Archive for September, 2011

Bears (-6) over the Panthers, Result: Loss

Take the Bears at -6 ½, Vegas usually doesn’t make a ton of mistakes, but they made one here. Cam Newton is a great talent but he is prone to mistakes and these are going to multiply as teams get more film on him. Vince Young was great as a rookie as well, though by his second year you knew the book on him. The reality is that we are going to get more information – lots of hitters in baseball have good first halves as rookies but then the second half comes up, and it’s their second time around against a rotation – they’re not running the football whatsoever! DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart have only compiled a 150 rushing yards in 3 games. For all his early promise, Cam makes mistakes as he’s been picked off 4 times and this is the best defense he’ll face, on the road. Jay Cutler – listen, against teams without a great pass rush and that are beat up like Carolina is, they’re going to be fine. Chicago holds a huge advantage on special teams as well. Outside of the offensive line and maybe the receiver – the Bears are better across the board. From coach to quarterback, all along the defense…swallow the 6 ½ points, it’s a mistake by Vegas, the Bears roll 28-9.

Falcons (-1) over Seahawks, Result:  Win

I can’t believe this line! It was a one point -1 and now it’s about a field goal and a half at -4. Whatever it is, under a touchdown I like it! Atlanta let’s say at -3 ½ or 4 over the Seahawks. The Falcons are desperate and Seattle is a puttered offense, forget last week! They’re averaging about 214 yards per game – that’s lousy! That is unbelievably bad!! They have one of the worst offensive lines in football. They have maybe the worst quarterback in the league and Marshawn Lynchs’ great run against the Saints last year – he didn’t have one before and he hasn’t had one since. These teams met last year and Atlanta barbecued them at home. Let’s be honest about Seattle – they were a lot better last year than they are this year. Now, Atlanta has played Chicago, Philly and Tampa…those are playoff contenders. This is a huge drop down in class with huge significant advantages at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and offensive line. Atlanta goes into Seattle and hammers the Seachickens 27-13.

Patriots (-4.5) over Raiders,  Result: Win

Listen, Patriots defense can’t stop anybody, but here is something to know about the Raiders. As much as I like their front seven and Richard Seymour, they’re secondary right now is a mess! 4 safety’s alone on the injury report. 4 safeties and 3 corners for Oakland on the injury report and the Patriots’ offensive line has been excellent at protecting Brady with 3 sacks given up this year. The Raiders are tough but they’re 28th in pass defense and this offensive line will give Brady time to throw. The Oakland offense is pretty pedestrian through the air and that doesn’t even count! The banged up wide receiver position, Jacoby Ford Ltd, Lewis Murphy didn’t practice. I’m only having to swallow 4 ½ points. Brady and Belicheck are tremendous off losses; the Raiders come down after their most emotional win in 2 or 3 years. Swallow the points; New England wins it 31-21.

Jets (+3.5) over Ravens: Result: Loss

I tell you, this game is going to be low scoring! I get a field goal and a half in this game? I’ll take the points all day long – I’ll take the 3 ½. Now, I don’t know if the Jets win, but last time they played it was 10-9. Now, one of the things the Ravens do – Terrell sucks on the right hand side, it’s a nightmare! But D’Brickashaw Fergueson at tackle for the Jets neutralizes one of their great core strengths. People forget this about Joe Flacco – he’s got a lot of new targets! He was never the most accurate guy to begin with but folks, he’s completing a very mediocre 54% this year. This Jets defense has been told for a week that they’re soft, they’re finesse and over the hill – they will be breathing fire in this game to prove that they’re still an elite team. Mark Sanchez has quietly been engaging in a very interesting game of improvement with Plaxico Burress, they are starting to really connect. That throw against the Raiders last week in the endzone for a TD was the best throw by any quarterback in the league last Sunday. I like the Jets – I don’t know if they win, but I’ll take the points…I’m going to take them to win it 21-20. Flacco is still a guy that I don’t believe see’s the entire field well.

Utah (-7) over Washington, Result: Loss

Another favourite here, Utah is giving up 7 but they are at home. Now, they’ve had 2 weeks to prepare after thumping their rival BYU and they’re healthy. Washington, vulnerable in the trenches, has to go on the road after really tough physical games against Cal and Nebraska. Utah’s Jordan Wynn spreads the ball around! 11 different receivers have caught the ball and the Huskies right now, a rebuilding program, are not very good at linebacker and are very poor in space. Utah can spread you out and get it to different guys. Kyle Whittingham has never lost a game in the regular season off a bye! He’s 11-0…swallow the points, Utah well rested beats the Huskies 34-23.


