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!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Scientific Method, Week 12

Thanksgiving Edition!

We're going to take a step back from the hypotheses this week and concentrate on something I am thankful for with each game.

And yes, it seems like every sports writer does this exact ploy ever single year. So I have no creativity. Guess what? I'm a social scientist. We're all about having no creativity.

Gavin has done an excellent job looking at the important games for this week. I will highlight those as well, because there are a few that will decide whether teams are still in the playoff hunt come Monday morning.

Last week: 9-7

Overall record: 89-71

Thansgiving Day:
Atlanta at Detroit

Thankful For: Atlanta finally getting exposed as NOT the best team in the NFC
Ah yes. The Michael Vick experience was supposed to catapult the Falcons to the Super Bowl this year. Of course, both Gavin and I picked the Falcons to get to the playoffs as well (only to lose to Seattle in the first round). Anyway, Atlanta gets two great weeks from Vick as an actual pocket-passer, and they lose both games. At home. Meanwhile, the Lions are one of those teams that you can't predict. You can only hope to be on the right side when the final whistle blows.
Thankful Pick: Detroit

Denver at Dallas

Thankful For: Being able to root against the Cowboys for the last fifteen years
Strength will go at strength in what should be an excellent game. The Broncos run the football. The Cowboys stop the run. The Cowboys pass the football. The Broncos have an excellent pass rush. Can Plummer survive another week without making a crucial mistake? I think he will, and, actually, feel that Denver will run away with this one. Pound it up the middle against the 3-4, and take advantage of the rooks playing defense, freeing up Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie for a few deep balls.... should work.
Thankful Pick: Denver

Sunday:
Carolina at Buffalo

Thankful For: Picking McGahee over Peyton Manning and learning humility in the process
The self-proclaimed "Best Running Back in the NFL" disappeared for yet another game this season. At this point, there are several running backs I would take over him, including LT, Shaun, Tiki, Larry Johnson, Mike Anderson, Jackson, and, of course, Edge. Meanwhile, the Bills' defense has been extremely disappointing. It didn't matter whether Losman or Holcomb played during the Chargers' game. They still would have lost because they simply could not stop Brees.
Thankful Pick: Carolina

Baltimore at Cincinnati

Thankful For: Easy games to pick
Well, Baltimore had their game of the year last week against Tommy Maddox, but Cincy will be mad and out to prove that they can still beat bad teams, at least. Cincinnati has to learn to beat good teams at home, because, until then, I don't know why people are paying so much attention to them. Sure, they will make the playoffs, but they sure won't make any noise there. I do like Chad Johnson, though. He steps up and makes plays. He actually backs up what he says, and his touchdown celebrations are my personal favorites, especially the Riverdance.
Thankful Pick: Cincinnati

San Francisco at Tennessee
Thankful For: Not having to watch any of this game
So, has San Francisco suddenly become a good team with a powerful running attack, superior passing attack, and pressing defense? Has Tennessee found an offensive line? Answer to any and all of those questions, of course, is a resounding "NO"! Of course, one team has to win this game. So.... um.... it'll be.....
Thankful Pick: Tennessee

New England at Kansas City

Thankful For: Larry Johnson's 31 fantasy points for my team last week
Larry Johnson, at this point in time, is better then Priest Holmes. There, I said it. Kansas City's offense looked just great last week (true, against Houston). The Pats have won two in a row, against Miami and New Orleans, and are once again being toted as a "Team to Beat" in the AFC. GAH!! They barely beat Miami (should have lost). They barely beat New Orleans (at home!). They haven't been able to stop opposing offenses all season.
Thankful Pick: Kansas City

Cleveland at Minnesota
Thankful For: The years of laughter I will have received thanks to the Love Boat
Well, if Mewelde Moore is the real deal, Minnesota can actually have an offense they can be moderately proud of. A win here, coupled with a Bears loss, and the Vikings are right in the playoff picture. That sounds exciting. I'm all about exciting. By the way, Cleveland beating Gus playing on the road isn't a great win.
Thankful Pick: Minnesota

