Tuesday Morning Self-Esteem Check.

Better than Tuesday Morning Body Check.

You know what term annoys me a little bit?  “Blue-Collar Sports Town.”  Fans love to place themselves among a blue-collar fan base.  It implies you know the game, respect hard work, and don’t take well to players like Cole Hamels.  My question is, do White-Collar Sports Towns exist?  Is there a city out there where the fans are like, give me a roster full of pretty boy slackers.  Winning or losing?  Who cares?  Are our players dominating on Twitter?  I don’t really think those cities exist.  I’m sure in some places like Miami or San Diego the fans are a little less intense, but I think that has more to do with other recreational outlets rather than the number of plumbers within the city limits.  Anyway, we’ve got some real white-collar handicappers around here.

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:  

  1. Big Dub:  34-22-4
  2. Grossy:  32-25-3
  3. JCK: 31-28-1
  4. Kraft:  28-27-5
  5. Nichols:  27-31-2

The “Thank God for the Colts,” Pick of the Week.  

It  wasn’t our finest hour here this week.  I’d rundown the stats, but I don’t believe in that kind of negative reinforcement. I’m going to chalk it up to being distracted by the holiday.  After all, most people who visit this site love to eat.  Oh, and they’re all staunch family men as well.  Does that sound good?  Anyway, about the only thing we did right was have 4 people pick against a Colts team that hadn’t won a game all year.  Pretty edgy stuff, right?  The problem with this strategy is that if we want to piggyback on the Colts next week, we’re probably going to have to lay about 3 TDs.  Then we’ll find out who has the courage.

The “At Least It’s Victoria Secret Fashion Show Week,” Awful Pick of the Week:

Well, Dub was the lone holdout on the Colts.  Not sure of the thinking there.  And, plenty of people piled onto the G-Men only to watch Drew Brees throw for about 1,000 yards in the 1st half.  But, on a tough week, the editor has to take one on the chin for his contributors here.  If you go back and read my picks, you’ll find that I imply picking the Redskins would mean you don’t watch football.  Well, I’m still not aware of a correlation between picking winners and actually watching the games.  Does it help?  Maybe, but not when you are deciding a winner between two NFC pieces of trash.  I’m going on record now saying I will not pick the Seahawks/Eagles game under any circumstances.

***

D.A. Fantasy Football Standings and Summaries

Another great D.A. week.  We had one of the closest games in D.A. history fall right in the middle of the playoff hunt.  We also saw more injuries, and what will likely cause an influx of even more new names into the talent pool.  The standings are starting to shake out.  We have a clinched playoff spot, and 2 teams in deep trouble with two weeks to go.  However, after some rudimentary calculations, I think everyone still has a chance.  Is it going to happen if you’re 4-8?  Probably not, but don’t give up the faith.

D.A. Standings:

  1. Neckbeards and Codeine:  9-3 (331.25 points)
  2. Kraft:  7-5 (397.75 points)
  3. JCK:  7-5 (234.25 points)
  4. Fake Chow:  6-6 (295.75 points)
  5. Eli Esses D:  6-6 (165.75 points)
  6. Team Horse Face:  5-7 (277.00 points)
  7. The Shiva Cry:  4-8 (237.25 points)
  8. The Slop Jocks: 4-8 (202.25 points)

Eli Esses D Rumbles Into Playoff Chase with 30 to 14.75 Win over JCK

It’s been a long journey for Big Dub.  And, time will tell if his troublesome start in terms of point total (-55 points through 3 weeks) can be overcome, but he’s certainly on the right track.  This week it was old-school Colt McCoy getting the job done.  McCoy has no identity if he’s not completing 47% of his passes and the Bengals held him in check on Sunday (26 points).  For JCK, the maddening lack of turnovers from Tim Tebow (7 points) continues to define his D.A. career.  He doesn’t fumble, he doesn’t get sacked–unless he throws for 38 yards he hasn’t been too viable.

Kraft Knocks Aside The Slop Jocks, 49 to 21, Nears Playoff Berth.  

