Rookies? You don’t say
You might see just a little bit of hype heading into this weekend over rookie quarterbacks. Rumor is there is a few making an impact on their teams this season, not sure if you’ve heard that. Sunday’s Seattle/Washington game holds more drama than the two young men with bright NFL futures under center. You have two loyal and hungry fan bases looking to go deep into the playoffs. Washington hasn’t won a playoff game in ages, they are home, there are grown men in dresses and pig snouts that will remind Seattle that they are home, RG3 is all the words used in football to describe good running QB’s: electrifying, dynamic, game changing, etc., they are also going to lose. Maybe it’s an east coast bias, maybe it’s RG3’s hair dripping in his lasted Gatorade, Adidas, and/or Subway ad, maybe it’s Pete Carroll’s kakis, I don’t know, but for all the attention given to Washington (aided by the hoopla leading to the Cowboys game all last week) Seattle is still the better team. Great balance. In all three aspects of the game Seattle is consistently ranked in the top 5 by advanced matrix groups like DVOA and regular guy football stats like yards and points. They’re good and have a realistic shot at winning the whole shebang. Washington squeaked by the ‘boys last week with Romo throwing picks like… well like Tony Romo in a big game. Both Wilson and Carroll are going to handle the blitzes that will be run by Shanahan and Sons better than Romo-numeral 50 did last week (“L” is the Roman numeral for 50, it also stands for a loss – kind of an esoteric joke but I think it’s funny). Look for Seattle to take this one by at least 10 points.
Adrian Peterson is from the Future
I recently watched Back to the Future part two. It’s fantastically dated. It’s supposed to be the year 2015 and Marty McFly is ruining future Biff’s day on his hoverboad, everyone has flying cars, and people are cybernetically enhanced. This will all happen within the next two years, according to the world of Doc Emmett Brown. Adrian Peterson is from that future, the one conceived in 1989 and bearing no resemblance to the world today. If I told you the day Peterson went down with an absolutely shredded ACL that he would come back and put his entire team, heck the entire twin cities, on his back and have the kind of year that he did you would have told me to get back into my DeLorean and get out of town. He’s the MVP, he’s a physical freak, he’s getting people to actually talk about franchise running backs again like it’s the ‘90’s, and he’s going to lose. Why?
No, really. That’s my only argument. Aaron “discount double check” Rodgers and you know I’m right.
Football is all about momentum, except when it isn’t.
I have a formula when judging football analysts, particularly ones on TV. The more often they say the word “football” the less valuable insight and sense I believe that they are making. Let me give you an example. “What (insert team here) needs to do this Sunday is play football, the way football needs to be played, they need to run the football, throw the football, and protect the football. They need to make big-time football plays like the kind football players make in the National Football League”. There is a ton of air time taken up with nicely dressed people saying this kind of nonsense. It’s the same kind of talk that we hear about momentum. Folks say that the Giants had momentum last year and that’s why they won the Super Bowl. What they had was health, a much more quantifiable attribute in judging the strength of the team. Everyone is talking about the Bengals momentum – 7 out of 8, last 3 in a row. Everyone is also talking about Texas’ lack of momentum – not the same team since they lost in New England, lost 2 in a row, ripe for a loss. Never mind that they are the three seed, held the league’s best record they majority of the year, and had a bounce back game against Indy after their shellacking by the Pats. Vegas has them at 4.5 points, suggesting that folks are going to be heavy on Cincy to upset. I like Texas return to form and upset the upset. I know I’m picking against the trend here, but Foster, Watt, and Schaub (which sounds like a law firm) will cover the spread and head to New England next week to try and undo what the Pats did to them last month (which they won’t). I frankly don’t trust Dalton on the road in a playoff game and the Cincy pass rush (the thing described as under the radar even though everyone’s talking about it), won’t be enough to stop what is generally a balanced offensive attack. Or maybe it will come down to which football team makes the most football plays in the football game.
Houston by a touchdown.
Win one for the Gipper, if the Gipper is a crazed Linebacker with exceptional leadership skills who everyone has forgotten was at one time indicted for murder.
Andrew Luck is in trouble. This is going to be the last game that Ray Lewis wins in his NFL career. While generally speaking I’m not one to buy into a team playing better because of inspiration or emotion, this is the exception. The better team usually wins, particularly in the playoffs, because they are the better team, not because of locker room speeches. While a good argument can be made that Baltimore is already the better team, everyone on the Raven’s D is going to be playing out of their freaking minds for Ray. While Luck has proven to be tough to fluster (listen to how many times he’s described as unflappable. It like he’s a broken wing), expect him to flap just a bit when he’s under a sea of purple and black. Luck’s O-line is terrible and he really is the whole offense. While Flaco has been inconsistent Baltimore is a veteran club that has won playoff games before, looked sharp against the Giants, and should put a hurting on Luck and a team that really should just be happy they made the playoffs at all. In the long run the Colts are moving up while the Ravens are moving down; expect Baltimore by 10 or more, unless the team is snuck out in the dead of night on moving trucks. If you don’t get that reference you’re a terrible football fan.
We’ll see you next week.