Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NFL Weekend Preview: Week 17

Last week of the regular season, and most everything is wrapped up. Only a few spots are still up in the air with the Jags and Colts both alive for the AFC South, the Packers, Giants, and Buccaneers all alive for a wildcard spot, and of course the NFC Worst championship game in Seattle on Sunday night. Other than that, most of this week is about positioning. This is a tough week to pick, as unlike most every week of the NFL season, not every team is playing with the same motivation, and this disparate effort level combined with having virtually zero idea of who is going to try until the games get started makes this week a minefield. Surely within three minutes of the games starting, I'll feel silly about six or seven of my picks at least. Combine that with me hurtling back to earth with a 9-7 effort last week, and my confidence is shaky. However, the silver lining to this is that I picked my third perfect score of the season last week, nailing the Ravens 20-10 win over Cleveland. So, here goes my best guesses for the Week 17 slate. Enjoy it, folks, after this weekend we only have 11 more meaningful games before the curtain sets on NFL football, and with a lockout looming, I can't guarantee when it'll be back.

Panthers at Falcons – The Falcons have something to play for, they are playing at home where they hardly ever lose, and they are just coming off one of those rare home losses. Add in they are playing against the team that just wrapped up officially being the worst team in the NFL last week. I foresee an Atlanta victory rather easily. Falcons 30 Panthers 13

Steelers at Browns
– The Browns would love to play spoiler here, but after a brief surge mid season that saw them mystically defeat the Saints and Patriots, they have fallen back to Browns level football. Meanwhile, the Steelers can wrap up the division and a first round bye with a win. Avoiding having to play during Wildcard Weekend, and getting to play in front of their own fans at home the following weekend is a pretty big carrot, I expect that they take care of business as for the second straight week the Browns will fall at home to a bitter rival. Steelers 27 Browns 17

Vikings at Lions
– Who is this Joe Webb character? How did he manage to go into Philly and smack down the Eagles? Why were they playing NFL football on a Tuesday? So many questions, but the important thing to remember is that the Brett Favre era is almost assuredly nearing it's conclusion. I'd feel melancholy about it, but I'm too busy smiling. As for the Lions, those crazy kids are on a three game winning streak. To put that in perspective, the Lions have won more games in the past three weeks than they won combined in calendar years 2008 and 2009 combined. I'm going to say the wrap things up on a four game streak, which will lead everyone to overrate them this offseason as the "it" team for 2011. Lions 23 Vikings 17

Raiders at Chiefs
– The Chiefs have wrapped up the AFC West, and the only real thing they are playing for is to determine if they'll play the Jets or Ravens in the first round. I'd much rather take my chances with the Jets if I'm KC, which would likely mean they need to win on Sunday. The Raiders only motivation is to notch their first non-losing season since the year they lost in the Super Bowl. It's hard to gauge who will be more motivated to win in a situation like this, but I'm going to take the Silver and Black here, as this is their last chance to shine in 2010, and they seem like a pretty solid team to me, whereas the Chiefs may be looking ahead to bigger things in a game that doesn't matter all that much to them. Raiders 24 Chiefs 21

Dolphins at Patriots
– The Pats officially have zero to play for. They have the top AFC seed all wrapped up, and the smart thing to do would be to rest and prepare for a meaningful game in two weeks. However, the Pats don't do resting their starters all that easily, and they tend to play hard even when it doesn't matter just out of habit. However, the Dolphins routinely give the Patriots trouble and a 7-1 road record vs. a 1-7 home record is in play. Here is another one of those games that is hard to figure because we just don't know who will go all out and who won't. Just for the novelty factor, I'll take Miami to wrap up the weirdest home/road split in football history. Dolphins 29 Patriots 26

Buccaneers at Saints
– This would be the game of the week were it not for the random NFC West de facto playoff game between losing teams. When this game kicks off both teams will have a reason to win. (No matter how remote the chances for either team.) If the Saints win and somehow the Carolina Panthers manage to knock off the Falcons, the Saints could move into the number 1 overall spot. Unlikely, seeing as how the Panthers have managed to win only two games all year, but it is in play. Chances are even more remote for Tampa, as they will need to go into the Superdome and take care of the World Champs, and then they need the Bears to beat the Packers and the Giants to fall to the Redskins later that afternoon. If all that happens, Josh Freeman and company can sneak in. I bring up all of that playoff possibility talk to say that both teams will likely be giving it their all. As much as I'd enjoy seeing the Bucs in the playoffs, I think the Saints are just much better and the Buccaneers are just a shell of their former selves due to a massive plague of injuries. The Bucs are fun, and this season can already be categorized as a success for them, but they aren't sneaking into the playoffs. Saints 30 Buccaneers 20

Bills at Jets
– If you need to get kinks worked out and make sure everything is running correctly for the playoffs, it's hard to have a better opponent than Buffalo. The Jets are nearly locked into the final AFC spot, although they could move up to the 5 spot with a win, a Steeler loss, and Ravens win. Not a whole lot of motivation, but I feel like Rex Ryan really wants the Jets to get their footing back. (Hee Hee) I'll take the Jets with zero conviction, as I doubt the motivation of wanting to move up so that they can play the Colts, when the six seed most likely will be a date with the Chiefs. I'd rather play KC, although those spots are subject to change, as the AFC seeding is all up in the air. (And technically, the Jags could get in over the Colts, but that would require the dog butt Titans to go in and beat a motivated Colts team in Indianapolis AND the Jags winning a crucial game…which I don't see happening.) I'll take the Jets in this one, because it's hard to ever feel good about taking the Bills. Jets 17 Bills 14

Bengals at Ravens
– The Ravens should be motivated for several reasons. One: A victory has the potential to give them a bye. Two: They surely would like to avenge an early season loss to Cincy. Three: How can you not be motivated to play when Ray Lewis might stab you if you give less than full effort? There are just too many things in favor of Baltimore. Ravens 23 Bengals 16

Jaguars at Texans
– The Texans are like an abusive husband. Their fans have so many good things to point to and say, "Look, he's not so bad. He treats me well and he's exciting, sometimes." However, you look up and they are getting battered by crushing loss after crushing loss and you and your friends start sitting around gossiping about Texan fan, and just hope that they find a way to get out of the bad fan relationship. NFL fans are with you, Houston. It's not your fault. It's not your fault. Although, I must say it was an interesting twist by the Texans to blow a giant lead in Denver instead of their usual tactic of falling just short in their own gigantic comeback bid. Way to mix it up, Houston! Meanwhile, let's hope for the playoffs sake that the Colts take care of business against the Titans as expected, because I don't see the Texans beating the Jags, and the playoffs are between 18% and 23% better with the Colts than they would be with the Jaguars. Jaguars 33 Texans 27

Giants at Redskins
– Is it crazy to think that Sexy Rexy can take care of the Giants who were psychologically destroyed by the Eagles two weeks ago? I say crazy, because if you'll remember when these two teams played each other earlier this month the Skins lost 31-7, and yet I fully expect them to win this time. Redskins 24 Giants 14

Cowboys at Eagles
– For the third straight year, these two meet in the regular season finale. This year, the Eagles have nothing to play for. They are the 3 seed, and nothing will change as a result of this game. I picked this game exactly correctly three weeks ago, but I have a much weaker feel for how this will turn out due to the uncertainty of how hard Andy Ried will push his team in a game that is meaningless. If I were Andy, I'd take it easy on them this week. Actually, if I were Andy…first I'd go on a diet and THEN I'd take it easy on them this week. The Cowboys probably want to end the season on a positive note, so I'll take them in a meaningless season finale. Cowboys 30 Eagles 24

Cardinals at 49ers
– The two "bad" teams in a division that could potentially be won by a 7-9 team this week. It's hard to care about this game at all, but since the Niners gave crazy Mike Singletary his walking papers this week, let's give it to the 49ers based on the interim bounce theory. And, although I don't have any desire to watch a single moment of this game, let's take a moment of silence right here in the blog for Mike Singletary. A Hall of Fame crazy coach who gave us some great press conference moments, you will be missed, Mike…