Kraft’s teams have been pretty relentless this year.  The league’s leading point man doesn’t offer up many easy wins.  You need two solid efforts to get the job done, and The Slop Jocks couldn’t make that happen in week 12.  Curtis Painter, probably a D.A. Pro Bowl Selection, was solid with 29 points, but the Red Rifle (-8 points) would not comply.  It’s fitting perhaps that Dalton helps Kraft, who has such an affinity for him.  On his own team, we saw a possible reemergence of Josh Freeman (21 points)?  That’s always nice.  Freeman is awful.

Neckbeards Pushes The Shiva Cry to the Brink with 39 to (-15) Win.  

About a month ago this season went terribly wrong for The Shiva Cry.  Over the last 4 weeks, BK has only totaled 8 points.  Not exactly what you need for a playoff push.  His teams have been the victim of terrible timing.  This week for example, it was the suddenly competent Ryan Fitzpatrick (-25 points) that sunk Shiva’s ship.  Can’t blame him there, I was in love with Fitzy this week, and Ryan’s boys let everyone down.  For Neckbeards, the opposite has been true.  They can hardly make a bad move.  Of course, when John Skelton falls into your lap, you just smile and take the win.

Fake Chow Delivers Devastating 43 to 42.5 defeat to Team Horse Face

This was perhaps the biggest game of the week.  Two teams wrangling for that last playoff spot, and it came down to the smallest of margins.  One sack, one more incompletion could have turned the tide.  For Horse Face (noted masters of Thursday), Matt Moore got off to a slightly sluggish start (6.5 points).  But, on Sunday, he hitched up to D.A. MVP candidate Blaine Gabbert (36 points).  Of course, Gabbert wasn’t allowed to finish the game, and that could have turned Horse Face’s year.  For Fake Chow, Mark Sanchez dodged 4 TD passes to put up 7 points, and Caleb Hanie brought things home with a Gabbert-matching 36.

3-PT D.A. of the Week:  

Plenty of candidates, as is the norm these days.  John Skelton could have gone back-to-back.  Blaine Gabbert could win every week, and getting benched for McCown deserves something…but not this week’s D.A.  No, I’m going Palko.   He slipped through the cracks last week, but not this time around.  Palko’s stats were bad.  Four turnovers to start, but it was the timing of the picks that really deserves mention.  He did everything he could early to bury the Chiefs.  Then, as time ticked away and somehow the Chiefs defense kept them in the game, he threw a final pick on the last possession.  Seal the deal, Tyler.  So, for the combination of his stats and just sucking the will to live out of his team, we gotta go Palko this week.

 

 

Meyer, Duval, and Various Other Things.

Didn't Get the Ohio State Job.

We briefly talked about underrated movies on the blog last week.  Over Thanksgiving my sister offered about 235 choices that I’d missed.  But, Necessary Roughness was not on that list.  Maybe it should have been.  The movie keeps popping into my head.  First, I thought Scott Bakula may have to QB the Texans.  Now, Ohio State hiring Urban Meyer makes me think of Ed “Straight Arrow” Gennaro.  I still haven’t found a connection to, an at her hotness peak, Kathy Ireland, but it’s there somewhere.   Great flick.

I respect Ohio State for bringing in Urban Meyer, because it’s an honest move.  In Necessary Roughness, Texas State needed cleaned up, they couldn’t afford anyone but “The Arrow,” but Ohio State hasn’t lost sight of the task at hand.  They have to keep winning football games.  It doesn’t take long for a program to slide into mediocrity.  Michigan?  Miami?  Pretty soon you are piling up 7-win seasons and burning through coaches.  If your program gets too down on its luck, it’s hard to bring in that coach who can turn things around.  He’ll have better offers on his plate.  So, Ohio State isn’t going to let that happen.  They snag the guy with the impeccable track record of recruiting and winning, and dismiss the notion that his track record in other areas may not be so impeccable.

And, really, who is the coach with the clean resume at this point?  Are we going to trust anyone?  Why not just bring in the best coach and try to exert some control over his activities and the types of players he brings into the program?  It’s a lot easier than bringing in a boring guy who is just going to toe the NCAA line, but couldn’t recruit if his life depended on it.  Ohio State lost to Michigan this year, first time in a long time, and that’s a big deal.  They also went 6-6 and are still facing NCAA penalties.  Any coach would have their hands full with that scenario, and I’ll guess we’ll see if Meyer is the coach to drag OSU back to the top of the rankings.

