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Week 2 Wrap Wrap: Lions Roaring?

Posted by Radatz on September 19, 2017 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (4)

What's left of the once-fabled MNF can be hard to take. First, you have to expose yourself to adding to the ratings of the 4-letter network. Second, you have commentary such as that from their resident officiating expert, who explained just how the finger that was propelled into Stafford's eye by an onrushing lineman with his arm straight out during an aborted pass-turned-fumble was really 'incidental contact', not hands-to-the-face. And of course there's Chucky, who seems a bit of a toady lately. Ok, a complete toady.

But this time it was fun anyway. Well, for me. Despite the game's sometimes excruciating pace, it's always fun watching the Giants take it up... I mean on the chin. And take it they did. Eli was sacked 5 times, but you'd have sworn it was more like 10 or 12. NY couldn't seem to sustain any offense. The Immortal Beckham, returned to save the team, caught 4 passes for 36 yards and tipped a pass to a defender. Had he done what he gets paid to do, the outcome may have been in doubt. May have. NY rushed for a measly 62 yards all night. A week after putting up 3 on Dallas, they returned with their main excuse in tow and put up 10 on the Lions. At home.

Meanwhile, the Lions were --- ready? --- efficient and nearly mistake-free. Stafford threw for a mere 122 yards, but pulled a 117.6 QBR. They ran for 138. Paltry totals, but the offense and defense worked in harmony for what was a methodical win. When's the last time you put the words "Lions" and "methodical" together?

It's early, but we seem to have some data now, at least for these teams. The Lions look like a different team. The Giants do too, though not in a good way. NY is in trouble. Detroit may actually be on the verge of good things with two solid and methodical wins over projected contenders. Can it be?

Week 2: Attrition, a Few Answers and More Questions

Posted by Radatz on September 18, 2017 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (5)

Week 1 left us with a lot of questions. Week 2 seemed to answer some of them. Has the CBA-shortened preseason contributed to injuries instead of limiting them? Sure looks that way, particularly with noncontact stuff. It's an attrition parade. Has the AFC/NFC gap widened? Manning's gone, Brady and Ben are getting up there, but sure looked it.

HOU 13 CIN 9: We already skewered this ripe onion.

NE 36 NO 20: NE came out with a 2003-like offense. By halftime it was 30-13. So could NE rebound? Affirmative; even the defense was good. Not so for NO. A projected AFC/NFC shootout turned into a fair rout. Attrition continued unabated. Gronkowski is now Groinkowski, e.g.

BAL 24 CLE 10: Biggest question here, besides whether the Browns could put up another good effort, was Kizer. The answers were yes and no, Kizer tossing 3 picks and earning a benching in favor of Hogan. For the birds, Joe wasn't great but he wasn't bad either.

CAR 9 BUF 3: The 2-0 Panthers stink. Get used to it. Olsen broke his foot. Newton hurt his ankle. A 4th-down stop with time running out was needed to seal the deal against Buffalo, whose D continues good but whose O is a blatant tank job. NFCS presumed contender wins a split decision over a projected AFCE co-doormat.

ARI 16 IND 13: Let it sink in. Projected NFC playoff team vs. a disaster led by Jacoby Brissett in his first game. Goes to OT.

TEN 37 JAX 16: The team that throttled projected AFCS winner Houston gets throttled by projected AFCS runnerup by a nearly-inverted margin. Hope you didn't bet the farm on those amazin' Jags. Frustrating, aren't they?

KC 27 PHI 20: The Chiefs came down to earth a bit, but not enough. Philly looked good in an away game, but another AFC win, this time between projected (by me at least) division contenders. Wentz was good again. Alex, meanwhile, piled up a methodical 114 QBR. Still, it came down to a good desperation bomb by Wentz at the gun --- but alas, no cigar.

PIT 26 MIN 9: Another boring game. But when you heard Sam was suddenly back on the fritz with who-knows-what-anymore and Case was taking over, you knew. Oh yeah... AFC.

