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, October 31, 2006

Dear Winner...

I recently received this email and thought it might be the funniest thing I've ever seen. Let's go to the highlights...

Dear Winner

Well, they got my name right, even if (in the first of many such omissions) a "-" or "," is missing after the title.

We Apologies, for the delay of your payment and all the
Inconveniences and Inflict that we might have indulge
you through.


This is too rich. Instead of "Ultimate Explosion", I should start calling my posts "We Apologies". The comma following is great too. I did appreciate the apology, because I was wondering about the delay of my payment... wait a second...

Also, does one really indulge Inconveniences and Inflict? Do the Seahawks indulge Inflict on me? Probably. If it's anything like a kick to the junk than I know the feeling.

However, we were having some minor problems with our
payment system, which is Inexplicable, and have held us
stranded and Indolent, not having the Aspiration to
devote our 100% Assiduity in accrediting foreign
payments.


Indolent (adjective): Having or showing a disposition to avoid exertion

You have to give the writer credit. For apparently being a jabbering mental patient, he knows how to use the ol' Thesaurus. At least the words are big, and every time the word is big, it's also capitalized, probably so that he could point it out to his mother. "Look, mom! I used "Assiduity"!" Mom: "You're an idiot."

We apologies once again from the Records of outstanding
winners due for payment with {ONLINE CYBER
PROMOTION}your name and particular was discovered as
next on the list of the outstanding
winners who have not yet received their payments.


ONLINE CYBER PROMOTION sounds slightly dirty. I don't go to those sites. Really.

I wish to inform you now that the square peg is now in
square whole and can be voguish for that your payment
is being processed and will be released to you as soon
as you respond to this letter.


I cannot begin to tell you the relief I feel now that the square peg is in the square whole. Also, what the hell does "voguish" mean in this context?

Okay, but at least the point is clear. I respond to the letter and get my ONLINE CYBER PROMOTION payment. And then I can be voguish.

Also note that from our record in our file, your
outstanding winning payment is US$950.215.00 (NINE
HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND,TWO
HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN DOLLARS).


Sweet! Nine hundred and fifty thousand dollars! For free! I can't lose!

Payment will be made to you in a certified bank draft
or wire transfer into a nominated bank account of your
choice, as soon as you get in touched with.

Mr.Fred Kumar
E-mail: fredkumar_org@yahoo.es


Sounds easy! Of course, Mr. Kumar only has a yahoo address, which might be a bit of a warning flag. Only chumps use yahoo email addresses.

Provide him with the following details, as this will
enable him to process and release of your cash prize
without any delay.

Your Full Name:..................................
Telephone and fax Numbers:.........................
Residental Address:...............................
Your urgent reply Mr.Fred Kumar via e-mail:
fredkumar_org@yahoo.es


Let's get this right. To find a registered bank of my choice, I need to give Mr. Fred Kumar of yahoo.es my Full Name, a friggin' fax number, and my address? That's it? No "social security number", no "pin number", no "first born child into slavery"? Man, Freddie isn't even trying hard.

will effect the speedy release of your cash prize to
you within 48hours.

Yours Sincerely,
Mrs. Jane Philips
Vice President


I'm sorry for referring to this writer as a "he" for the entire post. Mrs. Jane Philips, Vice President of "Retarded Rhesus Monkey Writing, Inc" is most definitely not a dude... I guess. I'm somewhat tempted to respond, just to see where this one goes. Anyone feel like giving me their residential address that I can use? Nach?

posted by Gavin @ 11:03 AM  2 comments

What Happens When You Bring In New Writers...

They start getting all "politics" this and "poor grammar" that.

However, it was a good call for us to bring on Nach since... well... he doesn't work. Bam!

Was anyone as completely depressed as I was when the news came out last night that Shaun is going to miss the Oakland game? Not only because we have to go without the MVP for another week, but also because I wasn't that surprised. It's been that kind of year so far...

Still, it's not like it was the offense's fault that we lost on Sunday, except for that absurd fourth down swing pass to Mack Strong on the final play (AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!). What an utterly abysmal defensive performance. I will give Larry Johnson some credit, he displayed a lot of patience in finding cutback lanes. We often had stopped his first read, but he waited long enough, and the offensive line held their blocks long enough, for a gaping hole to be open until Ken Hamlin could make the tackle.

Jordan Babineaux apparently is not the answer. I'll give you a better one... replace Grant Wistrom with Darryl Tapp. Tapp is already a far superior player than Wistrom, whose age is really beginning to show. He missed some key tackles and can't get pressure on a wounded lemur. I'm pretty disillusioned with him.

Speaking of bad performances, Lofa Tatupu (Lord of All That's Hustle) has started to miss a lot of tackles himself, and when the front line (we always miss Marcus Tubbs more than we think) allows the offensive line to move to the second level he is basically taken out.

Then our secondary is playing about as bad as they possibly could. It's not like Damon Huard was making pinpoint passes into triple coverage. His receivers were wide open. It was a whole afternoon of pitch and catch. That's why we can't stop anyone on third down. It's too easy.

Oh... right... the Scientific Method.

Scientific Method: 8-6
Petey Prisco: 10-4
Bill Simmons: 6-8

Season Standings:
Petey Prisco: 74-40
Scientific Method: 72-42
Bill Simmons: 60-54

(Insert maniacal laughter)

Colin's getting beaten by Petey Prisco! Take that, science!

Enough about last week. I didn't watch much, because I was driving through snow back from Leavenworth. Yay for Seattle drivers who freak out at the merest sign of slush!

Oh... and in an effort to completely confuse the purpose of this post, I agree with Dr. Detecto. Sign Jason Schmidt.

posted by Gavin @ 10:44 AM  0 comments

Seattle Sports Fan Voting Guide

Since the average Seattle sports fan spends more time these days worrying about Matt Hasselback's knees, wondering where the Sonics will be next year,speculatingg about unexciting M's free agentpossibilitiess and waiting for Husky basketball to get interesting, you might not be so ready to tackle the current state of representative republicanism and make a decision come November 7th. That's a long sentence. I'm assuming you plan to vote. C'mon, we're the sate that voted for Hubert Humphrey that one time. Plus, it's not like anyone else is posting here.

Focus :: Congress
In case your last civics class was more than 20 minutes ago, congress is responsible for a number of things like creating laws, punishing pirates (I'm serious--Article I, section 8) and taxing the hell out of us. There are two kinds of congresspersons: Senators (each state gets two) and Representatives (each state gets a few dozen. At least the states that matter). Fun things congress gets to do that the president doesn't: declare war, create law, regulate trade between us and foreign nations, coin money (why do we still have the penny?), run post offices, impeach presidents and maintain interstate highways. Neat, huh?

Sigh. You choices for Washingtonian US Senator are:

Maria "Dot-com Debt" Cantwell (D): "Every day I'm working hard to put Washington first, keeping costs down for energy, health care and education." (Washington Voter's Pamphlet Statement) Sounds good to me. I enjoy how Republicans, Enron, President Bush and Oil Tankers are all in the same category later in the same statement as well. However, I don't like how she consistently votes "spend" while the budget goes deeper in debt. Why is it only the government that gets to spend what it doesn't have? Couldn't the M's benefit from a deficit spending push? You know, go and buy out some contracts? Hmm... I wonder if she roots for the Storm or Reign or whatever Seattle's WNBA team is.

Mike "Rapidly Receding Hairline" McGavick (R): His ads on TV are annoying, and I don't even have a TV. I'm sure saving SAFECO is exactly like being Senator. Also, stop telling me why the other candidate sucks (same goes for you Cantwell) and tell me what you're going to do. Don't tell me you're an awesome leader either, I can do that. The issues? Deficit spending (!), terrorism and border security. I like these issues, but he's a little short on specifics and I don't know all the party mumbo jumbo. I guess those issues could really be cutting essential services, pissing away the Bill of Rights and deporting foreigners. Mike seems to be the candidate most likely to be a bandwagon Hawks fan. Still... bust out a throwback Largent jersey and you might get my vote. Seriously, the first candidate I see...

Bruce "Peacefriend" Guthrie (L): Apparently "Libertarian" means vague. "I'm committed to restoring the great American promise for this generation, and those to come." Sounds good, but what does it mean? How? What's your plan? The issues according to Bruce are: Peace, Freedom, Hope and Values. Awesome. Probably blogs about Japanese baseball in his free time.

Robin "Loves Unicorns" Adair (I): I'd love to vote independent, but not for a candidate that CAN'T FORM COMPLETE SENTENCES! Check out this actual quote from the voter's guide, "The Sub-Economy. Moving more money than Economy itself. Not Measured. Paying few taxes. Unrecognized, totally man-made (no plagues, asteroids...)." ASTEROIDS? What the hell!? Just might be an M's fan. Or at least a Hargrove fan. It smells like the same kind of crazy.

Aaron "Couldn't Think of a Nickname That Wasn't Extremely Racist" Dixon (G): At least he's got a few specific plans (and reasons) included in his statement. He does get carried away--that is, his to-do list is way longer than his term. How will he prioritize? Who knows! Too bad I don't think the war in Iraq is much of an election issue or care he marched with MLK. It's all great and everything, but neither is a reason why I'd vote for/against you. I do like the bit about, "Fighting for the rights of working people, native-born and immigrant alike." That sounds good. Might actually be a Hawks fan too.

Bottom line :: I'd vote for Chuck Knox or an inebriated (Even if there's nothing else we've accomplished here at CrushedOptimists, at least we've firmly established that "inebriated" is the funniest of all the synonyms for drunk.) primate before any of these yahoos.

Now it's time to take a look at our choices for representative (by district)! Washington gets 9 of these for some reason. By "our", I mean the districts in and around King county. I'm still registered for Chelan country so I get to boggle my mind over Dick Wright or Doc Hastings! Booyah. Seriously, my entire ballot has three (D)s on it.

District 1: Jay Inslee (D) vs. Larry W. Ishmael (R)
Race slogan: "Either way, it's more of the same!"

This is how you know you're in trouble: when both candidates' statements start like this: "America is the greatest country on earth," (Inslee) and "There is no greater nation in the world that the one we call home," (Ishmael). It gets worse when they are BOTH committed to conservative fiscal policy, crossing party lines, protecting the environment and tightening our security. Are they the same guy or what? It's like choosing between Ponder and Scobey to return kicks. Not really a central issue. At least Inslee voted against the war in Iraq, which is a plus if that matters to you and thus is one of the few congressmen who have any integrity on the issue. Ishmael gets points taken away because he used "bitter partisanship" more than once in his statement.

District 7: Jim McDermott (D) vs. Steve Beren (R) vs. Linnea S. Noreen (I)
Race slogan: "Proof a threesome can be boring!"