***

If you are a a regular blog reader you’ll know that I am an unabashed fan of David Duval.  Duval took a step back in his comeback odyssey in 2011, failing to make the top-150 on the PGA Tour’s money list.  For a guy out of exemptions, it meant going back to the 2nd stage of Q-School–a humbling and hazardous endeavor.  A lot of pros (see John Daly) choose to eschew Q-School at this stage of their career in exchange for a life of sponsor exemptions and globe trotting for positions in a field.  I understand that impulse.  Once you’ve won a major, do you really want to be a Q-School failure?  If you don’t sign up, you avoid the awkwardness of not advancing, but Duval made his appearance two weeks ago at the 2nd stage and finished 2nd, easily advancing to the Q-School Final this week.

Even if the six-round struggle goes Duval’s way he’ll be further down on the status ladder than he’s ever been in his career on Tour, but you’ve got to respect that he’s keeping at it.  A lot of guys in his shoes would be on the corporate outing circuit and waiting for a career revival on the Champions Tour.  The truth is, it may take the Champions Tour for Duval to start winning again.  His putting skills will  be deadly on that circuit, but that’s a long, long way off.  In the meantime, DD tries to get back out there with the big boys.  At least the final stage has some familiar faces, Rich Beem, Daniel Chopra, Steve Flesch, Lee Janzen, Jeff Maggert, Shaun Micheel, and Boo Weekley are all also trying to get back onto the big circuit for 2012.

***

I have this really nervous feeling in my gut that the Phillies are going to announce a 4-year (vesting option 5th year) deal with Jimmy Rollins sometime in the near future.  I’m nervous about it because if they do sign Rollins it finishes the painting into a corner process that we’ve witness this off-season.  We’re going to change (our marginal bench players)!  I originally thought Rollins might get away and Madson would stay (wrong again, shocking), but that overwhelming offer from another team doesn’t seem to be out there for J-Roll.  And, the Phillies are so limited in their options to replace him.  The Freddy Galvis people need to get together with the why can’t Matt Rizzotti get some ABs people and try life on a deserted island.  Anyway, it seems like, for now the Phillies started this off-season with some good words and good intentions, but then realized they were married this to this core of players–something I’ve been saying for a long time.*

*Is this all a reverse jinx in hopes that Ruben presses the Acme TNT lever at the winter meetings?  Maybe.  That Cuban guy is still available.  The guy from Cuba, not Mark Cuban.

***

Quiz of the Day Nostalgia:  1990s Blitz.  Category: You Should Know This Stuff.  My Score:  24/30*

*Rusty.

Eagles (Others) Make it Official.

Happier Times.

There were some definitive losses in the NFL on Sunday.  San Diego showed they aren’t even willing to put up a fight in the sub-par AFC West.  The Bills, despite a much better effort, ended any hopes of taking advantage of a strong start to the season.  The Bears showed that life without Cutler could be very trying.  But, most of that was dwarfed by what the Eagles did Sunday.  A quick, 10-0, tease against New England, followed by 50 of the worst minutes of football you’ll ever see.  The defense was torched.  The offense was incompetent.  DeSean Jackson was benched.  Vince Young flashed his noodle arm, and the gluttons for punishment I call season-ticket holders started their official mutiny with a series of, “Fire Andy,” chants.  Andy would claim after the game that he didn’t hear the fans.  Does mean the chants didn’t exist?

I think those enterprising fans on Sunday broke the seal for in-game Reid-bashing, and the rest of the Eagles home slate (thankfully only 2 more games) will feature similar fan reactions the moment the Eagles fall behind.  The season-ending contest against Washington, which will likely be putting a cap on a 5 or 6 win season should be especially venomous–that is if people even bother showing up.  It was a wasted year for the Eagles, who regressed in just about every phase of the game except for those directly involving LeSean McCoy.  About the only debate left is, can the front office eat Andy’s deal if it gets bad enough?  Would they even consider it?  We know the defensive coordinator will fall on the sword again, but how many bullets can a man of Reid’s proportions dodge?

