Posts Tagged ‘michael vick’


After Week # 2, Season record:  6-4-0

Buccaneers @ Cowboys (-7.5)

So what do we always do with the Dallas Cowboys folks (because they are America’s most popular team?) We overreact! They beat the Giants, so we say they are going to win it all. They then lose to Seattle and we think they are terrible. Don’t forget, the Buccaneers are atrocious in the secondary. Dallas does not match up well with teams who have top corners because they have tremendous skill people such as: Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree, Miles Austin and Jason Witten. But Tampa is a team that is old, immature and inconsistent in the back end. In fact, they’ve also had trouble getting pressure on the quarterbacks – so Romo is going to have enough time on the snap, he’s going to be at home and the weakness of the Cowboys – the offensive line, will not be threatened. Don’t overact in losing to Seattle last week – watch Green Bay this Monday night, Seattle and that defense can carve you up! Dallas rebounds, it’s a fat number that I’m telling you to play but I like the Cowboys to win and cover, 31-20.

Eagles @ Cardinals (+3.5)

You know where I’m going with this! Michael Vick has been picked off 6x, could potentially be 8x along with fumbling once though he managed to recover it. He’s a turnover machine and Arizona actually matches up pretty well. They weren’t very good last year and they still beat the Eagles on the road, scored as a double digit dog. Philadelphia – and schedules matter a lot in the NFL, are coming off an emotional win over the Ravens and host the Giants next week. This is what I would call a massive “trap game” for Philadelphia emotionally. Vick is already forcing a lot more passes this year; he’s starring down his primary receivers and the times he doesn’t do that is when he’s got space and time. But the defensive line and the linebackers for Arizona may be the most underrated in the league. They’ve got a loud crowd, they just beat the Patriots, it will be an absolute zoo, I’m taking the 3 ½ points, I think Arizona beats Philadelphia, 20-17.

 Bengals (+3) @ Redskins

The first thing you should know is that Washington is beat up! Adam Carriker and Brian Orakpo won’t play… translation? Andy Dalton is going to be a little bit more comfortable. Cincinnati’s defense – don’t make fun of the Bengals here, it’s been ranked in the top 10 2 of the last 3 years. The Bengals now have some film on RG3 – which the Saints didn’t have and you also saw how the Rams did some things differently. Cincinnati’s defense could also get a lift if Carlos Dunlap, their best pass rusher, becomes available. Never forget, athletic defenses that force quarterbacks into compromising positions are how you win games in this league. Cincinnati’s front 7 is excellent; RG3 is talented but very young. Special teams in close games are huge and the Bengals have outstanding return guys such as Brandon Tate and Adam Jones. Cincinnati’s got two veteran corners in Leon Hall and Nate Clements. I like Cincinnati in this game – again, young quarterback, veteran tough defense, an underdog. I’m taking the points; Cincinnati beats the Redskins, 27-23.

49ers @ Vikings (+7)

You say to yourself “ohh come on, 49er’s will crush them Andrew” on the road? The 49ers don’t crush a lot of teams and the Vikings at home get 7. Second time travelling to the Midwest in 3 weeks could be a letdown spot for the 49ers that have played in huge games – against the Packer and Lions. But now you’re going to Minnesota and playing the “lousy” Vikings, this is a classic letdown spot – even for Jim Harbough’s intensity. Also, Christian Ponder – Bill Musgrave, the Vikings offensive coordinator has done a really nice job with him, he’s rolling him out. Ponder is a really big and athletic kid, kinda like a Tannehill in Miami. Get him out of the pocket, get Percy Harvin, Adrian Peterson …he’s got some weapons. Right now, Randy Moss is the most overplayed guy in the league; he’s more of a decoy or a possession receiver than a real deep threat. San Francisco’s offense doesn’t make mistakes but it’s still pretty limited. 49ers end up winning this game but I’m taking a touchdown with the home team, 23-20 San Fran.

