony Batiste level (he was one of the Tackles from last year) in that game. The defense played decently well, but Wilson had some ridiculous throws. The schedule does get really soft in the next six weeks, but unless that pass protection gets tougher, it won't matter.


20.) Miami Dolphins  (3-3  =  135-140) 

The Dolphins 3-0 start seems like it was a lifetime ago. Ryan Tannehill looked so good back then, but ever since that interception right before the half against the Saints, he's been really bad. In the last three games, Tannehill has completed around 55% of his passes, with 5 TDs and 5 INTs. He better play a lot better this weekend in Gillette for them to have chance to beat New England.


19.) Tennessee Titans  (3-4  =  145-146)

The return of Jake Locker didn't go quite as anticipated. On one hand, they had an extremely tough three game run when Locker was out/not yet fully healthy (vs.KC, @SEA, vs.SF), but the offense looks lost right now. It is about now I mention that in two of their wins, their offense was mostly terrible, as they barely moved the ball both in Pittsburgh in Week 1 and then a Hail Mary bailed them out against San Diego. Locker's return might rejuvenate the team later, and they still have both games against Indy left, so there's a chance, but they'll have to hope Locker was just rusty.


18.) Buffalo Bills  (3-4  =  159-178)

Good win on the road for a team that hadn't really done much on the road so far. The Bills never blinked in that game after losing their early lead. Their battalion of defensive backs continues to play really well (they lead the league in INTs) and the D-Line is coming close to doing all the things we all expected from them last season. All is right in Bills land, except the upcoming schedule of three tough games coming up. The schedule gets easier after their late bye, setting the Bills up for one of their patented 7-9 seasons.


17.) Pittsburgh Steelers  (2-4  =  107-132)

Yes, some of this ranking is me picking them preseason to go 12-4 and make the AFC Title Game. Now, that won't happen. It just won't because it's pretty hard to see them not losing another game, especially when their defense still isn't getting nearly enough pressure on the QB. The offense is getting better though. Le'Veon Bel doesn't have great stats, but he's definitely invigorated that run game. Ben is getting more time to get it to Sanders and Brown.


16.) Chicago Bears  (4-3  =  213-206)  

The Bears defense masked its serious holes due to injury and retirement with doing what they always do, create turnovers. That stopped for one game against Washington, and they gave up 45 points and yards and TDs at will. Now Briggs is out, and Cutler is out, again. The Bears have made a living off of fast starts and terrible finishes, and it looks like it could easily happen again in 2013. I believe in Marc Trestman long term, but they might have ruined the one part of the defense that was always good in that defense.


15.) Dallas Cowboys  (4-3  =  200-155)

Stunning win, really, with DeMarcus Ware out and to still put up that defensive performance against the Eagles. The defense has really bought into the Tampa-2, and they've made it work despite losing a bunch of lineman. The offense has been stagnant the past two weeks, but they've shown what their peak can be. In a lot of ways, they remind me of last year's Ravens, but they won't win as many games, and have a basically zero percent chance of winning the Super Bowl.


14.) New York Jets  (4-3  =  134-162)

Really good performance by that defense. They only gave up 20 points on D in the game, 7 coming off of a short field. Completely shut down the Patriots offense, getting to Brady time and time again, holding him again under 50% completion, this time with no bad weather excuse. Sure, they won by some obscure rule, but they were the better team on Sunday Now, if only they could play that way outside the division. The schedule gets tougher, but not so much so that a 9-7 season and sneaking in with the #6 seed is out of the question.


13.) Baltimore Ravens  (3-4  =  150-148)

Another tough loss for the Ravens, who have lost three close games so far this season. The Packers loss was more disturbing, but their defense, which had been good apart from Week 1, looked bad in allowing 16 points in 7 drives (not a good per-drive number). The red zone defense has stayed good, though. The offense still needs more players. There is talk of Dennis Pitta returning in about a month, but that might be too late for a team that still has a shot at a Wild Card, or division if Cincinnati stumbles.


12.) San Diego Chargers  (4-3  =  168-144)

The Chargers might end up ruing that effing Hail Mary by Jake Locker. They still have all four games against the Chiefs and Broncos, and while the most likely scenario there is going 1-3, that means they either need to hope for some nice tiebreakers (all their losses are to AFC teams) at 9-7, or win all their other games. The Chargers may not make the playoffs, but at least Philip Rivers has continued to be amazing. Imagine how good he would be if he had all his players? Yeah, there are QBs out there succeeding without their top weapons, unlike Tom Brady.


