Monday, December 17, 2007

Week 15: Special kneel on the 1 edition

A lot of upsets pushed me to 9-7 this week. Of course, a lot of bad picks also contributed.


Houston 31, Denver 13
Texans management must have figured that because this game was on NFL Network and was therefore unavailable to vast swaths of the population, they could dress their players like a bunch of fuckin' retards. Despite wearing the gaudiest fruit suits east of the Pecos, the Texans thoroughly thumped the Broncos with a one-two punch of Mario Williams and Sage Rosenfels. Which has to be just about the weirdest sentence you'll read about football this year. Rosenfels started his third straight game, and he won his third straight game. With that in mind, here's a short list of teams that could have had Rosenfels as their starting quarterback, because he was on their roster for four years: the Miami Dolphins. Here's a slightly longer list of the quarterbacks the Dolphins have tried to go with since Rosenfels first got there in 2002: Brian Griese (now with Chicago), A.J. Feeley (now with Philadelphia), Daunte Culpepper (now with Oakland), Joey Harrington (now with Atlanta), and Trent Green (now with a little less ringing in his ears). Meanwhile, Williams recorded three sacks. You know how Tom Brady uses the fact that he was a sixth-round pick as motivation? How he always acts like he's got something to prove? Well, Williams may be the only person ever to use that fact that he was the No. 1 overall pick as motivation in the exact same way. Some guys get in serious trouble after being drafted ahead of where they "should" have gone. They think they're better than they really are, that they don't have anything to learn, and as a result their development gets stunted. Williams, however, has been getting pissed on ever since the Texans picked him. Now, as Reggie Bush and Vince Young are both regressing, he's stepping up. Good for him. It's just too bad he has to do it in a clown suit.

New England 20, N.Y. Jets 10
Watching this game, it certainly seems like there is some bad blood between these two ball clubs. I wonder if there's something to that. You know how for the past three or four years we've been told that "Tom Brady's favorite receiver is whoever's open"? We don't have to worry about that anymore, as Brady now consistently ignores the open man and tries to force it in to Randy Moss in triple coverage.

Tampa Bay 37, Atlanta 3
The most important thing to happen in this game was Micheal Spurlock's 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Every single Buccaneers game of the past decade has included at least one mention of the fact that Tampa Bay had never scored a touchdown on a kickoff return. Whenever the Bucs won the coin toss, we would hear it before the game even began. (It was like how every time Chris Gardocki went back to punt, we had to hear that he'd never had one blocked.) Now we don't have to hear it ever again. And hey, considering everything the Falcons have been through this week, 3 points has to be some kind of moral victory, right?

Minnesota 20, Chicago 13
With even a mediocre quarterback, this game is a blowout for the Vikings. With Tarvaris Jackson, it's a nail-biter. In a game with truly putrid quarterbacking on both sides, at least the Bears could say they were down to their third-stringer. What can Brad Childress say? That the guy he traded up to get, even though no one else wanted him, made one bad decision after another? Michael Vick used to work his team into trouble because he thought his athleticism alone could get him out of any jam. Jackson appears to have the same thing going on, except without the athleticism. In the end, it's fitting that the 2007 Vikings' nationally televised coming-out party came against Chicago, because the Bears' immediate past closely tracks the Vikings' immediate future: A superb defense and a powerful running game ultimately undone by poor quarterbacking. A shame, really.

Green Bay 33, St. Louis 14
Here's what I couldn't help but notice about the NFL's division leaders after Sunday's games. The 12-1 Cowboys lost to the 5-8 Eagles. The 14-0 Patriots struggled against the 3-10 Jets, as did the 11-2 Colts against the 4-9 Jets. The 9-4 Seahawks and the 9-4 Steelers both lost. The Buccaneers played very well -- against a team whose QB is in prison and whose coach is in Arkansas (you decide which is worse) -- but last week, they shat the bed against the Texans. Meanwhile, the Packers thoroughly dismantled the 3-10 Rams. Someone needs to tell me what it means.

San Diego 51, Detroit 14
And the holocaust is complete. Another Lions season crumbles to ashes and acrimony, as LaDanian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers find something they can agree on: Kicking the shit out of Detroit is fun!

Tennessee 26, Kansas City 17
Too little, too late.

