Friday, October 1, 2010

inaugural phootball phriday

redskins @ eagles
for kevin kolb, the combination of sucking for one half and bumping his head real bad proved fatal. michael vick is back and looks prepared to exceed his best seasons in atlanta, where accuracy issues held him back. the new vick is just about perfect. he still has absurd speed for a quarterback, and when evading tackles he looks like a cross between barry sanders and carl lewis. what's most impressive, though, is the fact that he hasn't thrown an interception yet, and seems to have developed the ability to move around in the pocket to extend a play. with the speed weapons the eagles have, this makes vick more or less impossible to gameplan against. but if there's anyone who knows how to stifle andy ried's offense, it's donovan mcnabb, and this would be why you don't trade your all-pro quarterback inside your division. the redskins blew a big lead in week 2 to the texans, and followed that performance up by letting sam bradford get his first win. suddenly, the season-opening triumph over the cowboys feels pretty far away. with green bay and the colts up next, a loss this week could send washington reeling. things would really get interesting if the redskins started 2-0 in the east, but don't count on it. michael vick is the best player in the nfl. eagles by a hefty margin.

niners @ falcons
i'm going to cover two of the teams that i was wrongest about in my preseason round-up. the niners clearly top that list. san francisco was a chic pick to win the west, and i'll admit that i jumped on a bandwagon. week 1 was an embarrassment for san francisco, getting demolished by their much less talented division rival in seattle. apparently, technical difficulties prevented alex smith from getting the plays on time, which meant pete carroll's defense had the drop on them every single snap. a 31-6 final makes that scenario plausible. in week 2, the niners came within a hare's breath of beating the defending super bowl champions. if they had avoided any of three fluke turnovers (a frank gore fumble and two tipped interceptions), they could have won the game. even though they dropped to 0-2, the niners looked like they were ready to turn the season around. but last sunday was deflating, a 31-10 loss to the chiefs, and following the loss, san francisco fired their offensive coordinator.
while i'm sure five days of practice will be more than enough time for the quarterbacks coach to turn things around, the falcons actually beat the saints. with a physical run game, and one of the best receiving tight ends of all time, atlanta will win this game, and ultimately take the nfc south. as for the niners, all's not fucked. if they can beat either the falcons this week, or the eagles next week, there might be eight wins for them in the remainder of the season. oakland, carolina, tampa bay, and denver are all winnable games, and the nfc west is still a division without a single good team. those of us on the bandwagon just have to hope that they can turn their offense around, maybe - i dunno - try giving the ball to crabtree.

ravens @ steelers
every season, this is one of the most fun games of the year. the steelers are off to a 3-0 start WITHOUT A QUARTERBACK! pittsburgh's defense is once again, the best in the nfl. they're giving up 11 points a game! they forced 7 turnovers against tennessee! holy fucking shit! it's a good thing anquan boldin got his touchdowns in last week, because they'll be quite a bit harder to come by on sunday. flacco will get hit hard, and ray rice won't get shit. but baltimore can win without offense as well. they're a top tier defense except for their secondary, and don't expect charlie batch to test that secondary, because charlie batch sucks (hanging 38 on tampa bay is more a sign of a pulse than of talent). this will be a close, low-scoring game, and anyone who thinks they know who's going to win is deluded. it'll come down to which team can make the big play on defense. personally, i believe in troy polamalu, the best defensive player in the league. but if ray lewis or haloti ngata forces a big fumble in the fourth quarter, i wouldn't be surprised.

bears @ giants
here's what i said about the bears just before week 1: "holy shit, the bears suck ass." along with picking the niners to win the west, picking the bears to finish last in their division, behind the lions, is starting to look a little foolish. it certainly didn't look foolish after week 1. as j-temperance said, "i watched megatron win that game," and indeed he did. the serendipitous season-opening win was followed by a win over the cowboys (who may have started slow out of the gate, but are still one of the better teams in the nfc). in that game, jay cutler made mike martz look like a genius, and the bears incorporated all of their best weapons. last monday, helped out by eight thousand green bay penalties, the bears pulled out a last second win. so, 3-0. and their next four games are really fucking soft: giants, panthers, seahawks, redskins. the bears could go into their bye week at 6-1, maybe even 7-0. it'd be quite a feat for a team that pretty much lost to the shaun hill-led lions.
the giants? a soft game? why yes, the giants play like a bunch of foreskins in blue shirts. they've lost their last two game by a combined 43 points. the future looks bleak. detroit, seattle, and jacksonville should still be wins, and you can expect them to eek out a division win or two, but the giants don't stack up against the league's better teams. while i don't think chicago is one of the league's better teams, the giants were in the habit last year of making bad teams look good, and making mediocre teams look invincible. the bears come in confident, and the giants are about to start unraveling. and the jersey turnpike will shed a tear.

bonus pick that doesn't count if i'm wrong: pats will beat the dolphins in miami on monday night.

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