I apologise, Charlie Batch, for losing faith in you so quickly. I picked you to lead the Steelers to victory in your first game as a starter but things went bad pretty quick there. I should have given you the benefit of the doubt: it was, after all, your first game back after a long time on the bench.
That was one heck of a performance you put on against Baltimore, leading Pittsburgh to a huge, season-saving win. Well done. I just wish I hadn't put 15 points on the Ravens in my football pool. That's a killer for me.
Now that my message to Charlie is out of the way, let's talk a 10-6 record which, while not bad, continued my plummet in my football pool. I've now fallen into the 52nd spot in our 68-player pool. I'm more than 100 points out of first (when you consider the most you can win in a single week is 136, you'll recognise how bad that is), a far cry from five weeks ago when I was in fourth overall and just 20 points back.
Basically, I'd have to go 16 for 16 next week and have just about everybody else in the pool get every pick wrong to get back into the running. Yikes.
My problem: I put big points on gut feelings. I lost 15 on the Ravens which, to be honest, I felt was a bit of sure bet. I lost 13 on Carolina: with the tragic events in KC, who could have predicted how that game would go? I lost 12 on New Orleans: heck of a time to toss five picks, Drew, with your season (and mine) on the line.
I can't bemoan losing nine on Chicago because, as you know, I'm a huge fan of Russell Wilson in Seattle. He's proving all those nay-sayers wrong in a big way (or, more accurately, in a five-foot-eleven way). Great season for a proven winner.
And, while we're here, let's just check in on some of the questions I posed on Friday:
1. Chad Henne in Jacksonville. Didn't play poorly but didn't solidify his hold on the starter's position as I had hoped he would. 18-41 for 208 just isn't going to cut it as a starter in the NFL, especially against a beatable defense like Buffalo's.
2. NFC East: Well, it's now 7-5, 6-6 and 6-6, with only the Eagles out of it. I said the winner of Washington and New York would likely go on to win the division so it looks like I'm picking the 'Skins. I don't know how you scheme for a quarterback who can beat you with his feet, his arm and his head like RGIII, especially when he's got a strong running back like Alfred Morris behind him.
Did you know that Morris, a rookie, late round pick out of Florida Atlantic, now has 1106 yards rushing, a 4.8 yards-per-rush average and 6 TDs on the season? Compare that with Trent Richardson, a first rounder out of Alabama, who is having a pretty good year himself. Richardson's stats (827, 3.6 ypg and 7 TDs) don't come close to the man picked something like seven rounds later.
3. AFC Wildcard: The Colts and Bengals maintained their frontrunner status with wins this weekend. As discussed above, Charlie Batch and that Steelers' defense saved the season in Pittsburgh but they have to continue to win. Miami put up a game effort against New England but it looks like they're running out of luck.
4. Seahawks. Yes sir. They're looking better and better every week. Chicago was banged up so Seattle had a real chance to win and they took full advantage. Like Washington, the 'Hawks are turning into a nightmare for opposing defenses, with Wilson's legs, arm and head posing a continuing threat and Marshawn Lynch hitting the holes with authority. Add a competent defense and you've got one tough out for the opposition.
5. Offensive lines. Oiy. The Bears O-line didn't perform too badly versus Seattle but the lack of a running game hurt Chicago. Meanwhile, Arizona got shredded once again, contributing hugely to Ryan Lindley's woeful passing perofrmance and leaving the Cards without a run game in their pathetic 7-6 loss to New York. The Steelers line seemed to suck it up, knowing it wasn't Ben back there dodging sack specialists, and gave Charlie Batch decent (not great, but decent) protection in their season saving win.
I still think you have to build your team from the O-line out. I'd rather have 10 great blockers and a bunch of late-round backs and receivers than 10 first rounders at the "skill positions" and a second-rate line.