11.) Carolina Panthers  (3-3  =  139-83)

Might this be high? Well, Football Outsiders has them even higher by DVOA. Their three wins have all been by 15+ points. Two of their losses have been close games they easily could have won. The schedule isn't too bad, and they could even steal that division with both of their games against the Saints coming late in the season. With the safe assumption that San Francisco stays good and makes the playoffs, the Panthers will have to fight to the death for the #6 seed with the loser of the Lions/Packers dance.


10.) Detroit Lions  (4-3  =  186-167)

That is a tough loss, and really just an average performance overall. For the first time all year, the run game gave them nothing, and the Lions had to rely on some ridiculous jump-ball TDs to make it a game. Now, the Bengals are a really good team, and that was a really good game, but the Lions have to win those at home. The division isn't gone with the return leg against the Packers still to come, but they need more production from the other receivers, and need more production from their D-Line.


9.) New England Patriots  (5-2  =  152-127)

The Patriots may be 5-2, but they're easily the worst two-loss team in the NFL. Consider: they came like three plays away from being 2-5 right now. Tom Brady's passer rating of 75.6 is almost 10 points below the NFL average, and he's 29th in completion percentage. The defense is missing two of their three best players, and the third was injured last week. Outside of them being extremely well coached, this is a .500 team. They'll probably win that division because they just do, but this is the least scary New England team since 2005. Of course, after saying that, they're going to go 13-3.


8.) Indianapolis Colts  (5-2  =  187-131)

I don't know why I'm putting them this low. Really, the teams in the 8-5 range are all interchangeable. The Colts have the best wins, but the worst losses, of all of these teams. This team has beaten two teams ahead of it, but six days before their big win over Denver they looked lazy and slow in their 19-9 loss to San Diego. Those are as much the Colts as the team that's beaten Denver and Seattle at home. With Reggie Wayne out for the year, that either means the team is going to start involving Levon Brazill (who's done nothing) or start running even more. Neither of those options seem appealing. The best part about the Colts is how amazing they could be come 2015.


7.) Green Bay Packers  (4-2  =  168-127)

James Jones is out. Randall Cobb is gone for a long time. Jermichael Finley is probably out for the year. I guarantee that Aaron Rodgers won't suddenly have a 55.6% completion percentage or a 75.6 passer rating (yes, I'm taking another shot at Tom Brady). He's survived so far, and that defense is still playing really well even without Clay Matthews. It might not work against better offenses, but they aren't playing too many more of those. They should roll over the Vikings this weekend.


6.) San Francisco 49ers  (5-2  =  176-135)

Four straight wins after that 1-2 start, and suddenly no one is claiming that Jim Harbaugh has lost his team. Colin Kaepernick is still not playing too well, but that defense has survived the loss of Aldon Smith really well. The 49ers schedule is quite light going forward, and that loss to Indianapolis seems more explainable each week. They just don't lose to bad teams. Quietly, we could have two of the best Wild Card teams ever since the 32-team expansion in 2002 in the same year.


5.) Cincinnati Bengals  (5-2  =  148-135)

They finally beat a good team on the road in the Dalton era. That was a big win, especially after blowing the 21-10 lead, which is exactly what they did in their Week 1 loss to Chicago. The Bengals defense traveled well, getting a ton of pressure on Stafford (didn't sack him, though). That Marvin Jones is turning into a really nice complementary weapon to AJ Green, and Tyler Eifert looks better by the week. The Bengals are a really well built team. If Andy Dalton can sustain his level from the last two weeks, they could easily get a bye.


4.) New Orleans Saints  (5-1  =  161-103)

The Saints are an interesting team. With the Seahawks amazing start to the season, the Saints were shuttled into the background. Then, when they got a giant national game, they cough up a 4 point lead by giving Tom Brady three chances to get a comeback. Then they went off to the bye. Let's just say this, there are only three teams in the NFL with a two game lead in their division. The Saints are one of them (Colts, Bengals are the others). The Saints defense has still played awfully well, and while that offense isn't what it was in '09 or '11, if Graham can get back healthy and stay that way, their as good as any offense outside of Denver. Considering how much time was spent on the Saints over the past decade, I've found it interesting how under-the-radar they are.


