Tagged with "NFl"
NFL Week 6 Picks
Category: NFL
Tags: NFL Picks & Predictions

If not for a mistype (I wanted to pick Cleveland and typed Tennessee) and a pick that I even said as much that was going to be a pick that I was going to regret (Cincinnati) I would have notched 11 wins, but 9 is still a decent number. Still nonetheless I strive to get better and submitted for your review perusal and approval are this week’s peerless picks. The Chiefs (lost to 49ers 22-17) and the Saints (defeated Buccaneers 37-31 in OT) are the only teams with a bye this week.  Odds are provided by ESPN.com and are strictly for entertainment and comparison purposes only. I will not hesitate to rat you to your bookie if you go into hiding after betting the lines and losing.

 

Thursday

Colts (3-2) @ Texans (3-2)

NRG Stadium, Houston  8:25 (CBS/NFLN)

Favorite Colts by 2½

Last Week Colts defeated Ravens 20-13, Texans lost to Cowboys 20-17 in OT

Fast Fact Colts lead the series by the count 20-4; a visiting team has yet to win a Thursday night game this year

The week leads off with a crucial divisional showdown. The Colts are fast putting their 0-2 start further and further in their rearview as they have reeled off 3 straight quality wins. Andrew Luck is looking more and more like one of the elite signal callers in the game with his crisp precise passing. The Texans took a tough loss to the Pokes but have one of the more feared defensive units in the game with the brooding bruiser JJ Watt leading the charge. This is a game way too close to call and happily for CBS and NFLN will be a tenser drama than the five previous Thursday. I think that the Colts should be able to control the offensive tempo and put enough points to outslug the home team.

Pick-Indianapolis

 

Sunday

Patriots (3-2) @ Bills (3-2)

Ralph Wilson Stadium; Orchard Park, NY 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Patriots by 2½

Last Week Patriots defeated Bengals 43-17, Bills defeated Lions 17-14

Fast Fact This is the first pro football that Wilson family has not been involved in since 1959

Shaking off rumors of infighting and an imminent collapse, the Pats throttled the Bengals on Sunday Night looking like Pats teams that we’ve grown accustomed to, while the Bills gave the Wilson family a nice sendoff as former owners with a win in Detroit (where the Wilson family is originally from) I don’t think the Pats demise was seriously exaggerated and the Bills are still a team searching for a real identity. The Pats have been dominant in B’Lo and I don’t see a real reason why they shouldn’t win

Pick-New England

 

Panthers (3-2) @ Bengals (3-1)

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Bengals by 6 ½

Last Week Panthers defeated Bears 31-24, Bengals lost to Patriots 43-17

Fast Fact The Bengals are tied with the Pats for the longest current home win streak at 11

The Panthers remain one of the more puzzling teams in the NFL, playing like a team with something to prove they rallied smartly to beat the Bears. While the Bengals hoping to make a big impression on a national stage got housed on Sunday Night. I don’t think that the previous game were true indicators of the teams’ outlook for the season. The Panthers still have no running game and the return of Vontaze Burfict will bolster a defense that got trampled by the Pats two tight end sets, though their offense will be missing star wideout AJ Green (no relation) The Bengals have played a lot better at home and I don’t trust Carolina to be able to play good enough offensively to change that thinking.

Pick-Cincinnati

 

Lions (3-2) @ Vikings (2-3)

TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Vikings by 2

Last Week Lions lost to Bills 17-14, Vikings lost to Packers 42-10

Fast Fact The Vikings have won 13-4

The Lions whined about the Bills carrying Jim Schwartz off the field as their defensive coordinator but the fact remains they took another puzzling loss and had no one to blame but themselves. They head to Minnesota to face a Vikes team that got strafed and steamrolled on Thursday night. With the return to health of their dynamic QB Teddy Bridgewater the Vikes have high hopes for a better offensive output, but facing a stingy Lions defense who lead the league yards and first downs allowed. With Megatron Johnson slowed and possibly out with an injury the onus falls on Golden Tate to pick up the slack. I will go out on a limb and say the more things change…

Pick-Minnesota

 

Steelers (3-2) @ Browns (2-2)

First Energy Stadium, Cleveland 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Browns by 1

Last Week Steelers defeated Jaguars 17-9, Browns defeated Titans 29-28

Fast Fact The Browns 25 point rally to win over the Titans last week was the largest comeback for a road team in NFL history

The Steelers have been tottering along, their offense and defense is becoming the textbook definition of inconsistent. That said the Browns have quietly gotten rather dangerous with a heroic rally from a 28-3 deficit to shock the Titans before a stunned Nashville throng. I really don’t trust either team but I’m looking at the Steelers propensity to blow leads. I’m going to regret this but the Browns have been more sharper on offense and play tough in the second half. If they have a lead at halftime they could run the Steelers out. Here goes nothing, I call this an upset because the Steelers like to lord their dominance over the Browns and I think that they get another comeuppance this week.

