Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Week 12: Meet our new draft pick

What a weekend. First I hit the Turkey Day Hat Trick by picking all three Thanksgiving Day games correctly. Then this little guy made an appearance at 4:46 p.m. on Friday:

Quentin, and he ain't no Jammer

When all was said and done, I was 11-5 in the picks for Week 12. I could have gone 14-2 if only the 49ers could finish and Eli Manning and Rex Grossman would quit trying to outdo each other in regressing the farthest the fastest.

Miami 27, Detroit 10: Deacon Jones once memorably told Peter Brady that a real man can both play tackle football and sing in the glee club, and that a love of making music doesn't mean you're a pussy. Peter Brady lived that advice, and now he's a buff motherfucker peddling workout scams on TV. Miami Dolphins quarterback Joey Harrington also learned this lesson, for better or worse. You know who hasn't learned it? The Detroit Lions. Detroit, a franchise always in search of newer and deeper lows, reached a new one during Week 12 -- a display of childishness, classlessness and scumminess that was all the more appalling because it came on Thanksgiving Day, before a nationally televised game. The Lions, who host (and lose) a Thanksgiving game every fall, this year were facing the Harrington-led Dolphins. There was no question that Harrington was going to be booed by the Detroit fans. Harrington, whom Detroit made the No. 3 overall pick in the 2002 draft, spent four years with the Lions and wound up saddled with a ridiculously outsized portion of the blame for the culture of losing that the franchise has wallowed in for decades. Hell, Harrington himself expected Lions fans to give him an earful. What he probably didn't expect was that the Ford Field gameday operations staff would bend over backwards to try to mock and humiliate him. Actually, maybe he did expect it. He'd spent enough time with the Lions to know what a cesspool this organization is. To sum up what happened: Before each game, a team decides whether it wants its offense or defense introduced over the PA system. The Dolphins chose to introduce their defense. The Detroit PA crew went ahead and introduced the Miami defense ... and Joey Harrington. Cue the boos. Worse, the music chosen for the introductions was Piano Man, mocking Harrington for his once-featured-on-MNF piano playing. Some teams are poorly run. Some teams are poorly managed. Some teams are awful on the field. But the rat-fuck operation in Detroit tops them all. Is it any wonder that the Lions are the worst team in the league? Is it any wonder that no matter who plays quarterback for the Lions, the result is always the same? And is it any wonder that Matt Millen, the Lions' craven, shitty general manager, the man who makes all the decisions, hires the coaches, picks the players, sets the tone for the franchise and yet blames everyone but himself for repeated failure, is a Ford employee?

Dallas 38, Tampa Bay 10: Romo, shlomo. The best news out of Dallas this week is that Bill Parcells finally gave Mike Vanderjagt the boot. And unlike Vanderjagt, Parcells made solid contact. Thus Vanderjagt completes the quickest transition from unflappable-top-drawer kicker to ineffective-head-case kicker since Martin Grammatica. And who did the Cowboys sign to replace Vandy? Martin Grammatica.

Kansas City 19, Denver 10: If there's one thing common to players and coaches around the league, it's the way they bitch about "the media" drumming up controversies based on unsourced reports. So if you're Mike Shanahan and the subject is your (at the time speculative) pending quarterback change, what do you do when the "media" in question is the league-owned and -operated NFL Network?

New Orleans 31, Atlanta 13: Oh, and fuck you, too ya tool.

Cincinnati 30, Cleveland 0: And here I'd given up on the Bengals.

Baltimore 27, Pittsburgh 0: I've never really liked the Ravens. Fortunately, Joey Porter got me to dislike the Steelers even more.

Minnesota 31, Arizona 26: A game against the Cardinals is just what it takes to make Brad Johnson feel under 50 again. On the other side, Matt Leinart had thrown for over 400 yards, and yet in the 59th minute, all Arizona had on the board was two Neil Rackers field goals, a freak special teams TD and a freak defensive TD. The Cards are back, baby!

N.Y. Jets 26, Houston 11: I guess I can understand why Texas and cities in the AFC East got this stinker, but what did the Green Bay market do to deserve it?

San Diego 21, Oakland 14: I'm not saying the Raiders are better than teams think they are. I'm saying the Raiders aren't as bad as teams think they are. There's a difference, and it nearly bit the Chargers in the ass.