3.) Kansas City Chiefs  (7-0  =  169-81)

The Chiefs, the worst team in the NFL last year, are the last unbeaten team this year. They have many landmines to lose that perfect record, starting two weeks from now in Buffalo. Then comes @DEN, vs.SD, vs.DEN back-to-back-to-back. They've won two games at 17-16, and needed a late push to put away Tennessee with Fitzpatrick. There is one good comparable in recent years, which is Tennessee in 2008, who started 10-0 off the back of a great running game, a game-managing QB (Kerry Collins) and a top notch defense. The Chiefs might go 13-3. But that might not be good enough to win their division.


2.) Seattle Seahawks  (6-1  =  191-116)

That was an impressive performance. They destroyed Arizona (final score was closer than the game) in Arizona, which barely anyone does. That offense still is a tad overrated, but Wilson rarely puts the ball in harms way. They can't block, but he's a better thrower on the run than anyone not named Rodgers. The defense is still incredible. Of course, they are getting Percy Harvin back any week. The Seahawks got past their first loss by getting back to basics. Still an excellent team.


1.) Denver Broncos  (6-1  =  298-197)

Yes, that was surprising. Manning got terrible protection, some odd playcalling, and fumbles, which have been a problem in his whole tenure in Denver. The last fumble effectively ended the chance at a legendary finish, with Manning trying to pull off another insane comeback in Indianapolis, this time against the Colts. Anyway, the offense had its worst game of the season, and sleepwalked to 33 points. That's not a problem on that side. The defense is still terrible. Von looked understandably rusty, and they should be getting some guys back soon, but the defense is getting more concerning each week. Their magic number should be 27. Keep teams under 27, they'll win basically every game. I just don't know if they can.


Playoff Projections

AFC

1.) Denver Broncos  =  14-2
2.) Cincinnati Bengals  =  12-4
3.) Indianapolis Colts  =  12-4
4.) New England Patriots  =  11-5
5.) Kansas City Chiefs  =  12-4
6.) San Diego Chargers  =  9-7


NFC

1.) Seattle Seahawks  =  13-3
2.) New Orleans Saints  =  12-4
3.) Green Bay Packers  =  11-5
4.) Dallas Cowboys  =  9-7
5.) San Francisco 49ers  =  11-5
6.) Carolina Panthers  =  10-6


Looking Ahead to Next Week's Games

Byes: Indianapolis (5-2), Tennessee (3-4), Chicago (4-3), San Diego (4-3) Baltimore (3-4), Houston (2-5)

13.) Green Bay Packers (4-2)  @  Minnesota Vikings (1-5)  (SNF-NBC)
12.) Seattle Seahawks (6-1)  @  St. Louis Rams (3-4)  (MNF-ESPN)
11.) Carolina Panthers (3-3)  @  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6)  (TNF-NFLN)

I call it "Hey, Look! The NFL is trying to let us do other things during nighttime" Weekend, as we get arguably the worst trio of primetime games in eons. None of these games looks fun. If Bradford was healthy, you could talk me into caring about Seahawks @ Rams, but these games are all terrible. Of course, because this is the NFL, one of the terrible home teams will shock us all and win.


10.) San Francisco 49ers (5-2)  @  Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7)  (1:00 - FOX)

I call it "I guess the NFL doesn't want to sell football in England" Sunday, as the 2nd London game gets played featuring a team that has a chance to be one of the worst of all time. Vikings/Steelers was terrible on paper but ended up being a pretty good game. This one looks like the two times when New England went to Old England to play Tampa (38-7) and St. Louis (45-7). This is not fun.


9.) Cleveland Browns (3-4)  @  Kansas City Chiefs (7-0)  (1:00 - CBS)
8.) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4)  @  Oakland Raiders (2-4)  (4:05 - CBS)
7.) Atlanta Falcons (2-4)  @  Arizona Cardinals (3-4)  (4:25 - FOX)

I call it "A few intriguing storylines midst terrible games", as we can see if the Chiefs can hold newly appointed starter Jason Campbell to negative yards, and if Terrelle Pryor can make the Steelers look more slow than normal (weird note, the Raiders have won their last two against Pittsburgh), and if the Cardinals can get back to being the ulimate home team and beat Atlanta. In all honesty, can we just get to Week 12 to get some better matchups.


6.) New York Giants (1-6)  @  Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)  (1:00 - FOX)

I call it "Yah, another NFC East matchup" Sunday, as the division rivalry is the only interesting part of this matchup. They played an uninspiring game three weeks ago. The Giants will pretend that a win here makes them contenders in the division. The Eagles can potentially tie themselves right back up with Dallas, making last weekend's clusterfuck a thing of the past.