By the way, Boston fans were all over the blogs and twitter today and were saying stuff like “I’m okay with it, I’ve come to terms with it….we have other great teams…” ohh please stop!!! Can you at least for once in your life be authentic you Sam Adams-drinking-fist-fighting-rebelling-happy-eating-the-yankees-exhaust-third-place-phony….it hurts badly!!! Eat it!  For seven or eight years you’ve had a great run…it’s over! The Celtics are old, the Patriots are unbalanced and the Bruins hit the lottery…it’s not going to happen again. You had a great run, now take your rightful place in the world…eating lobster rolls all day and beating up your 5’3 ½ brother!!

Boston is the most provincial major city in the United States! Not overly diverse and certainly not sports diverse. It’s one of the only cities that won’t watch anything that is not Boston. So eat it hard…a lot of us revel in it. Go back to your duck boat you side-hat-wearing-Ben-Affleck-loving-chower-worshiping phony!!! I thought it was absolutely great! Not a leader in that clubhouse in this $160 million dollar payroll. Conversely, Tampa’s got no money!! They’re at $40 million bucks! Yankee’s payroll is $205 million, Red Sox’s $160 million…Tampa? $800,000 in cash and they’ll give you a pizza parlour on 3rd and Vine in Lakeland…they’ve got no money and yet all they do is win.

I’ll say this, Buster Onley nailed it – you know what? It was great to see Baltimore compete…good for Baltimore! The winners write the stories folks, not the losers. Baltimore could’ve easily mailed it in. Yet they played with everything they had, good for Baltimore. Buck Showalter and those guys in game 162 of the season – which meant nothing to them and yet they played like it was Game 7…that was awesome! When you win, you decide how you are going to celebrate.

Boston, you can’t blame a goat, Babe’s gone, Bartman wasn’t yours…blame yourself! Buster Onley on the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN radio this morning was talking about how there are some real questions in Boston saying “They’re ownership has spent around $340 million dollars over the last 2 years and what do they have to show for it? Zero playoff appearances and the greatest September collapse ever seen in the history of the game. So whether it’s Theo Epstein or Terry Francona or a bunch of coaches or others, I don’t think any of it – at this point, we should be shock by” Unbelievable!! Like at least when New York spends money, they win!

I’ve always said this, Kentucky basketball may do some things that are skivvy but they win, Baylor basketball cheated for a decade and they still stunk. Like I mean, at least when the Yankees spend money, they win! The Cubs and the Red Soxs open the vault up and play like they’re on a 6 day meth bender! At least show up and have some heart!! It was absolutely unbelievable. Listen, Boston is short and angry when they wake up every morning…now, they just piled another level of anxiety. Unbelievable sport I tell you!

And for all these people ripping the Yankees – and they’re saying you didn’t compete and that they tanked it, excuse me? How many at bats did Jeter have? He had 3, Granderson? He also had 3, Texiera? Had 4, Cano? He had 4 as well, Swisher? He had 3. If your mailing it in, your not sending you’re All –Star’s up that many times!! The Yankees led 7-0; they didn’t trail 7-0!! That’s a ridiculous argument.

The bottom line is that Joe Girardi was using guys like AJ Burnett for about 8 pitches and then they ran out of guys in the back end, but the Yankee’s told us “listen, we’re not going to use our 7, 8 and 9 guys; we’re just not going to use them! We’re the Yankees” The Yankee’s have always been the Lakers where it’s not about getting into the playoffs; it’s about winning World Series titles. That’s the way it works for the Lakers, that’s the way that it works for Duke Basketball, that’s the way it works for the Yankees.

To show you the difference between the Yankees and everybody else, Joe Girardi would’ve been fired driving home last night if the Yankees had collapsed like the Red Soxs did. He would’ve gotten the call from the Tampa area code, picked it up and they would’ve said “we’ve already boxed your stuff, don’t come back!” Francona may survive. So even the Red Soxs – the level of expectation is a notch lower than the Yankees. So it’s all about – like once the Yankees wrapped it up, it’s all about getting ready for the Detroit Tigers or the Rangers, but now it’s the Tigers…that’s all its about. Don’t tell me they tanked it for nothing.

