Sunday, December 24, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
- San Diego 48, Denver 20 - LaDainian Tomlinson is the MVP. Not unlike the Heisman race, this one is over a lot sooner than it usually is. The San Diego Chargers are 11-2, best in the league, and are the clear cut favorites to win it all.
- Arizona 27, Seattle 21 - The Super Bowl runner ups are not winning the games that they are supposed to, as they fall to Edge James and Matt Leinart in Glendale. FOUR fumbles kill key Seahawk drives, yet they were a yard shy of going on to win the game.
- Tennessee 26, Houston 20 (OT) - Vince Young drops back on 3rd & 14 in overtime, then takes off for 39 yards scoring the game winning touchdown in his hometown, moving to 6-4 as starter. Could it have gone any better?
- Jacksonville 44, Indianapolis 17 - Many expected the Jaguars to pressure Manning, rough up the Colts receivers, and run the ball up the middle against the soft Indy defense. But no one expected 375 rushing yards and FOUR touchdowns, and an additional one on a Jones-Drew kick return.
- Miami 21, New England 0 - Let me get this straight. Future hall of famers Tom Brady and Peyton Manning get shut down and rookies Matt Leinart and Vince Young win. And people ask me why I love the NFL.
- New Orleans 42, Dallas 17 - The Saints are the next greatest show on turf. Opposing teams defenses would be so focused on Marshall Faulk that it would allow stars to be made out of Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, and Torry Holt. Opposing teams are now so focused on Reggie Bush, that stars are being made out of Drew Brees, Marquis Colston, and Devry Henderson. After Bush's amazing 61-yard touchdown catch and run highlighted with a couple of his signature jukes and cutbacks, Al Michaels pointed out that Reggie Bush has the number one jersey sold in the NFL. John Madden follows that up with, "I am about to buy one too." Yes, Drew Brees is an MVP candidate and Sean Payton is Coach of the Year, but the Saints have the number one offense because of Reggie Bush.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
- The Seattle Seahawks upset the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High Sunday night, moving to 8-4, tied for second place in the NFC with Dallas and New Orleans.
- In a related story, Josh Brown has just been elected as the new mayor of Seattle. The Seahawks kicker hit his FOURTH game winning field goal this season, tieing the NFL record. Just one of many ways of putting this in perspective: he is single handedly responsible for half the Seahawk victories this year.
- Oh, Josh Brown also forced a fumble on a second half kickoff. What a stud.
- The Seahawks are so ridiculously banged up, its a miracle everytime they win. I do not even want to begin to name the injured players let alone the ones who are obviously playing hurt, the most obvious of which is Matt Hasselbeck.
- The injuries to Walter Jones and Mack Strong, the quiet rocks of the high-powered Seahawks offense for years, could have easily spelled doom. Thankfully, Jones quickly returned while Strong was in and out. Tight End Will Heller filled in at fullback for the better part of the second half when, surprisingly, Shaun Alexander and the running game got going.
- I did not like the weather here in the Valley this weekend up until I saw the 12 degree night cause steam to rise off of the heads of the players in Denver.
- Seahawks and Broncos combined for 6 fumbles and 3 interceptions. Disgusting yet fun.
- Jay Cutler: 10/21, 143 yards, 2TDs, 2INTs. The first interception was just plain stupid as he chucked the ball high while getting hit in an effort to avoid a sack. Instead, Darryl Tapp picks it off and returns it for a touchdown. The second one was tipped by a defensive lineman, but proved to be costly as it was in the fourth quarter and allowed Seattle to burn clock and chalk up three points. Overall an okay game for a first start, as he converted multiple third downs, but did not look good on those play action bootlegs that are a staple of the Denver offense. The interesting thing though, is that he can only get better.
- The Seahawks comeback failed to top the Browns' comeback win in overtime against Kansas City without Charlie Frye, the Cowboys' Martin Gramatica's game-winning kick over New York, and the Titans' Rob Bironas' 60-yarder to shock the Colts.
- Vince Young is 5-4 since taking over as the starter, the last two come from behind victories against the Manning brothers. No one thought he was going to be the best rookie quarterback this year, but he is.
- The San Diego Super Chargers are now tied with the Colts at 10-2 for the AFC's best record. While both teams are capable of winning on the road, the home team is always going to be the favorite come the AFC Championship game.
- Rmember the first half of the season when Grossman was throwing bombs, inspiring all that talk about Chicago being one of the the best teams ever, perhaps topping the '85 Bears? Now, even at 10-2, any NFC team is capable of winning in Chicago...
- In case you went to Pluto for the weekend: UCLA 13, USC 9. Florida gets a shot at challenging Ohio State for the national championship. What are the odds that Pete Caroll and Karl Dorrell are still coaching in Los Angeles this time next year?
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
- Previous two Monday Night Football games for the Seattle Seahawks: 16-0 vs Oakland in Week 8, 42-0 at Philadelphia in 2005. Both were shutouts.
- It was not quite so easy this time around, however, with hail and snow falling on a 35 degree night, the worst weather conditions for a game in Seattle ever (Quest Field is five years old and the Seahawks played in the Kingdome before).
- Matt Hasselbeck made his return after missing four games with a sprained knee. First half: Three interceptions, one fumble returned for a touchdown.
- Here is the thing with Hasselbeck. He is a prideful guy. Remember the "we'll take the ball and we're going to score" back in 2004? He probably felt that, in his return, he needed to come out and make a bunch of big plays to make up for his time away. Compound that with rustiness and weather conditions, and Hasselbeck started to press, forcing throws under pressure making some bad decisions.
- How bad are the Packers that your offense can only score once in the first half even with the aid of those three interceptions?
- Craig Terrill blocked a field goal, second time this year. I cannot believe I cut him in my Madden franchise...
- Josh Brown is a stud. Four for four, including one from 45 yards out, all in the freezing first half with snow and hail. Paul Allen, please open your checkbook for him soon.
- Halftime: Packers 14, Seahawks 12. It stops hailing/snowing.
- Back to Hasselbeck's first game back. Either the easing of the weather helped, he shook off his rustiness, or whatever Holmgren said to him at the half worked, or a combination of it all. Whatever the case, Matt comes out and leads three long drives hitting D.J. Hackett, Darrell Jackson, and Jerramy Stevens for touchdowns. Welcome back.
- Speaking of welcome back, anytime the weather is like it was last night in Seattle, you know that the rushing game is going to be crucial, even with a Mike Holmgren offense. Shaun Alexander entered the game with only 424 yards the entire season. He nearly doubled that with FOURTY carries for 201 yards.
- Chris Spencer started for Robbie Tobeck at center again. Tobeck is a smart team leader who is tight with Hasselbeck. However, it appears that the younger, healthier, and stronger Spencer may be better for the running game.
- Jerramy Stevens had two big drops, drawing heavy boos from the normally forgiving Seattle crowd. If he did not make up for it with a two-point conversion and touchdown, he would be the goat of the game. The team's two most important people in Hasselbeck and Holmgren support him though, so it would take a lot for him not to remain a large part of the offense.
- Nate Burleson is never going to earn his $49 million, but he is slowly inching forward. He had a punt return of 17 yards and a kickoff return of 45 yards, consistently setting up the offense with good field position, something the Seattle has never really had.
- D.J. Hackett is a stud. The former CSUN Matador (!) is filling in for ill Bobby Engram, caught a couple of third down conversions and a touchdown, leading the team with 5 receptions for 67 yards.
- The Seattle Seahawks' cornerbacks had a grand total of zero interceptions this season. Enter Brett Favre. Whenever he gets down, he starts to force throws into coverage trying to make a big play. All three corners picked him off! Marcus Trufant, Kelly Herndon, and rookie Kelly Jennings, who was in the third grade when Favre began his career.