Pick-Cleveland (Upset of the week)

 

Ravens (3-2) @ Buccaneers (1-4)

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Ravens by 3½

Last Week Ravens lost to Colts 20-13 Buccaneers lost to Saints 37-31 in OT

Fast Fact Both teams sport 3 game winning streaks against their opposite conference

The Ravens were hampered by a stunning inability to move the ball at all against the Colts, after moving the ball easily the week before. They should be able to get their offense back rolling against the Bucs who give up points by the bushel and yards by the acre. I’m looking at Joe Flacco to get his touch back against a putrid Bucs secondary while Mike Glennon continues to struggle against the Ravens rejuvenated defensive corps

Pick-Baltimore

 

Packers (3-2) @ Dolphins (2-2)

Sun Life Stadium; Miami Gardens, FL 1:00 (FOX)

Favorite Packers by 3

Last Week Packers defeated Vikings 42-10, Dolphins were on their bye

Fast Fact The Packers are 3-10 against the Dolphins, their worst ledger against any team

The Packers barely broke a sweat in thrashing the Vikes while the Dolphins are well rested after a bye following a London style beatdown of the Raiders. I think that the Dolphins will be able to move the ball against the weak Packers run defense. I know I should go with the Packers crisp offensive efficiency but something just tells me the Packers will melt in the south Florida heat. Call it a hunch

Pick-Miami

 

Broncos (3-1) @ Jets (1-4)

MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ 1:00 (FOX, CBS, NBC, ESPN)

Favorite Broncos by 8½

Last Week Broncos defeated Cardinals 41-20, Jets lost to Chargers 31-0

Fast Fact Peyton Manning needs five touchdown passes to match Brett Favre’s record career mark. Manning has thrown five touchdowns eight times in his career, including twice last season

The Broncos toyed with the Cards for a while then blew them away behind PMannings precise passing, while the Jets are looking more and more confused with each passing week. Geno Smith is looking like more and more like a buster quarterback than the long awaited franchise savior. I don’t care if the Broncos are a western team heading east, they are just that much better than the Jets and the grins and jeers from their buffoon coach are getting more and more far in between. This game shouldn’t even be close.

Pick-Denver (Lock of the Week)

 

Jaguars (0-5) @ Titans (1-4)

LP Field, Nashville 1:00 (CBS)

Favorite Titans by 4

Last Week Jaguars lost to Steelers 17-9, Titans lost to Browns 29-28

Fast Fact Since allowing ten points in their opening win at Kansas City the Titans have allowed 32.3 points a game in their four game losing streak

The Jags have been playing better as of late but have no wins to show for it, meanwhile the memory of the upset win in Kansas City is but a distant memory as the losses are piling up none more painful than the fall from ahead loss to Cleveland. I like the development of Blake Bortles, though the Jags have no wins to show for it. There will be one for his efforts today

Pick-Jacksonville

 

Chargers (4-1) @ Raiders (0-4)

O.Co Coliseum, Oakland 4:05 (CBS)

Favorite Chargers by 7½

Last Week Chargers defeated Jets 31-0, Raiders were on their bye

Fast Fact The Raiders have the longest NFL losing streak at 11

The Chargers looking chillingly crisp in dismantling the woeful Jets, and get another joke team to play in the Raiders who have just looked abysmal. Do the Chargers have the tools to challenge the Broncos and Chiefs in the AFC West, playing like this? You betcha. They are solid on both sides of the ball and Philip Rivers is enjoying a renaissance as a signal caller. The game? You think the Raiders are really going to give it a game? Ok it’s in Oakland, and it might stay close for a while over under is one quarter

Pick-San Diego

 

Cowboys (4-1) @ Seahawks (3-1)

CenturyLink Field, Seattle 4:25 (FOX)

Favorite Seahawks by 8½

Last Week Cowboys defeated Texans 20-17 in OT, Seahawks defeated Washington 27-17

Fast Fact Seahawks QB Russell Wilson leads the NFL in completion percentage at 70.3 Cowboys QB Tony Romo is second at 69.2

The Pokes continue to be the darling of the media pundits with their continued strong start, while the Seahawks dominated the game more than the scoreboard would show in DC. The Pokes offensive balance has been their strength and DeMarco Murray has been dominant but they have played weak teams with the exception of the Texans. The Seahawks were three dumb penalties away from blowing Washington out, those three penalties wiped out 21 points. I refuse to jump on the Pokes bandwagon (I never will to be sure, but I’m still leery of their legitimacy as an NFC contender) yet. I think winning the noise factory that is CenturyLink is too tall an order and that Seahawks defense will stop Murray and badger Romo into mistakes. The spread is way too high, but the Seahawks still win.

Pick-Seattle

 

Washington (1-4) @ Cardinals (3-1)

University of Phoenix Stadium; Glendale, AZ 4:25 (FOX)

Favorite Cardinals by 2½

Last Week Washington lost to Seahawks 27-17, Cardinals lost to Broncos 41-20

Fast Fact Washington has won the last seven meetings

Washington got trampled on something serious on Monday while the Cards hung with the Broncos for a while then got worn out late. I just do not trust Washington’s ability to move the ball in spite of Kirk Cousins discovering that DeSean Jackson is a viable offensive threat. The Cards defense while not as good as Seattle is good and should rebound nicely but their lack of offensive punch is going to be a troubling point on more than a few occasions though I don’t think that this will be one of them.

