Home team in ALL CAPS
Clemson 31 VTECH 23. Clemson may finally be consistent ,and I think the Hokies need more of a passing game. However, I always underestimate VT early and get burned.
Georgia Tech 38 NC ST 24- I love Coach Johnson's O and NC St is still suffering from Post- Russell Wilson syndrome
Duke 35 FIU 34- Cutliffe's O should be enough to edge a suspect FIU D
BC 17 Wake- 14 Both teams have ragged edges but home field should save BC.
Idaho 20 VA 19- The Vandals travel east from the WAC to steal the Cavs handles (borrowed from Bob Dylan)
North Carolina 30 EAST CAROLINA 28- This battle is always tougher than folks expect. Renner , the UNC QB, has 7 TDs and 6 Ints
MD 31 Towson 13- Towson is a 1AA school about 15 minutes from my house and their biggest claim to fame is punter Sean Landetta , who punted for nearly 20 years in the NFL.
MIAMI (FLA) 49 Bethune Cookman 6 1AA tonic for the weakened canes.
Welcome to the tantrums, where this week we bid goodbye to September and look forward to what I consider to be the best month of the year – October! Here around my bunker, the folks never let a beautiful Indian Summer weekend go to waste. If there was ever a place in the good ole U. S. of A. that would kick off Octoberfest early, it’s right here in the Gold Country. The annual Blues and Brews fest kicks “harvest season” into full gear and I still haven’t heard from the participants, so I can’t even begin to imagine. Uh, never mind – ON TO THE SPORTS:
Rant of the Week – Officiating. Is it me or are the football refs inserting themselves into games at all levels much more this season than usual? Would somebody tell the Zebras that they don’t have to be part of the show?
MLB. Public Service Announcement for my boys in Beantown, Crisis Intervention is available - I don't want to hear about anybody swingin' from a shower rod or going postal while the Sawx are having the mother of all meltdowns.
Atlanta just got a bailout from the worst team in the league - the Houston Astros! Damn St. Louis, everything going right, Atlanta has Philly and you have Houston and you can't get the job done. What's up with that?
Way to finish strong SF Giants - NOT!
But what about Matt Kemp and his chase for the triple crown - and he plays for the Dodgers? Hey San Francisco, you just might want to sign this guy!
The soon-to-be Miami Marlins are now negotiating a trade for Ozzie Guillen? I think this makes sense as long as Guillen doesn't get any more stupid. Speaking of which, the White Sox letting you go and you demanding more money Ozzie?
NFL. What a Sunday. First off, Buffalo and Detroit going 3-0 doesn't suck at all, does it?
New England and the Jets both lost, so that means we won’t have to listen to watch that incessant nut-swinging from the media, and I’m enjoying it, at least for one week. While I’m enjoying things, Jets Antonio Cromartie getting four defensive holding calls, and getting torched a couple of times beyond that.
Miami is entering the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Too bad for Luck, because Miami has not a clue how to build a team – the stupid asses!
Indy is absolutely proving my point about Pittsburgh that if you punch the bully in the mouth and they back down. But Sheriff Goddell needs to take a look at some highlight film because James Farrior was taking some post play shots on Kerry Collins. Harrison knows he’s being watched, so now Farrior becomes the bully on the block.
How many times in a season is Tony Romo going to line up in the shotgun, have it snapped back to him, and he not being ready for it? He's the QB, he's the leader - stop blaming the Center., Dallas got cheated on that hit that Ball laid on Santana Moss that cost them 15 yards late in the game.
Dallas has six field goals and can't get into the end zone, yet Tony Romo is being nominated for sainthood. Hey MNF, STFU. Here we go again, let the knob-gobblin' of the Cowboys begin. Oh, lookie here, Ed Werder is back in Dallas.
Hey Cow-patties, do you hear that roar? It's a menacing noise coming from the boys in Detroit - they're coming to your house with bad intentions, and if your o-line keeps playing the way it has, not only will Tony Romo get knocked the hell out, so will Jon Kitna, and that third stringer Texas QB. Big Mr. Suh will have an appointment with the Sheriff about the beating he's gonna throw on Dallas.
