Sunday, September 18, 2005

Coconut Bangers Ball: Week One Wrap, Week Two Picks

Wrote this up this morning before the game. Obviously, there will be considerably text spent here tomorrow on the five hour marathon that was Michigan State-Notre Dame. But I think the fact that it's not even 1:00 on a Saturday night and I'm ready to fall over and die means it's been too long of a day so far. Hopefully another update tomorrow. Yawwwn.

WARNING: All NFL stuff. College reax coming sometime today. Maybe. Hopefully.

Looking back on the weekend of NFL action, and ahead to this Sunday’s game, I’m going to look back at what I thought about each team and decided if I under or overestimated them. I realize, this is a dicey proposition, because Week One results aren’t that important – remember Buffalo beating New England 31-0 back in ’03? – but I’m going to attempt to gauge myself on a few items.

Underestimated - I Didn’t Give Enough Credit To…

The Randy Moss Effect- The Raiders offense, minus Kerry Collins sucking, looked pretty potent with Lamont Jordan coming out of the backfield and Randy Moss streaking downfield, getting everybody else open and still bringing down balls in double coverage. Yes, he had that third down drop, but considering the Vikings scored all of six offensive points against the Bucs, the whole “Addition by Subtraction” argument is looking kind of weak.

Gus- I don’t want to do any jinxing as the Phins head on the road against an angry Jets team, but other than his usual deep ball overthrows, Gus played a really good game. He had another sixty yard touchdown strike slip through Chris Chambers’ fingers, so chalk that one up on the stats if you want to. He showed great poise, took some hits, kept moving the chains and almost looked like a real quarterback. I hope it lasts, but we will see.

Saints- Everyone always said they’ve had the talent, and now that they’re able to tune out whatever usually goes on in their locker room – doubting the coach, petty theft – with the whole Hurricane Katrina Rallying cry, they might make The Jump this season.

(But do remember, Aaron Brooks is still the quarterback and Jim Haslett is still the coach. Still, fantastic story.)

Ease of the Colts’ Schedule- Dill tried to convince me it was hard, but after the game against Jacksonville this weekend, it reads like this going into Week Eight, pre-Patriot bye: Cleveland, @ Tennessee, @ San Fran, St. Louis and @ Houston. Is there a game in there they won’t be favored by a touchdown in?

Bills- I realize David Carr might be the worst quarterback in the league – more on this later – but their defense was tough as nails. 70 yards passing!? 48 yards for Dominick Davis?! Every time I flicked to that game, the Bills were on offense. They’ll need better than five field goals when they start playing teams that have a pulse, but a quality effort from the Fighting JP Losmans.

Overestimated Maybe the NFL-related things I was a little too excited about, such as….

Kyle Boller and the Ravens offense- I’m sorry for trying to say Kyle Boller would be good this year, and that’s a definite “My bad”, yet I can’t help but thing that offensive scheme just sucks. How are they that bad with a pounding running game, Derrick Mason and Todd Heap? Surely the Colts are not that good. Why doesn’t Brian Billick at least attempt to bring a QB in? I know he got Boller in the first round, but I think the Elvis Grbac experiment has scared him away from even looking at other veterans.

David Carr- I realize that Dom Capers hasn’t figured out his offensive line is terrible and he needs to fix it, but 9-for-21 for 70 yards? Getting the ball to playmaker Andre Johnson three times for a whopping 18 yards? After watching the Ravens game and seeing the numbers from this game, I really wonder if a lot of offensive coordinators realize that you have to be able to go downfield to win games.

NFC West- Not that I had them highly rated, but they’re just terrible. The Rams look like The Mike Martz Rams, the Cardinals didn’t get the Kurt Warner Era off to a good start (although maybe the Giants are just that good?) and the Seahawks didn’t do anything in Jacksonville to make me think they weren’t the soft, won’t-win-in-December/January they’ve been the last two years. I hope the 49ers do win the division, if for no other reason then the easy column material for sportswriters everywhere.

Vikings Offense- I realize they were playing the Bucs defense, but they were at home and managed to get 33 yards rushing. Daunte Culpepper had negative fantasy points for poor Rob. At least on the bright side of things for Minnesota, their defense made some big plays, although giving up the 71-yard touchdown run to Cadillac on 3rd and short wasn’t the best of ideas. How long can Mike Tice keep this job?

Right Sometimes, when you’re good, you’re good, such as when I talked about these teams…

Chiefs- No wide receivers, no problem! Larry Johnson will just average fifteen yards a carry and your defense will intimidate the other team into fumbling it a half dozen times. Derrick Johnson falling to 15th in this year’s draft is going to be looked on as the “How is he GM of an NFL team?” moment for the next decade or so. The Bola punch is back, baby.

Packers- Yep, they suck, and now they suck minus offseason headache Javon Walker. Enjoy the farewell tour, Brett.

Falcons- Running game? Check. Special teams? Check. Little Vick magic? Check. Throw in the fact DeAngelo Hall is a freaking beast in only his second year, and you’ve got yourself quite the team here. Incredibly tough schedule, though, and they’re playing in what’s clearly the best division in the NFC. It might cost them homefield, but if the Eagles keep struggling, who in the world is going to step in the NFC if the Dirty Birds don’t?

Patriots- Gotta be nervous about a QB coach calling plays, but Tom Brady is my new MVP pick for this year. Struggled running early, but when they needed to kill clock late, guess who managed to get the job done.

Jaguars- I’m still skeptical about this pick, as the Seahawks are probably just an abysmal, terrible team, but this weekend will tell us everything we need to know about Lord Byron and his friends. If Fred Taylor’s leg holds out, watch oooout…

Broncos- Yeah, let’s bring in Cleveland’s old overrated defensive line. And trade Clinton Portis. And keep Jake Plummer at quarterback. I don’t think the Dolphins are just that good, so it’s either a mulligan for Mike Shanahan or a looong season ahead.

Bucs- I said after watching their preseason game against the Phins that if they could get solid quarterback play, the weapons were there. Might be the worst team in the NFC South/the fifth best team in the NFC.

Wait and See Not quite bold enough to buy into them just yet…

Lions- The Packers are absolutely terrible, and Joey managed to spring for 17 points against them at home. Let’s wait to see how they do against Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Carolina in the stretch between weeks four through six before we pass judgment on whether the College All-Star Team is a success.

Steelers- I’d like to re-predict them to win the division – since the Ravens are horrible – and I’m not sure if the Bengals have the defense yet, but before we hold off christening Big Ben and Willie Parker the Greatest Tag Team Ever, can they play somebody other than the Titans, who were downright lousy last year. Let’s wait until, oh, I don’t know, the Patriots in Week Three? Not a regular season victory means much in Blitzburgh, especially after the 41 points they gave up in the championship game last year.

This Week’s Picks

Steelers (-6) over TEXANS
Vikings (+3) over Bengals
Dolphins (+6) over JETS
Lions (-1.5) over BEARS
TITANS (+3.5) over Ravens
49ers (+13) over EAGLES
Jaguars (+9) over COLTS
Bills (+2.5) over BUCS
Patriots (-3) over PANTHERS
Falcons (+1) over Seahawks
CARDINALS(-1) over Rams
Chargers (+3) over BRONCOS
Browns (+6) over PACKERS
Chiefs (-1) over RAIDERS
COWBOYS (-6) over Redskins
Saints (+3) over GIANTS

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