 Jets (-2.5) @ Dolphins

Alright, I’m telling you to swallow some points here because the Jets don’t score a lot of points. But the Dolphins beat the Raiders because of Reggie Busch; this is not the kind of team that you’re going to run wild on. Under Rex Ryan, he’s held Miami to 35 points in their last 3 meetings, that’s about 11 ½ points a game. Now Joe Philbin has got the west coast offense working but the reality is that Ryan Tannehill is young- what do young quarterbacks do with new offenses? They latch onto one or two receivers, everybody does that. Darrelle Revis is back for the Jets, you can take out Brian Hartline – and that’s who Ryan Tannehill loves to throw to right now. Is Anthony Fasano going to work me up and down the field? He’s a good tight end but he’s not going to do it. So in the end, I get a defense that has had Miami’s number, a young quarterback against Mark Sanchez – who is really a great road quarterback. I’m swallowing 2 ½ points – it might be my best bet of the weekend to be honest with you; Jets take it 24-13.


It’s interesting because a couple of weeks ago I got an email where I was asked “how come we always like comparing white quarterbacks with black quarterbacks?”  And I think it’s a great point. Brett Favre, Caucasian, was a better athlete than Jason Campbell – whose still in the league and is of African American background. I think the media tends to marginalize the black quarterback and says “oh he’s an athlete ” Now it should be noted that to a large degree, many of the black quarterbacks like Randall Cunningham, Michael Vick, and Vince Young have been extraordinary runners and there haven’t been regular white quarterbacks who run – Steve Young obviously was the exception.

But historically, that’s the exception! He’s the outlier. But I will say this – and thanks again to the emailer for raising this very important point, and I think we have moved past this “type casting” with quarterbacks. I always thought Tim Tebow was Vince Young – and I never thought that with either one you could build a franchise around. Tim Tebow is basically Vince Young but with a better work ethic. Both were profoundly successful in college, mechanically flawed at the next level, first instinct is to run and not throw outside of an “easy to catch” deep ball and both have limited showing/throwing into tight windows, so Tim Tebow/Vince Young…same guy.

I think Cam Newton is Big Ben because both are physically gifted; both extend plays beyond anything we’ve ever seen before when they first arrived in the league, both have well above average arms and both have stuff off the field we’re not all entirely comfortable with. I think Andrew Luck at Stanford is Eli Manning but with more mobility. Both have high IQ’s, dad is an ex-NFLer, their escapability is excellent, but Luck is just the better runner, they both make extraordinary pre-snap decisions. I think Robert Griffin has a little Drew Brees in him because they’re both undersized, great head’s for the game, both go to non-traditional powers at the collegiate level, both have an IQ that elevates them in the draft, both throw a tremendous deep-ball for their size, which is small in terms of comparable guys in the league.

So to me, Robert Griffin feels a lot like Drew Brees, Andrew Luck feels like a more mobile Eli Manning, Tebow has always felt like Vince Young and Cam Newton feels a lot like Big Ben. Michael Vick and Steve Young both broke into the league and were extraordinary running quarterbacks, there are some comparisons. The difference between the two is that Michael just wasn’t a student of the game; Michael just cheated himself for the first 6 years. Nobody cheated Michael; it was just Michael cheating Michael. He didn’t work very hard, he admitted later that he didn’t study film, was the “last to practice, first home” so I always felt bad for Michael Vick because Michael cheated Michael, nobody else was out to get him. Michael just had bad judgment, he didn’t put in the time and Steve Young was a student of the game and you can still argue that he may have been the smartest quarterback to ever play the game – he’s way way up the cerebral ladder.

Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons was interviewed not too long ago and talked about how comparisons do matter. He cited his days when running the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and how he would always ask all his scouts to “write 3 current NFL players that compare to the guy you want to draft”. In any business, you are bound to make comparisons, whether they’re racial or not. If you’re going to draft Andrew Luck and you’re the GM of the Colts, you’re going to ask all your scouts on Luck “Who is he? What does he compare to?” comparables! I mean you do that in the pharmaceutical business, you do it in the medical business, in the radio business, the real estate business etc. When you’re going to buy a house on the market, they tend to give you comparable houses that were on the market and what they sold for. So I don’t think comparing quarterbacks is really that bad of a habit – Trent Richardson right now is being compared to NFL running backs.

