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With the invention of the Bye week, there is no true midseason point of the season, some teams have played 7 games, will others have played 8…or in the case of the Dolphins and Rams, we’re all still waiting for them to truly play a game.  Since there is no clear mid point, we arbitrarily pick the time between week 8 and week 9 as the time to do Midseason reviews…

Due to major events in Dan’s life last week…here’s a hint, “The case was thrown out!”…we were unable to do our weekly debate.  So to make up for that fact, we are doing 2 this week…in the debate that follows we break with our rules of “Only debating topics for this week” and instead do a quick breakdown of the first half, and a look ahead to the 2nd half….

Surprise Team

Josh: Cleveland Browns

Dan: Detroit Lions

Quick Debate:

Josh: Ah, anytime you have Jon Kitna and Derek Anderson involved on a winning team…the word surprise doesn't do it justice.

Dan: I chose the Lions merely for the sake of choosing someone different.   It's a toss-up.

Josh: As Mayor West once said….”Would anyone like to play Stratego, I have Stratego.”

Dan: Silly… yes.  Idiotic… yes.


Disappointment team

Josh: Gotta go with the Bears

Dan: So many choices - I'll say the Jets, who can't blame injuries.

Quick Debate:

Josh: Wait, are you saying the Bears can blame injuries?   That's right, Cedric Benson did sprain his heart, and Rex Grossman did bruise his brain…and the whole O-line is suffering from dementia….yeah, injuries work.

Dan: The Bears have been pretty banged-up on defense, but actually I was justifying picking the Jets over the Rams, who've been absolutely killed by injuries.   I think the Bears at 3-4 isn't quite as incredible as the Jets at 1-7.

Josh:  Yes, yes, boo-hoo…the Jets are 1-7…this one is personal…I will not allow you to leave the room till you say the Bears…don’t make my result to noogies and wedgies!

Dan: Fine, you want me to say Bears, I’ll say Bears.  Ahem.  The Bears are not as pathetic as the Jets.  I said it, can’t get mad!  I said it, can’t get mad!


2 undefeated teams and 2 winless team...which one has best shot at history?

Josh: Miami Dolphins

Dan: New England Patriots (grumble)

Quick Debate:

Josh: The way I look at this…the Pats or Colts…whichever team is undefeated…are going to rest people down the stretch.   There will be a Catcher's indifference win in there somewhere…but the Phins?  They have no O…nothing…yeah their D is still solid…but man…they are not good.

Dan: I think it's entirely possible that next week will give either team the only loss they'll face through week 16.   Thus nobody is going to rest anybody until week 17.  If the Colts are 15-0 at that point, they'll rest people; especially against Albert "Stomp" Haynesworth and the Titans.   The Patriots, however, put Brady back in a 21-point game.  Everything other than their words this season has indicated that the Patriots care about the records; that they want to be the best team in history.

Josh: You’re only saying that cause you have Brady on your fantasy team…and you’re sitting there starring at the playoffs thinking. “Crap, Bill, don’t rest him…don’t do it…”

Dan: This is the team that humiliated my Redskins.  I’d gladly lose a fantasy championship if it meant New England didn’t have the perfect season.


First Half MVP

Josh: Brett Favre

Dan: Tom Brady

Quick Debate:

Josh: Yeah, Brady is the popular choice, and with good reason…but the Pack is 6-1 with no running game, and there is no way they do that without Favre.   Yes, the Pats aren't nearly as dominant without Brady…but sub in an average QB, and you're talking a .500 team at worst…do the same with the Pack?  1-6.

Dan: I admire the outside-the-boxness; but the fact that Brady hasn't won one yet and Favre has seals the deal – he's the best player on the best team, he'll likely break Peyton's record, which won him an MVP… there's really no choice.

Josh: outside-the-boxedness?  If I didn’t know any better, I would think you’re a professional Color Analyst.  Are you going to talk about how Brady has out physicalled Favre all year next?

Dan: I’m not going to resortinate to such childishlike exhibitionings.


First Half LVP

Josh: Frank Gore

Dan: (assuming injuries don't count) Cedric Benson

Quick Debate:

Josh: Of course you would rub salt in the wounds…man does that sting.   Yeah, can I change my vote?  Benson is running like a sack of potatoes.

