Support my attention-whoring ways by following us on twitter!

Get the SKOdcast imported directly into your brain!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Around the NFL, Week 17

Steelers 27, Panthers 3
Well, I'm not exactly sure what the schedule-makers were expecting from a prime-time game featuring a Panthers team that only Peter King thought would be any good, but I doubt it was this. Jimmy Clausen is Cade McNown. Every time I watch him play I'm reminded of Cade's prancing footwork, his weak arm, his dead-duck of a deepball, and his cocky attitude and "pro-ready" pedigree. Get bent, Clausen.

Cardinals 27, Cowboys 26
Even in a season chock-full of it, Cowboys fail is amusing. The Cardinals are an interesting team to watch this offseason. Do they attempt to rebuild with either Skelton or a young QB snatched up in the draft, perhaps inviting another season reminiscent of the Young Jake Plummer Era? Or do they go after McNabb or a certain other quarterback who may be available and can CLEARLY lead a team back to glory?

Chiefs 34, Titans 14
Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on making their first playoff appearance since 2006. In a division that features Norv Turner, the Oakland Raiders, and had Josh McDaniels for most of the year, the Chiefs were certainly the least hateable team. Oh, and someone should fire Jeff Fisher like two months ago.

Ravens 20, Browns 10
I feel bad for Eric Mangini, actually. I can't stand the guy, but Holmgren set him up with a no-win situation this year in hopes of jettisoning him in favor of a hand-picked head coach in the offseason and Mangini for most of the year got pretty good effort out of his team, especially froma surprisingly good defense that should get the Browns into the picture next year. I mean how else can you explain signing Jake Delhomme if Holmgren wasn't trying to sabotage the guy?

Patriots 34, Bills 3
Well, yeah.

Rams 25, 49ers 17
Down goes Singletary. I've ranted against Singletary as a coach before and I'm tempted to do it again. As a hall of fame linebacker his credentials as a player are beyond debate, but as a coach he's every bad cliche of what makes a "good" football coach rolled into one. He frequently redasses players on the field, something that may make the frothing meatheads at home crush their Budweisers on their forehead in adulation but really undermines the effort and respect of the team, he jerks around quarterbacks at the first sign of trouble (something that plagued his mentor Ditka as well) and prevents any sort of offensive consistency, and he preaches accountability and personal responsibility while clearly shuffling blame onto the players every time he picks one out to go after on the sidelines or at the podium after the game. For every jackass that I heard arguing for throwing Lovie overboard last year and "getting a guy who "gets it"" like Singletary, I hope you've learned something from this. For every Ditka who comes along and wins with Buddy Ryan's defense and screams his way to one Superbowl, or for every Bill Cowher scowling on the sidelines, there's petulant assholes like Josh McDaniels and screaming lunatics like Singletary who preach about teamwork and discipline while practicing little of either for themselves.

Oh, and who else is pumped as hell for the Sunday night play-in game between the Rams and the Seahawks? I mean, I think the Rams are the better team and should win that division, but aren't we all, at least deep down, hoping for a Seahawks victory and a 7-9 playoff team?

Lions 34, Dolphins 27
The Lions are on a nice little run. The Dolphins probably shouldn't fire Sparano yet, as his mistake was winning 11 games his first year and masking a lot of the organizational issues that still plague a team that was largely harvested of any kind of young and promising talent during the Wannstedt/Saban/Cameron years of 2001-2007. The results he's achieved the last couple years are more indicative of where this team's talent is. Sparano should get one more year but that should be contingent on him recognizing a lost cause and throwing Chad Henne overboard. Chad Henne is who he was at Michigan, a talented pocket passer who often makes poor decisions and isn't consistently accurate. Two years as a starter used to be a small window, but nowadays that's all you're going to get, and the fact that Henne right now is exactly where he was a year ago is a bad sign.

Redskins 20, Jaguars 17
While Rex naturally followed up his four TD outburst against Dallas with a game in which he failed to complete 50% of his passes and had a passer rating of 60.0, he may still be in position to secure at least a temporary starting job for the Redskins in 2011. And you all know you want that. Also, congratulations to the Jacksonville Jaguars on being the Jacksonville Jaguars. There was a brief window this season where you weren't the Jaguars, but it's good to see you return to your roots and fail to truly even threaten the Indianapolis Colts.

Broncos 24, Texans 23
Tebow played well. That is naturally contingent of course on the fact that the Texans have, statistically, the worst pass defense in the history of the NFL and are nearing the end of an epic collapse, but oh well. Credit where it's due, I suppose. I look forward to the Chargers stomping him out in the last game and seeing what the next Broncos coach chooses to do with a player who is still a very big project.

Colts 31, Raiders 26
Thank you, Indy. For the seventh straight year, the Raiders will not accomplish a winning season.

Bengals 34, Chargers 20
The Chargers really learned the hard way this year that taking the first two months off every year may eventually come back to bite you on the ass. But hey, at least their owner says Norv Turner is safe. That's what you wanted to hear, isn't it, Chargers Fan?

Buccaneers 38, Seahawks 15
Good win by the Bucs, who I really wish hadn't lost to the Lions last week. If they'd pulled that off they'd have Green Bay backed up against the wall big time. Alas, they must upset the Saints in New Orleans this weekend and have the Bears beat Green Bay in order to keep the Pack out of the playoffs. Make it so. Oh, and here is your reminder that the Seahawks can make the playoffs despite being outscored by their opponents by 104 points this year.

Packers 45, Giants 17
Man, the Giants have just quit. Aaron Rodgers was absolutely outstanding, but the six turnovers were just inexplicable. If the Giants can pull it together to beat the Redskins they still have a shot as they have the tiebreaker with the Buccaneers in the event of a Bucs win over the Saints, but they obviously lose the tiebreaker to the Packers.

Saints 17, Falcons 14
I love Drew Brees and I'm beating a dead horse but if Jay Cutler had thrown that ridiculous underhanded pick six that Brees "threw" to give the Falcons a fourth quarter lead in a huge late-season divisional game, he'd be absolutely freaking crucified. I don't care if he threw four touchdown passes in the rest of the game, that interception would be plastered all over the Earth. But what do they say about Drew Brees? It's good because he can shake off his interceptions. Jesus.

Vikings 24, Eagles 14
I watched the entire second half of this game, and I still have no idea how it happened. The Eagles shitty defense failed them once again and Michael Vick was unable to single-handedly save them. Why people haven't brought up the Eagles' glaring deficiency on that side of the ball, I don't know, but I'm curious as to why, in a season where the Bears offensive woes (which have been mostly cured since the bye) have them marked as a Fraud by all of the Les Carpenters of the world, the Eagles defense isn't also singled out as a unit that could cripple a playoff run. They're allowing over 24 ppg on defense and have allowed teams like the Lions, Titans, Redskins, Cowboys, and Joe Webb-led Vikings to put up 32, 39, 28, 27, and 24 points respectively. Thank you, Joe Webb, for giving the Bears a first round bye the easy way. I still hope the Bears take care of business and keep the Packers out of the postseason, but I appreciate the room for error.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Les Carpenter, I Will Hunt You Down and Paint the Walls With Your Blood

I can't even begin to process this shit. You know the deal. He's in italics.

Bears need charitable foes on playoff schedule

Right. Because the Bears only win because opponents give them the game. Their 0-15 streak in the Deserved to Win Standings still holds strong!

The ball spiraled down through the frosty air and Devin Hester(notes) pumped his fist. Nobody much kicks to the Chicago Bears returner anymore. Not the way he darts around blocks, between tacklers and down the sideline.

Nobody kicks to him anymore? How is it that he's had returns in 14 of 15 games this season then? If the Matt Dodge/DeSean Jackson controversy taught us anything, it's that it's really hard Not to kick it to somebody every time.

Kick to Hester and you might as well prepare to lose.
And so, as he saw the ball coming his way, he couldn’t help but to smile.

Yes. The Bears only win on Hester returns. The fact that their offense is averaging 27 ppg in the second half has NOTHING to do with it.