TB 29 CHI 7: The poor Bears. And in Tampa's season opener too.

OAK 45 NYJ 20: The poor Jets... nah.

MIA 19 LAC 17: All hail the first place Fins. In their opener, the question was Cutler. The answer is he was ok. But it was 4 FGs that were the story. No, make that 5. They backed into victory lane when Koo bloo a 44 yarder at the end. This guy can't catch a break. Which makes him a perfect Charger.

DEN 42 DAL 17: Consider this: Denver has a rookie HC, OC and DC. Plus the most unwanted starting QB in the league, or so it seems. In come Dak and Zeke. The punk got a mile-high rushing lesson from high-mileage CJ Anderson (118 yds to 8 --- no typo). The Next Romo got lessons from the Denver defense and from Siemian (116 to 68.6 QBR). Denver's a tough place to play, but... NFC elite vs. AFC maybe-WC-contender? Not close.

WAS 27 LAR 20: Were the Rams ready to finally explode onto the contender scene? Think Jags, at least for now. Their vaunted defensive line was shredded for 229 on the ground by the heretofore punchless Skins.

SEA 12 SF 9: Doesn't Seattle disgust you?

ATL 34 GB 23: Another attritionfest. GB got shafted on a pick play call, and on the infamous lateral/fumble, Rodgers was helmeted in the face --- that's 15 yards guys, not a TD for the other team. Later, a belated attempt at a Patriots-like comeback was sabotaged by bad decisions, bad clock management and bad defense. Ok, let's give it a rest. Green Bay probably doesn't belong in the same dome with these guys. Then again, it's the NFCN they inhabit, in which a blue lion would be king... but that is another story.

Week 4 Top 25

Posted by theknightswhosay on September 17, 2017 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (4)

If you’re looking for my comments about the LSU game, go here.

This week starts the transition to my objective computer system. A couple of disclaimers for those who may not remember. No one is being penalized for a win (if they move down after one), only for not accomplishing good wins. Ranking team A ahead of team B does not necessarily mean I think team A would beat team B.

Once the transition is complete, teams will be in order of their accomplishments (with points subtracted for losses of course). For the moment though, I’m still giving some deference to my subjective rankings.

Auburn and Florida St., for instance, aren’t even in the top 60 of the objective ratings. They’re basically placeholders for right now. I rate them highly enough subjectively to stay in; but as I give less importance to that, they will likely fall out until they can compensate for the respective losses with quality wins.

Apart from those two exceptions, I required all the other teams to at least be better than U. Miami, which hasn’t played a game against an FBS opponent yet and only has a win over Bethune-Cookman. I guess another disclaimer is I don’t BLAME the team for not having played anyone due to weather events, but it’s not a moral judgment. The whole point of my ratings system is to boil it down to what has been shown on the field.

Anyway, a couple of other teams I considered were Iowa and Colorado; but they both have big games next week where they can play their way in (Penn St. @ Iowa and Washington @ Colorado).  In addition to those two, some other match-ups of unbeatens will be significant: Alabama @ Vanderbilt, TCU @ Oklahoma St., Mississippi St. @ Georgia, USC @ UC-Berkeley, Toledo @ U. Miami, Texas Tech @ Houston, and UCF @ Maryland.

Something useful to look at if there are questions about some of these teams is wins by opponents. Kentucky’s opponents have a total of four wins (three of those against FBS teams). UC-Berkeley’s opponents have four wins (two of those over FBS teams). Mississippi St.’s are the same as Cal’s (just not quite as good), and so forth.

1 Alabama 1

2 Oklahoma 2

3 Clemson 4

4 Penn St. 3

5 Wisconsin 5

6 Okla St. 6

7 Michigan 7

8 USC 8

9 Georgia 12

10 Ohio St. 9

For the rest of the rankings and pictures, click here.