Pick-Arizona

 

Bears (2-3) @ Falcons (2-3)

Georgia Dome, Atlanta 4:25 (FOX)

Favorite Falcons by 3

Last Week Bears lost to Panthers 31-24, Falcons lost to Giants 30-20

Fast Fact Falcons WR Devin Hester recorded 19 of his 20 return TD’s with his opponent

The Bears are a tough team to figure, and Jay Cutler is regressing to his usual maddening inconsistent play. The Falcons for their part are looking like a one dimensional team, tough at home but road kill outside of the friendly confines of the ATL. The thing I detest about the Bears is the minute you write them off they roll to wins and when you think that they are coming together they fall flat. I don’t trust Matty Ice that much anymore but I trust Cutler less.

Pick-Atlanta

 

 

Giants (3-2) @ Eagles (4-1)

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia 8:30 (NBC)

Favorite Eagles by 2 ½

Last Week Giants defeated Falcons 30-20, Eagles defeated Rams 34-28

Fast Fact Giants QB Eli Manning is completing 70.1 percent of his passes and has a 115.2 passer rating in the Giants three game win streak

The G-Men have looked sharp in their 3 game win streak and head into Philly to face their bitter divisional rival. The Eagles are 4-1 but their offense is far from the juggernaut that it was last year. They are winning games with defensive and special team’s proficiency. It seems that Eli Manning is getting the hang of the new offense that was installed and is spreading the ball around more. I don’t know why but I can’t shake the feeling that the spotty play of Shady McCoy isn’t a temporary thing and that Nick Foles was a one season flash. The G-Men are a ragged mutt of a team but they seem to always be right there in the mix when you are ready to write them off.

Pick-New York Giants

 

Monday October 13

 

49ers (3-2) @ Rams (1-3)

Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis 8:30 (ESPN)

Favorite 49ers by 3½

Fast Fact The Niners have allowed 282.8 yards of offense a game and have held the last two passers to under 200 yards passing

Last Week 49ers defeated Chiefs 22-17, Rams lost to Eagles 34-28

The Niners grinded out an ugly win against the Chiefs but winning ugly beats the pretty losses in St. Louis where the Rams rally in Philly fell short. Jim Harbaugh’s seat seems to get warmer by the day. But the offense still plays efficient and the defense is still its rugged self. The Rams are just a mess, their offense is way too inconsistent and though rookie Austin Davis seems capable he will make mistakes and you can’t make mistakes against this defense.

Pick-San Francisco

 

Last Week:  9-6 (Lock Correct/Upset Incorrect)

Overall: 43-33

Locks: 4-1

Upsets: 1-4

 

 

Sunday Musings #168
Category: User Showcase
Tags: NFL MLB FantasyFootball CollegeFootball BostonCollegeEaglesFootball NewEnglandPatriots AlabamaCrimsonTide Olympics HighSchoolSports

 

 

While still shaking my head in anger, frustration and disappointment...

 

WHERE STUPIDITY REIGNS SUPREME...APPARENTLY

As many of the Yougabsports community know, I was once a youth basketball coach. I've made it a point to happily report on the high school athletic exploits of my former players over the last couple of years that I've been here on the site. On occasion, I've found myself also writing about former players of mine who found themselves in legal trouble.

And this week, it was a whopper and a half. Four of my former players are in jail where they will soon see the charges against them upgraded to murder. They apparently got into a fight in the middle of a convenience store with some other guy and that guy ended up dead on the ground.

Of the four ex-players, three of them come as no surprise to me at all. As much as it seems cold and unfeeling, I file them under "it had to happen sooner or later". But the fourth guy was a big surprise to me. He played for me for two seasons and was one of the best players I'd coached. He did everything I asked from him on the court and did it without complaint. He went on to have a pretty solid high school basketball career as well. Hell, I'd written about him here in this blog numerous times. He only just graduated in June of this year.

As I read the story, I quickly and silently thanked my parents for being strict with me when I was growing up. It kept me out of trouble (okay MOST of the time) and on the relative straight and narrow. And my sense of disappointment with that one ex-player grew as more details came out.

*WARNING - EXPLICIT LANGUAGE AHEAD*

But don't let that sad disappointed feeling let you think I'm feeling sympathetic towards any of them. Unlike some of the morons that have posted comments on the newspaper articles or on the Facebook pages for the newspapers, I don't feel that they are somehow still "good kids". Good kids know how to stay out of trouble. They don't get tied up in a fucking murder case! There are many rumors floating around town as to why this confrontation happened. And frankly since I don't have any knowledge about which of those theories might be true I'm not going to dignify any of them by writing them here.

But can there really be a reason, short of defense of your own life, that can allow for you and three "buddies" to kill someone in broad daylight in the middle of a store?

In case you are wondering, the answer to that question is no. I don't know where the lives of the four soon to be defendants were going in the passing decades but I doubt the Oval Office was on their life achievement bucket list. But I can't imagine prison was on their minds either. That may be because none of them seemed burdened by an overabundance of brains and/or common sense but still.

Instead, their lives are fucked. You can read the story for yourself, but these four dipshits are candidates for a spot on World's Dumbest Criminals.

