Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Ultimate Explosion!!

Note: Scientific Method picks are below... include the "upset" of Minnesota over Atlanta. Yeah, way to step out on a limb. Pick a team we all thought would be 11-5 as your "upset". Scientific.

Anyways, on to the Explosion!!

- Colin mentions this below as well, but what are preseason NBA pundits smoking about the Sonics? Do they have to prove themselves all over again? Do they realize that what this team needed last year was that exact chip on their shoulder? You'd think Mark Stein would know better. Pathetic.

- Mentioned this yesterday, but Lorenzo Romar rules. Read this for more detailed information on this year's recruiting class. Bad news that is also good news... Mike Jensen is going under the knife for shoulder surgery and will miss the non-conference schedule this year. This opens up a spot for Jon Brockman before the Pac-10 comes a'callin. Great experience for the touted freshman, since he is hopefully the most impactful new player on our team this season (maybe Ryan Appleby).

- Are we going to keep Jaime Moyer? My jury's still out. I'm planning on taking about a month after the season's over before I start talking about what the M's should do next year. Still... Bobby Madritsch is having another MRI...

- College Football is great until you start talking champions. Then college football is idiotic, and the Harris Poll is the last great example. Idaho as #20? We trust these voters to do what? Could we please have a playoff system? Please?

posted by Gavin @ 1:04 PM  0 comments

The Scientific Method, Week 4

I probably shouldn't admit this, but I actually dreamed about the Seahawks and the Redskins last night.

How did I know it was a dream? It was in the second quarter, and the score was tied.

At 41-41.

Yeah. Like hell Washington will score 41 points in a game this season.

Anyhoo, one aspect of science is the existence of the mean, the middle ground where everything falls back into. In that mindset, I (intelligently) (on purpose) (magically) (by pure luck) have exactly hit the mean after three weeks, reaching the wonderful, mediocre, absolute middle that, in my opinion, validates everything that IS science.

Record so far: 23-23

Week 4! Yee-haw!

Sunday:

Houston at Cincinnati
Hypothesis: New offenses take over 1 week to gel
So, does anyone really think that firing the offensive coordinator at Houston will suddenly make that offensive line any good? Anyone? I feel bad for Houston, because they are wasting Carr, David, and Johnson by having that travesty of a line. On the other side, Cincinnati toughed out a win over the Bears. I'm still not on the bandwagon, but I have to admit, they are better then Houston.
Scientific Pick: Cincinnati

Indianapolis at Tennessee

Hypothesis: Exceptional quarterbacks will have at least ONE exceptional game within the first four weeks
I'm reusing my Indy hypothesis from last week (slightly revised), because it has to be true. This is Peyton Manning. Not Eli Manning. Not Trent Dilfer. Peyton Manning. In his prime. With a balanced offense. And exceptional wide receivers. I know there is a 3 or 4 touchdown game just building up inside of him. Unfortunately for Tennessee, they get to take the brunt of it, even with a surprisignly semi-effective offense led by a semi-resurgent Steve McNair.
Scientific Pick: Indianapolis

San Diego at New England
Hypothesis: At some point, injuries HAVE to take a toll on a team
When have injuries ever mattered to New England? They lose Ty Law for the season, stick in EarthwindFire and Troy Brown, and win the Super Bowl. However, this season they have lost two of the three most prominent members of their defense in Bruschi and Harrison. Those were run-stoppers, by the way, and San Diego woke up last week and realized that they needed to give LT the ball every play and stop letting Drew Brees be in charge all the time. This is a semi-upset, but I feel semi-confident about this one.
Scientific Pick: San Diego

Buffalo at New Orleans

Hypothesis: Never go with the team who is continually whining
New Orleans. I understand that you were screwed this season. But it was by Katrina, not the NFL. By whining about this stuff every week, you miss the fact that YOU GUYS are losing those games by playing terrible football. You turn the ball over, Aaron Brooks is consistently playing inconsistently, Deuce isn't getting the ball enough, and that defense is horrible. Meanwhile, if Buffalo can just give the ball to McGahee, they should be able to "run" away with this game early and hold on towards the end.
Scientific Pick: Buffalo

St. Louis at NY Giants
Hypothesis: Never bet on Mike Martz on the road
Is there a worse road coach then Mike Martz (except when he's in Seattle)? You can guarantee that he will blow all of his timeouts by the end of the third quarter, forget about the running game by the middle of the second quarter, and allow Bulger to get absolutely rocked at least five times by the end of the game. Now, the Giants will be without one of their top corners, so expect the Rams to be licking their chops about that, and the weak secondary might cause the Rams to win this game. Talent-wise, they should win this game. Fortunately, talent has never meant anything in the Mike Martz era.
Scientific Pick: NY Giants

Detroit at Tampa Bay

Hypothesis: Keep going with the hot hand until it starts to cool down
The hot hand? Cadillac Williams, who is on fire right now. I misjudged this team because, in large part, I misjudged just how good Cadillac was going to be. Brian Griese has ZERO pressure right now. He knows he just needs to score about 17 points a game to win, because that defense is playing special once again. Can Joey Harrington figure out that defense? Absolutely. Not. And when has Detroit's defense been solid against the run?
Scientific Pick: Tampa Bay

Seattle at Washington

Hypothesis: There exists a house of horrors for every NFL team
The Seahawks actually have two. Washington and St. Louis. They just seem to find ways to lose those game. Listen. I realize we should win. We have the better talent. Washington's offense is ridiculous, only scoring touchdowns on long passes to Santana Moss. Mark Brunell is way past his expiration date. There is no reason that we should lose this game. Unfortunately, I expect us to find a reason, whether it is allowing too much of a pass rush, or not being able to run the football, or allowing Clinton Portis to run wild..... that's the thing about the Seahawks. They find a way.
Scientific Pick: Washington

Denver at Jacksonville
Hypothesis: Count on inconsistent teams remaining inconsistent
I give you.... the Denver Broncos, who played out of their minds against Kansas City, and are due to play absolutely horribly against Jacksonville on Sunday. You really think Mike Anderson is going to run wild against the Jags defense? You really think Jake Plummer is going to have time to throw? You really think that Mike Shanahan isn't going to overanalyze something and screw up? Jacksonville should easily take this game.
Scientific Pick: Jacksonville

NY Jets at Baltimore
Hypothesis: In a battle of zero offense, go with the better defense
Wow. If this game, God forbid, is on my TV, I am watching the Oxygen network or something. Brooks Bollinger against Anthony Wright? Is there a genetic disability in this world that prevents more then 20 individuals to grow up and become outstanding quarterbacks? What is this? This is America! I demand more quarterbacks, so I don't have to watch these two bozos fight it out! By the way, Baltimore is winless and extremely pissed going into this game. I wouldn't be surprised if Ray Lewis has 25 tackles by the third quarter.
Scientific Pick: Baltimore

Minnesota at Atlanta
Hypothesis: There will be one upset a week
This is my upset. I think that Kevin Williams will hinder the potent running attack of the Falcons. I can't see Mike Vick looking like a pocket-passer two weeks in a row. Daunte is back, and ready to prove some critics wrong. Minnesota will be coming into this game with a TON to prove, and I just see them getting it done. Plus.... I think the Falcons are overrated.
Scientific Pick: Minnesota

Philadelphia at Kansas City
Hypothesis: Injuries can transform good players into great players
Anyone remember Steve McNair's best seasons? He was always playing on one leg, or with bruised ribs, or with a catheter sticking out of him. And it seemed like he played better, to the point that I'm sure that some Titans lineman quit blocking at the beginning of the season so he WOULD get injured and start playing awesome. No team looked as disappointing as the Chiefs last week. The Eagles have the speed to continue to hinder the KC offense, who still don't look like they are entirely clicking. Tony Gonzalez has been a non-factor this season. I should know. He's on my fantasy team, and he's one large reason that I'm 1-2.
Scientific Pick: Philadelphia

Dallas at Oakland

Hypothesis: In games where I hate both teams, go with the team I hate
I don't know if there are two franchises I detest more then these two. Oakland? Always hated them, and now they have Sapp and Moss. Dallas? Always hated them, and now they have Bledsoe and Parcells. Who to choose? Who to choose?
Scientific Pick: Oakland

San Francisco at Mexico (I mean, Arizona)
Hypothesis: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Some game simply deserve a big laugh, because they are laughers, and, laughably, this game is supposed to convince Mexicans to become fans of the NFL. They will be watching Josh McCown and Tim Rattay throw the football. They will be watching Kevan Barlow and Marcel Shipp run the football. I mean, I kinda want to write an apology note to Mexico right now, telling them that this really doesn't symbolize America or the NFL, and that they should turn on the Philly/KC game if they want to see some action.
Scientific Pick: Arizona

Monday:

Green Bay at Carolina
Hypothesis: Great players always have one last stand
This is where I think Brett Favre is. One game. Prime Time. On the road. Everyone is saying he's done. He's going up against a superior team in virtually all aspects. His running game has been terrible. His offensive line has yet to gel. His defense has yet to hold someone on a 3rd down play. He's ready to go off.
Scientific Pick: Green Bay

posted by colin_hesse @ 11:50 AM  0 comments

And So It Begins....

About ready to crank out my Scientific Method post, but couldn't help noticing that Mark Stein drops the Seattle Sonics to 18th and out of the playoffs in his preseason poll.

Mark. Whoa. Whoooooaaaaa.

We lost Jerome James, Nate McMillan, and Antonio Daniels.

You might remember Jerome as the laziest player EVER to put on a Sonics uniform, one who has earned the neverending disgust of the Sonic community.

You might remember that McMillan is a COACH, and I could count the number of really good coaches on one hand.

You might remember that Antonio Daniels was a BACKUP point guard, who will be offset by the continued improvement of Ridnour and a full season of Damien Wilkins.

Our starting 5 is Luke Ridnour, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Nick Collison, and Vitaly Potapenko. Our 6th man is Vladimer Radmanovic, with a rotation of Damien Wilkins, Rick Brunson, Robert Swift, and Danny Fortson.

Am I missing something? You rank us below Memphis (who lost Stromile Swift), the Lakers (who simply added Phil Jackson), the Warriors (who, until they prove it, will be my Arizona Cardinals of the NBA), Denver (who we destroyed several times last year), and Sacramento (who lost Sonic-killer Cuttino Mobley and added perennial loser Abdur-Rahim).

Sigh.

Not this again. I don't know if I have the energy to rip people for thinking that a Seattle team had a terrible offseason. Again.

posted by colin_hesse @ 10:56 AM  0 comments

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ultimate Explosion!!

- Stupid Cleveland Indians... NOW you go on a losing streak.

- Stupid Chris Carpenter... ruining my fantasy championship chances... an ERA over 11 in three starts. Putrid. St Louis has to be legitimately concerned about their ace.