Listen, I stayed up last night way too late, but if you did not see what happened, here you go…there is not a nicer guy in baseball than Joe Madden, he’s goofy! If Tampa was a rock band, it would be the “Joe Madden and the Overachievers” and their #1 single would be “Unloved, unwatched and winning” but if you didn’t watch it, it was 7-0 Yankees and Girardi is just going through pitchers, “here’s another guy to bring in” I think he ran out at some point. So it was 7-0 Yankees, but I sit and turn to my buddy and I’m like “I don’t know who the Yankees have left to pitch!” so I changed the channel for about 4 minutes and come back to it and its 7-6 and it’s just a wild wild wild scramble by Tampa, then they have a 6run 8th, led mostly by Longoria’s 3 run homer.

So it’s 7-0, you get 6 runs in the bottom of the 8th and its 7-6 then in the bottom of the 9th you still trail, 2 strikes, Dan Johnson…and what do you know! He homers and it’s tied at 7’s. Then they go to the 12th tied at 7 and here they go again! Longoria goes deep on a walk off home run, his second of the game…unbelievable!! They pay their players in crackers, he lost his 8 highest paid players….they gutted the franchise – they can’t afford any of them and they come back and they can compete annually with the Yankees and the Red Soxs. God, it’s really an unbelievable sport – there is nothing like it in sports. It would be like having a University of Alaska college football team and they’re like beating Ohio State every year. How in God’s name do they do it!!!

My Top 10 NFL Power Rankings after Week # 3

Posted: September 29, 2011 in NFL

10.  San Diego Chargers – I think Philip Rivers is an elite quarterback, their weapons are amazing and if they can kinda  get through September, where they have struggled, Philip Rivers has been fantastic in late November and December. I don’t love Norf Turner but I got them at #10

9. New England Patriots – I’ve been down on New England all year, you know that via the blog I try to come across as a Patriots homer but folks, they are 31st in defense. They’ve slowly become the Houston Texans. Lots of points, lots of fun but they can’t get anybody off the field. I’ll probably have people direct messaging me on my twitter account asking “How can you drop them to 9?” I had them 7th (though this is the first Top 10 I’m releasing this season), I just don’t buy into this team, they let go of Meriweather, they don’t have a kicker back there, or someone that can pop somebody. I don’t like the team, they are not intimidating defensively and other teams now know it

8. Philadelphia Eagles – Now I know you’re saying “Andrew, they are 1-2” no, they’re 3-0 if Vick is healthy. Listen, they’re still 6th in offense and nobody is faster in this league. Michael Vick does not have a broken hand, he’s got contusions, and it’s painful! But if you can keep Michael Vick healthy – I know it’s a bad offensive line, but my gut feeling is that Michael’s going to get 10-12 games in. Philadelphia is a fireworks show! They are very very tough to defend when Vick is healthy!

7. New York Jets – Too many people are selling on the New York Jets. The New York Jets can beat anybody in this league, including the Green Bay Packers. New York is a B+ defense, Rex Ryan is an excellent defensive head coach and I would say this. Mark Sanchez, to me – I don’t know what the numbers say so far, looks better than he did in his first 2 years. He made a throw to Plaxico Burress against the Raiders that was as good as any throw any quarterback has made in this league so far this year. The Jets are fine, they’re not as good defensively – that’s really the story here, and that means more close football games. Don’t be shocked if they upset Baltimore this weekend. I love the Jets this weekend…too many sellers on this team.

6. Detroit Lions – I buy in! Matt Stafford is a monster. This team has not only nailed their first five #1 picks, but they’ve also all become stars in this league. Ndamukong Suh, Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best, by the way…they’ve only been sacked once this year and their offensive line was one of their liabilities – it’s certainly better than what we thought. So right now, the only problem with this team is that they’re not really good defensively on the backend.

5. Dallas Cowboys – When healthy, and right now they’re not healthy, it’s a good football team, and they should be 3-0. San Francisco is better than we thought; they went out there all banged up and won. The Jets are a pretty good football team, had them beat. They won this past Monday without a healthy starting receiver. Dez Bryant was about 70% and he said later after the game “I may have sat, but Tony Romo played and I played” If they can get through the next month of schedules, I think they are a pretty good football team.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers –Yes the offensive line is sort of a mess at tackle and the cornerback questions linger. Head coach, quarterback pass rush is still an A grade in my books. This is a very good culture and they have earned my respect. There have been different times during the last 5 or 6 years we have felt not great about the Steelers. They’ve gotten to what? 3 Superbowls and they haven’t really had a great running game for the last several years. They are a “flawed at points” football team, but they have earned my respect.