Oh, and if I'm the Washington Redskins, I'm looking for a new Right side of the O-Line and #77 would be cut on the spot!
College Football. I’m nowhere near an LSU fan, but if they’re not ranked #1 this week, there should be an investigation. They destroyed Oregon, dominated Misissippi State, and ran away from West Virginia. Quite simply, there isn’t anybody out there who has played a tougher schedule to date.
Domer fan had to have been sweating bullets Saturday with that performance against the scrubs from Pitt. Hey Domers, 15-13? You have got to be kidding me. Sorry Beeze, but I gotta go there. I’m sick of listening to how much talent this team has. Either you show it, or the media needs to shut the hell up. Lou Holtz has to be on the verge of a coronary.
Beaver Report. If this was the Beavers toughest challenge, I’m putting up the lawn chair and sippin’ on a cool adult beverage because Saturday was complete and utter destruction of the Delta Mustangs, who were also being talked about in being nationally ranked. The Beavers won 51-9. The QB tossed for 400 yards, three RB's ran wild, and the defense was on a big-time mission. If this keeps up, their defense is going to need a nickname. They’ve won 57-10, 42-7, and now 51-9.
Jerry batted down two passes, had some QB hurries, and a few tackles. But the defense is so dominant that everybody contributes big time.
The national JC rankings come out tomorrow and I have to believe that instead of being "honorable mention", the Beavers will be somewhere in the top 25!
Mustang Football. I said last week how the Mustangs are confusing me. This week, they traveled a ways to play the Zebras. How’s this for consistency? They go up 28-0 in the first quarter, nurse a 35-28 lead at the half, and win 70-35?
Canadian Football League. I originally didn't catch this, but dude just went shoulder first into the goal post. Check it out, and thanks to the boys across the street for reminding me.
Music - Cheap Trick. Haven't bashed the Frenchies in a while, so why not a little Cheap Trick - Surrender:
Douche Bag of the Week. The telemarketer/survey that I just had to go through. 'Nuff said!
PEACE AND RANTING FOREVER!!!
Keeping in the spirit of my fellow columnists putting hot females up, I figured I would salute the teams whom their play will now garner more attention than the cheerleaders
Hey-Ho Buffalo, the Bills are 3-0
The Motor City can have more "Pride" than just the cheerleaders
Greetings from the Hoodwood, where the fall colors are just starting to emerge. No real header this week, the column is all over the places
Even though I picked it, I was hoping that I was going to be wrong. I just could not believe that the Lions…you know the same old sorry ass Lions would roll into Minneapolis and beat the Vikings (Yes, I am an unabashed Vikings fan) I was living in Minneapolis the last time that the Lions beat the Vikings in 1997 (Not 1993 as I mistakenly put in my Week 3 preview) I didn’t think much of it, especially when the next year I got to see the Vikings hammer the Lions 29-6. I didn’t also think that would be the last season that Barry Sanders would be playing. But 13 years later the Lions couldn’t win in Minneapolis. The old line was “when in doubt bring the Lions out” Well it’s a new day for the team once known as the Motor City Kitties. They rallied from a 20-0 halftime deficit to win in OT. Lions fans have every right to be excited, in previous years they would have rolled over and hibernated. This year they rallied smartly and got the win…
But as I mentioned before, I am a Vikings fan and this is getting beyond the point of exasperation. I know the mantra of its not over till its over, but really how big of a fucking lead does a team need to have to feel like that they have the game iced. I know, I know, the Vikings have scored all of 6 points in the second half in 3 games. 6…two field goals… I am also starting to wonder about the playcalling of Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier. I think that he is suspiciously cut out of the mold that was Brad Childress, the former Vikings coach that I took great pains to despise. The curious play call of giving the ball to Toby Gerhart on a 4thand 1 when Adrian Peterson was the one waving the field goal unit back and should have gotten the carry was maddening. I don’t know. If the Vikes lose next week in Kansas City…oh Lord help us.