- I know this is really early, but I found Chad Ford's free agent preview for the NBA for next offseason to be interesting. Two large omissions... Luke Ridnour and Nick Collison. Both of those players are far more interesting to me than Vlad Radmanovic, and I think the coming season will prove that. I still love what the Sonics did with Radmanovic, whose production has never equaled his ego. If someone else wants to give him 80 million, then they can be relegated to salary cap hell.

- We signed Flip Murray for another year. Yippee. Hopefully Mr. Murray enjoys the end of our bench and this doesn't push Rick Brunson out of the picture. Flip's shooting percentages and crappy defense were exposed again versus San Antonio. I can do with a lot less of that.

- Bill Bavasi deserves another shot at this Mariners team. He has already proven that he can build from the draft. Now he has an offseason with loads of money to spend and a few pressing needs (left handed power, two starting pitchers). We have over 30 million for him to play with. Let him play. If he goes and gets players of the caliber of Sexson and Beltre I'll be pleased.

- For some reason people are already predicting our secondary to get burned against Washington, a team that simply got lucky on two Hail Mary passes to win their second game. I'm a little confused by this. Give us time and we'll beat the tar out of the Redskins (preview to come tomorrow). Last week it was Chike Okeafor, this week it is Shawn Springs, him of a thousand injuries and also getting seriously used each week. For some reason he had a comeback season for the Redskins. Super. I'm still glad he's gone.

- Pray for the Huskies to sign Spencer Hawes for at least one season of college ball. Let the Lorenzo Romar buzz continue. Seriously, though, the man can recruit. We're already set for next season without Hawes. With him we will be a Final Four candidate.

- Two days until USC-Arizona St. This should be fun.

- The M's season is almost over. Let us rejoice. I'll be excited again come March.

posted by Gavin @ 1:49 PM  1 comments

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ultimate Explosion!!

Note: Take time to read Colin's post below... gloating is awesome...

- This steroid stuff is pretty stupid right now, in the midst of one of the best last weeks of the baseball season in recent memory. You think this couldn't perhaps have waited until after the season? I don't always agree with Barry Bonds, but this is one time where Congress should be focused on hurricane support, budget crisis, and judicial nominations. Also, if the policy is going to be the same as before to where players like Mike Morse are punished three different times this new strict long suspension is not going to fly.

- We all knew Donovan McNabb was hurt, but "needing surgery" hurt? Teams are simply going to start teeing off on him. I don't see how he can possibly last the entire season. Philly's offensive line isn't good enough. Look for tons of three step drops and screens to Westbrook. McNabb's accuracy is oging to have to improve.

- I think the Marlins have to considered a large disappointment. They have far too much talent to miss the playoffs and far too much talent to let the Braves have the division again. Now their locker room is falling apart. First AJ Burnett is riding a horse out of there, and now Miguel Cabrera is coming out with serious attitude problems. If a classy player like Jeff Conine is upset with you, there are issues. Fun times for Florida fans. Lou Piniella's next stop?

- The "Arizona Cardinals" award for overhyped team entering the 2005 NBA season goes to... the Portland Trailblazers! At least so far the addition of Nate McMillan is seen a this tremendous earthshattering change. Chris Broussard starts the chorus today and I guarantee it will continue. Yay!

- David Locke actually has a good non-Sonics related article, so I figured I should probably link to it. This one is about the Seahawks and actually captures many of our thoughts here about the team. This start has a different feel to it. The attitude has changed. I believe in the front office and their strategy. I believe in the players. Some of our weaknesses will improve (youth) during the course of the year. That linebacking corps especially has been everything we could have wanted. Leroy Hill has been something else. Look for him to supplant DD Lewis (who hasn't been terrible himself) by the end of the season.

- Another good thought about the Seahawks... we have had decent offensive performances but the reason for some of the inconsistency comes down to field position issues. Our special teams needs to perform better on returns and our defense needs to create more turnovers. This is nuts... outside of the one turnover related TD, our shortest TD drive is 68 yards. 68 yards!! That has to change. While it is good that we can march it down the field, we cannot depend on that for long-term offensive success. This is a question mark... hopefully we can turn it around against Washington next week.

posted by Gavin @ 2:53 PM  0 comments

Gloating Time


A few weeks ago I asked, "OK, what's in the water?"

The NFL season had yet to commence. I was getting pretty optimistic about the Seahawks offseason. I loved the work of Reinfeldt and Ruskell, believing that they had given us the best chance to win the division that we could have hoped for.

We had Shaun back. Matt back. Walter back. Koren gone. Tubbs looking good. Dyson in. Darby in. Sharper in.

We had a team where Peter Warrick, a former #3 overall draft pick, wouldn't even start for us.

Optimistic, I began scouring such sites as ESPN and CBS Sportsline to ascertain the "experts" predictions for the NFL and the NFC West in particular.

This is what I found (from my earlier blog post).

Here's Ron Jaworski, whom I normally respect.
Normally when a head coach takes over a team, the first season is an evaluation
period. It's a time where the coach is able to see what players work in what system and to check out their strengths and weaknesses. Normally after this evaluation period, the second season is when the team makes a quantum leap, and
that's going to happen for the Cardinals. Coach Dennis Green did a great job making moves in the offseason to better his squad and he's going to see the effects of that work this season.

Here's Sean Salisbury, whom I normally scoff at.
I remember when Dennis Green took the job as head coach of the Cardinals. He went around and told people that he was going to change the belief system of the organization. I thought it would take three years to do it though, because I didn't realize how off the chain Green was going to be in his first season. He went into that organization and shook it up and has installed the parts necessary to win. They are going to compete and get things done in this division.

Hmmmm. OK, one might say, maybe they were the exception to the rule. Well, once again I would like to share with you the list of experts who ALL predicted the Arizona Cardinals to make the postseason OVER the Seattle Seahawks.

Len Pasquerelli (wrote several glowing reviews in the offseason)
John Clayton (really should know better, usually my favorite NFL analyst)
Michael Smith (must have been around Woody Paige a little too much on Around the Horn)
Joe Theismann (at least Joe followed up that pick by picking the Redskins to make it to the Super Bowl)
Merrill Hoge (I never really listen to this guy. Why did ESPN hire him?)
Jeremy Green (Who? Another random NFL expert....)
Ron Jaworksi (Jaws. Another guy I'm pretty disappointed in for betraying logic)
Sean Salisbury (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)
Bill Simmons (Sports Guy) (You predicted the Hawks to finish 6-10. Um, maybe you should stop looking at Boston teams every column and actually pay attention to the rest of the league.)
Pete Prisco (You also make me laugh, and not because you seem intelligent)

That's a list. A pretty large list, if I do not say so myself. Of 10 people who were ABSOLUTELY WRONG!! I can understand experts being wrong every now and then. Hell, look at my weekly NFL predictions if you want to see a huge NFL fan continually mispick games again and again.

But this was a virtual epidemic that had no place in reality! Seriously....

Contrast that with what I wrote about the Cardinals after taking the time to LOOK AT THEIR ACTUAL ROSTER!!!!

Especially look at the vaunted NEW ADDITIONS that were going to take Arizona to the new level.

Kurt Warner - Here's what I said before the season started: After two horrible years, Warner managed a mediocre year before ceding control to rookie Eli Manning. He can throw the deep ball, but makes VERY poor decisions under pressure and is the antithesis of "mobile".

So far, the season has been extremely predictable for Warner's performance. He has thrown for a lot of yards, has been relentlessly pressured, has made crucial mistakes under pressure (taking that sack against St. Louis), and now has a groin injury suffered because he has a terrible offensive line.

Antrel Rolle - Here's what I said: He should turn out to be a good one, but rookie cornerbacks have a longer learning period then other positions.

Wow. So, did you watch DJack annihilate Rolle on Sunday? They should have put poor Antrel in a skirt by the end of the game, because DJack made him his woman. I do believe that Rolle will be a great corner in this league. Just not this season.

J.J. Arrington - Here's what I said: I like Arrington, but he is undersized, and needs a strong offensive line to showcase his talents. I'm not sure whether he has that, or whether he can take the pounding of an NFL season.

Well, Arrington does not HAVE a strong offensive line to showcase his talents, and he has been predictably horrific as a result. Marcel Shipp has basically supplanted him as the starter ALREADY this season.

Chike Okeafor - Here's what I said: This guy got 5 years, $25 mill? A CAREER-BEST 8.5 sacks? Someone you could never really count for on 3rd down? The D-Line got GASHED last year. Again, a nice player, someone you like to have, but NOT an IMPACT player.

Did you watch Shaun Alexander GASH that D-Line on Sunday? Did you realize who missed the tackle before Shaun had that huge cutback run to ice the game? That's right. Chike. An impact player does not let a rookie tackle completely dominate him, then skip off the field like nothing happened.

So.... there are the impact players that were going to take the Cardinals to the promised land (and that's not even looking at the laughable claim of Orlando Huff as a playmaker, which caused me to furrow my brow in disbelief many a time).

I do feel bad for Cardinals fans, whoever you are. You've had to put up with a lot of guff throughout the years, and you thought that, finally, this was going to be your year.

But, seriously, how could anyone who studied this team come to the conclusion that they would definitely make the postseason?

Here are FIVE CONCLUSIONS that CAN be made on the Cardinals so far (Hint: These won't be new to anyone who read my preview)

1. The defense can't survive with trickery this year: Clancy Pendergraft made himself a lot of fans last year by creating innovative schemes that maximized the talent on the defense, created a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and continually forced turnovers. This year NFL coaches have had an entire summer to prepare for those same schemes, and the defense has predictably not been nearly as dominant. Berry isn't getting to the quarterback, they are not getting turnovers, and teams are racking up the points on them!

2. Cutting Pete Kendall was Denny Green's stupidest move: This happened before the season LAST year, when Green got tired of having an actual pro lineman on his team and cut Kendall. Kendall signed with the Jets and helped Curtis Martin get the overall rushing title. The offensive line has been a tragedy ever since. These guys SUCK. They can't open holes, they get called for penalties, and they can't protect. They serve no purpose rather then to take up space on the roster that other, quality performers actually could.

3. The Cardinals can not run the football: They have no offensive lineman and no quality running back. That is not a good combination. They have tried to run between the tackles. They have tried to stretch the field. Nothing is working, and on the few plays that it DOES work, it inevitably gets called back with holding penalties. Pathetic.

4. The Cardinals' best player is K Neil Rackers: It's really too bad that this guy isn't on a playoff team, because he might be better then Vinatieri. No one kicks 50 yarders with more accuracy then this guy. He is a huge weapon, and I hope that he gets some deserved attention at some point during his career. If the Seahawks ever got him.... I would do a little dance. I really would. And I'm white. However, it doesn't say that much about the team when your BEST player is a kicker, now, does it?

