Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"They Are Who We Thought They Were!" - Part 1

(Editor's Note: This blog was first published at Facebook.com, where the author had previously been posting his blog notes and such.)

Yes, I know already. I've been slacking on my Facebook "note" game.

Maybe it's because Facebook doesn't let me tag all of my friends and classmates to these creations even though someone can make an "event" or "group" and tag everyone. Maybe because I'm busy trying to holla at girls having a really, REALLY tiring junior year.

Or maybe it's because I'm just a lazy schnuck.

Whatever the case, a ton of people have been on my case to write-up a new Facebook note for their enjoyment. I've even got people scrounging my Profile page for quotes and ancedotes, as evidenced by one O. Chris, a big-time Falcons fan and overall enthusiast of my notes:
"Let me just first say that in reference to your Quotes, Michael Vick is/was a good QB. But, now for the real reason that I came here: I feel compelled to share this with someone and you seem the most appropriate. This is probably going to change, but as of now (Week 5), I think my picks for the last two weeks of the NFL season are as follows..."

After I finished reading O.Chris' lengthy wall post that was capped off by his prediction of a Packers/Patriots Super Bowl (a rematch of the 1995 season that had Bledsoe and Parcells pitted against Favre and the incomparable Reggie White in their primes), I realized that I've never made any predictions for this NFL season. Why not break out the Power Rankings capped off by my Super Bowl prediction in this Facebook "note" as a little warm-up for my school year of blog writing?

(Note: I really should take the time to expound on the MLB Playoffs and lament about the eventual end to the Yankees dynasty and Joe Torre's career. However, I realize that no one (except the Red Sox fans that will gloat at our expense) would care. Howard University is such a football-heavy school (even though our games stay empty), which makes it tough to embrace other sports on this campus. Plus, it looks like the Red Sox are about to take another title...so I'll pass on the hyperbole. If you wanna hear more about baseball and the playoffs in general, listen to the guys at this radio station.

The categories are in honor of the innovative Coors' Light commercials and their coaches; Dennis Green, Jim Mora, Mike Ditka, Dick Vermeil, Bill Parcells. No matter how many times NBC, FO
X, and CBS shove these commercials down our throats, I will always enjoy a hearty LOL at your expense. Just keep pumping out the stupid quotes fellas.

Jim Mora- "I just hope we can win a game!"

32. Buffalo Bills (1-3):
Looking at this Bills team this season, you had to believe that this was a team that from the outset of this season was destined for fa
ilure. Their superstar running back (McGahee) abandoned them for better pasture (Ravens), their quarterback controversy involved a washed-up QB and a unproven rookie (Losman/Edwards), and their only deep threat (Lee Evans) now draws double teams every game, making his fantasy value plummet faster than George Bush's approval ratings. Plus, their coach is Dick Jauron...the same guy who though Jim Miller would be the answer at QB for the Bears a few seasons back. (Guess that didn't work out too well...)

31. New York Jets (1-4): I'll be the first Jet fan to admit that we got fortunate with some W's last season. Two years ago, the Jets had the 4th worst record in football, and was rewarded with a last place schedule las year (playing the Raiders in Week 17). Plus, our rookie OL's (D'Brickshaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold) played lights out, allowing Chad to sit back and dump off passes untouched, and made guys like Leon Washington and Kevan Barlow look like stars. There HAD to be a dropoff, and without a vertical passing game, our goose is as good as cooked.

30. New Orleans Saints (0-4): As America watched the U.S. Saints march on after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and sprint behind the wheels of Reginald Bush to the NFC Championship, I wondered aloudl while sipping on a great Checkers milkshake: "Can this team do it again next year?" How can I, a guy that witnessed a resurgence of Drew Brees, as a Pro-Bowl QB leading a dynamite offense (on turf no less)? I was concerned because I didn’t know the name of ANYONE on the Saints defense. The Saints front seven is filled with unknowns that were swept down the Mississippi to revive their careers in the bayou, and Sean Payton has the audacity to continue starting Jason David at cornerback after the whipping Reggie Wayne gave him on national TV in the Week 1 rout. It’s going to be a long season for the Cajuns down under.