5.) Washington Redskins (2-4)  @  Denver Broncos (6-1)  (4:25 - FOX)
4.) New York Jets (4-3)  @  Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)  (4:05 - CBS)
3.) Buffalo Bills (3-4)  @  New Orleans Saints (5-1)  (1:00 - CBS)

I call it "Games that are trumped up because of having nothing to go against" Sunday, as in isolation these are all average games, but look better in such a light week. The Bills are a fun team who can give the Saints a run for 2.5 quarters. The Jets and Bengals get to play the battle of defenses, and the Redskins and Broncos get to play the battle of offenses. Redskins @ Broncos is the FOX National game, which makes this yet another Denver game that is seen by the majority of the country.


2.) Miami Dolphins (3-3)  @  New England Patriots (5-2)  (1:00 - CBS)

I call it "The Game That Looked So Much Better Three Weeks Ago" Sunday, as the Dolphins try to end their 3 game losing streak in New England, a place tehy haven't won in since they unleashed the Wildcat. Honestly, the Patriots are beatable. The Dolphins can win this game. Will they? Probably not, because I don't trust Ryan Tannehill on the road, and they probably will not be able to block the Patriots pass rush at all.


1.) Dallas Cowboys (4-3)  @  Detroit Lions (4-3)  (1:00 - FOX)

I call it "Hopefully the Worst #1 Game of the Year" as the Lions and Cowboys play in a nice matchup of 4-3 teams. The Lions need a win to keep pressure on the Packers in the division. The Cowboys gets to maybe silence all the people makng NFC Least jokes by going two games over .500, and three straight wins since the loss against Denver. In all honesty, this should be a fun little game. And yes, I did just have two weeks in a row where my #1 game is a Lions home game. The world should be ending soon.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sticking His Foot up a Colts A$$



What the Hell, Jim Irsay. Why did you have to say anything? Why did you have to rehash all of the ugliness, all of the distrust, all of the shots that were fired during Super Bowl week two years? Why did you have to say anything? Why? Why? Why?

I believe I know why. I could be wrong. I'm probably nowhere near 100% right. I'm assuming a lot of things and guessing on others. I have no proof on any of this. But I still think I know what this all is about, and it really is simple. Jim Irsay believed, to his core, that Peyton Manning was either A - never going to play another snap in the NFL; or B - never going to approach the level he was even in his last season in Indianapolis. I believe that Jim Irsay earnestly thought that Peyton Manning was never going to be the best QB in the NFL ever again. That was the crucial factor to make his Grand Plan work. He was wrong, whether it was blind trust or hope, or misinformation from his team doctors who were advising him. He was wrong. And now he has to live with his decision, and he can't, becuase the worst case scenario happened.

I hate bringing up this moment, I hate everything that happened that day, and the countless hours of written and spoken words discussing this topic, but I think this all boils back to Week 16 in 2009. Bill Polian, not Jim Irsay, not coach Jim Caldwell, decided to pull the starters, decided to give up on a chance to go 16-0. Sure, Polian's plan worked, as the Colts entered the playoffs healthy and rolled to a Super Bowl where they lost to a team that could have beaten them even if the Colts were 16-0. What screwed Polian was the media and fans attacked. Bill Polian is not a nice guy. He is a football genius, but he's a prickly one, the Colts version of Bill Belichick. They attacked, and he responded by becoming more insular and more cloistered than ever before. There was a growing distrust between Polian and everyone outside of the team, and Irsay hated it. Irsay hated the fact that this arrogant SOB was running the Colts and wanted him gone. 

Peyton Manning's injury gave Irsay his chance to get rid of Polian, get rid of Polian's guys, change the face of his franchise, and become more media friendly. Manning's injury exposed how dependent the Colts were on one player. It exposed a few soft drafts at the tail end of Polian's tenure. It led to a 2-14 season, and the ultimate way for Irsay to cut the cord: get rid of the top figures of the previous regime and start anew with another great QB prospect. It all worked. Peyton, someone Irsay believed to be ruined forever by injury, was gone, as was Brackett, Clark, Addai. Pagano was brought in. Andrew Luck was brought in. The Colts were going to begin anew. It all culminated when Andrew Luck threw a TD on his first pass in the preseason, and Irsay tweeted out 'The Legend Begins.' Well, the legend was also continuing, but in Denver.

