Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thoughts before a few great NFL matchups this weekend

If you have done any prep for week 4 of the NFL season, you must have noticed two things:
  1. Most of the matchups are poor this week.
  2. A few of the matchups are pretty spectacular
This weekend will signify the 25% competition mark in the 2009 NFL season. We have already had plenty of surprises. We have already had plenty of disappointments. They are already playing "Contender or Pretender" on the NFL Network. No doubt we will see this on the Fox and CBS pre-game shows also.

So which games are poor and which games are good? First the bad matchups:
  1. Detroit at Chicago
  2. Cincinnati at Cleveland
  3. Oakland at Houston
  4. Seattle at Indianapolis
  5. Tennessee at Jacksonville
  6. NY Giants at Kansas City
  7. Tampa Bay at Washington
  8. St. Louis at San Francisco
This means that fully 50% of the games on the board are not good games. Pitifully, most of those games are stacked up in the morning hours on the West Coast. That means last night was the night to go out and party. So which games are good?
  1. Baltimore at New England
  2. Buffalo at Miami (Questionable Call)
  3. NY Jets at New Orleans
  4. Dallas at Denver
  5. San Diego at Pittsburgh
  6. Green Bay at Minnesota
Regrettably, Baltimore vs New England is the only watchable game in the AM hours today. The NFL Network knows it. The spent much of this week hyping that matchup. Oddly, they continued to hype the Patriots as the dynasty of this moment, a move which is sure to loose them credibility in the eyes of football scholars around the country. They also documented the strange decline in the Ravens' defense and the massive rise of their offense.

To promote this one-and-only matchup in the AM hour, the NFL Network replayed the 2007 game between the Patriots and the Ravens... The one where the Ravens got robbed and the Patriots almost blew it. I saw a couple of Rams named Kyle Boller and Jason Brown balling their asses off against that 'undefeated'** Patriot team. Jason will be snapping to Kyle today against the 49ers. Don Shula strongly praised Boller's performance in that game. We're going to need one just like that if we are to have any chance today against the 49ers.

As I have noted, many will question whether Buffalo and Miami is a good match up. I say yes because Buffalo is much better than I expected them to be, and I don't think Miami is anywhere near as bad as their 0-3 mark indicates. I am wonder if this is the moment when one of these two teams will start a ferocious rally, or whether this is the moment when either or both teams break and fold.

In my mind, the Jets vs Saints is the biggest match up of the weekend. These are the two hottest teams on the board. Both have shocked the football world several times in the first three weeks. This game should be a mighty adventure with two new young & rising football teams. Also, this a very rare match up. These two teams don't know each other at all, and they play vastly disparate styles of football. It reminds me of the regular season match up between the 1999 Rams & Titans. Neither of those teams were expected to make it to the big dance that year. Both did. I am wondering if maybe... just maybe... this could be a Super Bowl preview.

I am going to be perfectly honest with you and tell you that I am praying for a massacre in Denver. Nothing would make me happier today that a 43-3 victory for the Cowboys over the Broncos... except maybe a Ram victory over the 49ers. I believe Denver is the biggest pretender on the board. I have no clue how these spotty wee little fuckers have gotten out of the blocks with a 3-0 start. They are the most fortunate cheeky buggers I have ever seen. I am looking for big strong Dallas to score a bloody knockout today and crush the weasel. I think Dallas can improve their standing and expose these fools as the pretenders that they are.

San Diego vs. Pittsburgh is a remarkable match up, but I doubt it will be a good game. Frankly, Pittsburgh is a team which is struggling with a one-dimensional offense that can't run. They are going to play against the strength of the Chargers defense, which is the pass. This is a game that the Steelers must win if they are to remain competitive. We'll see, but the tables favor the Chargers rather heavily.

Green Bay and Minnesota is a soap opera drama that might actually provide us with a good game also. The faggott analysts on the networks love the telenovella dramas. I like soap opera as much as I like balls across my nose or a pooh-poo snake in my mud-whistle. This match up is interesting because these are the two teams socking it out for the NFC North, and Green Bay cannot afford to go two down this early in the race.

One more point: I would be remiss if I didn't mention a few more things about the Rams vs. 49ers game. For those of you on in Connecticut who know nothing about the West Coast, this is one of the four days each year which hyper-galvanize a lot of us in PAC-10 country. The Raiders vs. Chargers is another match up which drives a lot of regional interest.

The 49ers are our hated enemies. This is one of the reasons Eddie DeBartolo sited as a pretense for a supposed lack of interest in buying the Rams. We are brutal rivals. Whether both teams are bad, good, good or bad, we still hate the hell out of each other. Marshall Faulk officially picked the 49ers during the handicapping session on the NFL Network's pregame. By the end of the show, he let loose with a burst of optimism that we might surprise some people today.

Watching Kyle Boller play against the 'undefeated' Patriots in 2007 spun my head around a bit. A saw a terribly good looking young quarterback playing one hell of a competent effort. Shula's comments only proved that this was not my personal bias in effect. Boller was a key reason why the Ravens gave the Patriots a horrendous scare on that evening in 2007. Certainly, Kyle has a moment today when he can become the full-time regular quarterback of an NFL franchise. You can loose your starting position as a result of an injury. You can loose your starting position as a result of chronic perpetual injury. Nobody would be more pleased than I would be if Kyle Boller took full advantage of this opportunity, and settled our problems at Quarterback.

After 3 years, it is pretty clear that Bulger does not get the West Coast offense. Looking at the tape from 2007, Boller looked pretty damn comfortable running Brian Billick's implementation of the West Coast.