29. Miami Dolphins (0-5): Aging, Mediocre QB + an Aging, Overrated D= 4-12 season. They just let Kris Brown beat them with a 52-yarder at the buzzer and Daunte Culpepper get his roll on with 5 TD the week before. Let the John Beck era begin!
(Since I’ve already mentioned the other 3 teams in the AFC East…I believe we can go ahead and hand the Pats the division again this year…)

28. Kansas City Chiefs (2-3): I know there are some teams that have worse records that these guys, but let’s step back a
nd put this squad under the electron microscope for a sec. Brodie Croyle is their guy under center…who was trash in Alabama at QB. Larry Johnson continues to receive death threats from a ton of fantasy owners for his 20 yard performances. Dwayne Bowe returned to obscurity after his breakout game against Norv! and the Chargers. Herm Edwards is still the worst coach when it comes to winning the big games because he can’t manage the clock. (Thanks for the 4th round draft pick Chiefs.) This team just finished being murdered by Jacksonville (a sleeper team at 3-1) at Arrowhead, and need to dig into Lamar Hunt’s grave for a new fighting spirit…or some great draft picks in 2008.

Jim Mora "Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs! Playoffs?"

27. St. Louis Rams (0-5):
It’s a shame that we have to watch yet another wide receiver (Issac Bruce) slowly erode his legacy as one of the leaders of the “Greatest Show on Turf” by playing down-after-down in this mistake of a franchise. I placed the Rams in th
is bracket instead of squeezing them in with the five teams that preceded it because I really felt that the Rams would have a serious shot at competing for a playoff spot in their division. The NFC West has no true team that will flat out dominate that division. However, the key to the Rams’ demise lieth in the presence of two elements: The double-white guy system at QB & RB. No offense…but once I saw Brian Leonard lace up his Reebok cleats on the sidelines to replace Steve Jackson, I knew that the fat lady had just sang her last note.

Oakland Raiders (2-2)
Once again, Lane Kiffin tries to be the answer in Oakland as the youngest coach to ever lead an NFL team. In a division where taking a bye week makes a team look great by comparison, it’s hard for me to find a spot for this team. I’ll once again roll back to the QB issues (Cade McNown, Culpepper). Even though Daunte scored 5TD’s against the Dolphins two weeks ago, he only put up 100 yards passing. Either of these guys just spells failure in my book.

24a. Minnesota Vikings
24b. San Francisco 49ers

Face it, you’re looking at two teams that are spitting images of one another. Here’s the checklist:
Above-Average Defenses? [CHECK]
Potentially Devastating Running Attack? [CHECK}
Young Receivers That Need Time to Develop? [CHECK]

Coach that Wears Pen in Ear at all Times While on Sideline? [CHECK]
Terrible, Terrible QB’s destined to kill this team down the stretch in every big
game? [CHECK]

If they didn’t have such terrible offenses that will allow teams to stack the line on every single down, I would pick these guys in a heartbeat to be in the hunt. However, I have no faith in Tavaris Jackson, Trent Dilfer, Alex Smith, or Brooks Bollinger.

23. Atlanta Falcons (1-4): I really
thought the Falcons had a chance to shake up the division this year. Even ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons picked these guys to be the next recipients of his Ewing Theory …whatever that means. Bobby Petrino got a huge break, avoiding having to create an entirely new offensive system for Michael Vick and getting the luxury of having a built-in guy ready to take the blame for his mistakes (Joey Harrington). The defense, while losing top DE Patrick Kerney to the Seahawks, still isn’t terrible and I felt that the ground attack of Dunn/Norwood would carry these guys to at least a respectable 8-8 season. Things went according to plan - Joey came alive in Petrino’s new system and Roddy White learned how to catch passes in the offseason. Unfortunately after the meltdown of meathead DeAngelo Hall in the Carolina game and Petrino’s quick trigger with Joey in Tennessee yesterday, going instead with the inept Leftwich to try and tie the game up in Music City…I started hearing the sounds of an eventual implosion. Why pull Joey after he’s proven to be a solid QB so far this season? (A first for Mr. Harrington) Why bring in the slowest black QB ever, a guy with a completion percentage lower than the freezing point in Fahrenheit?
(Out goes confidence at the QB spot…now enters controversy and team suicide…)

Cleveland Browns (2-3): Simply put, if this team was in the NFC, they would be looking at a serious chance at the postseason. Romeo Crennel has finally gotten to a point where the Browns will beat the teams they should beat, and get emasculated by the teams they are supposed to lose to. Since the AFC is just way too stacked with great talent, I figure we’ll see this Mike Martz-led team make waves next season.