Half a field later, as he was finally corralled in front of the Jets bench, he wagged a finger at the team so stupid to kick his way. No, no. Don’t you do it again.

He might as well have been waving to the rest of the NFL. Because what are the Bears in the looming postseason if they don’t get a team as dumb as the Jets?

I don't know. What makes the Jets any dumber than the rest of the NFL? The Packers kicked to Hester. The Eagles kicked to Hester. The Giants kicked to Hester. Every playoff contender the Bears have faced have kicked the ball to Hester. I don't think the Giants are particularly stupid. There's a reason why Hester has accumulated the stats he's accumulated long after it was painfully obvious how good he was. It's hard to avoid the returner. A guy like Hester can range sideline to sideline and a punter damn near has to shank it simply to make it Impossible for him to return it.

They are 11-4 with a step toward a bye the first week of the playoffs, and yet, if a team isn’t crazy enough to kick or punt the ball Hester’s way or let him turn a defensive back in circles the way he did Jets cornerback Dwight Lowery(notes) on a third-quarter touchdown, then how good are they really?

I don't know. Good enough that that's now the ninth game they've won this year without a Hester return TD. Hell, let's play this game with every other contender.

If you take away Drew Brees, how good are the Saints really?
If you cover Roddy White, who the hell will Matt Ryan throw to?
If DeSean Jackson doesn't touch the ball, how good are the Eagles?

I love how it's always pundits like this who get out their erection for "fundamental, hard-nosed football" and say shit like "special teams is a third of the game" and then scoff laughingly at a team that gets big contributions from their special teams like its some kind of fluke. For four years now the Bears have proven that their special teams is a really dangerous unit that sets up their offense with great field position and must be accounted for. That's not a fluke or something easily dismissed. That's just another sign of a good football team.

Chicago is supposed to be built on defense, growling about its ability to dislodge the ball from runners, recovering fumbles and snatching opposing quarterbacks’ passes from the air. Yet on Sunday, the Bears gave up 34 points to a quarterback (Mark Sanchez(notes)) with a throwing shoulder (right) supposedly so sore he could barely throw in practice this week.

Oh no! The Bears defense had a bad game against a team that has one of the best offensive lines in football! They neutralized Julius Peppers and the defense struggled. The Bears, as good teams will do, compensated on offense and still won the game. Sensible people would see this as the mark of a good football team. Idiots will continue to push an agenda that the Bears arent' very good because Calvin Johnson had a TD taken away or something.

Against the Jets, the Bears scored plenty points of their own. Twenty-one of them came in a 7:14 time period in the third quarter when New York and the new clown prince of football, Rex Ryan, essentially handed Chicago the game. This was after Ryan thought a fake punt on his own 40-yard line at the start of the second half would be a fine idea. And right after Ryan’s assistants apparently let punter Steve Weatherford(notes) boot the ball to Hester who set up a touchdown with a 38-yard return, which was right before the kickoff went Hester’s way and he pumped his fist.

No. Fuck you. That did not "hand the Bears the game." You do not score 38 fucking points against one of the top-scoring defenses in football because of one ill-advised decision. It was fucking 24-17 at that point. The Jets were not in fucking control of the game. Hell, their entire second half was mostly terrible outside of one blown coverage on Santonio Holmes that led to a Jets TD. Here are the Jets drives in the second half minus the Holmes TD:

4 Plays, 7 yds, Turnover on Downs
3Plays, 0 yds, Punt
12 Plays, 51 yds, FG
12 Plays, 40 yds, Punt
3 Plays, 5 yds, Punt
1 Play, O yds, INT.

The Bears outscored the Jets 31-17 in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th quarters. The Jets had a great second quarter. Using Carpenter's logic, outside of one chunk of time in the 2nd quarter, the Jets were never even in this game. The Bears scored 38 points. 7 of them came after the turnover, and hell, the Bears went 40 yards in one play on that drive. The Jets didn't "hand the Bears the game," the Bears fucking took it by beating the Jets vaunted CBs in man coverage. That's not luck. That's one football team beating another.

Without that 7:14 of Rex Ryan being Rex Ryan, Chicago likely loses this game and with it, much hope of getting that first-round bye. And that should worry many about these Bears.

Without that time period in which they scored a lot of points and took over the game, this team would probably have lost!

This is just shitty fucking journalism at it's worst. I can't even be funny about this. This is pathetic, agenda-pushing drivel. What kind of logic is this? You can't take away shit that happens on a football field. One play, sure. Go ahead and make that pointless argument. But three straight scoring drives spread out over most of an entire quarter? No. Fuck you.

They just don’t feel like a team that will go deep into January.

I'm glad you aren't even trying to use logic here.

Chicago has not built its 11 wins on the carcasses of gifted teams. It withstood a furious rally from Philadelphia to win a game in late November, beat a mercurial Green Bay team and should probably have lost on Sunday were it not for the bumbling Jets who absorbed their defeat by shouting loudly in their locker room after learning that Jacksonville’s overtime loss had put them into the playoffs. Otherwise, the Bears’ résumé includes losses to the Redskins and Seahawks. In their two marquee games, they lost 17-3 to the Giants and 36-7 to the Patriots.

The Bears have beaten the Packers, Jets, and Eagles. That's three teams that have at least 9 wins. That's the same number the Packers have beaten (except the Bears beat Green Bay), the same number the Eagles have beaten (except the Bears beat the Eagles), one more than the Saints have beaten, and just one less than the Falcons have beaten. Also, what makes the Giants game and the Patriots games their "marquee games." The Bears have played prime-time games against the Packers, Giants, Dolphins, and Vikings. They've won 3 of those 4. If those aren't their marquee games, then they've played playoff contenders in the Packers, Giants, Eagles, Patriots, and Jets. They've won 3 of those 5. The only reason this schmuck lists the Giants and Pats as their "marquee games" are because they're the ones that fit his narrative. Hell, why the fuck would the Giants be a marquee game? They're not even currently set to make the playoffs. They got beat by the Packers and Eagles, both of whom Chicago has beaten. This is just shit.

Such nights do not make a champion.

Wait, they can't win the Superbowl in October games against non-division opponents?

Usually teams on the verge of big playoff runs seem good at something. And Chicago did come into the game with the league’s eighth-ranked defense. But it was also a defense that gave up nearly 400 yards and let the Jets run free across the field, just as it allowed 475 yards to New England and 398 to Philadelphia.

And won two of those three games. What does it say when a team can beat two of three playoff bound opponents in games in which their defense didn't play particularly well (although they did against the Eagles, but some people will never grasp the concept of a prevent defense)? Apparently that means they suck ass and will lose to those same playoff teams that they beat. Or something.

Offensively Cutler looked alternately brilliant and awful on Sunday, which is sort of the way he’s been all season Only six times this year has he been the top passer in a game the Bears have played. There’s no sense counting on the quarterback, who has been derided in Chicago and previously in Denver as immature, to win games on his own. Certainly not behind the Bears offensive line which isn’t dominant enough to wait out his long looks downfield that have allowed him to be sacked 46 times this year and intercepted 14 others.

Who the fuck cares if he's been the top passer in the games the Bears have played? It's not like they're playing against the same defenses. He's won the games and his statistics are actually really good, regardless of how this guy tries to spin them in order to find the one or two that make him look bad. His 14 interceptions place him well behind guys like both Manning brothers (combined 41 picks for those two) and Drew Brees (19). I don't suppose those guys are "immature and unable to win games on their own." And he's only been derided by idiots like you. That doesn't count for shit.

Sunday might have exposed the Bears, told the country that even after beating another top AFC team, Chicago is not destined to march far into the winter.

It's been 15 games. The Bears have won 11 of them. I don't care if they've been "exposed." If they're so bad, why doesn't somebody just fucking beat them?

