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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Phinished?


It's gotta be 3, 4 o'clock in the morning. You've been up drinking since early afternoon, and at this point, the only thing keeping you up, is the boisterous promise you made when the day was much younger. You said you only stop drinking when it became humanly impossible to do so...


You take one more swig from that night's brown liquor of choice, hoping that it will close the chapter on the night's heroic events. And that's when it happens. That's when it starts to creep up on you...


It's that taste. The unmistakable burn. It's that days worth of wings, fries, cigarettes and the all important booze, making it's comeback. But it's not when you throw up, that's not what I'm talking about. It's that first pulse, that first push upward. You can swallow it down if you really try, but the damage has already been done. The bile, the half processed food, and all that delicious booze, it's sent the message that it's gonna come back up. And the signal of it's arrival, is that acidic burn that brings you to your knees, and tells you that you will never again put your body through this kind of internal anguish...





The burn. It's a feeling I knew all too well throughout college, and it's a pain that revisited me on Sunday as I sat and watch the machine like deconstruction of my Patriots at the hands of the lowly Miami Dolphins...


And why did it happen? Why did fans across New England get the feeling out hot dog chunks and battery acid moving up their esophagus? Well for the first time in what seems like forever, it was blatantly obvious that Bill Belichick and the Patriot coaching staff were simply out-coached. It wasn't Matt Cassel, it wasn't the Special Teams, and while the defense gave up a ton of points and suffered from suspect tackling, it was the staff's inability to adjust to the Dolphins' "Wild Hog" offensive set that was the main cause of one of the most shocking upsets in recent AFC East history. Belichick and his assistants were unable to adjust to the typically college run offense, and instead of business as usual, Bill and his staff are now left to ponder whether or not their team is as good as was once thought...


The answer to that question? Well for the first time in a long time, I'll actually have to plead ignorance. I don't think that defense is as bad as it showed on Sunday, but I do think that the inability of this team to mount any sort of comeback is rather disconcerting. Granted, I would have only given a Brady-led team just a 50-50 shot of winning this week's game due to the lack of defense, but this effort proved that a grind-it-out game, where the Pats hold the lead, may be the only type of game that a Cassel-led squad is going to be able to win. Hopefully the bye week will be able to address a lot of those issues and get the team back on track, but the loss definitely sent a loud message to the rest of the league. Jump on the Patriots, and they don't have what it takes to come back...


So it's on to the bye week. Will Bill and friends bring in a QB over these next two weeks after Cassel's lack luster performance? Probably not. But it's whether the defense comes out in week 5 with a no holds barred mentality that will really signal to me that we may not have lost all connection with the Tom Brady Patriots that captured 3 Super Bowl titles over the past 7 seasons...



Tackle Box
While The Pats may have hit a stumbling block in week 3, the Dallas Cowboys used their showdown with the Packers to serve notice that now they are the team to beat in the National Football League. Their offense is out of this world, their defense is just good enough not to let things get out of hand, and Tony Romo is quickly emerging as the type of QB that will just refuse to let his team get in any sort of rut. Essentially, I'm just patting myself on the back for picking the Cowboys to make the Super Bowl before the season started. I mean, since I picked them to lose to the Pats, I figure I have to at least save face by getting half of my Super Bowl tandem into the big game...


The other undefeated teams left in the NFL? Well it's just the Tennessee Titans, and these 3 other flunkies...




Baltimore Ravens: I know I picked the Ravens to be historically bad this year, but I seem to be the only one that is wetting themselves over their surprising 2-0 start. They still have a solid defense, but QB Joe Flacco's 57.7 rating, combined with the fact that they've only beaten Cleveland and Cincy (combined 0-4), doesn't bode well for their future. This week's matchup @ Pittsburgh should go a long way towards convincing me that this team's legit, or more than likely reassuring me that they're just as garbage as I originally thought they were...




Denver Broncos: On the surface, the Broncos look really good. They have the QB with the big arm, the stud receiver, the surprising rookie in Eddie Royal, and a head coach with oodles of experience. But look a bit deeper, and you'll see that while they're still very talented, their 3-0 record is a bit misleading. They had the refs hand them the game against San Diego, a missed FG saved them against the Saints, and their only road win came against a banged up Oakland Raider squad. And even more deceiving, is that before a week 7 showdown @ New England, Denver will only have to muddle through games @ KC, vs Tampa and vs Jacksonville. A 2-1 stretch there should do even less to tell us how good this team is. But hey, at least Brandon Marshall's arrest reports should keep us entertained in the meantime...