The Bills are the other team that seems to have gotten fully off the mat and done so swinging. Their rally from 21-0 to beat the Patriots was nothing short of masterful. When Tom Brady throws four picks in one game…he only threw four picks all of last season kids. You know you are doing something right. The Bills have ratcheted up the excitement something fierce in Western New York. No one is making fun of Ryan Fitzpatrick being from Harvard now (bet the Bengals wish they had've kept him) Everyone is scrambling to figure out where Coe College is (Its in Iowa, I had a girlfriend that almost went there) The bandwagon is getting full real fast. I'll attribute the Bills fast start from last year when they got up off the mat to rally and outgun the Bengals after spotting them a 28-7 lead, that win gave them the moxie to think that they could indeed rally from any point and they have done so twice this season. Guess who the Bills get to face this week and will likely go to 4-0???
Switching gears as the MLB season begins to wind down all six of the divisional races have been settled but as usual the respective wild card slot are coming down to the last day. Atlanta is trying to hold off a hard charging St. Louis squad that was all but written off as late as ten days ago and has tried every type of meltdown to fade from the Wild Card race, but the Cards are just a game out as the last three games of the season commence. They also have a highly favorable matchup, the Braves have to deal with the irrepressable Phillies who are set to crack the 100 win mark, while the Cards are getting (hold the laughter please) the Astros who have already lost more than 100 games and mailed it in back on Memorial Day...
If there was anyone I dont mind lashing out at is the New York Yankees (or Jankees as my friend Jaime would call them) already safely ensconced in the playoffs as AL East Champs for the umpteenth billionth time the Yankees are trying to get their rotation set for the playoffs, but Joe Girardi is already complaining about the turnaround between the seasons last day tomorrow and the start of the playoffs on Friday. I guess the Yanks would like it better if all their playoff games were in the Bronx and that they could claim a win as soon as they got the lead. Girardi was quoted at ESPN New York.com voicing his displeasure "I think we're in a tough position and one of the reasons we're in a tough position is you only got one day off,'' Girardi said. "I think you should have two days off. Then you can manage the last game of the season accordingly.'' Whine whine, fucking whine. It isnt enough that your team has all the advantages and lords it over everyone...Sheesh
Does anyone really truly care about the NBA lockout/labor dispute? I mean when the NFL was locked out many people, your humble scribe included was doing some serious jonesing…even though aside from the Hall of Fame game there were no games lost, the sporting world sat with baited breath to see if we would lose any football. The NBA saw what happened to the NFL and thought that a major power play of its own was needed. So what if the game was at its healthiest and most popular since before the last lockout, so what if TV ratings were higher than ever, so what if two network broadcasting and your own TV network were pulling in boffo ratings and revenue. All Stern and his ilk are doing is itching for a fight and claiming that salaries that they propogated are too high. Im still trying to figure how the NBA owners lost $300 million last year. With the start of training camps now delayed and the 11-12 season in real danger. The owners and players have returned to the bargaining table today. Will it help? Will it do nothing more than fan the flames of a conflagration that is already out of control and the larger question, will anyone really care? I usually don’t really start watching the NBA till at least Christmas and not fully pay attention to it till about the time the NCAA tourney starts. I remember the 50 game sprint in the 1999 season. (I don’t say 98-99 because there were no games played until after the calendar turned.) That was intense albeit sometimes sloppy basketball.
Phat Dap/ Head Slap
This one goes to the Minnesota Lynx, the WNBA team that will be making its first championship appearance in franchise history. I have a soft spot for this team because in a small subtle way I helped Minnesota get their franchise. Lets rewind back to 1998 when your humble scribe was just about to graduate from Brown College in Minnesota with a BA in Applied Science-Broadcasting. I had an assignment to write and produce a radio commercial. Out of ideas for a spot, I did something I did often I cracked open the sports page. I read that the WNBA was in the process of granting expansion franchises and that Minnesota was on the short list to get a team. The one catch was that the team had to get 5000 season ticket orders to get the franchise. Inspired, I wrote, voiced over and produced a commercial , urging Minnesota residents to get their ticket orders in. I turned the commercial in and got my usual A grade (I did graduate with honors from Brown in 1998). My instructor told me when he gave me my spot back “Hey this is really good, did you ever think about selling this spot?” I made a few phone calls and was put in touch with the group that was trying to get the franchise. I sold them the spot for $1000 and a few days later nearly drove off the road when I heard my voice on the radio. Of course Minnesota got its franchise in the Lynx and the group I sold the sot to sent me a letter telling me that I have seats available to me for any Lynx game. It was kind of hard to do so after I moved away from Minnesota but have had lots a friends use them. I got the chance to use my own tickets for the first time in ten years, when I went up for my recent birthday. Courtside tickets so rock! But serious dap to the Lynx for winning their first Western Conference title in franchise history.
