This is one of those weeks where we get some epic battles for playoff lives…and some snooze-fests for draft position. Ah, the NFL in early December…and remember, come for the blog, stay for the comments!
For those that made their Fantasy playoffs, a hearty congratulation is in order. Fantasy Football is often mentioned here in passing, but there is something that has to be covered here….just too perfect not to be.
There has been mention of how badly my fantasy teams have performed this year. There are 3 leagues that I participate in…here are the results…
Yahoo League - Top record, #1 seed in the playoffs.
ESPN League 1 – Mediocre record, out of playoffs (This was just poor drafting on my part)
ESPN League 2 – This is the real story...
The League in question is one for work…and one that saw me draft FIRST. After the draft, the only position that seemed weak was my QB…reached on a couple players…one of which shouldn’t be hard to guess if you’ve been reading this blog (See: Man Crush).
But due to some terrible performances (cough…LT…cough)….as of last week, my team sat at 0-12. That’s right…winless. There were several weeks where I had the 2nd or 3rd highest score…only to play the guy with the highest score. The best lineup that could be mustered from my roster was always on the field…and yet…0-12. At about 0-8 the plan became to legitimately go 0-fer. Meaning, playing the best players I could…and still manage to lose out….
At 0-12, it all seemed perfect….and then…LT decided to FINALLY show up. Thanks LT, thanks a lot. Guess you figured, “Hey, been hosing this guy all year, might as well give him one more kick to the jimmy.”
And so instead of the historic 0-13….I finished with embarrassing 1-12. And yes, for the record, my team name as of 0-8 was “The Dolphins”.
After that epic collapse, there was a distinct need for music…because music makes the world go round….
Let’s start it up and get to the picks! (Sorry, that video still cracks me up…)
Though I keep searching for an answer
I never seem to find what I'm looking for.
Oh Lord, I pray you give me strength to carry on
'cuz I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams.
- Here I go Again by Whitesnake
Every time the Bears and Skins play…all that comes to mind is the 86 and 87 playoffs. Everyone knows about the 85 Bears….but in 1986 the Super Bowl Champs finished with a 14-2 record. That tied them with the Giants for best record in the NFC. A return to the Super Bowl looked to be in our grasp….and then the frickin’ Redskins came to town…
Then in 1987, the NFL Strike hit…but still, after the dust cleared, the Bears had a 11-4 record. The Niners had the leagues best record…followed by the Saints (Due a large number of players playing through the strike)…and the Bears and Skins were next. The Bears had home field advantage…and as the Skins pulled away with another…it was déjà vu all over again.
The images of the mighty Bears being upset by the Skins was burned into my young brain…and so, every time they square off, it is the only thing that rattles around in there. And guess what song was on the charts in 1987? If you guessed a certain song from Whitesnake.
The first 2 lines of the song perfectly describe the feelings of most Bears and Skins fans. Both these teams seem to play well at times…only to implode moments later. So what is the problem? Okay, other than a coach not understanding the Timeout rules…
But a different question, one that is more painful for fans…when does the switch flip from rooting for a win in every game…to hoping for a loss so that draft position improves? For some it’s easy, Falcons fans should be cheering for every loss…and the Vikings should be cheering for every win…but these teams seem to be in limbo between the 2 areas…either that, or it’s not in me to root for a loss….
The “Good Bears” show up…Rex and the Offense click like they did in the first half of the Giants game…and the Defense creates some turnovers. The Bears steal a win… which isn’t necessarily a good thing…but hey, it’s fun to watch a running back that gets it. Benson, please see Curtis Enis for instructions about the rest of your career.
Take me down to the paradise city
Where the grass is green
And the girls are pretty
Take me home (Oh, won't you please take me home)
- Paradise City by Guns N’ Roses
Hasn’t it been a miserable season for the Dolphins already? They now have to goto Buffalo in December to try to get a win? The image of the Dolphins on the field, yelling over to Cam “Oh, Won’t you please take me home?” makes me chuckle.