Bill Walsh- "I don’t believe I can segregate the two."

20a. Denver Broncos (2-3)
20b. San Diego Chargers (2-3)

Just as Bill Walsh couldn’t separate Coors Light from the definition of cold refreshment, I have also failed in separating this Denver Broncos squad from the sputtering Super Chargers, especially after their collapse at Mile High yesterday afternoon. Denver’s clearly got the better leader (Shanahan), but has failed to stop teams from running the ball up and
down the field. San Diego’s defensive front seven is one of the better units in football, the offense holds League MVP Ladainian Tomlinson (LT) in the backfield, but this team lacks a solid leader, a face that the players can rely upon for stability and growth. Norv Turner is a great offensive coordinator but terrible as a head coach (Dallas, Miami, Oakland, San Diego). This lack of efficiency on both teams leaves the AFC West wide open for the taking, with any team in the division able to grab the reins.

Dennis Green- "…and we let ‘em off the hook!”

19. Cincinnati Bengals (1-4):
The Bengals remind me of the Colts’ during the Jim Mora era. Peyton Manning and the crew would throw up an insane amount of offense, but their defense was so ridiculously terrible that they would end up having a lot of 9-7, 10-6, and 8-8 finishes. It’s funny that the Bengals team is crafted this way because the front office hire
d Marvin Lewis FIVE YEARS AGO to fix the problem on that side of the ball. We all know the weapons that the Bengals have in their storehouse (T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Carson Palmer, Ocho Cinco) on the offense side. I believe that this Bengal O is good enough to carry this team to a respectable season. However, I don’t think that Marvin Lewis will be around long enough to see his long term plan grow to fruition. Bill Cowher’s going to have a lot of coaching options once he makes the decision to come back next season.

Denny Green- "Everybody has a chance to get their bite of the apple."

16a. Detroit Lions (3-2)
16b. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)
16c. Carolina Panthers (3-2)

Looking at the NFC landscape at this point, we have only one solid contender (Dallas), leaving the rest of the conference entirely up for grabs. Setting aside the two shaky division leaders (Tampa Bay and Seattle) and one division that’s totally up for grabs (NFC North), we’ve got an insane amount of teams that can slide into the two wild card spots. Carolina, Philly, and Detroit have a great chance at squeezing underneath the playoff door because they:
a. Have weak schedules because of last year’s fallacies.

b. Have strong, game-changers at the speciality positions. (QB, RB, WR)
c. Are all in the NFC. (Obviously…)

Mike Ditka: "I don’t believe in living in the past. The past is for cowards."

15. New York Giants (3-2):
Eli Manning is playing football like a new boy man. He’s leading this Giants team past the short-sighted expectations of newspapers, magazines, and the talking heads on NFL Network. However, the resurgence of this Giant team isn’t to be credited primarily to Eli’s growth as a competent quarterback in the Big Apple. From Osi Umeyniora’s six sack performance on Sunday Night Football against Philly to Aaron Ross’ second-half spectacular in the Meadowlands, we have seen an energized take the cake.

14a. Green Bay Packers (4-1)
14b. Chicago Bears (2-3):
Sunday Night was a great matchup between the two top teams of the last 5-10 years in the NFC North. While Brett Favre continues to dispel the myths of his inevitable retirement by looking like a Tony Romo clone with Green Bay’s short passing game (a change in gameplay that even I doubted ), the Bears – with a decisive win at Lambeau – have still shown why they remain the class of the division. (Also, the interception that Favre forced across the field late in the 3rd Quarter might be a taste of what’s to come up in the chesse state.)

(Check out the rest of the Power Poll in Part 2!!!)

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