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Week 3 NFL Picks: Me vs. a Two Year Old

Posted by SuckaFish

Each week I’ll be picking games in a head-to-head competition with an intellectual equal, my two-year-old daughter. I put the logos of the two teams playing each other on the screen and she pointed to (or said things like “helmet for the Browns or “Tiger” for the Jaguars) the team she prefers.

After one week here are the records:
The Kid 11-5
SuckaFish 10-6

Here are the picks:

Game SuckaFish Two-Year-Old Daughter
Saints @ Bills Saints Saints
Steelers @ Bengals Steelers Steelers
Redskins @ Lions Redskins Redskins
Broncos @ Raiders Broncos Broncos
Packers @ Rams Packers Rams
49ers @ Vikings Vikings Vikings
Falcons @ Patriots Patriots Patriots
Titans @ Jets Jets Jets
Chiefs @ Eagles Eagles Eagles
Colts @ Cardinals Colts Cardinals
Dolphins @ Chargers Chargers Chargers
Bears @ Seahawks Bears Seahawks
Giants @ Buccaneers Giants Giants
Browns @ Ravens Ravens Browns
Jaguars @ Texans Texans Jaguars
Panthers @ Cowboys Cowboys Cowboys

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Thursday Morning Qback: Week 2

Posted by SuckaFish

Each week SI.com’s Peter King works tirelessly to produce Monday Morning QB ensuring that it will be posted before you get to work in the morning. The next day, Gregg Easterbrook stops watching Star Trek long enough to ensure that Tuesday Morning Quarterback is live on ESPN.com by mid afternoon.

By Wednesday (or Thursday, and the occasional Friday) we’ll finish digesting these massive tomes and will filter out the fat and deliver the only nuggets you really need.

Monday Morning QB
This week Mr. King locks in with just under 6,600 words. We condense it to a bite size 655. You save 90%!

Now, we all assume that no one will ever break this record of Favre’s, but should we? Let’s say Favre plays 16 games this regular-season, then retires. (For good.) That would give him 285 straight starts. Peyton Manning is now at 177. If he starts the rest of this year, he’d be at 192. So he’d need 94 starts to pass Favre; Manning would have to start every game ’til December 2015 to get to 286. By that time, like Favre, Manning would be 39. Now that Manning has started to have knee issues, my money’s on Favre to keep the record, but it wouldn’t stun me if Manning — who is conscious of his place in history and loves football as much as he loves breathing — worked tirelessly to stay healthy enough to play that long.

That’s amazing. And there’s no way Manning plays every game for that long. That record may be unbreakable, as is Favre’s record for interceptions.

Kurt Warner. One incompletion was a “sight-adjust” route mixup with Anquan Boldin, which happens to every quarterback in every game. On the other, Jacksonville was blitzing, and Warner had to throw a fade he knew probably wouldn’t be caught. That’s the extent of his imperfections Sunday. His 24-of-26 day in a 31-17 win at Jacksonville was the most accurate (.923) in NFL history.

Is it possible that I buried the Cardinals too early? The offense is clicking and Larry Fitzgerald isn’t even getting the ball yet, they play in a weak division, have the confidence of a team that went to the Super Bowl last year, and they can still legitimately play the “no respect” card. No, they won’t make the playoffs, they’re still the Cardinals.

1. Baltimore (2-0). When the new regime took over in 2008, coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron told the offense it was long past time that the unit carried its weight. Stop losing to the defense in practice. Stand up for yourselves.
Any doubt now the offense is an equal in Baltimore? The most impressive thing is the offense. At 34.5 points a game, the Ravens are second in the NFL to New Orleans.

Um, if the Ravens offense is actually good that is big trouble for the Steelers.

6. Pittsburgh (1-1). Willie Parker, 12 carries for 47 yards. What happened to the Steelers running game? Second straight game it hasn’t been there.

If the running game is bad that is big trouble for the Steelers. And really? A 1-1 team is no. 6? I realize they won the Super Bowl last year but this is about 2009. So far this season they won a home opener in OT and then lost to the Bears.

This is too good to pass up from Elliott Kalb, my NBC studio partner: Tom Brady has been on the field for 21 offensive possessions this young season. With the exception of his heroic two series in the last six minutes of the win over Buffalo, the other 19 have resulted in no touchdown passes, two interceptions and a 64.2 passer rating.
Of course that number is not as frightening as JaMarcus Russell’s completion percentage in his first two games of the season — 35.2.