The John Beck era is really quite amazing. Due to great programming locally and Monday Night Football, the last 2 Dolphins game have been featured here. All there is to say? John Beck looks like a younger Chris Weinke. But it could be due to the fact that he has zero talent around him. If you’re spotted Ted Ginn, can you name 5 Dolphins skills players? And if you can…please seek immediate medical help.
In the cold and ice that is the Northeast right now, the boys from Paradise city won’t have much luck. Bills get the win, and Phins fans everywhere long to be taken home.
Got what I got the hard way
And I make it better, each and every day
So honey, said don't you fret
'Cause you ain't seen nothing yet
- Soul Man by Sam and Dave
Some of you are saying “Hey, the Blues Brothers sang Soul Man!” Yes, yes they did…but Sam and Dave is the original…and in most cases, the original is always better. Plus, any time you can reference soul legends like Sam and Dave in a NFL blog…well, you do it.
This Bucs seems to do winning Ugly well…and they just keep rolling from week to week. They don’t do anything that wows you, and they don’t have any players on offense that make you say “Man, that guy needs to be on our team”…but yet, here they are…they have the South locked up, and are making their way towards the playoffs. And if you believe Dan, they’ll win ugly all the way to the Super Bowl.
Don’t see that happening…they are good, but Dallas and Green Bay are very good. But they will get a win in the playoffs. And it’s one of those teams that if you don’t take them seriously, they’ll beat you. Can easily see a team in the playoffs do that, and the Bucs get a upset win. But once you lose the element of surprise…
The Texans don’t have enough of anything to beat the Bucs. Tampa keeps rolling along. How many teams out there are thinking, “Man, really missed the boat on Jeff Garcia”…the guy just wins.
Born under a bad sign.
I’ve been down since I began to crawl.
If it wasn’t for bad luck,
I wouldn’t have no luck at all.
- Born under a Bad Sign by Cream
These teams were born under a bad sign together…12 years ago. Man, has it been that long?
Had a good buddy in College who declared himself a Carolina Panthers fan as soon as they were awarded a franchise. He had never had a pro team, and took the opportunity to claim one with no history. When asked why, he would respond…
“It’s not obvious? How often can you say ‘I’ve been a fan since this franchise was founded” and not be full of it? And years from now, when their perennial Super Bowl contenders, I can talk about how I’ve been waiting forever for this day.”
It’s true; it’s a very unique thing to be able to say. For most of us, we’ve been a fan of our team for as long as we can remember, or we’ve been alive…but only a hand full can claim “I’ve been a fan since the team came into existence.” And after being in the league for 12 years, we’re nearing the maturation of the first generation of fans that grew up being Panthers and Jags fans. That’s a big moment.
There is something special about being able to pass on the responsibility of being a fan to the next generation. Being able to say to my daughter, “I’ve rooted for the White Sox and Bears all my life” and then to have her claim those teams as her own as well…something magical about that.
Once these franchises hit the 25 year mark, this will start to be a real thing, and that’s a great moment in the history of any franchise.
Though they came into the world together, they aren’t on a level playing field. One team is a solidly build team, that has a deep playoff run on its horizon. The other looks old, and has refused to address the QB and RB positions correctly.
The Jags flex their muscle over their expansion brother. Jacksonville wins. And the Panthers refusal to get a real backup QB, or even a developmental QB, starts to truly haunt them.
You can feel the eyes upon you as you’re shaking off the cold
You pretend it doesn’t bother you, but you just want to explode.
Most times you can’t hear’em talk, other times you can.
Oh the same old cliché, is that a woman or a man
- Turn the Page by Bob Seger
This one goes out to Eli Manning and Donovan McNabb…
The spotlight is shining right on these guys. And the funny thing? It will get hotter for both if the Eagles win.
Eli should be giving his Defense a lot of gifts, props and back massages right now for pulling out the Bears game. They held the Bears to FG after FG…while Manning was just giving the ball back to them as fast as he got it in his hands. Then after his D gave him time…he won the game with a couple great drives at the end.
Meanwhile in Philly…what happens if AJ Feely leads the Eagles to the playoffs…or at least darn close? After Garcia did it last year…would that be the final nail in the coffin for McNabb? And wouldn’t that raise some serious questions for any team that would be interested in pursuing him?