Jin and Steve are basically party cut-outs. Jim loses points for shooting his mouth off in Iraq a while back and Steve loses points for being a rube. If Dino, Rob and Slade "Status Quo" Gordon are your big backers, then the voter can expect a whole lot of the same from Steve. Yes I agree lowering taxes, energy independence, security and supporting our troops are important. But I don't think you, Steve, are going to make those things any more real than Jim is suddenly going to pull a fair, affordable health care and education system our of his hat. Linnea? I like this bit in her statement, "Think back to 1989 and what has not improved." Hmm... traffic and the weather. And I'm not sure how much power a representative has over either (transportation being a sorry mess of federal, state, county and city jurisdictions). At worse she'd be incompetent, which isn't much of a change, since Jimmy McD hasn't actually accomploshed anything. Lame joke to tie it back in to sports: Er...

District 8: Darcy Burner (D) vs. Dave Reichart (R)
Race slogan: "Since when is Bellevue such a big deal?"

If you're belligerently partisan you've got your mind made up already. Both candidates stated goals seem to be take down the opposite party. Darcy seems to talk more about how much President Bush sucks than what she's going to bring to the table, while Dave is the incumbent in a district that's never voted Democrat. Whichever candidate raises the most hate (almost the same as money) will win most likely. If I could vote in this district, I'd mail a rabid squirrel to each party HQ, then write in "Just shoot me please!" on my ballot. This is depressing. Just like when I imagine Seattle sports without the Seahawks right now. Or is it when I think of the Seahawks? I forget.

Bottom line :: State representatives are boring and don't "accomplish" anything unless in large packs. What if Edgar ran for congress? Celebrity is the same thing as leadership and service, right? I'd pay attention for a little bit anyway.

Beyond the bottom line :: Until there are candidates that aren't:
a) crazy
b) clones of each other
c) committed to their party line more than reasonable thought
I'm just not going to care very much.
So you've got a week to decide that the whole thing's too much trouble and nothing's going to change if you don't vote so nothing will. I'll vote for the first person I see putting the "servant" back into public servant. SERVE ME!
BWA-HA-HA-Ha-ha... I need a job.

posted by nach @ 7:57 AM  5 comments

Monday, October 30, 2006

Low Expectations

I really enjoyed the game yesterday. Crap-tastic defense aside, I think my expectations were so low I was able to let go of the fact that this game looked more like UW vs. USC than it did an NFL game. I was expecting sloppy, but sloppy shoddy offense, not defense. Sloppy D makes for an entertaining game.

Reasons why I was able to enjoy the loss:
1) We scored 28 points without a running game.
2a) We made big plays and our receivers showed some spark, despite the dropped balls.
2b) I thought there was no way Deion Branch got that ball. Even more amazing was the refs reversed the call.
3) Turnovers and KC mistakes kept us right in the middle of things. Honestly, KC didn't look very good in this win. They almost handed us the game a number of times in the second half. The only difference in the defenses was one could rush the passer (KC) and the other was chasing LJ.
4) My wife makes very good chocoalte chip cookies, which were consumed liberally throughout the contest.

Things I'm not dwelling on in an attempt to remain optimistic:
1) The horrible tackling. Good Lord, our DB's play like they have no arms. Boulware, that means you.
2) 3rd downs on defense.
3) Complete lack of a running game.

The best news of all? Next week is home against Oakland. Booyah.

posted by nach @ 8:13 AM  0 comments

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Game Seven: Hawks at Kansas City

I should title this post "Game That No One in Their Right Mind Should Have Any Clue About" because the storylines for this matchup are far less than inspiring.

Frankly, if you aren't a fan of either team, I don't think I'd TIVO this one, especially if, as rumored, Damon Huard is unable to go. Then you have Brodie Croyle going up against Seneca Wallace. FAAAAAAN-Tastic.

I'm writing this from the friendly confines of L-town, WA, in town after watching a very funny musical entitled, "Urinetown". That's right... Urinetown. Instead of referring to the Arizona Cardinals, it actually is the name of a location. If you like watching a lot of characters pass on, enjoy random exposition, and a show that rips off tons of other musicals, it's for you. Anyways, just my attempt to enrich the cultural lives of our few readers... especially since, according to our city leaders, basketball doesn't have any such effect, and with that starting up...

Speaking of which, how about that Robert Swift injury? Are we just cursed right now? Spencer Hawes has his own knee injury for the UW Men's team. If I was Lofa Tatupu, I'd be covering myself in bubble wrap to avoid the ACL tear headed his way, because just about every other important player recently has gone down. Ray Allen is next. I just know it. Also, I don't care about basketball yet.

I also don't care about the World Series or the Cardinals, especially since David "King Grit" Eckstein received the MVP award, proving yet again that the award is worthless. The fellows over at FireJoeMorgan have to be choking on their own bile over that one.

So... this game... not really sure what to write. One the one hand, we have a new quarterback, so all our passing numbers can be thrown out the window, and a new offensive line (enter Rob Sims, exit Spencer/Locklear), so even more offensive numbers are gone. If we score 20 points in this game I would be thrilled. The Chiefs defense is starting to look shaky after an impressive first few weeks, and I would call their numbers to still be skewed.

As for their offense, if it's Croyle at QB, all they have is Larry Johnson, who is a great back, but (outside of that 94 yard abomination a week ago) he runs into the strength of our defense. If you can't throw over the top on us (enter: Jordan Babineaux, who is definitely not as good as Boulware, but should at least not allow multiple 50 yard completions against us) you will have problems moving down the field. What's so frustrating about our defense is that they are so talented. We continue to force the opposition to face a third and long, and then let them off the hook. It's ridiculous.

What do I think is going to happen? I have no legitimate idea. I think it's going to be ugly. I think Arrowhead is a tough place to play, and I think we have zero things on offense to be optimistic about. At the end of the day, this is a long, ugly game that Kansas City pulls out 17-13.

posted by Gavin @ 2:36 PM  0 comments

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Scientific Method, Week 8

We can all agree that I normally attack this post with the ferocity and passion of a pair of Vulcans caught in the ancient mating ritual where Spock once almost killed Kirk (a completely believable episode with brilliant acting all around).

However, sadly, I am caught in the throes of a nasal mutiny, where my sinuses have decided to overwhelm the rest of my body, including my brain, and elect themselves "Ruler of all that is Colin". Needless to say, the rest of my body, pummelled into submission, now exists solely to float above time and space, dispensing needed wisdom and jokes to whomever it meets.

In a way, this could be a good predicament for picking games, because science has deserted me the past two weeks, allowing the hated Petey Prisco the ability to catch up to me. This sickens me even more; to be put on par with one of the Peteys. Ouch.

So, here, instead of scientific picks, are the picks solely from my stuffed and clogged nasal cavities. I exist to do what they tell they to do until further notice.

Vote "Yes" on Prop 105. They tell me it doesn't matter what state you live in.

Actually, okay, here's a brief side note. In Arizona you are not allowed to register as an independent; only as a Republican or Democrat. Choosing Evil Incarnate #1, I went with Republican, forever branding myself to the academic community as a fruitcake. I have now, in the past two months, received upwards of two dozen calls from the Republican Party pressuring me to vote. Same with my wife. This leads me to believe one of three possibilities:

1. The Republicans have no better way to spend their money then by cold-calling said Republicans
2. The Republicans know that they are in a world of pain, and are seeking to end that by calling people who live in a state where the races aren't even close
3. Politics are for losers

I'm leaning towards choice #3, personally. Actually, that story also illustrates one other point that had been on my mind this week (see, I'm fighting back against the powers of my sinuses for you, the loyal reader(s)). Arizona State, like every other university, has a student newspaper, and in that student newspaper there exists an opinions section wherein 20 year olds pretend they know everything about the fate of the world. It's awesome, but no article I had read in my three years here came close to rivalling the stupidity of one I read this past Wednesday. The gist of the article was that the problem with our government was that they all had MBAs, which work wonderfully in the business world, and are terrible at developing governmental policy. This uber-genuises solution? Elect individuals with Ph.D.'s, as ACADEMICS had the intelligence and clear hearts necessary to lead our country. As someone who is about to become a Ph.D., I can assure both this author and you that electing academics would be the most idiotic move in the history of democracy. These people still believe in Marxism, people! The only difference between a regular schlub, like Gavin, and a doctor of the academy is that the academic has read a ton more of boring journal articles as well as undergone a few semi-cool research projects. This doesn't mean they are better equipped to lead the country. I would rather say that all leaders must have been a contestent on either "Survivor" or "The Amazing Race", as those shows bring out the wits, the problem-solving abilities, and the people skills that are foundational to governing.

Wow. I actually wrote there. Neat. Here's the picks!

Sunday:
Arizona at Green Bay
I must admit that I'm excited that Detroit has a bye week, so I can not worry about picking them to win once again. However, both these teams are poor to adequate. My sinuses choose:
Scientific Pick: Green Bay

Atlanta at Cincinnati
Michael Vick looked like a real quarterback last week. That can't be true for two weeks in a row. Cincy, by the way, has yet to really bust out offensively.
Scientific Pick: Cincy

Baltimore at New Orleans
New Orleans is 5-1. They are a good team, but I'm not sure if they are 5-1 good. Can I actually pick Baltimore to win this game? Why not?
Scientific Pick: Baltimore

Houston at Tennessee
There's the Gary Kubiak I thought was hired by the Texans. They obliterated the Jags last week, moving the ball at will against a darn good defense.
Scientific Pick: Houston

Jacksonville at Philadelphia
Speaking of Jacksonville, that team is in disarray right now, especially at the quarterback position. It appears that they are starting to realize that Leftwich might not be a prize chicken that everyone says he is.
Scientific Pick: Philly

Seattle at Kansas City
I was all set to pick KC, and then I hear that Brodie Croyle might be making his first start. So on one hand I have Seneca Wallace and Mo Morris, and on the other hand, I have a rookie quarterback and Larry Johnson. Hmmmm. Still have to go with Larry Johnson, I think.
Scientific Pick: Kansas City

San Francisco at Chicago
Must..... fight...... temptation...... to once again........ pick San Francisco........ to win a game.
Scientific Pick: Chicago

Tampa Bay at NY Giants
Isn't it about time for Eli Manning to throw up an absolute stinker, like against Seattle? Yes, probably. Isn't it about time for the Giants secondary to become terrible once again? Yes, probably. Is Tampa Bay the team that can exploit those shortcomings? Yes on 1, No on 2.
Scientific Pick: NY Giants

St. Louis at San Diego
The St. Louis fall back to Planet Earth continues with a special stop to visit LT, Merriman (and he's really mad for some inexplicable reason), and Rivers.
Scientific Pick: San Diego

Indianapolis at Denver
To me, this is the toughtest game of the week to pick. Indy hasn't looked great, especially that defense. Denver hasn't looked great, especially that offense. Thus, the real fight will be between Peyton Manning and that awesome Denver defense. It's still the regular season, right?
Scientific Pick: Indy

NY Jets at Cleveland
Alright, Mangini, you win. I'll pick for y'all to win another game. You make me sick.
Scientific Pick: NY Jets

Pittsburgh at Oakland
Pittsburgh could throw out Charlie Batch in this game and I'd still pick them to win.
Scientific Pick: Pittsburgh

Dallas at Carolina
Tony Romo was a emergency move, and I'm not quite sure why Parcells decided to go down that route. What's the good of escapability if you just end up throwing it to the other team? Carolina, by the way, outplayed Cincy last week.
Scientific Pick: Carolina

Monday:
New England at Minnesota
I refuse to pick Minnesota to win any time soon out of principle.
Scientific Pick: New England

posted by colin_hesse @ 9:31 AM  0 comments

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What....... Game Recap?