So that was the biggest news of my week. Yet more athletes that I had a hand in coaching chose a path that will lead them to a life of being inconsequential.

*Sarcastic Button Turned On* - Just what a former youth coach always hopes for his players, no?

SHAKING MY DAMN HEAD...

You can check out the article via this Wareham Courier link.

 

NFL

New England Patriots - Wow, the Patriots looked like the Patriots last week eh? Even when you allow for the fact they were playing the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that always fails to come up in a big game on TV, the way the Patriots played had you almost ready to forget how mediocre they'd been over the first month of the season.

I did say almost...because they are still being penalized as if they are the Raiders back when the Raiders were a good team. They got nailed 12 times for 114 yards. With Bill Belichick hating even one penalty in the team execution, 12 yellow flags must've driven him nearly batty.

The most consistent part of the Patriots offense has been kicker Stephen Gostkowski and as the Patriots battered the Bengals 43-17, he again had a big night. He finished with 5 field goals.

But the offense was really clicking as well. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been getting pilloried in New England for their craptastic offense but he was making some solid play calls against Cincy.

Tom Brady passed for 292 yards and 2 touchdows and looked like the Tom Brady we've come to know and love.

And Brady did it without much help from the wide receivers. Instead it was the one-two punch of tandem tight ends that made the passing game so effective. Rob Gronkowski (pictured below 1st) had his best game of the season with 100 yards receiving and a TD. And Tim Wright (pictured below 2nd) caught a TD as well.

The defense helped set up the offense by recovering three fumbles on the night. This helped set up running back Stevan Ridley (pictured below) to rush for 113 yards and a touchdown.

The reaction to just how badly the Patriots beat the Bengals was relatively split. A lot of people acted as if things were suddenly back to their glory days while others were decidedly more cautious in their praise of the team's performance in this one game.

I'd probably fall on the latter side of that judgement. It was great to watch the parts of the beatdown that I watched but I'm by no means convinced this means their struggles are over. They still need to play like this consistently. They can't backslide into mediocre offensive playcalling and execution when they play Buffalo this week. The offensive line has to continue to keep Brady upright and open holes for Ridley and/or Shane Vereen. And while it is great that the scary tight end duo could be making a return for the Pats, the wide receivers have to make their contributions. Julian Edelman has been the best pass catcher for New England this season but he had an off game against Cincy and his was the best performance out of everyone not lined up as a tight end. The continued ineffectiveness of Danny Amendola (I believe he's hurt again but trying to play through) and the release of Kenbrell Tompkins means there is playing time for someone that can actually step up and CATCH THE DAMN BALL!

There were a number of articles this week written about teams or players in the NFL that caught my eye and I thought I'd share them with you.

New York Jets - Robert Klemko's SI.com article didn't include the late week admission by backup QB Michael Vick that he didn't really prepare well for the team's loss to the Chargers last week, but he did have a pretty solid breakdown on exactly how and why the Jets stink. You can check it out HERE.

San Diego Chargers - Speaking of the Chargers, their 31-0 beatdown on the Jets was just the latest example of how things have seemed to turn around for their QB Phillip Rivers. Once again SI.com writer Robert Klemko provides an excellent story and analysis.

Miscellaneous Stories - Two more stories that caught my eye focused on two people now out of the game. One by choice, the other not so much. You can learn about retired cornerback Chris Carr's new life as a law student HERE. As for coach Ken Flajole, he's learning to live life without a coaching job for the first time in 37 years.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

In a move that should surprise NO ONE given the recent history, it seems integrity might not be all that important to the Heisman committee anymore. You can read more in this article.

Boston College - After enduring a lighting weather delay, the BC Eagles raised their record to 4-2 on the season with a 30-14 win over ACC opponent North Carolina State. It's their first conference win of the season. Quarterback Tyler Murphy (pictured below) was the big standout on the day. While his passing numbers were relatively mediocre (12-19, 101 yards), it was on the ground where he made his biggest mark on the game. He ran for 132 yards and two scores. One of those TD runs came on a beautiful 47 yard scamper.

Sherman Allston and Jon Hilliman also ran for scores in the game.

Meanwhile the Eagles defense had a solid game. They picked off NC State QB Jacoby Brissett once and sacked him four times. Their rush defense held the Wolfpack to just 43 yards on the ground.

You can see the game highlights below.

Alabama - Blake Sims tossed two touchdown passes (including one to running back T.J. Yeldon, pictured below) as the Crimson Tide avoided a second straight upset and squeaked by Arkansas 14-13. For a rather large turnaround in the scheme of things, Alabama was the team that was held to a low total of rushing yards. They managed just 67 yards on the ground against the Razorbacks.

While the Bama defense held Arkansas to 98 yards rushing, it is always a bit odd to see Bama get outgained on the ground. The defense also picked up four sacks and two fumble recoveries. Unfortunately, Sims got sacked twice and the offense lost two fumbles (out of four made) as well.

I don't know what happened with the offense in this game but something is going to have to give to get Alabama back to looking like an efficient if not entirely thrilling offense.

Mass Maritime - The Buccaneers dropped their game against Western Connecticut 30-19. The loss leaves them at 1-4 on the season. E.J. caught 6 passes for 74 yards in the game.

