Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Week 1 postmortem

I went 11-5 for Week 1 with my selections on The Writers' Picks.
How I got it right, and how I got it wrong:

New England over Oakland: There's really no compelling reason not to pick the Patriots, regardless of who they're playing. Certainly not the fantasy football all-stars.

Washington over Chicago: The Redskins' offense can't do anything, but this week they were playing a team that can do even less. Kyle Orton may very well put it together, but he wasn't going to this week.

Cincinnati over Cleveland: Too much change in Cleveland in too little time, particularly when the opponent is an intrastate rival who sees this as a must-win. Carson Palmer made a couple dumb mistakes (one interception in the end zone, another returned for a TD but called back on a phantom penalty), but at times looked scary good.

Buffalo over Houston: Buffalo's defense is just too good for a Houston offense that, four years on, has yet to show much of anything.

Kansas City over New York Jets: Chad Pennington was supposed to be healthy, but that just doesn't matter. Though Pennington is not a bad quarterback, too many people forget that he's a star more because he plays in New York than because of his ability. Six fumbles? He had five total in 13 games last year. Six words, one for each fumble: Kurt Warner in the 2003 opener.

Jacksonville over Seattle: When two overrated teams play, go with the home team.

Tampa Bay over Minnesota: No team reads its own press more closely than the Minnesota Vikings. Yes, the defense has been upgraded and will be better. And, yes, the team will be better off without Randy Moss, because when one player becomes that much larger than the rest, there's no incentive for the others to perform. But neither the defense nor the offense is better yet, various Super Bowl predictions notwithstanding. And Tampa Bay just has Minnesota's number.

Pittsburgh over Tennessee: Of course the Steelers won't go 15-1 again. But it seems everyone decided to be "bold" and "contrarian" and pick them to fall off the table. Feh. Didn't suprise me that Ben Roethlisberger completed 80% of his passes. Or that he only had to attempt 11 passes.

New York Giants over Arizona: Arizona has a very good chance of winning the NFC West. The Giants have no chance of winning the NFC East. Still, this was easy.

Indianapolis over Baltimore: No special insight here. The Colts are just better than the Ravens. The ol' WWW is abuzz with discussion of the Ravens' last-minute timeout while trailing 24-0. Both sides of the argument have some merit, but in the end, it was a waste of time. The Colts were just trying to get out of the game and not make the Ravens look bad unnecessarily. Am I saying the Ravens should have just rolled over at that point? Of course not. They'd rolled over long before that. They couldn't win. Pulling out all the stops to pull within 17 points with 13 seconds left is no less pathetic than being shut out. Me, I love scores like 41-3 and 56-7 because it's fun to imagine what was going through the losing team's heads when they scored that one time.

Atlanta over Philadelphia: This was just a gut pick. The Falcons were going to be up for this game, and the Eagles weren't. I don't know why Donovan McNabb turned the ball over three times, but it wasn't because Jeremiah Trotter got thrown out of the game.


Denver over Miami: Denver isn't going to be very good this year, but I thought they could take a team undergoing a complete overhaul, humidity or no humidity. Boy was I wrong.

Carolina over New Orleans: I could never say with any certainty what role emotion played in this game, but I wouldn't discount anything. Carolina expected to win. New Orleans wanted to win. My bad. (Also, I want to address some things I heard in the past week about America "pulling" for a team. As much as I pray for the people in New Orleans, as much as I was glad to see LSU beat Arizona State, as much as I smiled at the Saints' victory, it just isn't right to declare that "all of America" was pulling for the Saints. So Panthers fans are bad Americans? Are Giants fans bad Americans this week? Similarly, last week, before the Patriots-Raiders game, there were the inevitable rehashes of the Snow Bowl in the 2001 playoffs. On SportsCenter one night, in describing Adam Vinatieri's incredible kick that tied the game, one of the commentators -- I can't be sure whom, though I have my suspicions -- said he believes God himself guided the ball because after the horrors of 9/11, America needed a team called the "Patriots" to win. Talk about asinine. Talk about bathetic. Talk about blasphemy. To say that God wouldn't intervene to stop the murder of 3,000 innocents, but would change the outcome of a football game to make us feel better about it? Sad.

Dallas over San Diego: I couldn't believe Dallas' roster of castoffs and second-chancers would grease the Chargers like that. Dan Snyder must be kicking himself. I also admit I forgot that Antonio Gates would be sitting. Duh.

Green Bay over Detroit: I thought the Lions were going to be better than the Packers this year. I just didn't think they were already better.

St. Louis over San Francisco: This was less a pick for the Rams than against the 49ers. Either way, I have no explanation. But I am not alone.


Down and Distance's exclusive Pow-R-'Ankings are the finest ratings of NFL team strength available to the public. They are based on proprietary analysis of key statistical indicators. Opinion plays no role. Be warned, however, that because the season is only a week old, the data set is still small, and these rankings may at this point be skewed.
1. Lions9. Bengals17. Rams25. Cardinals
2. Steelers10. Jaguars18. Panthers26. Texans
3. Bucs11. Patriots19. Chargers27. Broncos
4. Chiefs12. Falcons20. Bears28. Ravens
5. Colts13. Redskins21. Eagles29. Jets
6. Dolphins14. Cowboys22. Raiders30. Vikings
7. Bills15. Saints23. Seahawks31. Titans
8. Giants16. 49ers24. Browns32. Packers

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