To Tajh Boyd of Clemson who if there was ever an “Oh nooooo what are you doing?!” moment it was this play against the Florida State on Saturday
His knee looked like it was down, but on the for real you cant do stuff like that.
Bandits Football Update
The Butler County Bandits left 40 points on the bench with Joe Flacco, and left 27 points on the bench in Ryan Fitpatrick opting to go with top QB draft choice Matt Ryan, still the Bandits managed to upset the defending HHFL champion Doberman Gang 98-96 to get their first win of the season.
The Chocolate City Black Bandits did not fare so well despite 37 points from top draft pick Drew Brees, they fell to the Dark Knights 62-56 and are now 1-2.
Usually the column is a bit longer but this week your humble scribe is battling the stomach flu and was lucky to get this out....ewww bad choice of words considering everything that has been coming out of both ends... I'll have my picks posted at the end of the week...gotta do hella better than week 3.
Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!
Welcome to week 2 run down of the Chase. Where a 5 time champ is still sliding back, a 4 time champs drive 4 for 5 is still alive, a wild card is on fire, fuel mileage yet again decides the winner and the points have been mixed up Bond style. Shaken. Not stirred.
STARTING POSITIONS - Ryan Newman pole position - Kurt Busch 5th - Kevin Harvick 6th - Jeff Gordon 7th - Kyle Busch 8th - Tony Stewart 20th - Carl Ewards 23rd - Matt Kenseth 27th - Denny Hamlin 28th
DENNY HAMLIN - Started his day in 28th but through pit stops by half way he was 23rd. By lap 200 he was 13th. With 10 laps to go he was 6th and his crew chief said he had enough fuel so go get it. With 3 laps to go Denny is out of fuel and comes home in 29th and 1 lap down. This finish doesn't reflect the progress he made all day on the track. Denny stays in 12th place in the standings and 66 points away from the point leader. Got to find that lost mojo. At this point unless every body has 2-3 bad races an ice cube has a better chance in hell than he has for that trophy.
MATT KENSETH - A very quiet day as usual for Matt. He started in 27th and slowly worked his way to 21st by half way. A potential race ending spin caused by his team mate Carl Edwards around lap 165 caused no damage so it was on to 13th at lap 250, 9th place with 10 to go and a 6th to bring it home. Good day. He's up 3 spots to 7th in the points.
CARL EDWARDS - Also a quiet day except for the accidental bump into team mate Kenseth. Starts out in 23rd. Hangs out between 14th and 18th most of the day. With 10 to go he's 10th and brings it home in 8th. Good points day. Only loses one spot and drops to 4th in the standings.
KYLE BUSCH - Started his day in 8th. Was hanging out between 11th and 14th most of the day fighting traffic and with 21 laps to go he's fighting over 13th spot with Jimmie Johnson. Their wheels lock, Jimmies fender gets bent and Kyle wins the spot. At 10 laps to go he's 14th and brings it home 11th. Not a bad day. He's up 3 spots to 6th in the standings.
KURT BUSCH - This guys day went from bad to worse. Started out failing pre race inspection due to not removing the caps off the hubs that keep the axle rods in place. Measurements were off, repairs were made, inspection retake, almost late to be pushed to the starting grid and there he is in 5th place. Kurt's downward spiral continues at the drop of the green flag as he drops to 10th by lap 20 and 27th by the half way mark. He never gets his car dialed in and is 25th and 1 lap down with 10 to go. He finishes at 22nd and 1 lap down. He drops 5 positions to 9th in the standings.