If they need to pull JaMarcus Russell’s stats to make you look good your coach is not cheating enough for you to succeed.

OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
With apologies to Philip Rivers and his ridiculous 436-yard day …
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
Others had better numbers than Manning’s (25-38, 330 yards, two touchdowns), but he put 13 points on the board with three crisp scoring drives in the final 16 minutes Sunday night at Dallas.

Wow. I realize he had a big day and the Giants won a division game on the road but let’s not forget that they have yet to score a TD in the red zone. Redskins fans are ready to jump in the Potomac because they can’t score in the red zone and they have the same conversion rate as the Giants, 0%.

Antwan Odom, DE, Cincinnati
Before this season, Odom had played 60 NFL games and totaled 15.5 sacks. Guess who’s the 2009 sack leader? Odom, the former bit-part Titan, who had five sacks, two additional tackles for loss, and five tackles in the Bengals’ stunning upset at Green Bay. That gives Odom seven for the season, and it gives the Bengals a pass-rushing end they’ve been lacking for years, even when Justin Smith was a moderately successful rush end before leaving in free agency for the Niners last year.

Hmmm, I’ll bet you didn’t think the former Titan d-lineman that would be grabbing headlines would be Antwan Odom. I wonder if Cincy is paying him $100M.

4. Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets. Andre Johnson was all-world in Week 2 — after getting manhandled by Revis in Week 1. Randy Moss was All-Pro in Week 1, then got silenced by Revis in Week 2.

I would say that’s impressive. I’m not sure I’d put him at no. 4 in the MVP race, but OK.

Let the emotional e-mails begin. In the MMQB book, I pick the Top 100 Players in NFL history. Here are my top 12 players of all time at the quarterback position.

2. Sammy Baugh. Had the best season of any player ever in 1943. Led the NFL in passing, punting and, as one of the best safeties in football, in interceptions.

I’ve probably read about that season 200 times and I still get surprised by the facts. Go Frogs!

Shawne Merriman is tied for 218th in the NFL in tackles after two games with six. And zero sacks. Dude, there’s going to be an APB out on you soon. I mean, Antwan Odom is leading you in sacks right now — by seven.

I blame Tila Tequila. Go Terps!

Good story by buddy Mike Silver, who reported Browns coach Eric Mangini fined a player $1,701 for not paying for a bottle of water he took from a hotel minibar during the preseason . As Plain Dealer columnist Bud Shaw wrote, it’s like killing a fly with a sledgehammer.

And bottled water is bad for the environment, too. Has a coach ever fallen faster than the “Man-genious”?

2. I think I haven’t seen a win that seemed so much like a loss as Washington’s 9-7 snoozer over the Rams.

I think KilgoreTroutIII summed that up pretty well.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback

Mr. Easterbrook finished with more than 10,000 words. That’s more than 3,300 words for each “g” in his first name.

Of course, he reduces his effort by spending the first 800 words rehashing his “go for it on fourth down” columns he has seemingly written 30 times previously. And nearly 2,800 words were on his pet topics; politics, entertainment, science, pizza, the economy, Christmas Creep, and fast food. Monday night’s game between Indianapolis and Miami was good, but probably not worth 1,500 words.

We knocked the whole thing down to 450 words. TMQ is 95% off!

Stats of the Week No. 3: Going back to the beginning of last season, the Tennessee Titans have followed a 13-2
stretch with a streak of 0-4.

That’s not good.

Stats of the Week No. 4: Going back to the beginning of last season, the Tampa Bay Bucs have followed a 9-3 stretch with a streak of 0-6.

That’s worse.

Stats of the Week No. 7: Cleveland has one offensive touchdown in its past eight games.

Maybe things aren’t so bad in DC after all.

by the way, the Saints already have 12 touchdowns this season

That’s more than the Patriots, Steelers, Rams, Browns, and Redskins COMBINED.