Let the record show that this Bears fan is completely against bringing McNabb to Chicago. The issues with the Bears offense go much deeper than QB, and tying up a ton of money in a overrated, over-injured…and nearing over the hill QB, will not help anything.
The Giants got lucky last week. They were just able to take down Peterson before he broke a couple of big plays…but they won’t have that luck with Westbrook. And Eli will not look good against the blitz package that Jim Johnson has for him. No, this will not be a pretty game.
Eagles get a win, and the Giants are staring at 8-8. Even if the manage to get 9-7…after starting 6-2…shouldn’t Coughlin or Eli lose their job? Can I get a ruling on this from someone? Look at the history, the Giants have fallen apart down the stretch every year that Coughlin has been there. Giants fans deserve better than that…can the bum.
I guess I was wrong I just don't belong
but then I've been there before, everything’s alright
I'll just say goodnight and I'll show myself to the door
- I’ve got Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks
As loyal readers know, all 3 of you, Norv Turner is a favorite whipping boy…and going into this week, the plan was to just leave him alone. Focus on something else….and then the music lyrics started.
No matter if you like Garth Brooks or not…if you’ve been drinking and this song comes on in the bar…everyone sings along. It’s just a great drinking song…one that I have screamed in many a bar…after many a beer. Ah, good times. While scrolling through lyrics…this line just jumped out at me…it was as if lightning had struck me where I stood. And the only thought my brain could muster…
“Man, this song is written about Norv!”
And finally, it all made sense. All these years, this song has been song at bar after bar…and not one person realized that they were singing about Norv Turner. Having toured with Garth for a brief time as a backup vocalist, I was able to reach him for comment…
“Who the heck is this? Josh who? No that song isn’t about Norv Turner. Pull your head out of your…”
Like I said, Garth is a genius…wrote the perfect song about Norv, 4 years before his first head coaching gig. The man is a genius. Wait a second, maybe the Chargers should hire Garth?
Here’s the deal with the Titans…if Albert Haynesworth plays, they win. And he’s playing. Titans get the win, and Chargers fans everywhere start screaming the official Norv Turner anthem. At this point the line…”Where the beer chases my blues away…” seems to fit right in.
In Heaven there is no beer
That's why we drink it here
And when we're all gone from here
Our friends will be drinking all the beer.
- In Heaven there is no beer by The Pogues and the Dubliners (Actually just an Irish drinking song, but I like their version)
The fact that there is a category of music called “Irish Drinking Songs” just warms the heart. And this one, is simple yet perfect. Now why is it here? No, it’s not the lame Wisconsin-Beer reference…although that helps.
No, simply re-read the lyrics and replace “beer” with “football” and “drink” with “play”. Got it? Now you know the Brett Favre philosophy. Play all the football you can, cause once you’re done…
Before we move onto the pick…why is it that Heaven has gates? Seriously, is there a high crime rate? If God is all knowing, and all powerful…why the gates? Were the older angles wandering off? Did God get tired of chasing down his best Bocce balls? Is it a town ordinance?
Let’s look at this logically for a second…the gates aren’t needed to keep people out. If all that stood between a person and heaven were some gates…well, there would be an illegal alien problem in Heaven. But that’s not the issue, as God knows all, and sees all. So why the gates?
My money is on “Status symbol”. I’m thinking Ole Beelzebub got some gates, and then God had to have them too. All the angels told him there was no need, and it was a waste of money, but God wouldn’t have any of that…nope, he needed the gates.
Wait, what were we talking about? Um…heaven….beer….Wisconsin….Packers!
After you lose a tough game to a conference rival, it’s always nice to head home, and face a team like the Raiders. It’s like watching your team get creamed and then firing up Madden to whoop up on some unsuspecting opponent.
Packers win. Favre plays. All is right in the world. Meanwhile, if you’re near some beer…what are you waiting for?
Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
- Lose Yourself by Eminem
The season is slipping away for Detriot. A 6-2 start got the fan base jumping…and the front office patting their own backs…but then 4 straight loses…and well…
Eminem really says it best. “Would you capture it or just let it slip?”