Chicago at Tampa Bay

Thankful For: Someone FINALLY exposing the Chicago Bears' offense
If any defense can shut out the Bears offense, it is Tampa Bay. This is the battle of the top two defenses in the NFC, if not the NFL. That will mean turnovers and some low scores. The difference maker is a healthy Cadillac Williams. A great game by him takes all the pressure off of Chris Simms. It's about time that Kyle Orton loses a game for the Bears. He's not having the greatest of years. Plus, this would, at the very least, cause people to stop filling up the Bears in the Supe Bowl bandwagon.
Thankful Pick: Tampa Bay

San Diego at Washington

Thankful For: A clearing playoff picture
A loss for either team and they are out of the playoff chase. San Diego will have five losses with five games left to play. Washington will have six losses, and it will take at least 10 wins to get into the playoffs this year. This might be the biggest game of the week. San Diego IS a great team, but their inconsistent fourth quarter play ensures that, if this game is close in the waning minutes, Washington will have all the momentum on their side. Will the game be close? No.
Thankful Pick: San Diego

St. Louis at Houston

Thankful For: Shutting up Tory Holt this year.
Who's mentally tougher now? The Rams are now 4-6, Marc Bulger is injured again, and their defense still can't stop anyone. Of course, this injury might be a great thing for the team, because it will cause them to, once again, rely on Jackson, which is what they should have been doing all season long. I don't know when they will finally understand that, but it sure won't be this season. Fortunately, they are playing Houston, who just plain suck.
Thankful Pick: St. Louis

Miami at Oakland

Thankful For: Not having Randy Moss on my team and not having Norv Turner coach my team
Seriously. This team annoys me. They basically do the opposite of whatever I pick them to do, Since I'm always right and the smartest person of all time, that means that the Raiders are always wrong. That being said, the Dolphins have really irritated me because they always try to be a passing team when it is apparent that they are a running team. Thus, people like Ronnie Brown are disappearing due to lack of use.
Thankful Pick: Oakland

Jacksonville at Arizona

Thankful For: Arizona's inevitable late-season rise, giving hope and allowing all prognosticators to pick them AGAIN next preseason
This is my upset pick of the week, which, as usual, always seems to involve Jacksonville. Arizona, however, played a very nice game last week at St. Louis, even seeing the running game become a part of their offense. Kurt Warner had protection, and that meant big plays for Boldin and Fitzgerald. Jacksonville's offense seems to be on an upswing, but I like the defense of the Cardinals to, somehow, take a bite of the Jags. Not a loss that should happen, but what the hey... Thankful Pick: Arizona

Green Bay at Philadelphia

Thankful For: Not having to hear about T.O. the past week
Just after I wrote this, the news came down that the suspension was upheld, thus making T.O. the news AGAIN. So I'm not thankful for anything here, except that this does mean that T.O. really is done for the season. These are two teams that are absolutely done as far as playoff positioning goes, but both teams are well-coached and will play with a lot of intensity. Brett Favre might be able to take advantage of the injury to Lito Sheppard, and Mike McMahon and Brian Westbrook might be able to take advantage of a sub-par Packers defense.
Thankful Pick: Philadelphia

NY Giants at Seattle
Thankful For: My team stepping up when they needed to
Gavin will talk more about this, but I like this team too much to pick against them now.
Thankful Pick: Seattle

New Orleans at NY Jets
Thankful For: Saints that do not come from heaven
Sorry, but I can't write about this game.
Thankful Pick: New Orleans

Monday:
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis

Thankful For: The unintentional comedy of one Tommy Maddox
Big Ben should return, but Indy is on an absolute roll right now, while the Steelers are showing multiple cracks in the armor, even in that vaunted defense. The revolving door at running back is stopping the Steelers from developing a true identity on that side of the ball. Peyton Manning is incredible. The ride does not stop here.
Thankful Pick: Indianapolis

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