There was only one possible avenue that would have resulted in a game recap being posted either Sunday or Monday. That would be me, Colin, getting paid to write it by some sap, Gavin. No money meant absolutely no desire to relive the catastrophe of the Vikings coming to Qwest Field.

I almost titled this post, "The End of Respect". In a way, that's where I feel the Seahawks went. This site made a HUGE point last year about the lack of respect given to Seattle by the various Peteys of the mainstream media. We were picked to lose against Washington. We were definitely picked to lose against Carolina. And then...... we were in the Super Bowl.

Here's where the story gets a little interesting. Yes, during the lead up to the big game there were a plethora of stories about Jerome Bettis, Big Ben, Dick LeBeau, etc., etc. There were simply more storylines about the Pittsburgh Steelers. I admit that. However, when it actually came time for the experts to choose sides, a fair number sided with Seattle to become champions of the NFL. I really didn't feel disrespected going into the game.

Well, since that change of heart, the media continued to shower us with some love, ranking us #1 in the ESPN preseason power poll, getting Shaun on the cover of Madden, and generally counting us as one of the few title-hopeful teams. Sure, most predicted Carolina to go to the Super Bowl, but it was a pick over us in the NFC Championship Game. That's not a problem of respect, it's a guess pick before the season starts.

Our actual record since we started to get some love? 4-3. With those four wins, one was a squeaker over the Detroit Lions (who, by the way, are terrible and I'm going to stop picking for them to win NFL games), one was a win over an overhyped Cardinals team (who just lost to Oakland), one was a blowout of the Giants before they started to get good, and one was another squeaker against the St. Louis Rams.

In those wins, and certainly in those losses, we really haven't looked all that great. Seriously. We haven't. There was a reason why this site was not one to complain about how the refs cost us the Super Bowl. Sure, they didn't help, but the Hawks didn't appear to want to win that one. We have allowed more points than we have scored this year. Our offensive line has been abysmal, to the point where I wonder if Steve Hutchinson didn't play LG, C, RG, and RT by multiplying himself like that jagoff in the recent X-Men movie. Michael Boulware was on his way to becoming a star until he started guessing wrong. Constantly. Shaun couldn't get going and then he was injured. Walter has been hobbling since Week 1. Ditto Chris Gray and Sean Locklear. Stevens has been out. Hasselbeck is now out.

You want a list of teams in the NFC who simply look better right now?

1. Chicago Bears
This is the obvious one, what with that killer defense and improved offense, though I do think that they will lose a few before all is said and done.

2. New Orleans Saints
Don't hate me, but the Saints offense looks more consistent than ours right now. McAllister is running hard, and Drew Brees has been cool and efficient.

3. NY Giants
I agree with Gavin that this team has found a little something the past few weeks, especially on the defensive end. They continue that, and they can go places.

4. Minnesota Vikings
Do I WANT to include them on this list? Of course not. But I have to, because they kinda just beat us by 20, even though virtually all their scoring was due to brain farts by various Seahawks (two by Boulware).

5. Philadelphia Eagles
Put it this way. Would YOU want to face them in the playoffs right now? With that blitzing defense against our porous offensive line?

6. Carolina Panthers
I know they just lost again, but they outplayed Cincy and should have won. The defense looked as good as they had all year.

You could, I guess, make an argument for St. Louis, or possibly Atlanta, but I'm trying to be a realist here, not stupid. My point here is not to be a wet blanket, or to overemphasize the downside of the loss. I'm just looking at the NFC and noticing that the Hawks aren't playing like a top-tier team. Not right now, and not this season. MY respect for them has dropped. Forget the media. I'm hoping for a playoff berth now instead of booking plane fare for Miami in February. I'm hoping for ONE home playoff game instead of two.

Those hopes hinge on the fact that this is still a very talented football team. A VERY talented football team who might have relaxed once that respect started to come about from the national media. The pressure to succeed just might have relaxed, even by a little, but just enough to lose the chip on the shoulder, the push to prove the doubters wrong.

The good news is that the Seattle Seahawks are 4-2 so far this season, the same as last season at this time. They have beaten the Rams once, which is HUGE as the division title goes. They have already won two road games, which helps negate the blow of losing a home game already. However, this is gut check time. Gavin already posted on the upcoming games without Hasselbeck. Someone has to step up. Not next week, that's a lost cause. Arrowhead with Wallace and Morris? No. But after that? I, at the very least, want to see some of the fire back in this team. I saw it during the second half against the Rams, but it faded and was nowhere to be found against the Vikings. In fact, it appeared that the entire team gave up after Matt went down.

It's time to earn that respect. Once again. Earn it while everyone comes at you with the best they got because YOU have the target on your uniforms that say defending NFC Champions. Earn it without your best players. Earn it by, once again, playing the stifling defense that really was the difference for us last year. Earn it by doing your job. Just earn it.

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:20 PM  0 comments

Thoughts of the Unemployed

When the Seahawks look to cut, they look to special teams. Not a big surprise, since it's a big bowl of mediocrity. Ponder is out, to make room for new #3 QB Gibran Hamdan... whoopty shit. Not like Gibran will ever play, so we get articles about how he's a "nice guy" and played in "NFL" Europe.
Sweet.

Ponder was not my favorite Seahawk. His kick return avg. (23 point something) ranks him 15th in the NFL this season. Right smack dab in the middle. Scobey, whom I imagine is going to get his old gig back, wasn't anything special at the position. I hope for adequate. I also hope Jimmy "Ohmygodohmygodohmygod" Williams doesn't even get close to returning kickoffs, as well as punts, for the Hawks.

With Ponder out, that moves Jimmy up to my least favorite Seahawks spot. Runner up: Chris Spencer...

I'm also enjoying the "Seneca, the Determined" thingys around the internet. It sure sounds better than "Seneca, the Scared @#$!-less". I am excited to see how the offense deals with this latest batch of adversity--let's just say my expectations have been lowered a lot. A game with no sacks allowed (we've done it once this season, against the Giants, I think) would be a good start.
Mack Strong, one of my favorite Seahawks when he's making blocks and gaining 35 yards on draw plays, writes, "Sometimes people get hurt. Matt didn't get hurt from a sack, but we've got to find a solution to the sack issue in a hurry (24 all of last year and 21 through six games this season). It's just disappointing. "

So is he disappointed in himself, then?

posted by nach @ 8:15 AM  0 comments

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ultimate Explosion!! - Week 7 in Review

I have to admit that there's a part of me that is still depressed... apparently Colin shares that, since he still has avoided even writing about last week's game. That's when he takes an "out of sight, out of mind" approach to blogging after a loss.

Personally, I am sick and tired of how bad our offensive line and secondary performance has been. We are WAY past excuse time. At some point it becomes ridiculous to see all these big plays, which skew the numbers, especially on the scoreboard. I'm also upset to see how overrated Minnesota is. Sheesh.

At least it was good to listen to Bryce Fisher on the radio today and hear his frustration with the defensive effort, and it was good to read about Mike Holmgren finally going off on the team in the press yesterday.

Moving on... anyone who has read us for a while (sorry) might remember our appreciation for one Paul Shirley, a struggling basketball player who moonlights as a writer for ESPN.com. His chat yesterday right after being cut from the Timberwolves was classic. My favorite question/answer?

Paul (Minneapolis, MN): The Timberwolves have a history of bringing their rookies along slowly. Do you think Foye will get a lot of minutes out of the gate or will they ease him into the NBA?
Paul Shirley: I think they'll take their time, based on how he has been used in the preseason.....Not that I really give a damn. I hope they lose every game.

That is good stuff. I also like...

Jason (Houston, Texas): who are you? i stumbled across this on ESPN's frontpage.
Paul Shirley: I am...unemployed.

I wasn't going to do a third... but seriously, as a Sonics fan...

Jamar Knox (Jackson, TN): Who do you look up to in the NBA,since you can't really play in the NBA right now?
Paul Shirley: My favorite NBA player, regardless of my status, is Radmanovic. He just seems so...apathetic. I respect that.

Back to football and the Scientific Method...

Week 7 Results:
Scientific Method: 4-9 (Bwa hahahah)
Petey Prisco: 8-5
Bill Simmons: 5-8

Season Standings:
Scientific Method: 64-36
Petey Prisco: 64-36
Bill Simmons: 54-46

The Scientific Method sinks lower back to oblivion, allowing Petey Prisco of all people to catch up to him. Very disappointing.

What in the World Were They Smoking?

Here's the ridiculous thing. Colin goes 4-9, and I can really only make fun of him for one game. This is getting frustrating. The NY Jets have played well at home all year. Detroit has been awful on the road all year. So Colin picks the Lions because he's still so enamored with Shaun Rogers (WHO IS ON SUSPENSION!!). This was not a difficult game to pick. On the other hand, Bill Simmons did pick the Redskins to at least cover the spread against the Colts, which didn't happen either. Washington has been so bad defensively that you just knew Peyton Manning was going to have a field day. Simmons followed that gem up by picking Cleveland over Denver. How on earth does that one happen. Cleveland couldn't score against a team full of handicapped midgets.

Best Picks of the Week

This award definitely goes to Petey Prisco for these two gems. The first was picking a one point victory for Tampa Bay over Philadelphia. I sure didn't see that one coming... but then again, you don't normally see TWO interceptions returned for touchdowns in the same game against Donovan McNabb. However, that's what happens when you still don't have a running game. I will say that the touchdown from Brian Westbrook to get the lead was one heck of a play, but you have to hand it to that field goal kicker (too lazy to look up his name). A 62 yarder is quite something. I would be pulling my hair out as a Philly fan... to lose on last second field goals two weeks in a row is insane. I'd almost prefer getting killed (like the Seahawks). The next pick Prisco had was picking Kansas City to beat the Chargers. Yes, Arrowhead is always a tough place to play, but with how good the Chargers have looked, Damon Huard would not be my choice to pull off the upset.