Thanks…Now the pick: 49ers 16 Cardinals 13

Bears at Packers
– Another tremendous and important game in the NFL's oldest rivalry. The Packers get in the playoffs with a win (they can also get in with a loss if they get a whole lot of help.) Meanwhile, the Bears have an outside chance to get the top seed, and I'm sure they'd like nothing more than to knock their biggest rivals out of the picture while doing it. Still, the game means more to Green Bay, as the worst the Bears can do is the 2 seed. I think Green Bay takes care of business at home and gets into the postseason. Packers 24 Bears 20

Titans at Colts
– The Titans slapped a big postage stamp on themselves halfway through the season and mailed the rest of it in. They are 1-7 in their last 8, and the idea that they'll somehow put it together well enough to keep the Colts out of the playoffs seems silly to me. Peyton and company take care of business at home. Colts 34 Titans 10

Chargers at Broncos
– The Chargers are crestfallen, and they should be. All they had to do to have a chance was to beat the Bengals, and they got worked. Now they have the letdown of a final game with nothing to play for. Conversely, the Broncos have had no reason to play for over a month, and yet with Tim Tebow behind center, the team has developed into something of a curiosity. The Tebow good vibes are coursing in Denver, despite the fact that the Broncos aren't all that good. I really want to pick Tim Terrific to lead the Broncos to an emotional victory and take a two game win streak into the offseason, but I just don't see it happening. The Chargers, despite being down in the dumps, are a better football team than Denver. I see this lousy season ending with a fizzle…which would be appropriate, really. Chargers 38 Broncos 20

Rams at Seahawks
– This may be a first in NFL history. Two teams with losing records playing each other and both seasons being on the line. Winner moves on, loser's season is over. THEY BOTH HAVE LOSING RECORDS!!! I could feign anger, but truth is I'm loving this ridiculous battle for the NFC West championship. I am hoping against hope that the Seahawks win, not only so that we can have a team with a losing record make the playoffs and set everyone into full on tizzy mode, but also because Charlie Whitehurst (a.k.a. Quarterback Jesus) would be the one to lead them to the promised land. The only bummer is that the Hawks have been dreadful lately so I don't see it happening. Still, the mere fact that a 6-9 team that has lost seven of it's last nine games is still in the hunt on the last week of the season is glorious. Yeah, that's right, I'm backing the rookie quarterback to win on the road in what is essentially a playoff game. Rams 30 Seahawks 14

Week 16: 9-7
Season to Date: 150-90

Monday, December 27, 2010

Broncos Gameday Recap: Game 15 - vs Texans OR How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tebow

I am going to dismiss breaking down this game in any meaningful way very shortly, so let me first say that if this is the final time we see Champ Bailey in Broncos orange and blue, thanks for the memories, sir. As to a quick recap of non-rookie quarterback news, quickly…the Broncos defense is atrocious, the Texans kicker is deadly accurate from long range, and the Broncos are lucky to have won. However, they did win, and the rest of this “recap” column is going to focus on the only thing that matters in Denver football right now. Tim Tebow.
Immediately upon dismissing Josh McDaniels, Tim Tebow immediately become the only question the Broncos needed to try and get some answers on with what remained of this nightmarish season. Foolishly, Eric Studesville started Kyle Orton in Arizona, and kept him in despite getting rolled. Fortunately he came to his senses, or more likely someone above him stepped in and said, “Let’s see the Florida kid.” And since that disaster in the desert, we’re are beginning to learn a bit about the quarterback McDaniels spent too much to obtain.
He was mostly shackled for the first game and a half, and as a result was largely ineffective, however, with the Broncos down 17-0, and looking very much lackluster…Tebow came alive. The end result was a big comeback win in his home debut, and an adoring crowd screaming his name long after the game ended. (Or so I was told by my brother who attended the game.)
I, myself, was driving down I-70 in Western Kansas the whole game, so I merely listened on the radio. However, I was encouraged by what I heard. A team with nothing to play for rallied for no reason other than pride to give a downtrodden fan base a reason to cheer, and that team was led by a quarterback making his second ever start.
The actual end result of the game was probably more a matter of luck and fortuitous scheduling than it was a result of Tebow bending the game to his will, but allow us to play with the narrative a bit. The Texans are an emotionally brittle group who will likely be looking for a new coach this time next week. They are shell shocked from the myriad of exciting ways they have found to lose close games this year, and if any team is going to fold when the going gets tough on the road, Houston is a prime candidate. Truth be told if not for a lucky bounce at the line of scrimmage causing the ball to soar directly into the waiting arms of Syd’Quan Thompson, effectively ending the game in the Broncos favor, quite likely the Texans would have at worst kicked a field goal as time expired to send Denver to it’s sixth straight loss. This is often a game of crazy bounces, though, and thanks to that happy deflection, the Broncos pulled out a glorious win; one that the Denver fan base has not been treated to very often this season.
So, what to make of Timmy? I am of two minds on this subject, and the two sides are doing battle in my psyche trying to make heads or tails of this young man behind center for my beloved Broncos:
The optimist in me says this is John Elway 2: The Comeback Kid! There was something about the way his personality and enthusiasm took over the game, rallying from three scores down in the second half to generate a win from the ashes of a burned out season. This is a sign of things to come. Timmy will lead us, and we will gladly follow to Super Bowl rings and glory. The man is a leader, and a winner, and despite his awkward throwing motion, he routinely makes things happen when he gets a chance. This is the side of me that wants to run out and purchase a #15 jersey in both orange and navy blue so I can wear one while the other is in the wash.

Then there is the pessimist in me. (Or as he would call himself, “The Realist.”) The NFL has only seen him a handful of times, and defensive coordinators are now in their labs cooking up ways to stop him. Despite positive signs, the fact is that he most definitely has the training wheels on, and the coaches are not ready for him to open things up, because he is not ready himself. Also, most people felt like it was a gigantic reach by Denver to grab Tebow in the first round, and there was likely a reason that was the case. His throwing motion is the polar opposite of textbook, and there are significant and legitimate questions to whether or not he’s going to get himself killed running around as much as he does.
I don’t know what to think. Part of me says the kid is legit, part of me says he’ll never make it. All I know is that when I watch (or listen) to the Broncos on Sunday, they are more interesting with the kid playing quarterback. His stats were decent yesterday. Not great, but very respectable. 16-29 for 308 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception. Add in the 27 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, and that is a pretty good day even before you factor in that he did it in dramatic fashion, engineering a 4th quarter come from behind victory from a 17 point first half deficit.
I enjoy cheering for the kid, and I can’t possibly wish him any more luck than I already am hoping for him. The games are more exciting when he is in, and there is a nervous energy in the air when he walks into the huddle as if the entire city of Denver is a high school girl, and Tebow is the captain of the football team that is showing her some love. There is a giddy love affair in Denver right now with this kid. It is more than slightly irrational, and it may just be puppy love, but the whole city is hoping that it turns into a long and meaningful relationship, and who am I to go against that?
Go Broncos, and Go Tebow! Hopefully, this can be start of a beautiful friendship, if not…we’ll always have the Texans game.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

NFL Weekend Preview: Week 16

It's True Grit time in America! NFL teams hoping to ride to glory in Dallas this February have to get things in gear. I went 11-5 last week, which, although pretty good, was actually a slide for me. You better believe I'm going to be hunkering down for a good final two weeks. Speaking of True Grit, do yourself a favor. Just go see it immediately and thank me later. Now, on to the picks...

