Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Week 5 postmortem

Considering that at one point during Sunday's early games I was ahead in only one game and behind in seven, finishing 8-6 in my picks for Week 5 isn't so bad. Still, it would have been nice if the San Diego defense had shown a little more backbone 'round midnight.

What I got right and what I got wrong:

Green Bay over New Orleans: I'm going to start renting out my opinions. Whenever I declare a player or team "done," they totally ring it up. It was happy-making to see Brett Favre get his first win of the season in such jumbo fashion, but it was melancholy-making to watch those scrappy Saints lose by 49 points. Which is pretty telling about the state of affairs on the Gulf Coast, because I used to enjoy seeing Jim Haslett's team get pounded into a fine paste.

Detroit over Baltimore: It's going to be a long, long year for the Ravens. Their offense is going nowhere. Their defense has sniffed its own fumes so deeply that when the Lions weren't sufficiently intimidated -- see Kevin Jones go right through Ray Lewis? -- they freaked. Twenty-one penalties, one shy of the NFL record. Two ejections. The Broadcaster Line of the Day came after Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs bumped referee Mike Carey. "Take my word for it," said CBS analyst Steve Tasker, who was tossed by Carey in the last game of his 13-year career. "Mike Carey will throw you out of the game." And throw Suggs out Carey did. Soon after, Ravens DT Maake Kemoeatu was flagged for what Carey called an "unsightly gesture." And so on and so on and so on. Joey Harrington had another grisly outing, but somehow I never doubted it was going to be enough. Those who believe in karma might say this is what Brian Billick gets for calling that timeout late against the Colts.

Tennessee over Houston: Houston Oilers owner Bud Adams demanded that the city build his franchise a new stadium. The city stood on principle and told him to go pound salt. So Adams took his team to Tennessee. And the city, left without football, caved in and built a brand new stadium for a brand new team. Four years in, that brand new team is even worse than it was the day it first took the field -- so bad that it gets steamrolled by a Tennessee club gutted by cap problems and essentially playing at the expansion level. Good on ya, Houston taxpayer!

Cleveland over Chicago: No one thought it would be pretty. Quick: Which team will be the first to score 30 offensive points in a game this year: the Browns, the Bears or the Redskins? The answer ...

Denver over Washington: ... is none of the above! My wife called me from work to say that she'd heard people on the radio speculating about what it'll take for the Redskins to make the playoffs. Outbreaks of food-borne illness in New York, Philadelphia and Dallas, for starters. Last year, the Redskins could have been 13-3 if they had scored 22 points a game. This year, they'd be 4-0. Nice numbers on Mark Brunell, I must say.

Indianapolis over San Francisco: Running poor Alex Smith out there wasn't going to be the answer. Not Sunday, and not against the Colts. Smith was running for his life from the first snap, and he's lucky he was only sacked five times. He'll need the bye week, because next up are the Redskins, Bucs, Giants and Bears. As crummy as Smith's line was Sunday, the other quarterback in the game struggled, too. I'm guessing he bounces back.

Carolina over Arizona: For once Carolina was literally wandering in the desert. And another Kurt Warner Experiment leaves scorch marks on another city.

Jacksonville over Cincinnati: If I was had to get one wrong this week, I was hoping it'd be Jags-Bengals. Good signs for the Bengals: They weren't satisfied merely with playing it close, they felt they let a game get away that they should have won, and they were angry about it. Bad sign for the Bengals: Chad Johnson's pointing fingers. Despite all of it, if Palmer's fumble isn't accidentally kicked away by his own guy, the Bengals are in a spot to win.

Miami over Buffalo: QB Substitutions Make Me Glad I'm Not a Gambler, Part I: Had I known J.P. Losman's career was, well, over, I might not have been so quick to pick the Dolphins. Mike Mularkey played coy about starting Kelly Holcomb, leaving me outta the loop until after I'd made my picks. I also didn't get the memo that said Miami planned to turn the ball over five times, plus set a franchise record for penalties in a game with 14 minutes to spare. Great job, boys!

Atlanta over New England: QB Substitutions Make Me Glad I'm Not a Gambler, Part II: Had I known Michael Vick was going to sit, I'd have definitely picked the Patriots. As it is, this is the fourth consecutive Patriots game that I've gotten wrong. Further thoughts: 1) On Atlanta's second series, Matt Schaub put passes onto the hands of Dez White and Michael Jenkins in New England territory. The receivers dropped both passes, and the Falcons had to punt. They make either of those catches, this is a completely different game -- one Schaub would have won. 2) Are we required to fawn all over Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri for another miracle comeback if the Patriots defense had to blow a 15-point fourth-quarter lead to make it all possible? 3) After the game, Falcons coach Jim Mora said, "When a player is not ready to play, you are not going to put him out there in harm's way. To which Brady responded: "Don't think this team won't remember that, Mora."

Tampa Bay over N.Y. Jets: I forgot that this week Chad Pennington would be doing what he does best: standing on the sidelines with his arm in a sling, waving a towel. Dude was in the zone.

St. Louis over Seattle: First of all, the Seahawks never win on the road. Second of all, the Rams have owned the Seahawks for about two years now. Third of all, this is the NFC West, so I might as well have just flipped a damn coin. Meanwhile, watching the reply of the Rams' Chris Johnson running the opening kickoff back 99 yards, I noticed a Rams coach come running off the sidelines in celebration long before Johnson crossed the plane. The coach was 15 to 20 yards into the field of play when Johnson was still 15 yards out. Attention, league office: that phone you hear ringing and ringing? It's Mike Shanahan. Might as well pick up.

Philadelphia over Dallas: Last week, I wrote about how when the Eagles are down by three scores on the road, they don't panic; they just get to work. This week? Not so much. I really believed that when the Eagles went down 17 to the Cowboys in the first quarter, they had Dallas right where they wanted them. Heh. Oh, and enough on Bledsoe vs. Keyshawn.

San Diego over Pittsburgh: I can't stand it.

SEASON: 46-28

Down and Distance's exclusive POW-R-'ANKINGS are the most accurate assessment of team strength available on the Internet or any other -net. The formula behind them predicted 10 of the past 15 Super Bowl winners, and 14 of the past 15 Super Bowl winners finished the regular season No. 1 or No. 2 in the POW-R-'ANKINGS system. Get it? Unlike with other, lesser ranking systems, no opinion is involved. None. This is hard-core science in a parlor full of poseurs. Teams are ranked on a centigrade scale, with 100 representing the NFL's strongest team and 0 its weakest. (Key: WK5 = This week's ranking. WK4 = Last week's ranking. PWR = POW-R centigrade score)
11 Colts100.00 1717Jaguars40.89
22 Bengals75.93 18T15Chiefs40.27
33 Steelers69.65 1928Lions37.40
44 Bucs61.50 2023Browns33.49
58 Giants57.28 2120Patriots32.85
67 Chargers55.12 2218Rams32.69
721Packers54.14 2319Raiders32.02
86 Falcons53.75 2424Bills29.87
9T15Cowboys51.27 2526Titans29.76
105 Eagles50.14 2627Jets23.06
1211Broncos48.07 2829Vikings13.94
16T9Bears42.87 3232Texans0.00

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