This all would have worked if Peyton never came back. Even though many knowledgeable Colts fans (including me) didn't like the propaganda the Colts brass were spewing about stop the run and run the ball, and 'building the monster' on defense, and trying to build the right team, no one could complain about the ultimate decision to move on if Peyton wasn't there. Peyton was there. Peyton played like an MVP in 2012. Peyton was the best QB in the NFL in 2012. Peyton playing amazing, on a team who was built very similarly to his old Colts teams, was the worst thing that could have happened to Jim Irsay, and not only did it ruin his plan, it has ruined him.

I feel like Jim Irsay has had to overcompensate for the fact that he chose to not retain Peyton Manning by extolling the virtues of his new Colts team. He was innocently distancing himself from the Manning-era Colts through the 2012 offseason and 2012 season, but he took it to another level the last 10 months. First was some offseason comments about how he was trying to build the '04 Patriots. How he was trying to build a tough team that could win in the playoffs. Let alone the fact that those Patriots slowly tried to build a team that emulated the 2004 Colts. It reared its head in the ugliest way this past week.

Peyton is returning this weekend. Peyton is playing at a level only a few people have ever matched for an extended period of time. Irsay knows this. I think Irsay loved Peyton Manning, but he's feeling the egg on his face for getting rid of Peyton, and he is trying to go even further to show why the decision he made was right. That's why he brings up "The Ringz" argument, that Peyton-led teams won just one QB. That they went one-and-done 7 times. That the Steelers and Giants won 2 Super Bowls during that period, and the Patriots won 3, without putting up 'Star Wars Numbers'. Irsay might say that this is not about Peyton, but about how they built the team to rely on offense and didn't give Peyton help on defense, but that really isn't what he said. What he said first was about Peyton, was about Peyton's perceived failures. That's why he brought up Tom Brady and his rings, going after the lowest hanging fruit possible. 

Jim Irsay comes off as totally ungrateful for what the Manning era gave him, but more than that, he came off as ignorant. He claimed that the Colts spent 70% of their salaries on offensive players. Well, Jim, what is going to happen when Andrew Luck enters the final year of his contract in two years? What happens when those other guys on offense drafted that year are about to be Free Agents? Andrew Luck will command a boatload of money. Is Irsay going to refuse to pay him because, 'Hey, we paid Peyton Manning all this money and look what that got us?'. Irsay claimed that he's building a team that can run the ball, that can win in different ways. Well, recent Super Bowl teams haven't won in different ways. The Ravens had their worst running year in the Flacco era last year. The 2011 Giants were the worst run team in the NFL. The 2010 Packers had a bad run game. This isn't how teams win. The Manning way was how they win. He threw that away, and because Manning is doing well in Denver, he's created this line of thinking through the organization that they have to win the opposite way.

Most of all, he sounds ungrateful. Jim Irsay better hope Andrew Luck wins at least two Super Bowls, because he basically said one Super Bowl, and the winningest decade in NFL history, is not good enough. He basically said that all wasn't good enough, and getting rid of Peyton wasn't only about Peyton's uncertain medical status, but about the way he played and the way his teams played. He made this personal. He made this about more than a mysterious injury and uncertainty and millions of dollars potentially wasted. I believe that was what the decision was about. I believe Jim Irsay believed that he made the right choice for medical reasons. I believe this. I also believe Jim Irsay never wanted Peyton Manning to return at this level because then he was wrong, he put his faith in the wrong people. Jim Irsay showed he was above his head in PR during Super Bowl week, and he looks even more over his head now, overcompensating to a potentially harmful degree to show why what he did was right. Instead of Jim saying that he was wrong, and he's going to try to build the exact same team that had all that success with Andrew Luck, who is good enough to win that way, Irsay did the opposite, said he was right, for all the absolutely wrong, wrong reasons.

NFL 2013: Week 7 Picks

Year-to-Date: 51-41

I'm writing a long thing on my thoughts on Team Irsay vs. Team Manning/Polian/Dungy/EveryoneWithABrain before this weeks games also, so these are going to be quick. 


Seattle Seahawks (5-1)  @  Arizona Cardinals (3-3)  (SEA -6.5)

The Cardinals are a strange team at home, pulling out games they probably shouldn't. They rarely get blown out at home, and I don't like where the Seahawks offense is right now. Carson Palmer might get killed, but they somehow fall ass backward into ~20 points, which should easily be enough to cover.