Panthers at Steelers – Troy Polamalu makes the Pittsburgh defense go as the Steelers are only 5-7 without him over the past few seasons. It will eternally seem odd to me that a safety can be that big of a difference maker, but he appears to be. A month ago, the Steelers looked like the class of the NFL, and now, while still very good, it seems less likely that they will win it all. They should however be able to take care of one of the worst teams in the NFL, even with a short week. Steelers 29 Panthers 13

Cowboys at Cardinals
– The NFL has given us a Christmas gift this year: A game so absolutely meaningless that you won’t anger your wife and family by ignoring them while watching football on Christmas. Really there is zero reason to pay any attention to this one on Christmas day. However, in case you are a compulsive football watcher. I’ll take the Cowboys to win this one in the desert on Jesus’ birthday. Cowboys 23 Cardinals 16

Redskins at Jaguars
– I am enjoying the Rex Grossman themed end to the Redskins season. I am not sure there is a better nickname in football than the Rex Cannon. Dude proved Mike Shanahan correct for at least one week, too. He threw for 4 touchdowns in a close loss to the Cowboys. As for the Jags, they blew a chance to wrap things up in the AFC South by falling to the Colts. I might have been more bummed out than Jaguars fans when Tyjuan Hagler picked up the onsides kick and ran it back for a touchdown. Sure, Hagler may have just killed their football season, but if the Colts just get the ball and kneel on it instead of scoring there, I would have predicted the exact final score to that game, which would have been my third perfecto of the year. Shame on you, Tyjuan. Although, it’s hard to stay mad at a kid named Tyjuan. Anyway, the Jags need this much more than the Skins, and I refuse to believe in the power of the Rex. Jaguars 26 Redskins 23

Lions at Dolphins
– Miami must be jubilant that this is their final home game. In what may be the strangest home record versus road record of all time, the Swimmin’ Mammals are 1-6 at home and 6-1 on the road. Even though this game is against the lowly Lions, I’m going to go with that trend. Lions 17 Dolphins 13

49ers at Rams
– Is it too much to ask that the Rams and Seahawks both lose this weekend merely so that we can have the novelty of a losing team make the NFL playoffs? I want this to happen if for no other reason than the sheer absurdity of next week having two 6-9 teams playing each other for a divisional championship in Week 17. No matter if it’s the Rams or the Seahawks they will be a huge underdog and will be kicked out of the playoffs quickly. 49ers 27 Rams 20

Titans at Chiefs
– The Chiefs need to lose one of their final home games to either the Titans or the Raiders, just for the good of the league. The NFL playoffs are more interesting with the Chargers involved than with the Chiefs. So, for the good of the republic, I’m going to predict the underdog Titans to topple the Chiefs. Titans 28 Chiefs 24

Jets at Bears
– Both of these teams should make the playoffs, and yet I don’t believe in either. Still, this should be a good game in Chicago, and the Bears need to win almost as badly as the Jets. I’ll take Chicago in a close one. Bears 17 Jets 16

Patriots at Bills
– New England should be able to keep rolling against the Bills, even if they barely try to do so. The Pats just need to keep it revved up enough to keep a modicum of momentum for the playoffs. Patriots 27 Bills 17

Ravens at Browns
– I wonder how much bile is still remaining in Cleveland for the franchise that relocated to Baltimore? I’d guess they were all hated out by directing their disgust towards LeBron, although I’d guess the welcome won’t be all that warm for the Ravens, still. Just like last month when LeBron stomped on their heart despite their hate, I think this happens again just because the Ravens are a better team than the Browns. Ravens 20 Browns 10

Texans at Broncos
– Thank God that the Broncos are at least giving Tim Tebow a shot at the end of this lost season. There is no other reason to care about this game other than to see how Tebow does in his first home start. The positive vibes towards him in Denver are off the charts, so I do believe that the team will be supported on Sunday just because he is playing. Even with Tebow, There is a limit to how much we can care about the Broncos remaining games this year. The Texans are emotionally fragile right now, but a date with the Broncos should be just what they need, as the Broncos just stink. Texans 30 Broncos 17

Chargers at Bengals
– The Chargers are winning the rest of their games. How do I know? Well, you might call it insider information, but I happen to have access to their schedule. The remaining games on this schedule are at the Bengals and at the Broncos. They aren’t losing those. Chargers 33 Bengals 10

Colts at Raiders
– The Raiders are a hard team to figure, as they have been bad for so long that now that they are a decent squad, we’re not quite sure how they’ll react with the possibility of going .500 or better exists. I think they have an excellent shot to beat the Colts who are not the same Colts as we have gotten used to over the past decade. I think Indy wins, but not by a lot. Colts 22 Raiders 17

Giants at Packers
– The Pack may be the beneficiaries of the lingering effects of one of the biggest letdowns in NFL regular season history. That game was awful, but lets go easy on Matt Dodge. Yes, he screwed up by punting to Desean Jackson with 14 seconds left in the game, but he didn’t allow the Eagles to score the prior three touchdowns in seven minutes that took a 31-10 Giants lead into a tie. Also, I hate anyone with such a stellar last name to have such a tough time. Hang in there, Matthew. That was kind of a brain dead punt, but you’re going to be alright. (To tell the truth, I was surprised the Giants didn’t put his butt on the unemployment line and pick up some other mediocre punter.) Packers 26 Giants 23

Seahawks at Buccaneers
– The Bucs really need a win and a ton of help to make the playoffs, the Seahawks are still in the thick of the hunt for a playoff game, despite being 6-8. The Hawks are so used to seeing their name near the top of the divisional standings despite winning less than 43% of their games that they probably think they can advance in the playoffs by losing at this point. Since I really want to see a 6-9 vs 6-9 for all the marbles, I’ll take the home team and K-State’s own Josh Freeman. Buccaneers 31 Seahawks 20

Vikings at Eagles
– NBC wanted this game on purpose? If there is a God, this will be the final primetime game of NFL’s career. If that God likes us, Brett will still be unable to play due to his injury suffered on Monday Night. I hate basing my theology on whether or not Brett Favre plays, but the way the announcers talk about his greatness, it almost seems as if higher powers are involved. Ugh, I’m so sick of that man. More importantly, the Eagles are playing. After that comeback win in the Meadowlands that immediately makes it’s way into the pantheon of greatest comebacks ever, I find myself cheering for the boys from Philly. The more we see this team, the more we see fun and exciting players like Mike Vick and Desean Jackson. In other words, when the Eagles win, we all win! I don’t know if I’m more excited to see the next pinball style huge play from Vick or what the next unconventional end zone entrance Jackson will provide for us. I really love the Eagles right now. Eagles 38 Vikings 17

Saints at Falcons
– Monday Night Football finally gets a doozy, as this one will have massive playoff implications for the NFC. On top of that, this should be a terrific game in theory. I’ll hope that is what happens, because close games with big stakes are one of the best things about the NFL. Saints 24 Falcons 21

Week 15: 11-5
Season to Date: 141-83

Monday, December 20, 2010

Broncos Gameday Recap: Game 14 - Broncos at Raiders

Raiders 39 Broncos 23

Uncle. Thankfully, the Broncos don't need to face the Raiders again this year. For those not counting at home, with the 39-23 drubbing that Oakland put on Denver yesterday, the Raiders have now hung 98 points on the Broncos this year.

We got to see Tim Tebow, and he looked confidence inspiring. Then you look at his stats, and you realize that no matter how encouraging he might have made you feel, the dude completed only 50% of his passes and for only 138 yards. 8 completions is not going to win very often in the NFL, and it didn't yesterday. Of course, 78 yards rushing helps, too. Tebow did almost as much damage with his legs a including a 40 yard scamper up the middle that was very reminiscent of the form which won him a Heisman at Florida.

Unlike almost every game he played at Florida, though, Tebow's team was less talented than the opponent, and lost. It was an odd feeling watching Tebow, as his truly does carry himself with confidence and yet it's obvious the coaching staff has zero confidence in him. The handcuffs were on, and it was painfully obvious they trust him to do too much. However, when he was allowed to toss the ball, although his delivery looks weird, it looks good in the air. His accuracy was much higher than I was expecting, and after the game, I felt like he might have a shot.

Actually, the game in Oakland was almost exactly what I wanted. Tebow looked good (not great, but good.), the Broncos played tough and hung with Oakland for awhile, and most importantly...they didn't hurt their draft position by winning a meaningless game. It's strange having your team have nothing to play for. As the game is going on, I am cheering for them to win, but as soon as it's over I'm almost relieved they lost.

The fact is, this is a team that was plus two in turnovers, got decent production from a rookie quarterback in his first start, and still lost by sixteen points. The defense looked foolish on several occasions, allowing a fullback to scamper 73 yards on a basic screen play and giving up a 71 yard touchdown on a reverse on the game's first play. The Raiders more than doubled the Broncos total offense, gaining an obscene 502 total yards. (Add that to the 508 from the first game, and the Raiders gained 1010 yards of total offense against the Broncos this season, Egad.) Then, just to make sure the Raiders scored just about every possible way, they got a safety.