Dan: Gore has disappointed hardcore, too, but his line is abysmal.   Benson's line is still average, though they should be better, and he can't do crap.  But no, you can't change.   Benson's mine.

Josh: HA!  I never said no tag backs!!  I get Benson!

Dan: Ah, but I was standing within five feet of the “opposite rule” tree, which means by not saying “no tag backs,” I actually said it – now you have to put on a blindfold and sing the Calvinball anthem.


Team most likely to rebound

Josh: New Orleans Saints

Dan: New Orleans Saints

Quick Debate:

Josh:   Yep, that about sums it up for me…how about some flapjacks? 

Dan: I like disagreeing, but there's really no other choice here.   Flapjacks it is.


Team most likely to sink

Josh: Baltimore Ravens

Dan: New York Giants (I'd love to go into detail)

Quick Debate:

Josh: The G-men are a solid choice here as well…save 1 important issue…they play in the NFC.   The competition level is such that the Giants should get some easy wins to stay afloat.  Meanwhile, in Baltimore, there are some serious cracks in the foundation.   The Offense has become boring…Mr. Willis hasn't been the answer at RB…and the once proud D has been very susceptible to the pass…and they have to play Pit twice, the Colts, Pats, and Chargers…not to mention the rest of their division…just a brutal schedule.

Dan: Darn it, you were supposed to say "The Giants?!   They're playing great, what are you talking about!"  They've won, and by amounts Bill Belichick would consider "measly," against four terrible teams in the past four weeks.   They're exactly where they were last year at 6-2, with the same coach (I don't buy that he's a changed man) and the same quarterback (I don't care how much mud there was, that was an awful game in London).   That's all the stuff I was going to say if you scoffed at me. 

So the real issue is: the Ravens don't have that far to sink.  They're third in their division, and most of their wins have been garbage wins; the tough part of their schedule is still to come.   They're largely submerged as is.  Really, there's only one flotation line that matters, and that is: in or out of the playoffs?   I see the Redskins coming up with the easy part of the schedule on its way, and stealing the G-Men's wild-card spot; with the Lions staying in the race.

Josh: Wait, let me do a spit take….GAINTS!!!!! (pppfffttt!!).  Is that better?  The Ravens collapse is more based on preseason expectations, combined with a winning (barely) record.  Believe me, I remember the fall of the Giants last year…it all started with a certain game against the Bears….

Dan: So you think the Ravens are the most likely to sink, given that they have already.  In other news, the Democratic party is considered most likely to take control of Congress in 2006.


Player I wish I would have drafted in Fantasy

Josh: Tom "Frickin'" Brady

Dan: Adrian Peterson

Quick Debate:

Josh: I was lucky enough to take Peterson in one of my leagues…and while that Bears game was huge…frickin' Childress doesn't give him the ball enough…don't understand it, never will…

Dan: I was lucky enough to take Brady in one of my leagues… Belichick gives him the ball plenty.

Josh: Yes, even when their up by 800 in the 4th…and they keep passing as well…whoops, they just scored again on the Skins (Wow, I’m a total jerk…don’t worry, you can rank on the Bears later)

Dan: Why thank you, Tinkle Fairy.


Player I wish I wouldn't have drafted in Fantasy

Josh: Rudi Johnson

Dan: Marc Bulger

Quick Debate:

Josh: Ah, injuries, they are a m**therf**ker.

Dan: I was going to say Shaun Alexander, but in that league it was him, Gore, or LJ; because taking Addai, Parker, or McGahee at #3 would have seemed silly.   All botch jobs.


You know your season is over when...

Josh: When there is a negative number on your Turnover differential sheet.

Dan: Your quarterback options are limited to any combination of the following names: Brooks Bollinger, Kelly Holcomb, Tim Rattay, Byron Leftwich, Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon, Trent Green, John Beck, Quinn Gray, Matt Jones, Tim Hasselbeck... aka, if you're begging Jake Plummer or Drew Bledsoe to come out of retirement.

Quick Debate:

Josh: Um…you forgot Vinny…how could you forget Vinny?

Dan: Don't hate on Vinny – Vinny's the man.   However, I did forget Jeff George, who found his way into the news today.

Josh: Not hating on him, just stating he’s another cast-off QB that is back in the league…gotta love it…I’m still waiting for Tim Couch or Akili Smith to get the call.  Hey, I wonder what Cade McNown is up to?