3. New Orleans Saints – They may be the best team in the league. To be honest with you though, I thought about putting them at #1 or #2. They’ve got a tough schedule so far: Green Bay, Chicago and Houston and they are 2-1. The schedule gets almost laughably easy. They’re only loss is a shootout in Green Bay, offensively they are averaging about 440 yards and 34 points a game and that’s against the Bears and the Packers. This team may be the best in the league.

2. Baltimore Ravens- I still have my reservations with Joe Flacco. The good news for Joe Flacco thought is that in 2 games this year – no interceptions, 3 TD’s no interceptions, that’s always been the key here. This is a very good football team, but can Flacco get you to the next level? Well, you look at how they thumped Pittsburgh and St. Louis…it’s a very good football team.

1. Green Bay Packers – Confident, talented, great quarterback, good coach, exceptional organization. Green Bay is #1 in the NFL until somebody knocks them off their perch.

Now I’m probably going to get a lot of Buffalo Bills fans, who have just gone absolutely crazy “Andrew, how could you not have a team that’s 3-0 in your Top 10?” First of all, 3 games in a 16 game season is a tiny sample size it’s your first win over New England since 03’, it was at home, with some breaks and a last second field goal. Buffalo, you have not earned the respect this early in a season to be rated above a San Diego – which has a guy who is going to be a Hall of Fame quarterback and one of the best receivers in the league. Buffalo fans are saying “Well what about Detroit? You’ve got Detroit at 3-0?” Yeah but Detroit’s top 5 guys are superstar level guys. Ndamukong Suh, Calvin Johnson, Matt Stafford, Brandon Pettigrew, Kyle Vanden Bosch already has 3 sacks. Those are all Pro Bowl type players!

A couple of years ago, the Denver Broncos went 6-0 and I came out with a rant the next day – honest to God, I’ve never received more hate mail since I started publishing my rants.  I basically came out and said “they’re not legit, they don’t have enough elite talent” they finished 8-8 that year. But to the fans, when their team is 6-0, they don’t want to hear that their not legit.

Listen, Buffalo is a great story but they do not, in my opinion, have elite talent to get through a 16 game schedule in the AFC when you’ve got teams like Pittsburgh and Baltimore and the Jets…you have to play them twice and now you gotta go to New England. Listen, you played Kansas City to open your season – worst team in the league. Then you got a break with Oakland – who played on Monday Night Football last week. So you not only got them on a short week, but they had to travel across the country on a short week, so they lost a day and a half of practice time and they led you by 21 points and fell apart. It was a nice win on Sunday, you deserve all the credit.

But I sorta said last week, that I felt that Buffalo might pull a shocker, now later during the week I wasn’t quite sure anymore, but it’s not a big shock. New England has got major problems because they can’t stop anyone and New England is highly over-rated this year and I’m a Patriots homer on this blog. Don’t get too caught up on 3-0! Yes, it does elevate your chances to making it to the playoffs, but let me tell you this. 0-3 means something, 3-0 doesn’t necessarily mean something. If your 0-3? You’re a mess! You can be 3-0 and you’ve had a scheduling break and aren’t a great team.

Buffalo’s not a great team, but they’re a fun to watch and it’s an amazing story. Oakland lost to Buffalo last week and to me, Oakland is much more for real for several reasons. Firstly, Oakland is filled with stars in this league. I mean, Richard Seymour is a star! Darren McFadden is a – these are game changing people! Who were superstars in high school, superstars in college and now stars in the NFL. Oakland up front, defensively, is scary!! Offensively, they pushed the Jets all over the field on Sunday.

Now I don’t love them at quarterback with Jason Campbell, but from what they say of him, he’s a very steady guy, very bright, get’s the big picture…not spectacular. But, I watched the Raiders and saw them push people around against the Jets and I look in that division. They get Todd Hailey twice; the Bills get Bill Belicheck twice. Raiders get Norf Turner twice; the Bills get Rex Ryan twice. The Raiders get Matt Cassel and Kyle Orten. The Bills have got to face Brady again in New England, Sanchez twice.