Seahawks 23  Cardinals 20  (ARZ +6.5)


New England Patriots (5-1)  @  New York Jets (3-3)  (NE -4)

The Patriots are 4-0 in the 2nd meeting against Rex Ryan's Jets. It should be noted, of course, that the Jets are a glorious 1-and-0 in the 3rd meeting, but this is the 2nd. The last two years they played a 2nd meeting in New York and the Patriots on 37-16 in 2011 and 49-19 last year. I don't think this Patriots team can run on a team like that, but I do still like them to win in a situation where Jets fans and the players seem mighty confident.

Patriots 24  Jets 19  (NE -4) 


San Diego Chargers (3-3)  @  Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6)  (SD -8)

This is a low line (for the Jags), but I think the Jaguars gave a lot last week in Denver. Probably hard to get up for this game. The Chargers are on a short week, and have to go cross-country, but they have been quite good this year going East (beating Philly, losing to Tennessee on a Hail Mary). I think they win this game easily, as Philip Rivers continues his great 2013 season.

Chargers 31  Jaguars 17  (SD -8) 


Buffalo Bills (2-4)  @  Miami Dolphins (3-2)  (MIA -7)

The line seems high for an intra-division game. The Bills haven't traveled well, going 0-2 on the road. They did cover in New York, which goes to my point about divisional games. The problem I see is with Cameron Wake back, I don't think Thad Lewis will have the same success in Miami that he had last week at home. I still will go with the Bills because I think the line is high, but I'm nervous about this one.

Bills 17  Dolphins 23  (BUF +7) 


Chicago Bears (4-2)  @  Washington Redskins (1-4)  (WAS -1)

Why is this line so low? I get that the Bears haven't been too impressive the past few weeks, but they are a far better team in 2013, and the Redskins haven't necessarily played better at home this year. The Bears offense will take advantage of any mistake RGIII makes, and I don't think the Redskins will be able to stop Chicago, especially with Marshall beating DeAngelo all over the field.

Bears 27  Redskins 20  (CHI +1) 


St. Louis Rams (3-3)  @  Carolina Panthers (2-3)  (CAR -7)

The Panthers can blow out bad teams. That is what they do. They hammered the Giants. The hammered the Vikings, in Minnesota no less. The Rams may be .500, but I think they are barely better than those two, while Carolina is a lot better. The Panthers pass rush should hound Sam Bradford, and if Bradford gets any pressure, I think he folds. Not a great combination for him.

Rams 13  Panthers 24  (CAR -7)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5)  @  Atlanta Falcons (1-4)  (ATL -6.5)

High line for a divisional game, especially with Matt Ryan playing without Roddy White for the first time ever. Ryan really has Tony Gonzalez and then a mix of receivers, none better than Harry Douglas. The Buccaneers can keep games close with that defense, and with Mike Glennon replacing Freeman and getting his first road game, I still think that offense is bad enough for me to feel comfortable taking the Falcons by less than a TD.


Buccaneers 16  Falcons 27  (ATL -6.5) 


Dallas Cowboys (3-3)  @  Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)  (PHI -2.5)

Interesting game, given the relative position of both teams. The Eagles were one of the league's biggest two disappointments after they were blowed the eff out 52-20 in Denver. The Cowboys then gave up 50+ to Denver, but played them a whole lot better, and now, despite neither team having a win over a team that has won more than 1 game outside of the Rams. I have no idea where that was going. Anyway, without Ware and Murray, the Cowboys are far more banged up, and I don't know how the Tampa-2, without their best player, will play against this offense. It is a low line, and I think the Eagles get it.

Cowboys 27  Eagles 31  (PHI -2.5) 


Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)  @  Detroit Lions (4-2)  (DET -2.5)

Great early game here, and I have no idea where to go. I think the Bengals are better on defense, the Lions better on offense. The Lions have the better run game. The Lions don't have a great HFA crowd, but the Bengals have traveled terribly (losses @CHI, CLE and a OT win in BUF). Low line, so I'll go with the home team who, despite that average crowd, does play better at home.

Bengals 20  Lions 24  (DET -2.5) 


San Francisco 49ers (4-2)  @  Tennessee Titans (3-3)  (SF -3.5)

With Locker back, the line has dropped a bit. I can't believe Jake Locker is back so quickly, but with him back, I think the talent level between a no healthy-Titans team and an injured-49ers team is not that great. The 49ers, to me, still have some issues on the road and the Titans crowds have been excellent. It might be some random affection towards this Titans bunch, but I think the Titans cover.