Biggest Disappointments

It's time to pat myself on the back again about the Dallas Cowboys, a very trendy pick to win the NFC Championship this year (freaking Petey King). The offensive line didn't play well last year, Drew Bledsoe is a statue, and it didn't take a genius to think that if the defense played bad in a game, they would struggle. What I didn't expect was for Bill Parcells to go to Tony Romo so early in the year. That's not going to make Terrell Owens very happy, and an already combustible situation could get much much worse.

Carolina's run defense continues to be an achilles heel, and a reason why Chicago is definitely head and shoulders above the competition (not to mention the Giants right now). When you allow Rudi Johnson to get 100 yards in the final three quarters and allow the Cincy offense to look better, you have issues. Not to mention that awful interception thrown by Jake Delhomme.

Big time boos go after the Pittsburgh Steelers, who seriously put their season in jeapordy. If 10-6 is needed to really ensure a postseason berth (and remember that the Chiefs and Chargers missed the playoffs last year with that record) they now need to go 8-2 over the remainder of their schedule. Ouch. From Bill Cowher taking too many timeouts to ice the Falcons kicker, to Nate Washington flinching, to all the complaining afterwards, the Steelers are melting. Also, the secondary play was atrocious. You cannot let Michael Vick look that good through the air against you.

Of course one cannot pass the chance to poke fun at the Jacksonville Jaguars, who put up a thoroughly unimpressive performance against Houston. Maybe the Texans really are improved (which is what we called during our season preview), but regardless if Jacksonville wants to be taken seriously instead of being called overrated (which is what we called during our season preview) they cannot be beaten by twenty by Houston. Never.

Most Impressive Performances

Speaking of Houston, David Carr is doing a great job reminding the league what he can do if actually given time, and Gary Kubiak is doing a great job helping give him time. Surprised Andre Johnson is turning into a premier receiver? You shouldn't be. The talent has always been there. Now if they can get a consistent defensive performance they will approach 6-7 wins this year and feel very good about next season.

The Tampa Bay defense masked an awful performance by the offense to knock off the Eagles.

In my opinion, the NY Giants are the best team in the NFC right now. I am very interested in seeing their Sunday Night battle with the Bears to see if I'm right. They just took it to Dallas on the road, which was important to see in Eli Manning's development. The big change I see? Plaxico Burress is turning into a game-changing receiver.

That's it for now, campers!

posted by Gavin @ 1:22 PM  0 comments

Monday, October 23, 2006

This Season Can Be Salvaged...

Matt Hasselbeck will only be out a month. I sure thought it could be worse... especially with how this season has gone so far on the injury front.

At this point we need to stop thinking about first round byes and just about survival, steal a few wins without Matt and Shaun and keep our head above water in the NFC West. Luckily, the Rams have a difficult schedule themselves right now.

Here's the schedule right now:

10/29 - at Kansas City
No Shaun, No Matt, Arrowhead Stadium. Trent Green will be back for the Chiefs. I don't think we should expect a victory here.

11/6 - vs Oakland
Monday night game, possible return of Shaun. Home against a very bad Raiders team. Should be able to steal this one.

11/12 - vs St Louis
Man, this game sure looms large. Shaun should definitely be back, which will help Seneca out. At the least we'll have a good idea what Seneca can do by then and the Rams are very bad on the road.

11/19 - at San Francisco
Good news is this is another game against a bad team. The bad news is that San Francisco plays well at home and I don't think Matt will be back by now, if only because they're going to want to be extra careful with him.

11/27 - vs Green Bay
This is when we start crossing our fingers, but again a Monday Night game against a very bad opponent.

12/3 - at Denver
No Matt. No Victory. Simple as that.

My guess is that we'll have Matt back by Denver but he'll still be rusty, meaning we'll probably be 7-5 at that point and scrambling for a playoff berth.

The Rams during that time span play:
at San Diego, vs Kansas City, at HAWKS, at Carolina, vs San Francisco, vs Arizona

My guess is they'll be 7-5 too, with beating us in that run.

It's going to be a bumpy ride, but at least we still have hope.

posted by Gavin @ 11:07 AM  4 comments

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Blindsided

Five "gut reasons" not to ever listen to another thing Gavin says. Like you needed evidence to not take us seriously. Let's review:

1) "Qwest field will help our defense play well." Our defense couldn't get any consistent pressure on the QB or stop the run up the middle... not stopping the run not being much of a surprise. We gave up a number of critical third down conversions.

2) "Brad Johnson sucks." With time, he picked us apart. Plus, since his side could run the ball, he didn't have to be Joe Montana to burn our secondary.

3) "Jerramy Stevens is back." Really? Where?

4) "Kaz sucks." Yes, but we did get to see a number of Viking linebackers completely outmach Mo Morris' and Mack Strong's collective pass-blocking attempts while our punt and kick coverage was full of holes.

5) "Minnesota lacks anyone with big play ability on either side of the ball, which forces them to play ball control offense, which completely plays into our hands."
Hmmm... what are a 95 yard TD run, 40 yard pass to Robinson, some nice kick returns and a defensive touchdown?Not big plays that broke us, that for sure.

On the flip side, Gavin's every reason to be pessimistic came true. Startling.

Bottom line :: Seattle was pushed around at the line on both sides of the ball. No consistent defensive pressure on Johnson and we couldn't block to save our lives. Our offensive line and blocking backs had TERRIBLE, mistake riddled, undisciplined games. Whoever controls the line of scrimmage controls the game and Seattle blew hard. Like the north wind over the frozen steppe of Kazakhstan. At least my fantasy team kicked serious patootie, as a certain sister in law of mine would say. On to Monday and another day of employment, maybe!

posted by nach @ 9:35 PM  1 comments

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Game 6: Minnesota at SEATTLE

For some reason, Blogger has been down for a while, so for all those who have been desperately awaiting this preview... my apologies.

Congratulations to the UW Huskies for yet again coming "this close" to knocking off a top 10 opponent on the road. They are now 0-3 in such opportunities, and each time have been closer. At some point for the program to be taken seriously they should actually try winning.

Also, if anyone hasn't seen the NFL Replay or NFL Films Game of the Week of the St Louis game, then shame on you. The NFL Replay might be one of the coolest new inventions for football fans in years.

Oh yeah... so Minnesota is playing Seattle tomorrow. Anyone hear that Steve Hutchinson plays for the Vikings? Well, he does... and that means extroardinarily litle in terms of who I think will win.

Five "Gut" Reasons for Optimism

1. Qwest Field. Now that we've had two games on the road, fans might have a tendency to forget how good how team, and especially our defense, can be at home. We have had two completely dominating home performances. No reason we can't have a third.

2. Brad Johnson quarterbacks the Vikings. Frightened? Only if you are a three year old girl.

3. Jerramy Stevens is back. I know I wrote this last week, but seriously, we could really use his big play ability up the middle and in the red zone. He will definitely help the running game by helping us pass in run formations.

4. We won't have to see Isaiah Kazcyvenski (however you spell his friggin' name) every other minute.

5. Minnesota lacks anyone with big play ability on either side of the ball, which forces them to play ball control offense, which completely plays into our hands.

Five "Gut" Reasons for Pessimism

1. Chris Spencer got totally abused last week. He has seemed to get progressively worse as the starts have continued. We simply can't have this constant battering of Hasselbeck continue... he will go down.

2. Which Holmgren will show up? Bad Holmgren, from the 1st half last week, or Good Holmgren, from the second half? Can we run?

3. Is our pass rush going to come alive again? Will Grant Wistrom EVER get one in a big moment? I make fun of Brad Johnson above, but if given time he can very quietly and smartly pick a defense apart.

4. There is the potential for an emotional letdown after such a big win last week. We can't allow for that to happen and must get to 5-1.

5. We had WAY too many penalties last week... definitely not Mike Holmgren football.

It's All About the Stats

1. Minnesota may have Hutch and the offensive line hype, but their rushing attack is not very good. They are 23rd in Stuffed at 26.8%, and 30th in Power Success at a measly 33.3%. They are simply not picking up tough yards, and of course this plays right into our defense's hands.

2. What about Minny's passing attack? They are really good at protecting the passer, a terrific adjusted sack rate of only 3.8% (compared to 9.7% for us). Their number one WR in DPAR is Troy Williamson, a terrible 62nd in the league. That's right... 62nd. After all these weeks of dealing with Roy Williams, Larry Fitzgerald and Torry Holt, this does not present an inordinate challenge for the "D".

3. Why is getting Jerramy Stevens back important? Well, last year Stevens was the 6th rated TE in DPAR in the league, 7th in DVOA at 24.3%. That is a huge weapon back in the arsenal. Huge.

4. Darrell Jackson is the 3rd most valuable receiver in the NFL right now, and Deion Branch, after missing the first few weeks, is rocketing up the charts himself (currently at 40th). While the rushing attack is still lacking in consistency, the passing work is really clicking. What does Minnesota do against the pass? The Vikings are allowing a league worst 80.6% DVOA for the opponents' #1 WR. While they are better against the #2, the #3 is getting a 31.7% DVOA, 26th in the league. This is good news.

5. Finally, the Vikings don't get consistent pressure on the QB, which a mediocre 6.0% adjusted sack rate, right in front of the Houston Texans. However, they do have a good rushing defense. It's probably going to be a passing type of game.

This should definitely be a win... these Hawks should ride the crowd to 5-1. Let's rock it tomorrow!

posted by Gavin @ 9:14 PM  2 comments

Friday, October 20, 2006

Why to Never Listen to Bill Simmons About the Seahawks

Bill's COMPLETELY WRONG summary of the Rams/Seahawks game:

I liked what the Hawks did last week: They couldn't run the ball since Maurice Morris sucks, so they pull a "Madden" move and start throwing every down ... and it works! Then they're running out the clock and Morris fumbles (I mentioned he sucks, right?), then Holt catches that insane six-tip touchdown and it looks like the Hawks might lose because their kicker missed a field goal that hit both uprights. So what happens? They march down the field and the same kicker buries a 54-yarder at the whistle. Now that's a gutsy win. But you know what? They still can't run the ball. I don't like picking teams to cover big spreads when they can't run the ball.

Here's the problem, Bill. The game happened in EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE FASHION!!

If any of you actually read my game summary, you would know that the Seahawks STARTED the game as a pass-only offense and sucked. They then, in the second half, became a BALANCED offense, and did not suck. Again, that is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what Bill Simmons says happened.

Seattle rushed for over 100 yards. The RAMS rushed for like 56 yards. Which team can't run the football, Bill?

Good Lord. Bill Simmons knows absolutely nothing about Seattle sports.