- About that rougher the passer penalty. Matt Hasselbeck threw an incompletion on third down but was slightly hit on the back of the helmet on his way to the ground. Is it a good call? No, of course not. I would be in an outrage if it cost my team the game like it did the Packers. However, the referees is not the problem; it is the rule and the NFL's mentality of protecting the quarterback at all costs. Exhibit A: The Giants' defensive end letting Vince Young go from his grasp on fourth down. Vince went on to run for the first down, throw for the tying touchdown, and win the game. The explanation was that he let Young go in fear of the roughing the passer penalty, which would have given the Titans the first down anyway. Now I hate seeing so many teams' seasons go down the drain because of quarterback injuries, so the league may have an impossible task on its hands in finding a balance between keeping football a man's game and protecting its stars.
- Call me ridiculous, but I can turn anything into something good, so this is easy. At 7-4, Seattle is in position to make a run at a first-round bye with the injuries beginning to fade away. This game showed off Hasselbeck's poise with the ability to fight through such a terrible first half and still find a way to come back and win. Alexander and the offensive line finally pulled off a good game. Heck, even the defense, which has been atrocious this year, made huge stops late in the game. With two should-win divisional games against Arizona and San Francisco coming up, the Seahawks could be back on track very quickly. First thing is first though - a visit to Denver to take on Jay Cutler in his first professional start and the Broncos on Sunday Night!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Satan, take note and listen well!
We are the Church of the Living God.
We are bought with blood, charged with power, married to Jesus, indwelt with His Spirit, destined for victory, immune from destruction.
We’re part of the company of the committed,
the crowd of the covenant,
the congregation of the courageous.
We’re a fellowship of the faithful,
a battalion of believers,
a regiment of the redeemed,
a division of the devoted,
an army of the approved,
a team of the triumphant,
and a platoon of the powerful.
Satan, you will not conquer me.
For I am blood-washed, daily-delivered, strongly-sanctified, Spirit-soaked, in-Word, and indwelt.
You are wasting your energy on me. My fate is set. My victory is assured.
I am linked with a sovereign and eternal power.
You are a deceiver, but you will not deceive me.
You are a roaring lion, but I am not devourable.
You are extremely subtle, but I am on to your ways.
You parade as an angel of light, but I walk in a stronger light.
Your days of deception are over with me.
I won’t be detoured, derailed, distracted, distorted, discouraged, or disillusioned by your schemes.
I am off limits to you now. My doors are closed and locked and I've thrown away the keys.
You won’t walk in, crawl in, slither in, sneak in, pry in, or barge into my life.
I have permanent and precious friend who lives inside of me, and He will not share this temple with anyone, especially you.
His name is Jesus.
He and I know that you know your time's almost up.
You may lie, lure, linger, lurch, and laugh, but you won’t get in.
Your days are numbered; your designs are dwindling; your evil is eroding; your devilishness is dissolving; your progress is poisoned; your success has been subverted.
So get off my property; get off my porch.
Get out of my sight.
For He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.
Leave my family alone; leave my children alone; leave my church alone; and leave my friends alone.
God is on my side. Rather, I’m on God’s side.
I have the same power that delivered Jesus from temptation and sin.
I have the same power that raised Him from the grave.
I have been promised the victory, and I have claimed that victory.
You can summon all your hosts, but you will lose the battle!
We are the Church of the Living God! Blood-washed, Spirit-filled, battle-scarred, unrelenting and indestructible.
And in the blessed words of Jesus Christ, the gates of hell will not prevail against us.
In Jesus’ name.
In Jesus' name.
In Jesus' name.
Are you listening?
In Jesus' name.
Amen and Amen!
- How about that Ohio State - Michigan game? Despite the BCS rankings, I doubt we will see a rematch as the championship bowl.
- How about my Seahawks? A thrilling comeback win against the Rams (Nate Burleson and Josh Brown!) followed by a terrible performance in San Francisco (defense refuses to tackle Frank Gore and Seneca Wallace throws three interceptions), making the division somewhat interesting again.
- How about Brett Favre? An arm injury brought Aaron Rodgers in, the streak could end in Seattle next week on Monday Night?
- How about the NFC East? McNabb done, new era in D.C., the Giants are rolling, but Dallas has found its next Troy Aikmen in Tony Romo.
- How about the NFC South? The Saints offense is scary good, Mike Vick is ridiculously inconsistent, while the Panthers are back as the favorites.
- How about Vince Young and Matt Leinart? Their teams stink, but this week they managed to win.
- How about them Miami Dolphins? Nick Saban publicly packs it in last year, then they roll off six wins in a row. This year, after a 1-6 start, they have won three tough ones since their bye.
- How about them Bears and Colts? The undefeated teams have proven they are beatable, so do they remain the favorites in their respective conferences?
- How about them Baltimore Ravens? I do not know if they lose with the solid offense they have now.
- How about them San Diego Super Chargers? 42 and 28 points in the second halves of enormous comeback victories at Cincinnati and at Denver, respectively. Wow!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
- Before I hit my midpoint rant about the NFL, the first week of the NBA has been great. It seems every night can be dubbed "Upsets Galore" as last year's division winners Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, Miami, and Detroit find themselves at the bottom of their respective divisions.
- The NBA's undefeated teams: Utah, New Orleans, and Philadelphia.
- Remember it is still extremely early in the season and most of the above will be corrected as players get back into shape and teams start to mesh.
- I have managed to watch most of the Clipper and Laker games, and this is the first time EVER that they are both looking dangerously good. I like the fact that both teams' stars in Elton Brand and Kobe Bryant have not even had big games yet.
- Phil Jackson seems to to be hearing my call for more playing time for Andrew Bynum, Ronny Turiaf, Jordan Farmar. It will be interesting to see what happens when Chris Mihm and Kwame Brown return.
- The Clippers can beat anyone when healthy as we are seeing now. Even though they play a eight-man rotation, Corey Maggette and Shaun Livingston are more than good enough to be starters. The pickup of Tim Thomas is paying off.
- The Seattle Sonics embark on a five game road trip tonight, beginning at Miami against the champs minus Shaq. While a series of road losses can quickly doom the Sonics' season, I recall an early east coast swing similar to this one in 2004 in which the players bonded and surprisingly went 5-1, propelling the team to the playoffs...
- After sacking Andrew Walter nine times and thoroughly dominating the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football, Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren packed it in for the second half, rushing for 207 yards to close out a satisfactory 16-0 win during a windy and rainy evening at Quest Field.
- Opening Drive: Seneca Wallace with the pump fake, cornerback Fabian Washington bites, and a lob to Deion Branch for a 22 yard touchdown. Beautiful.
- Seneca Wallace ran for the Seahawks longest carry of the season for 37 yards. Also beautiful.
- How do you not love ESPN's Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon? Insightful and amusing guys.
- Seattle's offensive line was finally clicking like they should be, blocking for a solid 5.3 yards per carry and giving Seneca Wallace time to complete 60% of his passes. Even though it was against the Raiders, this should inspire some confidence moving into the second half of the season.
- While shutting out the Raiders is not enormously impressive, nine sacks should encourage more aggressive play calling from John Marshall to help out the secondary. Again, this game will inspire confidence moving forward.
- Imagine if a ticked off Hasselbeck and Alexander return to a confident team with a winning record in the next month...
- The Seahawks are one full game up on the Rams heading into their showdown in Seattle on Sunday. Even if the Rams win and tie Seattle, the schedule slightly favors the Seahawks:
- Seattle faces the 49ers twice, Packers, and Cardinals. The likely loss is at Denver, but Hasselbeck, Alexander, and the rest of the offense should be back and rolling for the final two games against the Chargers and Buccaneers. If they hold on to the four likely wins and pick up one of the tough ones, 10-6 is easily possible. If they win both of those, 11-5 will take the division.
- The St. Louis Rams also have four likely wins with the 49ers, Cardinals, Redskins, and Raiders. However, their other three games are considerably tougher with the Panthers, Bears, and Vikings.