49ers 20  Titans 17  (TEN +3.5)


Houston Texans (2-4)  @  Kansas City Chiefs (6-0)  (KC -6.5)

I would have thought the line would be higher here. The Texans just got blown out AT HOME by THE RAMS. That happened. Five days ago. The Chiefs are 6-0, and 5-1 ATS. They have been great at home. Their defense should abuse Case Keenum. But the Texans are so ripe to pull an upset, with a team that is more talented than a 2-4 team, with a cause to rally behind. I'll go with the Chiefs, but I think the Texans can be a really live dog, and cover.

Texans 16  Chiefs  20  (HOU +6.5)


Cleveland Browns (3-3)  @  Green Bay Packers (3-2)  (GB -10)

Because of their injuries at WR and on defense, the Packers are seen as a vulnerable big favorite, and I guess I understand that. The Browns got a lot of love in their three game win streak (and 4-1 ATS start), but they looked awful in the 2nd half last week with Weeden back. Do I really want to gamble on Brandon Weeden in Lambeau. But then again, that defense is good, Aaron Rodgers takes sacks, and his receivers are basically all gone save for Jordy Nelson. If Joe Haden can remove Nelson, getting enough points to cover might be tricky. In the end, I'm not falling into the trap. Weeden is the type of QB the Packers eat alive.

Browns 17  Packers 31   (GB -10)


Baltimore Ravens (3-3)  @  Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4)  (PIT -1.5)

Oh, how to be in 2008 again, when this rivalry was in its modern infancy. I still remember that MNF Game in Weeek 4 in 2008, when the 2-0 Ravens went to Heinz to play the 2-1 Steelers and lost 20-23 in OT. Those were the days. This is the rivalry at its low point (save for when Ben missed both games last year). This line is begging the public to take the Ravens, an underdog here who is better than Pittsburgh, but I like the Steelers. I still think the Ravens get spooked in these matchups. 

Ravens 16  Steelers 24  (PIT -1.5)


Denver Broncos (6-0)  @  Indianapolis Colts (4-2)  (DEN -6.5)

It's happening. It is actually happening. After all of Irsay's smack talk, and Peyton's 'no comment's, the game will happen come Sunday Night. That is a bad thing for the Colts. Von Miller will abuse the Colts. The secondary of the Broncos might enjoy not having to cover for 5-8 seconds because the pass rush went nowhere. Of course, there is another side of the matchup, the side where Peyton Manning eviscerates this defense because no matter what anyone says, he was betrayed by the Colts. Just like Favre did when he went to Minnesota in 2009, this is a game he just won't lose.

Broncos 38  Colts 21  (DEN -6.5)


Minnesota Vikings (1-4)  @  New York Giants (0-6)  (NYG -3.5)

What an awful MNF game. The only real storyline here is how long it would take the Giants fans, if Manning throws another pick or two, to boo the living shit out of Eli Manning. The Giants rush defense has been better of late, so I don't think Peterson goes off, and I don't like this situation for Josh Freeman's first start. The Giants have to win sometime, right. Also, I'm doing this because I, for the first time, picked the Giants not to cover, and of course they cover. Screw this team, my ill-fated NFC Champion pick for 2013.

Vikings 20  Giants 30  (NYG -3.5)


Enjoy the Games!!  Because I know I won't be enjoying that SNF one.


Repost: All Good Things...

With Peyton Manning returning to Indianapolis, I've decided to re-run two things I wrote about the Manning era in Indianapolis. First, my initial reaction to Manning's release in March, 2012.




All Good Things...


Now I wish I never even added Big News #3 to Friday's post, the one regarding that amateur footage of Peyton throwing at Duke. It pains me to beyond belief that the last video footage of Manning throwing with that blue horseshoe helmet on will be that footage. I'll have the memories, but I can't escape the reality.

The greatest QB I have ever seen is no longer going to be playing QB for my team. The man who literally built football in Indiana. The man without whom that stadium isn't built, the careers of Bill Polian and Tony Dungy aren't fortified enough so they enter Canton, and my personal list of favorite sports memories is 1,000 memories shorter. He's gone. He's coming back, but just like when I watched Roy Oswalt in that Phillies uniform, it won't be the same. Hell, I'll root for him hard. I want him to win the next three Super Bowls. I want him to get the recognition he deserves, the universal acceptance of just how incredible he was. I realize the best way for him to do that would be outside of Indianapolis anyway, but that definitely doesn't make it any easier. Peyton Manning is gone. An institution in the NFL is over. And all I can think is I wish I appreciated it more.