DALE EARNHARDT JR - Starts out 12th hangs out between 13th and 8th most of the day. With 71 to go a flat right front drops him into the 20's. With 10 laps to go he's fought back to 16th only to come home 17th due to the another right front flat. He explains after the race it was due to too much camber. This is an adjustment on the wheel that makes it lean. This track is so flat drivers are dialing on the camber adjustment to make up for the tracks flat surface. Less tire surface is touching the track so a chance of a blown tire is way more possible. Not so good day. He drops 3 positions to 8th in the points.
RYAN NEWMAN - Our pole sitter spent the first half of the day in the top 10. Green flag pit stops being what they are he slowly gets mired back in the top 15 fighting fiercely for track position. With 10 laps to go he's in 12th but with 5 to go he's in the pits for a right front flat. I'm guessing it's a camber issue brought on by fighting so hard for track position his crew chief opted for that quick fix. He drops 4 spots to 11th in the standings.
JIMMIE JOHNSON - Our 5 time champ is dropping. He starts his day in 10th where he holds steady getting as far as 7th at one point but dropping to 15th by lap 200. With 21 laps to go he's fighting with Kyle over 13th spot and loses. At 10 to go he's in 20th and brings it home in 18th. He loses 2 spots to arrive at 10th in the point standings.
BRAD KESELOWSKI - Our flaming wild card is on a roll. Didn't start out in the best position at 16th but through good pit stops he finally finds himself in 4th with 10 laps to go. He finishes in 2nd due to Gordon backing off to save fuel, Kasey Kahne having to go in for fuel with 16 to go and Bowyer running out of fuel with 2 to go. Excellent points day as he moves up 3 spots to 3rd in the points.
KEVIN HARVICK - Very quiet day for Kevin. Started out in 6th and stayed around there for half the day but pit stops put him in 14th at 200 laps in. With about 50 to go he's complaining that his team mate Clint Bowyer who is leading better share why he's getting such great gas mileage at the Monday meeting. At 10 laps to go he's in 15th and brings it home 12th. Not a bad points day but he drops one spot to 2nd in the standings.
JEFF GORDON - Very eventful day coming off his fuel mileage gamble and loss to a 24th place and 2 laps down finish at Chicagoland. He starts in 7th and quickly snags 3rd by lap 50. Leads lap 64 during green flag pit stops for that all important point for leading a lap. Green flag stops start with Montoya around lap 160 but Gordon drags his feet coming in when a caution comes out at lap 154 for Landon Cassil smacking the wall. Gordon, Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne and David Ragan are the only 4 on the lead lap. Gordon makes his pit stop and every one a lap down gets the wave around to get back on the lead lap. Gordon leads at restart. At 70 to go Gordon comes in for green flag stop and his car shuts down due to running out of fuel. He has a 21.6 second stop. Not good and he loses his lead. With 34 to go Letarte is urging Gordon to save fuel. He may not have got all of it the last time in the pits. With 10 to go he's 5th and backs off the gas to save fuel. He makes it, gets a 4th place finish and breaths a sigh of relief. He gets a point for leading the most laps as well as one for leading a lap. His fuel mileage gamble pays off with a 6 spots increase to 5th in the points.
TONY STEWART - Comes off a win at Chicagoland to garner another win at New Hampshire. Started off in 20th but was in the top 15 for the first half of the race. By lap 200 he was 7th. With 10 laps to go he's in 2nd stalking Clint Bowyer in 1st waiting for him to run out of fuel. Bowyer does run out with 2 laps to go and Tony goes on to the victory and up one spot to the points lead in the standings. Very interesting win because last year the rolls were reversed with Tony running out and Bowyer stalking Tony for the win.