5. There are not a lot of areas where improvement is even possible: The running game can only improve with a much better offensive line. The passing game can only improve with a better offensive line and a completely healthy Kurt Warner. The defense can only improve if no one else gets injured and people start playing well above their heads. How can they then recover from an 0-3 start? Simple. They can't.

So..... CAN THEY MAKE THE POSTSEASON?

Let's say that, in the weaker NFC, you might only need 8 wins to make the postseason. That's probably ridiculous with the improved play of Tampa Bay, but let's just put it out there. That means that the Cardinals could only lose 5 more times. Well, look at some select games still on the schedule.

Carolina
at Dallas
Seattle
at St. Louis
Jacksonville
Philadelphia
at Indianapolis

Can they win even two of those games? I have to predict AT LEAST four losses there, which would put the maximum number of Cardinals wins at 9. That is notwithstanding games against the improving Titans or going up against the tough defense of Washington.

The dream is over. The Arizona Cardinals will not make the postseason. You heard it here.

posted by colin_hesse @ 11:21 AM  0 comments

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

White Sox Suck

Sorry for missing the post yesterday as the White Sox lost to close the gap to 2 games.

Today? Both teams lost, as Scott Kazmir rolled the Indians while the White Sox were the epitome of non-clutch, leaving a TON of people on base while losing again to the Tigers.

5 games to go. 5.

Tomorrow's matchups:
Tampa Bay (McClung) vs. Cleveland (Lee)
White Sox (Contreras) vs. Detroit (Douglass)

posted by colin_hesse @ 8:46 PM  2 comments

NFL Week 3 In Review

So the Scientific Method showed up this week, which sucks for the normal amount of sarcasm and cynicism which I try to spread with these posts. Back to it next week, as Colin has now caught up to the statistical mean and is ready for a fall.

Sunday:
Oakland 20 at Philadelphia 23

Scientific Pick: Philadelphia
I actually thought Oakland might pull this out, but they fall to 0-3 in their gauntlet of an opening schedule (seriously, New England, Kansas City, Philly? Why not add the Justice League?) Donovan McNabb is hurt, and his lack of mobility will seriously hamper the Eagles' offensive attack. This was not an impressive win. Shame on Andy Reid not suiting up another kicker. What a moronic move.

Cleveland 6 at Indianapolis 13
Scientific Pick: Indianapolis
Anyone want to explain to me where Peyton Manning has gone? Anyone? Two touchdowns in three weeks? Before people continue to rave about Indy's defense, let's be honest. They've played Baltimore (terrible offense), Jacksonville (mediocre offense) and Cleveland (mediocre offense). After they play an offense with actual playmaking ability get back to me.

Tampa Bay 17 at Green Bay 16
Scientific Pick: Tampa Bay
I was surprised at this outcome, because Tampa Bay's been a little too good, and Green Bay's been a little too bad. Brett Favre again has a subpar effort, letting Derrick Brooks and company fluster him into bad throws. Where is Ahman Green? As for the Bucs, they have to be considered a legitimate contender. 3-0 teams make the playoffs.

Cincinnati 24 at Chicago 7
Scientific Pick: Cincinnati
So Chicago's going to be one of THOSE teams, I see. One week look like world beaters and the next look like an intramural team. I suppose that's what happens when you're that young. I thought they would have a slightly better effort against Cincinatti, who are getting pretty darn lucky with some of those picks. The Bengals are my "overconfident" team of the year, ala the Hawks last year. Too many holes to be considered elite. Still, 3-0 is 3-0.

Atlanta 24 at Buffalo 16
Scientific Pick: Buffalo
This outcome surprised me as well (hint: I would have done terribly picking this week's games). With the way our defense controlled the Falcons, I figured the Bills would have no problem. Does that mean we're better than we think? Perhaps. JP Losman still has a long way to go. They need to open up the offense or they're going to have another Kyle Boller on their hands. Eric Moulds and Lee Evans are good receivers. Give them a chance.

Tennessee 27 at St. Louis 31
Scientific Pick: St. Louis
The darn Titans should have taken this one, as the Rams for the second week in a row escaped with a win they shouldn't have had. The Rams are definitely my pick of worst 2-1 team in the league. Too many mistakes, getting away from Stephen Jackson ALREADY, allowing Marc Bulger to get hammered. How does Mike Martz survive in this league? Good job Jeff Fisher for getting the Titans to the "competitive"point. Still have a long way to go.

Jacksonville 26 at Jets 20
Scientific Pick: Jacksonville
This game shouldn't even have been that close, with Chad Pennington playing with a season-ending injury. That the Jets scored 20 is a miracle. Now they'll work at riding Brooks Bollinger to a 4-12 record. Jacksonville keeps on being competitive and right now... are playing better than the Colts. There, I said it.

New Orleans 16 at Minnesota 33
Hypothesis: Never believe that teams are done in Week 2
Scientific Pick: Minnesota
Colin always has a couple of Hypothesis which are right on. This is one of them. The Vikings were far too talented to be 0-3. This was one of the easiest picks of the week. They simply couldn't play worse than they had the first two games. New Orleans is already looking tired and ready for the offseason. Can't blame them. Tough position. Hopefully those same pundits won't start calling the Vikings the NFC favorites again.

Carolina 24 at Miami 27
Scientific Pick: Carolina
Ummm... let's speak for America here... WHO ARE THE PANTHERS??? Losses to the Saints and the Dolphins and one impressive win over the best team in the league. What is this? How does this happen? John Fox needs to instill some discipline back into his lineup which is sorely lacking right now. Steve Smith is great, but Keary Colbert needs to be used more effectively. Where is the vaunted running game? Why the heck are the Dolphins 2-1? How many "Behind the Genius" shows are there going to be about Nick Saban? A little history here... the Dolphins ALWAYS start well, and ALWAYS fade. This defense is old and will show it soon.

Arizona 12 at Seattle 37
Scientific Pick: Seattle
Memo to idiot pundits who picked the Cardinals -
Dear Losers:
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (breath) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Sincerely,
Gavin

Dallas 34 at San Francisco 31
Scientific Pick: San Francisco
Alright, so Colin apparently thinks the 49ers should be 3-0. Apparently he is simply incapable of acknowleding that this team blows. Let's get a jump on the week 4 "Scientific" Method. San Francisco versus Arizona... I have to pick one upset a week. San Francisco by 80. Actually, this isn't a good example. I think SF will beat Arizona. Damn. Anyways, Dallas has some serious secondary issues. First the Redskins, now the 49ers. Just throw the ball deep.

New England 23 at Pittsburgh 20
Scientific Pick: New England
Never, never pick the Patriots to be 1-2. That, if anything, should have convinced anyone to pick New England on Sunday. This one was never in doubt. Ben Roethlisberger still has a long way to go in being a pocket passer. Their offense misses Plaxico Burress. The Patriots will really miss Rodney Harrison, the Tedy Bruschi of the secondary. You cannot overstate the significance of that loss. All in all, an impressive victory for the Pats.

Giants 23 at San Diego 45
Scientific Pick: San Diego
The second easiest pick this week. The Giants had overachieved. The Chargers were not going to be 0-3 in front of the home crowd. LT had an absurd week, one of the best individual efforts I've seen in a while, and one that sent Colin to a shattering fantasy loss. Eli Manning is already overrated in his second year. Looked bad while putting up good numbers.

Monday:
Kansas City 10 at Denver 30

Scientific Pick: Kansas City
How in God's name did Denver play that well? I suppose it's one of the things I love about the NFL, because any team really can win any day. But dominate one of the top five teams in the NFL? I suppose KC's defense was in for its yearly rude awakening, but Trent Green looked awful. Where the heck was Tony Gonzalez? Throw your best receiver the ball, for crying out loud! The Chiefs looked like they really missed Willie Roaf on their offensive line, which couldn't stop anyone, especially Trevor Pryce.

Scientific Method: 10-4
An excellent effort. Go statistics!

posted by Gavin @ 3:12 PM  2 comments

Monday, September 26, 2005

Seahawks 37, Cardinals 12

Ah yes. This one was sweet. Super sweet.

Sweet like the feeling you get when the sun is rising in the mountains. The birds are singing, the air is fresh, and you get ready to, like a true man, use the outdoors to your advantage (adding to the morning dew, as it were).

Sweet like whupping Gavin in "Star Wars Battlefront" when he has owned it for six months and you have played it one weekend, thus cementing yourself as awesome and Gavin as lame.

Sweet like Chike Okeafor being completely taken out of this game by a rookie, Sean Locklear. That's right. A rookie. Screw you, Chike.

Sweet like seeing ESPN talking heads knocked down about 57 pegs with their ridiculous preseason pick of the Arizona Cardinals..... but I will write more about that on Wednesday. I could write a book about it, but there will be a longer post about that on Wednesday.

Let's analyze this sweet, sweet game.

Quarterback:
Matt Hasselbeck: 20/31, 242 yds, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
A second week with 0 picks for Hasselbeck, who was extremely efficient all game, just USING Antrel Rolle and hitting the quick routes that make up the West Coast offense. Matt seems to play better when the focus is not on him but on Shaun Alexander, but this was his best game of the season, after he entered the day worried about his health. There were a few throws that were incredibly off-target, including one in the end zone that was almost picked off, maybe due to the pain in his arm. He was great with the short routes and good to terrible on the long routes. Again, he doesn't seem yet like a true leader in the mold of a Manning or a Brady, but if this is the Hasselbeck that shows up this season, I will be satisfied.
Grade: B+

Running Back:
Shaun Alexander: 22 attempts, 140 yds, 4 TDs
Amazing game for Alexander, running against a defense that had made it their mission to stop him entering this game. He was, simply, incredible. I have seen a real fire from him these last two games that I haven't seen in a really long time. I have seen him block, seen him go straight ahead when needed, and use his cutbacks more judiciously, resulting in some huge runs. Holmgren, feed Alexander the ball. Every game should start with this philosophy, and making the passing game be built off the running game as long as Alexander plays like this. Wow, Shaun. Keep this up, and I will be pleading with Ruskell to offer you that long-term contract. MVP of the game, by far.
Grade: A+

Wide Receivers:
DJack: 8 rec, 125 yds; Engram: 5 rec, 54 yds, 1 big drop; Stevens: 3 rec, 34 yds, 1 big drop
There was one spot in this game where I thought the dropsies might be back, but the receivers, well, recovered, and had a pretty solid game. I am seeing hard catches being made every game. There was a big one by Stevens in the 3rd quarter over the middle that kept a drive alive that was huge, another one by DJack that comes to mind before he was flattened by Adrian Wilson. What made this performance better then last week was the existence of clutch catches in the 2nd half, making this the first complete game by this group. This is a better wide-receiving corps then we had last year. They are more consistent, more reliable, and they get the job done. Hasselbeck must be smiling continuously about their performance the first three games of the season.
Grade: A-