Eat a dick, Les Carpenter. You have a stupid name, anyway.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bears 38, Jets 34- A Christmas Miracle

Not exactly. Christmas is a time of giving, and the Bears defense and Jay Cutler were particularly kind to the Jets in the 2nd quarter. Fortunately Cutler rebounded to take over the game in the second half and the defense did what it had to do in order to secure the Bears an impressive comeback win in an unexpectedly high-scoring contest. Onto the recap:

The Good

Matt Forte: Matt continued his terrific second half with 113 yards and a TD on 19 carries to go along with 4 catches and 56 yards through the air. Those people that scoffed at him fulfilling the Marshall Faulk role in the Martz offense before the year should probably look at his 1465 yards from scrimmage this year and reconsider.

Johnny Knox: He had some drops early on, but rebounded to kill the Jets in the third quarter and he finished with 4 catches, 92 yards, and 2 TDs.

Devin Hester: The Bears got Hester the ball on offense, kick returns, and punt returns, and it worked out well as he set them up with good field position all day and then had a huge TD grab on offense.

Chris Harris: He was one of the few defensive players to perform fairly well throughout, and his game-ending pick of Mark Sanchez was a masterful work of duping a quarterback into a turnover. It also gave him a career high five picks on the year. Great job of re-acquiring this guy.

The Bad:

The defensive line: They haven't been on this list much, but the Jets vaunted offensive front blew Peppers and Co. off of the ball all day long. This allowed Rico Mirerez enough time to throw for 269 yards and to compile an 84.3 rating, which is extremely distressing as I hate that overrated twerp.

Tim Jennings: He's played very well mostly since taking over for Zack Bowman, but he dropped at least one interception today and he bit badly on a playfake leaving Santonio Holmes wide open for the TD that tied the game at 31.

The second quarter: Cutler threw one mind-bogglingly stupid interception for a touchdown, the defense allowed a 10-0 lead to dissipate into a 21-10 deficit, and everything seemed lost. Fortunately Martz switched to the shotgun and allowed Cutler to get into a rhythm on the drive that made it 21-17 and the Bears showed up in the third quarter.

Somewhere in Between:
Jay Cutler: It's hard to say he had a bad game in a game where he threw 3 TDs and guided the offense to 38 points, but Cutler was mostly inaccurate and had trouble sustaining drives outside of the third quarter. His pick-six was abominably stupid and he double clutched before going down at the two-yard line on a play that should have been given up on well before the Jets ever got to him. I've been extremely pleased with Jay's performance during the second half, but he just can't make those mistakes. Oh well, his three TD passes were the god damn balls and everyone of you knows it. You rock, Jay. Congrats on being the first passer in Bears history with back to back 3000 yard seasons and back to back 20+ TD seasons.

That's all for now. Time to go to Green Bay, knock their asses out of the playoffs, and secure the bye. Go Bears.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bears 40, Vikings 14, the 500th Post is a Damn Good One

It took three years and 500 posts on this blog, but the Bears are finally champions of the NFC North again. The way they did it was especially beautiful. Rather than struggling on an ice-covered field, the offense had it's best game all year, crossing the forty point margin for the first time this season. Devin Hester added to the rout with a receiving TD in the 2nd quarter and his NFL record-breaking 14th career return touchdown. It's a great day to be a Bears fan. On to the recap:

What wasn't on a day like today? Some particulars:

Jay Cutler: He had protection for most of the night, and bought time with his feet when he didn't. He completed a 67 yard bomb for a TD to Knox and gave this offense the deep ball it had been craving for a long time. He added two more TD passes to Hester and even Rashied Davis (!). He made one rather ill-advised throw that resulted in an interception, but was more or less flawless outside of that. He also became the first Bears QB to throw 20 TD passes in back-to-back seasons. Nice rebound, Jay. Congrats on your first trip to the postseason since high school.

Matt Forte: He was huge tonight, as he has been most of the second half. He ran harder than I've ever seen him run, and pushed the pile several times. Unfortunately the Bears pulled him for Taylor at the goal line and three opportunities within the ten turned into field goals. He finished just shy of 100 yards with 92 on 17 carries, but could easily have broken the mark without Chester Taylor vulturing away 11 totes.

The Wide Receivers: Knox had a 67 yard TD run as part of a 78 yard outing (although he alligator-armed another TD and a pass that would have given the Bears a first down), while Hester added 23 yard and a TD, Engram threw in 37 on 3 catches, and Aromoshadu and Rashied Davis made rare appearances as well.

The offensive line: only one sack allowed and they paved the way for Forte's big day. Nice work, boys.

The defense: I'm not really sure who to single out here. Urlacher's 8 tackles? Chris Harris's huge night (6 tackles and an INT)?, Julius Peppers (INT, 2 pass deflections), Charles Tillman (INT)?, any of the four Bears that registered sacks? Or how about anyone who forced one of the five Vikings turnovers? Just an amazing all-around performance.

Corey Wooton: Okay, I'll single this guy out for finally being the first Bear to knock Brett Favre out of a game. Oh how I wept with tears of joy. God (or whatever deity or celebrity y'all worship) bless you, son.

Devin Hester: The record breaker finally came after a night in which he threatened to break into the end zone every time he touched the ball. The guy is just unreal. I can't even fathom why a team would kick to him. I really can't. He's just awesome beyond words.

Lovie Smith: I'll still be pissed if the Bears extend him before Lovie can prove this isn't a one year fluke, but he deserves credit for one hell of a job of coaching this team into the playoffs.

The Bad:

Chester Taylor: I yell bad things when I see him on my tv. Chester is now averaging 2.4 ypc vs. Forte's 4.3. That's not an accident. He needs to not be a waste of 10+ carries a game.

Brett Favre and the Dolts that Love Him: Christ. This was the worst of all of the many, many, many Favre-llatio jobs ESPN's ever done, made even more hilarious when they kept showing their pre-arranged Favre graphics long after Corey Wooton had sent him to the locker room in a body bag. Guh. So glad that'll be the last time that fucker plays the Bears.

Doubters: I don't care what the Bears do in the playoffs. I don't care how they got here. The mere fact that the Bears are division champs despite everyone writing them off since last October completely invalidates the assholes who will try to wag their finger if and when the Bears lose again. Keep hating, dickheads. I'll just enjoy my playoff-bound football team.

That's it for now. The Bears are NFC North Champs. We'll worry about the playoffs later. I'm just glad we can.

Around the NFL, Week 15

Since the Bears don't play tonight (and sadly nay, there will be no SKOsCast as I won't have the internet access at the place where I intend to watch the game) and that recap is always separate anyway, here's this week's roundup of the other NFL games:

Chargers 34, 49ers 7
This final score was surprising unless you'd actually watched either of them play this year.

Chiefs 27, Rams 13
This was the 3rd time this year that all four NFC West teams went down in one weekend. Guh.

Panthers 19, Cardinals 12
If you're keeping score the transitive property of football therefore states that the Panthers>Jay Feeley>the Denver Broncos. The best part is Carolina still keeps the #1 pick thanks to the Bengals upsetting the Browns.

Eagles 38, Giants 31
I bear no ill will towards the New York Giants, but that was hilarious. The Houston Oilers do not respect your ability to close out games, New York. Also, this keeps the Bears in the lead for #2 seed.

Lions 23, Buccaneers 20
Stupid Buccaneers. Losing games to the Lions and giving the Packers an outside shot at the playoffs again. Bastards.

Bengals 19, Browns 17
Colt McCoy has a solid future ahead of him as the next Jeff Garcia. Headin' from town to town, scrambling, throwing some awesome checkdowns, managing teams to first-round playoff exits. Oh yes.

Bills 17, Dolphins 14
Oh, Chad Henne. You suck.

Dallas 33, Washington 30
The many faces of Rex Grossman were on display in full force yesterday. At one point he was down 27-7, was just 7 of 15 with an interception, a lost fumble, and two sacks, and then in the next quarter and half he goes 15/27 with 3 TD passes as the team ties the game at 30, then he ends the game with an interception and a loss. Finally tally? Four touchdowns, three turnovers, five sacks. I hope he keeps up his normal brand of mind-numbingly erratic play long enough to earn the starting job for the Redskins next year. Football is a better place when Rexy is out there as a wildcard. Just so long as he's not under center for the Bears anymore.