BASEBALL

For Red Sox fans of a certain vintage the fifth game of the 1986 ALCS between the Sox and the California Angels was a legendary game. It all boiled down that Dave Henderson whalloping a home run off of Donnie Moore that led to Boston eventually winning the game. It has long been posited that Moore's suicide a few years later was due to this one game. You can read Michael McKnight's longform SI.com story "The Split" and learn more about Moore's story and the falsehood of the home run leading to his death HERE.

FANTASY FOOTBALL

It was another crappy week for me as I got wiped out in both leagues last week.

USA SWIMMING

After announcing he would be entering rehab to deal with his alcohol problems, Michael Phelps found himself suspended for 6 months by USA Swimming. And he's apparently won't be competing in next summer's World Championships (long after his suspension ends) either. As I wrote last week, I'm fully in support of Phelps being suspended. Of course, I don't understand why he can't swim at the championships, but that's another matter entirely. You can read more via this Yahoo Sports article.

But what makes me chuckle a bit is how quickly USA Swimming acted in dealing with Phelps. He gets busted for DUI and they whip out the old "code of conduct" stuff. Yet you have "coaches" who molested young swimmers for YEARS and no one either knew or did anything. Driving under the influence is terrible but destroying a life by molestation is something you'd think the paragons of virtue (yeah right) that run USA Swimming would've moved faster to deal with as well.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Wareham Boys Soccer - The boys season continued down a bad spiral as they lost to ORR 5-1 and to Case 4-0.

Wareham Girls Volleyball - As their hopes for a playoff berth flickered down to almost nothing, the Vikings lost two five set thrillers to ORR and Dighton Rehoboth. Against D-R, Erica (pictured below from the ORR game, photos by Adam K. Ellis of the Wareham Courier) had 16 digs and 12 service points.

Oh and here's a shot of Rae-Lyn from that same ORR match:

Wareham Girls Soccer - ORR gave Wareham yet another shutout loss beating them 7-0.

Upper Cape JV Football - The Rams picked up their first win of the season beating Blue Hills 22-14 this past Monday.

UCT Girls Soccer - Upper Cape stands at 4-8-1 after a 4-0 win over Old Colony and a 6-1 loss to Pope John Paul II High.

Wareham Football - After their big win last week, the Vikings were unable to keep that momentum going and lost to Fairhaven 20-8.

Wareham Girls Field Hockey - After a 7-1 loss to Apponequet and a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Bourne to start off their week, the Vikings closed out their week with a 2-0 win over Case. Kali had one of the goals, her first career score. The team is now 2-10. You can see an excited Kali after the goal (in pink) below. (Photo by Adam Ellis of the Wareham Courier). There's also a video of the goal that you can see HERE. (also by Adam Ellis)

MISCELLANEOUS

Books - I finished the Archer Mayor novel Proof Positive this week. Although the ending of the book was rather abrupt I still quite enjoyed this latest Joe Gunther story.

TV - It was a big week for TV this past week as two shows debuted that had comic book fans breathless in anticipation. The series premiere of The Flash lived up to most of its hype as the show began to set up their storytelling tent. The Pop-topia.com site I do some writing for is covering both The Flash and Arrow this season. You can read the recap for The Flash HERE.

As for the 3rd season premiere of Arrow, let me just say that I loved it. It might just have been the best premiere of any of the returning series that I watch. And what an ending to the episode to make fans gasp or cry out "NOOOOO!". Here's the recap.

Of course, the premiere that is almost certainly the one a LOT of people are waiting for is tonight's 5th season premiere of The Walking Dead. I know that I'll be glued to my TV tonight. To whet your appetite, check out the season 5 trailer below.

Oh, and I picked up Season 7 of NYPD Blue on DVD this week too.

Movies - I saw the Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow this week. It's a military science fiction version of Groundhog Day. For the most part it was a very good action flick. But for me, I thought the ending was just a bit too blase for my liking. Overall I gave it a 7 out of 10 on the IMDB.com site.

For those of you on the fence about seeing the Ben Affleck movie Gone Girl, why not check out the Pop-topia.com review.

Music - Last week, I linked my review of the new John Mellencamp CD Plain Spoken here. I linked it on a few other places as well including Mellencamp's own Facebook page. Well they shared it there and it's been pretty successful there. It's been liked more than 700 times and shared at least 40 times. It is likely my most viewed CD review thus far.

My latest CD review is for the Unisonic album Light of Dawn. You can check it out via this KNAC.com link.

The new AC/DC album Rock or Bust is due out December 9th. The first song from the album is called "Play Ball" and you can listen to that below.

The Best? At What?
Category: FEATURED
Tags: best NFL quarterbacks

 

The signal caller has probably always been the most important player on the football team, even back when he didn't throw all that often. In fact, he may have been even more important in times gone by since he called his own plays. The first quarterback who famously did not was Otto Graham, derided despite his excellence by his peers for that very reason. Paul Brown didn't have helmet radio, so he used 'shuttling guards'.