- Raider defensive end Tyler Brayton got into a scuffle with loudmouth tight end Jerramy Stevens, climaxing with an attempted low blow with his knee. Brayton was immediately ejected with offsetting penalties being assessed to both teams. Look for a fine and suspension from the NFL; I find this to be worse than the Titans DT Albert Haynesworth's stomp on the head a couple weeks ago - this was a shot at the Stevens' family jewels for crying out loud!
- Speaking of Jerramy Stevens, he dropped a sure touchdown right after the penalty and was benched for the rest of the half. For such a talkative and cocky guy, he should catch the ball.
- Ditto for T.O.
- Dallas-Washington always a great game, by the way.
- Mike Martz's offense is clicking in Detroit. Look out.
- The New York Giants should have beaten the Houston Texans by a lot more than 14-10. The loss of Strahan will hurt more than we think.
- I am having a hard time disagreeing with Sports Illustrated's Peter King's Midseason Awards: MVP - Drew Brees, Offensive Player - Peyton Manning, Defensive Player - Champ Bailey, Offensive Rookie - Marques Colston, Defensive Rookie - DeMaco Ryans, Coach - Sean Payton, Executive Mickey Loomis. Note the New Orleans Saints have half of those.
- Rex Grossman's interceptions finally cost the Chicago Bears a win, so now we turn to the Indianapolis Colts who are still 8-0. I did not think they would survive this two week stretch with games at Denver and at New England. Unless they pack it in after clinching homefield like last year, I do not see them losing a game at all.
- Halfway through the season, the AFC playoff picture is fairly simple: Baltimore, New England, and Indy will take their divisions, while San Diego and Denver will battle for the West with the other getting a wild card. Look for Jacksonville or Kansas City to take the final spot, with Cincinnati and New York on the outside looking in.
- The NFC, in comparison, is a mess. The only lock is Chicago in the North, but Minnesota can push for a wild card spot. We know about Seattle and St. Louis in the West. The Giants are hot since their 1-2 start and should take the East, although Philly and Dallas will challenge them. Anything can happen in the South, with New Orleans, Atlanta, and Carolina each a game apart. After the Dolphins proved the Bears are beatable in Chicago, the NFC has become wide open.
- You know where I am going with this: Seahawks-Colts Super Bowl is still looking good.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
- Kansas City 35, Seattle 28. Seneca Wallace is a stud. Completely exceeding expectations. But with such a soft defense, even a healthy offense is not going to win many games.
- The loss does not hurt too much because St. Louis got killed in San Diego while Seattle caught a lot of breaks, and were even in position to win the game in the fourth quarter. When the schedule was released I did not expect a win in Kansas City, let alone without Hasselbeck and Alexander.
- And yet Seattle, injured quarterback and running back and terrible defense and all, are still doing significantly better than the Super Bowl winners.
- I hope I do not have to eat those words when the Raiders come up to Seattle Monday Night.
- Bad weekend for Trojans. USC gets upset at Oregon State, Matt Leinart drops to 0-3 at Green Bay, and Reggie Bush loses a fumble, throws a pick (!), tweaks his ankle, and gets blown out at home against Baltimore. Ouch.
- David Carr is benched in the same game in which Mario Williams sacks Vince Young, who goes on to show Houston what they could have had with a 28-20 win. Oh, the irony of it all.
- Game of the year. Colts at Patriots, Sunday Night Football. The two best quarterbacks in Manning and Brady. Winner automatically becomes favorite to win it all.
- If the Colts win, we are going to start hearing about the perfect season again.
- Now that the Bears had their wake up call in Arizona, I do not see them taking anyone lightly again (see 41 points in first half this week). The three division leaders they visit: New York Giants, New England, St. Louis.
- The Michael Vick experience has been unleashed. How do you stop an accurate passer who can take off and run?
- Did anyone hear Al Michaels and John Madden discuss Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's love life during the second quarter? Sheesh...
- How cool are those "Lebrons" commercials? I am sick of people calling for the next Michael Jordan, but Space Jam 2 starring King James sounds awesome...
Saturday, October 28, 2006
The legendary Boston Celtic head coach has passed away after a heart attack at the age of 89. Red Auerbach, whom the NBA's Coach of the Year trophy is named after, was a pioneer in the NBA's early years, tied with Phil Jackson for nine championships as a head coach. Auerbach was famous for lighting up his charismatic "victory cigar" in the fourth quarter when Boston had the game won. His eight straight titles from 1959 to 1966 may forever stand as the greatest sports dynasty in all of sports. NBA commissioner David Stern summed up Red's influence declaring, "The NBA wouldn’t be what it is today without him.”
As general manager and then president, the Celtics went on to win seven more titles in the 1970s and 1980s. Auerbach is credited for drafting Bill Russell, Larry Bird, and Kevin McHale, as well as acquiring Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge, and Robert Parrish.
I can only pray that Red had Christian faith.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Worst case scenario turned into reality Sunday as Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was hit by Minnesota Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson, injuring his right knee's medial-collateral ligament. The hit was eerily similar to Carson Palmer's severe knee injury against the Steelers in last year's playoffs. Minnesota went on to rout the Seahawks in Seattle 31-13. Hasselbeck is expected to miss around a month, returning towards the end of November. Backup Seneca Wallace will take over an already banged up offense which is without MVP running back Shaun Alexander, possession receiver Bobby Engram, and left guard Floyd "Pork Chop" Womack. Tight end Jerramy Stevens has just returned from injury while left tackle Walter Jones is playing hurt.
The triple crown of curses continue to plague the Seahawks. The Super Bowl Loser Curse is well in effect, the Madden Curse has already taken out Shaun Alexander and now the we have the Chunky Soup Curse, whose victims include Kurt Warner, Terrell Davis, Jerome Bettis, Donovan McNabb, and Ben Roethlisberger.
Can Seattle survive the bombardment of injuries? Chances are slim, but a soft schedule provides a slice of hope. Say Hasselbeck is out through the entire month of November. The games he would miss: at Kansas City, Oakland, St. Louis, at San Francisco, and Green Bay. With a great group of receivers and the return of Shaun Alexander, it is possible for Seneca Wallace to go 2-3 during that stretch, leaving the Seahawks at a modest 6-5. Hasselbeck's return could ignite a wild card playoff push, or even, depending on how the Rams do during their tough month, squeak out the division. However, a playoff berth would be quite an achievement, which means home-field advantage and a Super Bowl run are out of the question.
- Good thing basketball starts soon. Now that the Seahawks are done, maybe the Sonics will give Seattle a going-away gift of a surprise playoff run. Otherwise, I may have to turn to SoCal teams in the inconsistent Chargers and *gasp* Clippers.
- The San Diego Chargers stud linebaker Shawne Merriman is going to be suspended for four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. No wonder he was such a beast...
- The Philadelphia Eagles are this year's Chargers in that they always have the game won in the fourth quarter, yet somehow lose it anyway.
- How does Arizona's Dennis Green make it through the week as head coach after losing to the Raiders?
- The Michael Vick show in Pittsburgh was a form we had never seen before. FOUR touchdowns in such a up and down game. Wow.
- The Denver Broncos keep on winning with defense. Then again, they have not played any playoff teams. They need to have confidence in the passing game and put up some points to win come playoff time. We will find out if Jake Plummer is ready when Peyton Manning comes to town this weekend.
- Speaking of Manning visits, I am already looking forward to the November 5 Sunday nighter at Foxboro as the New England Patriots are quietly rolling through everyone.