Sweet ‘N’ Sour Play No. 1: San Diego won its opener on a touchdown run up the middle by Darren Sproles with 18 seconds remaining. This week, San Diego trailed Baltimore by five, with 37 seconds remaining, and the Bolts faced fourth-and-2 on the Ravens’ 15. San Diego tried to run Sproles up the middle, and Baltimore’s Ray Lewis, remembering what San Diego did the previous week in that situation — the Chargers had also run up the middle on two previous short-yardage downs in the second half — guessed the play correctly, shot the “A” gap between guard and center, and dropped Sproles for a loss, ending the game. That was sweet. No one from San Diego even attempted to block Lewis. That was sour. The Bolts had two offensive linemen pulling right; Sproles was supposed to run “underneath” them, with the play designed to make Baltimore think the run was going right when actually it was going up the middle. The result was plenty of blocking on the right, but no blocker in the “A” gap. When you watch the ball on this play, it appears that Lewis did something spectacular — somehow he got into the backfield to tackle the runner for a game-winning play! Take your eyes off the ball and instead watch Lewis — all he does is run straight ahead at the snap through an opening left by the San Diego offensive line. No one so much as stepped into his path.

So many things here, I’ll just go with this, isn’t what makes a great play by a defender the fact that he got in the backfield without someone blocking him?

Adventures in Officiating: With the game tied at 31, Tennessee punted to Houston on the final snap of the third quarter. Houston’s Jacoby Jones signaled fair catch; the ball popped out of his hands and into the hands of a Titans player; initially, zebras marked it as Flaming Thumbtacks’ ball on the Texans’ 9. But a player who signals fair catch receives an “unimpeded” opportunity to catch a punt while it has not yet struck the ground. So officials correctly overruled themselves and flagged the Tennessee player who snatched the ball for fair-catch interference — since the ball hadn’t yet struck the ground and only Jones had the right to the catch. Jeff Fisher went ballistic, though after the game, acknowledged the ruling had been correct. Houston went on to win 34-31.

Raise your hand of you knew that rule.

Why Certain Teams Are On a 5-29 Stretch: Leading by one point with 1:12 remaining till halftime, holding all three timeouts, St. Louis took possession on its 30 — and ran out the clock.

And yet, they took the Redskins to the final minute before losing 9-7. Good luck in Detroit.

There were plenty of instances where he assumed what people were thinking and stated it as fact, typical TMQ stuff, but I was exhausted by the sheer volume of his ramblings. You win this time Easterbrook!

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Week 2 NFL Picks: Me vs. a Two Year Old

Posted by SuckaFish

Each week I’ll be picking games in a head-to-head competition with an intellectual equal, my two-year-old daughter. “She doesn’t have the cognitive capacity to predict the outcome of NFL games,” you say. Oh yeah, well I’ve been picking games for more than two decades so it can’t be that hard. I put the logos of the two teams playing each other on the screen and she pointed to (or said things like “helmet for the Browns or “Tiger” for the Jaguars) the team she prefers. Here are the picks:

Game SuckaFish Two-Year-Old Daughter
Colts @ Dolphins Colts Colts
Patriots @ Jets Patriots Jets
Texans @ Titans Titans Texans
Saints @ Eagles Saints Saints
Seahawks @ 49ers 49ers 49ers
Raiders @ Chiefs Raiders Raiders
Browns @ Broncos Broncos Browns
Vikings @ Lions Vikings Vikings
Cardinals @ Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars
Steelers @ Bears Steelers Bears
Bengals @ Packers Packers Packers
Ravens @ Chargers Ravens Ravens
Panthers @ Falcons Falcons Falcons
Buccaneers @ Bills Bills Buccaneers
Rams @ Redskins Redskins Redskins
Giants @ Cowboys Cowboys Cowboys

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Thursday Morning Qback

Posted by SuckaFish

Each week SI.com’s Peter King works tirelessly to produce Monday Morning QB ensuring that it will be posted before you get to work in the morning. The next day, Gregg Easterbrook stops watching Star Trek long enough to ensure that Tuesday Morning Quarterback is live on ESPN.com by mid afternoon.

Together the two columns are roughly 16,000 words and have some invaluable information. And the latter is also fond of using scientific tangents to give his opinions more weight as he constantly states them as absolute fact. He is an ombudsman’s worst nightmare.

By Wednesday (or Thursday, and the occasional Friday) we’ll finish digesting these massive tomes and will filter out the fat and deliver the only nuggets you really need.

