Friday, December 7, 2007

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: NFL Primer Week 14

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is a weekly NFL primer. Nothing is sacred, not the players, not the coaches, and certainly not the betting lines.

I'll have to be honest with you, I'm not a huge fan of these Thursday night games, it seems a little too College Football for me. Not that I don't love college football, it is in fact my favorite. However, as the season progresses these matchups are less Virgina Tech-Boston College, and more Nevada-New Mexico State. Be gone with you. Sunday and Monday are NFL days, let's leave them that way, they're spreading the content too thin. Maybe not, since no one has the NFL Network.

The Good: Steelers at Patriots
Why is this good? I really don't know, because the Patriots now are the epitome of all that is wrong in football. They have the most evil coach, and they have the most surgically precise and merciless offense, and the Devil Incarnate Tom Brady. Seriously, it seems like everything he touches turns to gold. He doesn't get rattled and he always makes the play when he needs to make it. It's frustrating. I'd love to tell you that the Steelers are going to win this game, but I'll leave it to Anthony Smith to speak for me. It's a good thing that with Joey Porter leaving someone has taken over the role of mouth-no-brains without any slippage in production.

I really would like Pittsburgh to win this game so that Evil Incarnate doesn't have every single awesome record in the books. Realistically I don't know how much bulletin board material does for the other team, especially when they don't even know who said it. I don't expect either team to come out playing better just because some no name schmuck likely to be cleaning jocks with his tongue decided to shoot his mouth. The truth is, the things that Pittsburgh does on defense are the things New England has struggled with the last couple of weeks. They have given up sacks while Pittsburgh does a great job pressuring the quarterback. The defense has struggled with a power running game, and that's really the basis of the Pittsburgh offense. And when the play breaks down, Roethlisberger is a good enough athlete to either throw the ball 80 yards down the field on the run, or escape and get some yards outside the pocket; all things New England has not seen with the shit competition they played.

So, is it possible that Pittsburgh wins? On paper it makes sense that they would because their strengths are accentuated by the fact that they are also New England's weaknesses. Will they? No, and you can mark that one down.

The Bad: Cardinals at Seahawks
How do I move from a really good matchup, to an indictment on how bad the NFC has been this year? Well, I guess that's just as good as any. The Seahawks and the Cardinals are in the same division, and are fighting for the right to make the playoffs. The fact that a team as awful looking as the Seahawks is at 8-4 on the season is absolutely remarkable. I saw them blow a double-digit lead against Cleveland and nearly lose to the Jay here-have-a-crucial-interception Feely. On the other side, we have a team with half of the starters missing sitting there at 6-6 with a better than average shot of either winning their division or making the playoffs. That kind of thing should be outlawed.

Cardinals have already beaten the Seahawks once, and god willing they'll do it again, putting a big nail in the coffin that is Shaun Alexander. Let me tell you, while everyone was riding his jock during his only good season, I used him then lost his number. The guy is soft, and that's not an opinion, it's a fact. He and Cedric Benson need to go to dinner and moisturize each others soft girly hands, because they are both women in NFL pads. Anyways, a team that is 6-6 should not be charging into the playoffs in any year, except this is some kind of bizarro year. The Cardinals don't have a safety, are down their best wide receivers (Boldin and Fitzgerald) and are at wits end with their grocery bagger quarterback Kurt Warner. I know people are saying that he's playing better, but come on people, have you watched him? Don't tell me how awesome he is when he's chucking the ball around against the worst secondary in the league in Cleveland. If they're so happy with him, cut playboy Matt Lienart.

This is nonsense, a team 6-6 should not be in any kind of talk about leading into the playoffs.

The Ugly: Bears at Redskins
For one, this is ugly because this game garnered superlatives like, "Well, the loser is definitely not going to make the playoffs." That's so pathetic, that two teams at 5-7, that I already wrote about it. If you've skipped to the third part, I don't know what to tell you, you're a backwards reader. But really, this didn't get ugly until both quarterback were knocked out of the game. The joke here is, both of these teams are no worse at quarterback at the end of the game, than they were at the beginning of the game.

Rex Grossman was knocked out of the game Carson Palmer style when a defensive linemen hit him low. But, I have to say, there's a good chance that no one in Chicago shed a tear for Rex's career as a Chicago quarterback, and certainly not as many as the Bengals fan(s) shed for Carson Palmer. When we look at Sexy Rexy, we're probably all in agreement that his stint as Da Bears' starting quarterback, backup, or otherwise is probably over, and it will be marked with a dark spot. He took the Bears to a Superbowl, their first since Ditka, but that's not entirely true. What's more true is that he lost a season for the Bears where they should have clearly won the championship. His inconsistent and often downright bad play is what directly cost them the Lombardi Trophy.

I do feel for Jason Campbell though, he doesn't deserve such a fate. I'm not talking about the dislocated knee cap, although that sounds like all sort of painful. I'm talking about the years he spent under Joe Gibbs, which will be remembered as regression in his career instead of progression. I hope he gets better and comes back next year, because in the few times that I saw him not getting sacked or kneed in the face, the guy could ball.

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