- Other Week 8 showdowns: Atlanta at Cincinnati, both coming off of close road wins. Baltimore at New Orleans, both coming off of byes. The Sunday nighter, Dallas at Carolina. Good stuff.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
I just lost a significant portion off the end of my life due to a stressful but fun divisional showdown in St. Louis:
- The Rams dominate the first half 21-7
- The Seahawks storm back to 27-21 in the fourth quarter
- Lofa Tatupu grabs a potentially game winning interception
- Maurice Morris has a potentially game costing fumble
- Torry Holt with an amazing catch for a potentially game winning touchdown
- Matt Hasselbeck with the game winning drive and John Brown with the game winning kick
- Last season, Seattle was 2-2 going into St. Louis and won a come from behind 37-31 victory without starting receivers Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram. That game ignited the eleven game winning streak shooting the Seahawks into the Super Bowl.
- Today, Seattle went into St. Louis without Bobby Engram, tight end Jerramy Stevens, and MVP running back Shaun Alexander. This makes the win even more impressive.
- Matt Hasselbeck, without a rushing attack for much of the game and protected by a shaky offensive line, leads comebacks from 21-7 at halftime and 28-27 with 64 seconds remaining and 0 timeouts. What a stud.
- Josh Brown is also a stud. The last three Seahawks scores come from 49, 49, and 54 yards away.
- A special thanks to the New England Patriots for Deion Branch. The trade paid its first dividends today: 6 catches, 76 yards, 2 touchdowns.
- The Rams did a great job in pressuring Matt Hasselbeck. On the final drive, however, they never rushed more than their four down lineman. Why abandon what had been working for most of the game? If you give great quarterbacks such as Hasselbeck time, they will burn you.
- Stevens and Alexander should be back next week. With Hasselbeck and his receivers looking this good and if the offensive line can get used to working together and improve, I can easily see the Seahawks stringing together another winning streak.
Friday, October 13, 2006
- Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis are looking great as usual. Lewis finally handled the ball a lot more than he usually has in the past, making some plays off the dribble. The major problem with the Sonics is that there seems to be no consistent third scorer. In the 2005 playoff run, either Antonio Daniels, Vladimir Radmonivic, Jerome James, or Danny Fortson, would step up and fill that role. The first three are all long gone while banged up Fortson is highly unlikely to get in the rotation at all.
- Earl Watson filled in for Luke Ridnour at point guard last night. While Watson made a couple nice plays, Ridnour is by far the better man to run the offense.
- Nick Collison was already a tough banger who could finish inside. Now that he showed off his improved shot range, he will definitely push Chris Wilcox as the starting power forward.
- The Sonics best five might as well include Wilcox and Collison, because despite drafting a center first in each of the past three years, none are close to being a reliable starter. Robert Swift gets my vote as he finally showed some toughness hitting the boards last night. Johan Petro and Muhammad Sene are huge guys who will take up space and block some shots, but they get into foul trouble ridiculously easily and are still liabilities on offense.
- Kobe Bryant sat out because he was afraid of Ray Allen burning him again. Oh, and something to do with a recover from knee surgery too.
- Kurt Rambis filled in for Phil Jackson. This may hurt the youthful Lakers as Jackson's training camps are known to be essential in order to implement his triangle offense, not that Kobe is going to run it anyway.
- I know Shaq is long gone, but it seems he left the bad free throw shooting here in Los Angeles (56 percent).
- Laker fans, meet Vladimir Radmonivic. Sure, he will give you brilliant games every now and then, but last night he was 1-8 from the field. Considering he cannot do anything else but shoot, it will be interesting to see how Phil puts up with him.
- Three Lakers who I (gasp) love: Luke Walton, Jordan Farmar, and Ronny Turiaf.
- Where was Lamar Odom? He should have taken over the game.
- Andrew Bynum has got be on the floor a lot more. The Lakers are missing out on someone who could break a la Dwight Howard. If the Lakers want to get back to contending for a championship, Kobe needs an effective big, and Bynum fits the profile.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
The Seattle Sonics are visiting the Los Angeles Lakers at the Honda Center in Anaheim tonight. Yes, I know this game means absolutely nothing, so there is no Kobe, no Phil, and Ray and Rashard will only play around 20-25 minutes each, but this is will be my first look at both teams and I will gladly take any opportunity for Seattle to beat the Lakers.
The Seattle Seahawks, meanwhile, have a rivalry game that is actually meaningful in St. Louis on Sunday; winner will take an early lead in the surprisingly competitive NFC West.
Two other NFL showdowns will be going on at the same time this Sunday in Carolina at Baltimore and Philadelphia at New Orleans.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
After a week of mourning, random thoughts returns...
- This is why every NFL team has optimistic fans every year. Who would have thought that New Orleans, St. Louis, Baltimore, and San Diego would all be leading their respective divisions five weeks into the season?
- The Detroit Lions were up 17-3 in the fourth quarter. Final score: Minnesota 26, Detroit 17.
- Great day weekend for Trojans. Reggie Bush scores his first professional touchdown with a game-winning punt return. Matt Leinart opens 5/5 for two touchdowns.
- Come to think of it, even UCLA's Maurice Jones-Drew ran all over the Jets.
- But the rookie that impressed the most was Texas' Vince Young. Vince Young hung with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, only losing by one. The fact that the Titans were up all the way until a Manning to Wayne touchdown with 5:10 to go is amazing. A 19-yard touchdown run showed that Young can do it in the NFL.
- The T.O. Bowl happened to be a great game.
- Monday Night Football has their best matchup of the year so far in Denver as Steve McNair and the Baltimore Ravens visit a tough place to try to stay undefeated along with the Indy and Chicago.
- If Da Bears roll to homefield advantage in the playoffs, I do not see any team that can win in Chicago in January.
Monday, September 25, 2006
- 2005 NFL Most Valuable Player Shaun Alexander is out indefinitely after X-rays revealed a small crack in his left foot. Alexander has clearly been slowed down by the sore foot, averaging only 2.9 yards per carry, in the first three games. Coach Mike Holmgren says it is possible Alexander could miss as much as a month.
- Coming off of last year's record-setting 28 touchdowns along with a league-leading 1880 yards, the loss of Shaun Alexander is a huge blow to the Seahawks offense. However, Seattle put up 42 points against the Giants despite Alexander rushing for only 47 yards. With the Seahawks going more to their stacked receiving corps anyway, I have confidence that backup Maurice Morris, who has 22 carries for 66 yards already this year, and fullback Mack Strong, 9 carries for 65 yards and 1 touchdown, will be able to pick up some of the slack and keep the Seattle offense somewhat balanced.
- Enormous win for my Seattle Seahawks over the inconsistent New York Giants. Starting 3-0 does not guarantee much, but it was a relief to see the defense make big plays and offense move the ball efficiently. Seattle not only won a big game at home, but they won it convincingly, which is what great teams should do.
- How big would a win in Chicago be next week? Winner will be 4-0 and the early favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
- I always knew there must be something good about all that coffee. The energetic Seahawks fans, also known as The 12th Man, were loud in Seattle, severely hampering Eli Manning. In addition to the false starts, the noisy crowd made it very difficult for Giants' offensive line to make adjustments, which was why the Seahawks' front seven was constantly pressuring Manning.
- Matt Hasselbeck threw FIVE touchdowns. He has so many weapons, it may not even be fair.
- The spread formation with Darrell Jackson, Nate Burleson, Bobby Engram, and Deion Branch with Shaun Alexander in the backfield is dangerous. Not only is it near-impossible for any team to cover all four quality receivers with four quality corners, but against the Giants I caught a couple runs from Alexander and fullback Mack Strong right up the middle.
- All this fuss about Seattle's offensive line, but I will take 106 rushing yards and 0 sacks every Sunday.
- A bunch of great finishes in Week 3. I love the NFL.
- Sports Illustrated's Peter King threw us an amazing statistic in his column this morning: Sports Quiz: Name the two leaders in quarterback rating right now. Give up? David Carr, 113.6. Philip Rivers, 107.
e. Name the 21st and 22nd. Tom Brady, 78.5. Steve McNair, 78.3.
f. Followed by chaps named Culpepper, Delhomme, Leftwich.
g. And that's why they play the games.