Of course, since the Green Bay Packers began under Curly Lambeau to throw the ball a lot (for then), the importance of the quarterback was enhanced. Within a decade, the dominant pair of QBs, the Manning and Brady of their time if you will, were Sammy Baugh of the Redskins and Sid Luckman of the Bears. Both had offenses still heavily predicated on running, but they threw the ball routinely and were famous for it. Both also played safety when the bad guys had the ball. Baugh led the league in passing, punting and interceptions one year. The quarterback arguably never had more skills. The closest analogy in the postwar era was probably George Blanda, who also was a star place kicker.

With the passing of World War II football changed, and the air show became bigger. The Rams moved from Cleveland to Los Angeles and brought with them Bob Waterfield, a brilliant passer. Soon he was joined by arguably an even more brilliant talent, Norm Van Brocklin, who would lead the professional version of UCLA (which is what the Rams were, really) to incredible scoring totals in a league still baffled about how to defend their razzle-dazzle, bombs-away offense. In 1950 they averaged nearly 39 points per game, actually scoring 70 and 65 on consecutive weeks. 

In another league Paul Brown was cultivating the team that actually foreshadowed modern football the most. His Browns, led by Otto Graham, won all 4 AAFC titles. When the league folded and they joined the NFL, they beat those 39-ppg Rams in the title game. They would win 3 NFL titles and play in the championship game their first 6 years in the league, all with Graham. Over his 10-year career in two leagues, he won 7 titles and reached the title game every season.

As the late 50s brought in widespread televising of games, the quarterbacks got more famous. That makes it hard to tell whether or not they got better. But the forward pass was bigger than ever, and the TV exposure turned Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, Y.A. Tittle and many more into household names. By the end of the decade, the upstart AFL had the most famous of them all in Joe Namath.

The more recent decades most of us either remember, know someone who remembers or see enough highlight-edited history to recognize the figures as if we did know them.

And, of course, it always begs the grossly unsatisfactory question "who was the best?"

The best at what?

And that is the angle of this capsule summary. Nobody could do everything. What are some realistic categories that permit us to at least filter things down to a few per? I don't know, but I'll give it a try.


A. Toughest

Here's a category that begs to be put into the old 11-man days, prior to the 50s. Paul Brown is generally credited with using more specialists and platooning. After he showed up, the age of Mr. Everything, the Sixty Minute Man, was coming to a close. We have two entries.

1. Sammy Baugh: There may have been tougher guys, but none who were huge stars. Baugh was a superstar who not only endured punishment few see anymore, but had to dish it out too on defense. And punt. Through it all, and he surely played hurt as a result, he threw the ball for as-yet-unseen yardage and led his team to titles.

2. Sid Luckman: Nobody was tougher than the Bears, and Luckman led the offensive blitz that hammered Baugh's Redskins 73-0 in the 1940 championship game. In fact, the Bears and Redskins would meet 4 times between 1937 and 1943, splitting the difference. In a telling moment from the 1943 title game, Sammy Baugh had to leave with, of all things, a concussion --- sustained while tackling Sid Luckman, of all people.


B. Most Revolutionary

This had to come in the 50s, when the game changed so much. Right? Maybe. But there were so many revolutions in football, you have to consider each one.

1. Sammy Baugh: The tough guy just happened to be the first quarterback to make passing an exact science and a truly major part of the offense, one that defenses had to plan for. Usually it was in vain. The rest is, of course, history. It worked.

2. Otto Graham: Besides winning at an unheard-of clip, Graham also had the once-dubious distinction of having his plays called from the sideline, something done almost without exception today.

3. Johnny Unitas: Once people saw his two championships in the late 50s on TV, courtesy of the opponent being the New York Giants (without whose presence the telecasts would have been less likely), his name became a household word. In two seasons, he had vaulted pro football to heights nearing those of college ball and become the symbol of football excellence. His name still evokes that image.


C. Most Talented

There's a tough one. Talented at what? Baugh could do everything. But we stick mostly to the talents that traditionally befit a quarterback. He still shows up.

1. Joe Namath: Controversial? You bet. He'll never be accused of being the hardest worker, the most polished, or the most successful. He will be accused of being a bum. But Namath was probably the most heralded talent of all time coming out of college, and his pilfering by the AFL for unheard-of money turned out to be a bargain. Never playing on a truly powerful team, he nevertheless led the Jets over the Colts in the biggest championship upset imaginable, establishing the AFL and earning himself the gratitude and respect of his AFL foes in so doing. You have to have seen him to believe any of this. It was said he could throw from goal line to goal line in practice. He came out of Alabama not just the nation's premiere passer but also its premiere scrambler, a talent that cost him both knees. Yet photos exist of him in a normal standing position throwing a perfect spiral over an onrushing Oilers defensive line --- with his feet a full 3 1/2 feet off the ground. And knee braces on both legs. Talent was his middle name.

2. Sammy Baugh: That man again. What else do you do with a guy who could pass, defend the pass and kick --- all at league-best level? The passing part was in a class all its own in his day.

3. Norm Van Brocklin: The Dutchman took the league by storm in the 50s, winning a couple of championships as bookends to a career dotted with monstrous passing totals, even for today, in an era when offensive linemen couldn't even extend their arms and receivers could be bounced around anywhere until the ball was airborne.

