Saturday, November 24, 2007

Redskins, not Custer make last stand

Normally after ten weeks, at least one or two NFL teams emerge from the pack and start playing their best football. For four quarters last Sunday, it appeared the Washington Redskins might be one of those teams. Their superlative effort against the Dallas Cowboys fell short by less than a touchdown. Yet, just having a chance of beating the Cowboys in Texas Stadium speaks volumes about the gamesmanship of coach, Joe Gibbs; however, the Cowboys repeatedly took advantage of a hole in the Redskins secondary created by an injury to hard hitting safety, Sean Taylor. He missed the game due to a slight knee wound. This Sunday, Taylor is probable so there may be no such breach in the Skins defense, and that means problems for Washington's new opponent: Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers rolled past the Atlanta Falcons 31-7. Unlike the Redskins, the Bucs offense struggled until the defense turned an Atlanta fumble into a touchdown. After that, Tampa Bay's defense swarmed all over the hapless Falcons. This game is intriguing because it could be the Redskins last chance to stay in the wild card race. For the Buccaneers- a loss coupled with a win by New Orleans over Carolina- sets up a winner take all South division showdown next Sunday between Tampa and the Saints. The Bucs, nevertheless, are just a 3 1/2 point favorite against the Skins meaning this game is a toss up. Tampa Bay could be flying under the radar; consider, the running duo of B.J. Askew also Ernest Graham has been a pleasant surprise, but it underscores how poorly Gruden is evaluating his personnel. For example, how could Graham have languished on the bench this long in favor of Mike Alstott also Cadillac Williams. Graham, meanwhile, holds onto the ball like a loaf of bread, consequently it may be only a matter of time before he fumbles and returns to Gruden's doghouse. In this match up, I will go out on a limb by predicting a Buccaneers victory 24-21. If Tampa wins, they could become the surprise team in the NFC capable of making a deep run in the playoffs. In other games, the Patriots should cover the 24 point spread against Philadelphia. The Saints and Carolina are a toss up, but I look for the Saints to win. Finally, take the Packers and the points in Dallas.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What's the matter with Kansas?

Can anyone take this college football season seriously? The rash of upsets combined with the interchanging of numbers one, two, also three have turned college football into a joke. So whose really number #1: LSU? They lost to Kentucky while needing a miracle to beat Florida. What's the matter with Kansas? For one, they built their impressive record against teams with a combined record of 5-29. As for Oklahoma, not even Julie Andrews can take them seriously considering the whipping Texas Tech gave the Sooners. More than likely, Oklahoma may rebound and beat Kansas or Missouri in the Big Eight championship. LSU, furthermore, could lose to a surging Georgia or Tennessee in the Southeastern Championship final. That could leave us watching West Virginia against Ohio State in the pseudo National Championship game. Having computers also sportswriters pick the two best teams to play for a title is turning college football into a farce. A freak show violating the spirit of Title IX. A landmark decision mandating continued expansion of athletic opportunities for the underrepresented gender. The NCAA offers a playoff system for all of its sports except football. Unless college football implements a playoff, no one will take the national championship game anymore seriously than the Meineke Car quest Bowl, or whatever its called.
This week in the NFL, no one wants to lay claim to the to the NFC South. Tampa Bay can't win on the road; the Saints' defense is full of holes; the Falcons are plain bad; and Carolina can no longer depend on an aging Steve Smith; however in Green Bay take the Panthers and the points. I like Atlanta to continue its surge against Tampa. The San Diego Chargers will win in Jacksonville.

Friday, November 02, 2007

For now, take the Colts

This week in the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts may win the battle, but the Patriots will ultimately win the war. Its only the regular season, and the defending champions should defend their home turf, but in the playoffs, a healthy New England should prevail easily. With a front line of nose guard, Butch Wilfolk, also Richard Seymour, the Pats are clearly the best team in the National Football League. Notice, I didn't even mention, the great free safety, Rodney Harrison. The Colts, furthermore, have more to play for. The last thing Indy wants is traveling to New England for a playoff match up in the dead of winter. This thought alone will incentivize them to play their butts off. Take the Colts in this classic match up of unbeaten teams. As for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, what a difference a week makes. This team was 3-1 two weeks ago and now they're spiraling out of contention. Will anything change this week? the Jaguars only threw the ball seven times and still won; something unheard of in the pass happy NFL. Granted, Arizona has better receivers than Jacksonville, so expect the Cardinals to take advantage of Tampa's struggling defense. Take the Cardinals and the points. In Tennessee, the Carolina Panthers should prevail over the Titans, meanwhile the Saints will cover the spread while handily defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars. New Orleans is well on its way to coming back and winning this division.