Football, and sports in general, is a weird thing. Even though 99% of the games come with no trophy attached, the only game that inevitably one cares about are the ones that do. This should not be the case. I wish I could forget about the heartbreak that I had to face in the games that "matter" and remember the brilliance in the games that lead up to the games that "matter". But that is the issue. The games in September and October and November matter as well. I have to learn to realize this. That the happiness I derive from my team winning, as well as the depression that comes from my team losing, should not be disproportionately represented by what happened in January.


One of my favorite Colts bloggers, Nate Dunlevy, had a post this past season where he talked about the idea of a "Happy Sunday." That the true implicit worth of a team to a fan is the happiness that that team gives. If the team gives their fans more "Happy Sundays" than not, that team is doing its job. Sure, some Sundays can give more happiness than others, but at the end of each week, did your football team make you happy? That is the only question that matters. For 7 straight years, Peyton Manning gave us a Happy Sunday at least 12 times. I think Manning's injury last year made me really appreciate this idea, that every Happy Sunday you get should be remembered, cherished. It hit me when I was watching Dan Orlovsky lead a 2-minute drill to upset the Texans in Week 16. That game meant nothing. The Colts were floundering worse than anyone expected without Manning, and the Texans were locked into the #3 seed. But I got into it. I was locked in, focused on the Colts for the first time all year. I was given, in that case, a Happy Thursday, but still, the first one I truly enjoyed in the regular season in a while. The first one I thought I could look back on 5 years from now and love.

See, when I look back at all those memorable Manning moments, like the 21 point comeback against the Bucs in 2003, or the greatest passing offense I have ever seen in 2004, or the beatdown of New England in Foxboro in 2005, or the run of great, dramatic moments like winning in Heinz Field in 2008, or the drama of 4th & 2 in 2009, my mind inevitably races past all of that to the fact that all of those seasons for the Colts were 'doomed.' That encompassing those isolated moments of pure joy was a harrowing playoff loss. Those playoff losses for a time ruined those great moments. I mean, 'What's the point of Bill Belichick gambling for it on 4th and 2 if Hank Baskett is going to try to pick up an onside kick three months later?' I would say to myself. The idea of "Happy Sundays" changed all of that.


When I first accepted that Manning was not coming back (sometime in January) it became easier. I can't look forward to Manning bringing Indianapolis another Super Bowl, getting redemption for that loss in Super Bowl XLIV, a loss that haunts me more and more each month. I can't look forward to the next ridiculous comeback. I can only look back now if I want to think about Manning as a Colt. I can only look back, and finally open up that treasure chest of great Manning moments. I can finally start to enjoy Manning's awesome moments un-tethered, because for once, I know that no matter how much I want that redemption, Manning is done in a Colts uniform. This is all he had to give us, and damn was it special.

Peyton Manning won't be a Colt, and I fear that his legacy in Indianapolis will never be truly appreciated by those outside Indy. Had the team just won that game against the Saints, all of this would be different. Everyone would have had to accept him, other than those idiots who think that Terry Bradshaw is the greatest, and therefore, Manning needs more than two rings. I fear people won't remember the Manning era as what it was. People will remember it like the Marino era, and I'm sure the Miami fans do look back with great joy at those years with Marino, but this is different. Miami had great football before Dan Marino. Miami had achieved perfection without Marino. Indianapolis had achieved nothing other than some close, flukey wins by an average team in 1995. Peyton Manning made the Colts. But most of all, as a football fan, he made me.

I probably would have still been a football fan without Peyton, but I would have never been this knowledgeable. I would have never known just how great a QB can be. If I hadn't seen him struggle against Bill Belichick's defenses in the 2003 and 2004 Playoffs, I probably don't know how good a defense and great coaching could be. If I hadn't seem him overcome such incredible odds to win some of those games, I might not believe in comebacks the way I do. If I hadn't seen him unfairly slammed by awful media personalities for not winning enough as an individual in a team sport, I might not realize how bad and low-base a lot of the main-stream media is. If not for Peyton Manning, I would not love football the way I do. And it is time to make sure I use that love to do what is best, remember Peyton for the wins, for the joy, for the brilliance, and for giving me way too many "Happy Sundays."

About Me

I am a man who will go by the moniker dmstorm22, or StormyD, but not really StormyD. I'll talk about sports, mainly football, sometimes TV, sometimes other random things, sometimes even bring out some lists (a lot, lot, lot of lists). Enjoy.