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:40 PM  0 comments

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Scientific Method: Week 7

Gavin and I were chewing the fat earlier today, discussing why this site has turned into a "Scientific Method - Game Preview - Game Recap - Ultimate Explosion" blog for the last couple of weeks. Seriously. We used to be cool! And write stuff!

A few possible explanations readily came to mind:

1. The Seattle Mariners, over the past couple of years, have slowly zapped my baseball enthusiasm from my veins. You have Mike Hargrove as manager (and I don't care how much a manager matters to wins or losses, Hargrove just sucks, alright? He sucks, he really, really, sucks, and I dislike his fat butt sitting in my team's dugout.). You have an offense that consistently underperforms, ever since 2002. Even worse, you have a team where the guys never seem to care that much, again stretching back to 2002. Did Olerud of Edgar ever show any sign of emotion whatsoever? I understand that, perhaps, baseball isn't a fiery sport, but I had the Extra Innings package, and I watched PLENTY of baseball this year. When you watched a team like the Tigers, their overall team ENERGY jumped out at you. You had Nate Robertson chewing HUGE amounts of gum to spur on comebacks. You had vocal leaders like Pudge Rodriguez and energy guys like Craig Monroe. You know what? They looked like they were having fun, and it was fun to watch them, even as a guy who had zero interest in them from a fan perspective before the season started. It was also fun to watch the New York Mets, with Pedro laughing in the clubhouse to Jose Reyes' smile after swiping another base. Win or lose, they were having a good time. But the M's? SO BORING!!! Wake me up when we get Schmidt AND Matsuzaka. Then we'll talk. Until then? It's uninteresting to write about an uninteresting team with uninteresting players.

2. The Seattle* Sonics
* Soon to be the Oklahoma City Sonics, which continues to piss me off, no matter how much Dave Locke is convinced that all those Oklahoma investors are in it to help out the city of Seattle retain an NBA franchise. They also drafted some 8 footer from Senegal in the draft for no particular reason.

3. The UW Husky Football Team
When the highlight of your season is a near win at USC (which, by the way, describes EVERY OTHER team in the Pac-10, you probably still have some improving to do. Let's wait until next year, when the real fun might start.

Our conclusion? Write more about the NFL, I guess, which we will start doing here in the next couple of weeks, as the middle of the season rears its ugly head. Lord knows you won't catch us writing about the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, a result that is only not preposterous when you understand that the other possibilities would have been the NY Mets sans Pedro and El Duque, the San Diego Padres, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The other reason I haven't been writing as much is that I've had to read awesome books for the doctoral program like, "Speaking Into the Air", a gripping book on communication dealing with those who talk to aliens, animals, and dead people. Needless to say, I was a fan. Especially when part of the book talks passages from the book of John COMPLETELY out of context, stating that Jesus was the ultimate disseminator of communication because of the parable of the sower, Jesus thus believing that the message itself wasn't important, only the meaning that was created by the receiver. That, I'm sure, would be extremely surprising for Jesus to hear, him not caring about the message. It's also irritating for me to read an academic attempt to smoosh Jesus into just another gifted speaker and philosopher. Um..... if I knew someone who continued, CONSTANTLY, to claim that he was God and that we should all follow and worship him, I wouldn't call him a gifted philosopher. I'd call him a nut. That's where CS Lewis' Liar-Lunatic-Lord argument comes into focus.

But enough of the school travails. What about the travails of science, who hit an extremely rough patch last week?! Obviously I dusted off the old beakers and formulated a new chemical solution, one rich in cadmium and tungsten. I also drank a Pepsi and some cranberry juice. And no, I'm not on my period (thank you, "The Departed", for a line I will neever forget). Back to basics, Colin. I am NOT about to lose my top spot to Petey Prisco!

Sunday:
Carolina at Cincinnati
Of course, the continued rise to glory takes a stop at a very difficult game to call, that of Carolina at Cincy. Carolina doesn't get bothered on the road (except in Seattle, boo-yah), and Julius Peppers will be getting blocked by a rookie left tackle. That's not good. Cincy's rushing defense still sucks. That's not good. Chad Johnson has been doing nothing so far this year. That's not good. However, Carolina has yet to play a very impressive game this year (though MAYBE the Baltimore game counts). Man, so much to think about. Carolina's run defense isn't anything to write home about. Dang blast it.
Scientific Pick: Carolina

Detroit at NY Jets
Just when I thought the Jets were ready to sink back down into the gutter, they go out and lay the wood to Miami, a team that has hit the gutter and sunk down into the Lost Kingdom of Atlantis. Detroit, on the other hand, actually won a game, surprising those of us who forgot that every dog not from Oakland has its day. It's still hard for me to forget how good that defense looked against us, and that offense has shown that it can, at the vey least, semi-move the ball.
Scientific Pick: Detroit

Green Bay at Miami
Here's the "Buh" game of the week. Seeing as I have picked Miami virtually every week this year, only to get lambasted by Joey Harrington and a porous offensive line, I must go against every bone in my body and pick Brett Favre.
Scientific Pick: Green Bay

Jacksonville at Houston
Houston looked good against Dallas for the first half, up until Dallas remembered that they needed to win the game in order to have a better shot at the postseason. Then that ugly secondary reared its head. Knowing Jacksonville, they will be losing by 10 sometime in this ballgame, only to barely eke out a win on the combination of stellar defense and a long run by Maurice Jones-Drew.
Scientific Pick: Jacksonville

New England at Buffalo
Have I mentioned recently that I hate the AFC East? Are there any actual interesting games that are played in that division? Can someone point me in that direction?
Scientific Pick: New England

Philadelpia at Tampa Bay

You have to be impressed in how a rookie quarterback has looked better than Chris Simms so far this season. Unless you are either Gavin or myself, who both hate Chris Simms and have never believed in him, scoffing at the amount of hype lavished upon the son of Phil-Dawg. Basically, blessing in disguise for Bucs fans, who seem like NOW they have their quarterback of the future. Philly, on the other hand, has THE quarterback of the present, who can, um, do some things at the quarterback position. I like him a lot.
Scientific Pick: Philly

Pittsburgh at Atlanta

Ahhhh, sweet, sweet smell of being right about Michael Vick. People were lapping his feet once again after starting the season 2-0 behind a college-option system that was doomed to be figured out in about, well, two weeks. Now? The SAME questions arise about the simple fact that he can't seem to throw the football. At all. If I was a Falcons fan, and my team was down by 14, I would want Schaub in that game. He can throw it, and the Falcons would have a greater chance at winning consistently with him involved. Nice to see that the Falcons coaching staff agrees with me. As for Pittsburgh, no one SHOULD have been writing them off. They're a good team, if not a Super Bowl favorite. They'll be fine.
Scientific Pick: Pittsburgh

San Diego at Kansas City

Ok, ok, so picking San Francisco over San Diego was a mistake. I thought that the San Fran defense would show up to the game. My bad. Kansas City HAD a defense until last week, when they were shredded by Big Ben in a game that can only be called, "boring as all getout". Damon Huard against Shawn Merriman. Hmmmm.
Scientific Pick: San Diego

Denver at Cleveland
I sense another 12-6 win in the horizon for the Broncos. What a ridiculous schedule so far, especially with as poor a showing as that offense has been producing. This is Cleveland, however, and I don't predict Cleveland to win any games whre they aren't playing Oakland. Strict policy.
Scientific Pick: Denver

Arizona at Oakland
No jokes. I hope Arizona wins, so that a tortured fan base can relax for one week.
Scientific Pick: Arizona

Minnesota at Seattle

Lost in the Steve Hutchinson kerfuffle is the simple fact that BOTH players involved haven't really made too much of a difference respectively. Minny's offense can't consistently score, and Nate Burleson has gone missing all season long. The real story will be the improved Minnesota defense (especially rushing defense) against Mo Morris and Matt Hasselbeck. Luckily, the Hawks are finally back in the friendly confines of Qwest Field, so they should take care of business.
Scientific Pick: Seattle

Washington at Indianapolis
I REALLY want to pick Washington, but that defense has been terrible! Where is the great blitzing schemes and coverages of seasons past? How can Vince Young move the ball consistently AT WASHINGTON?? Sure, a lot of blame is being laid on the feet of Mark Brunell, but their run of last season was spurred, in large part, by the ballhawking defense of the 'Skins. Without that, they can't possibly score enough to match Indy, even as poor as the Colts have been playing recently.
Scientific Pick: Indy

Monday:
NY Giants at Dallas
This should actually be a great game. The Giants, after getting embarrassed by us, have played good football in beating the Skins and Falcons, while the Cowboys outplayed the Eagles, only to lose, and destroyed the Texans. Both my quarterbacks will be playing, trying to get me out of a four week fantasy losing streak continued last week solely because of Edge James record-breaking night of futility.
Scientific Pick: Dallas

posted by colin_hesse @ 9:27 PM  0 comments

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ultimate Explosion!! Week Six in Review

Everyone can't stop writing about it... and neither can I.

I have NEVER been as sick/upset after a game between two teams I don't have much of an emotional attachment to than after last night's debacle. I can't even fathom what it's like to be a Cardinals fan right now... when Colin and I go watch the Hawks play there in December I think we'll try and pass out group hugs to as many fans as possible. Bring a sign that says, "I know it's hard, but we care". How on earth do you lose that game? A game where the opposing offense scores a grand total of zero touchdowns in coming back from a 20 point halftime deficit. A game where the opposing quarterback is responsible for SIX turnovers, a boggling total? Where even after all the pain, a rookie quarterback executes the two minute drill to perfection against the best defense in the NFL to give last year's Pro Bowl kicker the chance to win the game with a chip shot field goal.

First note here... to all the complainers who believe the Cardinals should have gone for the jugular or farther down the field, remember, you are going against the Bears... with the worst offensive line in the league. You don't want to throw a pick, you don't want to have a sack take you farther out of range... so you run the ball, and that apparently was a bad move all night.

I'm moderately irritated at some commentators who only now are really on the "Cardinals have a terrible offensive line" bandwagon that Colin and I have been preaching since, I don't know, the beginning of LAST SEASON. They overlook it while picking them to win the NFC West last year, overlook it while predicting them to be a big dark horse this year, and only after Edgerrin James has the worst yards per carry average in the history of the game for the number of carries he had does the lightbulb come on.

I think I'm decently pleased to be moving on if I'm the fired Cardinals offensive coordinator. He was making some smart play calls (well, not at the end, but more on that later). After getting the turnovers in the first half, he was trying to not put the entire game on Leinart, opening him up to a Chicago blitz by running the ball on first down. Unfortunately, that was only netting about, say, one yard, which meant second-and-nine, third-and-nine. At the end of the day that meant field goals and an opportunity for the Bears to recover. Now, at the end of the game, the coordinator started calling all these passes since the run game was apparently going nowhere, and lost about four minutes because of the incompletions. I'd have understood the play selection more if the Chicago offense wasn't playing so terribly themselves. At that point you have to simply run out the clock.

