New England Patriots (9-2) - Previously: #2 - New England's defense looked pretty shaky against the Lions, but every team has its flaws. Of the Super Six quarterbacks (Brady, Manning, Rivers, Brees, Rodgers, Roethlisberger), Tom Brady is playing the best right now, outside of arguably Philip Rivers, who will undoubtedly be screwed by poor coaching and/or horrible place-kicking in the playoffs.
Two notes on the Lions-Patriots game:
1. I sincerely hope someone kept Shayne Graham away from the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing after the win. He has seriously gained 50 pounds since he blew those field goals against the Jets. I guess he was depressed and ate non-stop.
2. Boomer Esiason was the only CBS analyst to pick the Lions to upset the Patriots. His reasons? One, "Tom Brady hasn't practiced all week." And two, "I hate Dan Marino and I hope he falls into a volcano, argh!"
New York Jets (9-2) - Previously: #3 - Speaking of Thanksgiving, I was fortunate enough to be in a turkey coma during the Jets-Bengals game, so I didn't really listen to Bob Papa, Joe Theismann and Matt Millen.
E-mailer Jeremy D. wasn't so fortunate. He sent over the following:
You are 100% correct - Papa, Theismann and Millen are horrible. It's even worse in a 7-3 game... There's nothing to talk about.
I would rather watch my mother take a shower for 3+ hours than listen to these blowholes. And believe me, my mother is a fat pig... wouldn't be nice.
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) - Previously: #4 - Another shady non-cover for the Steelers when the public is pounding them. Hmm...
Speaking of gambling, I am definitely entering the Las Vegas Hilton Super Contest next year. My top five picks each week are 39-21 this year, which would put me somewhere in the top five right now (grand prize is $240,000).
However, I was actually entered in another football betting contest, and I didn't even know about it. I received an e-mail last week that I was in this contest's "playoff." To beat my opponent, I needed the Steelers to win by 3-6 points. If they won by 1-2 or 7-plus, or lost, I'd lose the playoff matchup.
What kind of crap is that? Thank God I didn't pay to enter this shady contest.
New Orleans Saints (8-3) - Previously: #6 - Yes, the Saints almost lost, but they also had a commanding 17-0 lead. They simply took their foot off the gas. I still like their chances.
What was up with that Thanksgiving halftime, by the way? Unless I heard incorrectly, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman said that the woman in charge of the halftime show during the Dallas-New Orleans contest had been planning it for 13 years.
Thirteen freaking years for that garbage? I could have came up with that in 13 seconds.
Green Bay Packers (7-4) - Previously: #5 - If the Packers convert one of their botched 3rd-and-1 or 4th-and-1 situations, they probably win the game. That Green Bay-Atlanta battle was truly a game of inches.
That contest was fun to watch, but it was horrible to listen to. I can only take so much of Brian "I am smarter than you" Billick. I did find it amusing though when Billick at one point exclaimed, "Packers still showing no huddle in the red zone!" At the time, Green Bay was at the Atlanta 26-yard line.
Billick, apparently, was too busy admiring himself in the mirror to notice where the Packers were on the field.
Philadelphia Eagles (7-4) - Previously: #1 - The Eagles really have to fix their red zone problems before the playoffs begin. They've had issues in the red area in three of their previous four games.
At any rate, make sure you check out the Jerks of the Week to read about two exchanges featuring QB Dog Killer supporters. And speaking of which, I found the following GameCenter quote amusing:
Why is Hilary Clinton impressed with Michael Vick? ............ Because he went through more dogs than Bill Clinton!
San Diego Chargers (6-5) - Previously: #11 - No one wants to play the Chargers right now. They want to play the Chargers in mid-January, when Nate Kaeding is bound to miss several field goals.
By the way, I'm not completely sure that Norv Turner has it all together. In the post-game press conference Sunday night, Norv said, "It's tough traveling to the East Coast and taking on the Colts."
Poor Norv. He must have failed geography in high school. Luckily this football thing pays well.