Buffalo Bills: You know what? The Bills aren't frauds after all. They may not have a defense as solid as Tennessee's, or an offense as good as the Cowboys. But they meet in the middle just enough on both sides of the ball to make them a major nuisance for the Patriots in their quest for another AFC East crown. And while nearly falling to the Raiders at home isn't going to do much to instill confidence, it's NOT losing those games that makes the difference between a team that goes 7-9, and a team that goes 9-7 and is right in the mix for a playoff berth...



Now it's time to review my picks from week 3. I've continued to dig myself out of the hole I built in week 1, but I'm still in search of that monstrous week that will help push me way over the top...
...Oh and I'd like to thank Lane Kiffin for doing his part and getting his Raiders to cover for me. It's just a damn shame that it probably won't be enough for him to keep his job, and for me to keep my winning "piss off Al Davis" strategy alive and kickin...


My Picks
Last Week: 9-7-0 (Top Picks: 4-3-0)


Overall: 25-22-0 (.532)

Top Picks: 9-4-0 (.692)


As for my college picks, well I got that aforementioned montrous week that I'm still looking for in the NFL. 15-3, man. Rake in the cakes baby. Rake in the cakes...


NCAA Top 25 Picks
Last Week: 15-3-0

Overall: 47-26-2 (.640)






Red Sox Update
Overall: 91-65, 2.5 games back in AL East, lead Yankees in Wild Card by 6


Leave it to the Patriots. Their penchant for making early season headlines has all but pushed the Red Sox to the back pages, and all but pushed their playoff clinching win on Sunday onto the proverbial back burner. And while the Sox have slipped a bit and allowed Tampa to take control of the division, their strangle on the Wild Card makes them all but a shoe-in for a post season spot. Some major concerns moving forward continue to be the health of JD Drew (shocker) and Mike Lowell, but I think the reemergence of Josh Beckett has to be a major source of inspiration. He may not have looked too stellar giving up 4 over 6 in his latest loss to Cleveland, but his 2.16 ERA over his last 4 starts overall has me confident he can again anchor this staf through a long post season run. For once, pitching doesn't seem to be the issue as we head for October. My worry, is that the offense, which has only averaged 2.8 runs over the past 6 games, won't have enough firepower to overcome the few nights to come where the pitching staff is going to need the big sticks to bail them out...






News and Notes


The doors closed for the last time on Yankee Stadium on Sunday night, and with them, go any semblance that was left of the once mighty Yankee dynasty. They haven't won a World Series since the turn of the century, their lineup is getting old, and they face a big time off season with the fate of their GM still very much hanging in the balance. They did put on a good show, though, when it came to closing out The Stadium. I just think they may have been putting an end to more than they had bargained for...


...oh, and the Mets are sliding again. So the Yankees have that going for them, which is nice...



The American's may have taken back the Ryder Cup, and Boo Weekley may have ridden around on his driver like Happy Gilmore, but for this guy, the whole thing didn't have the same luster without my main man, Tiger Woods. I get it. It's supposed to be a "team" event, and I'm supposed to cheer for my country. But that's not my style. And I think it's not so much the way I think, but the way the Americans think to boot. We run the best tour on the planet, yet we only win the Ryder Cup when our best player isn't on the course. To me, that sends an obvious signal. In a country where winning is "everything", it took the absence of Tiger Woods to give the US side that underdog mentality, and finally a reason to play and win as a team. The Europeans never seem to need a reason to play like a team, and when they finally came up against a team with similar, the talent rose to the top and they found themselves on the outside looking in...



Fantasy Update
Last Week: Hanyur's HamFighers 84 Heinous Montegna 78

Overall: 2-1-0, 5th place


Next Week vs FUCK BOSTON (1-2-0)


Living and dying by the sword is if nothing else a very entertaining strategy. Though Reggie Wayne, Patrick Crayton and Kellen Winslow left me high and dry during play on Sunday, it was none other than Brett Favre himself that helped bail me out, and lead me to a week 3 win behind his monstrous Monday night. It was a beautiful thing, my friends, and it puts me right back in the running. When you're 1-1, there's a big difference between 1-2 and 2-1. I managed to survive and leap over that first hurdle, and not a week two soon as a week 4 showdown with the league's 2nd highest scoring team looms on the horizon. The bad news is I'm going up against a pretty good squad. The good news is that after this week, I now have a fearless mentality, and the confidence to believe that when it comes to my Brett Favre led team, anything is possible...


Well I'm out, kids. But come back Friday for a fresh batch of my football picks, and make sure to encourage your friends to visit as well. It won't improve your health, and it certainly won't help your credit score. But it's sure to keep you informed, and possibly a little entertained. And those are never bad things, at least from where this guy sits...

Peace in the Middle...

2 comments:

steve.semple said...

Patriots, I was expecting further 'nut sack' comments from the Rooch. Where's the cutting edge?

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