Speaking of Chicago, I think they got exposed a bit (and yes, I understand it's only one game). Rex Grossman is a young quarterback and can get erratic, can force balls if you play smart and don't allow them to haul off and throw the deep ball. The running game still isn't good, and if you get to Grossman he'll turn it over, and look as bad as he did in the preseason. As for the defense, it's not impressive they allowed a one dimensional attack to look that good during those opening drives, or on the two minute drill. You get decent blocking and receivers will find holes. It's true against any defense. All in all, I continue to avoid picking the Bears as the "team of destiny". Are they the best team in the NFL right now? Yes. Will they win the Super Bowl? Probably not... very rarely does the team playing the best in September-October become the team playing the best in January (see the Minnesota Vikings/Kansas City Chiefs/Indianapolis Colts for more information). At this point I'm probably more concerned about the Giants than the Bears... a revitalized defensive effort coupled with a more consistent effort from Eli Manning is bad news for the rest of the league.

Oh yeah... the picks. The Scientific Method finally stumbled some this week.

Week Six Results:
Scientific Method: 6-7
Petey Prisco: 9-4
Bill Simmons: 8-5

Season Standings:
Scientific Method: 60-27
Petey Prisco: 56-31
Bill Simmons: 49-38

What in the World Were They Smoking?

Colin is allowing Prisco to creep dangerously close to that pole position, even if he was the only one to accurately predict that insanely cool Seahawks win (more on that later). How did Colin sink so low? Basically, by playing it safe in a week that had quite a few upsets... and being a moron and picking San Francisco over San Diego. I think he got confused which team had LaDainian Tomlinson (hint: it's San Diego). Colin also has a thing for the 49ers, considering that he's picked them to win the past three weeks (he would have them be 3-3 overall). I'm not sure why he thinks so highly of the 49ers, it's more than likely that we've found the secret "scientific formula", involving monkey feces and a dartboard. He also has a man-crush on Alex Smith.

Oh yeah... Bill Simmons also picked the Niners to win.

Anyways, beyond that, Colin didn't forsee the Lions actually holding on for their first win, or the Bucs capitalizing on the worst "roughing the passer" penalty in the history of the universe to win their first game, or the Ravens choking away a win against the Panthers. So I'll let him off with a warning... his bad week was related to one of the most entertaining weeks of football in recent memory.

To go through this better...

New Orleans 27, Philadelphia 24

The Saints jumped out to a big lead by basically forcing Donovan McNabb to throw short to bad receivers and stuffing the run. You'd think more people would have figured this out about the Eagles yet, but they're too busy anointing McNabb "savior of all things decent and good". The Eagles sure get lucky with their big plays, that run after the catch by Reggie Brown was a thing of beauty, sure, but he also should have been tackled thirty yards short of the goal line. It was vaguely reminiscent of the Hank Baskett catch against Dallas the week previous. In other words, the Eagles have offensive problems which are not being given the proper attention because of a few big plays each week. As for the Saints, I'd love to say I picked this, but at the least I'll note that in my preview of New Orleans I gave a lot of love to the offense, which had a lot of reason for optimism. What I didn't see was a defense that would give the offense multiple opportunities to win games. Also, I need to give love to Sean Payton for gutsy play calling on that 8 minute drive. It was a team-defining drive, and team-defining win.

Carolina 23, Baltimore 21

Here's what kills me about the Panthers and Steve Smith. Each week people talk about how dangerous Smith it, how he carries the Panther offensive attack, how the team is nothing without him... and then they game plan to basically let him do whatever he wants. Carolina had success with the three wide receiver formation because (for starters, Drew Carter is a darn good receiver) the Ravens stuck with their base formation and didn't bring in a third corner. Why exactly does one do that? I don't care how incredible Ed Reed is, he shouldn't be chasing Steve Smith across the field while he heads for the end zone. Of course the Ravens were also the beneficiaries of two incredibly lucky touchdowns. I don't know if we'll ever see something like that again, but give credit to Mark Clayton, who didn't give up on either of the plays and rewarded his effort with two touchdowns.

NY Giants 27, Atlanta 14

Here's a shocker... Atlanta passed instead of ran, coughed up a huge lead and lost. Maybe... just maybe... Michael Vick isn't a good quarterback. Look, this whole "option thing" is all shiny and pretty, but it is not going to be effective for a full season against NFL linebackers. They are too good and too fast. Until Vick is able to move the ball down the field through the air he will never be a Pro Bowl quarterback in my book. Congrats to the Giants for actually playing smart defense, perhaps more teams will follow their handbook finally.

Tennessee 25, Washington 22

Here's what I don't understand about the Redskins... the defense. I don't think Mark Brunell is answering the questions about the new offense and his future with the team if that defense was actually forcing people off the field. Rookie quarterback on the road against what should have been a top five unit? Final score should have been 22-10. Instead the Redskins allowed too many third down conversions and, as has been the case for much of the year, couldn't stop the run. If they miss the playoffs it will be on their heads. Still, congrats to Vince Young and the Titans. Young did make some nice throws, and I will say again (as I said after the Rose Bowl) that I think he has a chance to be a legitimate NFL QB, more so than Vick.

Tampa Bay 14, Cincinnati 13

Yes, the "roughing the passer" penalty was terrible, first time I'd seen that called ON THE TACKLE, but how on earth does that Bengal offense only put up 13 points anyways? I was tracking my fantasy team that contains Rudi Johnson and I had to check the box score a couple of times to make sure they were still getting the live feed because I wasn't getting any points from him. You have Rudi, Chad Johnson, that Houshmandzadeh guy... put up 20 points a game easy and this game isn't a second loss. The Bengals had a prime chance to get a stranglehold on what looks to be an extremely competitive AFC North race, and completely failed. I would be very disappointed in the overall effort if I was a Bengals fan, not just that penalty.

Seattle 30, St Louis 28

Like I was going to avoid saying anything here.

1. Our defense finally got a pass rush to Bulger, who is very very bad under pressure.
2. The Rams quit calling pass plays downfield (perhaps because of said pressure). I remember a third down play where the ball hit Tory Holt in the hands and he dropped it, but was five yards short of a first down anyways and running sideways. Short pass plays is also our defense's bread and butter to defend against.
3. I was very confident that Josh Brown would hit that field goal.
4. I'm still in inner pandemonium.

Well, this was a different way of doing this write-up, but there were too many great games to avoid going through some individually. I like the NFL a lot.

Oh... and I'm supposed to apologize to Oregon State fans everywhere for saying their team "sucks" before they played a Washington team apparently bent on proving me wrong. So, sorry. I mean it. Really.

posted by Gavin @ 2:02 PM  4 comments

Monday, October 16, 2006

Seahawks, Islamic Extremists and Emotional Disparity

It doesn't fee like the Seahawks are 4 and 1. It feels like we just clinched the playoffs on the last play of the regular season. After the first half, I wasn't sure if I knew who the Seahawks were anymore. Then I remembered. Still, I was spent after the game on account of the disparity between my irrational emotional involvement and my actual effect on the games outcome.

This lead me to wondering if Islamic extremists' emotions go through the same ups and downs as a Seahawks fan. The following chart seems to indicate otherwise, but what do I know?

posted by nach @ 5:22 PM  0 comments

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Week Six Recap: Wowsers.....

WOW!! EXCELLENT!!!

NOOOOOO!!! WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING!!!


YES!!!! I'M ON TOP OF THE WORLD!!!


YOU GUYS SUCK DONKEY BALLS!!!


I LOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!!!!


OH NO!!! DON'T TELL ME THAT THE TEAM THAT EMPLOYS ISAIAH KACYVENSKI, WHO FOX HAS SHOWN A TOTAL OF 59 TIMES DURING THIS GAME, IS GOING TO WIN!!!


YES!!!! THANK YOU, SWEET JESUS!!!


Those thoughts, and more, ran through my head in what just might be the turn-around game that we have been waiting for this entire season from the Seattle Seahawks. I have several thoughts about this game, but they are all over the place, so I'm neglecting my usual format and just writing off the cuff:

-- Huge goat in this game? Scott Linehan, or whoever is calling the offensive plays for St. Louis. Let me show you how the Rams scored their early 21 points, on three of their first four drives (and they really should have scored on the fourth drive as well).

Drive 1:
1st and 10 at SL 26:(14:56) M.Bulger pass deep right to T.Holt pushed ob at SEA 36 for 38 yards
1st and 10 at SEA 36:(14:34) S.Jackson right end to SEA 36 for no gain
2nd and 10 at SEA 36:(13:59) M.Bulger pass short left to J.Klopfenstein to SEA 27 for 9 yards 3rd and 1 at SEA 27:(13:20) M.Hedgecock up the middle to SEA 25 for 2 yards
1st and 10 at SEA 25:(12:41) M.Bulger pass short left to T.Holt to SEA 20 for 5 yards
2nd and 5 at SEA 20:(12:05) S.Jackson left guard to SEA 12 for 8 yards
1st and 10 at SEA 12:(11:24) (Shotgun) S.Jackson right guard to SEA 10 for 2 yards
2nd and 8 at SEA 10: (10:44) (Shotgun) M.Bulger pass short left to I.Bruce to SEA 4 for 6 yards
3rd and 2 at SEA 4:(10:03) PENALTY on SL-O.Pace, False Start, 5 yards
3rd and 7 at SEA 9: (9:42) (Shotgun) M.Bulger pass short left to T.Holt for 9 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Drive 1 Summary: 5 pass, 4 rush

Drive 2:
1st and 5 at SL 28:(4:19) S.Jackson right guard to SL 31 for 3 yards
2nd and 2 at SL 31:(3:45) S.Jackson right guard to SL 32 for 1 yard
3rd and 1 at SL 32:(3:05) M.Bulger pass deep right to J.Klopfenstein to SEA 40 for 28 yards
1st and 10 at SEA 40:(2:23) M.Bulger pass short right to S.Jackson to SEA 35 for 5 yards
2nd and 5 at SEA 35:(1:44) S.Jackson right guard to SEA 26 for 9 yards
1st and 10 at SEA 26:(1:10) M.Bulger pass incomplete short right to M.Hedgecock
2nd and 10 at SEA 26:(1:03) S.Jackson up the middle to SEA 23 for 3 yards
3rd and 7 at SEA 23:(:27) (Shotgun) M.Bulger pass short right to I.Bruce pushed ob at SEA 15 for 8 yards
1st and 10 at SEA 15:(15:00) S.Jackson left tackle to SEA 9 for 6 yards
2nd and 4 at SEA 9:(14:25) M.Bulger pass short right to T.Holt to SEA 5 for 4 yards
1st and 5 at SEA 5:(13:47) S.Jackson up the middle to SEA 2 for 3 yards
2nd and 2 at SEA 2:(13:06) S.Jackson right tackle for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Drive 2 Summary: 5 pass, 7 rush

Drive 3:
M.Bulger pass short right to S.Jackson to SEA 34 for 8 yards
2nd and 2 at SEA 34:(5:35) S.Jackson up the middle to SEA 33 for 1 yard
3rd and 1 at SEA 33:(4:50) S.Jackson right tackle to SEA 29 for 4 yards
1st and 10 at SEA 29:(4:08) M.Bulger pass short right to T.Holt to SEA 12 for 17 yards
1st and 10 at SEA 12:(3:26) S.Jackson left tackle to SEA 10 for 2 yards
2nd and 8 at SEA 10:(2:47) M.Bulger pass short right to T.Holt for 10 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Drive 3 Summary: 3 pass, 3 rush

Total offensive balance: 13 pass, 14 rush

Our defense didn't know, at any particular point, what type of play would be coming at them. Would it be Stephen Jackson running hard down the middle of the field? Would it be a quick route to Isaac Bruce? Would it be a deep ball to uber-receiver Tory Holt? We had no idea, and it showed. We were completely on our heels.