Week One: Monday Morning QB

Jeremy Shockey lives. Shockey hadn’t caught a touchdown pass in 22 months. In the span of three minutes against Detroit, he caught two. “Reminds me of my buddy Derek Jeter, trying to get that hit the last week or so [the hit that propelled Jeter past Lou Gehrig as the Yankees’ all-time hit leader.]

Really, you’re comparing your nearly two-year TD drought to Jeter needing a couple days to get the hit that made him the all-time hit leader for the most revered franchise in baseball history. You’re even more of a douche than I thought you were. I liked those 22 months a lot better then I liked Sunday.

Meaningless Stat of the Week: Brett Favre is the first quarterback in history to win opening games three straight years for three different teams. I’ll volunteer to start the 2010 pool. Which team will Favre win a fourth with in 2010?

I vote for the Eagles. Wouldn’t it be great to watch McNabb try to say he called Favre and asked him to sign with Philly, then have a three way QB battle with those two and Vick.

Bet you a grande hazelnut latte that Donovan McNabb plays Sunday against the Saints.

I hate coffee but I’ll take that bet. One, he gets hurt all the time and needs to recover. Two, I really see the Eagles using four starting QBs by week seven and McNabb playing this week would screw up the flow.

Stat of the Week

In his last 22 series as quarterback for the Panthers, Delhomme has thrown nine interceptions and lost two fumbles, an amazing streak of incompetence.

In 2008, three quarterbacks played complete seasons and turned it over less that Delhomme has done in the last seven quarters: Jason Campbell (553 combined passes-rushes) seven turnovers, Kerry Collins (440) eight, and Chad Pennington (506) eight.

Really? You’re being outperformed by Kerry Collins and Jason Campbell? It may be time to hang ’em up. If I knew who Carolina’s backup QB was I’d be calling for him to play.

Since Week 17 of the 2008 season, 30 Kansas City Chiefs have departed — 20 active players, five on injured-reserve, five on the practice squad. Only two have found jobs on active rosters in the NFL: tight end Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta) and defensive end Jason Babin (Philadelphia).

That’s stunning. 28 guys from their roster at the end of last season are out of work? Or at least not on an NFL team’s active roster? How’d they ever win two? It’s a miracle.

Brad Childress cutting Bobby Wade after asking him to take a pay cut., which Wade did a week before getting whacked for Greg Lewis. If you think that loses you points with your veteran players, you’re right.

I know the Vikes are stacked, they have Purple Jesus, and they play multiple Terps on D. But the way he handled the Wade and Favre situations makes me think that Childress is a dick and could be in danger of losing this team if things go bad for a stretch.

[About Jay Cutler] I mean, Hester, Olsen and Forte combined had three fewer balls thrown to them than did Earl Bennett, who had never caught an NFL pass until Sunday but who was Cutler’s teammate at Vanderbilt.

Cutler may pass Shockey as the biggest douche in the league. He’s a latter day Ryan Leaf and I hope his career takes a similar trajectory.

[His predictions for the Monday Night Football games]Patriots 31, Bills 6, at Foxboro.
Chargers 37, Raiders 13, at Oakland.

At least the information in the column was great.

Week One: Tuesday Morning Quarterback

Regrettably, the Dallas Cowboys will not appear dressed as the Dallas Steers, the team’s original name.

Well, they were never called that during a season. When the franchise was awarded they used that name and then Dallas Rangers before the Lord descended from the heavens and anointed them the Dallas Cowboys. Here’s an interesting, and little known, story about the awarding of the franchise. The owners of the Redskins tried to stop Dallas from getting a team. It seems they were the only team in the south at the time and were afraid of the market competition. Apparently Peter Angelos was involved. So, the Dallas contingent bought the rights to ‘Hail to the Redskins’ and would only allow Washington to use their fight song if they were awarded the franchise. The first of 54 times Dallas has beaten Washington, so far.

Traditionally, Tuesday Morning Quarterback proposes that the team goin’ to Disney World will be one that does not appear on “Monday Night Football.” This year’s Monday night shutouts are Cincinnati, Detroit, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Seattle, St. Louis and Tampa. An unimposing group to be sure, but if the league braintrust thinks they will all be bad, one is sure to be good. Therefore, once again, I predict the Super Bowl winner will come from among the teams not on “Monday Night Football.” I am 2-for-9 on this prediction so far

That’s amazingly sound logic. No wonder it’s been such a clear predictor of performance.