Eric Mangini was interviewed about a month ago on the Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN radio and talked about the reason why the Patriots liked Danny Woodhead. He claimed that Belicheck had a theory and said that what Belicheck does is take a list of players, but won’t put their names down, but will have size and speed comparables for every player. Danny Woodhead – when you didn’t care where he went to college, if you just looked at his size, his speed, his shuttle time, vertical and all his measurables, Danny Woodhead was an NFL player. He didn’t go to Oklahoma; he didn’t even go to Oklahoma State or even Oklahoma Tech! But Danny Woodhead – on the measureables, comparing player to player, size to size, shuttle to shuttle and speed to speed, they believed that Danny Woodhead was an NFL player, so guys are compared all the time.

Robert Griffin is going to be compared to black quarterbacks, to white quarterbacks, the few latino quarterbacks…he’s going to be compared to everyone. When you sign a quarterback, you are making a commitment of about 6 years. You don’t want to do what Arizona did and commit to Kevin Kolb and then a year in and you’re like “you know! Should we swallow the $7 million?” You gave up a draft pick, Marty Rodgers, $10 million; you want to give up now another $7 million now, so all this stuff, there is a reason why there’s comparables.


According to an LA Times poll from last week, where several thousand people voted – so whenever you have several thousand people vote, your margin of error will tend to be very small, something like 3-4%. Aaron Rodgers is now the third best quarterback in the NFC! Eli Manning – who I love, is number #1, Drew Brees – who I also love, is number #2 and Aaron Rodgers is now the third best quarterback according to an LA Times poll…in the NFC!

Folks, you can’t do it alone. His defense stinks, his pass rush is non-existent, and his head coach sat starters since Christmas. His receivers dropped 7 passes. By the way, Aaron got testy when asked about his lousy receivers and they were lousy against the Giants. “I don’t appreciate you asking me that question, like I don’t even know how to answer that question to be honest with you. We all didn’t play our best game; personally I didn’t feel like I played as well as I could have.” Listen, Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFC, arguably the best in the league. I’ll take Brady because of several factors, one being his “more big game experiences”. But in the last 4 years, Aaron Rodgers has 131 TD with 37 picks, and that’s in a good division. That’s no babysitting like Tebow – limiting throws and all. No, that’s Aaron carrying the team!

Green Bay is a team with a ton of flaws but basically Aaron Rodgers is like cover up make-up and he hid all of them all year. But in the end, not even Aaron Rodgers could overcome a lousy pass rush, a horrific secondary, some coaching gaffs and drops by wide receivers. I love Eli Manning, but he was 7-7 through 14 games and just got outdueled by Rex Grossman at home. In the last year, here is what the fans have voted: Michael Vick, after a Monday night game, as MVP. Brady can’t win a playoff game, Rodgers now the third best quarterback in the NFC and Tebow is amazing! It’s like when you eat your last meal…it’s the best one ever!

Can we just take a deep breath? Listen, T.J. Yates won a playoff game, Tim Tebow won a playoff game…both won and Rodgers didn’t…what does that tell you? Coaching, defense and help matter a lot! You can’t do it alone. It’s like this whole thing, where people have been knocking John Elway because he doesn’t embrace Tim Tebow. Thank God, for people in Denver, that John Elway is the only person in that state of Colorado – and it’s a beautiful state that has a little perspective. Yes Tebow is capable of winning “some” games if he has an elite defense if he has a great running game when they limit his throw, if he faces an average to below average schedule. Is Tim Tebow, facing 10 pro bowl quarterbacks next year, going to manage 11 wins if his defense is average and has a running game that is slightly better than average? No!! They are not going to win many games!