TNF Becomes SNF? Um, Not Exactly

Posted by Radatz on September 15, 2017 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (6)

After a quiet offseason drama, NFLN, apparently a subsidiary of the dreaded NBC, 'decided' first to stick Collinsworth in the analyst chair next to Tirico, then to dump Tirico for Michaels. Sound like ratings damage control? The results were disastrous, but no more so than the game.

Training camp continues. TNF had the promise of being at least morbidly interesting but ended up another dud. Don't tell that to gushin' Chris, who saw the next great QB (15/24 125 75.9qbr) and a glorious triumph for the beleaguered city of Houston. It was clear NFLN had given him pompon orders (or so fans of his must be hoping). Both teams were putrid, but there were moments to remember. Collinsworth spent 3 plays explaining why Hopkins' pushoffs weren't OPI just before the next one was called for OPI. He obfuscated marvelously on how an early toss by Watson was a completed pass despite the nose of the ball clearly hitting the ground. It's probably safe to say that replay has been fully subverted now. We don't know what a catch is anymore. Vegas rejoice.

Highlights were Watson repeatedly being hammered by Geno Atkins (who was great) in the backfield, Watson taking off on a way-too-easy 49 yard TD run (his longest play of the game outside of a 73 yard Hopkins catch and run that produced no points) and JJ Watt repeatedly collapsing the pocket and forcing Dalton to roll out, from which vantage he seemed generally unable to locate anything friendly downfield, more so as the game got to crunch time.

One TD and 4 FGs. For Houston it was a welcome relief after being blown past by Jacksonville, but they scored exactly 6 more points in 3 more minutes of possession. For Cinci it was a combination of the Marvin Curse, to wit, Eifert being drilled for what would have been the winning margin but stepping out of bounds in the end zone first as he danced and waved for the ball, and bad 'luck', to wit, Cinci being called for a false start on 3rd and 4 in their last actual drive when JJ was clearly offside. You kept wondering when Cinci was simply going to shake off a 10-3 deficit and put Houston out of their misery, but after they'd squandered 2 drives into FGs you could sense that their modus operandi was to fail, not to keep scoring. They modified their game to suit the master plan.

For all the forced hype Watson was mediocre to lousy, his two clutch plays coming as the result of scrambling (the only TD of the game and a run to get good range for the FG that made it 13-9 with time running short). And for all the bad hype Dalton looked pretty good until he needed to step up his game, which went south as the game went on. The boo birds were evident. They were mercifully few. Depression seemed to trump frustration in the stands.

The guess here is that despite the best efforts of Collinsworth, most fans had hit the channel surfboard long before I did. Brady vs. Manning this was not. Someday we will watch those games and wonder what happened. If any were on SNF, we'll probably wonder what happened to the announcers too.

poft prophet 17.2

Posted by the immortal scurds on September 13, 2017 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (5)

ooooh weee. maybe we should stop now. just stick with an immortal 12-3 opening week. it all makes so much sense:

cin-5.5: aj macaron please. but even dalton can outscore the texans. bengals rebound. houston continues to sink

cleve+8: really liked the browns effort vs pitts, and i dont believe baltimore is that good o cncy that bad. and a juicy 8 too.

chic+7: glennon looks ready. 7 is fat for a cold team to spot in a disaster zone. too many pts.

minny+6: truth is, ptts olne is strgglng, and thats not gong to help them vs a defense like minny is bringing. 6 pts? the vkes win straight up.

nwo+7: just too many variables on ne to spot a road 7. pats by 5

kc-5: not comfy giving this many aganst wentz and the eagles, but the chiefs r fully loaded bery or not

tennessee-1.5: jax hasnt got a replacement for robinson. ten looked solid against a darn good rader squad

zona-8.5: indy is awful, but this is a big spread with trap wtten all over t. be careful

car-7: the cats will take away mcoy, and kelvin benjamin has a big day

oak-14: if they play thru the last 8 minutes the raiders will cover, but we will be in the scrubs zone by 3rd quarter

miami+4.5: too many points. chagers look like a team that will have to win close ones

san fran+14: huge pts, and sea looks "off" to me

rams-2.5: nice little number. 2.5. skins are lost. oh, and aaron donald s comng back for ths one.

den+2: dal dee cant win them games, and that o wont help them either

atl-2.5: falcons shook off the rst, and gb wont get all those hockleys here

det+3.5: why r the gmen favored?

winners: det, rams, minny, atl, den, car  -good luck


Posted by Ferociousjane on September 13, 2017 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (5)

“Ohio State has the worst, most obnoxious fans “.