4. Peyton Manning: He doesn't throw many perfect spirals. He isn't mobile. He always has great protection and an all-star receiving corps. But his accuracy and brillliant reading of defenses have generated ball movement unseen before he showed up.


D. The Winner:

You'd think the stats would take care of this, but they really don't do it completely.

1. Bart Starr: He was never considered the best in the league even in his best years, but he sure won at a clip no one else could match then. Yes, the Packers were really good and had a great coach. But Starr, perhaps the ultimate system quarterback, managed it all perfectly and threw well too. He appeared in a full six NFL championship games in 8 seasons and won 5.

2. Otto Graham: So why isn't Graham, who won 7 titles in 10 seasons and played in every title game, the winner here? Technicality, perhaps --- his first 4 title games (and titles) came in the AAFC.

3. Tom Brady: 7 AFC title games, 5 Super Bowl appearances, 3 rings, and an unmatched W/L and divisional record push Brady past rivals who have won 1 more Bowl.

4. Joe Montana: 4 for 4 in Super Bowls, Joe was heralded as the best of all time for a while. He wasn't. He had mediocre seasons. But he sure came up big a lot, making the Niners the dynasty of the 80s.

5. Sid Luckman: His Bears were a tad better than Baugh's Redskins over his tenure, and if not for the advent of World War II likely would have won at least one more title with him. Another sports casualty of that monstrous conflict, unnoticed among all the actual casualties.

6. Terry Bradshaw: It's almost uncanny how little credit Bradshaw gets for leading the Steelers to 4 rings in the 70s in 4 tries, a la Montana. They said he was dumb. He wasn't that dumb.

7. Peyton Manning: Huge W/L, lots of division titles, a couple of SBs and a ring make him a winner along with his other accolades.


E. Best Field General:

Things like helmet radios, hand signals and even shuttling guards take away from some deserving moderns in this category.

1. Johnny Unitas: Maybe he's not the most deft playcaller in history, but he sure called his own plays without any help whatsoever. He won a lot of games. And he's the prototype. No one has a more inspirational name at the position since he played. He earned it with leadership and excellence.

2. Peyton Manning: The quintessential signal-caller and audible expert might pass his Colt predecessor except for a curse he didn't ask for --- his helmet and its radio. And somehow, even his name doesn't ring 'leadership' like Unitas. Maybe it's just the phonetics.

3. Tom Brady: Just barely behind his heralded contemporary Peyton Manning, Brady has become just as adept at reading defenses and changing plays --- and generally with far less talented support. In the new millenium, nobody has come close to these two eternal rivals.


F. Most Inspirational Leader:

That's easy to understand, totally subjective to pick. Then again, all of this is subjective more or less. That's what makes it fun. Who wants to crunch numbers? What is this, the BCS?

1. Johnny Unitas: There are bigger winners and more precise passers. Nobody ever was more inspirational or more of a leader. Maybe Sammy Baugh. We have to leave him out of something, don't we?

2. Bart Starr: You can bet that when the pressure was on, and it was for these guys more than for almost anybody else, they felt comfortable knowing who was behind center and won more because of it. His do-or-die sneak in the Ice Bowl is the stuff of legend.

3. Tom Brady: Has anyone ever taken over the reins of a floundering former contender from an all-pro quarterback and turned them into an overnight dynasty? This guy did it. You could say Peyton Manning too, but he's always been surrounded by an all-star offense. Brady hasn't.

4. Joe Montana: Like Starr, he inspired confidence in his talented teammates that things were never hopeless. And 4 times, they truly weren't.


G. Mr. Clutch:

Is there a difference between this and the last category? Not huge, but opportunity only knocks enough times for a few.

1. Joe Montana: No, he didn't win every year, and he had his failures too, but never in the biggest game. That's his calling card.

2. Bart Starr: If not for the fact that Starr's teams ran the ball far more than throwing it, he might be on top.

3. Tom Brady: For a while it looked like Brady was headed for shoo-in status in this category. Then the realities of the salary-cap era hit. The earlier guys were practically guaranteed a more consistent roster over a longer time. That helps.

4. Otto Graham: In one of the original pass-oriented offenses, a quarterback who wins at the clip of 3-for-6 championship games in the NFL and 4-for-4 in the AAFC (not chopped liver by the way) has to be clutch.

5. Bobby Layne: Graham would have won a couple more titles if not for the Lions, led by this guy. He beat the dynastic Browns (once after Graham left) 3 times in 4 tries. Since the day he left Detroit they haven't won at all.

6. Terry Bradshaw: If not for the fact that he was a cog in a stacked team with an unbeatable defense, he might rank higher. Then again, without that he might not rank at all. 