Offensive Line:
Look at the day from Shaun. Look at the day from Hasselbeck. 0 sacks allowed. They were awesome. Walter Jones wrapped Bertrand Berry into a pretzel and stuffed him into his pocket. The aforementioned Okeafor had a whopping 2 tackles in his glorious return to Seattle. Shaun had HUGE gaping holes to run through ALL DAY LONG!! There were perhaps 2 holding calls? Maybe 1? Definitely one on Chris Gray, but when does that not happen? These guys were, frankly, dominant, and I loved every moment of it. Again, if they play like this through the rest of the season, our offense will be hitting on all cylinders from this moment forward.
Grade: A

Defensive Line:
Held Marcel Shipp to 41 yds and Arrington to 9 yds, 1 recovered fumble by Bernard, 1 sack by Bryce Fisher
Gavin went out on a limb in saying that we had the better defensive line then Arizona. Well, look at the production. Chartric Darby has been nothing short of special, and Marcus Tubbs is looking like a 1st round pick (by the way, any coincidence that our team is playing better when our 1st round picks of Tubbs, Trufant, and Stevens are all plyaing well?). I love Darby. He always seems to be around the ball, and he is terrific against the run. Rocky Bernard is being able to generate some pass rush, and Wistrom and Fisher make for a semi-potent combo from the ends! They need to stay healthy, but..... wow.
Grade: A

Linebackers:
1 sack by Leroy Hill, 7 tackles by the starters
After a week of raving about Tatupu, he was largely not a part of this game, managing only 1 solo tackle and 2 assists. However, they seemed to do their roles, because the Cardinals were not able to take advantage of any mismatches with their superior wide-receivers, and helped the defense stuff the running game. You might be able to see it in the stats, but these guys are all playing well. They are fast, but more importantly, they seem to be playing very smart football, and have not seemed to cost us much in production the first three weeks of the season. How much better is this then last year? MUCH better.
Grade: B+

Secondary:
1 INT by Babineaux, stifled Larry Fitzgerald (3 rec, 44 yds), handled Boldin (88 yds)
You would find it difficult to come up with a better wide receiving corps then the Arizona Cardinals. The Hawks were up to the task, even with Herndon out with a stinger and Dyson out with illness for various parts of the game. Boulware had a huge sack and fumble of McCown that seemed to ice the game, making this the first game that I remembered why Boulware was our MVP last season. He has become an excellent safety for the most part, and Hamlin is a probable star, though they blew that one coverage where Boldin should have scored. It's hard to diss anyone this game when you look at the final score.
Grade: B+

Special Teams:
Josh Brown: 3/3, long of 47 yds; Leo Araguz: 36 avg, long of 39 yds
Again, I am not a fan of Araguz. He is just not booming the ball at all, and it seems like in every single game we are outmanned in the realm of special teams. Brown seems to always shine with field goals, but he loses his big leg when he is dealing with kickoffs. I don't understand how to fix this, but I have a bad feeling that Araguz might cost us at least one game before this season is out. He almost did against Atlanta, and it might happen again.
Grade: C

Overall:
Just a great performance overall. This was done by the halfway point of the 3rd quarter. At halftime I called Gavin and wondered how we could absolutely dominate a half and yet only by up by 1 point. Well, the Seahawks must have wondered that too, because they put the Cardinals on their heels. I loved taking it to Okeafor and playmaker Orlando Huff. I loved our offensive line shoving the Cardinals defense all over the field. I loved how DJack made Antrel Rolle his personal slave all day long. This was an incredible game. Unfortunately, we had a great game last season. Then we played the Rams. Thus, I won't believe any talk of awesomeness until we take it to Washington (which we should, but Washington seems to be a house of horrors for us) and St. Louis (which will be hard since St. Louis is also a house of horrors for us). So, no big conclusions here, but it was a fun game to watch.

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:26 PM  1 comments

One Week to Go!

Even though the M's are completely done, there is still plenty to hold one's interest in the playoff chases. Let's take a look at the finalists...

National League:

NL East: Atlanta - the Braves have proven idiots like me wrong again
NL Central: St Louis - questions about Chris Carpenter dog the Cardinals
NL West: San Diego, San Francisco - San Fran is four games out as they enter a critical four game series at San Diego. I wouldn't be that excited if I was a Giants fan. This is not a good team. As for the Padres, come on... make it to .500.

Wild Card: Houston, Philadelphia (1 game back) - Houston doesn't know if Roger Clemens will make a start for them as they play St Louis and Chicago. Those are two tough series, and Houston's offense is again scuffling. Philly played some wierd games last week (like that Dontrelle Wills one where they scored 10 in the 9th after being shut out to that point) and close up against the Mets and the Nationals, two teams who are not playing for anything. I think Philly may end up pulling this one out...

That leaves us with these matchups:
St. Louis vs Philadelphia
Atlanta vs San Diego

American League:
This is where the fun really starts...

AL East: New York, Boston (tied) - New York plays at Baltimore, Boston is home against Toronto. The final series is at Fenway. Advantage: Boston. Still, the Yankees get Mussina and Johnson, while Boston isn't sure what they get any time out. The Yankees are playing with a lot more confidence offensively and, while it pains me to say it, will take this division from the Red Sox.

AL Central: Chicago, Cleveland (2.5 games back) - Chicago is at Detroit and Cleveland hosts Tampa Bay before hosting the Sox. Advantage: Cleveland. Still, Tampa has played much better after the All-Star break and Detroit has collapsed. 2.5 games is a lot to make up in one week. My best guess is that Chicago will pull this one out by one game.

AL West: Anaheim, Oakland (four games back) - Crucial four game series begins today at Oakland. Oakland has to sweep to have a chance. Anaheim is smoking hot and will take at least two. Game, set, match.

Wild Card: Cleveland, Boston, New York - Cleveland holds a slim .5 game lead on the AL East contenders. If they take care of business as they should in Tampa Bay, they take this. Sure is difficult to imagine the postseason without one of the Beasts, but I'm going to call it, if only because it would make my heart glad.

That leaves us with these matchups:
New York vs Cleveland
Chicago vs Anaheim

Watch! Love! Cry! Cheer against the Red Sox and Yankees!

posted by Gavin @ 3:08 PM  0 comments

Ultimate Explosion!!

The title of this blog could probably fit under "Seahawks Victory", since it just about sums up what we saw on Sunday. While I'll let Colin throw down his Week 3 thoughts, I believe there are a few good articles worth persuing on Seattle...

- Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson are having their best year as Seahawks. Seriously... these two are annihilating people this year. Perhaps it has to do with Walter not having held out. Whatever the magic formula, opposing defenders haven't stood a chance.

- Steve Kelley (what?) actually has an excellent article about the defense, which has stood up so far this year (and, in my opinion, has been more impressive than last year).

- Shaun Alexander has been the back he never has been, and Darrell Jackson has been a #1 receiver. Pay attention, Ruskell (although I bet he has).

- The Cardinals suck... and next week they get to suck in Mexico.

- Chike Okeafor still won't shut up, after getting trounced by Sean Locklear and making ZERO plays (pretty common occurrence for him). I like all his thoughts about skipping off the field and stuff. Yep, you just got destroyed. Way to be a warrior.

In other news, did anyone watch the President's Cup this weekend? Best golf I've seen in quite some time. The US won while Tiger Woods basically sucked. Fred Couples beats Vijay Singh, and Chris DiMarco is the hero. It was fantastic. I'm not a huge golf fan, but the Ryder Cup and President's Cup are my favorite moments of the golf year.

Has anyone noticed that hockey's about to start? Anyone? Anyone outside of Sports and B's?

I've already seen a couple of articles about how USC's vulnerable now. Personally, I'd rather they write articles about how Autzen Stadium is really tough to play in, and how the Pac-10 is vastly improved, and how USC still dominates them all. But that's wishful thinking. I still believe USC could beat San Francisco, though.

As for the Huskies, I know there are no moral victories, but I've seen enough of the Willingham era to like it. They are competitive, fairly well-coached, and the play calling has improved. I like Lappano's vertical offense. If the defense had even a mediocre secondary, we would have beaten Air Force and been much closer against Notre Dame. Unfortunately, our secondary is abysmal, so wins will continue to be hard to come by.

The M's season is almost over. Yippee. I'll prepare to wait the six months to get my hopes up again and then dashed by June.

Fantasy sports are fun. My football team, carried by Brian Westbrook and Steve Smith, dominated, and my baseball team is winning after a week of our two-week championship bout. Don't care, perhaps? Well, since I don't even know who reads this damn thing... too bad.

posted by Gavin @ 1:36 PM  0 comments

Sunday, September 25, 2005

White Sox Suck

Well, at least the Seahawks won.

The lead is back to 2.5 games, as Chicago rode a complete game by Mark Buerhle while Cleveland remembered that they couldn't win every game this season, losing to Kansas City really because of their bullpen.

Sorry, don't have time to recap these.

Tomorrow's matchups:
Cleveland is off
Chicago (Garland) at Detroit (Robertson)

posted by colin_hesse @ 4:59 PM  0 comments

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Week 3: Hawks vs Arizona

Arizona Cardinals: 0-2
2004 Away Record: 1-7
2005 Away Record: 0-1

Offense:
Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck (527 yds, 4 TDs, 2 INTs) vs Kurt Warner (591 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT)
If you want one reason for our half on half inconsistency, you can look no further than Matt Hasselbeck. When he's on, our offense can be unstoppable. When he's off, the West Coast just can't go down 80 yards. His stats look good, but the results have not been there. Dropped balls cannot be an excuse anymore. Matt looked in the second half last week like he lost some confidence in his receivers and held on to the ball for forever. Kurt Warner has been able to move the ball effectively between the 20's, but hasn't had anything to show for it. He's also taking a savage beating most times he drops back. Advantage: Push

Running Back: Shaun Alexander (217 yds) vs Marcel Shipp (67 yds)
Shaun Alexander had, in my opinion, the best game I can remember last week. His blocking was superb, as Matt was staying in the pocket for too long. The image of him bowling over that Atlanta defender on third-and-one is still running through my head. If he plays like that, then sign him to a deal now. He won that game for us. As for Arizona, JJ Arringon has been a bit of a disappointment and is now hurt. Marcel Shipp is supposed to be the starter tomorrow. Frankly, it doesn't matter if they had Jamal Lewis, they couldn't move the ball behind that offensive line. Advantage: Seattle

Receivers:
Quick, name the best receiving corps in the NFC West. Sit down, St Louis. Arizona is tops, with three game breaking players. Larry Fitzgerald (225 yds) has speed and size. Add Anquan Boldin (181 yds) as a solid possession receiver, and throw in Bryant Johnson as another first round pick, and you have a heck of a trio. They almost made Josh McCown look good last year in Seattle as they singlehandedly kept the Cardinals in that game. I am still a big fan of our set. Darrell Jackson has made two great corners look pretty bad, Bobby Engram has taken his dependability to another level, Joe Jurevicius has been the big end zone target we needed, and Peter Warrick may be able to give us something this week. The wild card is Jerramy Stevens, who hopes to build upon his best overall game as a Hawk. Advantage: Arizona