Colts 34, Jaguars 24
Sigh. This is why we don't predict the downfall of the Colts or Patriots until one of them is actually eliminated from playoff contention. Plenty of both has happened this year and they both seem to be okay.

Ravens 30, Saints 24
Congratulations, Ravens. You did something non-mediocre.

Titans 31, Texans 17
I guess when two franchises in free-fall meet one of them has to win. Thought it would be the Texans, though.

Falcons 34, Seahawks 18
I realize Matt Ryan has done some pretty incredible things for a QB his age, and his record as a starter is very impressive, but the guy really isn't asked to do that much. The last two years his YPA is at a middling 6.5 and he averages just under 220 yards passing per game in his career. Were he not a first round pick and a media favorite they'd be applying the dreaded "game manager" label to him. There's something to be said for a guy who has a sparkling 25:9 TD:INT ratio this year, but I'll be very interested in seeing how well he plays in the playoffs against top-caliber defenses.

Jets 22, Steelers 17
The Jets offense still managed just one touchdown and only 276 yards. I'm feeling quite confident the Bears will get to them next week. Then we'll see who wins the prize of Greatest Team That Got the Shit Kicked Out of Them by New England This Year.

Oakland 39, Denver 23
Tebow threw 16 passes, folks. He completed just 8 of them. His only TD pass was a lucky throw that came off of a pass that went through the hands of a Raider defender and hit a receiver laying on the ground in the back of the end zone. He's as inaccurate as ever and won't survive running the ball like a glorified fullback. The Broncos also managed to convert just 2 third downs and 235 yards of offense. Oh well. At least he'll get Kyle out of Denver and off to somewhere where he can manage games for a likeable franchise.

Patriots 31, Green Bay 27
I'll give the Packers credit for an innovative game plan that took the Pats off-guard. Then I'll laugh that they still lost.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cutler Relative to Protection

The Bears have the worst offensive line in the league. This isn't any great secret. When you've allowed the most sacks, manage just 3.8 YPC and have the league's 25th ranked running game, no one is surprised to find out that, according to many metrics, you have the worst o-line in the game. Despite this glaring deficiency in the Bears' offense, I still hear frequent criticism of Jay Cutler as though the offense's woes are primarily (or even heavily) his fault. Hell, I heard fans bitching about his interceptions last week, even though his first came after the Bears were already down 29 points. It's shit like this quote coming from one of the writers at WindyCityGridiron (a site I normally like, although as an SBNation site it has a grab bag of good and bad), that really pisses me off:

"As far as QB Jay Cutler is concerned, I hope when he was on the sidelines watching Tom Brady move up and down the field on a very tough defense that he was taking notes. If you want to be in that elite level with the Bradys, Mannings, and Breeses you have to put in the time. Those guys didn't just only rely on their talent; they put time in the film room and with their receivers. Their success is not only because of their talent, but because they have become students of the game. It's time for Cutler to wake up and become a student of the game."

The coaching staff's praise for Jay's work has been nothing but effusive. He met with Mike Martz before Martz was even hired to go over the offense. The idea that Cutler's problems stem from him "not putting in the time" is absolutely ludicrous. Let's look at the real reason why Cutler isn't an "elite" quarterback yet (and I don't disagree with the notion that he's not elite yet, I just think this guy is off-base in Why that's so): protection.

I think Jay Cutler has done an outstanding job this year behind a terrible offensive line. To prove this, I went to, as usual, and looked at their advanced metrics for QB statistics. PFR has what they call QB Rating+, which is a more accurate version of the standard QB rating that also shows how the QB has done relative to the league average. A rate+ of 100 is league average, anything above is good, anything below is bad. Cutler right now has a Rate+ of 105. Good, but not great by any measuring stick.

Not great, that is, until one considers another metric, Sack %+. This looks at how many times a QB is sacked on his dropbacks relative to the league average. Again, like QB Rate+, 100 is average, above is good, below is not. Cutler's Sack %+ right now is a 62. That's without a doubt the lowest in the league among the 32 quarterbacks who have taken the majority of their team's snaps this year. The differential between Cutler's QB Rate+ and his Sack%+ is a whopping +43. That's very impressive and is also the widest such differential in the NFL. Hell, Peyton Manning has a Rate+ of 108 (very low by his standards) despite a Sack% + 127, meaning he's been just "good" despite what is easily the leagues best offensive line. Tom Brady has had great protection (Sack %+ of 110) but has been even better than that with a Rate+ of 128, currently the leagues best.

Other quarterbacks that currently ranking higher than Cutler on Rate+ have a negative differential relative to their protection, including both Mannings (Eli at -20, Peyton at -19), Tony Romo (-9), Drew Brees (-9), and Matt Ryan (-7). That's not to say that Cutler is better than those QBs, at some point, regardless of how good your protection is, you're not going to be unstoppable. However, the fact that Jay has managed to overcome such a dreadful offensive line to the tune of a +43 has to be taken into account, considering the league average differential is a mere +1.3.

Not that it should have taken this article to make people realize this, but the next time you're inclined to blame Jay Cutler for something on this offense, remember that right now he's easily the best in the NFL at making the most with the least. Hopefully this offseason the Bears will completely re-tool the offensive line and next year we'll see Jay get the protection necessary to make him one of the elites, since he's already putting in the work.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Prognostication Bukakke! Bonus Rounds, NFL Week 15

Code Red: 25-7
Mrs. Code Red: 20-12
Iggins: 17-15

49ers (5-8) @ Chargers (7-6)
Code Red:
Not even close. The Chargers will destroy the 49ers. Sadly, however, that will not take the 49ers out of postseason contention yet. Yes, folks, 7-9 could still win the NFC West.

Iggins!: Yeah, this is unfair. When the NFC West plays out of division it’s an easy pick (usually, damn Broncos suck so hard). Chargers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Chargers? Seems like they might be the least bad of the really bad West coast teams.

Chiefs (8-5) @ Rams (6-7)
Cassel is practicing so I’ll take the Chiefs, but Croyle is just terrible enough to cost the Chiefs this game if he starts. Chiefs win.

Mrs. Code Red: Even though the Chiefs got killed last week by the Chargers, I’m going to go with them this week. They have a much better offense than the Rams and about an equal defense so simple logic says they should win.

Code Red: It's simple logic indeed. Chiefs win.

Cardinals (4-9) @ Panthers (1-12)
Code Red:
Eww. Despite last week’s beatdown of Denver, the Cardinals are terrible. Also, did anyone think they’d be treated to the horror of a showdown between John Skelton and Jimmy Clausen this year? Yikes. I’ll take the Cardinals with great reluctance.

Iggins!: Cardinals.

Mrs. Code Red: I can’t believe I even have to pick between these teams. I mean, I’ll take the Cardinals, but does anybody really win in this situation?

Eagles (9-4) @ Giants (9-4)
The thing that seems to slow Vick down is a good front 4, and the Giants have that. This is going to be a tight game, but I see the Giants pulling off the upset here.

Mrs. Code Red: I’m going to go with the Eagles because they have an awesome offense and because they won the last time these teams went head to head. Plus, Red wants them to win so the Bears can potentially get a first round bye in the playoffs or something. Good game, but Eagles win.
Code Red: I was tempted to take the Giants right up until Iggins! did. He's always wrong, so it follows that the Eagles win.

Lions (3-10) @ Bucs (8-5)
Code Red:
The Lions did an awesome job last week, and we congratulate them. I expect Tampa to remain undefeated against teams with losing records, however. Bucs win.

Iggins!: Last week was all about the Lions defense and how bad Matt Flynn is. The Bucs can score at least 2 TDs in this game and the Lions won’t score 1, so Bucs win.

Mrs. Code Red:
The Lions just aren’t good. Beating the Packers once is cool, but it doesn’t actually mean you’re good. Bucs win.