Let me be honest with you Lions fans, this team is staring at 6-10. Talk about a terrible collapse…but that’s the reality of the situation here. After Dallas, comes the Chargers, then KC and then Green Bay. And the scary thought is, if you drop this game, the rest become harder to win. It’s the snowball effect…as things start to go wrong, the ball starts rolling…and suddenly you have a runaway boulder heading down the mountain.
The silver lining here? Well, maybe, just maybe this would be enough to get Matt Millen out of there. And then the organization can get a fresh start, something it desperately needs.
But if there is any hope of turning the season around it starts right here. The Boys are coming off a big win, they’ve had extra time off, and they’re coming to your house…seize everything you ever wanted. Do it right now. If you don’t…well, you’ll be watching the playoffs from the comfort of your couch again.
The Lions don’t have enough of anything to keep up with the Boys…Dallas wins, and wins big. Lions fans look to Giants fans for a little comfort and direction with how to deal with a collapse.
At seven p.m. a main hatchway caved in, he said
Fellas, it’s been good to know ya
The captain wired in he had water comin’ in
And the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when his lights went outta sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
- The Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot
Both of these teams are wrecks right now. The Rams offense has been destroyed by injuries…and the Bengals defense has been as tough as a wet Kleenex. But the line that truly sums up with game?
“Fellas, it’s been good to know ya”
Can’t you hear both Scott Linehan and Marvin Lewis saying that to their teams at the end of the year? Linehan might be able to escape due to injuries, and this being his second year…but Lewis has got to be hanging on by a thread right now, doesn’t he?
By the way, this is one of those games mentioned earlier…the “snooze-fest of 2 teams trying not to get injured” games. Enjoy!
The Rams offense seems to be getting on track, as is the Bengals offense…the Rams have a bit more defense though. St. Louis gets the win, and Marvin Lewis starts to pack up the things in his office.
Is something wrong, she said
Well of course there is
You’re still alive, she said
Oh, and do I deserve to be
Is that the question
And if so...if so...who answers...who answers...
- Alive by Pearl Jam
Thought this was a perfectly fitting song…both teams are still alive in the hunt for the division title despite some ups and downs, ugly loses, ugly wins…and Kurt Warner starting. Despite all that, this game decides the NFC West crown.
Plus, there is the whole Pearl Jam-Seattle connection…don’t think that didn’t help out as well…
There has been quite a bit of bashing on the Hawks in this blog…and while none of it will be retracted, let me say this…the Hawks have really shown me something the last few weeks. Going on the road to Philly, and escaping with a close win is huge. That’s a big morale boost.
And the fact that they have scraped what wasn’t working in the early season, and gone to a wind open passing attack to take advantage of their stable of WRs and the great decision making of Hasselbeck is a great tribute to the intelligence of Holmgren.
Depending on who the wild cards end up being, this team looks like a team that can get passed the first round…and at least put a scare in one of the big boys…if only for a few seconds. But first, they have to solidify the division.
Arizona seems like a possible pick here…they seem to win the games you don’t expect. But they also seem to make a lot of boneheaded mistakes. And when the pressure of the playoff chase heats up, mistake prone teams tend to implode. Hawks get a big win. And the Cards slink back to Arizona…and wait for next year.
I hear the train a comin'
It's rollin' 'round the bend,
And I ain't seen the sunshine,
Since, I don't know when
- Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
First, anytime you’re busting out lyrics to help breakdown games, the rule is there needs to be a Johnny Cash song involved. The Man in Black just needs to be a part of this scene.
Second, can’t you see Mike Nolan sitting alone in his office, watching tape of Adrian Peterson running through defenses as he slowly mumbles…”I head the train a comin’…” No? Well, that’s the image that we’re going for here, so start imagining it!!
Finally, am I the only one rooting for the phrase “Tavaris Jackson, playoff QB” to be uttered. What a momentous occasion.
This late surge, especially if it continues, definitely has saved Childress’ job…so that’s a good thing for him. With the housing market being all slow right now, it would be a shape for him to have to sell his house. The relief he must of felt after watching Peterson return from injury so quickly and then just blast through the Lions D…it’s the same relief one feels after driving for hours and drinking a big gulp…and finally after having to go for the last 100 miles, reaching a bathroom.