It’s funny because John Elway got caught in the middle of a tsunami – he got caught in the middle of “mania” and there is just simply nowhere to go with “mania” Read the book, The Wisdom of Crowds, people do crazy things in crowds that they would never do by themselves. You go out with 7 or 8 buddies and you just become an idiot! You hang out in a crowd and you do things you would never do. John Elway got caught in the nastiest “mania” in years in North America and yet he was the only guy who had a little perspective. In fact, this is what John Elway said when asked about Tebow as #1 QB for next year. Now, this is not guaranteeing much but again, it’s Elway having a little perspective.

“I think Tim’s earned the right to be the starting quarterback going into training camp next year. He made some good strides this year, he obviously played very well against Pittsburgh and played very well in a lot of football games – so like he’s earned the right to be the starter going into training camp next year.” That’s not exactly promising a guy the world for next year, that’s like my dad saying to my mom “I’m going on a four day road trip with the boys and I promise not to cheat on you then” My mom would simply say “well, what about the other 24 years?” Like promising a guy that he’ll have a chance in training camp for some snaps isn’t promising very much. But I applaud anybody these days who has any perspective. The sky is not falling, Tebow is not amazing, Aaron Rodgers is not the 3rd best quarterback in the NFC…maybe all of this stems from the fact that we just love football so much and our passion is so great that we just can’t see straight. I’ve said it before, two things that make really smart guys dumb:  hot woman and sports… we just get dumb fast!!


There was simply no way that after Brady’s performance against the Broncos I was going to let the flu keep me from researching for this rant, though it did delay it by a week. For the record, if you ever want to start your own blog or become a radio show host or something, here’s my advice: if you got against hype…you will win everytime! “Michael Vick MVP” go against it! “Tebow! Unbelievable!” go against it as well. “Green Bay! The best team of all time” what?? Remember when Bill Cowher said that a couple of weeks ago, I said to some buddies that as much as I love Bill Cowher, who works over at CBS…like he’s great and all but it was probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Let me ask you: What does Green Bay do well if you take Aaron Rodgers off the team? Their secondary got all this love last year but last year they had a pass rush, which made their secondary look much better than it was. In the end, they don’t tackle well, their special teams are average, they don’t run the ball, they don’t defend the run, they’re overly aggressive, they can’t stop anybody on third down….it’s amazing!

The two teams in the NFL that don’t get caught up in hype and simply do the little things well – the 49’ers, who I picked to beat the Saints and New England. They don’t do all the big things spectacularly well…pay attention to details in life! Green Bay is flashy, there is a Kardashian quality but they don’t do the little things well at all. Take out Aaron Rodgers…what do they do well? San Francisco may not be flashy, but they run the ball, they stop the run, they never turn it over, have a great pass rush, protect the quarterback, have great special teams. The only thing they’re not great at is TD’s in the redzone. But I mean, six weeks ago Packer fans were sending me hate mail by the truck loads because I kept insisting that this “best team ever” tag was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard. Best team ever?? It’s the salary cap era!! You allow 400 yards a game, the 75’ Steelers wouldn’t even allow that in a month!!

ESPN NFL Analyst Trent Dilfur predicted this would happen with Green Bay…that they would get worse over time. Mike McCarthy deserves blame for one thing not the other…get over the on-side kick! Fans love them when you recover them, hate them when you don’t. What Mike McCarthy deserves criticism for is that Aaron Rodgers had not played since Christmas!! Think about that for a moment…how long ago was Christmas? I took my tree down 2 weeks ago and Aaron Rodgers had not really played since Christmas. That’s the opposite of Bill Belicheck who had Brady in the game leading 45-10. Belicheck refuses to take anybody out no matter what the score. Now Green Bay – and yes they deserved the number #1 ranking all year, it was a year in which I said in my rants that I didn’t really know if there was a number #2 team in the league. Now, it’s not that Green Bay didn’t deserve the credit, but don’t ever forget this. That they were lucky to be in the playoffs last year DeSean Jackson’s punt is the only reason why they get in.