Stats of the Week No. 2: Indianapolis has won 10 of its past 11 games, with the sole loss an overtime game in which the Colts never had an OT possession.
Stats of the Week No. 3: Cleveland has two offensive touchdowns in its past seven games.
Stats of the Week No. 6: Stretching back to last season, Tennessee has lost consecutive games by a 13-10 final score, and in those losses the Titans reached the opposition’s 12-, 13-, 19-, 22-, 27-, 30-, 33- and 34-yard lines without scoring.
Stats of the Week No. 7: Seven of Jason Campbell’s last 532 passes have been intercepted. Nine of Jake Delhomme’s last 51 passes have been intercepted.
Stats of the Week No. 9: Baltimore, which surrendered only 29 yards rushing against Kansas City, has not allowed a 100-yard rusher since 2006.
Stat of the Week No. 10: Two years ago on “Monday Night Football,” Buffalo lost to Dallas 25-24 by giving up nine points in the final minute; Monday night on “Monday Night Football,” Buffalo lost to New England 25-24 by giving up 12 points in the final two minutes.

It’s pretty late, can we just assume I had a witty comment for each of those?

[Miles] Austin spun at the sideline, where City of Tampa cornerback Elbert Mack lightly shoved him, thinking he was already out of bounds. But he wasn’t! That was sour. Mario Manningham of the Giants took a simple hitch pass on third-and-8 and legged it to the end zone, after breaking a sloppy tackle attempt by Kareem Moore at the line. That was sweet. Halfway through the run, always-boasting megabucks cornerback DeAngelo Hall gave Manningham a light shove at the sideline, thinking he was already out of bounds. But he wasn’t! That was sour.

Really? You know what each of these defenders was thinking? Is it possible that they tried to push the guys out of bounds but the offensive players used their athletic skills to avoid being knocked out and continued to run?

How About 10 Nobel Peace Prizes Every Year? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — what a name, there is a science to making a buddy road flick — just expanded the Oscar nominees category for Best Picture from five to 10.

Um, they are increasing the number of nominees, not the number of prizes awarded. Those are actually different things.

The killer mistake was when McKelvin struggled to try to gain an extra yard after he was under tackle by two Patriots. Get on the ground! He’d brought the ball back to the 31-yard line — reaching the 32 was completely irrelevant. He’s a super-highly-paid first-round-drafted NFL player — doesn’t he know the desperate Patriots will try to strip the ball?

I’m pretty sure the Patriots players were holding him, preventing him from getting on the ground, so they could attempt to strip the ball. It’s impressive how often Easterbrook can actually read the thoughts of players and know their intent.

A popular new sit-down burger franchise, Red Robin, talks a lot about local ingredients, corporate integrity and the like. But check its fare. The queso appetizer is 1,433 calories and 89 grams of fat; the Guacamole Bacon Burger is 1,160 calories and 77 grams of fat; the chicken tenders salad is 1,400 calories and 91 grams of fat; the Mountain High Mud Pie is 1,373 calories and 63 grams of fat.

The stats on the food are pretty nasty but let’s focus on that first phrase, “A popular new sit-down burger franchise.” A quick trip to Wikipedia shows that Red Robin was founded in 1969 and the first franchisee opened a restaurant in 1979. The current year is 2009. That’s new in geological terms but not for restaurants. You argue that he could mean it’s new in his area? I live in the same county as Mr. Easterbrook and they’ve been around for years.

Red Zone Channel is an exciting new way to watch football, and if it were a network, it would out-draw many games.

Yeah, about that new thing again. Just because it’s new to you doesn’t mean it’s new. I’ve actually been anxiously awaiting the return of the RZC for quite some time.

The Football Gods Chortled: In the Clemson-Georgia Tech game, Clemson botched a fake field goal attempt, and Georgia Tech returned the ball for a touchdown. On the next Georgia Tech possession, the Yellow Jackets ran a fake field goal attempt, and Clemson was caught unsuspecting; no one covered the target, and the Yellow Jackets scored a touchdown. You just ran a fake field goal, and were tricked by a fake field goal!

With a name like Dabo Swinney it has to be good.

There you have it. They gave us more than 16,000 words, we gave you roughly 1,700. Now use that time we saved you to do some good. Call your mom or an old friend. Volunteer at a local charity. Or you can use it to sett your fantasy lineup. Whichever works best for you.

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