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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What? Did Something Happen on Sunday?

Alrighty then. I've made three substantial predictions in the last month or so, and each one has been shot down quicker than the one before. I said Manny was gonna stay, and just a few hours later he was traded. I said Carlos Quentin would be the MVP over Dustin Pedroia, and then Quentin got hurt and hit the DL. Now, less than a week after proclaiming the New England Patriots as my 2008-2009 Super Bowl champions, Tom Brady suffers what could realistically be the "biggest" injury in the history of the NFL. So if you're counting along at home, that would make me a Nostradumbass-like 0-3 when it comes to bold predictions. Or does it?...



Just as we saw dozens of times during their historic 18-1 season, Tom Brady dropped back to pass on Sunday and uncorked a seed to Randy Moss. What happened next, will give new meaning in Patriot's history to the phrase"the time our star QB was injured for the season". Brady's knee was battered, Randy fumbled the ball, and just like that, the Patriots went from Super Bowl contenders to AFC also-rans. Bars across New England suddenly became filled with empty stares and armchair medical advice, and Matt Cassel began his attempt at becoming the next Tom Brady...

The result? Well it's tough to say. On one hand, he didn't fall flat on his face and actually led the team to victory. On the other hand, the Chiefs are prime candidates to be the NFL's worst team this year, and still gave the stunned Pats a tough battle in Gillette Stadium. What I will say, is that his performance was better than I could have possibly hoped, and that it didn't immediately have me packing it in and thinking about next year...

So, that begs the question. What can we realistically expect from Cassel and the Pats from here on out? Is it unrealistic to think that this team, with their solid defense and plethora of offensive weapons, can still make a serious run at this year's Super Bowl? Well to quote Mark Whalberg in The Departed, "Maybe I do. Maybe I don't. Maybe go fuck yourself". Simply put, I don't know nearly enough to answer that right now. As a fan, every bone in my body wants Cassel to succeed. But as an unbiased observer, my eyes tell me that the task at hand is probably just to great to achieve. To lose a QB is one thing. To lose your best player is another. But when both happen at the same time? Well that's probably just going to be too much to overcome...




And as for the Pats bringin' in someone like Culpepper, Chris Simms or Tim Rattay? That sex boat has sailed. There was a time in the pre season that one of them could have been brought in to compete for the #2 spot, but at this point of the season, anyone being added to the roster would be merely a fail-safe, a back up to Matt Cassel...



I do know this. Things just got a lot more interesting. And as I stood shoulder to shoulder with good friends, just hours after the game, we were reminded by running back Laurence Maroney that even in the darkest times, even in the face of extreme adversity, anything can happen. He said, "Nobody thought Brady could fill in for Bledsoe". And he was right. We were all wrong. So I say now, in the wake of the team's greatest adversity. Let's hope we're all wrong again...



Tackle Box
As usual, there were plenty of other interesting happenings during week 1 of the season. Here are a couple of things that caught my eye...

-Getting the kinks out, or flat out overrated? The Colts, Chargers and of course the Patriots were all pegged as the class of the AFC before the season started, yet all looked less than impressive in their week 1 match ups...

The Colts loss to the Bears was confusing, seeing as I was pretty sure Chicago was gonna suck. But I think the more work Peyton Manning gets in after missing the pre season, and the better the passing game will get, and Indy should return to form. After all, their whole offense is based on timing and chemistry, and even the great Peyton can't be expected to recapture that touch after just a few practices. Throw in the fact that his teammates dropped 4 passes for a combined 140 yards and 2 TDs, and I have to think that week 1 was more an aberration than a sign of whats to come...

For San Diego, they better hope and pray that Carolina is a lot better than people thought, or they could be in for a really long year. LT, Philly Rivers and the Charger offense was fine, but giving up nearly 400 total yards to that anemic Panther offense? And at home to boot? They better hope that game was an anomaly, or Norv Turner could be out, and the folks that call the Whale's Vagina home may be oddly enough wishing that Marty Schottenheimer was back in their midst...

As for the Pats? Well I think we've covered that already now haven't we?


-ESPN's "Jacked Up" segment was removed a year ago when Bills TE Kevin Everett was left motionless on the field, but leave it to the promotional nerds in Bristol to breathe some life back into that sucker. "Sunday Thunder", as it's been renamed, will give Chirs Berman, and noted Patriot hater, Tom Jackson, their outlet to scream like NSYNC fans, and pretend as if they've actually been watching any of the days action. Can you say, boom-shaka-laka?...