While I was away...
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: MLB NHL golf NFL

A lot has happened since I last posted up here, fellow Gabbers and the reason deserves some explanation.  Frankly speaking, all of the non-sports sports news put me into a bit of a writing funk.  Every day it was another athlete or coach making news for all of the wrong reasons.  Whether it was Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice or some other maroon (in Bugs Bunny speak) claiming the talking points for the day's sports news.  Well, I had enough...it was depressing.   And what better way to snap out of that sports malaise than a sports event binge!   I went to the 18 inning game 2 Nationals - Giants game followed up by the Monday Night Redskins - Seahawks game...nothing like some good sound defeats at the ballpark to bring things back into perspective!  We are fans because we love our teams, win or lose.  And it is the teams we love...not really the individual players who in reality (and most definitely proven lately) we barely know.  Yes, the players make it happen and we want the best players on our teams and hope they are good people who take care of the families, help out in the community and such, but as far as we as fans are concerned, we want them to be great when they step into the arena.

So with that perspective in mind, and with the air cleared for me...I'm back.  Go Redskins, Let's go Caps, Yesss Wizards and as for the Nationals, well, they still will be the favorites to win the NL in 2015 - and I will be there, God willing, to root them on. I will just have to admire those World Series tickets as a happy, wishful thought.

A few things happened that I think are worth mentioning....

Over the last 20 years, the Euros have won 7 of the 10 Ryder Cups, golfs best international event.  (as a note, this spans the Tiger Woods era).  After this event, the US team embarrasingly took to public bickering, lamblasting team captain and golf icon, Tom Watson.  Watson eventually came forward and said the loss was his fault - not true by the way - and tried to put the matter to bed.  The bottom line for U.S. golf is that the Euros have passed us by, just like they have in tennis.  Good heavens, what's next?!  basketball?!   They better figure out how to get along and play like a team or it may be a long time before the Ryder Cup (or maybe any international sports trophy) routinely resides in the ol' US of A.

I can't let the MLB playoffs go unnoticed...part of being a fan is the agony of defeat.  I felt confident that I would at least have an NLCS game to go to tonight, little did I know that if I wanted that, I would have to have scalped a ticket in Baltimore!  The Nationals pitching was again excellent but a team can't win when its lead off man and 3 & 4 hitters are hitting less than 50% BELOW the Mendoza line.  That is hard to believe...Werth & Roche hitting below .100!  At least Harper and Rendon showed that the youthful core of the team can hit in October.

Of the 4 teams left standing, I am picking Baltimore and St. Louis to meet in the World Series.  That would be a special match up!

Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it...see you next week (from Tokyo)...sayanora!

Storminnorman's Sports Blog 10/3
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: MLB Royals Tigers NHL Red Wings NFL Lions

 

Hello Gabbers, and welcome to another weekly installment of Storminnorman's Sports Blog. Let me start by saying it was a crazy week in both College Football and Major League Baseball, with heavy favorites such as Alabama, Texas A & M, Tigers and Angels all falling in their respective games and series.

Seriously folks outside of Baltimore and Kansas City, who would have thought these two teams would be meeting for the to face the National League in the World Series? Honestly, the Tigers didn't deserve to win their series, their bully basically choked and was pitching batting practice to the Orioles hitters. Dombrowski made a pretty good move by acquiring Soria, but for some reason it just didn't work in this series.

I made the comment to a few of my friends at work after the series was over, and I mentioned to one of them how poorly Brad Ausmus managed Game 1 and 2. His moves during those two games reminded me of Jim Leyland, he pulled Scherzer after 98 pitches and the bully proceeded to give up 8. Verlander being pulled in the 6th was okay, because he was getting his ass rocked that day and didn't seem like himself. Ausmus went to the well once to often with Soria, Chamberlain and Choke-Zero, and he got burned. Maybe Dombrowski will get the hint this offseason, and sign a few free agent relief pitchers.....

But let's give the Royals and Orioles their dues, they outplayed and outpitched the Tigers and Angels during their series, and deserve to be playing each other in the ALCS. Good luck to both teams, it should be an interesting series.

In the National League, I really thought the Dodgers and Nationals had a legitimate chance of facing each other in the NLCS. Great pitching, great hitters and poof just like that the Cardinals and Giants disposed of them like we do our trash on a weekly basis. Hell if hadn't been of ex-Tiger Doug Fister and Ryu, both teams would have been swept. Who would have thought Kershaw would have blown up twice in the same series? Bet you Dombrowski is kicking himself for trading Fister, the Tigers sure could have used him this year....

Thursday night begins another season for the Detroit Red Wings, as they face off against Sully's Bruins. With the apparent youth movement in Detroit (mostly because Mr. I is spending it on the Tigers), this year could be the year the streak finally ends. I would like to see it continue, but they will be leaning on a Sheehan, Tatar, Nyquist and others to move the streak to 24. With Datsuyk starting out injured, even though he should be back really soon. The first few weeks will be rather interesting to say the least.....

I would have loved to have said something good about the Lions this week, but after Henery looking like Nate Freese last week missing 3 field goals which cost them the game, and the Lions playing to the Bills level, loving that Lions defense still. I have been considering playing Teddy Bridgewater this week......

How can a team look like Super Bowl contenders one week, and then revert back to themselves the next? Oh wait, I am talking about the Lions. Couldn't score another touchdown, and looked like a really bad high school team offensively. Oh wait, I am talking about the Lions. I guess you get were I am going with this........

Well that's all I have for the week, don't forget to turn left and give a shout out to Hal....

 

 

 

 

 

RSS
Blog Categories

This website is powered by Spruz