So, it’s a nice story for Buffalo and I think they’re going to win a lot of games, but I’m kinda buying the Raiders’ at 2-1 right now, when you look at their schedule and look at their division. You look at the Raiders’ schedule – the Bills schedule gets really tough later in the year. Look at the Raiders’ though starting in mid October: it’s the Browns and Chiefs at home, then get a bye and then Denver at home. Then you get a bunch of Minnesota’s, Chicago at home, Miami, Kansas City….you kinda look at the schedule and I think the Raiders are kinda for real. Jason Campbell talked about the win over the Jets on Sunday.

“This probably was a good win to have this early in the season, it was a statement in the game because the way we lost last week and to see a team rebound this week against a tough opponent and to go out and make a statement and win a game like this. I think it is a statement in the game for our team. It shows us how far we have matured and how far we’ve come” Listen, if they can split the next 2 games, the Raiders get a month of Browns, Chiefs at home, a bye and then Denver at home. That’s a really good month in the NFL – that’s a 3-0 month in the NFL. So I kinda look at the Raiders right now, you look at their schedule; you look at them physically up front. Hue Jackson, who knew Hue Jackson this time last year??? Good for them!!

Now, I’ll get hate mail from Buffalo “Andrew, you are…” just look at their schedule over the next 3 months. At Cincinnati, Philadelphia, @ Giants, Redskins are better than what we all thought, Jets, @ Dallas, @ Miami, @ Jets, @ San Diego, Tennessee is very physical. I mean, they go from early October to December…they don’t get a break!! They’re break is home against Tennessee! That’s their break game. That’s a tough tough schedule….really tough!

Here’s something else – you know, fans want inside stuff! I heard an interview with an NFL quarterback yesterday and he said “here’s a prime example: Aaron Hernandez of the Patriots was out on Sunday, he’s a tight end, their second favourite target – sometimes their first favourite target for Tom Brady. He was out yesterday and another one of their tight ends had a hammy injury and was cut, though they’ll probably bring him back.” So the reality is, the Patriots were playing with all these groupings Sunday that they normally don’t play with – that’s why Welker had 16 catches and Branch had none. The reality is, the Patriots on Sunday were missing tight ends – and they use them as much as anybody in this league. They were using groupings and settings they don’t normally use. Brady was off; a couple of tip passes later…pow! You have a bad afternoon…bad in terms of what’s good and what’s bad for Tom Brady.

But the hardest team – there is a team that is incredibly difficult for me to figure out and that’s the New York Giants! I kinda texted this to some of my friends….I don’t know what the hell to make out of the Giants! The last 3 years, there has been a point in the first half of the season where I’ve thought to myself “ Giants are the best team in football” then about Week 11 they go into a tail spin. I will say this and I’ve been saying it for a while now, I think Eli Manning gets no credit. The guy is working with backup wide receivers. Frankly, they didn’t run the football that great on Sunday, they only averaged like 3 yards a carry 3 ½ yards a carry. They ran it okay, they had a couple of big runs, but they’re running game wasn’t great. Eli is basically using back up wide receivers – I don’t know what to make of the Giants!!

The Giants to me are this enigma wrapped in a riddle, I can’t figure them out. They’re always good first half, even the year they won the Superbowl, I can remember streaming New York radio the year that they won the Superbowl and by Week 15 in the NFL season they were already talking baseball. Like, the Giants were on afterthought! They played well against the Patriots, they lost a game and everybody was like “you know what though? This is a lot to build on” then they went 4 straight games and beat Brady in the Superbowl. So even the year they won the Superbowl, I couldn’t figure them out!!

They’re beating Favre in blizzards, they’re beating Brady – who was unbelievable that year, they kept going on the road and winning, so I don’t know what to make of the Giants. I do know what to make of Eli Manning though, the guy has simply never been given the credit he deserves because he’s playing with backups now and winning road games in the NFL, please give the guy some credit!!

Monday’s are prized possessions for my blog, because the texts get sillier, the emails get nuttier and today I swear to God that 90% of you think the Bills are better than the Jets and that the Raiders are going to win the Superbowl – though the Raiders were pretty impressive! So they have that coaches fan approval rating thing on ESPN, #2 is now Chad Gailey where 95% of you think that Chad Gailey is great! This is a guy who was a disaster in Dallas and is 22-28 lifetime in the NFL. You’ve got Hue Jackson, where 92% of fans think Hue Jackson is awesome!  By the way, people thought Lebron was a bum yet 82% of you think that Pat Sherman is a wizard! You guys think he’s Lombardi!