Offensive Line:
First the bad: Chris Gray is still on our line. I can't wait for Womack to return. The good: our line played a fantastic game last week against the number one pass rush defense in the league. They kept Hasselbeck erect and opened up gaping holes for Shaun. They'll need a similar performance tomorrow, especially against Bertrand Berry. On the flip side, the biggest reason for the disappointing (albeit expected from Colin and I) start for the Cardinals is their offensive line, which ranks somewhere in between terrible and abysmal. They have been flat out awful. Perhaps they can step up. Hopefully not. Advantage: Seattle

Defense:
D-Line: Our line had its second good week, especially Rocky Bernard, although we hope that for once the man can take it beyond the first month. Marcus Tubbs needs to step up and dominate a game, same with Grant Wistrom. For Arizona, Bertrand Berry is an animal, with two sacks already. Chike Okeafor is overrated, and hopefully we can stop writing those absurd articles about what he said after leaving. I'm actually going to go out on a limb here. Advantage: Seattle

Linebackers: Lofa Tatupu had another great game, prompting a run of sappy articles. DD Lewis had a much better game, and Jamie Sharper is once again proving that preseason stats are overrated. Karlos Dansby is a burgeoning playmaker for Arizona, but as long as Orlando Huff is a starter, this lineup is unimpressive. Advantage: Seattle

Secondary: Since I'm going to give this one to us as well, I should mention that Arizona has an excellent defense because they play well as a unit. While they could use a few more playmakers they will keep many teams at bay. Their secondary is basically Adrian Wilson and youth. While Antrell Rolle will become a stud, everyone is to young to be consistent. They will bite on short routes and get burned deep. For Seattle, Marcus Trufant needs to step up. He has too very off-and-on weeks. Ken Hamlin is becoming a playmaker. That tackle of Vick last week was insane. This secondary will be tested, and we will see if they can rise to the challenge. Advantage: Seattle

Special teams: Neil f'ing Rackers and his 50+ yard field goals. Leo f'ing Araguz and his 20+ yard net punts. At least it would be nice if we met a punter who wouldn't pin us back on our ten yard line each time out. Advantage: Arizona

Prediction: Our defense needs to win this game. The line has to pressure Warner so he can't throw the deep ball. Our secondary needs to have good position on taller and bigger wide receivers. Overall, we actually need some turnovers, keep some momentum going, and take this game. Everything says we should. Arizona is an overhyped mess. Keep them that way. Seattle by 13.

posted by Gavin @ 9:52 PM  2 comments

White Sox Suck

No change today, as Minnesota reminds me once again what a truly horrendous offense looks like. Seriously, they seem to be WAY more boring to watch then even Seattle. Just my opinion.

White Sox 8, Minnesota 1
Freddy shuts them down, which, I guess, is moderately impressive. Joe Crede homered again, which just goes to show you that, sometimes, lightning doesn't just strike twice, it strikes 21 times. Jermaine Dye adds his 30th homerun, cementing the horrible fact that he was a cheap pickup during the offseason that would have really improved our offense. But no, our high-priced free agents? Not so much.

Cleveland 11, Kansas City 4
Can Cleveland's offense be stopped? It seems like a new hero every night! This night there was several, including Peralta, Sizemore, and Crisp (who now has 16 homeruns, just a few behind Raul Ibanez and Adrian Beltre). Even Belliard now has 15 homeruns. I hate our team's lack of power. I just hate it. Gah

The lead is still 1.5 games. Still.

Tomorrow
Cleveland (Westbrook) at Kansas City (Greinke)
Minnesota (Liriano) at White Sox (Buerhle)

posted by colin_hesse @ 7:12 PM  0 comments

Friday, September 23, 2005

White Sox Suck (short update)

Hanging with friends all night, about ready to go to sleep.

White Sox 3, Minnesota 1

Cleveland 7, Kansas City 6

The lead is still 1.5 games for the White Sox

Tomorrow:
Minnesota (Mays) at White Sox (Garcia, who now has an ERA over 4.00 and has basically sucked the second half, hopefully quieting those critics who thought that the Mariners got pasted in that trade and that Garcia had finally become an ace)

Cleveland (Millwood) at Kansas City (Wood)

Oh yeah. The White Sox suck.

posted by colin_hesse @ 11:58 PM  1 comments

The Scientific Method, Week 3

Well, science is getting its butt kicked by the NFL so far. Of course, I also listened to the small voices inside my head in picking San Francisco over Philadelphia. That was stupid. I understand that. It's time to stop picking with emotion and entirely on the basis of science and logic.

By the way, I just read The Sports Guy's Week 3 preview. Screw the picks. Did he actually call Chris Collingsworth and Skip Bayless "normally astute"? What?

That can't fail. Right?
Record so far: A robust 13-19

On to Week 3!

Sunday:
Oakland at Philadelphia
Hypothesis: Crappy coaches make their teams worse, good coaches make their teams better.
Do you remember the coach from "Happy Gillmore"? The guy who was entirely frieked out about football and the opposing team until he imagined a baby's head on the opposing coach? For some reason, I feel like that is an actual representation of Norv Turner. Randy Moss can score 2 touchdowns a game, but that Oakland defense will give up at least 4. I simply can't go against Philadelphia after last week.
Scientific Pick: Philadelphia

Cleveland at Indianapolis
Hypothesis: Exceptional quarterbacks will have at least one exceptional game within the first three weeks
Do you realize that the Colts are 2-0, and Peyton Manning has yet to have a great game? He actually had a terrible game last week, and the Colts ended up winning. Meanwhile, I refuse to believe that Trent Dilfer can throw for 300 yards 2 weeks in a row. That just seems unfathomable to me. Sure, if anyone knows Manning's weak spots, it's Romeo Crennel, and, when he has a little more talent, I would feel comfortable picking him, but Manning has to excel this week. It's basic percentages.
Scientific Pick: Indianapolis

Tampa Bay at Green Bay
Hypothesis: Never bet against Monte Kiffen coming up with a superior defense
Worst analysis going into the season was our look at Tampa Bay. We honestly just didn't see the great start of Cadillac Williams and the resurgent defense that looks as good as it did during their Super Bowl year. Meanwhile, Green Bay looks entirely lost, and I never thought I would say that about Brett Favre. No, he's not done, but he has always struggled against Tampa Bay, and Sunday shouldn't be any different
Scientific Pick: Tampa Bay

Cincinnati at Chicago
Hypothesis: In a battle of hype versus hype, always go with the hype
A little joke there, sorry. Seriously, though, anyone sore from all the bandwagon-jumping that has taken place with these two teams? Chicago still has Kyle Orton at quarterback. Kyle Orton sucked against teams like Wisconsin last year. Thomas Jones had a quick start to last season before succumbing to his natural suckage. I'm not entirely on the Cincy bandwagon, but I do feel like the matchups favor them. They can pound the ball with Rudy, and Carson Palmer looks, frankly, incredible so far.
Scientific Pick: Cincinnati

Atlanta at Buffalo
Hypothesis: Good defenses become great defenses at home
I was very disappointed with Buffalo last week, and it appears that I wasn't the only one. McGahee got chewed out, the Kelly Holcombe watch was put on high alert, and the defense now has something to prove again. Meanwhile, Atlanta claims a "moral victory" from almost coming back against Seattle, but, sorry to say, it really doesn't take that much to come back against Seattle. Most teams can do that. If Vick is hobbled, expect Buffalo's defense to control this ballgame, while McGahee should exploit an Atlanta defense exposed by Alexander last week. This game shouldn't even be close.
Scientific Pick: Buffalo

Tennessee at St. Louis
Hypothesis: Passing games excel on turf
So, now Tennessee is really good, huh? Because they beat Baltimore? Yeah? Sorry, but this is St. Louis, and Marc Bulger excels at home. Tory Holt excels at home. Isaac Bruce excels at home. And Stephen Jackson should run roughshod over this young defense. McNair might be able to keep this close against what is a pretty lame defense, but the winning number of points will be in the 30s.
Scientific Pick: St. Louis

Jacksonville at Jets
Hypothesis: In a battle of hampered offenses, go with the momentum
Who had the momentum coming out of last week? To me, it actually was the Jaguars, who, even though they lost, look like they might be the (gasp) best team in the AFC South by the end of the season. HERESY!! HERESY!! Meanwhile, Curtis Martin is hampered, Pennington is throwing a la Danny Wuerffel, and the Jets have looked FAR from a possible Super Bowl contender. I expect Jacksonville to really pressure Pennington into having a horrible day (which is bad since he's on my fantasy team), getting turnovers and allowing Leftwich to experience a short field for most of the day.
Scientific Pick: Jacksonville

New Orleans at Minnesota
Hypothesis: Never believe that teams are done in Week 2
I simply can't buy that Minnesota is done and that Culpepper is, all of a sudden, a horrible quarterback. I simply can't buy that Randy Moss is worth that much to a team. This was a team that many people were picking for the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, did you watch the Saints on Monday? The Giants didn't so much win that game. They had no choice BUT to win that game after the stinkfest put up by Aaron Brooks. The Saints are, quite simply, not a dominant team, and I should have realized that last week. If Minnesota loses THIS game, I might put the hammer down on them. Until then...
Scientific Pick: Minnesota

Carolina at Miami
Hypothesis: Take a few weeks off of betting on good ol' Gus
I have picked Gus two weeks now. That's enough. Some people are picking these Panthers, who, by the way, just beat the Patriots, to lose here. I say..... what? Hello? Dolphins have no running game, no real offense, and a defense that tires down as the game goes along because the main stars are really old. Um, no. Going with the safe pick here.
Scientific Pick: Carolina

Arizona at Seattle
Hypothesis: Go with the team that has the most to prove
You might assume that this hypothesis would point me to Arizona, right? Wrong. Seattle has had to live ALL summer with everyone writing them off and putting Arizona on a huge pedestal that they don't deserve. They had to live with Orlando Huff and Chike Okeafor calling them out and saying that Arizona was a much better team. You better believe that Seattle will be going all out in this game. If they don't, then Mike Hargrove better be updating his resume, because his motivational skills will have decreased beyond the point of nothing.
Scientific Pick: Seattle

Dallas at San Francisco
Hypothesis: Always pick one big upset a week
The Cowboys are coming off a horrific home loss to Washington, one that owner Jerry Jones called one of the worst five losses since he became owner. The 49ers are coming off a horrific loss to the Eagles where McNabb went nuts. Mike Nolan will be psyched to coach against Bill Parcells, and I see the 49ers linebackers being able to play havoc with Drew Bledsoe, who looked terrible last week. So, I'm going to do it. Why not?
Scientific Pick: San Francisco

New England at Pittsburgh
Hypothesis: Champions don't become chumps overnight
I love Pittsburgh. Big Ben is awesome. Willie Parker looks like a star. That defense looks like they will be fantastic once again. Everything is there for a massive game against the defending champs, who are coming off a big loss to the Panthers where Brady and Dillon both looked horrible. And yet.... I can't help but think that these are the weeks where Brady and Belichick step up and remind us all why they are a dynasty.
Scientific Pick: New England

Giants at San Diego
Hypothesis: See Minnesota hypothesis
San Diego has already thrown two wins away. They won't make that mistake again. Except to see LT have the ball at least 40 plays.
Scientific Pick: San Diego

Monday:
Kansas City at Denver
Hypothesis: Great teams beat inconsistent teams
I really, really like Kansas City. Their offense isn't even entirely clicking, and they have still had two convincing wins against two good teams. The defense looks improved, and Vermeil has put two good game-plans together. On the other side, that Denver team looks, frankly, bad. Plummer is inconsistent, they have no running game for the first time in twenty years, and that defense had to bail them out of that game against San Diego.
Scientific Pick: Kansas City

By the way.... Gavin sucks.

posted by colin_hesse @ 12:57 PM  0 comments

Thursday, September 22, 2005

White Sox Suck

Oh yeah baby. Oh yeah.