- I am looking forward to two big showdowns next week in San Diego at Baltimore and Seattle at Chicago. Neither will be pretty, but both will be good games.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
- FOX is nationally televising a HUGE NFC showdown in this Sunday's late game featuring a rematch of 2005 game of the year as the New York Giants visit the Seattle Seahawks. Last season, New York kicker Jay Feely missed three potential game winning field goals before Seattle's Josh Brown nailed his first opportunity in overtime. Despite eleven false start penalties, the Giants had the Seahawks beat on multiple occasions. This time around, the Giants, coming off an amazing 17-point comeback in Philadelphia, are simply trying to escape a ridiculously difficult early schedule with a winning record, while the Seahawks, who have yet to truly get their offense rolling, must win this game in order to reestablish themselves as the team to beat in the NFC. Seattle has never opened a season 4-0, and considering they are already halfway there, it seems rather difficult with another NFC showdown looming in Chicago next week.
- This is why the NFL is great: divisional matchups that we see all the time manage to be the most intriguing, particularly this week's Cincinnati-Pittsburgh and Jacksonville-Indianapolis.
- Chicago and Baltimore have to win on the road this week in order to be considered major contenders.
- Upset of the week: Houston Texans over Washington Redskins
- The Sunday Night game will be a close one because Denver usually has the Patriots number, but neither team has gotten it going offensively.
- Joe Horn said the atmosphere in New Orleans for the return of NFL football is similar to that of the Super Bowl. I say winner of Monday's game goes on to take the division.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
A rite of autumn is under way with the arrival of first-year students at thousands of colleges and universities for registration. Most 18-year-old students entering the class of 2010 this fall were born in 1988. They grew up with a mouse in one hand and a computer screen as part of their worldview. They learned to surf the internet as they learned to read. While they were still in their cribs, the 20th century started to close as the Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet bloc disintegrated, and frequent traditional wars in Latin America gave way to the uncontrolled terrors of the Middle East.
Every year, Beloit College releases its Mindset List to give a snapshot of the world view of the incoming freshmen class. The list for the Class of 2010:
1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
2. They have known only two presidents.
3. For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
4. Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.
5. They have grown up getting lost in giant retail stores known as “big boxes.”
6. There has always been one Germany.
7. They have never heard anyone actually “ring it up” on a cash register.
8. They are wireless, yet always connected.
9. A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents’.
10. Thanks to pervasive head phones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.
11. A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
12. Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
13. Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style.
14. The Moral Majority has never needed an organization.
15. They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.
16. DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.
17. They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.
18. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
19. “Google” has always been a verb.
20. Text messaging is their e-mail.
21. Milli Vanilli has never had anything to say.
22. Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.
23. Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.
24. Madden has always been a game, not a Super Bowl-winning coach.
25. Phantom of the Opera has always been on Broadway.
26. “Boogers” candy has always been a favorite for grossing out parents.
27. There has never been a “sky hook” in the NBA.
28. Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents’ attics.
29. Computerized player pianos have always been tinkling in the lobby.
30. Non-denominational mega-churches have always been the fastest growing religious organizations in the U.S.
31. They grew up in minivans.
32. Reality shows have always been on television.
33. They have no idea why we needed to ask “... Can we all get along?”
34. They have always known that “In the criminal justice system the people have been represented by two separate yet equally important groups.”
35. Young women’s fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is.
36. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
37. Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.
38. Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.
39. “So” as in “Sooooo New York,” has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else.
40. Affluent troubled teens in Southern California have always been the subjects of television series.
41. They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.
42. Ken Burns has always been producing very long documentaries on PBS.
43. They are not aware that “flock of seagulls hair” has nothing to do with birds flying into it.
44. Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled.
45. Green tea has always been marketed for health purposes.
46. Public school officials have always had the right to censor school newspapers.
47. Small, white holiday lights have always been in style.
48. Most of them have never had the chance to eat bad airline food.
49. They have always been searching for “Waldo.”
50. The really rich have regularly expressed exuberance with outlandish birthday parties.
51. Michael Moore has always been showing up uninvited.
52. They never played the game of state license plates in the car.
53. They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.
54. There have always been live organ donors.
55. They have always had access to their own credit cards.
56. They have never put their money in a “Savings & Loan.”
57. Sara Lee has always made underwear.
58. Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos.
59. Disneyland has always been in Europe and Asia.
60. They never saw Bernard Shaw on CNN.
61. Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.
62. Acura, Lexus and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.
63. Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.
64. LoJack transmitters have always been finding lost cars.
65. Diane Sawyer has always been live in Prime Time.
66. Dolphin-free canned tuna has always been on sale.
67. Disposable contact lenses have always been available.
68. “Outing” has always been a threat.
69. “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss has always been the perfect graduation gift.
70. They have always “dissed” what they don’t like.
71. The U.S. has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.
72. Richard M. Daley has always been the Mayor of Chicago.
73. They grew up with virtual pets to feed, water, and play games with, lest they die.
74. Ringo Starr has always been clean and sober.
75. Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
"We went and got Deion Branch because it was a great move for our team, period...when all is said and done, we're going to be explosive on offense. We might even score 10 points this week."
- Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck
Monday, September 11, 2006
The Seattle Seahawks traded their 2007 first round draft pick for disgruntled New England Patriots' wide receiver Deion Branch this morning. Despite Tom Brady hitting his wideouts for a lowly 51 yards in Week 1, the Patriots decided to rid themselves of an issue that did not seem it was going to be resolved. After a career year (78 catches for 998 yards and 5 touchdowns), Branch, who is currently his entering his fifth and final year of his rookie contract, has been holding out since a mandatory mincamp in June a contract extension and has been subject to a $14,000 fine per day since the opening of training camp on July 28. The Seahawks and Branch reportedly agreed to a six-year, $39 million deal that would have paid him $13 million in combined bonuses and about $23 million in the first three years of the contract.
The addition of Super Bowl 39 MVP Deion Branch strengthens the Seahawks shaky receiving corps, which consists of Darrell Jackson, who is coming of off two knee surgeries, Nate Burleson, an offseason signing who is still settling into the offense, Bobby Engram, Hasselbeck's security blanket who is best used out of the slot, and tight end Jerramy Stevens, who is out until October with a torn meniscus in his left knee. The cost for Branch, Seattle's first round draft choice, should prove to be well worth it, as the Seahawks are not expected to be picking anywhere above the 20s anyway. While Branch is certainly capable of contributing immediately, it generally takes quite a bit of time to fully comprehend Mike Holmgren's west coast offense and build chemistry with Matt Hasselbeck, as shown with Nate Burleson. Because of this, the trade may pay off more in the future than it will this season. Whatever the case, kudos to Tim Ruskell and the Seahawks front office for pulling the trigger on this move and staying active in trying to improve what is already a Super Bowl caliber team.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
This was a great football game to kickoff the season. The Pittsburgh Steelers defense makes no one look good, but the Dolphins' offensive line was terrible, as was both Daunte Culpepper and Ronnie Brown. How about Charlie Batch with three touchdowns? I find it interesting how the Steelers' two most recognizable defenders, Troy Polamalu and Joey Porter, both get huge game-changing interceptions. I love big time players making big plays.
Seattle 9, Detroit 6
Yes, I know the score. But despite how much I have been saying Matt Hasselbeck has an opportunity to be great this season, 25/30 for 210 yards impresses me. Darrell Jackson's run after the catch to other side of the field was not only a huge play in the game, but encouraging to see after two knee surgeries. The Seahawk defense contained Mike Martz's offense. This game was closer than it should have been as the Lions blocked two Seahawk field goals. Shaun Alexander (19 carries for 59 yards) was unable to take over in the redzone as he normally does. This is why Seattle's offensive line, which also gave up five sacks, continues to worry me.