Last year, the NFC was watered down because Atlanta was the number #1 seed, Seattle got in, Chicago hosted the NFC championship and Michael Vick could’ve won a playoff game. The NFC wasn’t very good, Packers sneak in and get hot and deserve all the credit. But one ring and they’re the 75’ Steelers? Or the 80’s 49’ers or the 90’s Cowboys? I mean they got hot like the Giants are this year and suddenly we anointed Green Bay – a team as mentioned earlier, does not pay attention to details, that I don’t believe has an elite head coach. They’ve drafted well and have got a great quarterback, but they don’t do a lot of things well. Too many Packer fans had unrealistic views of this team.

I took the Giants at +7 to cover, I thought it would be 27-23, I thought it was going to be a very good football game. Was I surprised at the 6, 7 and 8 drops? No question I was! But as I said a couple of Fridays ago, if you went and looked at the schedule, this Green Bay team was in shootouts all year. 42-34, 30-23, 33-27, 45-38, 35-26, 38-35, 45-41…these are all shootouts! Let’s not make them into LSU where they rolled everyone except Alabama. This team was in shootouts! For the record, the Packers are 2-4 at home in the playoffs…so is Lambeau over-rated? Or do we just love Green Bay so much that every time they are good, we go nuts and overboard?

Aaron Rodgers looked rusty; I didn’t see that coming…I thought rust would play a part. I do also believe that his wide receivers let him down – in fact, Aaron Rodgers got very testy with reporters on Sunday when asked about it, saying “I don’t appreciate you asking me that question, like I don’t even know how to answer that question to be honest with you. We all didn’t play our best game; personally I didn’t feel like I played as well as I could have.” It is amazing with Aaron Rodgers that he had not played since Christmas…it is just absolutely incredible!

The other thing though is that you have got to watch out for the hype! Aaron had a terrific year and you’ve got to give him credit. I still love Aaron Rodgers the guy and the quarterback. But can we slow down a little bit? Aaron Rodgers, in two of the last three years – before we consider Tom Brady a backseat driver to him and before we anoint Aaron Rodgers as the league’s best quarterback…Aaron Rodgers in two of the last three years couldn’t win a playoff game! Has been outdueled by Kurt Warner and Eli Manning and Last Sunday, Eli Manning – not Aaron, was the best player on that football field.

I texted a buddy during the Giants/Packers game and told him this about Eli Manning “ the gap between Peyton and Eli is not as great as fans or fantasy football players want you to think” Eli is now 5-1 on the road and much like Derek Jeter, Eli’s playoff numbers are slightly better than his regular season numbers. Peyton who is a greater natural talent much like A-rod, his playoff numbers often playing at home are less than his regular season numbers. A-rod is the better natural talent than Jeter but Jeter ticks up in crisis and Peyton’s ticks down. Never forget this – where Peyton plays in 72 degree weather every home game. He has in-division home games: @ warm Houston, @ warm Jacksonville, @ usually warm Tennessee. Eli plays in New York, often windy New York. Road games in Philly, D.C. in November, December and January.

I’m not saying that Eli is better than Peyton, but in a big playoff game, I’ll take Eli over Peyton. Statistically? Peyton, Natural talent? Peyton. A-rod is better than Jeter as a talent, but two on and two out in the 9th inning, who do you want at bat? I’ll take Jeter…and I’ll take Eli!


San Francisco (+4) vs. New Orleans

So the 49’ers are getting more than a field goal at home…let me get this straight – I get the better defense, better special teams, arguably as good of a coach, I get a team that makes no mistakes, I get a team that is significantly better in the front 7 that is allowing less than 11 points a game at home. San Francisco is great at home defensively – now they’re only 16th against the pass, but some of that is overstated because they play in front and teams from behind are obviously trying to catch up. Yes they’ve given up some yards – Michael Vick had over 500, Tony Romo had 472 and Eli had almost 400, but it’s hard to get in the endzone. The clear thing about San Francisco is that you can’t run against them, so you have to throw…what does that mean? Uh oh! They’ve got 42 sacks. They easily led the NFL, by a sizable margin during the regular season, with a +28 turnover differential. San Francisco’s defense all starts with the front 7. Now remember, don’t get caught up in Drew Brees against Alex Smith. New Orleans has no pass rush; San Francisco has a great pass rush – so to some degree, that neutralizes the quarterback edge to the Saints. I’m telling you right now, this is my favourite bet of the weekend. I’m taking the home dog and taking the 4 points, San Francisco beats New Orleans 24-22.