Don’t look now, but the Vikes are in the driver seat for the wild card spot.
They add to their resume with a win over the Niners. The train comes rumbling through The City…and leaves no one standing. And Tarvaris Jackson inches closer to fulfilling my…err…his dream.
The devil bowed his head because he knew that he'd been beat.
He laid that golden fiddle on the ground at Johnny's feet.
Johnny said: "Devil just come on back if you ever want to try again.
"I told you once, you son of a b***h, I'm the best that's ever been."
- Devil Went down to Georgia by Charlie Daniels Band
Classic song…that has gotten new life due to Guitar Hero 3. Too bad they don’t have Fiddle Hero out yet, might be more inclined to play that…
Just replace “Johnny” with “Belichick”…see isn’t that perfect?
Ah, the game of the week. It’s great that the last few weeks we’ve had some great games between the top 5 teams. Just great to see the scheduling work out that way.
The Patriots have had 2 scares. Everyone is seeing this as a sign that this team is beatable. What I see? Not only is this team uber talented, but they also have luck on their side. That’s a bad combo. At least for the rest of the league.
You’d be right in saying “the Patriots should of lost the last 2 games”. But the key word is “should”. They didn’t lose those games. And what’s more, when they needed to make the plays to pull those games out, they did. There are times in a season when you realize that your team has got that special something…
Last year, as a Bears fan, that realization came after the Cardinals game. The epic Monday Night comeback, that gave us one of the greatest post game press blow ups of all time. That was a game the Bears had no business winning. When you’re QB plays as bad as Rex did, and you’re down by that much in the 4th…and you don’t score a single offensive touchdown…but you win? That’s a sign that there are cosmic forces on your side.
In that final drive on Monday night…when the Ravens sideline called that time out…right there, you knew, the Pats were going to win. Not just this game, but that they would be in the Super Bowl. It’s one of those moments…look around at the last time your team made it all the way…there is always a moment…where you suddenly realize, “We’re going”. For me it was that Cardinals game…
If the Pats are going to get a loss this regular season, this is the game. The big matchup will be the Steelers corners against the Pats WRs…while the Steelers D has been amazing all year…not sure if they win that matchup…and therefore the game.
There is this feeling in my belly that the Pats run away with this one…don’t know whether to believe it or not…but regardless, both my belly and my head say…Pats win. The Steelers will fight the good fight, but the Pats will be dialed in for this one…the last to weeks were sleep walk sessions…this is a statement game.
Yes I'm stuck in the middle with you,
And I'm wondering what it is I should do,
It's so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, yeah, I'm all over the place,
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.
- Stuck in the Middle with you by Stealers Wheel
Just 2 teams stuck in the middle of the AFC West.
As discussed last week in the Friday debate, this division is just flat out whacky. The only rule seems to be expect the unexpected.
The real question here is….which one is Mr. Blonde and which one is the cop? And am I the only one that loves that Steven Wright is the DJ?
To be honest, this game should end in a 2-2 tie. That would be on par for this division…
The Chiefs sneak out of Denver with the win. Yes, you’re right, there isn’t much to this game…sorry, this one scores low on my “game excitement scale”. If there is a chance this loss gets Shanny fired? Then I’m much more interested.
Good times never seem so good
Oh I've been inclined to believe it never would
- Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond
This past weekend, my wife went to visit friends in NYC, leaving my daughter and I alone overnight for the first time. Both my wife and I were geared up for the worst…
What happened? Well, after a rousing morning of swimming and tumbling class, followed by lunch and college football…closely followed by a special viewing of “Babe” and a gourmet dinner at Applebee’s (at my daughter’s request)…by the time we were getting ready to pick up my wife from the train station, my daughter had this to say…
“Don’t want to pick up mommy, just want you daddy.”
Between that, and demanding I get her Chicago Bears pajamas…this has been a good week to be a Dad.
The Browns are in the same spot. They were geared up for a season of misery…lots of screaming, cries of “Mommy doesn’t do it like that”…no sleep…rising levels of frustration…
And instead…they’re gearing up for the playoffs. Good times never seemed so good. Browns fans, enjoy every minute of this season…you’ve more than earned it.