Atlanta 20, Carolina 6
The Michael Vick show is back! Warrick Dunn was great as usual, but the Falcons are near-impossible to stop when they are running all over you and Vick throwing two (!) touchdowns. John Abraham was a beast pressuring Jake Delhomme, who was without Steve Smith.
Baltimore 27, Tampa Bay 0
Steve McNair, Derrick Mason, Jamal Lewis, and the Ravens offense looked good as they actually moved the ball. Chris Simms, Cadilacc Williams, and the Buccaneers offense did not.
New England 19, Buffalo 17
Cincinnati 23, Kansas City 10
After a nasty hit, Trent Green is doubtful for next week. Without him, the Chiefs are in trouble as defenses will further key on Larry Johnson and his already weakened offensive line.
St. Louis 18, Denver 10
I am not sure whether Jim Haslett has vastly improved the Rams' defense, or whether Jake Plummer just made it seem that way. I give Jake Plummer two more games like this before Mike Shanahan makes the switch to Jay Cutler.
New Orleans 19, Cleveland 14
If you are not rooting for New Orleans, you are just evil. Sean Payton, my prediction for coach of the year, is using Reggie Bush perfectly (141 total yards off of 14 carries, 8 catches, and 3 punt returns). The combination of Bush, Deuce McAllister, and Drew Brees dumping it off to them, will prove to be better than most expect. With a soft schedule and what appears to be a weakening division (2005 Playoff teams Tampa Bay & Carolina lost), the Saints are in position to make some noise this year.
N.Y. Jets 23, Tennessee 16
I like the idea of throwing Vince Young in the second quarter for a drive. He actually looked good and completed his first three passes before taking a shot downfield and getting picked off. Chad Pennington was in control of the game, and was able to starve off an amazing Kerry Collins-led Titan comeback.
Philadelphia 24, Houston 10
David Carr looked a lot better, but still got sacked five times. Andy Reid ran the ball thirty times, setting up Donovon McNabb and the passing game for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Chicago 26, Green Bay 0
I doubt the Packers have ever been shut out at Lambeau. It is going to be another long season for Brett Favre.
Jacksonville 24, Dallas 17
T.O. had six receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys' defense was looking really good, but failed to overcome Bledsoe's 3 interceptions. Remember, the Jaguars made the playoffs last year in a tough conference despite a banged up Byron Leftwich; imagine what they could do if healthy.
Arizona 34, San Franciso 27
Kurt Warner threw for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns, but the Cardinals defense was unimpressive. I will be able to say that about the Cardinals quite often this season.
Indianapolis 26, N.Y. Giants 21
The Manning Bowl lived up to the hype. A questionable offensive pass interference call followed by an Eli interception sealed the win for the Colts. Think New Yorkers will feel for us Seattle fans after having a flag cost them a shot at winning the game?
Minnesota at Washington
The two starting quarterbacks' ages' combine for 74 years. The Redskins must win after a discouraging preseason while the Vikings look to get big road victory in a weak division.
San Diego at Oakland
Denver and Kansas City both lost, and neither looked good in doing so. The Chargers have the perfect opportunity to jump out to an early lead in the AFC West.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
And that means its time to declare Super Bowl Predictions…
Yes, I know Peyton Manning cannot seem to win the big game. Truth be told, my heart believes the San Diego Chargers will shock everyone with a Super Bowl Run. Then my memory reminds me of Ben Roethlisberger’s 27-4 record. But half of those losses were against the New England Patriots, and watching the preseason, my mind told me Tom Brady will make his own star receivers out of no-namers as he leads the Pats deep into the playoffs yet again.
But how do you bet against the Colts, who were ready to pop the champagne after starting last season 13-0. It is about time the coaching staff, offensive line, and Manning figure out how to beat the 3-4 defense which New England, San Diego, and Pittsburgh have all used effectively. Think Peyton’s “let’s just say we had some, uh, protection problems,” fell on deaf ears? Fifteen years after Michael Jordan finally leads the Chicago Bulls past the Detroit Pistons, Peyton Manning will lead the Colts past his roadblock for years, the 3-4 defense.
Look for Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and Brandon Stokely to all step up their production as Marvin Harrison may nearing the end of his prime at age 34. While Edgerrin James’ blocking will be missed, Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai will combine to help Peyton Manning continue rolling the juggernaut that is the Colts offense. Look for the brilliant tactic of running the ball and keeping their defense off the field to return as it worked wonders for the Colts last season. The losses of linebacker David Thornton and defensive Larry Tripplett should not be evident if the scary front four in Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Corey Simon and Montae Reagor picks up from where it left off last season.
Sep 10 @N.Y. Giants 8:15pm
Sep 17 Houston 1:00pm
Sep 24 Jacksonville 1:00pm
Oct 1 @N.Y. Jets 1:00pm
Oct 8 Tennessee 1:00pm
Week 6 BYE
Oct 22 Washington 4:15pm
Oct 29 @Denver 4:15pm
Nov 5 @New England 8:15pm
Nov 12 Buffalo 1:00pm
Nov 19 @Dallas 1:00pm
Nov 26 Philadelphia 1:00pm
Dec 3 @Tennessee 1:00pm
Dec 10 @Jacksonville 1:00pm
Dec 18 Cincinnati 8:30pm
Dec 24 @Houston 1:00pm
Dec 31 Miami 1:00pm
If you look at the schedule, the Colts have it a lot tougher than they did last season. While the rest of the AFC South poses no threat to Indianapolis’ division crowning this year, save for a couple physical Jacksonville games, two tough home games late in the season may be potential playoff previews when the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins visit. Road trips to Denver, New England, and Dallas are certainly losable while everyone has their eyes on Sunday Night’s Manning Bowl in New York. This tough schedule may actually prove to be a blessing in disguise if it prevents the Colts from packing it in December like last season instead of staying in rhythm all the way through the playoffs.
Remember, the Indianapolis Colts were just one missed field goal or one missed tackle from hosting the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game. And we all know how that story would have ended.
The Super Bowl Loser Trend. The Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx. The Madden Curse. The Seattle Seahawks have achieved the first Triple Crown of football curses, and yet I still believe that they will manage to pull off another Super Bowl run.
The Seahawks’ front seven quietly led the NFL with 50 sacks last season, and may have actually improved with the signing of linebacker Julian Peterson, who joins two young rising stars in Lofa Tatupu and LeRoy Hill. Free safety Ken Hamlin returns to anchor the hard hitting secondary while Michael Boulware is due for a breakout third year as strong safety.
The well documented loss of Pro Bowler Steve Hutchinson to Minnesota is a fatal blow to Seattle’s offensive line, which was widely regarded as the NFL’s best last season. Injury prone Floyd “Pork Chop” Womack is expected to fill in at left guard, with impressive rookie Rob Sims ready to fill in if necessary. No matter how well either performs, it would definitely be an immediate downgrade. Then again, whoever is blocking for MVP Shaun Alexander and next to football’s best left tackle in Walter Jones cannot look so bad.
The bigger loss may be wide receiver Joe Jurevicius, who helped fill in for often injured starters Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram. Seattle hopes that free agent acquisition Nate Burleson will combine with healthy Jackson and Engram to help replace Jerevicius’ whopping ten touchdowns last season.
I was ready to proclaim 2006 as Jerramy Stevens’ put up or shut up year before he injured his knee in training camp. Because former starter Itula Mili is banged up as usual, Stevens will still have a decent opportunity to redeem himself if he can return healthy by October as expected.
Another question is if Shaun Alexander, who was not the toughest runner to begin with, will dial it back a bit after cashing in on his record setting season with a $62 million contract over the next eight years. With defenses keying in on Shaun Alexander, a regressed offensive line, and a head coach who prefers to throw the ball in Mike Holmgren, the stage is set for Matt Hasselbeck to have his career season. While it is unlikely he will be worth a first-round pick (!) in a fantasy football draft, Hasselbeck will cement himself with Steven Young and Brett Favre as another Holmgren trained legend.