Dan: Yeah, but my point is that with Vinny at the helm, Carolina’s season isn’t over.  He knows the strategy – send it long to Steve Smith.  Again.

You know your team has a shot at the brass ring when...

Josh: You win one you had no business winning...

Dan: You've beaten the Patriots.

Quick Debate:

Josh: Just like the Redskins did this week.   (Sorry, couldn't resist…)

Dan: I hate you!   I hate you so much!  (runs into bedroom crying – and from here that's a 15-mile run)

Josh: Sorry Dan!!  Man, he’s going to be in there for a long time…he gets in these moods and there’s no talking to him.  We’ll just move on…

Dan: You’re not my real father anyway!   ………   Holy crap, where’d that come from?

"With the first pick in the draft"

Josh: Miami Dolphins...Andre Woodson

Dan: St Louis Rams... Jake Long

Quick Debate:

Josh: What would make this perfect….a coin flip for 2 winless teams….

Dan: I don't see the Dolphins taking a QB – they're stupid, remember?   They'd probably go for a DT or DE; maybe Glenn Dorsey? 

Josh: They are stupid, but your boy Cam is running the show, he’s an “Offensive Genuis”…he’ll look for a QB.

Dan: My point is, he thinks he has one with John “I’m a Loser Baby, So Why Don’t You Kill Me” Beck.  And he thinks he can make a genius out of any QB, so he’ll prioritize the area he has less control over.


NFC Champ

Josh: Green Bay Packers

Dan: another one I look forward to defending... Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Quick Debate:

Josh:   First, let me state for the record, I'm proud of us that we didn't take the Boys…just seems like the easy way out…

As for the Pack, I look at it as the perfect final chapter for Favre's career…he takes a team that is young, and flawed all the way to the big game…and EVERY NFC has some serious flaws…but the Pack has Favre, the human mistake eraser…at least for one last glorious season…

And then he'll retire…and all us Bears fans will be free of the nightmares finally!

Dan: Most of the time, both Super Bowl teams feature someone with experience in the playoffs at quarterback, and at head coach.   The Cowboys do not have that; but they'll build some this year.  The Packers are a good choice, and a more likely one, given Favre's history.   But Mike McCarthy has little playoff experience, even as a coordinator.  The only NFC teams with a winning record that have both are the Panthers and Bucs, and I don't like the Panthers' chances of finishing the season strong.   That leaves former Super Bowl winner Jon Gruden, and his QB, Jeff Garcia, who has played in six playoff games, winning two.

Josh: Can I just say, it really pains me that we both took teams without a running game?  What is wrong with the world?  Where is my 85 Bears highlight tape?

Dan: Well well, Mr. Toilet.  I thought you were in the Hamptons.


AFC Champ

Josh: It will sound like a broken record...New England Patriots

Dan: Indianapolis Colts

Quick Debate:

Josh: Make no mistake; this Patriots team is built for one reason…to beat the Colts.   Tom and Bill have circled 2 dates on their calendar…this Sunday…and the AFC Championship game…add onto that the motivation to shut up all the "Spygate" critics…these guys won't be turned away…the Colts might be a little sore after all this….but then, I'm the one that picked against the Colts all last year in the Playoffs…

Dan: I believe in football karma, and that's the only reason I'm picking the Colts.   I love Tom Brady, but my dislike for Belichick grows each week.  The Pats will get the regular-season win, but the Colts will get the one that matters.

Josh: Yeah, I believe in Karma as well in football…but sometimes dominance trumps Karma…and this is one of those times.  Although if they lose this weekend, I reserve the right to delete this last line.

Dan: I can’t believe what a 180 I’ve done – I used to really dislike Manning; but he has my utmost respect now.  I might like him more than Brady.


Super Bowl Champ

Josh: This record must be on skip...Pats
Dan: Colts
Quick Debate:
Josh: See above…
Dan: to quote Stewie Griffin: I want pancakes!  
Josh: And beer!!
Dan: And taffy.  I’m a man who enjoys his taffy.

And we’re out…and all it took was Dan locking himself in his room, and channeling Mayor west…brought on by my cruel older brother nature to kick a man when he’s down.  Yep, in this scenario I’m the jerk…I always am…

Thanks for reading, and see you all Friday!


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