The Browns keep it rolling against the Jets, who looked great against the Dolphins…but it was the Dolphins. Cleveland get the win,, and the smell of playoff tickets is in the air by the Lake.
Now every gambler knows that the secret to surviving
Is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
cause every hands a winner and every hands a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.
- The Gambler by Kenny Rogers
As the Monday night game faded into the surreal…one lyric kept swirling in my head…
If that doesn’t ring true after watching that game, then you weren’t paying attention. Read the line again.
The Patriots see every hand as a winner. There isn’t a doubt in their minds that they are winning everytime they step on the field, and that’s a large part of the reason they pull out games like Monday Night.
The Ravens meanwhile, they seem to be tripping all over themselves. They had the lead, and they had McGahee running like a man possessed…but then Boller throws a pass to 3 Pats players. And then a timeout comes in from the sideline when there wasn’t a need. Then the Ravens start mugging the Pats WRs…and then Bart Scott goes off the reservation.
That’s not the secret to surviving by any stretch of the imagination. But what’s worse? Billick utter the phrase of death this week…the “We should be 7-5”. Anytime a coach or player starts in on the shoulds, woulda, coulda…it’s the kiss of death. It fosters the wrong attitude, gets the team thinking they were cheated, and causes them to dwell on the past. You can’t change what happened yesterday, you learn from it, and move on.
There are 16 games in the season. You lose one, you move onto the next. If you start talking about how you should of won the game last week, or the week before…that impacts your ability to win the next game…and suddenly…well…suddenly, you’re saying things like “We should be “7-5”. Let’s get something straight…you’re 4-8. Why? Cause you lost 8 games. That’s how it works. Sorry, better luck next season.
With all the shouldas, wouldas, and couldas coming out of Baltimore…this game is over before it starts. The Colts get the win, and the Ravens sink slowly into oblivion. There’s a good chance they’ll have a new coach next year…Marvin Lewis might be available?
Show me the way to go home
I'm tired and I want to go to bed
I had a little drink about an hour ago
And it went right to my head
- Show me the way to go home by ? (Best known for it being sung in Jaws)
Ah, another Monday night game that will put you to sleep. Yay!
Speaking of that, one of the songs I sing at night to my daughter is…Show me the way to go home. It started one night because said something like “I’m tired, I need to goto bed”…and I broke right into the song.
She got a big kick out of it, and then request that I sing it that night. That sung has since been sung about 8372 times in this house, by yours truly. But that’s not the funny part…
My daughter is a little sponge, soaking up everything, and repeating back everything she hears. Everyday I’m amazed at the things she has learned, and the things she’ll say. Nothing prepares you for rounding a corner, and seeing your 2 and half year-old daughter dancing around the room singing the line…
“I had a little drink about an hour a go, and it went right to my head”
I couldn’t stop laughing for a good 5 minutes. She joined in as well. And after I got a hold of myself, my daughter simply said…
“Daddy, I crack you up.”
Yes she does, yes she does.
Wake me when this game is over. Saints get the win. Hopefully, you’ve had many a drink by half time of this one, and have a trusty friend to show you the way home. That might make this game watchable.
Hopefully, you’ve all been singing along the whole way…or at least tapping a foot. No, you should have been singing along. That’s it, Thursday night is FanNation Karaoke night. Everybody head for the Four Farthings Bar and Grill in Chicago. We’ll watch the game and belt out some Karaoke.
While us Bears fans try to get over the hangover that won’t go away. The magic Super Bowl journey is getting really close for a couple groups of fans. My only advice? Enjoy the ride. For every season like this, there is a season like the Bears are havng waitintg to grab you and pull you back down to Earth.
While the chosen few see their teams moving towards the big game…all us fans of the non-playoff bound teams…well…these lyrics sum it up quite well…
Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again,
And I can't wait to get on the road again.
Man, went heavy on the country in this thing…seriously, don’t know why that is…just sort of flowed out…ah well…there is always next week.
Author's Note: What song best describes your team's season? Come on, you know there's one in the back of your mind...
In the end, if this doesn't strike the right note with you...well, you can always read Dan's horse...pile.