Barring injuries, the major factor in determining Seattle’s ability to confidently sing Will Smith’s “Going to Miami” is making sure that the road to the Super Bowl runs through Seattle, just like it did last season in which the Seahawks were 10-0 at Quest Field.
Usually, optimistic teams enter the season with winning their respective division as their primary goal. However, Seattle swept their NFC West rivals last season and should expect to do the same in 2006. The Arizona Cardinals are expected to contend for the division title or a wild-card playoff berth, but that all relies on their shaky offensive line and run defense. The San Francisco 49ers are considered to be the worst team in the NFL talent-wise and are far away from improving. The St. Louis Rams have the talent, but completely new coaching staff, offense, and defense. Seattle should have the division wrapped up before Thanksgiving.
Sep 10 @Detroit 1:00pm
Sep 17 Arizona 4:05pm
Sep 24 N.Y. Giants 4:15pm
Oct 1 @Chicago 8:15pm
Week 5 BYE
Oct 15 @St. Louis 1:00pm
Oct 22 Minnesota 4:15pm
Oct 29 @Kansas City 1:00pm
Nov 6 Oakland 8:30pm
Nov 12 St. Louis 4:15pm
Nov 19 @San Francisco 4:05pm
Nov 27 Green Bay 8:30pm
Dec 3 @Denver 4:15pm
Dec 10 @Arizona 4:05pm
Dec 14 San Francisco 8:00pm
Dec 24 San Diego 4:15pm
Dec 31 @Tampa Bay 1:00pm
If you look at the schedule, Seattle has a four road games that they can easily lose: at Chicago, at Kansas City, at Denver, at Tampa Bay. In order to survive this, the Seahawks must pull off another undefeated season at home. The Seahawks play much better at noisy and rainy Quest Field than they do anywhere else, and will roll through the softer home schedule. The only two tough games will be against the San Diego Chargers on Christmas Eve and Eli Manning’s New York Giants, who actually had the Seahawks beat in Seattle last season if not for nine false starts and three missed field goals. If the Seahawks manage to steal one of the tough games on the road while holding down the fort at home, another 13-3 season is not a stretch at all. All this schedule talk is, of course, based on speculative expectations.
As they demonstrated during last year’s playoff run, the Seahawks home-field advantage in the playoffs makes them a near-impossible team to beat. Even with MVP Shaun Alexander going down early against the Washington Redskins, Matt Hasselbeck was able to rally behind the hungry Seattle fans. The Seahawks went on to shut down Steve Smith, and consequently the entire Panthers offense, during the rout that was the NFC championship game in Seattle. If the Seahawks have home field advantage, it does not matter who comes to Seattle; they stand no chance.
Seattle 21, Indianapolis 10
Sunday, August 20, 2006
- The Seattle Seahawks looked very good against the Indianapolis Colts. Matt Hasselbeck was very sharp despite a wealth of pressure. The shaky offensive line worries me, but not as much as the already banged up defense which let Tony Romo (who?) lead the Dallas Cowboys up and down the field in the first preseason game.
- NBC's Sunday Night Football is looking really good. Bob Costas is brilliant as usual while Jerome Bettis is a bringing a lot more insight than we usually hear. Then of course, Michaels and Madden are second to none.
- The only gripe I have about the new featured Sunday Night game is the loss of ESPN's NFL Primetime. My Sundays were never complete until hearing Chris Berman call all the highlights.
- There is already a lot of hype surrounding the Manning Bowl, which is Kickoff Weekend's Sunday Night game. Both Eli and Peyton have said they just want to get it over with already. This will be a fun shootout.
- I happened to be sitting in a Las Vegas sportsbook when Reggie Bush busted his big cutback run. It got so loud, you would have thought everyone in the room was a Saints fan. Well, except for that one fellow wearing a Houston Texan jersey...
- Speaking of my observations sitting in the Vegas sportsbooks: I am declaring it fact that football has long surpassed baseball as America's favorite sport. The huge ruckus and amount of people that were in the sportsbooks during the weekend for preseason football make the same exact rooms look like ghost towns the rest of the week when baseball is in its wild card race.
- The Denver Bronco's Jay Cutler seems like he will take Jake Plummer's job sooner than we thought.
- The San Diego Chargers' Philip Rivers seems like he can lead the Chargers to a winning season.
- The Tennessee Titans' Vince Young has shown a lot of his talent and potential. As expected, it will take time for that to develop into wins.
- The Arizona Cardinals' Matt Leinart is rich. He better be ready when Kurt Warner goes down with an injury.
- The Oakland Raiders are terrible. Again. Ha!
- How in the world do the Bengals and Bears defenses score so often!?
- I have yet to find a dark horse/surprise team...
Thursday, August 10, 2006
With Roger Goodell set to take over as the NFL Commissioner, I started to think about what I would try to accomplish if I were the most influential man in football...
- A completely different television angle. The reason why football games are so exciting to see in person is that you can see all the players throughout the entire field. On television, we usually only see the quarterback drop back in the pocket on passing plays. The receivers and secondary are not on camera until the ball is thrown. I know it may be difficult and expensive, but I would push all the television networks to adapt a camera hanging from behind the offense, similar to the angle we see in our beloved Madden video game. This way, all 22 players are on camera at all times. When the Steelers pull off one of their signature crazy reverse trick plays, fans at home will be able to see everything and everyone and thereby have a clue as to what the heck is going on, unlike the Seahawks.
- Bring the Chargers to Los Angeles. Keep the Saints in New Orleans.
- The NFL's fear of Las Vegas ends with me as commissioner. Face facts, football is the most enjoyable sport to bet on. I would build a stadium and bring a franchise to America's top tourist city. Vegas is also the perfect place for a Super Bowl.
- Completely revamp the overtime rules. The coin flip/sudden death method is terrible and it is amazing how everyone has put up with it for so long. Let us take a token from the NCAA and let both teams have a drive to score.
- No restrictions on touchdown celebrations. I want to see group dances. I want to see props. The NFL is, before anything else, entertainment.
- Kickoff Weekend is great not only because everyone is excited and hungry for football, but because it features a Thursday night game and a Monday night doubleheader. Why not continue this throughout the season?
- Work out a deal for exhibition games with some college football teams. I truly believed that the USC Trojans could have beaten the San Francisco 49ers last year.
- More international regular season games. The only place in which David Stern's NBA has surpassed the NFL is that is has expanded basketball's popularity to Asia, Europe, and South America.
- Find a way to put computer chips in the football so that we never get another Ben Roethlisberger phantom touchdown.
- If the referees think it is a questionable decision, allow them to review it before making an initial call. The whole "indisputable evidence" places way too much importance on the initial ruling.
- Make pass interference reviewable and the maximum penalty 15 yards.
- Move the NFL Network and NFL Sunday Ticket to cable. The financial loss would be regained by advertising.
- Bob Costas and Al Michaels do every Super Bowl. Is there anyone better?
- Ban ESPN from mentioning Terrell Owens.
- Apologize to the city of Seattle and the Seahawks. You know why.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
10 -- Cleveland Cavaliers
10 -- Dallas Mavericks
10 -- Detroit Pistons
10 -- L.A. Lakers
10 -- Miami Heat
10 -- Phoenix Suns
9 -- Chicago Bulls
9 -- Cleveland Cavaliers
9 -- Dallas Mavericks
9 -- L.A. Lakers
9 -- Miami Heat
9 -- Phoenix Suns
5 -- Cleveland Cavaliers
5 -- Detroit Pistons
5 -- L.A. Lakers
5 -- Miami Heat
5 -- Phoenix Suns
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Italy wins a 5-3 shootout against France after a 1-1 draw
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
The reason why anyone cares about the NBA Draft is because it has great timing. The NBA season is long gone, baseball's ridiculously lengthy season is in its lull period, and our beloved NFL is resting before training camp begins in August. So that leaves us with nothing better to focus in on then some promising NBA prospects in a supposedly weak draft, but that remains to be seen for a few years. This is why I believe throwing out draft grades for each team does not really make sense, so instead I will gladly share some of my random thoughts...