Then....... their offense slowed down. Sure, we can take some defensive credit for that, but here's the balance summary for drives after the third touchdown.

Total offensive balance: 23 pass, 5 rush

Bam.

I was at a sports bar, talking to a genial Rams fan the entire game, and we both were amazed by how the Rams forgot that they had Stephen Jackson around to carry the football in the second half. Remember, most of those plays were chosen with a lead. They only had two drives where they were behind, and one of them only took two plays before Tatupu picked off Bulger. Our theory was that Mike Martz REALLY wanted back into this rivalry and was controlling the Rams coaches telepathically from Detroit. No other explanation made sense.

But, seriously, this was absolutley stupid. Suddenly, our defense knew how to handle the Rams offense. Blitz, blitz, blitz. And blitz. 4 times during those 23 pass plays, with an interception to boot. These were the Rams that we knew and loved from previous years, and, thus, we knew what to do. I have absolutely NO IDEA what got into Scott Linehan, but I have a theory. There's something about having these nice pretty offensive weapons like Bulger, Bruce, and Holt. You want to play with them. They're exciting, and you REALLY want to use them when it seems like everything is clicking. This is also BAD Holmgren syndrome. This was a LARGE part of how the Hawks got back into this ballgame after being squashed for an entire half.

-- On the flip side, Bad Holmgren showed up to play in the first half, with predictable results:

1st half offensive balance for Seattle: 16 pass, 5 rush

That's pathetic. Morris had a total of 2 yards, and the Rams were just blitzing everyone because they knew that Hasselback was passing. FOR SURE.

So Holmgren gets mad at the entire team (hopefully including himself) at the half and.... VOILA!! Brand spanking new offense (best show of the early season).

2nd half offensive balance: 24 pass, 21 rush

All of a sudden Morris has 70 yards, we rush for over 100 yards for the game, and the offense clicks. This isn't rocket science, people. The Hawks aren't the Colts. Heck, the Colts aren't even the Colts this year until Addai comes into his own. You need to have balance in the NFL, or else defenses will eat you alive. We had balance. We scored a lot of points. It's that simple. Hasselbeck, all of a sudden, looked calm and collected again. The pass protection actually held up. Receivers were getting open. It clicked. Now we can only hope that Holmgren continues this against the Vikings next Sunday, even without Shaun (it looks like we're without him for another two weeks, according to Pro Football Talk). It's the only way for our offense to succeed.

-- Game ball to Deion Branch, who was worth a first round draft pick today, my friends. He was all that and a bag of chips, catching the hard balls, being a deep threat down the field, and looking like the gamebreaking #2 receiver that we have never had. Outstanding performance.

-- Real game ball goes to Tory Holt, who was unconscious today. Just an unbelievable performance by someone who seems to always find an extra gear against the Hawks.

-- We had no sound for the game in the sports bar, so I honestly thought the game was over after the illegal formation penalty against the Hawks. Trust me when I say that you might have seen a grown man close to tears if that had held up.

-- Bestest sight of the game? Scott Linehan getting crunched. The Rams fan chuckled and said, "Good thing he was wearing his headset." My response, "Kinda wish it would have happened to Holmgren. Seems like that would have been funnier."

-- We still need Stevens back. Badly. Hopefully he will be ready to go by Sunday, since it was a surprise that he was scratched for this game.

-- Can we find a punter, anywhere in the United States, who knows how to be consistent with his punts? Anyone? This can't be that complicated, people. I refuse to believe that.

-- To those of us who were complimenting the Seahawks secondary after the first two weeks.... the fun is over. Trufant and Herndon? Owch.

-- To those of us who were complimenting Chris Spencer after his sub in week 2..... the fun is over. Spencer? Owch.

However, big props to Josh Brown, who has done us consistently proud after missing the potential game winner in Washington last year. That field goal would have been good from 60. No question.

Any other thoughts? Tell me. This was a game that vaulted us into a solid lead in the NFC West, and back into contention for home-field advantage (the only other 5-1 team is the ultra-surprising Saints). Let's take care of business at home, Hawks. We should beat the Vikings, if we don't let down after a very emotional win.

posted by colin_hesse @ 9:25 PM  5 comments

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Scientific Method: Week 6

My laptop has been malfunctioning for the last couple of months, due to some chip inside not reading that I have plugged it into the wall, and only draining the battery. That has sucked, because the only other computer I own was built in 1999 and has about 7,493 viruses cohabitating inside its mainframe.

Thus, I finally called HP the other day to inqure about getting my laptop fixed. I was greeted by a nice gentleman named, "Mike". I put the name in quotation marks because if his name was Mike, MY name was Lu Chow Sun. "Mike", for some strange reason, sounded EXACTLY like a guy from India, with a raging accent to boot, meaning that I couldn't understand a large portion of the words coming out of his mouth. It took me about fifteen minutes to convince him that the problem was inside the laptop and not due to the battery or AC adaptor (I knew this since I have two of both and everything doesn't work with the laptop), and I was put on hold to speak with shipping about sending my laptop to them to be fixed. Ah yes. This was also after he was programmed to ask me several questions about my personal life while the computer futzed around.

"Ah..... you work?"

"What?"

"Work. You do work?"

"Um, kind of. I'm a graduate student. In America."

(Silence)

"You studies, they going well?"

"What?"

"Are you having some good studies?"

"Sure. Can we talk about my computer?"

"That will be $398.42."

So, after being on hold for a half-hour, I hung up, only to get called back by "Bob", who ALSO surprisingly sounded like he lived half a world away. I won't go into that conversation, but, end of story, I either agreed to have them fix my computer or marry my first-born son to the daughter of the night-shift supervisor. We'll find out in due time.

As for football, the Scientific Method once again rocked said kasbah last week with a sparkling 12-2 mark, only marred by the Cardinals finding the 1 in 19 chance of losing that game after leading 14-0 at home to a team led by Damon Huard, and Brett Favre handing the Rams their SECOND luck win of the season. BUT THEIR DEFENSE IS AWESOME!!!!

More on that during the picks:

Sunday:
Buffalo at Detroit

Well, now, here's a FUN game to begin the journey into Week 6. McGahee! Losman! Kitna! Jones! Naked Guy! Ivy Leaguer! It's the NFL, baby! I shudder to think about how many yards McGahee might get against that atrocious Detroit defense. I also shudder to think about how close the Lions have been to winning games the last couple of weeks (one week against St. Louis, tards). Basically, a lot of shuddering. How do you pick that which has no talent? On other side? I know how. Through science. To the observatory!!!
Scientific Pick: Buffalo

Carolina at Baltimore
Thank you, Steve McNair, for futzing up a winnable game on Monday night in Denver. You played terribly, which FINALLY exposed that offense as NOT REALLY THAT GOOD. Carolina has played just well enough to win the last three weeks, barely eking a home game past Cleveland. Oof. Again, not a fun game to pick, since both defenses should handle either offense pretty handily. I guess it'll come down to turnovers, which, surprisingly, leads me to pick.....
Scientific Pick: Baltimore

Cincinnati at Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay actually looked decent last week, as Cadillac Williams showed up and Bruce Gradkowski, while not awesome, didn't suck. This, however, is Cincy, fresh off a humiliating loss to the Patriots and a bye week to stew. Will they allow Williams 150 yards on the ground? Sure, that running defense is pitiful. Will Carson Palmer and that offense be stopped for another week? All signs point to absolutely not, you idiot.
Scientific Pick: Cincinnati

Houston at Dallas
Houston's passing defense reminds me of UW's passing defense the last couple of years. 3rd and 2. 3rd and 12. 3rd and 22. It didn't matter. Some safety or cornerback would get burned for the big gain down the field. Houston's pass rush has also been nonexistent, which is really the one sure way to stop Drew Bledsoe. If he has time to throw, which he should, he can pick apart a secondary, especially with the weapons at his disposal. Time for the Tony Romo rumours to get put on hold. Until NEXT Sunday.
Scientific Pick: Dallas

NY Giants at Atlanta

Ah, yes. Atlanta. Good ol' 3-1 Atlanta. With an option running game that, by now, opposing teams have seen for four weeks. What is the HUGE weakness of the Giants? Why, that would be the secondary, which is putrid. What is the HUGE weakness of the Falcons? Why, that would be the passing game, which is putrid. Hmmmm. Well, if the Giants weakness is nullified, leaving them to do everything they are actually good at, that bodes well for the Falcons to learn the meaning of overhyped once again.
Scientific Pick: NY Giants

Philadelphia at New Orleans

Look. Katrina was a tragedy, and it is a heartwarming story to see the New Orleans Saints give some joy to the entire community. But, honestly, people, enough is enough. They have beaten the Browns, the Packers, the Falcons (in their first home game), and the Tampa Bay Bucs, who were starting a newbie quarterback. That's about as unimposing a schedule as the St. Louis Rams. Philly, on the other hand, just beat the Cowboys and appears poised to assume control of the NFC East. Only one of these two teams, basically, is a top-tier team in the NFC.
Scientific Pick: Philly

Seattle at St. Louis
As Gavin wrote yesterday, I've been preparing all week to pick against the Seahawks. We seem to play horribly in St. Louis, even winning on a gift fumble last year by Shaun McDonald. However, I also want to spit in the eye of Bill Simmons, Vic Carucci, etc., who all believe that the Rams are awesome, with a hugely improved rushing game and overall defense. That's ridiculous. They have beaten, and I quote, the Broncos (who have played ONE good game this year), the Packers, the Lions, and the Cardinals. It took gift fumbles in TWO of those games to win, and they allowd the LIONS to score oodles of points. COME ON, PEOPLE!!! Yes, there is a chance we lose this game. But I refuse to include myself in the above category of individuals who believe that the Rams are for real.
Scientific Pick: Seattle

