Sunday, January 31, 2010
I know he's apart of the NFC and had no choice, but Drew Brees wearing Colts colors on the sideline tonight doesn't look right. I cropped as much as I could off his NFC hat, and I was able to strategically make the NFC logo on his jacket disappear. Gotta love journalistic integrity.
I wonder what goes through Brian Cook's head when they play the video montage of highlights before the Rockets lineup is introduced and he isn't in it? Not like he's only been here for 2 weeks. Maybe that $3.5 million he's making this season makes it feel better.
I'm going to do a live blog from Rockets/Suns tonight. Rockets snapped a 3-game home win streak on Friday night by beating Portland, and if they can get a win tonight, they give themselves a good chance at a 3-3 homestand with Golden State coming in Tuesday night. When you consider who they played during this streatch (Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Portland, Phoenix, Golden State) 3-3 would be outstanding.
Monday, January 25, 2010
- The Hawks 1.83 assist/turnover ratio is the best in the league. They turn it over just 12.2 times a game. The Rockets are 12th at 1.51. In case you are wondering, the league worst is Minnesota at 1.18.
- The Rockets have a rebounding edge. This is going to be the key for them.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
- I think we expected too much from Trevor Ariza. He's a good player, and is not overpaid, but I don't think he is anything more than a 3rd option on a good team. That being said, I'd rather have him over Ron Artest.
- I love Kyle Lowry playing next to Aaron Brooks. Lowry playing point frees up Brooks, and I like that.
- If you want to teach kids how to defend in the low post, have them watch Chuck Hayes. I think he is helped by his lack of height because it forces him to focus on footwork because he knows he can't block a shot from behind if he gets beat.
- I think the Rockets are going to have to decide between Luis Scola and Carl Landry, especially if they want to sign/trade for Chris Bosh. I think I would pick Scola.
- I don't think the Rockets will trade Tracy McGrady. They are going to want a star if they are going to take on a contract, and I don't think one will be out there. Chris Bosh could be, but the Raptors won't be trading him to dump a contract, so they will be looking to make a basketball deal, not a financial deal.
Monday, January 18, 2010
- The Chargers desperately need a RB. LT is done, and Darren Sproles isn't the guy.
- I kept hearing that this is the best Chargers team of the LT era. That couldn't be further from the truth. The 14-2 team that lost to New England 3 years ago was much better. This Chargers team was not as good as their record said.
- San Diego was fortunate to not be down by more than 10 in the 4th quarter. They fumbled the kick return after the first Jets TD, and they were able to recover the fumble after the Kerry Rhodes sack.
- Phillip River completed one pass on Revis, for -4 yards.
- Did Shawne Meriman play yesterday? Any guesses on the team that badly overpays for him?
- The difference between the Jets and Chargers was clearly illustrated when Shonn Greene blew up Eric Weddle on the 53-yard TD run.
- Lets be honest, Nate Kaeding missed 2 field goal yesterday, the 57-yarder at the half shouldn't count.
- I will be interested to see how/if Brian Schottenheimer is able to get Brad Smith back involved in the Jets offense. He really hasn't made an impact the last 2 games.
- The Vikings Defensive Line is scary good when they are at home. That game reminded me of the Packers game when Aaron Rodgers got hit everytime he dropped back.
- How can Brett Favre not comeback next season?
- I remember when Favre used to really struggle in Domes, not anymore.
- The Saints secondary is pretty good when they are healthy.
- Their front 7 has some speed, but I don't think they are physical enough. Last years Vikings could run all over them; not sure about this years.
- I know they won by a big margin, but was anyone else not impressed with the Colts? Take away the last 2 minutes of the first half and its 6-3.
- The Colts have gotta be able to run the ball against the Jets, you can't be one dimensional and beat them.
- 9 of Joe Flacco's 20 completions went to Ray Rice. Ozzie Newsome, please get him some help.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Yesterday, I outlined the football reasons why I thought the Jets would be San Diego, a team that enters today’s game on an 11-game win streak, but there is another reason why I think the Jets will shock the Chargers. Now, lets step into our time machines and go back to January 16, 1994. The Kansas City upset the Houston Oilers at the Astrodome in the Divisional Round. Why is this significant? The Oilers entered the game on an 11-game win streak. It is the last time that a team has entered the playoffs on an 11-game win streak. That’s just a coincidence thought, right? Well, it could be, until you look closer at the two games. There are some very strange similarities between the two that make you think we could see another upset today.
- Despite 11-game win streaks, both teams were the 2 seed in the AFC
- Both games were matchups of original AFL teams
- Marty Schottenheimer and Buddy Ryan coached in the game 16 years ago; their sons will coach in the game today.
- Both the Oilers and Chargers had pass first offenses.