POINT STANDINGS - Tony Stewart 2094 - Kevin Havick 2087 - Brad Keselowski 2083 - Carl Edwards 2080 - Jeff Gordon 2071 - Kyle Busch 2068 - Matt Kenseth 2068 - Dale Earnhardt Jr 2068 - Kurt Busch 2066 - Jimmie Johnson 2065 - Ryan Newman 2060 - Denny Hamlin 2028
Again NASCAR chose to not throw a phantom debris caution and save those about to run out. And again I say thank you for letting the race play itself out. Our next stop on the 10 race tour is Dover International Speedway. The Monster Mile with a mascot named Miles who is 46 feet high and made of fiberglass. He was presented to the track in 2008 by AAA. Ryan Newman was the first to win a Miles the Monster trophy that same year in September. In 2004 a glass enclosed bridge was built over turn 3 for fans to get a different race view although there isn't a bad seat in the house. It's a 1 mile concrete track with 24 degrees of banking in the turns and 9 degrees of banking on the very short straight a ways. Speeds of up to 175 mph can be reached. This track is known for being tough on drivers and cars. Get a bad starting position and you'll find yourself a lap down before you know it. It's known for race day ending pile ups too. Newman is very good at qualifying so I expect him to get another pole. Edwards is another who is good here. But I'm thinking that Gordon will be taking this one. He's due. But of course my heart is with Tony.
You all have a great day......
Don't You Forget About Me
Tim Hightower rebounded from a mediocre first week as a Redskin to explode against the Arizona Cardinals, his former team, last week. He ran for 96 yards on 20 carries, most of which happened in the first half of the Redskins 22-21 victory.
His backup, rookie Roy Helu, piled up an additional 74 yards on just 10 attempts. Yet both did not get many touches in the second half as offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan seemed to call for a pass every down. Though Washington eked out a win, Shanahan's disregard for the effective running game hearkened back to 2010.
If was the first year he and his dad held jobs in the organization. There were quite a few games the team lost, like the their match up with the Indianapolis Colts, where he got obsessed with calling pass plays and it cost his team in the end.
The Dallas Cowboys have been stout at stopping the run for several years, so most teams have been attacking their dinged up secondary. Yet their offense relies on the pass so much, it could mean their defense spends much more time on the gridiron.
If this happens, then an effective run game will be needed even more. Especially in the fourth quarter, where most overworked defenses begin to tire. Hightower and Helu will need carries all game, not just a portion of it. The old adage that a good ground game gives the offense more options will certainly come into play if Shanahan decides to opt for a better offensive balance.
Not only are two of the Cowboys best cornerbacks dealing with injury issues already, a third will not play at all because of an ankle problem. This could benefit Washington when quarterback Rex Grossman looks to pass.
Orlando Scandrick is out and his replacement, veteran Terence Newman, is playing in his first game this year because of a nagging groin injury. Grossman will probably test that groin a lot, as well as nickle back Alan Ball. The Redskins currently have the ninth best passing attack in the NFL, and four different wide receivers have receptions.
Santana Moss may be the best receiver Washington has, but Mike Jenkins may shadow him. Jenkins, who has a sore shoulder, is the best cornerback Dallas has right now. This means Anthony Armstrong and Jabar Gaffney will need to beat Newman and Ball.
Tight end Fred Davis has been amazing since coming into training camp in better shape. He is averaging a healthy 17.4 yards on 11 receptions, so Washington was afforded to let Chris Cooley fully recuperate from a knee injury. Cooley is now back, so he gives the Redskins another weapon.
Washington has had some early successes in the pass same this season, so this is a game to keep the momentum going. If Newman is still hobbled, it will draw safety help and give Davis or Cooley more chances to gouge Dallas for big chucks of yards after the catch.
No Miles To Run
Miles Davis is the best Cowboys receiver. He leads the team in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns this year. He has been vital to an offense with an inept ground game. Dallas averaged barely over two yards per attempt this season, and starting halfback Felix Jones is dealing with a shoulder issue.
The other starting wide receiver, Dez Bryant, has a thigh injury that has limited him to one game so far. This has made Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rely heavily on Miles and Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten. Witten's 13 catches is one less than Davis.
If Bryant is still too hurt to be his usual dynamic self, this helps the Redskins because they have a few injuries in their defensive secondary. Josh Wilson and DeAngelo Hall are not at full health, but are expected to play. Strong safety LaRon Landry has yet to play this season, because of a hurt hamstring, and his is listed as questionable.