Browns (5-8) @ Bengals (2-11)
The Bengals are an unmitigated disaster. Who’d have thought T.O. would be the only good offensive player for Cincy this year? Browns win.

Mrs. Code Red: What’s with the slew of mediocre games this week? The 29th ranked offense against the 28th ranked defense? Yuck. Browns win I guess.

Code Red: Hey! You're reading! Stop reading, reader. Statnerd. Browns win, since I think Colt McCoy will play.

Bills (3-10) @ Dolphins (7-6)
Code Red:
Lot of rather easy games to pick this week. Dolphins win.

Iggins!: Not much to say about this one. Fins win.

Mrs. Code Red: Dolphins
I guess. Both teams annoy me but the Dolphins have a better record so I’ll go with them.

Redskins (5-8) @ Cowboys (4-9)
The Cowboys look much better, and the Redskins have lost their ability to win games they shouldn’t. Cowboys win.

Mrs. Code Red: Okay the whole NFL is apparently just really really average this year. Blah. Redskins have been losing a lot lately and Cowboys have been sort of winning sometimes, so… Cowboys win. Even though I really dislike Tony Romo.

Code Red: Redskins blow. Cowboys win.

Jaguars (8-5) @ Colts (7-6)
Code Red:
I fear that Jacksonville’s struggles to win in Indianapolis will continue, but there are times when a man has to stand for something, and say that This is the year Pey-Pey stays home for the playoffs. Jaguars win.

Iggins!: You stole my upset, dick. The Jaguars win this division, meaning nobody cares.

Mrs. Code Red: This is a really big game… Since it’s still the regular season and not the playoffs, I’m going to say that Manning will pull through and win the big one for the Colts.

Saints (10-3) @ Ravens (9-4)
Wow, a good game! I’ll take the Saints because I still don’t think the Ravens are all that great.

Mrs. Code Red: I still love Breesus, his baby is still adorable, and I still believe the Saints are damn good. Saints win.

Code Red: I too, shall take the Saints because the Ravens are mediocre.

Texans (5-8) @ Titans (5-8)
Code Red:
One of these is a 5-8 team with a pretty good offense being wasted by an absolutely dreadful defense. The other is a 5-8 team with a pretty decent defense being wasted by an absolutely dreadful offense. I’m taking the Texans because Kerry Collins BLOWS.

Iggins!: The Texans have done a good job of almost beating every good team they’ve played. Luckily, the Titans aren’t good! Texans win.

Mrs. Code Red: Titans are on a 6 game losing streak. With a 5-8 record, that’s not good. I’ll take the team from Houston, because I still refuse to acknowledge Texans as a real mascot.

Falcons (11-2) @ Seahawks (6-7)
Iggins!: Falcons.
Do I really need to justify this?

Mrs. Code Red: As much as I want to pick the Seahawks (I don’t know why, but I have a random fascination with all athletic teams from the Pacific northwest), reason tells me the Falcons will continue their 7 game winning streak.

Code Red: No, no one needs to justify this. Falcons win.

Jets (9-4) @ Steelers (10-3)
Code Red:
The Steelers will continue the destruction of Rico Mirerez’s confidence. The Bears will then finish the job next week. Steelers win, and Jets reallly start to panic.

Iggins!: Sanchez is going down in flames and bringing the Jets with him just watch as the Dolphins sneak up and make the playoffs instead of New York. Steelers win.

Mrs. Code Red: I don’t really know anything about these teams, so I pick the Steelers because I still think it’s dumb that the Jets signed Brett Favre. That seems logical, right?

Broncos (3-10) @ Raiders (6-7)
Iggins!: Raiders.
There are some truly awful NFL teams this year.

Mrs. Code Red: The Broncos are getting worse by the day. Raiders win.

Code Red: At some point the Broncos'll bow to their fans and play Tebow. Then those fans will realize they Truly have nothing to hope for. Raiders win.

Packers (8-5) @ Patriots (11-2)
Code Red:
It’s still not certain whether or not Rodgers will play. He shouldn’t, since it’s his second concussion, but the Packers may be desparate and stupid enough to throw him out there. Even then I don’t think it’ll be enough. I can’t see the Patriots losing to a team as one dimensional as the Packers, certainly not in Foxborough. Patriots win.

Iggins!: Even with Rodgers the Packers would get destroyed. Patriots win.

Mrs. Code Red: Patriots. Definitely. I felt too guilty to choose the Pats over the Bears last week even though I wanted to, but I feel no shame in saying that the Pats are going to beat the Packers. I may even be so bold as to say that I think the Pats will be in the superbowl this year. Sorry boys—the mass-hole past strikes again.

Code Red: Yeah...even we've come to terms with the incredibly high probability of another Pats Superbowl. F*&k.

Bears (9-4) @ Vikings (5-8)

Mrs. Code Red: As Red so aptly put it, the Vikings have the choice this week to play a really old, mediocre, injured QB, a crappy, injured second-stringer, or an injured rookie. Even at their best and healthiest the Vikings couldn’t beat the Bears this year. Bears win without a doubt.

Code Red: I will truly savor a Bears division championship. Regardless of what happens in the playoffs, if this team rebuilds the offensive line this offseason it may finally have taken the steps necessary to be a consistent contender. Go Bears. Bears win.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Around the NFL, Week 14

A note, once more, to the Bears critics, knowing full well that this will fall on deaf ears:

Nothing was proven yesterday by the Bears getting the shit-kicked out of them in a blizzard by the best team in the NFL. To say that yesterday's loss somehow invalidates what the Bears have accomplished to this point would be to say that the Jets, Steelers, Ravens, Chargers or any of the other teams that have failed to slow down Tom Brady all suck as well. The Bears are like any other team that's won a lot of close games. People will see what they want to see. No one knows the future. As one of the few people who predicted the Bears would even be in the position to make the playoffs this year, I'm going to say that predicting the outcome of this season is a futile endeavor. The Bears can clinch the division with a Packers loss to New England and a win over the Vikings this week. That gets them in. Once they're in, well, they're as good as any other team in a flawed NFC, considering that the two glamour teams that everyone seems to love (the Eagles and Packers) have already been beaten by the Bears or, in Green Bay's case, are unlikely to make it to the dance at this point. If they make it as the NFC's representative in the Super Bowl, well, that's a problem I'll be happy to worry about in a few weeks.

Onto the recaps:

Colts 30, Titans 28
Tennessee was kind enough not to intercept Manning and the Colts held on for a two point win. How the hell they gave up 28 points to Kerry Collins is another matter. The Jags and Colts meet this week with the division on the line. Let's go Jags!

Bills 13, Browns 6
Impressive, really. Jake Delhoome can sabotage a team badly enough to come within one point of a loss to Carolina and lose to the Bills. The man is staring at a 10-25 TD:INT ratio in the last two years and STILL might start over Seneca Wallace next week if Colt McCoy isn't healthy. How the f&%k does that make any sense? I'm sorry, Cleveland. I really am.

Lions 7, Packers 3
That's just awesome. That is so awesome. I've never seen a final score so awesome. Awesome. Packers fans, you deserve nothing better than this. I've never seen a fanbase so arrogantly confident in their own greatness before their team even took the damn field. As for the media that so arrogantly assumed everything was setting up for an inevitable division clinching win by the Packers in Lambeau? Ha. The Bears can render that game a moot point this week. Hopefully that game now represents the Bears extinguishing the dimming playoff hopes of that overhyped charade of a team.

Steelers 23, Bengals 7
Guh. The Bengals are back to Akili Smith/Mike Shula levels of bad.

Buccaneers 17, Redskins 16
I'm going to wholeheartedly root for circumstances to allow the Bucs into the playoffs. That is the team I want the Bears facing in January.

Falcons 31, Panthers 10
Sky is blue.

Jaguars 38, Raiders 31
Thank you, Jacksonville. That should about do it for the Raiders, now that San Diego and Kansas City have made that a two-team race.