- In the preceding off-seasons both the Jets and Chiefs made major trades to acquire quarterbacks (Jets- Mark Sanchez; Chiefs- Joe Montana)
- Both games were the late game on Sunday.
- A Cowboys game preceded both games.
- Who was the quarterback the Cowboys faced in each game? You guessed it- Brett Favre
- Like the Jets, the Chiefs played the early game on the Saturday of Wild Card Weekend, and both teams fell behind 7-0.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Now the fun really starts as we welcome the 4 best teams in the NFL to the Playoffs, and get rid of the 4 teams that obviously didn’t belong. This is the best weekend of the NFL season, and that is something that can’t be argued. I think the four games this weekend are fascinating matchups that have the potential to produce some terrific games.
The one thing we won’t get this weekend is bad weather. 3 games are being played in domes; the 4th game is in San Diego. It is very likely that weather will play no part in these playoffs, unless it rains again in Miami during the Super Bowl. That is very disappointing.
In my post about homefield advantage in this round earlier in the week, I illustrated how homefield is becoming a detriment, with home teams going 7-9 the last 4 years. With that note I would like to point out the home playoff records of the 4 home teams in the last 14 years:
New Orleans: 2-0 (1-0)
Indianapolis: 4-3 (1-3)
Minnesota: 3-2 (2-1)
San Diego: 2-3 (0-1)
The record in parenthesis is their home record after the Wild Card Round. Minnesota and Indy have lost their last home playoff game. That’s multiple home playoff losses in a pretty short span for all but one team. Here is the amount of road wins by the teams who will be on the road this week:
NY Jets: 2
All three teams with wins each won their last road playoff game.
Basically, what I am trying to say is don’t make too much of homefield this weekend. I think 2 road teams will win. Here are my thoughts on all 4 games:
Arizona at New Orleans
I know the Saints finished terribly, but I really like them in this spot. The only reason why the Cardinals are in this game is because they got off to such a great start against the Packers, but I think the Packers defense got exposed. New Orleans will be able to make plays on defense and force turnovers. I don’t think it will be the 51-45 shootout the Cards played last week, but it could be close. Still, I think the Saints get the win.
Baltimore at Indianapolis
The Ravens always play Indy close, but can never beat them. I don’t think they get over the hump today either. I know the win last week was impressive, but they were playing an average team that played bad. They are going to have to make plays in the passing game, and with Joe Flacco being banged up I don’t see that happening. The Colts do a good job against the run, and when they played the Ravens earlier in the season they held Ray Rice to 3.6 yards a carry. Baltimore has an average secondary, and I think the only problem the Ravens defense can give him is their pass rush. I think it could be a double-digit Colts win.
Dallas at Minnesota
People have jumped back on the Vikings bandwagon after their demolition of the Giants. Lets not get carried away like people did after the Giants did the same to Washington in that Monday night game. After that game, people thought the Giants were going to make a run; they went on to get embarrassed in their last 2 games. Brett Favre has never beaten the Cowboys in the playoffs, and he is just 2-3 in his last 5 home playoff games. I think the Cowboys defensive front will flat out dominate the Vikings offensive line, and I don’t think the Vikings secondary can cover the Dallas wide receivers. I think it could be close, but I think the Cowboys win it.
NY Jets at San Diego
I said in my podcast last week that the Chargers were going to lose their first playoff game, and I still believe that, what’s worse for San Diego is that the Pats would’ve been a much better matchup for them than the Jets are. The Chargers struggle to stop the run, and the Jets are going to run the ball as much as possible. The Jets struggle to stop the run, and the Chargers can’t run the ball. I think the Jets will be able to control the clock and shorten the game. When you play a good defense, the last thing you want to be is one dimensional, and that’s what the Chargers are. I will have more on why I think the Jets are going to win this game later today.
We all know that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is doing whatever he can to expand the NFL season to 18 games. I was always a fan of this idea until this season when I realized that it could potentially be a disaster and make the season far too long. It could wind up giving the league a ton of meaningless the last month of the season, and like I mentioned in my podcast last week, you could have a team like the Colts playing 4 games that won’t matter. The league wants to expand the schedule to make more money, which they should try and do, but I have a better idea---expand the playoffs.
In the NFL, 12 of 32 teams make the playoffs, that’s 3/8 or 37.5%. Over half of the teams in the NBA and NHL make it. I think its time for the NFL to go to 14 or 16 playoff teams. This would give the league 2 or 4 more playoff games, which would be national TV games, and it would bring more money to the league. Not as much as adding a week or 2 to the schedule, but it would certainly add more excitement.
I would rather 8 teams make the playoffs in each conference than 7 because I don’t like the idea of having just the top seed get a bye, but I would be ok with it because increasing your playoff teams by a third could be a little drastic, and I’m sure some people think that allowing half of your teams in the playoffs cheapens the playoffs to a degree, and they a right. The first round of the NBA playoffs isn’t exactly exciting, especially when you have to sit through 4 games of the Cavs/Pistons series, knowing that there is no way Detroit will win a game, much less four. Luckily for us, the NFL is a single elimination tournament.
