Tuesday, September 16, 2008

NFL Week 2 wrapup

Week 2 in the NFL...

  • The Patriots weren't going to go 16-0 again even with Tom Brady at the helm, and it certainly isn't going to happen without him. But what we've seen from Cassel during the first couple of weeks is very reminiscent of what we saw when Brady replaced Bledsoe in 2001. The defense steps up, the offense gets more conservative, and they play defense, ball control and field position. They won a lot of games that way during Brady's first few years, and I expect that they'll win a lot of games that way this year, too.

  • One of the irritants in watching the NFL is the strutting and celebrating as guys cross the goal line. The touchdown dances are annoying, to, but the "styling" as people cross the goal line is a particular nuisance. And last night, we saw the logical extension of that nonsense, as Philadelphia receiver DeSean Jackson spiked the ball before he got to the end zone. Luckily for the Eagles, the Cowboys chasing him didn't bother to pick the ball up, so they got the ball back at the one and scored on the next play.

  • As a Patriot fan, I've rooted for Romeo Crennel to do well in Cleveland. But the decision to kick a field goal on 4th and 7 from the Pittsburgh 20 with 3:24 left was just painful. If that had made it 10-9, I'd have been OK with it. But it made 10-6, leaving them still needing a touchdown. Were they likely to get closer than the 20 in the last 3 1/2 minutes, given what they'd done so far? No, they weren't, and they didn't. Just a dreadful decision.

  • Look, the Chargers got hosed. There's no question about it. But I think it's fair to say that Denver was luckier than San Diego was unlucky. Yes, Cutler absolutely fumbled, Hochuli screwed up in blowing the whistle, and the Chargers should have just been taking a knee for the last 25 seconds. But San Diego did NOTHING to stop Denver on that last drive. To the extent that the Chargers had the game won, it was due entirely to a Cutler unforced error - the Charger defense had nothing to do with it. And even after that play, they had two chances to win, by keeping the Broncos out of the end zone, first from the 10, then from the 2 1/2. They failed both times.

  • Memo to Minnesota: When playing a team like the Colts, you need to score TOUCHDOWNS, not FIELD GOALS. The Vikings scored five times, taking a 15-0 lead. The Colts tied the score by scoring twice. And won it on a field goal. In a game that was, as Tony Dungy correctly said, "one of those games we probably shouldn't have won."

  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say:

    NY Giants at St. Louis - (On the 9 point spread) "Given what the Rams have done over the past year-plus, isn't that kind of low?"

    Atlanta at Tampa Bay - "I think Matt Ryan's going to be a good pro QB. He'll discover this week that there's a difference between an NFL defense and the Detroit Lions defense."

    Green Bay at Detroit - "The Lions allowed 34 to the Falcons last week. They're a better team at home, usually, but are they enough better not to lose by a touchdown or more? I don't think so."

  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say (and betting the opposite):

    Miami at Arizona - "I've been a Chad Pennington detractor for years, but it's because I've focused on his limitations. His arm limits the upside of any offense that he runs. But he's smart, efficient, and much better than anything the Dolphins have had since Marino retired. And once again, Bill Parcells has chosen to come in and rescue a team that had injury and ineffectiveness problems lead to a record that significantly underperformed its talent level. I think Miami actually wins this outright."

    Tennessee at Cincinnati - "Are the Bengals a great team? No. They'll be 8-8 again this year, as they have been basically every year under Marvin Lewis. And this week takes them to 1-1."

  • For the week:
    Winners: 10-5
    ATS: 7-7-1

  • For the season:
    Winners: 20-11
    ATS: 16-14-1

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