Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Week 3 from the bottom of the well

Yabba-dabba don't! For the first bye week of the season, I turned in a pathetic 8-6 for my picks. If Carolina, Chicago, Baltimore and Miami had not all hit field goals at the final gun, I'd have gone 4-10. Then again, if Kurt Warner could have just held onto the ball with his big damn Hamburger Helper hands, I could've been 9-7. Of course, if Marc Bulger could have just held onto the ball with his big damn Hamburger Helper hands, I'd be 8-6 again. Anyway, I once again proved that I am next to useless in picking big divisional games: 1-3 this weekend in games in which first place was at stake.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Carolina 26, Tampa Bay 24: Well, crud. First I say nice stuff about Chris Simms right before the season starts, then I take it all back when he pollutes the league in the first two weeks, then he nearly dies out there against the Panthers. Makes you wonder what the hell Jon Gruden was thinking when he not only put the clearly injured Simms back into the game in the fourth quarter, but also called a bootleg that got the quarterback pounded into the turf. If you're like me, you're still waiting for Steve Young to say whether he still thinks Simms is a candy-ass mama's boy like he said last year.

Chicago 19, Minnesota 16: Vikings coach Brad Childress' strategy is becoming clear: Make every one of his team's games so fucking boring that no one can stand to watch them, let alone scout his team. Sorry, Minnesota. If you live by the freak late turnover, you die by the freak late turnover. And Chicago, wipe that smile off your strangely pasty face.

Green Bay 31, Detroit 24: There are worse teams than the Packers.

Washington 31, Houston 15: Turnaround fever has of course gripped Washington, as it always does whenever the Redskins put up their first win. (Remember the 2001 season? After starting 0-5, the 'Skins won five in a row. After only the second of those wins, with the team just 2-5, a caller to WTEM asked: "What's it gonna take for this team to make the playoffs?") People, people, before we start casting Mark Brunell's bust for Canton, remember that it's the Texans.

Miami 13, Tennessee 10: This was the only game this week in which I didn't see a single down. Why would you want to? Miami is in deep, deep trouble, and that starts with a T and that rhymes with G and that stands for, "Gee, I didn't think Miami would suck this bad, and yet they do." Why is Kerry Collins still starting for the Titans?

Baltimore 15, Cleveland 14: Holy cow. Teams in the rear-view mirror are even worse than they appear. After smoking Tampa Bay and Oakland by a combined 55-6, the Ravens rolled into Cleveland seemingly guaranteed of another dominating victory over another girls JV squad. Then they went poo in their pants. Fortunately for them, in Cleveland everyone has a dirty brown towel to help you wipe.

Seattle 42, New York Giants 30: Once again, Eli Manning stages one of his famous comebacks by running back interceptions for touchdowns and getting sloppy play from the opposing quarterback and bizarre strategy from the opposing coach. If there's anything we can learn from the past two weeks, it's that against the Giants, there's no such thing as "running up the score" because Manning is such a "great fourth-quarter quarterback."

Philadelphia 38, San Francisco 24: Last year when these two teams met, the Eagles won 42-3. This year, at least San Francisco was able to get in a couple glancing blows while it was getting its head kicked in.

Cincinnati 28, Pittsburgh 20: It wouldn't be nice to point out that for the second straight week, Ben Roethlisberger killed his team with a late interception. An early interception, too. But there it is. How's this for an optical illusion: Charlie Batch, 1-0; Roethlisberger, 0-2.

Indianapolis 21, Jacksonville 14: Sigh. I guess I'm just never going to be right about the Colts. You know they're never going to actually win the "big game." You're just never sure which game is going to be the "big" one they're going to lie down for. Last Monday night, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio urged his team to "leave it all out on the field" when they played the Steelers. It seems they forgot to retrieve their special teams when they left Pittsburgh.

New York Jets 28, Buffalo 20: A graphic on Sunday Night Football told me that this week the Jets became the first team to win a game in which their opponent (the Bills) had a 300-yard passer (J.P. Losman) and a 150-yard rusher (Willis McGahee). It just goes to show you, you can rack up an awful lot of yards just going in circles. Even if you don't fumble a couple times while you're at it.

St. Louis 16, Arizona 14: If you're looking for an explanation from me, I don't have one. These are two NFC West teams. What's worse than fumbling the ball away late in the game when you're up by 2? Fumbling the ball away in field-goal range late in the game when you're down by 2!

Denver 17, New England 7: The Patriots finally put it all together! Week 1: Bad first half, good second half, win. Week 2: Good first half, bad second half, win. Week 3: Bad first half, bad second half, loss. Denver always seems to get the best of New England, but Sunday night the Patriots were sluggish from the coin toss. It's like they really laid it on at the pregame taco bar or somthing. (Hey, maybe the Pats finally hate their coach over the Deion Branch thing!) Whatever the case, Jake Plummer easily shrugged the monkey off his back for at least one more week. Then he kept his helmet on all through the postgame interview with NBC. That boy ain't right.

New Orleans 23, Atlanta 3: OK, I thought we'd established that the Falcons were going to win this year by having Michael Vick run whenever the opportunity presented itself? That he would throw only when he needed to? That he would feed Warrick Dunn? Midway through the fourth quarter, Vick had run the ball four times and thrown it 26 times. (Dunn had run it 12 times.) Of those 26 passes, eight were complete and the rest fell anywhere from 5 to 25 feet from their intended receivers. Atlanta fell behind 14-0 early, but they had the whole game to make up those two touchdowns. Jeremy Shockey would tell you what he thinks about that kind of coaching. Sure, the Saints were high on emotion. And sure, they're good enough to have won this game regardless, but Atlanta's obsession with teaching us whatever the week's lesson about Vick was essentially handed the game over.

SEASON: 29-17
(2005 through Week 3: 27-19)

Down and Distance's exclusive KA-POWER RANKINGS are back for their second year. The product of a simple formula, the rankings have predicted 10 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners. Further, 14 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners finished the regular season No. 1 or No. 2 in the KA-POWER RANKINGS system. Unlike with other, lesser rating systems, no opinion is involved in formulating these rankings. None. Teams are ranked on a centigrade scale, with 100 representing the NFL's strongest team and 0 its weakest. Don't like where your team's ranked? It's not my fault they suck. (Key: WK3 = This week's ranking. WK2 = last week's ranking. POW = KAPOW-ER centigrade score.) NOTE: Due to a data error, the Eagles were ranked No. 21 last week when they should have been No. 14. "WK2" rankings below reflect the corrected data.
11 Chargers 100.001712Patriots 49.15
22 Ravens 84.191823Redskins 47.67
33 Bears 83.781920Cardinals46.72
45 Bengals 67.602015Steelers 46.12
511Saints 66.292117Giants 45.83
67 Seahawks 63.4222T1849ers 44.21
78 Colts 62.662324Panthers 40.92
814Eagles 58.852428Packers 38.42
910Cowboys 57.712525Dolphins 37.38
106 Jaguars 56.332622Browns 37.16
1121Broncos 54.39T2730Lions 29.12
124 Falcons 54.26T2726Texans 29.12
13T18Jets 53.64T2727Chiefs 29.12
1416Rams 51.813029Titans 25.33
1513Vikings 51.643132Bucs 23.40
169 Bills 49.773231Raiders 0.00

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