Tennessee at Washington

Buh. Another crappy game in what really is a crappy week in the NFL. Basically, any game containing the Texans, Titans, or Lions should be decided by a Madden 2007 game played by both head coaches. That, at the very least, would have some more excitement attached to it. Oh no! Clinton Portis is virtually injured! Oh no! Vince Young has an overall rating of 81, not good enough to more the football against a Washington defense with a rating of 94! I'd watch. This game? Not so much.
Scientific Pick: Washington

Kansas City at Pittsburgh

There is much joy in my heart over the Steelers' 1-3 start. Much joy. That was the one game I was looking forward to last week, thanks to the Hawks bye, and I was not disappointed. HOWEVER. I am surely not going to pick against them when they are going up against a hurt Larry Johnson and Damon Huard. I don't like them, but I'm not stupid.
Scientific Pick: Pittsburgh

Miami at NY Jets

Double buh. Include this game as another Madden possibility. The only intriguing storyline here is if Joey Harrington can actually become a certified NFL quarterback. As for the Jets? They actually got exposed against the Jaguars, letting some of the fat loose from Eric Mangini's oversized noggin.
Scientific Pick: Miami

San Diego at San Francisco

Seriously. Why do all these games suck? This is pathetic.
Scientific Pick: San Francisco

Oakland at Denver

Well, well, well. Oakland in yet another prime-time game. Good job, masters of scheduling. You were on the ball this time. Everyone wants to see Andrew Walters attempt to move the football against Champ Bailey. Everyone wants to see Art Shell "coach" on the sideline. Everyone wants to hear another three hours of, "Jake Plummer just doesn't look right" comments.
Scientific Pick: Denver

Monday:
Chicago at Arizona
If the Cards can't run the ball against St. Louis, do you really think they will run the ball against Chicago? If the Cards can't stop Damon Huard, do you really think they will stop Rex Grossman? If Joey Sunshine can't shut up for any amount of time whatsoever, is it legal for Tony Kornheiser to actually gag him and stuff him in a locker for the remainder of the season?
Scientific Pick: Chicago

posted by colin_hesse @ 10:30 AM  1 comments

Still Nervous

Gavin's optimism is reassuring, even if his best reasons are why the Rams stink. All my hope rest in what I've seen these teams play like in the past, not what they've showed my so far. The thought of losing this game makes me sick to my stomach. Not that I think we'll lose. But still...

I've got eels in my gut because :: Matt didn't trust his protection against the Bears. Yes he's been sacked a lot early this season, but he's also bailing when Morris does, in fact, pick up the blitz. If he's still running gun-shy and making poor decisions against the Ram's "pass rush", it won't matter how poorly the Ram's secondary plays or how awesome our receivers are.
On the flip side :: If Matt has time (and our O-line is playing like we know it can against underwhelming defensive ends and linebackers) then there's no problem. We're up 14 at halftime.

My vision blurs and my hands shake at the thought of :: using the past as a predictor. The truth is, we don't know what's going to happen Sunday. Furthermore, as fans, we're uniquely equipped to be able to do absolutely nothing about it. We can't change the outcome of a game. They can't hear me when I shout at the TV. We went to the Superbowl last year, the Rams did not. They are first in the NFC West, we are not. We both have a couple lucky wins in our picnic basket and whoever wins this game will go a long way in establishing the truth of whose division this is. We have yet to play consistently like NFC champions. Can we? Duh. But will we? I don't want to think about it.
On the flip side :: It's only game five for the Hawks. We have three wins no one can take away. Even if we had to wait 'till the last play to beat the Lions without reaching the endzone. This is the most difficult game of all our divisional matchups. So if this is it, the supreme challenge we'll receive in our divisional play... bah! Fey laughter! This could turn out as well as the Carolina game last winter that I had to watch on tape because Kazakhstan is too cold and flat for TV signals to be broadcast well. We have the far superior talent. Let's play like it.

The bottom line is :: the Rams are not the Bears. I'm confident Mo Mo will have a great game (check last weeks run D for the Rams) which, combined with Stevens being available as a target over the middle again, opens up tons of opportunities for us to score early and often. Our D may not be able to prevent the big play, but the Rams seem to turn the ball over just as often. Occasional big plays are no match for the breakout game I see Mo Mo and a very pissed Seahawks offence having tomorrow. Seahawks by 10.

posted by nach @ 10:16 AM  0 comments

Friday, October 13, 2006

Week Five: Hawks at Insanely Lucky CrapHeap (St Louis)

Ok. Here's the deal. This game is being overhyped. I know it. You, our faithful five readers, know it. Even Colin, who apparently has taken a much-needed hiatus from blogging (probably to return and actually make sense when he writes) knows it.

THE RAMS ARE 4-1!! The world is going agog over these Rams and their brilliant record, Bill Simmons is lactating in excitement over picking that St Louis had a chance to do well with an early schedule that included San Francisco, Green Bay, Detroit and Arizona. You think? An inebriated monkey could pick that they should be over .500 (I would have said 3-2, with losses against Denver and Arizona). Scott Linehan is already being fitted for his vestments, but seriously, the man is touched by the good Lord, because there is some serious prayer holding this crappy team together. I'm not even going to address this game in my normal fashion. You know why? Because I'm not that concerned.

Why should I be pessimistic? Well, I suppose that starts with the health of our offensive line, that Shaun Alexander and Bobby Engram could be out. Also Colin LOVES to talk about his "house of horrors" theory, he'll drone about that stupid thing forever if given the chance. (Yes, I'm trying to take a few cheap shots at Colin here... he keeps on having insanely good weeks with his picks and I have to get them in somewhere) Apparently the Dome in St Louis contains some magic pixie dust within that attaches itself to the brain of Matt Hasselbeck when ingested and forces him to throw the ball directly to Wil Witherspoon instead of Jerramy Stevens. I don't know, it's stupid, ask him for more explanation.

There are probably a few more reasons to be concerned about this one, and I'll get into the stats here in a sec, but I want to focus on why I am fully convinced that I'm going to pull up my recliner on Sunday and watch a nice Hawks win.

For starters, the Rams record is a total mirage. I have NEVER seen a luckier team in my short, painful existence on planet Earth. They do everything they can to lose games against bad teams, only for those teams to blow it at the end. Let's take a quick peek at three "wins" the Rams totally backed into...

1. at Arizona (win 16-14)
I think we can all agree that the Cardinals are not exactly defensive stalwarts. Well, the Rams averaged a resounding 2.3 yards per rush and were actually OUTGAINED on the ground by the Cardinals (which should never happen... ever). The Rams were actually up 16-7 at the beginning of the 4th quarter, at which point they promptly gave up a 16 play 87 yard drive for a touchdown, which included some atrocious red zone defense (allowing Edgerrin James to basically finish the final 25 yards). Then, the Rams, instead of being able to ice it, FUMBLE (read the articles and it sounds like the Rams never turn the ball over... ever) on their own 30. The Cardinals move the ball into field goal range, Kurt Warner fumbles himself, game over. This should not have been considered a win.

2. Detroit (win 41-34)
If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that Detroit's offense has not looked tremendously powerful these first few weeks. Just look at the scoreboard and tell me how impressive that Rams team is. St Louis got lucky again, converting only 4 of their 13 third down opportunities, and basically capitalizing on Detroit being morons and turning the ball over three times, which led to at least 10 Rams points.

3. at Green Bay (win 23-20)
This game almost made me physically ill. No one who watched this game should consider the Rams a good football team, of course the national media didn't which is why they're getting so much love. Green Bay (which S-U-C-K-S) was a significantly better team. Vernand Morency gift wrapped the first touchdown courtesy of being an awful running back, and then, once benched, was replaced by Noah Herron (this week's winner of the "who the hell is that?" fantasy performance) who ran 20 times for 106 yards. That's right... Noah "who the hell am I" Herron ran for over FIVE YARDS A FRIGGIN' CARRY. Then, just like against the Cardinals, the Packers have the ball inside field goal range, fumble it away, and the Rams get to feel good about losing to a better team.

I don't understand this. The Rams should AT LEAST be 2-3, and Bill Simmons should be regretting ever calling them a sleeper.

With all that said, here are a few more reasons we should feel good about ourselves.

1. Jerramy Stevens is back. If we don't have Shaun in the red zone, we'll at least have our best passing option, who hopefully can hold on to the damn ball. Remember, Stevens had a huge game last year against the Rams, who apparently thought he was a streaker or a harmless bunny on a few touchdown routes.

2. We are pissed. Think back to how the NY Giants came out and physically dominated the Redskins last Sunday. The Rams are due to suck, and we are due to come out and own a good team.

3. Don't believe the hype about the Rams rushing attack. Against Green Bay was the second time this season they've been unable to punch it in from first and goal at the one. They are 30th in the league in FO's Stuffed rank (of course we're at 29... but #3 in Power Success, another indicator that we're not as far away as Art Thiel thinks from being a better offensive team), and remember, they have only played one legitimate defense all year (Denver) and struggled there.

4. Yes, I'm concerned about Torry Holt. We have had problems with the deep ball so far this year. It's always a concern when you play St Louis, but they've taken many of these plays out of their normal offense. The Rams rarely looked down the field against the Packers, content with short "safe" passes, that if Green Bay linebackers could actually hold on to interceptions, would have resulted in at least three. Here's the good news. Against #1 WRs (and we've played some good ones), the Hawks have an insane -67.0% DVOA, #2 in the league. In other ways, we can gameplan effectively to remove Holt as a weapon. We've done it multiple times at this point. We're #10 in the league against the #2 (and 30th against the #3... go Kelly Herndon, who normally covers the slot).

5. The Rams defense is still bad. The defensive line isn't stopping anyone, as evidenced by ranking 32nd (out of 32 teams) in Stuffed, only halting teams in general rushing scenarios 12.7% of the time. This is absurdly terrible. If we decide to run on first down all game, we have an 87% chance of it being a positive gain. The Hawks, by the way, Stuff the opposing team 30.6% of the time (although we haven't been able to stop an opposing team yet in a Power Success scenario).

Yes, it is a tough divisional opponent. Yes, it is probably our toughest divisional game of the year. Yes, we may lose. However, we are not even close to the Rams from a talent level. They are playing way above their heads and it will catch up to them. Hopefully that will be on Sunday. I think we'll win by double digits.

posted by Gavin @ 2:49 PM  0 comments

 


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