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!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

NFL Week 8 In Review

This was one heck of a disappointing week. Every single "good" game I was looking forward to blew. I don't even mean a little blow. I mean serious "Batman and Robin" suckitude. I was finding myself thinking about shopping for food or dusting instead of watching that crap. That's when you know that something very bad has happened.

By the way, this marks something like the third straight week where the Scientific Method has essentially had the staying power of a coin flip. If Science is the pursuit of mediocrity, Colin has found it.

Sunday:
Chicago 19 at Detroit 13

Hypothesis: Beware the second game of a backup quarterback
Scientific Pick: Chicago
And the Joey Harrington watch begins anew... Jeff Garcia was, for the SECOND week in a row, abysmal. Perhaps all those Lions fans who were clamoring for Garcia should have noticed that he's sucked for going on two years now. This Sunday's must-win affair at home against the Bears was not a shining moment for him. Congrats to the Bears defense, but Garcia sure did make it easy on them. Note to FOX: when the Giants are annihilating the Redskins, and a game of this importance goes to overtime, please switch. It was ridiculous to have to GameTrack it.

Arizona 13 at Dallas 34
Hypothesis: No running game equals no offense against a great defense
Scientific Pick: Dallas
This was not a difficult pick for Colin and the game pretty much played out true to form. Arizona can't run the ball, Josh McCown isn't a great quarterback, and Dallas' defense could destroy them. That pretty much happened, including how Dallas plays far better at home. Julius Jones fantasy owners (like myself) should be wondering what the impact is going to be now that Marion Barber has shown himself to be more explosive than Jones was even before the injury. Also, Anquan Boldin owners (like myself) have to be wondering how a receiver of his quality only catches 3 passes over a two game span (even if one was a 50 yard touchdown).

Green Bay 14 at Cincinnati 21
Hypothesis: There will be at least one upset every week
Scientific Pick: Green Bay
Green Bay freaking had this game. It played out exactly the way we thought it would when we picked this as an upset. Cincinatti was clearly distraught after their big loss last week. Green Bay dominated the line of scrimmage, held down Cincy's passing attack, and moved the ball fairly easily. And then Brett Favre would throw another pick. After each one we thought "well, that's the last one, but the game's definitely winnable", and then another would come, until the game was over. This makes about the third game that Green Bay should have won, making them perhaps the worst team at winning those games outside of Dallas or San Diego. Kudos to Bubba Franks for finally showing up this year. With all the other injuries, the Packers need Franks as a go-to receiver.

Minnesota 13 at Carolina 38
Hypothesis: Never pick Minnesota... in a big game.... on the road?
Scientific Pick: Carolina
Colin mentioned Steve Smith in his preview, and I'll concur after his 200+ receiving game. The man is destroying good NFL cornerbacks. Seriously, he took Fred Smoot out behind the woodshed. I watched the highlights and Smoot never had a clue where Smith was going, especially a brilliant deep ball where Smoot gave Smith 10 yards off the line of scrimmage and Smith still ran right past him. And you wonder why Delhomme isn't finding anyone else. Still, this game would have been a lot closer if Daunte Culpepper doesn't go down, that was a kick to the solar plexus of the Vikings. Finally, Carolina did put away a really bad team. It's about time.

Oakland 34 at Tennessee 25
Hypothesis: Pick the team with the stronger running game
Scientific Pick: Oakland
Good pick, Colin. Oakland is discovering that a solid running game is the best compliment to a strong passing game. LaMont Jordan is getting fed the ball, Oakland is controlling the clock, and the opponent is getting fewer chances. Tennessee is starting to crack a little. They are still trying hard, and Jeff Fisher isn't letting them give up, but they were never truly in this game. Their young defense simply doesn't have the manpower to stop any type of real offense.

Jacksonville 21 at St. Louis 24
Hypothesis: Defense beats no defense
Scientific Pick: Jacksonville
Jacksonville should be ashamed of themselves. There is no way you play a mediocre team without its quarterback and top two receivers and lose. There is absolutely no excuse. You have to put a team like that away, not give up big play after big play. Some congratulations have to be given to new head coach Joe Vitt of the Rams, who is feeding Stephen Jackson the ball. Frankly, I think the Rams may turn out to be a pretty dangerous team if they continue the trend when Bulger and Holt come back, especially if the defense can improve a bit. That offense, if balanced, could be the best in the league.

Washington 0 at NY Giants 36
Hypothesis: When both offenses are playing well, pick the better defense
Scientific Pick: Washington
The first of the "hugely disappointing" affairs this past weekend. Washington played like crap throughout. The Scientific Method probably should have picked the home team in this one, since NFC East teams only win at home. NY showed much more on defense than they had, although perhaps it was more an extension of Washington coming back down to earth. Regardless, this was a snoozefest.