I have heard the chatter all my life and to be honest, it has always shocked me. I’ve never been around a truly heinous Ohio State fan , but then again that might be more a testament to the people I chose to hang around with back home than the vast majority.

So color me surprised this week to be thoroughly sickened by fan behavior on message boards and on what I thought were higher brow football sites like Eleven Warriors. Sure, the Oklahoma loss was painful but there are people writing the most dimwitted criticisms of Urban Meyer and the team.

Evidently, Urban Meyer has done nothing during his tenure at Ohio State and the Buckeyes would be better off rehiring Jim Tressel. I have nothing but love for the bruised and battered “Vest”, but the train has officially gone off the rails when you think you can do better than Urban Meyer.

I don’t do Twitter but I read that Meyer’s wife was pretty much chased off social media by all the negativity from the loss. Sure, there are trolls from other teams adding to the fun but the Buckeye fans are no better.

I have never seen a more spoiled, juvenile, and ungracious group of fans in my entire life. It breaks my heart. Bad Ohio State fans are officially that guy with the great girlfriend who  treats her like garbage.


Today I listened to the Indians’ broadcast of their record setting 21st consecutive win. I have listened to just about every game this year save for a few I missed while I was away on vacation. I prefer the radio because I love Tom Hamilton. He has been with the Tribe calling games for over 27 years.I just read an article where the manager of the Tigers accused the Tribe announcers of saying Detroit threw at an umpire on purpose. I heard the call in question. Tom Hamilton went out of his way over and over again to say he didn’t think the Tigers did it on purpose , but he did say it wasn’t necessarily  “a good look on the Tigers” to have two ejections arguing balls and strikes and then immediately afterward throw a pitch that hits  the home plate umpire square in the throat. It was a pitch their catcher never even raised his mitt to defend.

We’ve all seen the tapes of the Yankees/ Tigers skirmish this year. They’ve been intentionally beaning players all season (including Jose Ramirez, who is batting almost .500 against them) . If Ausmus doesn’t want people assuming the worst of his team then maybe he should get his players to stop acting like morons. Miguel Cabrera spent much of a very close game jawing with fans behind the dugout. How are you helping your team when you’re more wrapped up in arguing with hecklers than what’s going on on the field? Losing is frustrating. I get it. But you live the reputation you make for yourself.

Have a good week, peeps!


Will Week 2 Sort Out the Mysteries of Week 1?

Posted by Radatz on September 13, 2017 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (5)

In the aftermath of a rather confusing week 1 we get a week 2 schedule that's more interesting than usual. What did we learn last week? My take is that we learned many teams are still in preseason. Expect that to continue for a while. But let's apply the more specific 'lessons' of week 1 to each game --- then say what we really feel.

[email protected]: Battle of the megaflops. Week 1 told us neither team can win this game, but somebody's got to. Cinci doesn't have a complex scheme (good thing for now) and Houston's got that great D that gave the Jags 46 points. Wow. The reality? How to tell? Home team.

[email protected]: The Browns looked good even with the green Kizer. The Ravens, meanwhile, showed zero Joe lag. The result? Once again, home team.

[email protected]: The Panthers looked better than (I) expected. The Bills weren't all that bad. If they hold mistakes down they could have a shot. But it's home team.

[email protected]: There's nothing in the Cards for this year. Except maybe a trip to lovely Indianapolis to play the headless horses.

