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 10, 2006

Ultimate Explosion!! - Week Five in Review

I don't think I would be a very good TV analyst. For some reason that job needs to filled by loud and large former jocks who eschew analysis for "analysis", which mainly involves making grandiose claims about players and teams without it needing to make sense. For example, ESPN.com is starting a "Five Burning Questions" feature with a few of their empty suits. This week's fun includes the following questions...

1. Are the Pittsburgh Steelers done?
2. Can anyone beat the Chicago Bears in the NFC?

For starters, can anyone tell me what the hell a "Burning Question" is? When did the word "burning" become an adjective? Is it because "flaming" has some, shall we say, different connotations right now? Can't call it a "Flaming Question"? I'm sure this is supposed to add a level of urgency to these questions, but it's moderately retarded because... well... it's Week Five.

Also, apparently they have five year old interns writing their "Burning Questions". The creativity (or lack thereof) is almost frightening. Last time I checked, the Steelers had 3 losses. That means they have a chance (albeit a small one) to be 13-3. And for anyone to claim, as basically ALL the pundits do, that the Bears have completely sewn up a Super Bowl spot, is so ridiculous that it literally kills brain cells. That's right... ESPN has succeeded in actually making people dumber through their "expert analysis". I could get completely drunk right now (and, to be honest, Merril Hoge often makes we crave a Fat Tire) and do less damage to my cognitive faculties than reading this gibberish.

Anyways, back to the week in review. This was a week that didn't include the Seahawks, which meant I got to watch a lot of football with very little emotional involvement. The Scientific Method, whose goal this year is to apparently avoid all forms of criticism by friggin' walking on water with his picks, went out and cleaned up... again.

Week Five Results:
Scientific Method: 12-2
Petey Prisco: 11-3
Bill Simmons: 10-4

Season Standings:
Scientific Method: 54-20 (54-20! What in the world is going on here!)
Petey Prisco: 47-27
Bill Simmons: 41-33

What in the World Were They Smoking?

I think what's obvious at this point in the season is that there are very few upsets in the league. In general, teams are taking care of business, even if it's close. For example, this past week the Rams eked out the win over the Packers, the Saints eked out over the Bucs, the Colts (AGAIN) eked out over the Titans. As such, the prognosticators who are picking it relatively safe are being rewarded. It also is definitely the case (same as last year) that there are some BAD teams and some GOOD teams, and not many in between. With the recent explosion in the salary cap, more teams who draft well are able to keep their talent, supporting their longevity. In other words, if you have a bad talent evaluator, it kills your team for years. I don't know if the NFL has seen anything like this before, and to all those MLB purists who point to all the recent new World Series winners... screw you.

The long and short of it is that there really isn't much to criticize. Yeah, Colin picked Matt Leinart in his first start, which is always a dicey proposition, but he did so against Kansas City and Damon Huard. Not exactly a sure thing from KC's standpoint, and it needed quite the Arizona collapse to come back and steal the victory. Brett Favre fumbled away Colin's other miss... he was that close to being 14-0. Stupid Favre.

The worst pick of the week was Bill Simmons' selection of the NY Jets over the Jaguars, which screamed "juggernaut loss". Never NEVER NEVER take a young promising team on the road against a solid defense and a good team in the middle of a two game losing skid. Of course I didn't mind this game, since Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew both got tons of fantasy points, cementing my victory of Colin (a preordained conclusion, but nonetheless gratifying). I don't understand Simmons sometimes. He talks a good game, about recognizing strengths and weaknesses, but generally gets infatuated with one good game or another (see: America with Chicago Bears).

Best Picks of the Week

I don't know... there really weren't that many difficult games to predict. I suppose those (Colin, Prisco) who took the Giants over the Redskins or Philly over the Cowboys did well, but you're still taking the home favorites. Denver was just going to beat Baltimore. It was a boring week. Wake me up on Sunday.

Biggest Questions of the Week

Is there a luckier team in America right now than the St Louis Rams? Simmons has to be crowing about his bandwagon, but this team is not one, but TWO late game fumbles away from being 2-3. Their field goal kicker (Jeff Wilkins) is carrying my fantasy team by being on pace to obliterate the single season field goal record, but good teams do not have a field goal kicker on pace to obliterate the single season field goal record. They let Noah Herron (if you don't know who this is, don't worry about it, no one should) run 100 yards on them. They consistently let other teams back into games. They cannot punch the ball into the end zone when given first and goal on the one. This is not a good team, in fact they and the Ravens might be two of the worst 4-1 teams I have ever seen.

Speaking of the Ravens, Steve McNair finally didn't give the rabid ball washing fans a reason to shower more adulation on him last night in Denver. Let's face it, he has not played well in Baltimore. He is not giving them more than Kyle Boller did. He is missing open receivers, is not as mobile as he used to be, and, since Jamal Lewis can't run effectively anymore, doesn't have a running threat either to support his efforts. Overall, the Ravens again are going to depend on their defense, which means they are going to lose games, because the defense, although good, is not as indomitable as past years.

The lack of an offensive line in Arizona is finally gaining steam, a fact that brings much pleasure to the staff here at Crushed Optimists, who have been beating that drum essentially since the formation of this site. Edgerrin James is starting to sound like a man who is literally watching his Hall of Fame chances disappear before his eyes.

The Raiders are bad. Just bad.

The Jets and Bills are going to play well at home at times. They are decently well coached and have some aggression. On the road I wouldn't pick them ever.

Finally, what on earth is up with the Colts? They cannot put teams away, and you can't tell me they can afford this... the defense isn't improved, and there is no way one has to come back in the 4th quarter against the Titans. Not good. I'd be hitting the panic button when it comes to long term success if I was Tony Dungy, regardless of being 5-0. Luckily, there isn't a single team in the AFC that looks better.

Most Impressive Performances of the Week

The Bears beat another bad team, which is something we're going to get used to during the course of this season.

Probably the most impressive performace I saw was that of the Giants, who took an improved Redskins team behind the woodshed. Eli Manning was actually crisp and did great, especially on 3rd down, Tiki Barber got the running game going, and that defense, which looked so bad against us, shut down Mark Brunell and the Redskins offense. For a must-win game, for a team that looked on the brink of splitting down the seams, this was an inspired performance.

Donovan McNabb's performance was decent, but is being seriously overrated. The Eagles defense was much better, especially the blitz schemes, which (as always true with Jim Johnson) were creative and played to the specific weaknesses inherent in the Dallas offense. Still, if I was a Dallas fan I would be incredibly pissed off about that loss. The Cowboys, in my opinion, outplayed the Eagles. They had a chance to tie that game at the end, and if not for those big pass plays would have completely dominated. The Eagles had about six HUGE plays go their way (the punter having the ball go through his hands, the Drew Bledsoe fumble on the next possession, the 60 yard pass to LJ Smith, the 80 yard touchdown to Hank Baskett, the 40 yard flea flicker to Reggie Brown, and the final interception in the end zone). Out of the 38 points put up by Philadelphia, all 38 came out of these plays. The Eagles could not sustain a single drive down the field ALL GAME. The flea flicker should have been intercepted. No way that pass should have been completed. Anyways, I'm not buying the Eagles love after this game. If anything, I'm a bigger believer in the Cowboys. I think Dallas is the best team in the NFC East right now.

Next week the Hawks get to introduce St Louis to what a real team looks like... without fumbles.

posted by Gavin @ 2:17 PM  0 comments

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