After the Bears pushed aside the flailing Chargers I was going to lead off the post with an anxious eye toward Christmas Day. Bears @ Packers. Game of the century. Packers could be sitting on 14-0, Bears could be riding a 9 game winning streak of their own. Forget about presents, we’ve got the best football game of the season. But, Cutler’s hurt. He broke his thumb, and the Bears will be ushering in the Caleb Hanie era. I know what you’re thinking. What about Todd Collins? Well, he’s no longer on the depth chart. The 3-hole is being occupied by Nathan Enderle. Who? The pride of Idaho. This feels like a case for Jeff Garcia.
The question is, are the Bears really done? They’ve won plenty of games this year without Cutler being stellar, but with Cutler in there, there’s the threat he could make a throw or two. Is this going to be one of Cutler’s hot games? And, now you’ve got to wonder if Hanie can be good enough to allow the Bears to continue to do what they do, which is pound you into dust with Matt Forte and their defense. You look at the next four games for Chicago, (Oakland, KC, Denver, Seattle) and think that Hanie could probably keep them competitive, but it’s further down the road you’ve got to look to see the real impact of losing Cutler and his gun-slanging potential.
The other question this raises for me is, why is the NFL’s trade deadline so early in the season? I know NFL teams haven’t really figured out how to wheel and deal like they do in MLB, but this seems like a classic case where a struggling team could ship off a QB and have a nice little win-win. Now, this isn’t a good example, because I’m sure now that Donovan McNabb is worse than Caleb Hanie, but I don’t feel like skimming through every roster. But, say, the Vikings were still starting McNabb and he was playing decent. They could just package him off to Chicago and go with Ponder. Or, the Titans could trade Hasselbald. That kind of thing. The season is just past halfway done, and the Bears are stuck with what they’ve got, or sweet-talking David Garrard.
College Football BCS intermission. So, I’m no college football junkie, but from what I gather, everyone lost this week. Except the holy SEC trio of LSU, Alabama and Arkansas. Does anyone really think Arkansas is the 3rd best team in the country? Honestly, no one has any idea who the 3rd best team is. The national high school rankings are probably more accurate. So, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Oregon and Clemson all go down. Oklahoma or Oklahoma St. is going to lose at least one more time, and the way I’m looking at it, an all-SEC title game looks inevitable. The funny thing is, #2 Alabama who already lost to LSU, has a much easier path to the title game than the #1 Tigers. They basically have to beat Auburn, and they’re in. LSU and Arkansas have each other and then the SEC title game. Is there any way OK State or another team could climb back up to #2? I’m not a big fan of conference games for the national title. Even if they are the two best teams. Shouldn’t a conference decide its champion? Isn’t that the point? If we know that LSU already beat Alabama, why not have them play someone else? If ‘Bama wins the rematch, what does that prove? It’s so unbelievably messed up.
Brief Eagles Intermission. I heard a comedian say once that you could hit a cat in the head with a tennis ball 100 times and it’d be funny every single time. That’s kind of how I feel about Eli Manning fumbling on a late drive against the Eagles. Sure, he wasn’t going for a slide this time around, but the result was the same. The Eagles are still a mess, and still well behind NY, but some measure of relief for Eagles fans that the Giants don’t pull off the sweep. The Eagles continue a maddening year. Their next loss will officially bury them, but before that they play the type of defense that if they could have played in half their losses this year, they’d be 7-3–at worst. And yet, if they were 7-3, it’d be a soft record, because they can lose to any team out there. They’ll probably prove that against New England and if not, surely the following Thursday in Seattle. Expectations are a funny thing, aren’t they? Vince Young was 90% horrific, but one good drive and everyone will be loving him this morning.
Five Fantasy Eye Pokes, Frustrating Blow-Ups, Etc:
1. Eli Manning. Manning shredded the Eagles earlier in the year and there was no reason to think he would fare any different this time around, but the Eagles got a ton of pressure, the Giants had some key early drops and the rest was history. Luckily, I traded Eli on Friday. Someone else’s problem.
2. Kevin Smith. Did anyone know Kevin Smith was still in the league? I really thought the equipment manager was Mo Morris’ back-up at this point. There was Smith out of the darkness for a buck forty and two scores. Meanwhile Megatron goes mostly quiet on a 49-point day.
3. Shonn Greene. Every. Single. Week.
4. James Starks. How can the best offense in the league not have a viable RB option in fantasy? I have Starks. Was so thrilled with myself when I drafted him late and Grant started the season as terribly as predicted. But, the Packers refuse to let him in the end zone. Two, that’s TWO (2), fullbacks got TD runs yesterday. Starks? Nothing.
5. Torrey Smith. Ok, everyone go pick him up (again). Start him because you’re desperate. And, watch him trend back to zero. Maybe not. The guy is fast. But, I’m just bitter because I’ve already picked him up and cut him this year.
Arbitrary, But Definitive Top-10:
- Green Bay 10-0, eked out Bay of Pigs.
- San Francisco 9-1, 5 game division lead. Lulz.
- Baltimore 7-3, Need an AFC team.
- Chicago 7-3, In Memory of Cutler’s healthy thumb.
- Pittsburgh 7-3, Standard Bye-Week Bump.
- New Orleans 7-3, a soft 7-3, says me.
- Houston 7-3, In Memory of Schaub’s healthy foot.
- New England 6-3, Assuming they take care of Palko
- Oakland 6-4, Carson Palmer: Winner.
- Cincinnati 6-4, Still feisty, screw Dallas.