[email protected]: Week 1 told us the Jags are unbeatable and the Titans are capable of staying with the Raiders. Thank goodness Fox lists the venue. This game could have been in Hong Kong, but it's in Jacksonville AFAIK. The Jags are far from unbeatable, but they just might be on enough of an upper to take this home game. Somebody stop me.

[email protected]: Week 1 told us KC is the cream of the AFC. Philly doesn't seem to be having the same personnel turnover issues as NE. Schwartz' D could rule the day, but I'm still going home team.

[email protected]: Neither team wants to repeat week 1. The Saints are at home. NE's issues will continue for a few weeks judging from what I saw. Home team. Yup.

[email protected]: Minny looked good. Pittsburgh did not. Why do I think they'll win anyway? Ask my psychiatrist.

[email protected]: Nothing to go on for the Bucs. Da Bears looked pretty good, no? How do I pick them on the road against a playoff team that's supposed to be still on the rise? Easy. I don't.

[email protected]: Next.

[email protected]: Cutler's debut. Chargers looked pretty good while getting shafted last week. Home team. Even if 'home' is Carson.

[email protected]: It'll be interesting to see how Dak holds up against the still-formidable Denver defense. The Dallas D won't be facing a complete cream puff this time... will they hold up? Strangely, I'm not so sure... but I think so.

[email protected]: The Skins should have this game. Week 1 was a fluke, right? Let's find out. Long trip. I say home team. There I go again.

[email protected]: Homehawks debut. Next.

[email protected]: Ah, sweet revenge. Did Atlanta's shoddy showing last week reflect issues or just lack of mature focus? Hangover maybe? Good question. I'm taking the visitors for no solid reason.

[email protected]: By any way of spinning week 1 the Lions should have a field day. The Giants were so bad that their desperate media are clinging to the theory that the problem is the absence of the immortal Lord Beckham. It's way worse than that. You have to take the Lions. But Caldwell gives me the willies.

MNF: One Bore and One Outrage

Posted by Radatz on September 12, 2017 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (7)

The weekend of strange outcomes and largely crummy games continued on MNF. Execution is at a mid-preseason low in most quarters, and teams with little turnover (via change or early attrition) and/or fairly simple 'systems' (if any are left) seem to have the advantage. Here's hoping the next CBA has more sane prep time. Injuries are huge, but it looks like this ain't workin' even on that front so far. Here's hoping the stupid NFL finally exterminates timeouts on field goals too.

MIN 29 NO 19: Rumor has it Sam got contacts to remove the patented deer look that draws pass rushers like a magnet. Whatever he did, it worked. How's a 143 QBR sound? When's the last time he made Brees (also QBR over 100) look average? Meanwhile, the Saints had Patriot-like problems in the red zone when they saw it. On defense too. Another similarity seemed to be a tendency for OCs to inject themselves into play flow (i.e. huddles followed by stupid plays) during what should have been unbroken no-huddle drills that were working under veteran field generals. Then again, Brees seemed oblivious to the clock as they went downfield late to draw within 10. The return of AP was an anticlimax (6 carries for 18 yards?). And so we have yet another game with weird projections, i.e. Vikes in full contention for the NFCN, Saints in full free fall. Why do I think it's another week 1 special? Why do I stress the word "think?"

DEN 24 LAC 21: All I can say is, what a phoney pink-hat couch-potato TV way to finish what became one of the best games of a bad week. Somebody's got to do something about kicker-icing, especially when it's so late that the play runs. Got to. Perhaps the one significant action taken by either head coach all night, snarky and cheap. I'm no fan of LA-anything but man, I loathe Denver now more than ever. Hate seeing a place kicker decide a hard-fought game? How about a smug HC tapping a ref on the shoulder? All that football and it comes down to this? As a fan I feel robbed.

Week One is Done, Thankfully for the Most Part.