Cleveland 16 at Houston 19
Hypothesis: Never pick Houston this season
Scientific Pick: Cleveland
Congratulations to the Houston Texans on winning their first game of the year. That's why the Lord made teams like Cleveland. I suppose in a league like the NFL it had to happen at some point. Glad it wasn't Seattle. Again, to anyone not affiliated with the Texans, this wasn't much of a game. There weren't really any fantastic plays, except it you count David Carr only being sacked twice. The Trent Dilfer experiment seems about over, and the Charlie Frye experiment may be about to begin in Cleveland. I'm actually looking forward to that a little.

Kansas City 20 at San Diego 28
Hypothesis: Inconsistent teams flip-flop wins and losses
Scientific Pick: San Diego
Don't let the score fool you. This game wasn't that close. We were closer to beating Jacksonville than Kansas City was in this one. San Diego knew it was a must-win and played like it. They even rediscovered Antonio Gates. I'm seeing a correlation here... when the Chargers include both Gates and Tomlinson in the game plan, they dominate opposing defenses. When they forget about them, they lose. Perhaps Marty Schottenheimer should keep that in mind. Kansas City, in the meantime, is looking almost lost on offense, unable to run up the score on anyone. Seriously, I thought that offensive unit would be far better. Priest Holmes can't find any running room, the offensive line can't keep blitzers away, and there are no receivers worth anything outside of Eddie Kennison. I think Colin's preseason assessment of them might have been a bit off.

Miami 21 at New Orleans 6
Hypothesis: At some point horrible calls have to stop for the Saints
Scientific Pick: New Orleans
Well, the horrible calls stopped, but the momentum did as well. How on earth do the Saints lose their first game back in Louisiana? The passion of the crowd should have been worth at least 14 points. To only score six against a Miami team who had stunk on the road this year was quite the feat. I don't know how you pick this team anymore. I'd almost put a moratorium on picking them ever again. Note to Miami: pick Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams and stick with it. Don't start a tandem contest. That would not be a smart move.

Tampa Bay 10 at San Francisco 15
Hypothesis: Never pick San Francisco this season
Scientific Pick: Tampa Bay
Let the Chris Simms jokes begin! Colin and I have laughed at this joker for years and his first game is a loss to the lowly 49ers, starting Ken friggin' Dorsey. That is what I call an awful loss. This is probably the beginning of the end for the Buccaneers, who for some reason have been pretty ungrateful to Brian Griese, who has been the only consistent offensive threat they've had the past few years. Joey Galloway continues to shine this year, though, and if Michael Clayton ever decides to figure out why he sucks right now they could right the ship. Mike Nolan probably gets plastered after every 49ers victory because he knows they will be few and far between. They're right on track now for 2-14.

Philadelphia 21 at Denver 49
Hypothesis: With the match of evens, go with the home field
Scientific Pick: Denver
The final game of the crappy trifecta. The Eagles were simply a terrible team on both sides of the ball. Denver did what every team should do... dropped everyone back in pass defense and dare Andy Reid to call some actual pass plays. The result? Nothing. Twice the Broncos got burned on their pass-blitz schemes with Terrell Owens, but that's not exactly a key to future offensive success. Until they start to give the ball to Brian Westbrook, they are going to start losing more ballgames. I'm curious... what happened between last year and this year with Westbrook? Last year they would give the ball to him pretty much like a standard backfield threat. This year they won't let him near the line of scrimmage with the ball. What happened? Congrats to the Broncos who have quietly accumulated a few truly impressive wins, although they have all happened at home. I'd like to see Jake Plummer take the love-fest on the road and see if he can avoid interceptions. If they can grab home-field advantage though, this will be a dangerous club.

Buffalo 16 at New England 21
Hypothesis: Momentum and comebacks matter in the NFL
Scientific Pick: New England
To all those who are pouring love all over Tedy Bruschi. Buffalo's offensive game plan (which reminded me a lot of Washington against us) was to pound the ball up the middle RIGHT AT Bruschi... and it was successful. His strength and conditioning isn't quite there yet to be a run stopper. This loss reminds us yet again that if you settle for too many field goals you will lose games. Buffalo owned 57 minutes of this one, yet because New England scored touchdowns and they didn't, they lost. The win should be credited to Tom Brady and Corey Dillon, the latter who actually gave the Patriots a real running game for the first time all year. Another game that reminds us that while the champs look beatable, they are still the champs until you actually put them away.

Monday:Baltimore 19 at Pittsburgh 20
Hypothesis: Just make the correct pick
Scientific Pick: Pittsburgh
This might have been the best game of the week (maybe the above game was better). Baltimore played with passion and intensity, and really had Pittsburgh's vaunted defense on its heels for much of the game. Again, though, they settled for field goals, because their quarterback isn't that good and missed wide open receivers (Derrick Mason) in the end zone. Ben Roethlisberger showed yet again that he is for real... that end of the game drive was a thing of beauty against a secondary like Baltimore's. It was way too easy. Note to Pittsburgh: give the ball more to Jerome Bettis. The Bus has the ability to wear down opposing defenses in a way that Willie Parker cannot. It was obvious that Pitt's offense isn't good enough with Parker, but was with Bettis. It doesn't seem like a tough decision to me.

Scientific Method: 8-6 (better than I thought he was!)

posted by Gavin @ 3:41 PM  0 comments

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