Baltimore Ravens (8-3) - Previously: #8 - The Ravens couldn't score once Michael Oher left the game. They better hope he's available for the Steelers game. Joe Flacco has never beaten Ben Roethlisberger, so he needs all hands on deck.
Let's go to Notes from NFL.com GameCenter - a list of a few stupid comments I read on NFL.com's GameCenter and my thoughts on them:
1. "lmao throw a bench warmer in ther so after the helmet to helmet knock ot of tom the turkey it wont matter when he get ejected..."
Lions fans are so desperate that they want to resort to dirty tactics to beat good teams.
2. "time to put up yo paper bags over yo face cowHOE'S [email protected] TARDED LOSING FANS!"
I'm guessing this guy never shook anyone's hand after his Little League games.
3. "PACKERS FANS WHY YA SAYING GO BEARS IF THEY WIN THEY ON TOP OF THE DIVISION D I C K"
The division dick? What is that? Not that there's anything wrong with it.
Atlanta Falcons (9-2) - Previously: #9 - I need to see the Falcons win a tough outdoor game before I can move them up these rankings. Otherwise, Atlanta better make sure it secures homefield advantage for the playoffs.
Oh, and I can't get enough e-mails from Falcons homers, most of which sound like:
HAHAHAHA OMGZ U PICKED AGAINST FALCONZZ 2 WEEKZZ IN A ROWE YOU R STUPID YOUR WEB SIGHT SUCKS FALCONZ ARE THE BEST TEAM IN THE NFL MATT RYAN DOZ NOT LOOSE AT HOME 19-1 FALCONZ ARE BETTR THAN GB WE BEAT NO AND BAL WHY R THEY RANKD AHEAD OF FALCONZ HOW MANY UNITS HAVE U LOSSED PICKING AGAINST FALCONZ WE ARE GOING TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL AND YOUR WEB SIGHT IS GOING TO LOOK STUPID WHEN THAT HAPPENS MATT RYN 19-1
Indianapolis Colts (6-5) - Previously: #7 - In my Week 12 NFL Game Recaps, I mentioned that I discovered why Peyton Manning always struggles against the Chargers. For the answer, let's go back 6-and-a-half years to April 2004. The setting: A.J. Smith's office.
A.J. Smith: I'm the greatest person alive, muhahahahaha!
Secretary: Mr. Smith, Archie Manning is here to see you.
A.J. Smith: Send in that peon, now.
Archie Manning: Hey, A.J. I'm begging you - please don't draft my son, Eli. I don't want him to play for a douche bag like you.
A.J. Smith: But I am A.J. Smith, the greatest person alive, and I will do whatever I please! Muhahahahaha!
Archie Manning: If you take Eli, he's going to hold out and never play for you.
A.J. Smith: Then he shall never play! Muhahahahaha!
Archie Manning: Hmm... wait, here's an idea. If you promise to not keep Eli when you draft him, I'll force Peyton to lose to your team every time.
A.J. Smith: Agreed. But you also must also hang a portrait of me in your mansion.
That's exactly why Peyton can't beat the Chargers. And if you've wondered why the Mannings have a nude photo of A.J. Smith in their chateau, there's your answer.
2010 NFL Power Rankings: Week 13 - Bottom 10
32. Arizona Cardinals (3-8) - Previously: #31 - The Cardinals have to be No. 32 after that disgraceful performance.
The Adventure of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask continues!
Anderson approached ESPN color commentator Jon Gruden after the game (and before his tirade):
Anderson: Hic... hey mannnnnn, take a sssip ffffrom hic this fffflask.
Gruden: You got it, Derek. By the way, I call you the apple picker because you throw a lot of picks.
Gruden: I calll Kurtt Warrrner the dancerr cuzzz he danceseses.
Anderson: Whaaa bou Beannnnie?
Gruden: I calll Beannnie the beann cuzz hizz name Beannnie.
Anderson: Whaa bou Larry Fitzzzzgurld?
Gruden: I calll hic Fitzzzgurld the Ryannn Fitzzpatrick cuzzz they have the sammme nammme.
As you can see, Jon Gruden is the same drunk as he is sober, save for the slurring.