So, the Broncos are bringing up the rear of the NFL, as right now, I'm not sure there is anyone they could beat. We could wallow in sadness about it, or believe that there is no way to go but up from here, right? (They can't possibly get WORSE, can they?) The rebuilding may take a few years, or it could take less than that, as this is the NFL and teams do rebound often to get good quickly. For now, let all Broncos fans take comfort in the fact that this particular edition of the Broncos can only shame us two more times before we get an offseason to try and heal a little bit. Have a Merry Christmas, and Go Broncos.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vertically Striped Radio: Episode 86 - 12-18-10 - Your Holiday Gift Guide

Twas the week before Christmas, and Craig's mom just got an iPhone which had his world in a bit of a tizzy. He recovered enough to talk through all sorts of issues with Face Ventura and The Whale. Together they carded some wankers for their wankerish behavior, discussed a potential Blogtalk radio co-op, provided the listeners with some wonderful Christmas gift ideas, and held the 4th Edition of the He-Man movie watchers club where sadly, they discussed D2: The Mighty Ducks. Such a terrible, terrible movie.

The show finished up with the movie recommendation: Needtobreathe's great song, "More Time." No show next week, due to Christmas. We'll see ya in 2011.

Friday, December 17, 2010

NFL Weekend Preview: Week 15

Another 13-3 week for me last week, plus I had the Eagles-Cowboys game picked exactly. I said 30-27 Philly, and that is how it ended. I'm feeling proud of myself, but sad that there are only three more regular season football weekends remaining. Except when I remember that the Broncos are as pathetic as possible, at which point I long for the offseason already. Anyway, here is how I have week 15 pegged.

49ers at Chargers – I enjoy the Chargers when they break out their baby blues. They took it to the Niners on Thursday night, just as the prophets foretold. And by prophets, I mean me on my twitter account. The actual final score was San Diego winning 34-7, but I was pretty close, as I had it the Bolts winning big. Chargers 38 49ers 17

Chiefs at Rams – The battle of Missouri also happens to be the battle of two middling teams that are likely going to be reaping the benefits of being a terrible division, only to get their butts kicked at home in the first round of the playoffs. I’ll take the home team in a close one that I could really see going either way. Rams 24 Chiefs 21

Cardinals at Panthers – This was a playoff game less than two years ago. Now it may be one of the least interesting games in the NFL this season, it would probably get that title outright, but the Broncos did play the Cardinals last week, so that game is neck and neck with this one for least interesting. I’ll take the Panthers, if for no other reason than it seems impossible that the Cards should win two in a row. Panthers 19 Cardinals 13

Eagles at Giants – A terrific division battle, and an important game as the winner will have the inside track to win the NFC East. I’ll take the Philly to win a tough one. Eagles 23 Giants 20

Lions at Buccaneers – The Bucs have struggled against good teams this year, but they seem to take care of the dregs of the NFL and they really need to get this one to keep pace and have a shot at the post season. Buccaneers 27 Lions 17

Browns at Bengals – The Bengals were good last year, but not so much this season. While the Browns have been much less than a juggernaut, they do have wins against the Saints and Patriots on their resume, and I think they are much better than Cincy. Browns 24 Bengals 10

Bills at Dolphins – The Dolphins are 6-1 on the road and 1-5 on their home turf, which is clearly weird. So despite the fact that it’s just the lowly Bills coming to South Florida, I still am hesitant to pick Miami. Still, it is the Bills… Dolphins 16 Bills 13

Redskins at Cowboys – The Cowboys are resurgent, but it’s far too late to matter. Per usual, the Redskins appeared to be big winners in the offseason, but now that it is late December, they are doing what they do every year to the fans in DC, and that is becoming colossal failures and disappointments. I’m not sure which is becoming more certain in the NFL, the Chargers making a late season run after stumbling out of the block, or the Redskins ramping up expectations in the offseason and then coming nowhere near to fulfilling those hopes. This year’s version of the disgrace takes the form of a flailing Mike Shanahan benching the Skins offseason prize Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman, because THAT is surely going to end well. Cowboys 30 Redskins 16

Jaguars at Colts – It seemed like a fluke in week 4 when the Jags pulled one out against the Colts, but now that win is what places the Jags in first place ahead of the Colts. Indy has been struggling and is hurt all over the field, but I think they find a way to win this one. If they fail on Sunday, they can kiss farewell to any shot at the playoffs. Colts 27 Jaguars 24

Saints at Ravens – Baltimore looks vulnerable after nearly blowing a huge lead on Monday night to the Texans, but their defense made the big play in overtime which keeps them in striking distance of the Steelers and in decent position for a playoff push. The World Champs are quietly sitting as one of only four teams with double digit wins, and are perfectly placed to be the team that sneaks back to the Super Bowl in the NFC when no one was looking. I had the Saints to repeat at the beginning of the year, and I’ll stick with them for consistency sake, even if the Patriots look nearly invincible at the moment…Things change in the NFL, and the Super Bowl is in February, not December. All those nice words about N’awlins, and I’m still going to take the Baltimore. Ravens 20 Saints 13

Texans at Titans – These two teams are basically the exact same thing. They both have ties to Houston, they both have six letters and start with T, they both had high expectations early, and they both will be watching the playoffs from the couch. Although, I think if I had to pick one team I’d rather follow, it’d be the Texans. That team may lose more than it wins, but has any team had a more exciting season of football than the Texans? Excitement doesn’t always transfer to wins, but they sure aren’t boring. They have opened the season with a big win over their nemesis, they were the only team to lose to Wade Phillips this year, they overcome huge deficits, took a late lead and let Mark Sanchez come back on them, won in Overtime, lost with a pick six in OT, and lost on a Hail Mary. All of those heart palpitations for a population in Houston that is always counted amongst the most obese in the nation. Who knows how many untold heart attacks the Texans have induced this year? For their suffering, I’m going to give the Texan fans this one out of principle. I say they get to win this meaningless game. (And something insane will happen during this game, they are due for an overtime game where their kick returner takes back the opening kickoff back all the way for the win, let’s say that!) Texans 26 Titans 20

Falcons at Seahawks – The Seahawks miraculously are still in the hunt to host a playoff game. I wish that were a joke, because this team doesn’t deserve it, but the Falcons will probably help see to it that they don’t get there. The Seahawks are one of the candidates to potentially become officially the worst playoff team in NFL history. Atlanta is much too good for them, even if they have to traverse the entire country to get there first. Falcons 31 Seahawks 13

Jets at Steelers – This game looked a bit more awesome a month ago, but both of these two have come to earth a bit. It’s still a very good game with massive playoff implications, and should be a fun one to watch. The Jets are one of those teams that just when you count them out, they go and surprise you. I’d say winning in Pittsburgh would qualify, which is exactly why I’m calling for this as a minor surprise. Jets 20 Steelers 17

Broncos at Raiders – The Broncos just lost by 30 to Arizona; so legitimately, how much further can they fall? They lose this one, but hopefully we get to see Tim Tebow in action. There is no reason that the Broncos shouldn’t try and discover what they have with their first round pick, it’s not like there is anything else worth playing for. At least figure out if the kid can play in the NFL. My guess? He can’t, but I’m pulling for him. If the Broncos trot out Kyle Orton and his smashed up ribs on Sunday, I am going to be very disappointed. The Broncos should be out to prove that the 59 points that Oakland hung on them was a fluke, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. Raiders 38 Broncos 13

Packers at Patriots - The Packers look broken right now, and the Patriots have never looked better. Plus it's in New England. I can't pick the Pack, I just can't. Patriots 31 Packers 19

Bears at Vikings - The Vikings playing a home game outside AND it's at night! About time. I read they were thinking about bringing in heaters for the fans. Have they really become that soft as a result of life in a bubble? I'm picking the Bears because they always play outside. Also, Brett Favre will not play, although that sort of makes me want to pick the Vikings...but no. Bears it is. Bears 20 Vikings 10

Week 14: 13-3
Season to Date: 130-78

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hitler can't find his copy of D2: The Mighty Ducks

In anticipation of Saturday's He-Man Movie Watcher's Club where we will sadly be discussing D2: The Mighty Ducks, here is Der Fuhrer upset about his copy of this epic film...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Broncos Gameday Recap: Game 13 - Broncos at Cardinals

Cardinals 43 Broncos 13
It's gotten to the point that kickers are making the Broncos look bad. Jay "Wheels" Feely trots into the end zone in a Cardinals rout of the Broncos.