Saints 31, Rams 13
Why is no one afraid of the Saints? Or even mentioning them? I feel like everyone's already handed their NFC crown to the Falcons or Eagles and seem to be neglecting the existence of a very-alive defending champion. The road to the Superbowl on the Halas' side still runs through New Orleans until they're eliminated, as far as I'm concerned.

49ers 40, Seahawks 14
God help us all, Singletary could still win that f*&king travesty of a division.

Dolphins 10, Jets 6
Two QBs through their first 28 career starts:

QB A: 464/854 (54.3%), 4956 yds, 5.8 YPA, 177.0 YPG, 22 TDs, 23 INTs, 68.9 Rating.
QB B: 431/805 (53.3%), 5296 yds, 6.6 YPA, 189.1 YPG, 28 TDs, 32 INTs, 69.1 Rating.

QB A? Rick Mirer. QB B? Mark Sanchez, aka Rico Mirerez. Who called it? THIS GUY.

Cardinals 43, Broncos 13
I'm so thankful the AFC and NFC Wests collide this year. We get an answer to shit like "which last place team in the worst division of each conference is shittier?" The answer? Josh McDaniel's smoldering aftermath. My god, he fucked a franchise badly enough to leave it vulnerable to a 30 point beatdown by an Arizona Cardinals squad that didn't even get a passing TD. Jay Feely, the kicker, had 5 field goals and TD run on a fake. That's 22 points for the kicker and 13 for the Denver Broncos. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Chargers 31, Chiefs 0
San Diego is clearly the better team, but they've farted away too many opportunities. Looking at their schedules, both teams are likely to win out. That leaves San Diego out of the playoffs barring a collapse by the Ravens and Jets (always a possibility!)

Eagles 30, Cowboys 27
The Eagles defense isn't that good. That'll keep them from the Superbowl.

Giants 21, Vikings 3
Well, I was totally wrong in saying the Vikings should bench Favre. They just shouldn't field a team at all.

Ravens 34, Texans 28
That was the entire Texans franchise in microcosm. An early beatdown, a surprising offensive resurgence as they erased a 21 point deficit to tie the game at 28, then a total nut punch as they throw the pick six to lose. The best part? The Texans will probably fire Gary Kubiak and send him straight to the Broncos, where he will continue their decade long run of slightly above average offenses and abominable defense.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Patriots 36, Bears- Well, that Hurt

How do you stop the New England Patriots? Seriously. I have no idea. I was willing to laugh at the Jets last week but the truth is they've absolutely hammered the defenses of the Steelers, Ravens, Jets, and Bears, and as many excuses as people may want to make for the records for some of those teams they didn't become top five defenses by accident. New England has destroyed all of them. Now, naturally the 2007 edition of the Patriots is proof enough that it's conceivable that someone will figure it out, but man. I've got nothing right now.

Thank God for the Detroit Lions this week. Not only did they save the Bears' ass by keeping Detroit a game back, they've given Rodgers his second concussion, one that would seem likely to keep him out against New England next week. The Bears have to piece it together quick and shut down Minnesota next week to force the Packers into a must win situation for their last three games. Even then it won't be enough if the Bears can win the next two before heading to Green Bay. I still think they will, even after today's debacle. I'm going to take some comfort from the fact that they played the best team in the NFL today, and I think they're a better team than the disaster that had everything snowball against them in the middle of a god damn blizzard today. That's no excuse. New England kicked their ass and anybody who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves, but they're at least good enough to get into the playoffs. As my motto has been all year long, once they get there anything can happen. Until then we have to hope their memory is as short as mine hopefully will be, because I just want to forget this one.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bulls 88 - Lakers 84


This could be the beginning of a very long win streak. The Bulls didn't look great every quarter, but they played well enough in spurts to beat the defending champs with a dominant defensive effort and more 4th quarter shenanigans by D. Rose. That means the winning streak is at 4 and should hit at least 10 before the Bulls go to MSG to play another surging team, the Knicks.


-Derrick Rose is a top class closer. Something about the fourth quarter makes Rose go crazy and hit all the shots he missed in the first quarter (to be discussed later). The Bulls lead in the fourth fell all the way to only 4 points, and Rose flipped his imaginary switch, sealing the game with a couple great shots late. There isn't anybody closing in the NBA like Derrick is right now.

-Brewer and Korver are huge off the bench. There seem to be more plays designed around getting Korver free than there are plays designed for Derrick, but I digress (because Kyle converts many of those plays). Brewer was 6-6 from the FT line and ended up with 10 points and 4 rebounds. Keith Bogans played only 11 minutes, so even if Thibs isn't going to bench him formally, it appears to be a moot point if he gets less than half the minutes of Brewer or Korver.


-Rose still doesn't know what to think of Boozer. Rose seems to be keeping his distance and feeling Boozer out like your old hounddog treats a new puppy. There were at least 6 occasions where Derrick forced a shot when Boozer had a clear advantage in the paint, causing Boozer to start calling for the ball later in the game. The solution seems clear; Rose should find Boozer early when Derrick tends to miss and/or force shots, and Boozer should draw defenders away from Derrick late when Rose tends to take games over. It doesn't seem like the two have made any progress at all in the last 2 games, so if Boozer yelling for the ball is what it takes to make Derrick realize how good he is, so be it.

-Not to take Derrick for granted, but he sure forces a lot of shots, especially early. Derrick hasn't found his happy balance between PG and SG yet, and tends to throw up ridiculous shots in the first and second quarter that have no hope of going in. The pity is that when Derrick tosses those shots up he normally has 2 defenders on him... leaving some other Bull wide open. The 29 points and 9 assists on an almost nightly basis are amazing, but it will be 29 and 13 if Derrick gets better at recognizing when to pass and when to let his freakish abilities go, especially if he starts to feed Boozer more often.

That was a hell of a game, and I'm looking forward to watching the Bulls mesh as a unit and cement themselves as the biggest threat to the Celtics in the East over the course of this month. Next up is Minnesota at home tomorrow, which ought to be a pleasant breather. Go Bulls.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Prognostication Bukakke, Bonus Rounds

While my victory over Iggins! this year will stand for all time as one of history's great massacres, I am a merciful king and have decided to run out the rest of the NFL season in order to give him a measure of redemption since, as he states, he was "only" nine games back in that category. However, the fact that Iggins! was defeated last week by my lady-friend amused me, and I have decided that these last four weeks will actually be a three-horse race for a conciliatory prize that might give Iggins! a slight measure of redemption, but he'll probably lose because he's a sad excuse for man. Either way, the new standings, based solely on last week's NFL picks:

Code Red: 13-3
Mrs. Code Red: 11-5
Iggins!: 10-6

To this week:

Colts @ Titans
Code Red:
I think the Colts will manage to overcome what I’m sure will be another Manning interception or seven to beat the punchless Titans. Colts win.

Iggins!: Manning has really fallen to pieces, and the Titans have the Colts’ bane, a great RB. Titans will win.

Mrs. Code Red: Well, the Titans have lost their last five games and the Colts have only lost their last three, so I’ll go with the Colts. Plus I still like Manning, even though I’m pretty sure I’m not really allowed to.

Code Red: It's not necessarily outlawed. It's just strongly discouraged. We're not talking about Favre here.

Buccaneers @ Redskins
The Bucs are maddeningly consistent. They’ll beat the Redskins.

Code Red: And the 'Skins are just maddening. I'll take the Bucs as well, but the usual Redskins caveat remains that they may win a game they have no business winning for reasons no one can explain.

Mrs. Code Red: Since both teams are pretty mediocre, I’ll take the Bucs take it because I like their cheerleader’s outfits.

Browns @ Bills
Code Red:
The Bills can’t stop the run very well, which is the only reason I’m going to go ahead and say that the Browns will overcome the fact that Jake Delhomme is starting again to win this game. Browns win.

The Bills looked terrible against the Vikings. I’ll take the Browns.

Mrs. Code Red: Browns. The Bills are really bad. Even I know that.

Giants @ Vikings
I’ll take the Giants, but if Tarvaris Jackson plays I think the Vikings will end up winning.