When the going gets tough, the tough..... talk about quitting when the season's over. At least when you're Ozzie Guillen. And no. I'm not kidding.

Cleveland 11, Kansas City 6
Travis Hafner is going nuts right now, hitting another homerun and bailing out Cliff Lee, who sucked against the Royals but ended up still getting the win. Kudos to Coco Crisp, who now has 15 homeruns. That's right. Jeremy Reed has, like, 2. Maybe 3. Coco Crisp has 15. Still think that Reed is da' bomb? Cleveland is seriously streaking, and needs to maintain this type to pressure on the White Sox, because the Yankees and Red Sox won't let up anytime soon.

Minnesota 4, White Sox 1
Santana, baby. The Twinkies almost let this game get away, managing one measly run until the 11th inning. And I complain about the Mariner's offense. Are you kidding me? How bad is that offense, huh? Joe Crede accounted for the White Sox's only run by hitting his 20th homerun, meaning that Joe Crede has more homeruns then Adrian Beltre. Wow. I love my team. I love my team.

The lead has now shrunk to 1.5 games.

Next up:
Minnesota (Lohse) vs. White Sox (Contreras)
Cleveland (Sabathia) vs. Kansas City (Lima Time! YEAH!!!)

posted by colin_hesse @ 9:01 PM  1 comments

Ultimate Explosion!

Man, I'm looking forward to this weekend... good football abounds...

- Can UW really take it to Notre Dame? Answer: not likely, but I do believe this will be a close matchup. Notre Dame's defense hasn't stopped anyone, and I'm looking forward to seeing if Coach Willingham lets Stanback run around a bit more. Frankly, I'm just looking forward to an actual packed house. Let it rain down!

- If you are free on Sunday morning and a heathen like myself, you sure as hell better be watching the New England-Pittsburgh matchup. That is going to be freaking insane. Look for the Patriots to play with energy, because they don't want to fall 1-2.

- Can we just say that Colin and I have been singing the praises of Lofa Tatupu way before all these loving articles started coming his way? This guy is going to be special...

- Chuck Knox is the man, and I'm a little sad I won't be there to see him inducted into the Hawks Ring of Honor. It is difficult to express the impact the man had on this team, and on every fan who has followed this team. He was the Seahawks. He was Ground Chuck. He had solid defenses, running backs, and quarterbacks. He was engaging and witty. He visited my church. After all the crap we've had to put up with afterwards (Tom Flores, Dennis Erickson) we are allowed to think very wistfully on the past. Thanks, Chuck, and congratulations.

- Can we let the "Seahawks disrepected Okeafor" stuff die? I could be wrong, but weren't we in turmoil for the first part of the postseason? For crying out loud, let it go.

- I bought a dog on Tuesday... a Basenji. Don't actually GET the dog until January, since it hasn't been conceived yet. Still, kinda cool.

- Vlad Radmanovic spurned a contract that would have paid him far too much money to sign a one-year qualifying offer. Thank you, Vlade for continuing to prove that you are, in fact, a moron.

posted by Gavin @ 1:50 PM  0 comments

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

White Sox Suck

Cleveland 8, White Sox 0
Now that's more like it. No homeruns by Joe Crede could spoil this masterpiece by Scott Elarton, and Cleveland got to Jon Garland and then beat up on the White Sox bullpen. Travis Hafner hit two MORE homeruns in this series, as did Casey Blake and Grady Sizemore. No word on any massive changes by Ozzie Guillen, but you can be sure that he will do something stupid in the near future.

The lead is now back to 2.5 games, while the Indians are now a full game up in the wildcard.... on Boston, who as of today is OUT of the postseason picture!

Thursday Matchups:
Minnesota (Santana) vs. White Sox (McCarthy, stepping in for El Duque)
Cleveland (Lee) vs. Kansas City (Hernandez)

That's a definite favorable matchup for the Indians. If Johan can continue his dominance of the White Sox, the Indians can narrow the gap to 1.5 games. The Indians have to get the goal in mind of narrowing the gap to 1 game by their final three-game series with the White Sox.

posted by colin_hesse @ 10:25 PM  0 comments

The Land of Conclusions: Week 2

Two weeks have passed in the National Football League. Every team has played two games. 8 quarters. 120 minutes of football per team. That's enough time to make sweeping claims about the playoff possibilities for certain teams, right? Well, if listening to sports radio has taught me anything at all, yes. It's just that there are good conclusions and bad conclusions to be reached.

Allow me to give you a few examples of each.

Good Conclusions:
The Tennessee Titans will be a better team at the end of the season then they were at the beginning: Jeff Fisher is a tremendous coach, and will bring out the best in the glut of young players that are being thrust into key positions.

The Chicago Bears will have a shot to make the postseason: The division is weaker then expected, especially the Packers, and that means that everyone but the Lions have a shot.

The Green Bay Packers will struggle to make the postseason: This is not due to their record. 0-2 teams can make the postseason. Heck, most teams lose 2 games in a row at some point during the season. However, Ahman Green hasn't impressed, the injury to Walker is huge, and the defense allowed Trent Dilfer to throw for over 300 yards. That's right. Trent Dilfer. At Green Bay.

These are some good 1st year coaches: The 49ers are playing hard under Mike Nolan. Romeo Crennel got his first win on the road, and looks like he is putting his will in his team. Nick Saban got a quality win over the Broncos, and almost pulled out a win over a Super Bowl pick in the Jets. Looks like GM's got it right this offseason. However, I still believe that the best of the available coaches was Charlie Weis, and he will show it at Notre Dame.

The Kansas City Chiefs will make the postseason with a stronger defense: This team has yet to score 30 points in a game, and yet has two convincing wins over the Jets and Raiders. Their defense has played with real fire early on, Trent Green has looked as confidant as usual, and Larry Johnson is a HUGE "addition", giving Chiefs' fans protection in case Priest Holmes goes down per usual.

The Houston Texans' offense needed an overhaul: The decision to fire their offensive coordinator was a correct one. However, it needed to be made during the offseason, not now. The new offense has to find a way to protect David Carr, who has met the ground over 10 times ALREADY this season. That's pathetic. Use Domanick Davis. Use Andre Johnson. These guys are weapons. This should not be the worst offense in the league. So far, it has been, and, in fact, they have looked like the worst overall team in the NFL.

Coaches that should be fired by the end of the season: Mike Tice (should already be fired), Mike Shanahan (Jake Plummer does not equal savior), Norv Turner (great coordinator, awful head coach), Dom Capers (for reasons listed above).

Coaches that might be fired by the end of the season: Mike Holmgren (too many 4th quarter collapses), Steve Mariucci (put a flaming bag of poop on Harrington's doorstep), Jim Haslett (watch the Saints' inevitable collapse), Mike Martz (has been blowing timeouts AGAIN this season).

Arizona is not as good as expected: I'm not going to majorly gloat here, because it's still too early in the season. But anyone can see that the offense is not unbeatable and Kurt Warner is not the savior needed. The defense is good, but also not all-world. The offensive line is terrible, and they have ZERO running game. Are they still a better team then Seattle, pundits? Huh? I guess we'll find out some of our answer on Sunday.

Tampa Bay is better then expected: Definitely. Cadillac is awesome. That defense looks stellar once again. The running game takes the onus off of Brian Griese to produce. They might not make the playoffs, but they will be right there at the end. I can readily admit that I was wrong about this team.

Bad Conclusions:
Cincinnati WILL make the postseason: Um, maybe. But I'm not jumping on the bandwagon yet. Does anyone remember that the Detroit Lions and the NY Giants both started 3-1 last year? Anyone? Rememer how those teams finished? Hint: Not in the playoffs. Here's the thing. They are in Pittsburgh's division, which automatically means they are gunning for a wild-card. To do THAT, they have to be a better team then the Chargers, Jaguars, Jets, Bills, Ravens, and Broncos (or at least all those except one). I just don't see that. They have to play Pittsburgh twice, Baltimore twice, and an improving Cleveland team twice. Yes, they have looked impressive. But so did the Seahawks through three games last year.

Minnesota is finished: Again, maybe. But I don't completely buy that. They still have the most talent, on paper, in that division. Their defense is improved. Culpepper proved that he could win with those wide-receivers last year. Obviously he did not feel comfortable with his new O-Coordinator, but a change has already been made there. They could easily make the playoffs with 9-10 wins, and that is definitely still a possibility.

Brett Favre is done: This myth happens every year around this time. Response: No. They probably won't make the playoffs, but not because of him.

Baltimore is done: Last year, Baltimore lost by 30 to Cleveland in Week 1. 30. To Cleveland. They were something like 1-3 the year they won the Super Bowl. Seriously. When that defense kicks in with any semblance of an offense, watch out for this team.

San Diego is done: This might be the stupidest of all the conclusions. Absolutely not. They still have LT, they have had two tough losses, but I still expect them to get up to the 10 win mark at the end of the season.

Washington/Giants/Dallas are all much improved and possible playoff teams: I've heard a LOT of this for some stupid reason, and so will spend a little more time here. Washington had not scored an offensive touchdown for their first seven quarters of existence. They then scored two LUCK touchdowns when Mark Brunell suddenly found his anti-suck cream for two long throws. Their defense is super, but that offense is simply horrendous. Worse defense then Baltimore, worse offense then Baltimore. They will struggle for seven wins this season. The Giants manhandled the Cardinals, who were playing on the road (who doesn't), and manhandled the Saints, who remembered that their defense was simply terrible and Aaron Brooks was their quarterback, regardless of being America's team. Eli Manning has looked better, but the offense still runs through Tiki Barber, and that automatically means inconsistent, while that defense sure looks soft in the secondary. They might reach eight wins, tops. Same with Dallas, who finally understand that they have Drew Bledsoe at quarterback. They stole a win from San Diego, and then had a win stolen from them by Washington. That type of maddeningly inconsistent results will be the norm in the awesome Bledsoe era. These are not definite playoff teams. Now, this is the NFC, so one of these teams might make it to the postseason. But I wouldn't count on it.