Imagine how much fun it would if the playoffs were expanded to 16 teams. PLAYOFF QUADRUPLE HEADERS!!!!! That’s right, you would have to play 4 playoff games each day to get through Wild Card Weekend, talk about a lazy weekend. You would start with a game at Noon Eastern, 3:30, 7:00, and 10:30. That would basically be 28 hours of NFL Playoff games in one weekend. The NFL would simply own the weekend.
You can have too many regular season games, but you can’t have too many playoff games, at least you can’t in the NFL. Adding extra playoff games will increase TV revenue because these are games that will get huge ratings, as opposed to a week 18 games between a team that is 6-11 and a team that is 5-12 in a half empty stadium. Its time for more playoff teams, and I think it’s also time to eliminate the first round bye. I don’t think teams care about them as much as they used too anyways. In fact, it might be more of a disadvantage.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
- 3 of the 8 teams that have lost as the #1 seed in the AFC have been coached by Marty Schottenheimer.
- AFC # 1 seeds that played on Saturday went 8-3, they went 4-5 on Sunday.
- Home teams are 33-7 (.825) on Saturday, 27-13 on Sunday (.675)
- Coincidentally the NFC home teams are 33-7 and the AFC home teams are 27-13
- Peyton Manning has played in 6 divisonal playoff games. In those 6 games the home team is 1-5. He is 0-3 at home, and 2-1 on the road.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
My 4th podcast looks into the following:
- Seahawks firing Jim Mora Jr
- Cleveland keeping Eric Mangini
- The league looking into giving teams incentives for playing starters late in the season
- My thoughts on the 4 Wild Card games this weekend
- A shocking prediction
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010
The Texans got a great come from behind win at home against New England to keep their playoff hopes alive. They close the season winning 4 straight games, and they have given themselves a chance to make the playoffs. As I write this, Denver trails by 10, and The Ravens are nursing a 1 point lead, so they certainly have a good shot the squeak in. While the Texans certainly feel like they should've won more than 9 games this season, they should be thrilled with how they closed the season after losing 4 straight games to drop to 5-7 a month ago. The defense made great strides, and I think that that they are one of the better units in the league. Offensively, they were a little inconsistent, but Matt Schaub proved that he could stay healthy for an entire season, and play at a high level. Here is postgame reaction from the Texans:
The Texans needs a Jets loss to make the playoffs after Kansas City embarrassed Denver
Its basically a playoff game for the Texans as they have to win to have a shot at a playoff spot as they take on the Patriots. The Texans can also pick up win #9 for the first time in team history. It should be a terrific atmosphere because lets face it, this is the biggest game in Texans history. Its still a longshot that the Texans make the playoffs, but a win today would start the offseason the right way. No word on who won't play for New England. Bill Belichick hasn't told any of his players yet, and I'm assuming nobody will know until the inactives are released. I will post them as soon as I get them.
The Bengals are in a weird spot tonight against the Jets. They will basically be in a position to pick who they will play next week. Regardless of what happens this afternoon, the Bengals will essentially get to choose between playing the Jets again next week, or playing one of the many teams still fighting it out for the last AFC playoff spot, a field that will be narrowed as the day progresses. Its an awkward spot to be in, and it can be spun many different ways in favor of the team they wind up playing in the Wild Card round next week.
If the Bengals bench everyone and lose to the Jets, it can be said that the Bengals wanted to play the Jets because they knew that losing would pretty much automatically setup a rematch next week. That can be a rallying cry for the Jets all week, and before you know it “the team the Bengals wanted to play” go into Cincy and knock the Bengals out of the playoffs.
What if the Bengals play their starters the entire game and still lose to a desperate Jets team? Now the Jets have a big psychological edge because they now know that they can beat the Bengals, and for Cincy, there has to be a little doubt creep in, because as a team you aren’t playing well, and you just got beat the week before by the same team.
Now if the Bengals play all their guys and win, whoever they play next week can say that they were afraid to play the Jets in the first round. They wanted to play us instead, lets make them pay.
I don’t feel bad for the Bengals because they are guaranteed a home playoff game next week, but they are in a tough spot. Its tough enough to know who to play and how long to play them in a situation like this, but its even tougher when you could wind up playing the same team in week 17 and the wild card round.
One other thing I want to bring up for Cincinnati: I don’t think they care about being the 3 or 4 seed. To be honest, I think they would rather play Indy in the Divisional round, only because its just a 2 hour drive to Indianapolis from Cincinnati. Its very rare that the 3 seed is ever in a position to host the conference championship game, although 2 of the last 3 years you have seen both home teams in a conference lose in the Divisional Round.