Yet Belicheck is now at 54%, another good coach Rex Ryan is at 53%, Pete Carroll is a 33% and he’s significantly ahead of Andy Reid, who is 119-74-1 and has a winning playoff record! Ohh man you gotta love fans! At least we all agree on this though…that Todd Haley guy is not working out in Kansas City, haha!! Chad Gailey people!!  The guy is Lombardi …wow, it’s amazing what I’m hearing…clearly its overreaction Monday.

Now here’s something that I won’t overreact about. Listen, speaking about overreacting…remember last year when Michael Vick went all out against the Redskins? They beat them like 59-28 and Vick had like 4 TD’s and ran wild and he’s always been “occasionally spectacular” But after that Monday night football game, the emails I got were ridiculous! I received hate mail for 2 weeks. I mean, it was just absolutely ridiculous, I said “folks put on the brakes, have some perspective! Don’t blow just because the wind blows” it’s a Monday night football game; it’s the only game on television so we go nuts on Tuesday morning.

I basically told people “listen, I’m never going to let Michael Vick be my $100 million dollar quarterback. On and off the field I don’t love his judgment, he runs too much and passes too rarely, he’s too small, he doesn’t read defenses after the number one receiver is covered – even he acknowledged that last week, and he’s just got a history of dumb decisions, though he’s “spectacular” on some days.

Yesterday – a year later from that Monday night football game, it’s all comes true. He is just too small, he is occasionally spectacular, and there is no question when he’s on the field that Philadelphia is a better team but I’m not spending a $100 million dollars on him! There is just no way that I’m doing it. I want my Brees, my Brady and my Manning, I want my guys in the pocket as the NFL has become more increasingly violent…I just don’t want my quarterback out there! 

The NFL is about 90 years old…no NFL running quarterback has ever won the Superbowl and that’s when the game was slower and defensive linemen were 240 lbs. Now they are 320lbs and can run a 4.6 and can bench press a Delaware.  I don’t want my quarterback running around. Sal Palantonio said the big issue in Philadelphia was this “…this is the big headline, that they have given $100 million dollar contract to a quarterback who can’t stay on the football field and who is now 1-4 in his last 5 starts with a completion rate of 58%, taken 13 sacks and has 6 turnovers in those last 5 games. 1-4 Michael Vick in his last 5 starts!”

That was Sal Palantonio on the Mike & Mike Show this morning on ESPN radio. That’s it! But that’s always been the story on Michael Vick, but yet we fell in love with him because of that Monday Night Football game because he’s “occasionally spectacular” They say Michael Vick is nice, quiet but that he is rather small in height. He’s probably my height, about 5’11 and weights like 208lbs. Has tiny hands, tiny feet, tiny frame. Question, do you want the tiniest quarterback in the league taking the most shots? Answer is no!!

Good God, Big Ben can barely stay healthy and he’s gigantic! He’s got a big old balloon head, he’s 6’5, weighs like 260lbs and he’s always banged up!  You could fit Michael Vick in Big Ben’s pocket. Then Vick comes out and says that he just doesn’t get the flags! “Every time I throw the ball, I’m on the ground! Or get hit in the head and I don’t know why I don’t get the 15 yard flags like everybody else do. But hey, I’m not going to complain about it, I’m just making everyone aware of it. The ref has to do their job – and I’m not blaming the ref by any stretch. So, let’s not get it twisted here. There is no reason for me to go into a big dissertation about why I’m not getting the calls. The refs have got to do their job as well so…”

But a lot of that is because Michael Vick is just small. It goes back to my “Shaquielle O’Neal” theory where everybody is like “ohh everybody’s getting fouled by Shaq” yah but Shaq gets fouled more than any other player but you couldn’t notice it because he was so large. Michael probably doesn’t get hit anymore than Big Ben does, like I mean the Steelers’ offensive line is no good especially at the tackles. But the truth is that Big Ben takes a lot of shots that don’t really bother him. Yet all the shots bother Michael Vick because he’s a small athlete. So this is why I would never make Vick my franchise quarterback.

I will tell you though that on an overreaction Monday where everybody is going nuts! That it was a nice win by Buffalo, not a shocking win to be honest, but it was mildly surprising. I sorta had New England at #7 in my power rankings. If you can’t get people off the field – and New England can’t, then you can get beat by any team with a capable quarterback in this league, clearly Buffalo has got a capable quarterback. I don’t think Fitzpatrick is great, but he’s certainly capable. He’s certainly better than the bottom 8 – 12 of the quarterbacks in this league.