31. Carolina Panthers (1-10) - Previously: #32 - I found this Rotoworld report highly amusing:
Panthers beat writer Darin Gantt reports that Brian St. Pierre might not be able to throw in Week 12.
This is news? When has Brian St. Pierre ever been able to throw?
30. Cincinnati Bengals (2-9) - Previously: #30 - Lou B. and Joseph Y. both pointed out a quote from Gus Johnson the previous week:
"THE BILLS HAVE EXPLODED ALL OVER THE CINCINNATI BENGALS!!!!!"
Oh Gus, I love it when you talk dirty.
29. Detroit Lions (2-9) - Previously: #28 - Poor Alphonso Smith. If we lived in a more condemning society, he'd be forced to change his name to "Man Who Disgraced Himself on Thanksgiving." His kids would have to be called something like, "Alphonso Smith Jr., son of Man Who Disgraced Himself on Thanksgiving." His family would be shunned for seven generations.
So, maybe Smith's not so unfortunate that we forgive and forget.
28. Denver Broncos (3-8) - Previously: #27 - If you're going to cheat, make sure you win.
Let's do a quick recap of the Josh McDaniels era in Denver:
- Swapped Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler for Kyle Orton, Demaryius Thomas and Daniel Graham.
- Traded Peyton Hillis and two draft picks for Brady Quinn.
- Traded a first-round pick for nickel corner Alphonso Smith, who embarrassed himself on Thanksgiving.
- Traded a second-round pick for tight end Dick Quinn, who has ZERO receptions this year.
- Signed defensive lineman Jarvis Green to four years, $20 million; $7 million guaranteed this past offseason. Green is no longer with the team.
- Drafted Demaryius Thomas over Dez Bryant.
- Proclaimed, "Looks like the people in this building were a lot smarter than everyone else" when he was 6-0 last year. He's 5-16 since.
- Illegally videotaped a 49ers walkthrough, only to lose to the 49ers hours later.
- Created world hunger.
- Destroyed all hope in Denver.
27. Buffalo Bills (2-9) - Previously: #29 - Poor Bills. They could have beaten the Steelers three different times in overtime, but just couldn't do it. The Steve Johnson drop was the worst.
That night, Tom Jackson had the following advice for Johnson: "Sleep with a football. When I played, I slept with a football."
Not that there's anything wrong with that...
26. San Francisco 49ers (4-7) - Previously: #26 - Here are my thoughts on the 49ers-Cardinals game:
1. First and foremost, Frank Gore is out for the year with a fractured hip, per Jason La Canfora.
2. I'd like to use the term "game" loosely here. The 49ers completely humiliated the Cardinals. They did whatever they wanted to do on offense, pushing Arizona's disinterested defensive line around. San Francisco had more rushing yards (261) than Arizona had total yardage (203) - and Gore barely even played!
Gore (5-52) injured his hip in the first quarter. Brian Westbrook stepped in, and rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Westbrook looked solid, but it was more of his offensive line blasting open huge holes for him.
3. Troy Smith, who went 11-of-23, 129 yards, one touchdown and an interception that wasn't his fault (Michael Crabtree had the ball bounce out of his hands.) Smith had a pretty inconsistent game. I thought he made some nice throws, but he also missed some wide-open receivers. He's fortunate that the Cardinals didn't show up.
4. Derek Anderson went 16-of-35 for 196 yards and a horrible interception. Anderson was truly awful, as he should have tossed several more picks.
Down 18, the camera panned to Anderson and guard Deuce Lutui, who were laughing about something on the bench. After the game, a reporter asked Anderson what he was laughing about. Anderson lashed out at the reporter, yelled something about "putting his heart and soul into this s*** and I sometimes don't even drink as much as I want to!" and stormed off the podium.
As this happened, I tweeted (@walterfootball), "No surprise that Derek Anderson lashed out at that reporter. His magic flask was empty, and he was very angry at the moment." It's also possible that Anderson doesn't remember laughing because he was super drunk at the time.
In all seriousness, there's no reason Anderson should be starting anymore. In fact, I would cut him immediately. I'd like to see John Skelton going forward.