So, McDaniels is gone, but the horrid stench of his aura is clearly still very much on the team. When a team fires their head coach during mid-season, they can either get a bounce out of it, or become a totally deflated group of players who just don't care. The Vikings and Cowboys got the bounce, it look like the Broncos are deflate city, though. In what may have been the most meaningless regular season game in NFL history, the Broncos acted like they really couldn't be bothered to put on a professional appearance. Seriously, the Broncos were nearly beaten singlehandedly by a kicker. (Nice wheels, by the way, Jay Feely)

Rookie John Skelton out of Fordham acquitted himself well against the porous Broncos defense.

This game felt more like a presason matchup, only there was apparently even less on the line. Adding to the preseason feel, the Cardinals even started John Skelton, a quarterback drafted in the fifth round who began the year as a 4th stringer. Then Skelton outplayed his counterpart Orton. The Broncos came out against a dreadful team in Arizona and got blown out. Kyle Orton, one of the few brights spots of this overmatched and undertalented team, just gave up today. His heart wasn't in it, and neither was his head, and by the end he was just tossing up interceptions on a platter. The final pick which was returned for six had the look of someone who didn't care what happened to the ball he threw. Orton's aim was off, he was out of sync with the new playcaller Mike McCoy, and it just was a terrible day for the Broncos quarterback.

The defense also played terribly, tackling poorly and generally looking completely lost on the field. When you're getting blasted by the Cardinals offense, you're clearly not giving it your best. The Broncos weren't getting beaten by the 1989 49ers out there, this was a team that had not scored a touchdown in 9 quarters before their kicker ran one in against the Broncos.

If a running back blossoms on a 3-13 team, does anyone realize it?

There were two bright spots in a sea of darkness. The first was running back Knowshon Moreno, who is blossoming into a legit NFL back on this team that the world has justly forgotten about. The second is Champ Bailey, the cornerback who is likely playing in his final weeks in Denver. Those two played well, the rest of this disaster played like a team that could not possibly care any less.

Puzzling to me is why the Broncos decided to not play Tim Tebow. The season is over, and they were getting blown out. I would have started him to find out what you have and at least put these final few games to some constructive purpose, but after falling way behind, what would be the shame in putting him in and letting him get a little experience? He really needs to get some playing time in these meaningless final few games, it makes zero sense to not at least let him face a few live rounds of action and see how he responds. Plus, it's about the only card the team can play to keep the fans interested, and there is zero buzz around this city for the Broncos right now. Hopefully they start Tebow next week in Oakland, Seriously, why not at this point?

Thanks for the memories, Champ. You're a class act.

So, the city of Denver is left with a football team that doesn't appear interested in competing, and might be for the best. Losing the remaining games can only help with draft positioning, and really, would anyone in Orange feel better about 6-10 as opposed to 3-13? I'm not used to having a month left in the season and having it not matter at all. Lack of hope is hard to take as a football fan. I'm still a Broncos fan, of course, but let's just say I'm not sticking my chest out about it these days.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vertically Striped Radio - Episode 85 - 12-11-10 - Pondering Fantasy Retirement

Craig was slightly irritated at the Christmas shoppers, but still found joy in his heart owing to the fact that Josh McDaniels has been shipped out of Denver. Also, A big decision is announced, as Craig has been mulling fantasy football retirement for weeks and he used Episode Ocho Cinco to declare his intentions. Craig, Face and The Whale also discuss the benefits of not being self-aware.

Finally, we do a little navel gazing by announcing the Magnificent Seven best VSR intros of all time. It's a walk down memory lane, including the return of one of the most beloved Fake radio intros of all time which makes us miss our buddy MJ. The Vertically Striped Music recommendation was "Happy Kid" by Nada Surf.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

NFL Weekend Preview: Week 14

Leaping into Week 14.

Just like the Patriots, I am rounding into championship form! Another 13-3 week for me, and I’m feeling good about my picks! As if picking games well wasn’t enough, I don’t have Josh McDaniels to kick around anymore. Yup, Christmas has officially come early. Only four weeks of football remaining, my friends. Savor it, as the offseason is long as it is, and may be even longer if there actually is an NFL lockout. (Just typing those words makes me sad.) Anyway, here is my Nostradamus impression for this week:

Colts at Titans - Peyton Manning may be mired in a slump, but the Titans have fallen off a cliff. Sadly Kerry Collins is healthy enough to go, so no more Rusty, but the Titans are atrocious of late, and despite the recent struggles of Peyton, I’ll be shocked if he can’t take advantage of Tennessee. Colts 27 Titans 17

Buccaneers at Redskins – The Bucs STILL haven’t won a game against a good team, but they tend to pound the crappy teams and the Redskins definitely qualify as a crappy team. Part of me wonders if both Pat Bowlen and Mike Shanahan would like to pretend that the last two years didn’t even happen and start back up with the program in Denver. Between the McDaniels era in Denver and Shanny’s season of fun dealing with Al Haynesworth in the nation’s capital, I am not sure who would say yes faster to a return to the way things were. Bucs take this one and keep their faint playoff hopes alive, they can’t slip at all anymore if they’re going to rally into playoff positioning, although the giant leap forward they have made from where they were a year ago makes the Bucs already winners this year. Buccaneers 23 Redskins 10

Browns at Bills – The Rust Belt Bowl! Even though both of these teams are rather low in the standings, and there is little on the line other than the pride of two fan bases who care way more than their franchises deserve, this may be a sneakily good game. Both of these teams have been entertaining this year, even if they aren’t pulling out the wins at the end. I like a good game to be decided in an extra frame because overtime is fun, and the Bills are the kings of giving away free football to fans. Also, I randomly predicted three weeks ago that a game this weekend will end in a tie. If that is to happen, my money is that it will happen in this game. (Granted they are 0-3 in overtime games this year, but they’re due, says I.) Bills 26 Browns 23 (in OT)

Giants at Vikings – Will the Vikings have to get forceful with Brett Favre if for some crazy reason, he decides to pull his annual Hamlet routine this offseason rather than just riding off into the sunset as he has said he will do? I can envision a scenario in which teammates would by flying down to Hattiesburg to tell Brett that perhaps he should just chill back in Mississippi rather than think about heading back to Minneapolis. I’m not saying Brett Favre has harmed his legacy, but is there any doubt the dude is a first ballot entrant into the douche Hall of Fame? As for the Giants, they are in a decent position right now. They are under the radar, but definitely in the playoff picture. In fact, they’d be the final team in from the NFC right now and can improve with a strong final quarter of the year. This is a game I think they handle with few issues. Giants 30 Vikings 17

Packers at Lions – I really want to be bold and pick Detroit because it feels like they are due to surprise someone and the Pack is due to be surprised. I just can’t quite pull the trigger on that one, especially since Drew “Dougie” Stanton is scheduled to make the start. I’ll say it’s surprisingly close, but the Lions pull one of their trademarked close losses. Packers 20 Lions 17

Raiders at Jaguars – With the implosion of Peyton Manning in Indy, the AFC South is wide open and the Jags appear to be stumbling into the playoff picture by default. We face the very real possibility of opening up the playoffs in a month with both AFC home teams as underdogs in the first weekend. The Raiders aren’t dead, but they need to be very special the rest of the way along with a monumental KC collapse. I don’t believe that the Raiders can be that special with the dead weight of so many recent seasons of misery in their collective conscience. Perhaps they finish at 8-8, which by recent Raider standards is an exemplary season, but I don’t see them making the playoffs simply because I don’t see them winning games like this…even against the eminently beatable Jags. Jaguars 26 Raiders 20

Bengals at Steelers – The Steelers are upper-echelon in the league, and the Bengals are barely going through the motions at this point. Is there any reason to expect an upset? I don’t see it. Steelers 33 Bengals 13