Indianapolis 45, Philadelphia 21: If Edgerrin James had a little Joseph Addai doll, he'd be sticking pins in it. And bet you didn't know the Eagles defense was riding on Donovan McNabb's knee, too, did you?

Seattle 34, Green Bay 24: Tell me again, what's the value of having Jerramy Stevens on your team? Look, no one expects tight ends to make circus catches or outrun corners in the open field. But they do expect that when a tight end gets open and his quarterback puts the ball right in his hands, he will catch it. Further, when he catches the ball, he will hold onto it when hit by a defender. This is, after all, tackle football. Yet Monday night, as always, Stevens dropped one perfect or near-perfect pass after another. On at least two occasions he caught the ball and tucked it away, only to drop it on contact. When he finally did hold onto a couple passes, first for a 2-point conversion and later for Seattle's clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter, he strutted and pounded his chest like the overvalued clown he was exposed as in the Super Bowl.

Washington 20, Carolina 17: You know, even when the Redskins manage to claim a decent victory over a respectable (though directionless) team like the Panthers, all I can think of is how sad the situation is. Washington's defense played solidly, and Jason Campbell and Ladell Betts sort of looked like they knew what they were doing back there. Given a little time and a few tweaks, the Redskins could have the beginnings of something. But they won't get any time and there's no way they'll have only a few tweaks. That's because the Redskins are 4-7, which means they won't be going to the playoffs. Which means at the end of the regular season, this roster will be disassembled, again, and anyone who emerged this year as a solid role player with a promising future will be cut loose in favor of a free agent with more name than talent. Then again, the Skins did that last year, too, even though they made the playoffs. See? Sad.

St. Louis 20, San Francisco 17: If NFL games were 59 minutes long, I'd have gotten this one right. That's true often, it seems. We shouldn't get too excited about the 49ers just yet, but they're beating bad teams and playing mediocre ones close. That's the key to an 8-8 record. Considering the way San Francisco has played this century, this is good news.

Buffalo 27, Jacksonville 24: Does anyone care about the Jaguars anymore? One week after dominating the Giants, they roll over for the sorry Bills.

Tennessee 24, N.Y. Giants 21: You can call this an upset if you like, but Tennessee is capable of beating any team in the league -- or losing to any team by three touchdowns. Just like the Giants are capable of losing to any team in the league -- or beating any team by three touchdowns. (On Sunday, the Giants managed to do both.) I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who realizes that Mathias Kiwanuka let Vince Young escape what would have been the game-clinching sack because he was afraid the referee would flag him for roughing the passer. That makes at least two games this year (Bucs-Bengals being the other) in which the outcome hinged on the officials' increasingly insane interpretation of rules intended to protect owners' investment in their quarterbacks. One of the dullest saws in pro football commentary is the complaint that "they coddle QBs so much they should just wear skirts out there," or somesuch. But this is just getting ridiculous. All that said, considering that the Giants went into the fourth quarter up 21-0, the game should never have come down to that fourth-down play. Question: Is there any quarterback who is unraveling even remotely as quickly as Eli Manning?

New England 17, Chicago 13:Answer: Yes, Rex Grossman!

SEASON: 107-69
(2005 through Week 10: 118-58)

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 is ranked? Blame science. (Key: W12 = This week's ranking. W11 = last week's ranking. POW = KAPOW-ER centigrade score)
11 Bears 100.001718Vikings 39.47
22 Patriots 85.861814Steelers 38.57
35 Ravens 83.231923Jets 34.30
43 Chargers 80.622020Rams 33.17
56 Cowboys 77.242117Falcons 31.63
64 Jaguars 70.882222Bills 30.62
79 Colts 65.442325Redskins 25.68
813Bengals 56.672424Lions 19.41
98 Broncos 56.212526Packers 19.17
1012Saints 53.792628Titans 18.64
117 Eagles 51.872721Browns 17.45
12T10Chiefs 51.862829Cardinals16.82
13T10Giants 47.52293049ers 15.74
1419Dolphins42.903027Texans 14.58
1515Panthers42.883132Raiders 4.86
1616Seahawks41.353231Bucs 0.00
Teams eliminated this week from Super Bowl championship consideration (what?): Jaguars, Giants, Panthers. Teams previously eliminated: Raiders, Titans, Lions, Dolphins, Cardinals, Redskins, Browns, Bills, Texans, Buccaneers, 49ers, Steelers, Packers, Bengals, Vikings, Rams, Jets, Eagles, Falcons.

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