- I love what the Orlando Magic are doing. I love the pick of Dwight Howard. I love bringing back Brian Hill. I love the trade of Steve Francis to New York. I love the trade for Darko Milicic. I love trading away Steve Francis. I love the pick of J.J. Redick. Ten years after Shaq bolts to Los Angeles, the Orlando Magic seem to have finally recovered.
- The Toronto Raptors have a bright future. We have been saying that for the franchise's entire existence.
- 15 trades. And counting. Sheesh.
- The Portland Blazers were extremely active. They may be a very different team, but it will take a long time for them to become much better. Have fun Nate.
- Tyrus Thomas went from LSU to Portland to Chicago. Talk about climbing a ladder. Whew.
- Remember when I said Miami, Cleveland, and Orlando are going to own the East for the next generation? Throw in the Chicago Bulls in that mix.
- Michael Jordan and Adam Morrison. They may not win a lot right away, but suddenly the Charlotte Bobcats are very marketable. Steven A. Smith pointed out that Bobcats owner Robert Johnson wants to make money. He will be doing that.
- Jerry West is brilliant.
- The Los Angeles Lakers actually made a very good pick by drafting a much needed point guard in UCLA's Jordan Farmar. I love it when professional teams go for the the local star.
- The Los Angeles Clippers' most significant move was neither of their draft picks, but rather picking up Shaun Livingston's option for 07-08.
- Forget about the Detroit Lions drafting wide receivers, the Seattle SuperSonics drafting a seven foot center from the opposite hemisphere is a given every year. ESPN did not show much favor in Saer Sene and MSNBC's Ray Glier gave the Sonics a whopping "F" draft grade. Maybe the more centers future head coach Jack Sikma has to develop, the more chances one will turn out to be good. I always am disappointed in or angry at Seattle's moves, but they usually tend to work out for the better. So we shall see.
Friday, June 23, 2006
DAL 90, MIA 80
DAL 99, MIA 85
MIA 98, DAL 96
MIA 98, DAL 74
MIA 101, DAL 100
MIA 95, DAL 92
Miami wins 4-2
- There were bad calls. There were bad no-calls. I always say that controversial calls should never impact the game so much as to let anyone ever even come close to the point where we can even discuss the officiating, especially in a championship series. That being said, the referees should not be blamed for Dallas blowing a 2-0 lead.
- Avery Johnson: Entering the series, the statistic bounced around that Pat Riley has coached more playoff games than Avery Johnson has coached regular season games. This showed. The NBA playoffs are more about adjustments than anything else. Riley realized that Avery's zone defense and aggressive double-teaming had Shaq contained, and devised methods to let Dwyane Wade go off. Avery Johnson failed to rally his team at all after blowing Game 3 and never came up with anything to slow down D-Wade in the fourth quarter.
- Dirk Nowitzki: Disappearing in the fourth quarter. Refusing to attack the rim. Settling for perimeter shot after perimeter shot. Foul and free throws statistics have been thrown around a lot, but Dirk does not drive to the basket and draw fouls the way Wade does. Hey Dirk, instead of attacking officials, treadmills, or locker room equipment, try the basket.
- Mark Cuban: If most fans were owners, myself included, we would be exactly like Cuban. He is always trying to do what is best for his team. For the most part, he has done that, establishing the Dallas Mavericks as a perennial contender. But Cuban's attitude trickled down onto the team, who seem to believe they were cheated instead of realizing they simply blew it.
- Game 3: Dallas has a 13 point lead with 5 minutes to go. All Dallas needs is a couple of stops for a 3-0 series lead. All Dallas needs is a couple of stops, and Miami is done. Instead, Dwyane Wade drops 42, Dirk Nowitzki misses a huge free-throw, and Gary Payton hits a game-winner.
- Game 4: Imagine that you are Jerry Stackhouse and Shaq is driving to the basket. What do you try to do to stop him? In order to prevent a three-point play, Stackhouse did exactly what every good basketball player would do in committing a very hard foul. The flagrant foul was all that was necessary. However, the NBA's one-game suspension is consistent with everything we have seen throughout the season and playoffs. The NBA is understandably discouraging hard fouls and promoting entertaining offense. Remember that Miami's Posey and Haslem each suffered similar rulings in the early rounds.
- Game 5: The Fathers Day Classic - D-Wade fuels another comeback by scoring 43, including 21 free-throws. Gary Payton hits another potential game winner. Dirk responds with a tough shot over Shaq. Wade jumps from the front court to the backcourt to legally receive a pass before breaking a triple team in a strong drive to the basket, and is fouled by Devin Harris although it was called on Dirk Nowitzki. Josh Howard's timeout in between Wade's clutch free throws cements another close loss.
- Game 6: If you cannot win at home in an elimination game, you will not be champion.
The Miami Heat: 2006 NBA Champions
This team was built for the playoffs. Pat Riley completely revamped his roster after losing to Detroit in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Considering the Heat were just a couple of injured Dwyane Wade ribs away from the NBA Finals, the moves raised quite a few eyebrows.
Gary Payton. James Posey. Jason Williams. Antoine Walker. Alonzo Mourning. All of these veterans were once stars on other teams and had to adjust into new roles. Shaq and Wade were cemented at the 1-2 options and only then does everyone else follow. For most of the season, it seemed that chemistry was an issue and many were ready to criticize Riley, especially after he supposedly ran out Stan Van Gundy. Remember when the Heat were 0-13 verses division leaders? The team only came together late in the season, maybe even late in each series. Tied 2-2 with Chicago, some predicted an upset. Down 0-1 against New Jersey, many thought Miami was burned out. Most thought Detroit would beat the Heat. Down 0-2, everyone thought the Heat were done.
Suddenly, Jason Williams is running Riley's offense, Antoine Walker is getting double-doubles, James Posey is taking charges and hitting threes, Alonzo Mourning is hitting the boards and blocking shots, and Gary Payton is hitting game winners.
Suddenly, Pat Riley looks like a genius again.
- I would hate to be Stan Van Gundy. At least he gets a ring.
- Udonis Haslem was the most underrated player in the entire series.
- Shaq: Bringing three different teams to the finals. Winning championships with two different teams having to go through two different conferences. Sticking it to Kobe by declaring Dwyane Wade the best player in the world. Sticking it to Phil Jackson by naming Pat Riley his greatest coach ever. Living up to his guarantee of bringing a title to Miami in just two years. Good stuff.
- Shaq: After decades of being bashed for his free throw shooting, you would think that he would improve. Even if he does not make an effort to establish a decent form, you would think that Shaq would improve naturally after decades of shooting. Bad stuff.
- In the three games at Miami, was there at least one time where ABC did not show Shaq's wife, father, or mother in the stands when he was at the free-throw line? And why are they all sitting separately?
- Game 5 was amazing. Entering the finals, I did not think we would see anything as great as the series' in the Phoenix-Lakers, Cleveland-Washington, Dallas-San Antonio, and Detroit-Cleveland series'. I thought wrong.
- Whomever made the decision to publish the Dallas Mavericks' championship parade route after Game 2 should realize they motivated the enormous egos that are the Miami Heat.
- "I brought one suit, one shirt and one tie" - Pat Riley. That is awesome.
- This is the first of Dwyane Wade's multiple Finals MVPs. I cannot wait for him and Lebron James to begin their potentially legendary playoff battles in the East. Throw in Dwight Howard in Orlando and we are going to have this generation's Celtics-Pistons-Bulls.