Falcons at Panthers – What I just said about the previous game, just replace Steelers with Falcons and Bengals with Panthers. Done! I’ll even keep the score the same to save you any additional trouble. Falcons 33 Panthers 13

Patriots at Bears – After the beat down the Pats put on the fraudulent Jets, I can’t pick against New England, but I get a funny feeling about this game. The Pats are rolling, but this game here feels like the classic letdown game. I still can’t believe the Bears are good, but there they are, sitting in playoff bye position at the moment. I’ve got to think they falter at home against the Pats, but I won’t be shocked if they manage to keep their shockingly good season going. Make mine Patriots, but not by much. Patriots 20 Bears 19

Seahawks at 49ers – What I do know: Both of these teams stink. What I don’t know: Which one will stink more on Sunday. I don’t trust or believe in either of them, so I’ll take the home team with zero confidence. 49ers 17 Seahawks 14

Rams at Saints – The Rams are the great hope for the NFC West to field a non-losing team in the playoffs, and yet I could easily see them losing their remaining games on the schedule. At Saints, hosting the Chiefs and 49ers, and finishing up in Seattle. The Saints have a bad trend of losing these late season home games to teams they are better than, but I think they manage to get it done versus the Rams. Saints 30 Rams 26

Broncos at Cardinals – As a devoted Broncos fan, I will be watching this game to see how the team does light one boy-genius coach. As a fan of good football, I will be constantly questioning my sanity as I do so. The Broncos are so terrible that the man in charge of creating this mess has been dropped during mid-season, and yet, I still feel like they are going to win this game for two reasons: Firstly, Interim head coaches have been doing well in the weeks immediately following the ax of the former head guy this year in the league. Secondly, and more importantly, the Cards are just a miserable wreck of a football team that I legitimately think my dreadful Broncos are better than. I’m not expecting a thing of beauty, but I do sort of expect a Bronco win. Broncos 23 Cardinals 17

Dolphins at Jets – The Dolphins often give the Jets trouble, but I think that Sanchez and company will be eager to prove that the 45-3 drubbing at the hands of the Patriots was a fluke. Plus, the Dolphins are perhaps the most average of average teams. They aren’t great, they aren’t terrible, and if they aren’t 8-8 at the end of the year, it’ll be an upset. The Jets are frauds, but they are good enough to make the playoffs this year and then get beaten by a legit good team. Jets 20 Dolphins 12

Chiefs at Chargers – The Chargers had been rolling, and got tripped up at home by the…wait…is this right??? The Raiders?!? Yeah, it says here they lost to the Raiders at HOME in December. Weird. Talk about a game I didn’t see coming, I took the Chargers minus 13.5 points on Sunday. Oops. As for the Chiefs, this is a good team, but FAR from a great one. A great team doesn’t get held to 10 points by the Broncos at home. They should make the playoffs, but it’ll be a short stay. I think the Chargers are the better team, and will show as much on Sunday. Chargers 28 Chiefs 19

Eagles at Cowboys – The Eagles appear to be legit, but they’ll need to win games like this if they are. This Cowboys game looked like it was going to be a cakewalk a month ago for Philly, but since dropping Wade Phillip’s dead weight, they have found a bit of their stride. Granted, too little too late, but they can be dangerous in a game like this that is way more important to Philly than it is to them. Eagles 30 Cowboys 27

Ravens at Texans – Are the Texans even trying anymore? In the past six weeks this team is winless against teams NOT quarterbacked by a guy named Rusty. They may be able to summon a little something here on Monday Night Football at home, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to defeat a Baltimore team that I consider one of the three AFC powerhouses. Ravens 24 Texans 13

Week 13: 13-3
Season to Date: 117-75

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead!!! McDaniels is fired in Denver! And there was much rejoicing!

Don't go away angry, Josh. Just go away.

McDaniels fired! Not the news I was expecting to hear tonight, but I can't wipe the smile off of my face. 11-17 and the worst personnel decisions on record are no longer in charge of the organization. Clearly, he has left Denver in shambles, and it'll take us some time to try and pick up the pieces, but the arrogant man who refused to listen to others, who made baffling decisions both on and off the field, and who was indicted in his very own Spygate scandal. Quite the legacy.

The Belichick coaching tree is diseased, apparently. Hopefully the Broncos and Pat Bowlen will be wise enough to avoid the New England family this time. So long as we don't bring in Brad Childress or Wade Phillips, I see this change as a positive.

The final straw was finding out that Belichick Jr. was following the lead of his mentor even when it came to cheating. That whole video taping scandal in London was made all the worse by the fact that in addition to hurting the honor of our proud franchise, he still was losing. So now we have four games to muddle through this random interim period. Someone named Eric Studesville, the running backs coach, has been elected to run things for the next few weeks. Seems random, but how much worse could he possibly do? Perhaps he'll even benefit from the interim bounce that the Vikings and Cowboys have enjoyed. It doesn't hurt than their next game is against the Cardinals. I don't see a win streak of more than one game, if we even get that, but I don't care. The highlight of this lost season is that McD is McDone! Viva los Broncos!

I am almost as happy as he looks. Except that my team is a burning pile right now thanks to him.

Broncos Gameday Recap: Game 12 - Broncos at Chiefs

Chiefs 10 Broncos 6

What a difference three weeks make. When last we saw these two teams on the field they combined to score 78 points in a Broncos runaway win and Todd Haley refused to shake Josh McDaniels hand. On Sunday, the two teams combined for a whopping 16 points, and Todd Haley gave Joshie a big hug.

What a farce. Can you say overcompensating?

Although I really don’t want him as my coach anymore, I will give Josh McDaniels this: He excels and finding new and interesting ways to lose games. This week, rather than his usual successful passing game with no running game and a defense that tries to chase it’s opponents from behind as they routinely break off huge plays, he mixed it up. The defense was stout, the running game excelled, and the Broncos completely failed at passing and scoring. Then, at the end, when a victory was possible, he totally abandoned the tremendous run game and kept Kyle Orton throwing despite the fact that the passing game had proven worthless all day and then punted despite being down only 4 points and needing only a few yards for a first down and there were less than three minutes to go. I guess I have to hand it to him, because he got the ball back with fifteen seconds from his own 8, so his strategy worked gangbusters. Quite the innovator, that McDaniels; Jason Whitlock tweeted out after the game that McDaniels is in totally over his head, and I couldn’t agree more.

In a game that was totally winnable for the Broncos, they refused to open it up and take chances, and the result was a forgettable loss to a team that now holds a two game advantage in the AFC West. (By the way, with the Chiefs…Yes, they will almost certainly win their division barring a complete collapse against an easy schedule, but bet heavily against them in the playoffs. It’s free money) The Broncos loss was not unexpected at this point, they lose almost every week anymore. And it wasn’t even that disappointing, as it’s probably better for the Broncos to get a good draft pick by losing. It was just kind of sad. This season is over, and there isn’t much reason to care for the final quarter of the year.

Anyway, let’s break down the game a tiny bit:


Knowshon Moreno: The Georgia product finally lived up to his potential that caused him to be picked in the first round last year. He was punishing opponents and making things happen as he broke big play after big play and also gained the tough yards. The Broncos might have won the game had they stuck with the run game instead of going almost exclusively with the subpar passing game the final few drives. 161 yards on 23 carries is a great day.

Champ Bailey: Dude was a beast making some glorious tackles and plays, and even getting a sack. Makes me sad that this great player is spending his twilight NFL years laboring for such a crappy team.

The Defense: Made a big goal line stand, and held the Chiefs to a miserly 10 points on offense. The Broncos didn’t lose the game on the defensive side of the ball. You hold a team to ten points, you need to win. Especially when you scored 49 points against them the last time you played.


Kyle Orton: Nine completions on twenty-eight attempts. A quarterback rating of 46.3, and an average yards per pass of 4.2. You can’t win with stats like that. Orton has been very good this season, but he looked out of his depth and completely hopeless all day. His accuracy was atrocious, and on top of that, he lost a critical fumble late in the game. Definitely his worst game of the season, and possibly his worst game as a Bronco.