So, not shocked by it, surprised mildly – but not shocked by it at all, people…New England is over-rated! For the sake of the blog, I’m a homer for the Patriots – I had them at #7 in the league last week. Heck, they can’t get anybody off the field! Now, Jet fans were freaking out this morning “oh we’re terrible” Not necessarily, but the Jets have 2 things going on that are not good. They’ve gotten older defensively and they are not very dynamic offensively. That means the Jets are going to be in a lot of close games – they can’t pull away from better teams and they’re not going to be this brick wall which they were years ago with Rex Ryan. So the aging of their defense – and its really not as good as it was 2 years ago, don’t kid yourself! It’s not.

So the aging of the defense and the lack of robust running game and dynamic skill people means that the Jets are going to be in a lot of close football games. They’re going to be like a better version of Miami – winning 19-17 a lot and yesterday they were on the road and lost and didn’t get that Sanchez TD call late. But the Jets are nonetheless still a great football team.

Raiders (+3.5) over the Jets, Result: Win

Oakland is hosting the Jets, the Raiders are getting 3 ½ points – this is arguably the best Raider team since 2002. Their front 7 is heavily underrated, was #2 in the NFL in sacks last year and the Jets’ offensive line right now is weak at one tackle spot and Nick Mangold – the pro bowl centre won’t play. By the way, the running game for the Jets right now is atrocious. Shonn Greene, their #1 pick, is living off that playoff game in 2009. The Raiders finally get to play at home after the league dealt them a bad hand where they opened the season on a Monday night and then had a short week and had to travel east and now they go back out west. It’s the Jets’ turn to travel cross country; this is honestly not a good 2-0 football team right now. The Raiders to me have an exemplary inside pass rush with Richard Seymour and Lamarr Houston and if Nick Mangold’s out, that’s a huge disadvantage. Special teams? Nobody has got a better punter and kicker than the Raiders. It’s a low scoring game, special team’s edge; I’m going to take the points, Raiders upset my Jets 21-20.

Dolphins (+2.5) over  Browns, Result: Win

Alright, so I’m taking points with the Dolphins at +2 ½ at Cleveland. Listen, the Dolphins are the only NFL team that’s better on the road, they’ve lost 11 of 12 at Sun Life Stadium yet away from South Florida, they’ve covered 11 of their last 14, yet they’re 0-2 right now and Miami is desperate. They don’t face Tom Brady and they don’t face Matt Schaub, they get a weak armed Colt McCoy who basically is averaging, check this out, Cleveland is averaging only 14 points in their last 7 games. I also think that Peyton Hillis is the only reason why Cleveland moves the ball in this football game and Miami’s linebackers are the most underrated in the league. Kevin Burnett, Karlos Dansby, Cameron Wake…this is just too many points for a Cleveland team that doesn’t score, I’m taking the points and I’ve got Miami actually winning it – you don’t have to take them to win, but I’ll take the points, 21-20 for the fish.

Titans (-7) over the Broncos, Result: Loss

Tennessee at -7, now they shocked Baltimore but that’s not why I like them, because I didn’t think they’d struggle with Baltimore. I told you last week, I love Tennessee in the points against Baltimore, but the reality is that Chris Johnson is only averaging 2 ½ yards a carry for the Titans – that’s cause he had a lockout, he will bust out this weekend…mark my words! Kenny Britt is becoming a star quietly at wide out and Champ Bailey for Denver is hurt. In fact, the Broncos are a mess defensively. Right now, Denver doesn’t have the personnel to rush Matt Hasselbeck. Six starters including Champ Bailey would be out and Kyle Orten is only averaging .46 yards a throw…why? cause Eddie Royal is hurt and Brandon Loyd is at about 75%. Chris Johnson, Kenny Britt and Matt Hasselbeck at home against a completely, physically debilitated Denver team that can’t push the ball down the field. Tennessee to me is a team that is sitting on 11-5 if they can keep Hasselbeck, CJ and Kenny Britt healthy. It should be noted, Denver doesn’t have a pass rush and the best offensive line in this league could be the Titans. They win, swallow the points and they cover 30-20.