***

I should have looked up the odds on Patrick Peterson returning another punt for the Cardinals.  At least I could have hedged my bets.  Even with his track record the odds must have been pretty high, because no one in their right mind would expect the Rams to allow Peterson to do it again.  Wrong.  I think my relationship with P-squared has gotten off on the wrong foot.  He seems to have a vendetta against me, and there is no angst on my side at all.  I’m just watching in disbelief and hating on his quarterback.  Where is the ,”all he does is win games,” hype for John Skelton?  You talk about no-frills.

***

BCS interlude.  Georgia is the only team that stands in the way of an LSU/Alabama rematch for the national title, and I’m not entirely sure they won’t play that game regardless of the outcome this coming Saturday.  Somehow by blowing out an average Auburn team, Alabama erased any doubt that they deserve a rematch. After watching a bit of college football over the last two weeks, I realize that probably is the game that everyone wants to see, but I don’t understand what happens if ‘Bama wins a tight contest.  That result doesn’t seem fair to LSU.  Doesn’t a perfect regular season earn them the right to play someone new, even if they’re not as good?  Back in the days of NFC dominance, the 49ers didn’t beat the Cowboys or Giants in the NFC title game and then pass on the Bills for a rematch with the same team simply because everyone knew the Bills and the AFC stunk.  Anyway, I’d like to see Wisconsin play LSU.  I know rolling up Penn State isn’t anything special, though PSU’s defense had a pretty good year, but the Badgers are two pretty lucky plays away from being unbeaten and have serious offensive fire-power.   They should roll MSU, and then whoever they play in the Rose Bowl.

***

Here’s a random NFL observation.  How are these borderline awful teams putting together solid defenses while the upper echelon of clubs have trouble stopping scout teams?  I watched a good portion of the KC/Pittsburgh game last night (I don’t know why) and the Chiefs were relentless of defense.  Their offense buried them all day and still they had Pittsburgh in knots, and the Steelers are pretty strong offensively.  Palko turned the ball over 3 times in the span of about 4 minutes and they never broke.  They can cover, they can tackle and they get pressure.  What a concept.  But, they aren’t alone.  Jacksonville, Cleveland, Washington, Seattle…none of these teams are any good on the whole, but you’ll have your hands full on offense against them.  Have they developed these defenses out of desperation?  Do the Packers inherently have less intensity on defense, because they know Rodgers is going to hang 30-35 regardless?

***

Five Fantasy Eye-Pokes, Random Blow-Ups of the Week:

1.  Reggie Wayne.  Does anyone in the universe still own Reggie Wayne?  Wayne was on my can’t cut list for a while, I finally got rid of him and it only took the guy 3 months to have a decent game.  Constantly targeted, soft-schedule, but keep getting out-performed by Pierre Garcon.  Nice swan song, Reggie.

2.  Matt Forte.  Matt Forte owners getting a little nervous?  That workload taking a toll?  Everyone who took Forte was in self-congratulation mode through 9 weeks, but now we can’t pencil in those 20 points a week anymore.  Especially with Hanie at the helm.

3.  Vincent Jackson/Philip Rivers.  Shonn Greene Perpetual Trophy.

4.  Maurice Jones-Drew.  How is this guy still healthy?  How many times did I pass on him and make a knee joke?  And, how is he productive when Jacksonville’s offense has absolutely no other option.  Blaine Gabbert offends your sensibilities.  They went back to McNowCown.  Ugly.

5.  Peyton Hillis.  It wasn’t a good year to draft a Peyton.  I think Hillis owners (if there are any left) had finally come to terms with his horrid season.  But, he’s back, and he got just enough touches and just enough yards that you’ll now be debating whether to play him.  Trouble.

***

Arbitrary, but Definitive Top-10:

  1. Green Bay–They’ll go 15-1.
  2. New England–Everything is Clicking Again.
  3. Baltimore–I guess that was a good win on Thursday.
  4. San Francisco–Re-gress-ion.  REGRESSION!
  5. New Orleans–Only if they win tonight
  6. Pittsburgh–Didn’t impress in K.C.
  7. Houston–I think T.J. Ford is their starting QB.
  8. Atlanta–Could be dangerous come wild-card time.
  9. Oakland–Snag Palmer off waivers.
  10. Dallas–Can’t keep them away longer.