-As for my picks this week, everything basically unfolded exactly as I had predicted. Not really a good thing seeing as I had predicted mediocrity, but at this point I'll take whatever I can get. Rest assured, I'll be back on Friday with the money picks for this weekend, and after soaking up just a week's worth of knowledge, I'm actually going to guarantee a winning week. Can you say kiss of death?...



Last Week: 7-9-0


Red Sox Update
Overall: 85-58, 2nd in AL East by 1/2 game; 1st in Wild Card by 7 games


With all that's gone down this week with the NFL firing up and Brady getting hurt, people have actually seemed to forget that the Red Sox are in the midst of a pretty heated pennant race. Well, everyone except for yours truly. Here are a few notes on the Sox as they battle the Rays in the biggest series of the season, and attempt to overcome the upstart bunch and grab their second consecutive AL East title...


-David Ortiz said this week that his wrist is still hurting and has actually returned to making a "clicking" sound when he swings. Sure the Sox are still winning, but having Papi hitting .270 with just 18 homers heading towards the playoffs doesn't exactly instill confidence in how this offense will perform down the stretch...


-Some bad news for all you Jed Lowrie fans out there. While he still may be head and shoulders above that cracked out BeBe kid known as Julio Lugo, his offensive performance of late has been far from desirable. Since boosting his average up above .300 when he was given the everyday job at short, Lowrie is now in the midst of a 6-36 slump that has him down to about .275. His defense has still been solid, and his .356 on base percentage acceptable, but I think the days of Lowrie being considered a slam dunk as the SS of the future may now be over. Not that he won't be given a shot at the job, it's just that it doesn't seem as nearly the slam dunk as he did about a month ago...


News and Notes

-About the closest I've actually come to a correct prediction lately, was last week when I said I "hoped" Andy Murray would spice things up and make a run at the US Open.Well Murray did my proud, and though he fell in straight sets to Roger Federer, he helped serve notice that Rafa Nadal might not be as hot as we once thought. The best part though? Not that Roger captured his 5th US Open, and pulled within one major of Pete Sampras with his 13th overall, but the fact that some illiterate tool tried to call me out on my prediction. Did I actually say Andy Murray was from England? I think not. Last time I checked, the Scot was from "Britain", which includes England and all those other crappy places that consider mayonnaise a major food group. And if whoever left that comment really wants to talk junk, try leaving a name next time. And above all, try getting your facts straight...


-Word on the street is that Lance Armstrong is gonna slip on the unitard (stressing "tard", of course) and make a run at the 2009 Tour de France. If you actually care about this story, then I hate to tell you, but you're in the wrong spot. In the world I live in, the "real" world, bicycling is about as cool as AIDS, just no nearly as entertaining. Matter of fact, any bike without a motor is pretty much for tools. And the ones with motors are only good for two things. Jumping over stuff, and trafficking underground meth. So unless Lance wants to stuff a few 8-balls in the vacated sack that was his junk, you won't be reading about it here....

...oh, and did I mention I'm still convinced that he's some sort of roider? Because that's not helpin' his cause either...


Fantasy Update
Last Week: Hanyur's HamFighters 71 Rally Monkey #1 46 Overall: 1-0-0, 4th place


Next Week vs Han-Yur Goin' Down (1-0-0, 3rd place)

Favre to Cotchery. Favre to Cotchery. Favre to Cotchery. That was the plan heading into this year's fantasy season, and when my gamble paid off mere minutes into week 1, you know I was straight up giddy. My team, built to score touchdowns in bunches, did exactly that in leading me to a week 1 win, and I expect more of the same from here on out. Sure, 71 points doesn't exactly put me at "world-beater" status, but considering I got nothing from my defense, kicker and Maurice Jones-Drew, I'll consider this result as an encouraging sign of things to come. It better be, considering the tall task I have ahead of me this week, but I have to think my boys are more than up to the challenge. Shit, I got more Reggie's on my team than the Bed-Stuy Boys and Girls Club, and their ready to do some work...



And like that, I'm done. A little short on substance this week, I know, but there's only so much time I have considering my full schedule of keepin' it real. Make sure to check in on Friday morning for my complete breakdown of this weekend's games and of course my picks. Until then, I wish you all the best and ask that, if you see me in public, please leave me be...

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