Arizona State (-3) over USC, Result: Win

Arizona State’s favoured by 3. USC lacks depth offensively, take out Robert Woods at wide receiver and they don’t’ give you a ton of looks. Now Matt Barkley is playing great but the Trojans will start 7 freshmen –true freshman or red shirt freshman in key positions. Wide receiver,  tight end, kicker, linebacker…of the 12 quarters USC has played this year – and I’m talking weak competition in Syracuse, Minnesota and Utah. In 10 of those quarters, they’ve been completely underwhelming. This is the biggest game in Arizona States’ schedule cause the Trojans have owned the Sun Devils for years and even though the Sun Devils are dinged up, they return the most defensive starters in this conference. I think it’s a good game, but a young Trojan offense with a very below average offensive line – even Lane Kiffin would acknowledge that. I think it’s too much to chew, swallow the points; Arizona State beats USC 28-20.

Notre Dame (-7) over Pittsburgh, Result: Loss

This may be the best bet of the week; the Fighting Irish got their confidence back by trouncing a pretty decent Michigan State team 31-13. Now Pittsburgh was 2-0 until they gagged like a cat in a hairball last week at Iowa. But even when they were 2-0, they allowed 45 points, 47 first downs and 800 yards at home to Buffalo and Maine!! Maine?? Who knew they even had a team! The defense for Pittsburgh is going to struggle to get a very balanced Notre Dame team off the field. Now Tommy Reese is making too many mistakes but he looked more comfortable in the 2nd half – and again, this is a Notre Dame team that is better than their record indicates. The weakness of Pittsburgh is their past defense and If you watch the Irish play, they can certainly spread the football around. This is a rout, swallow the points. Notre Dame 35-17 over Pittsburgh.

So clearly we all love football! It is amazing how often you hear something – and I guess it’s really not your job as a fan. But you hear something – and nobody does any homework on it, but again you’re a fan, you’re not supposed to. But even the media won’t even do the homework on it. I don’t know where this thing came from, where people are saying “Tony Romo is a terrible quarterback late in games!” Not really at all, to be honest with you.

Forget Sunday, it was absolutely unbelievable! With 2 broken ribs, a bad offensive line, missing his star receiver, on the road against an excellent young coach – Jim Harbaugh, he was 12 for 15, 201 yards and a TD in his last 3 drives…that’s unbelievable! But do you realize that since 2006 that with the Dallas Cowboys – a dysfunctional organization since 2006, and sporting a below average coach in Wade Phillips who’s already been fired, there is not a quarterback in the league – not Peyton Manning, not Tom Brady, not Drew Brees or Aaron Rogers – that has a better 4th quarter passer rating that Romo! He’s got the best in the league! So where did this myth come from that he’s a terrible quarterback down the stretch???

By the way, his 2 highest rated quarterback months – quarterback rating months that is, November and January. Now, you could argue that he’s not good early in the season, in September and October. Maybe he screws off in the off-season, wears his hat on backwards too much. All I know is that in November…it’s his best month! January? Small sample size, but he’s been great. Since 2006, not Peyton, Brees, Brady or Rogers has a better 4th quarter passer rating than Romo. By the way, since that time,  only Brees and Brady have more 4th quarter touchdowns than Romo and he’s thrown fewer 4th quarter interceptions in that time than Brees, Favre, Eli and Big Ben. Now, nobody in the world throws fewer interceptions than Tom Brady – so just get him off the chart. But, what Romo did this past Sunday was unbelievable! It was nothing shy of heroic and he not only went out and won the game – cause he gets hurt, leaves and Kitna comes in. But he throws to a guy who is on a reality football show. This Holley kid is that guy who was on that Michael Irving reality football show. They don’t go draft a guy, they get a reality TV star, Romo drops back and over time gives you that play….incredible!

Tony Romo has also thrown a touchdown pass in 20 straight games, not even Troy Aikman with great offensive lines, never did that! With a great coach…he never did it. With Michael Irving he never did it. Roger Staubach with a great coach and great line play…never did it either. Romo, with an aging line, which is now young, inexperienced and banged up …did it! He hit up a reality star for the winning touchdown.  So heck people, the man can people in the 4th quarter, get over it please!! Romo makes mistakes but somebody said this at a bar once and like nobody paid attention to it and checked it and your turning him into Matt Cassel…seriously! He’s got huge numbers in the 4th.

But what’s happened is that when you’re the Dallas Cowboy quarterback, people remember your bad moments and he’s had bad December games. He dropped that snap in Seattle in the playoff game, Parcell’s threw up in his mouth and then retired, Romo’s had some bad moments, but the dude can play!