I'm not big into power rankings. Simply put, who cares? The goal at the end of the season isn't to be ranked in Pete Prisco's Top Ten. The goal is to get to the postseason. Thus, I wanted to check in on every team's chances in that regard.

Now, after all those conclusions, here is the brief picture we get after the first two weeks:

Playoff Picture after Week 2
AFC
Locks: Pittsburgh

High Probability: New England, Indianapolis, Kansas City

Possibility: Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Buffalo, NY Jets, Denver

Still Alive: San Diego, Baltimore, Cleveland, Oakland

No Shot: Miami, Houston, Tennessee

NFC
Locks: Philadelphia

High Probability: Carolina, Atlanta (with Vick)

Possibility: Tampa Bay, Seattle, St. Louis, Chicago, Dallas, NY Giants, Washington

Still Alive: Minnesota, Green Bay, Detroit, New Orleans, Arizona

No Shot: San Francisco

I'll be updating that picture every few weeks. You'll notice that, in the NFC, everyone is still in it except for San Fran. That's simply because the NFC is weaker, and the baseline for a playoff berth will be as low as 8 wins, while the AFC will require at least 10 wins.

posted by colin_hesse @ 11:03 AM  1 comments

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

White Sox Suck

White Sox 7, Indians 6
Joe Crede..... what is going on? Seriously. Joe Crede. 2-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs, and 2 home-runs, including the game-winner. Joe Crede. The White Sox continually came back throughout this game as the Indians took 2-0, 3-2, and 5-3 leads, but the Indians found themselves forced to score in the top of the 9th to send the game into extra innings. Bobby Howry was the goat for the Indians, allowing 2 ER in 2/3 of an inning. Jake Westbrook was simply ok, but Mark Buerhle sure didn't look like an ace. At all. White Sox fans can't be too confidant after watching him struggle out there. He had no control of his fastball, and Indians hitters were teeing up off of him and smoking the ball, whether for an out or over the fence. Excellent moment was when the umpire screwed up a 3-0 pitch on Aaron Boone on a pitch that was WAY outside, calling it a strike. Boone took the next pitch for a ride over the fence, giving the Indians a 2-0 lead.

The White Sox lead is back up to 3.5 games, while the Indians wildcard lead is down to .5 games over the Yankees.

Tomorrow:
Cleveland (Elarton) vs. White Sox (Garland) - The White Sox have the decidedly better pitcher going into this matchup, but Elarton has been pitching rather well lately. A win here for the Indians would be huge.

posted by colin_hesse @ 8:46 PM  0 comments

NFL Week 2 In Review

Well, the Scientific Method didn't show up this week. Thankfully the Hawks did. The following will contain a few cutting remarks. All those with a weak stomach should probably read something else.

On to the recap...

Detroit 6 at Chicago 38
Scientific Pick: Chicago
Colin got this one right, but I'm going to jump on a limb and guess that he didn't quite expect to be THAT right. This game wasn't even close and is a good example of how everything can go quickly wrong. Joey Harrington was abysmal, Detroit's vaunted passing attack hasn't shown up yet. Thomas Jones is holding off Cedric Benson rather easily at this point, and Kyle Orton might be this year's Ben Roethlisberger. Frankly, if I was a Bears fan, I'd be thinking division title right now. Green Bay? Minnesota? All beatable apparently. Very interesting result.

Minnesota 8 at Cincinnati 37
Hypothesis: Good teams don't turn horrible overnight
Scientific Pick: Minnesota
While I would love to pick on Colin here, I'm including his Hypothesis because I just don't understand this result. I honestly felt the Vikings were way better than this. Yes, Nate Burleson isn't Randy Moss, and yes, the jump from #2 to #1 is huge (as I wrote in the preview), but this team still had way too many weapons not to be fairly consistent. On the flip side, Cincy's offense looks very powerful. If Carson Palmer is the real deal like he's showing this is a team that could have 10 wins.

Baltimore 10 at Tennessee 25
Scientific Pick: Baltimore
Another baffling performance by Baltimore. They just look lost. That vaunted defense isn't stopping anyone, including a weak sauce Titans attack. The offense just looks pathetic. Where the heck is Jamal Lewis? 10 yards? Is this Bizarro World? Who's taken over his system? I honestly thought Anthony Wright would help, because he was good a couple of years ago. Apparently I was mistaken. This is a huge 0-2 surprise. On the other side, congrats to Jeff Fisher for getting an inspired performance from his team. They will have highs and lows, but it is always nice to get that first win.

Jacksonville 3 at Indianapolis 10
Scientific Pick: Indianapolis
I have to be honest, if you would have told me Indy scored ten points, I would have guessed that the Jags would have pulled the upset. If Manning had his worst passing game since his rookie year, I would have guessed the Jags would have pulled the upset. However, Indy's defense is pulling an 04 Hawks right now and blowing everyone away. I'll need to see it for a while, because I don't think they're that good. I hope Byron Leftwich is okay... outside of Steve McNair and Brett Favre, he is the toughest QB in the league.

San Francisco 3 at Philadelphia 42
Scientific Pick: San Francisco
(Deep Breath) What in the blazes was Colin doing picking the 49ers two weeks in a row against quality opponents? The 49ers at Philly? In Philly's home opener? What? That's not Scientific, that's Madness. Let's remember (since Colin thought SF might be able to run well) that Jeremiah Trotter was ejected from the Atlanta game. He was back, and pissed. Terrell Owens always plays better motivated. He was there, and pissed. The whole Eagles team was embarrassed on Monday Night Football, were there, and were pissed. San Francisco didn't have a chance. Yes, they really are that bad.

Buffalo 3 at Tampa Bay 19
Scientific Pick: Buffalo
Here's my Scientific Pick, never pick the Tampa Bay defense to have a down year until they do. Seriously, every year I think these guys are going to suck, and every year they are flat out dominant. Monte Kiffin is a genius. They made JP Losman look like Ryan Leaf in the pocket, stuffed McGahee, and scored enough to win. If I was a Bucs fan, I'd be pretty excited about Cadillac Williams, and I'd be laughing at the Dolphins for choosing his backup at Auburn before him.

New England 17 at Carolina 27
Scientific Pick: New England
I actually think Colin missed the ball with this one. Sure, it's hard as anything to pick against New England, but the defense showed in Week One that you could move the ball on them, and Carolina was REALLY hyped up for this. I don't believe the Patriots were ready for the level of intensity. Carolina needed this game for many reasons and played like it. The biggest question mark for NE has to revolve around their special teams... they have been terrible the first two weeks.

Pittsburgh 27 at Houston 7
Scientific Pick: Pittsburgh
Houston's offensive coordinator was fired after this game, which should tell you all you need to know about that "7" by Houston. The playcalling was ineffective and the execution lousy. Pittsburgh's defense could have played with their second-string and the results would have been the same. Houston desperately needs a blast of creativity, otherwise they are going to struggle to win 6 games this year. As for Pittsburgh, they still are my pick to represent the Super Bowl in the AFC, and they have done nothing to prove me wrong so far.

St. Louis 17 at Arizona 12
Scientific Pick: Arizona
The Rams got unlucky last week in settling for field goals, and got lucky this week in forcing Arizona to settle for field goals. Don't let the "12" fool you, St Louis couldn't stop Arizona well at all, and the offense had a second straight poor week, although at least Martz let Stephen Jackson be a feature back. The Cardinals are making my heart smile with their ineffective line play. The defense is still good, but not world beater with the offseason power of Orlando Huff.

Atlanta 18 at Seattle 21
Scientific Pick: Seattle
(Heart barely resumes beating at normal pace)

San Diego 17 at Denver 20
Scientific Pick: San Diego
Think San Diego is regretting suspending Antonio Gates for preseason and last week? I would call that a "backfire". Now a team I picked to win the AL West is 0-2. What went wrong? Opportunities missed. You have to put a team away when winning at halftime, especially on the road. San Diego didn't, Drew Brees threw that pick to Champ Bailey, and the rest is history. The Broncos still look terrible, by the way, and if they think Ron Dayne is a savior they are more lost than I'd thought.

Cleveland 26 at Green Bay 24
Scientific Pick: Green Bay
Again, I should pick on Colin but I just can't. Green Bay was going to be bad, but I didn't think "lose to the Browns at Lambeau" bad. Where has Ahman Green been? Where has Favre's consistency been? This is a rudderless team right now. Mike Sherman might not last two more weeks. Congrats to Romeo Crennel and Trent Dilfer for a solid first win. Don't expect many more this season.

Miami 7 at Jets 17
Scientific Pick: Miami
Colin, do you realize that you picked San Francisco and Miami to start 2-0? SF and Miami? What? Let's play some percentages, man! Do you realize you picked them both to start 2-0 ON THE ROAD IN HOME OPENERS? Here's my second attempt at a Scientific Method... Colin's upset specials, or a monkey throwing feces at a dartboard. Still, the punk almost got this one right. It took the Jets a long 4th quarter drive to put this one away. I figure they have a long way to go offensively... Paul Hackett might not have been the problem.

Kansas City 23 at Oakland 17
Scientific Pick: Kansas City
This was a fantastic game, by the way, and if you missed it, too bad for you. I really like both of these teams, especially since both defenses are slightly better than I'd expected. I still say that the AL West is the best division in the game. Oakland's going to win a few games this year. Randy Moss is simply a weapon and Kerry Collins is the perfect quarterback to use it. For KC, Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes are going to be unstoppable. Colin's pick of them as AFC Champions is still looking pretty darn good as well.

New Orleans 10 at Giants 27 (yes, I know it's supposed to be the other way, but the game is at the Meadowlands)
Scientific Pick: New Orleans
I don't understand why Colin picked the Saints after his Hypothesis proved the opposite result. Teams running on emotion overload cannot sustain. That happened to New Orleans this week. They kept it close for a bit and then just ran out of steam. Jim Haslett is going to have to try and control their emotion better to create consistency, although that word has never described the Saints under his watch. The Giants are going to be overrated after these two big wins. I repeat, the Giants are going to be overrated after these two big wins.

Washington 14 at Dallas 13 (why in the world is this worth a Monday night game?)
Scientific Pick: Dallas
Man, I'll tell you what, this game sucked through three and a half quarters. Boring football, no doubt about it. And the final half quarter was insanely good football. Washington converts TWO fourth downs, including a 4th-15 50 yard TD pass to Santana Moss, stops Dallas, and throws ANOTHER 50+ yd pass to Moss. Tremendous to watch. What a great comeback, and what a great comeback to watch happen to a team not named Seattle.