 

Denver (+14) vs. New England

It’s going to be cold! Tom Brady to me is a better cold weather quarterback than Tim Tebow and I think Belicheck has a coaching edge and the Broncos have lost key personnel over the last 2 weeks. Chris Cooper, full back Spencer Larsen, wide receiver Eric Decker. Denver is not a “play from behind” team. They were the only playoff team to average fewer than 20 points a game and the Patriots averaged 32.1 a game. So I like New England to win this game, but Denver didn’t allow a sack against the Steelers. The Patriots don’t have one defender, now that Andre Carter is out, who could be classified as an upper tier pass rusher. What does that tell me? Tim Tebow, with the better running game, is going to have time to make decisions. When rushed like Buffalo, when rushed like Kansas City…he can struggle. But when given time, Tebow may not be overly efficient or effective, but he won’t make a lot of mistakes. Never forget the first game between these two was largely about Denver putting the ball on the grass deep in their own zone. If Denver does not turn the ball over, I believe the Broncos will keep it close and I just can’t give anybody 14 points. New England 31-21 win, but I’m taking the 14 points. (Check out the rant after this one for a further analysis of this match-up)

 

Baltimore (- 7 ½) vs. Houston

They’re 18-1 in their last 19 games at their stadium, 8-0 this season, but here’s the thing though; Baltimore’s defense swallows up quarterbacks at home – especially inexperienced quarterbacks at home. T.J Yates has been surprisingly efficient, but let’s not kid ourselves, T.J. Yates in 7 starts – as a backup forced into the starting role….he’s 4-3. Quarterback? Edge to the Ravens. Offensive line? Edge to the Ravens. Defensive line? Edge to the Ravens. Coach? Edge Ravens. The other thing about Houston is that even with Matt Schab and with this running game, they have struggled in the redzone. 69 trips to the redzone by Houston this year yet only 29 times – with those star running backs and with Andre Johnson and Matt Schab…only got 29 TD’s. I just don’t see a lot of scoring in this game and I don’t see the Texans getting into the endzone. I’m going to swallow the 7 to 7 ½ points, Baltimore wins it 27-17 and covering the points.

 

New York (+7 ½ ) vs. Green Bay

I think this is the toughest game to handicap, I’m glad too that it’s the last one I’m picking because I struggled with this one. Listen, Green Bay is 15-1 for a reason! They’re averaging a league best 35 points a game and that’s with them putting on the brakes in a lot of games midway through the 4th quarter. But if there is one team that can match them, it’s Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Hakeen Nicks. By the way, Knicks and Cruz combine for almost 2800 receiving yards – and that’s to kind of finding Hakeen Nicks mid to late in the season, that’s when he really started to gel. I think you get a New York team with Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Trattou and Osi Umenyiora will at times make Aaron Rodgers somewhat uncomfortable. Meanwhile, I think Eli will have time to throw. The Packers did not play last week, several starters did not play or play much in the final week, I think there is going to be a little rust. But I can’t get past this: Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers are playing at such a ridiculous level offensively – and the weather is not going to be a huge factor. If you gave me snow, I could see a possible upset, but I don’t see it (according to Green Bay weather predictions). I’m going to go with Green Bay, I’m going to take the points because I think New York and Eli Manning and Coughlin, I just think they are too smart, they’re often a better road team than home team. So I’ll take the points but I’m going to have Green Bay win it, 27-23. So there you go! I went 4-1 last week, 47-35 for the year and I’ve got 3 dogs this week…should be great football! Check out the next rant (become game time) on a further analysis between the Bronco’s and Patriots…round 2!