Josh McDaniels: Challenging a 9 yard gain in the first quarter, even if you’re correct, is dumb with the limited nature of the rules instant replay challenges. Then not challenging a potential fumble when your team picks it up and runs it inside the 10 is a big time head-scratcher. But the worst thing he did on the day was punting the ball on 4th and 4 from his own 44 with less than 3 minutes left. You have to go for the 4th down conversion there, you just HAVE to. There isn’t much time left, so even if everything goes perfectly with you punting, you will get the ball back with less than a minute deep in your own territory. The Broncos had 2 timeouts left, so no matter what happened, they needed to stop the Chiefs from getting a first down, and even if the Chiefs stop you and then kick a field goal, you’re still within one score. If you pick up the fourth down, you still have time so that you don’t have to hurry, and you have the ball in a good spot. McDaniels meekly calling for a punt in that scenario was the worst thing he could have done.

Final Thought:

The Chiefs could not be less impressive to me. Todd Haley seems like a rabid dog on the sideline, he’s the kind of coach that I’m certain that NFL refs dread having to work with. He just complains about everything and yells and just gets under your skin. He got under MY skin as I was watching on television, and I didn’t even hear what he was saying. I just dislike that guy, and his fake overcompensating hug of McDaniels was just ridiculous. I don’t care about him offending the honor of McDaniels, as I want that guy ridden out of town on a rail; but just the general douchiness of Haley rubs me the wrong way. Between him in Kansas City and Phil Rivers in San Diego, it’s getting to the point where the least objectionable team in the AFC West to me is the Raiders. Egads.

Just shut it, Todd.

As for the Broncos, I still want them to win games as I watch them, but in retrospect, I’m rather glad they dropped that one. Winning it would have just hurt their draft placement. I feel like the Broncos get one more win. (Next week in Arizona, if you’re curious.) Possibly two if they can overachieve at home the day after Christmas against a lukewarm Houston Texans team, but right now, the best case scenario for the Broncos is a 5-11 season. Hopefully the offseason goes better than this wretched season has. Only a month more, Broncos fans, then we can begin our Fire Joshie vigil! Go Broncos!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Vertically Striped Radio - Episode 84 - 12-04-10 - Someone stole my snowman!

After a snowman themed newscast, Face, The Whale, and Craig break down the Derek Anderson post-Monday Night Football press conference melt-down. I say leave Derek alone, he's allowed to laugh on the sidelines. That morphed into a discussion about, what else, Lebron James and the Cleveland fan experience. I am pro-Cleveland fan, by the way.

After the sports discussion, we went into "fashion" speak with the Magnificent Seven NFL Throwback Uniforms.

Our third installment of the He-Man woman haters club had us discussing the Redford-Newman classic "The Sting" and the ridiculously prolific career of "That Guy" Dana Alcar.

The music recommendation was from Caspar Babypants a brilliant kids artist and former member of "The Presidents of the United States of America" as we recommended the songs "9.99" and "Googly Eyes."

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NFL Weekend Preview: Week 13

I think it's safe to say Monday Night's game is big.

I'm coming off my best weekend of the season, going 13-3 in my picks. Now that I'm getting cocky, I'm due for a craptastic week, probably, but I don't care. The NFL is getting REALLY good. Between Bills receivers blaming God for dropping footballs and terrible quarterbacks freaking out in Arizona demanding that they are NOT finding anything funny. It's been a good week in the NFL, and we have a spectacular slate on Sunday...unfortunately we also have Panthers versus Seahawks, so they can't ALL be winners. Ah well, here are my big guesses for this weekend's slate of action.

Texans at Eagles: (Yes, this game has already been played, but I posted my pick on Twitter before the game, and the following was my prediction blurb from BEFORE the game was played. I was a little off on the score, as Houston did better than I expected, but I had the right team winning.)

Mike Vick led the Eagles to a big victory over the Texans on Thursday.

Philly is coming off a tough loss in Chicago and Houston is coming off a laugher in which they obliterated a guy named Rusty. Playing the Bears tough in the Windy City trumps blanking this guy…
Hey Maw! Look at me, I is an NFL quarterback! Aw, Shucks!
(I love Rusty Smith.)

I feel like the Eagles win this one at home in a romp. The only thing that scares me is that Thursday night football quality tends to be hideously low, so perhaps scoring 31 is a bit too tough. Still, the Texans feel as over as the days of pleasant air travel in America. I’ll take Philly big. Eagles 31 Texans 10

Saints at Bengals – Who Dey versus Who Dat. Apparently grammar is the big loser here. As for the football, the Saints are champs and the Bengals are chumps. Home team loses rather handily, I would guess. Saints 29 Bengals 17

Bears at Lions – As the Bears currently sit, they would get a first round bye in the playoffs. I’d just like to remind everyone that my preseason prediction was that the Bears would win this division. Granted, that prediction was made literally by tossing dice, so I can’t take a whole lot of credit, but this is one reason I love the NFL. Even things that appear to be ultra goofy can happen in the NFL. Maybe you hate parity, but I love it. It gives hope to all that things can turn around. This time last year, Jay Cutler was persona non-grata in Chicago. Now he is the quarterback of a winner, and the noise has died down considerably. The counterpoint to parity is the Detroit Lions. Anyone has a chance in the NFL except for Detroit. Bears 20 Lions 10

49ers at Packers – Troy Smith makes the Niners credible, but going into Lambeau in December on a short week? I am not buying San Francisco. Sadly, despite the fact that they are 4-7, losing this game will not eliminate them from division championship discussion. The Packers relatively easily here, says I. Packers 30 49ers 17

Jaguars at Titans – The Titans have fallen off a cliff. A month ago they were 5-2 and had just demolished the Philadelphia Eagles. Since then, they have lost four in a row, picked up a washed up Randy Moss, and now their chances this weekend are clinging to the hope that perhaps Kerry Collins will be healthy enough to play so they don’t have to put their team into the hands of a guy named Rusty. I don’t buy the Jags as contenders in the South, but I don’t buy the Titans as a viable football team at all. Jaguars 24 Titans 19

Broncos at Chiefs – When last we left these two teams on the same field, Todd Haley was pointing and Josh McDaniels was enjoying one of the few bright Sundays he’ll experience this year having won by 20. It’ll be interesting to see how Lame Duck McDaniels handles being on the other end of things this Sunday. Arrowhead has been a house of horrors over the years for the Broncos, even when they were a good team. Add to it that Denver heads into Kansas City in December and the Chiefs are going to be riled up for payback, I don’t see this ending well for my team. Chiefs 38 Broncos 13

Browns at Dolphins – I’ll take Cleveland to win the slightly less hyped Cleveland-Miami matchup this week. I don’t know that it’s going to heal the wounds of Cleveland sports fans, but they get a tiny bit of revenge here against Miami. Browns 23 Dolphins 20 (in OT)

Bills at Vikings – The Leslie Frazier post Brad Childress bump continues. I’d give Leslie more credit, but playing home games against the Bills isn’t exactly scaling the North Face of Everest. The Bills keep it close, but lose at the end. I’d predict an overtime game, but haven’t the Bills fans already suffered enough extra time losses this year? If I end up being wrong on this prediction, I guess I can just blame God on Twitter, though. Vikings 21 Bills 17

Redskins at Giants – I want to call for a New York blowout home win, but something about a December divisional game is scaring me off of that. I’ll say the G-men win, but only by the slimmest of margins. Giants 20 Redskins 19

Raiders at Chargers – The calendar says December, so the Chargers must be rolling. Oh look, yes they are! It was cute how the Raiders were talking about contending for a division a few weeks ago, but someone must have reminded them they are the Raiders. Since finding a way to beat the Chiefs in OT, they have lost consecutive games by a combined score of 68-20. I think the Chargers fall shy of putting up that many points against them, but only by a few touchdowns. Chargers 42 Raiders 17

Panthers at Seahawks – The Seahawks are lucky to be in the NFC West. Don’t believe me? This team is contending for a division crown despite the fact that here are the results of their last four non-divisional games: Loss to KC 42-24, Loss to New Orleans 34-19, Loss to Giants 41-7, Loss to Raiders 33-3. Somehow this team has a legit shot at hosting a playoff game. Ugh. I don’t think they are going to get there, but the very fact that it’s possible is disconcerting. I’d pick them to lose this one, but they are playing the team that I consider the worst in the league and they are playing them at home. This was an NFC Championship game a few years back, but the stakes are considerably lower for this one. I’ll hold my nose and pick Seattle only because picking the Panthers on the road feels even more odious. Seahawks 19 Panthers 13

