Has anyone discussed how lucky the Packers are? I accept any and all Favre scorn, but he was still a good, if not always great, QB. The Packers were in capable hands during his tenure. It’s common for teams that lose a QB like Favre to go into a decade-long tailspin where they shuffle through QBs like a teenager shuffles through a stack of ironic T-shirts at Old Navy. Not the Packers. They boot Favre and turn over the keys to Aaron Rodgers, who’s a lot like Favre–minus the mind-numbing “gun slangin'” attitude and 15 INTs a year. The Packers left Favre out to dry at some points during his career, and maybe that’s a reason why he developed into a such a risk-taker, but with Rodgers the Packers take no risks. They just blow teams out. It’s merciless.
I’m sure NFL die-hards and blowhards would tell you otherwise, but the only real intriguing question for me left in this NFL season is, can the Packers go 19-0? I don’t think they can possibly lose to the Chiefs or the Bears, who engaged in one of the top-5 ugliest games of the season in week 13. In fact, the teams that give Green Bay any trouble at all are the ones that score with them for a while, so forget about Chicago and Kansas City. The Lions on the last day of the season is intriguing mostly because the Packers will only be playing for history. Does Rodgers sit? Does he play a half? Do they go for the kill? The Lions could be playing for a spot in the playoffs. I think the Packers have a taste for 19-0. It’s probably a record they think “belongs” in Green Bay. I say the pedal stays down.
So, that would leave the playoffs. Some type of Falcons/Saints/Steelers journey, or whatever group of teams you want to concoct in that brain of yours. It’s been my casual opinion all year that the Packers don’t have the defense to go undefeated. They’d catch a bad break, maybe turn the ball over a couple of times, and a team would slip by them 35-31. That could have happened against NY, but they dodged that bullet. I’m thinking they’ll have to dodge at least one more in the post-season. They’re a machine on offense. They’re a lot like the 16-0 Pats team, except probably even more pass-happy. Can the Saints outscore this team? Could Tebow beat them? Could the Steelers, with 2 weeks to prepare, slow them down in a Super Bowl rematch?
That’s the real debate in my mind. If you want to play 2nd NFC wild-card scenarios in your head, go ahead, but we all know that team is going to end up going to S.F. and crushing the Niners, so what difference does it make?
How ’bout those Eagles? Proving the Dolphins are a wretched bunch was a service to the league and the city of Miami. You’re welcome, Dolphins fans, for officially getting rid of Sparano and ending the Matt Moore era. That had to send shivers down the spine, thinking about another year of Moore and/or Sparano. Now, you can implode to 5-11 and take a QB in the first round. The Eagles played a nice 1st half. Finally some turnovers, created a ton of havoc with the pass rush, and that was all they needed to beat Miami, who like I mentioned before–isn’t good. The effort reminded me of the Redskins game. Win covers up a blah 2nd half and the fact that Vick wasn’t real sharp. The Eagles pipe dream playoff scenario rests on about 100 things happening in perfect order. They include the Redskins beating the Giants next week, winning out, and Andy Reid successfully completing the 2012 Broad Street Run. Those are listed in increasing order of probability. I haven’t turned on sports talk yet, so I don’t know the pulse of the city, but I’m thinking 45% are on board the 8-8 division win train, 45% are pissed they beat Miami, and the last 10% are worried about Giroux’s head.
Are you kidding me, Ryan Braun? An interlude. I thought we were almost past this PED stuff in baseball. Sure, the occasional old guy would get busted. Perhaps a fringe minor league player would take a chance, but I didn’t think we’d see a star player get caught. Not that I believed in 100% innocence, but if someone established was going to risk it, I’d assume they had a foolproof way of circumventing the system. But, I guess that was a naive way of thinking, because Braun already got his mega-deal. And, if this is true, and he was using before that mammoth contract extension, well…there’s your risk/reward. Braun is appealing the case and his representatives seem especially adamant about his innocence, but I don’t remember a PED case ever being overturned. Perhaps the best-case for Braun is he takes the suspension, but floats some excuse…that most people won’t buy. The embarrassment for MLB is already off the charts, thanks in part to Braun’s recent MVP and an old Bud Selig quote. Baseball fans…it’s time to crank back up the suspicion machine.
Five Fantasy Eye-Pokes, Poorly Timed Blowups and Implosions–Playoff Edition.
1. Arian Foster. I imagine many people rode Foster and the Texans running game right into the playoffs. Enter those Bengals. Foster churns out 41 yards on the ground and millions get a 1st round exit for their trouble. But, he was projected to score 20…
2. Maurice Jones-Drew. He’s like the Tom Brady of 2011 Fantasy Football. How many people passed on this guy multiple times and then made an injury joke when some poor sap finally pulled the trigger? I think MJD had 150 yards and 11 TDs yesterday. Those are approximate figures. And, he still hasn’t been hurt.
3. DeMarco Murray. Murray, who likely saved a season or two from the waiver wire got hurt last night in the process of gashing the NY defense for 8, 10 yards at a clip. Painful, painful sight.
4. Mike Wallace. I am officially no longer sorry I passed on Mike Wallace. The guy is still an amazing player, but you can no longer count on him. Teams are letting Antonio Brown do the damage.
5. Rob Gronkowski. I’m listing him, because I want to know where you think he’s going in drafts next year? Is the 1st round unreasonable? 10th or 12th pick? There’s no way he lasts much longer than the early 2nd at this point, right? He might score 20 TDs.
Arbitrary, but Definitive Top-10.
- Green Bay–By 9 Miles.
- Pittsburgh–Big Ben is a shady human, but plays hurt.
- New Orleans–Actually impressed me a bit with a road win.
- New England–Cracks galore on defense
- Baltimore–Flacco is an anchor
- Houston–Yates is not the real deal, the defense is.
- San Francisco–By default, they’re tumbling.
- Denver–Tebow’s nickname is “Helium” because he makes you feel lighter than air.
- Atlanta–Season saving comeback against Carolina.
- New York Giants–Eli owns the 4th quarter–Except against the Eagles.