5. Anderson wasn't the only one who screwed up on offense. Chris Wells fumbled the opening carry, setting up the 49ers with a short field and their first touchdown. Wells gained 13 yards on five rushes. Tim Hightower had zero yards on five attempts.
6. At one point, it seemed like this game would never end. There were five penalties during the first two drives of the second half. At one point, I yelled at the TV, "Can they get a f***ing snap off!?"
25. Tennessee Titans (5-6) - Previously: #23 - Rusty Smith put on the worst quarterbacking performance I've ever seen. Even Derek Anderson was better on Monday night.
Of course, this was to be expected. How can a guy named Rusty be any good? If his parents named him Awesome Smith, I guarantee that he would be the best quarterback ever.
24. Seattle Seahawks (5-6) - Previously: #20 - I never thought I'd say this about any team, but the Seahawks need Mike Williams back in the lineup to have any sort of chance.
More Notes from NFL.com GameCenter:
1. "packers aretaking this game itll be a good game but thier gongi to give matt ryan his second loss athome"
See, Falcons fans? The Packers +2 pick wasn't that bad. Just look at this great analysis!
2. "GO BUCC SHOW DEM RAVENS THAT THERE DUCKS LOLS"
3. "ITS NOT OVER LIONS CA STILL DO IT DOWN WITH SNATCHEZ"
It must be tough to type stuff while having a brain hemorrhage.
23. Washington Redskins (5-6) - Previously: #21 - Washington takes Minnesota's spot in the Bottom 10. It makes you wonder why they didn't fire Brad Childress earlier.
Speaking of crappy coaches, I sat down to interview Josh McDaniels about the Spygate II scandal:
ME: Hey Josh, thanks for joining me.
MCDANIELS: "I'm sure you'll remember this moment for all of eternity."
ME: Umm... sure. OK, I have to ask...
MCDANIELS: "Vince, you've got to tell me. What's the real story behind what happened after the Redskins game?"
ME: Wait, what?
MCDANIELS: "Nothing. Go ahead."
ME: All right... Do you...
MCDANIELS: "Do you think you can co-exist with Jeff Fisher going forward?"
ME: These questions sound really familiar. I can't put my finger on it... Why do you keep interrupting me anyway?
MCDANIELS: "Because I'm Josh McDaniels and I can do whateva I want!"
ME: Whatever. OK, I want to ask this question: Do you...
MCDANIELS: "Do you think you can co-exist with Jeff Fisher going forward?"
ME: That's it! I demand you tell me what's going on here.
MCDANIELS: "Fine. I'll admit it. I videotaped your interview with Vince Young last week, so I was trying to guess which questions you were going to ask me."
ME: Dude, that makes no sense. Why would I ask you the same questions I asked Vince Young?
MCDANIELS: "Because... because... umm... because I'm Josh McDaniels, and I do whateva I want!"
2010 NFL Power Rankings: The Rest: 11. New York Giants (7-4). Previously: #10
12. Chicago Bears (8-3). Previously: #13
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4). Previously: #12
14. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4). Previously: #19
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-5). Previously: #14
16. Houston Texans (5-6). Previously: #15
17. Miami Dolphins (6-5). Previously: #17
18. Dallas Cowboys (4-7). Previously: #22
19. St. Louis Rams (5-6). Previously: #25
20. Minnesota Vikings (4-7). Previously: #24
21. Cleveland Browns (4-7). Previously: #16
22. Oakland Raiders (5-6). Previously: #18
Run Defenses, Pass Defense, Pass Protection:
Something new this year - I'm keeping track of precise run defense, pass defense and pass protection rankings in Excel. The benefit to this is that it'll be broken down by week. Here are the download links:
Rockies and Diamondbacks fail yesterday, at least the Astros and Nats came through. For today: Closing two pars with Red Sox-178 in one and Nats -+169 in the other. In another ongoing par going in the second tier spot of a four team par will be the Astros -205. Start up par with the Dodgers -163, (Kershaw), two open. Still thinking about the Yankees in a start up. GLTA today.