Falcons at Buccaneers – Atlanta is perched precariously atop many power rankings across the land. The Bucs are one of the surprise teams that have risen from the ashes of a terrible 2009 to take a clear step forward this season. The big knock against Tampa is that they haven’t beaten any good teams yet this season. Their signature win this far this season is a one point victory over the Rams. I want to believe in K-State alum Josh Freeman and the Bucs, but I need to see them beat a winning team first. I don’t think they get it done against Atlanta. Falcons 27 Buccaneers 17

Rams at Cardinals – The Cards stink, but it’s nice to know they put their heart and soul into this every week.

although I feel sorry for Derek Anderson, if NOTHING is funny to him, it must be tough to unwind after yet another soul crushing defeat. The Rams win this game on their march to first-round playoff elimination in the Edward Jones Dome. To further illustrate the ridiculousness of the NFC West, the team with the inside track to win the division lost to the Lions 44-6 this year. Rams 26 Cardinals 13

Cowboys at Colts – How odd it is that the hot team coming into this one is the Cowboys and the team struggling with its identity is the Colts. Indy has lost three of four, but to be fair those losses have been to the Chargers, Patriots, and Eagles, so it’s not like they are struggling against the Broncos and Panthers of the world. I think the post-Wade Phillips bounce is just about used up in Dallas, and the Colts need this one and I expect them to play like it. Colts 23 Cowboys 17

Steelers at Ravens – The night games this weekend are spectacular. The Ravens don’t typically sweep the Steelers, but I think this may be their year to do so. Not sure what to expect other than a hard hitting game. I like the Ravens but just by a smidge. Ravens 20 Steelers 16

Jets at Patriots – The Jets won the earlier game this season in New York. The Patriots need to return the favor, and I feel like they are the better team. What a set up this is, Monday Night at home against their nemesis for a definitive leg up in the division and the conference. The Jets luck is due to go south soon, and this week seems as good a time as any for it to start doing so. Patriots 28 Jets 14

Week 12: 13-3

Season to Date: 104-72

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Powerlines: Week 13 NFL Power Rankings

The Koalaphant, a creature that never forgets AND eats nothing but eucalyptus.

The NFL is finally starting to make at least a small amount of sense. Enough where I felt like it was a good idea to sort the teams into some sort of ranking order, again. You may disagree with my rankings, and you're probably right, but this is how I see the NFL at the current moment, feel free to disagree in the comments.

1. Falcons – Matt Ryan is a machine at home. Bad news for the NFC, seeing as how Atlanta has the inside track on homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. I don’t feel super great about the Falcons at number 1, but there are plenty of reasons to doubt the next five teams on this list.

2. Patriots – For a team at the top of my rankings, they feel very vulnerable. Even as I’m watching them on Thanksgiving falling behind to the Lions, I think to myself that they can be had, and then I look up, and they have put 45 up on the board and are winning a laugher. Weird team that is just finds ways to win. Huge game upcoming against the Jets which could and probably will determine the AFC’s top seed. By the way, they lost by 20 to the Browns this year. Still feel great about them?

3. Ravens – Just because you may have forgotten…This team lost to the Bengals this year. Still feel great about them?

4. Steelers – If God doesn’t knock the ball out of Stevie Johnson’s hands, the Steelers would have lost to the Bills. Still feel great about them?

5. Jets – Were given a gift win on a desperation heave in Denver, and then had back to back overtime games with the Browns and Lions. Still feel great about them?

6. Saints – Lost by 10 to the Cardinals this year. Still feel great about them?

7. Packers – All four of their losses this year have come by only three points each, and two of those were in overtime. I actually do feel kind of good about them, but they DO have 4 losses.

8. Eagles – I sure hope this team is able to win enough down the stretch to claim an NFC playoff spot. Why? Because I enjoy watching Mike Vick.

9. Bears – Yes, they are 8-3 and have won games against the likes of the Packers and Eagles. Still, something about this team feels fraudulent, and I can’t help but think they make the playoffs, perhaps even get a first round bye, but that they will end up losing at home in their first game in the postseason.

10. Chargers – Here comes the late season rise of the Chargers. Putting their foot down on the Colts was a clear statement that they are for real. The only question is are they going to be able to keep it up and track down the Chiefs for the AFC West? I think they will do it, but they absolutely MUST beat KC in their head-to-head rematch in San Diego.

11. Giants – Coming from behind against Jacksonville to end their two game skid was critical. Can they regain the mojo that gave them a five game win streak? Remains to be seen, but this is a team I would not want to play in the postseason if I’m an NFC team.

12. Colts – It’s weird to see a Peyton Manning team rated this low this late in a season. They are in real danger of missing the playoffs entirely, or at least, they would be if the rest of their division weren’t comprised entirely of frauds like the Titans, Jags, and Texans.

13. Chiefs – They aren’t terrible, but I think they get overtaken by San Diego and won’t have enough to claim a Wild Card.

14. Buccaneers – If you want me to take you seriously, Tampa, you need to actually beat someone with a winning record. Still, coming off the season they had last year, this season has been a marked improvement for the Bucs.

15. Dolphins – They might be able to win two or three divisions in the NFL, however they are stuck with the Patriots and Jets, and therefore will be watching the playoffs from the couch like the rest of us.

16. Jaguars – Playoff charts may show them as “Also in the hunt” but don’t be deceived. There will be no hunting in Jacksonville this year.

17. Texans – I’d say all the fight is out of the Texans, but did you SEE Andre Johnson throw down on Cortland Finnegan? Sadly, winning that fight doesn’t count towards playoff standings.

18. Raiders – If you’re an Oakland fan, you can look at this season as half-empty in that there are only five games remaining and you have a losing record, or you can look at it as half-full in that you still will have your best season in eight years with just two more wins.

19. Rams – The best team in the NFC West checks in at number 19. I hate the NFC West and the fact that one of these dreadful teams will take a playoff spot from a team that should actually be there.

20. 49ers – How sad was Monday night’s game? It matched up two 3-7 teams with either having a chance to move within a game of the division lead with a win. Again, I hate the NFC West.

21. Cowboys – So, you think the Cowboys had quit on Wade Phillips yet? I think the worst case scenario for Dallas fans is that Jason Garrett does just well enough that Jerry Jones removes the interim from his name tag and they are stuck with another crappy coach for half a decade.

22. Titans – Never trust a quarterback named Rusty.

23. Vikings – or a quarterback that is literally rusty, for that matter.

24. Browns – Peyton Hillis is a stud, and yet another reminder why the past two years in Denver have not been so good on the personnel front. For the pleasure of dumping Brady Quinn on the Broncos, not only did the Browns get Hillis, they also got a sixth rounder in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012. What a disaster for Denver.

25. Seahawks – Got thumped by the Chiefs on their home field, yet still are very much in the hunt for the playoffs. I hate the NFC West.

26. Redskins – Is Dan Snyder ready to fire Mike Shanahan yet? Probably not, but if you heard the rumor how surprised would you REALLY be?

27. Lions – Legitimately, are the Lions cursed? They should be better than they are, yet here we are and they have a whopping 2 wins.

28. Broncos – Fire Josh McDaniels already. This season was already bad enough before we got tossed lumped into the cheating section of the NFL with the New England Patriots. We’re too crappy of an NFL team to be cheating.

29. Bills – Blaming God is nothing new, Stevie Johnson. Buffalo has spent the past decade questioning God about why they’ve been stuck with the Bills. By the way, don’t blame God there…YOU dropped the ball.

30. Cardinals - Watching this team on Monday night gave me hope that the Broncos can get at least one more win this year. Their defense is almost as bad as their offense. They have fallen fast from the team that almost won the Super Bowl two years ago.

31. Bengals - The nicest thing I can say about the Bengals is that my 3 year old son really likes their helmets because of the tiger stripes. Seriously, that's the nicest thing I could think to say.

32. Panthers - Well, at least they aren't going 0-16.