Monday, December 8, 2008

Notes for a Monday Night

Pictured: Several key contributors to the Denver Broncos this season...

Would the guy with the Voo Doo doll of the Denver Broncos starting tailback please cut it out? With Peyton Hillis tweaking his hamstring against the Chiefs on Sunday, that makes 5 Broncos starting running backs to go down in a heap this year. I’m not a superstitious guy, but if I were Tatum Bell I would be toting around as many lucky charms as I could get my hands on.

Mike Shannahan isn't going to get many votes for coach of the year, but that doesn't mean that he shouldn't. With all the injuries, he just keeps plugging in young studs and winning. Who knew so many rookies would be making such HUGE contributions, Peyton Hillis, Eddie Royal, Ryan Clady, Wesley Woodyard, Josh Bell, Josh Barrett, Brett Kern, Spencer Larson, Jack Williams...This team is so young and at times shaky, but the Broncos coach is doing a tremendous job considering the pieces he is manuevering.

After a season crushing 0-4 start, the Houston Texans are coming around. They have gone 6-3 in their last nine games, and are looking like a legitimately frisky team. After a tough game coming up against the Titans this coming Sunday, they have a manageable final two against the Raiders and the Bears. I can see them finishing 8-8, which is impressive way to finish when you drop your first four.

And now, the final four contenders for NFL’s Most Enigmatic Team:

1. The Philadelphia Eagles: They were left for dead by nearly everyone only two weeks ago. The major story surrounding them eleven days ago as they prepared for their Thanksgiving game with the Cardinals was who would be booed worse by the Philadelphia throng, Donovan McNabb or Andy Reid. However, in their past two games they have soundly defeated two teams who have wrapped up division championships this season in the Cardinals and Giants.

2. The Denver Broncos: The Broncos are that rare team with the talent and psychological makeup to be able defeat any squad in the NFL on their good days, and lose to any squad in the NFL on their bad days. The thing that makes them a gambler’s worst nightmare is that there is no telling when they will work their magic or when they will just get worked. Defeat the Jets or Falcons on the road? No problem. Lose to the Raiders, Jaguars or Chiefs? You betcha! This is a very shaky team, with the potential to be very good or very bad.

3. The New York Jets: This team is the polar opposite of the Eagles, two weeks ago people were crowning them as the AFC team to beat after taking out the undefeated Titans and looking great doing it. Now there is an excellent shot that they miss the playoffs after getting beaten down in consecutive weeks by the Broncos and 49ers. They still lead the division courtesy of a tie break scenario, and they have a relatively favorable final three games (Buffalo, at Seattle, Miami), but that final game of the season with the Dolphins could be for the division, and you can’t forget the Patriots in the AFC East, either. No matter how you look at it, the AFC East is much more competitive than it was two weeks ago.

4. The Arizona Cardinals: They are officially the NFC West Division champs, and are going to host a home playoff game, but are they any good? They have a few impressive wins against teams like the Cowboys and Dolphins, but generally they take care of the easy games and lose the hard ones. It’s hard for anyone to say whether or not this team has any potential to win an important game, and judging by past performance, no one is giving them much chance come January, but this offense can be scary good.

Is Tony Romo beginning his third consecutive late season collapse? He is one of my favorite players in the NFL, but there is no disputing his history of not finishing seasons well. There is no shame in losing a game at Pittsburgh, but collapsing in the last eight minutes of a game to lose what looked like a sure win is downright Rosenfelsian. I was ready to mark a W in the Cowboys column when they led 13-3 halfway through the final quarter, but then Tony snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with some terrible throws and a little help from some overly conservative play calling. Dallas may look back on this one at the end of the season as the game that cost them a playoff berth.

I have been listening to the radio while at work, and I would like to make a point that one should NEVER listen to radio commercials to get good Christmas gift ideas. The ideas which have been floated over the airwaves for that “perfect gift” include lottery tickets, an electric shaver, a snowmobile, and “naming a star after someone.” These are all monumentally stupid gifts for different reasons.

-Lottery tickets: “I’m cheap and didn’t feel like spending more than eight nano-seconds thinking of a gift for you, here is a ticket with terrible odds that you will likely throw away nearly immediately after scratching it off to reveal that it is worthless…Merry Christmas!”

-Electric Shaver: “Hey Hippie! You are scruffy looking, your personal hygiene regimen really needs this upgrade. Now go get a haircut and a real job, while you’re at it.”

- Snowmobile: “I thought I’d spend a lot of money on you this holiday, but rather than using it on something you need, I got something completely pointless and stupid that you will never use.”

- “Name a star after someone”: This is easily the worst of the lot, if someone names a star after me, I can no longer be friends with that person. Seriously, that is it. You’re cut off. Naming a star after someone basically is saying, “I’m an dolt who wasted 54 dollars getting the US Patent Office to officially name some random and distant star ‘The Super-Duper
Neato Craig Star’ rather than just getting you a gift card for something that I would actually appreciate.” Seriously, if you are considering naming a star after someone, just take out your money in one hand and then get a lighter in your other, set fire to your cash and bask in the warm glow of your own idiocy. You’ll enjoy the warmth, and the person you were considering naming a star after will be just as pleased as they would have been otherwise. TERRIBLE gift! You may as well send someone a chain letter or a jury duty notice.

Monday Night Pick:

Carolina 20
Tampa Bay 17

As long as John Kasay and Steve Smith can combine to score enough fantasy points and keep my fantasy season alive tonight, I’m really fine with any outcome.

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