Final Scientific Total: 5-11
Not a great week for the Great Prognosticator. I wouldn't call his toll-free line until he gets his mojo back.

posted by Gavin @ 9:38 AM  0 comments

Monday, September 19, 2005

White Sox Suck

I had a night class, so this will be a short post.

Cleveland 7, Chicago 5
Cleveland took the first game of this 5-game series behind the clutch hitting of Aaron Boone and Travis Hafner, who combined for 5 hits, 6 RBIs, and 3 runs. The White Sox rode the usual suspects of Paul Konerko and Carl Everett, who I can't believe is still producing on the major-league level. I remember when Everett was playing for Texas. He looked absolutely lost at the plate, and Texas couldn't WAIT to get rid of him. Now he's playing like he was 5 years ago. The White Sox bullpen lost the lead, reminding us all that people like Damaso Marte aren't worldbeaters.

The lead is now down to 2.5 games. 2.5 games. Unbelievable.

Tomorrow's Starters:
Cleveland (Westbrook) vs. Chicago (Buerhle)
This is Chicago's ace. If Cleveland can take this game, it might break what is left of Chicago's spirits.

posted by colin_hesse @ 9:53 PM  1 comments

Monday's Ultimate Explosion

Well, I'm back after traveling to the East Coast on business for all of last week and ready to Explode onto the scene. A fairly mediocre sports week last week, but this week is going to be awesome. Why, one might ask? Take the AL, where there are no guaranteed playoff spots at this time. Who do I like?

Boston: at Tampa Bay, at Baltimore, Toronto, New York
New York: Baltimore, Toronto, at Baltimore, at Boston
Chicago: Cleveland, Minnesota, at Detroit, at Cleveland
Cleveland: at Chicago, at Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Chicago
Anaheim: Texas, Tampa Bay, at Oakland, at Texas
Oakland: Minnesota, Texas, Anaheim, at Seattle

(First thing I notice is the prevalence of Tampa Bay on this list. No one team will have a greater effect on this race then Piniella and the fairly hot Rays.)

The toughest schedule goes to Chicago, because those games against Minnesota and Detroit are huge when Cleveland is playing Kansas City and Tampa Bay. The easiest schedule is probably Anaheim's, when you consider how Vlad Guerrero tears apart Texas pitching. So my final four at this point are: Boston, Cleveland, Anaheim as division winners, with... Chicago picking up the wild card (because the Yankees would have to pick up five games on the White Sox to pass them). Still, entertaining baseball for a couple of weeks... essentially anywhere but in Seattle.

- How about them Huskies? Can we all just breathe a huge sigh of relief? Beyond that atrocious second half against Cal, this is a team that deserved a win, even against a perennial loser like Idaho (albeit a perennial loser who played WSU extremely tight). While I still think we're going to lose hard to Notre Dame, it is going to be a very good matchup. Don't let Willingham fool you into thinking it's just another matchup.

- I'm not going to link to it again, and Colin did a good job of recapping it, but Bill Simmons' article about the WNBA was pure genius. Search for it and find it. In case anyone cared, Sacramento won the WNBA title. Yippee for them. Also, look for his in-depth look into the greatest TV show of our time, "24".

- Speaking of great TV shows, Fox's Sunday night lineup is almost like the torch being passed when the Simpsons go on before Family Guy. Every week I watch the Simpsons, laugh a little, and then really tune in to Family Guy, which always presents some good belly laughs. Fox should've let Matt Groening focus on Futurama and kept it around.

- Can we please go a day without hearing these words? Terrell Owens. Let's all make a pact.

- My fantasy baseball team has made it to the championship round, after a week headlined by David Ortiz and Vlad Guerrero. Two weeks between myself and fantasy immortality. That's what M's fans have been reduced to.

- Had the fantastic opportunity to go to Shea Stadium last Wednesday night for the first time. Such an historic park. Although the game sucked (won by the Nationals), it was really neat to be there. All the seats face straight out instead of being curved towards home like at Safeco, which was a little annoying.

- I was also at the Hawks game yesterday and can safely say that there is absolutely nothing like going to an NFL game. I wonder where these fans are at Mariner games, because I wish a few of them were present. M's games are quiet coffee shop affairs. Yesterday the noise never stopped. It was terrific (although I almost had a cardiac arrest midway through the fourth quarter). It's great going to a game where you are expected/required to stand and you know you've done your job when it takes a day for your voice to recover. That's the NFL, and that's why it is hands-down my favorite sport.

- Back to college football, a couple of observations. 1. Is anyone going to stop USC? 2. What the heck is wrong with Oklahoma? That's the beauty of college football. At the end of the day, these are teenagers, and the greatest recruits can go south quickly, because of their youth.

- Glad to be back. I'm sure no one missed me, except that Anonymous guy who keeps on posting comments about Laser Hair surgery and Drinking and Driving. I love that guy.

posted by Gavin @ 2:50 PM  0 comments

Seahawks 21, Falcons 18

*phew*

I am 23 years old. Sometimes I feel 43, and it usually comes after watching the Seattle Seahawks valiently try to lose a game they should easily win.

The ESPN guys were pointing it out every single time they showed the highlights. You were expecting this team to lose as soon as the Falcons closed the gap to 21-10. The offense had stalled, the defense was allowing the Falcons to, gasp, throw the football, our punter was having an atrocious game, and Mike Holmgren looked ready to burst at the seams.

But we won. For once. We pulled it out.

I'll be honest with you. I'm still processing this game in my mind, and I'm not sure how pleased to be about this game. I mean, I can't imagine our team playing much better then they did in the 1st half, and I can't imagine our team playing worse then they did in the 2nd half.

Well, here is the position rundown.

Quarterback:
Matt Hasselbeck - 20-31, 281 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
Well, that 0 INT number looms rather large after the disaster down in Jacksonville, and the TD passes were both extremely nice, especially that diving catch by Stevens. However, he looked extremely shaky in the 2nd half, throwing several incompletions in a row, and he could have sealed the game by completing that pass to Stevens at the 2 minute mark, instead throwing it behind him. Matt, you're supposed to be our leader, and when you see our team struggling, I simply expect more from you. Top-tier quarterbacks steer their team away from crushing losses. You did have a terrific 1st half, but....
Grade: B-

Running back:
Shaun Alexander - 28 attempts, 144 yds, 1 TD
Now, those numbers are more like it. We did not use Alexander enough last week, and it seemed like Holmgren realized that, because the Falcons got a huge dose of Alexander in the 1st half, and Alexander responded by gashing huge holes in the center of the Falcons defense. He was getting to the corner faster, and, when he needed to, not trying to be too fancy, but lowering his head and running between the tackles. He got his first rushing touchdown of the season, which was one game late. In my opinion, our MVP. In that one 4th quarter drive stalled by lame penalties and Engram's fumble, he was our primary weapon, running out the clock with hard runs. By the way, he did pick up a 3rd and 1.
Grade: A

Wide receivers:
D. Jack - 8 rec, 131 yds, Engram - 5 rec, 77 yds, Stevens - 3 rec, 49 yds, 1 TD, Jurevicius - 1 rec, 6 yds, 1 TD
I counted only 1 drop by Jackson, and the 1 fumble by Engram. Besides that, a near flawless performance by the corp. I love the big target of Jurevicius. He is a wonderful goal-line threat, and he forced DeAngelo Hall into a huge pass interference penalty on a terrific stop-and-go route, leading to one of our three touchdowns. Again, though, they seemed to disappear in the 2nd half. Part of that I lay on Hasselbeck's shoulders, but not all. They need to step up their game in the 2nd half, making sure to get in position to make the catch to stop the purging of momentum. And that fumble..... ouch. C'mon, Engram, hang onto the ball, mmmm'kay?
Grade: B

Offensive line:
They generated an awful lot of yards for Alexander, and Walter Jones was an absolute beast this game. Hasselbeck had more time in the pocket, only getting sacked a few times. The holding calls on that last drive were a little weak-sauce on the part of the officials. In other words, they seemed pretty ticky-tack. Tobeck played WAY better, and, once again, the only line player I wanted more out of was Chris Gray, but....
Grade: A-

Defensive line:
2 sacks (Bernard and Fisher), held Warrick Dunn to 54 yds rushing, Vick 43 yds (mostly on 1 run), and 18 yds and a TD by Duckett.
Excellent work by the front line. The best part of the game was late in the 2nd quarter, when the defense stuffed the Falcons on 2nd and 1 AND 3rd and 1. The Falcons punted, and the Seahawks scored their 3rd touchdown before the half. A HUGE turning point. Dunn was a non-factor this game. Duckett only had a few runs, including the TD that noone blamed the D-Line for. And they contained Vick. They got him on a run early and often, and when they did, people were disciplined, staying in their lanes, not allowing him to go off.
Grade: A+

Linebackers:
1 sack (Tatupu!), 14 tackles from the starters.
Again, not too shabby, but not overly impressive. I saw a few aborted blitzes several times during the game, but you have to give an assist for the stoppage of the run game to the linebackers. What I'm not seeing yet from these guys is the nose for the big play. There have been no turnovers forced yet from our defense, and, a lot of times, you expect those plays to come from your linebackers. So they were solid but not spectacular. If they give us that kind of performance every game, I will be satisfied.
Grade: B-

Secondary:
13 combined tackles, including several huge ones from Ken Hamlin, allowed 123 passing yds.
Who could miss that huge tackle by Hamlin stopping Vick on what looked like a SURE run for a 1st down? He pulled Vick over backwards, and then Dyson was there to clean up. 123 passing yds is not too shabby, though Vick overthrew Jenkins on a few deep balls where he was WIDE open. We have to shore up that tendency to give up the deep ball, but that could have been due to the fact that our safeties were cheating up to deal with Vick and the running game. For some reason Mike Ditka was really ragging on our secondary after the game, which I don't understand. What I do understand is that they have been ok after two games, but they are too athletic and gifted for an ok performance. They should be spectacular, and they have to be going after the football and getting some turnovers.
Grade: B-

Special Teams:
Um, Araguz? I don't care if your average was 41.5 yds. I watched that game, and you sucked, continually giving the Falcons excellent field position in the 2nd half. Get your leg into the ball or you put our defense on their heels continually.
Grade: D

Overall:
A tale of two halfs. Which half better characterizes our team? Unfortunately, probably, the combination. Use Alexander to pound the ball against the Cardinals, and try to school Antrel Rolle with Darrell Jackson. You have to protect Hasselbeck, because the Cardinals have an excellent rush package. On the flip side, the D-Line has to continue limiting the run and putting pressure on the quarterback, because this will be the weakest offensive line that we will see this year. The presure will be on our secondary, because that wide receivers corp of the Cardinals is, frankly, awesome. As for this week....
Grade: B

posted by colin_hesse @ 11:20 AM  1 comments

 


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