His replacement, Reed Doughty, is good against the run but mediocre versus the pass. Romo, now having to lean on Witten, will go after Doughty in a number of attempts that will exceed double digits. Even if Doughty is assigned to reserve tight ends Martellus Bennett and John Phillips, Romo will look to pick on him much like Eli Manning did two weeks ago.
If Dallas has wide receivers like Kevin Ogletree and Jesse Holly as their weapons, perhaps free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe can focus on Witten and give Romo a harder time. Since Romo is already dealing with broken ribs, the secondary shutting down the Cowboys passing attack will leave the quarterback more available to being hit by Washington's pass rushers.
Dallas has two placekickers on their 2011 roster. One, rookie Dan Bailey, handles all of the short kicks. The other, David Buehler, is injured in the groin of his kicking leg and will try to play. Washington's diminutive return specialist Brandon Banks may get a shot a returning kickoffs if Buehler's injury shortens his kickoffs.
Considering Dallas may have the best punter in the NFL in Mat McBriar, it was unlikely Banks would get many opportunities whenever the Washington defense forced McBriar on the field. It will also be an uneasy situation for Dallas if Baily has to attempt anything longer than 50 yards, though Bailey did hit a critical 48-yard attempt last week.
Redskins kicker Graham Gano has yet to make a kick over 34 yards. He has missed twice already on attempts between 30 and 39 yards. If Washington struggles to get in the red zone against Dallas, they will have to rely on a player who has eight of his 13 career misses come from distances of 30 yards or more.
Remembering A Rivalry
Rivalries in the NFL today are harder to maintain because of free agency. Teams are no longer able to maintain the bulk of their roster like in the past, where they would develop their players and a stronger bond of unity would be an outcome.
Redskins Hall of Fame head coach George Allen taught his team to dislike the Cowboys, and the teams passionate fans followed suit. This came from the fact both Washington and Dallas dominated their conference when Allen joined the franchise in 1971.
The Redskins made the playoffs in five of Allen's first six seasons, which included a Super Bowl appearance. Dallas had made the postseason every season but two times between 1966 and 1985. They were the class of the NFC usually, once earning the nickname "America's Team."
Allen knew his team had to beat Dallas to achieve success, no small task with Hall of Famer Tom Landry as the head coach of the Cowboys. The 60 wins the Cowboys have in their meeting, out of 100 contests, is the most over any other NFL franchise. Washington, however, has beat them in both playoff games they met in.
Landry beat Allen eight times in the 15 games he faced Allen, but the Redskins great beat him in their only playoff game. That victory, a 26-3 drubbing, propelled Washington into their first ever Super Bowl and first NFL title game in 28 years.
Dallas took command in this series since the second game of the 1997 season. Washington has won just seven times in the last 27 meetings. The 2005 season has been the only time the Redskins won both games over that time.
Yet fans of both teams will admit the unpredictable often happens when these franchises battle. Good examples are the 1989 season, where the Cowboys lone victory that year came at the expense of the Redskins, and the 1991 season.
Washington had stormed out of the gates at an 11-0 record when Dallas came to town that year. After losing by three points, Washington's run at perfection ended. They rested their main players in the final game, giving them their only other defeat. Had they has beat Dallas, they stood a better chance of matching the 1972 Miami Dolphins for a truly perfect season.
Maybe the history of these franchises escapes most of those involved with both teams today, but the Redskins have legacy to remind. General manager Bruce Allen is the son of the Hall of Fame Redskins coach, so he certainly knows how important it is to beat Dallas. The Cowboys head coach is Jason Garrett, who was a backup quarterback with Dallas for eight years. He also understands this rivalry.
The Redskins are currently undefeated and alone on top of the NFC East. A loss here drops them into a tie with Dallas and the New York Giants. Washington already beat New York, so a victory over Dallas would give them two big wins within their own division, which is important at times when the playoffs approach. These two wins could give them enough in the percentage points department if there is a tie-breaker.
There may not be as much venom between these squads compared to the past, but there will be no love lost. With Hall adding fuel to the fire by being recorded by cameras saying he will try to tackle the injured Romo and Jones hard, players will come in fired up as the ghosts of legends egg them on to greatness.