Posted by Radatz on September 11, 2017 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (10)

What an opening week. When it began, the Patriots were 'prohibitive favorites' to win the Super Bowl. After Thursday, the favorite became Seattle. Wonder who it is now. It was a week of surprises, a number of top dogs having a rough time (some while winning). Thank goodness for the Carsons (Wentz and Palmer) or I might have gotten just about every game wrong. Most of them were not what you call works of art. Seems all the players who don't get injured in the shortened preseason make up for it when the premature real thing arrives.

Meanwhile, the winner of [email protected] was Irma, media darling of misanthropic environmentalists everywhere. Unfortunately for them she dropped to cat-2, headed for cat-1 and then brief tropical storm status over land. As the decades pass storms stay the same but the media blow ever harder.

KC 42 NE 27: For 3 quarters NE, despite playing poorly, actually had a lead. Then the roof caved in on big plays as the defense, sporting players like Marsh who had just unpacked their bags, was overrun. Alex Smith played well, mostly at throw-and-catch to wide open receivers. Attrition was rampant, Hightower and Amendola exiting for NE and, far more significant, Berry exiting for KC to season-ending IR.

JAX 29 HOU 7: Bad as NE fans felt, Houston fans felt worse. Their division favorites were trampled by the lowly Jags who had just come off an ugly preseason. Savage was average. Watson was elementary. Boy did they look bad. 10 sacks?

ATL 23 CHI 17: Yeah, they won, but the SB runnerups were played dead even by Da Bears (!), needing a sack with 8 seconds left to clinch the game as Chicago threatened to score the winner. It wasn't a tour-de-force.

PIT 21 CLE 18: Another in our cavalcade of titan flops for the weekend. The Steelers, despite sacking a rookie QB 7 times, had to fight to the wire to pull out the win. They made the Browns look competitive. Maybe they are. Maybe not.

GB 17 SEA 9: Sticking to the plot, the new consensus SB faves laid a buzzard egg, never crossing the goal line and watching a tiny lead turn into a big deficit in the latter stages of the game. The final FG was garbage time as GB held the ball and took knees for 2 minutes.

BAL 20 CIN 0: Road game. Joe fresh out of deep freeze. Woodhead, his favorite early target, gone with a hamstring. Didn't matter. Andy tossed 4 picks. His QBR was under 29. I didn't know you could do that.

DET 35 ARI 23: It wasn't even that close as the team picked by many TV sages to enter the playoffs in place of... who else... Detroit was popped by a wider margin than the score may indicate. Stafford appears immune to get-paid-and-fizzle disease so far.

OAK 26 TEN 16: Finally a game that made sense. Pretty evenly played but not so that we didn't have a clear winner, and it was the Raiders who looked pretty formidable. In game 1.

LAR 46 IND 9: This is what happens when a garbage scow like Indianapolis doesn't have The Man With No Luck. Take heart, Ram fans... but not too much. It was week 1. It was these guys.

PHI 30 WAS 17: Fairly close game until the very end. Cousins looked a tad overrated. Wentz looked a tad underrated if anything. Schwartz' D looked good as (I) expected. At least I got this one right.

CAR 23 SF 3: Not this one though. Still, you must admit a 23-3 'thrashing' of the Niners isn't exactly what you call a show of strength. Cam went 14-25 with 2 TDs and 1 INT for a mammoth 171 yards. Won't put a dent in the pandering accolades.

BUF 21 NYJ 12: All hail the first-place Bills. Shows how much the early going tells you in this preseasonless horror the NFLPA wanted so badly.

DAL 19 NYG 3: Call it good D if you want, but this snorefest was more an exhibition of a moribund Dallas O and its completely inept NY counterpart. The game was like watching a sadistic dentist take 3 hours to pull a tooth. Prescott completed about 60% for 268, Elliot ran for 104, and it got them a TD and 4 FGs. Manning played the part of captain of a sinking ship well.

y'all payin attention???

Posted by the immortal scurds on September 10, 2017 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (5)