Indianapolis 21, Oakland 14
Cleveland 8, Buffalo 0


Miami 22, Baltimore 16 (OT)
What a waste. People have no sense of history.

New Orleans 31, Arizona 24
Coming into the season, the Saints were such a sexy Super Bowl pick that it's easy to forget that last year they were a mere 10-6, just a hair above mediocrity. Yes, they were the No. 2 seed in the NFC, but that says far more about the sad state of the NFC than it does about the Saints themselves. This year, they're right on track for another 8-8 finish. Which means that, taking out the 3-13 Katrina season, the Saints' records over the past seven years are: 10-6, 7-9, 9-7, 8-8, 8-8, 10-6, 8-8. Same old, same old. And you wonder why I'd pick the Cardinals on the road.

San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 13
The highlight of this game was hearing both Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk call out Bryant Gumbel, on the air, as an idiot who knows nothing about football. The occasion was the 49ers choosing to go for it on fourth down in the fourth quarter rather than attempt the field goal that would have put them up by two scores. Prime Time and Marshall both said they liked the call by San Francisco coach Mike Nolan. Basically, they said, the season is lost -- as is Nolan's job, probably -- so why not really challenge your team there? But Gumbel -- who referred to Tony Romo as "Rick Romo," who confused the Packers and Cowboys for most of three quarters, who misses four out of five down-and-distance calls -- was having none of it. He actually raised his voice at Faulk. That was when Sanders started making vicious fun of him.

Carolina 13, Seattle 10
Didn't see that coming.

Jacksonville 29, Pittsburgh 22
Or that, although I guess I should have.

Philadelphia 10, Dallas 6
Or that. And you know who's responsible for Philly's upset victory, don't you? Damn right: A.J. Feeley. As I watched the game, I thought: I really wish Fox would show us some more shots of Jessica Simpson sitting up in her luxury suite, showing how levelheaded she is by drooling out of both sides of her mouth, while her boyfriend takes a dump all over the Texas Stadium carpet. Jessica Simpson ... what a fucking fraud. With the exception of, say, Paris Hilton, is there any pop-culture figure who is more completely done than Jessica Simpson? She was so sure she was going to be the next Jennifer Lopez, some global multimedia star, instead of the zit-faced dumbass yokel she'll always be. And now the only way she has to stay relevant is to take Carrie Underwood's sloppy seconds. Shit, no wonder Tony Romo threw the game away, knowing he was going to have to go back to the hotel and stick it in that venus flytrap. OK, that was crude.

Washington 22, N.Y. Giants 10

SEASON: 149-75 (66.5%)
(2006 through Week 15: 136-88, 60.7%)
(2005 through Week 15: 155-69, 69.2%)

Down and Distance's exclusive KA-POWER RANKINGS are back for their third year. The product of a simple formula, the rankings have predicted 10 of the last 17 Super Bowl winners. Further, 14 of the last 17 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: W15 = This week's ranking. W14 = Last week's ranking. POW = KA-POWER centigrade score)
11 Patriots100.001719Redskins 40.98
22 Colts 82.981816Bengals 38.02
34 Packers 78.091918Cardinals 37.23
43 Steelers 73.482021Bears 30.41
55 Cowboys 72.872122Broncos 27.04
69 Chargers 65.612223Raiders 26.63
76 Seahawks 65.012320Lions 25.75
810Bucs 64.522425Jets 21.35
97 Jaguars 64.042524Bills 21.28
108 Vikings 60.352627Panthers 20.40
1112Eagles 46.592726Ravens 19.09
1213Saints 46.292828Chiefs 12.85
1314Browns 45.542931Dolphins 9.96
1411Giants 45.093029Rams 9.62
1515Texans 44.02313249ers 4.76
1617Titans 41.503230Falcons 0.00
Teams eliminated this week* from Super Bowl championship consideration (what?): Giants, Seahawks. Teams previously eliminated: Dolphins, Rams, Jets, Falcons, Bengals, Texans, Raiders, Bears, Vikings, 49ers, Broncos, Cardinals, Eagles, Ravens, Chiefs, Panthers, Saints, Bills, Chargers, Redskins, Titans, Lions, Browns, Bucs.
*Though the Steelers have posted five losses, they've proved they can win the Super Bowl with an 11-5 record. So they get a pass for now.

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