Code Red: Why? The Giants aren't a great team, but they're a good team. T-Jack had 3 picks, one for a Bills TD, and has never been good at any point in his career. The fact that he's better than Favre doesn't actually make him capable of beating good teams. Rex Grossman is better than Favre at this point. Giants win.

Mrs. Code Red: You've trained me well—I can’t stand Brett Favre and I haven’t even ever really watched him play. For that reason, I will take the Giants.

Code Red: It wasn't me. Brett Favre-hate is engrained in all of us from birth. It's a noble calling within our very blood.

Packers @ Lions
Code Red:
I’m sure the Packers will beat the Lions by a small margin just like last time and the media will ignore it while continuing to make up some bullshit about a seven yard penalt y being the only reason the Bears escaped the Lions. Packers win.

Iggins!: The Lions almost beat everybody, and fail to beat almost everybody. I’ll take the Packers.

Mrs. Code Red: Lions fans need to realize that they just aren’t very good. It isn’t because of a lucky break every time a team beats you. It’s because they’re better. I don’t like whiney fans, so Packers win.

Raiders @ Jaguars
The Raiders showed a lot of life last week, and the Jags are in for a letdown, so I’ll take Oakland to win.

Code Red: I'm picking the Jaguars because they're at home, because I want the Colts to miss the playoffs, and because I still hate the f*&king Raiders.

Mrs. Code Red: This might be a good game? I feel bad that people always talk about how bad the Raiders are, especially when they aren’t even that horrible this year. I’m going to go with the underdogs just for fun. Raiders win.


Bengals @ Steelers
Code Red:
Sigh. There are no breaks for the Bengals. They have to go to Pittsburgh this week, have another match against a superior Browns team, then have to face the Chargers and go on the road against Baltimore. They’re likely looking at a 13 game losing streak to close the season. Cripes. Steelers win.

Iggins!: Steelers win. There needs to be a lot of firing and releasing done in Cincinnati.

Mrs. Code Red:
Back when my family of Mass-holes made me watch Pats football when I was little, they played the Steelers in the AFC Championship game. Our neighbors happened to be die-hard Steelers fans and an all-out war broke out between the families. I always remember that the Steelers were really good, so even though this is over a decade later, I still automatically think Steelers=good. So Steelers win.Code Red: Yeah, but from an early age I still remember Pats=Fuck them.

Falcons @ Panthers
Iggins!: Falcons win.

Code Red:
Redundant. Falcons win.

Mrs. Code Red: Is this even a real game? Why are the Panthers even bothering showing up?
Falcons win hands down.

Seahawks @ 49ers
Code Red:
Oh hell, I don’t know. I’ll take Alex Smith having the game of his life against a crappy Seahawks pass defense for the upset. 49ers win.

Is that an upset? I hate this division so much. 49ers win.

Mrs. Code Red: I’m going to go with the Seahawks because I like the Mariners uniform colors and they’re from the same city.

Code Red: Well, that makes sense, because the Mariners don't totally suck or anything either.

Rams @ Saints
The Saints have turned back into the Super Bowl team they were last year after a shaky period. Saints win.

Code Red: Indeed. Even if they hadn't they'd be able to pummel the damn Rams. Saints win.

Mrs. Code Red: Is Drew Brees’s baby still cute? Oh he is? Okay. Saints win.

Code Red: With another on the way! Keep 'em coming, Breesus. Your progeny shall also someday be incredibly accurate and charming NFL quarterbacks.

Patriots @ Bears
Code Red:
I would be lying if I said this game didn’t scare me more than any they’ve played this year. Hell, I was extremely confident of a victory over the Eagles. The Patriots defense has been dogshit outside of Monday’s annihilation of Rico Mirerez, and they still gave up over 300+ yds and a 5.0 yards per rush average against the Jets despite allowing only three points. I’ll take the home team with the combination of Awesome Defense/Average Offense (It’s an upgrade from shitty, which is where they were before the bye) over Awesome Offense/Crappy Defense. Bears win 30-23.

I would take the over on this game, whatever it is. I’m taking the Bears because it’s at Soldier Field, final score something like 38-34.

Mrs. Code Red: Am I even allowed to choose against the Bears? Logically I sort of want to say that the Pats will win and this could be my chance to choose them and get one up on the boys who are too loyal to say the Bears won’t win, but I think I’d be killed. So Bears win…maybe. Maybe could I get half a point if the Bears win and half a point if the Pats win?Code Red: No. Choose, dammit. Go with your black heart and pick the Pats if you want, Judas. But you must choose.

Mrs. Code Red: Fine. I'll take the Bears.

Code Red: Good. Remember, once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

Broncos @ Cardinals
So the worst division in the AFC and the worst division in the NFC have a game betwee the worst two teams within their divisions. If this game isn’t blacked out these fanbases need to be slapped. Broncos…win?

Code Red:
It truly is wretched. Someone asked Cutler what he thought of McDaniels getting the axe and he replied that it wasn't his concern. God dammit, Jay. Go for the dagger. None of that "bigger person shit." I'll pick the Broncos so McD can feel like even more of a failure.

Mrs. Code Red: Well this should be fun. What happens when two really not good teams square off head to head? I’m not sure. I’ll go with the Broncos I guess, because I hate the Cardinals (not the football team, the baseball one).

Dolphins @ Jets
Code Red:
For all of their many faults, the Dolphins still have a good secondary that can further wreck Mirerez’s shit and I don’t expect the Jets to have put it all back together yet. Dolphins win.

Iggins!: Pfft. Jets win.

Mrs. Code Red: Apparently I’m missing something, because as far as I can tell, the Jets should win…? So even though something must be up for Code Red to pick the Dolphins (a mediocre team that he highly dislikes), I’ll go with the Jets.

Code Red: It's called the Patriots made them their bitch and they're overrated and I hate their overrated QB and his stupid overrated face. THAT's what's up.

Chiefs @ Chargers
The Chargers looked like junk last week and the Chiefs defense won’t be any easier. I’ll take the Chiefs to lock up the AFC West.

Code Red: I think the Chiefs still win the division, but the Chargers will get it back together at home. Chargers win

Mrs. Code Red: I can’t really believe that a team from Kansas City is actually accomplishing anything in any sport at all. Living around a lot of Royals fans, it’s really hard for me to grasp that there are teams from KC that win occasionally. But apparently there are, so I pick the Chiefs.

Code Red: To be fair, it's a recent development.

Eagles @ Cowboys
Code Red:
I heard a Cowboys fan on the radio last night calling this the GAME OF THE WEEK with the typical arrogance once can expect from that franchise. Buddy, there are nine games out there in which both teams have at least a slim hope of reaching the playoffs. This isn’t one of them. Dallas sucks. Eagles win.

Dallas looks a lot better, but Vick is gonna rip their shit. Eagles win.

Mrs. Code Red: Eagles win. The Eagles are good, the Cowboys are not. Plus I dislike Tony Romo, whether he’s playing or not. I’m not sure why, he just really annoys me.

Code Red: Well, most of all it's that all Cowboys quarterbacks are inherently hateable. Except Quincy Carter. We miss you, Quincy Carter, get off the blow and get back to football so you can tank some more Cowboys seasons and remind us all of why Jerry Jones shouldn't actually run a football team.

Ravens @ Texans
The AFC South is pure mediocrity, but I’m looking for an improving Texans team to win this game… then promptly lose their last 3. Texans win.

Code Red:
What exactly makes the Texans "improving"? Ravens win.

Mrs. Code Red: I’m not even going to try to guess based on any sort of statistics or logic here. I will never be able to accept “Texans” as a mascot. No. Ravens win.

Code Red: It won a fan vote, though. Which is bullshit. You let me name an NFL franchise and I'll mobilize a million voters tomorrow for the Houston Cthulhus.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bulls 88 - Cavaliers 83 (plus rewind)


Two games, two wins. The first, 99-90 Bulls over the Thunder, was an almost complete domination of a great team. Tonights game was far less dominating, but for some reason the Bulls love to tease the bottom-dwellers, then let D. Rose pull the rug out from under them in the 4th. 12-8 and looking very good going into Friday night's game against the champs, let's see what went right and wrong Monday and Wednesday.


-Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer have started connecting. Most obvious in the game versus the Thunder, these two hooked up early and often, which lead to a Boozer dominated night on Monday. They clearly don't quite have it all down, as demonstrated by Derrick's absence from the offense against the Thunder, and by Boozer's disappearing act against the Cavs tonight, but overall these two are coming together much faster than anticipated.

-Joakim Noah is proving why he is worth more than Melo to this team. 14.9 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 1.2 steals per game and 3 assists per game. Not only are his stats great and surprisingly well-rounded, he also does many things the stat sheet doesn't cover. He cleans up Derrick's misses, he changes shots defensively, and he frustrates teams into bad shots consistently.

-Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver have both outperformed Keith Bogans by leaps and bounds all season. Just tonight Brewer ended with 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 steals in 30 minutes played, but maybe most importantly the Bulls were +20 with him on the court. Korver has been a consistent scorer and a go-to guy for clutch shots when he plays. Bogans has disappeared. It's time to make a switch.


- Rose and Boozer are still off. Their cohesion is obviously a work in progress. The Bulls need them to both play well in a game instead of one of them sacrificing good play for the other. Even against the Thunder, when they looked great, Rose went 3-11 from the field and was clearly forcing himself to pass instead of create. Derrick can't have that hesitation when Boozer is on the floor, and it will go away with time, but right now the Bulls are destined to be hit and miss like they have been the last two games (which is much better than the previous few games, and a fairly quick turnaround considering they've had such little time playing together).

-Free throw shooting. This team is a very bad free throw shooting team. The only really good free throw shooter is Korver at a shade under 89%, CJ Watson follows with 83%, and after that everybody is below 80% on the season. There generally isn't much one can do to fix FT%, but this could be a seriously glaring weakness for the team down the road, potentially costing the Bulls some games.

After the Lakers on Friday the Bulls have some pretty smooth sailing for the next month, so Boozer and Rose will be able to work out their teamwork then. 12-8 could easily balloon to 26-10 very quickly, let's hope that's the case. See you Friday night at the UC.

That's Two, Mother F*%kers.

Artist Rendition of Code Red Lording it Over Iggins!

Now that the college regular season has ended, so has the 2010 Prognostication Bukakke Season. I'm still mulling over whether we'll forecast the bowl games and the rest of the NFL season for funsies. Probably. The important thing, however, is that while my lead was never in doubt, during the week I posted a 6-4 NCAA and 13-3 NFL mark over Iggins!' 5-5 and 10-6 marks, increasing my lead to a whopping 25 games. The final standings:

Code Red, Two-Time Champion and God Among Men: 148-73 (.670%) (85-46 NFL, 63-27 NCAA)

Iggins!, The Sum of All Thing Bitch: 123-98 (.560%) (76-49 NFL, 47-43 NCAA)

Hell, for good measure, let's look at the standings for last week alone:

Code Red: 19-7 (13-3 NFL, 6-4 NCAA)
Mrs. Code Red: 16-10 (11-5 NFL, 5-5 NCAA)
Iggins!: 15-11 (10-6 NFL, 5-5 NCAA)

While far removed from the playgrounds of my childhood, I cannot resist this eternal taunt:
Dude, you got beat by a GIRL.

Add this to last year's championship, won by the respectable margin of 9 games, and Iggins hasn't come within 34 games of my absolute dominance. Stick to basketball, chump.

Bow to your sensei.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Around the NFL, Week 13

Eagles 34, Texans 24
I was actually impressed that the Texans kept this game close. I was hardly surprised, however, when they stumbled all over each other to see who would be the first to bend over and collapse the second they had a fourth quarter lead. Meanwhile, the Eagles offense is still good. I would love to see a playoff rematch against Vick and co., provided that it comes at Soldier Field.

Browns 13, Dolphins 10
Jake Delhomme did not throw an interception. In fact, he threw more TDs than INTs in a game for just the 3rd time in his last 15 starts. Jake Delhomme sucks, people. Congrats on the win though. Awesome to see Chad Henne (3 INTs in this game, 12:15 TD:INT ratio on the season) keeping up the fine tradition of Michigan QBs not named Brady sucking royally in the NFL. Keep it up, Chad. You're a regular Elvis Grbac!

Packers 34, 49ers 16
You're next in the firing line, Singletary.

Chiefs 10, Broncos 6
Knowshon Moreno finally has a breakout game, going for 160 yards...and Orton goes 9/28 for 117 yards. Not to be deterred, McDaniels throws the ball seven straight times in Chiefs territory while trying to get in position for the game-winning score. And you wonder why McD got fired. No wait, you don't. Everyone knows why. It's because he was a terrible coach in every single facet of the game who alienated his players, traded away all of his offensive talent, did nothing to fix a horrible defense, and set an entire franchise back for years. Thank you for the quarterback, though. Much love, brah.

Seriously, though, I can't wait to see what the next Broncos head coach does with Tebow. Most of the league thought absolutely nothing of his chances at this level and almost every head coach wants his own QB anyway. I hope they hire Gruden and he decides to make Timmy his project. "THIS GUY! HE RUNS LIKE A TIGHT END! AND THROWS LIKE ONE TOO!"

Vikings 38, Bills 14
Favre is expected to play, of course, so one needn't worry about Tarvaris Jackson upsetting the Bears next week. Actually, one should never worry about such a thing. Vikings still suck.

Jaguars 17, Titans 6
Okay, maybe Jeff Fisher is the next guy on the firing line. About damn time.

Giants 31, Redskins 7
Thankfully the Redskins luck has run out.

Saints 34, Bengals 30
How do you fall for the stupid hard count drill that every team has practiced since Pop Warner? Well, say hello to the Bengals.

Raiders 28, Chargers 13
Okay, the Raiders not sucking long enough to snap the INVINCIBLE LATE-SEASON CHARGERS unbeaten streak in December was pretty funny. This is what you get for saying the Chargers may be the best team in the NFL, Peter King.

Falcons 28, Buccaneers 24
Not surprisingly the Bucs lost another close one to a quality opponent. They'll be someone to watch next year. The Falcons seem to me to be a good team that's really benefitted from an easy schedule and have gotten some huge breaks against the best teams they've beaten (Hartley's missed FG against the Saints, Roddy White's uncalled push-off against the Ravens). I'm not going to be like every pundit out there who hates the Bears and accuse a 10-2 team of being a pretender, but there are some very vulnerable areas of that Falcons team. That defense doesn't intimidate anybody.

Seattle 31, Carolina 14
I was going to call this the worst game this year, but then I saw that the Panthers still have Arizona left on their schedule. Holy mother of awful.

Rams 19, Cardinals 6
Even in the pre-Whisenhunt days I don't remember the Cardinals looking this bad. Jake Plummer can't even take time out of his busy handball schedule to watch them get their asses kicked.

Cowboys 38, Colts 35
Peyton Manning has thrown as many interceptions in three games (11) as Jay Cutler has in his last thirteen. Hell, Drew Brees has 16 interceptions this year. Actually here's a list of quarterbacks who have thrown as many or more interceptions than Jay Cutler this year:

Favre (18)
Eli Manning (17)
Drew Brees (16)
Chad Henne (15)
Peyton Manning (15)
Donovan McNabb (15)
Carson Palmer (15)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (11)
David Garrard (11)
Matt Hasselbeck (11)
Shaun Hill (11)
Mark Sanchez (11)
Derek Anderson (10)
Sam Bradford (10)
Philip Rivers (10)

Aaron Rodgers has one fewer interception. Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco have two fewer. My God! How can the Bears ever win with such an erratic turnover prone quarterback!

Bitterness, thy name is me.

Steelers 13, Ravens 10
I hate both of these teams. Actually, there's not a single one of the AFC playoff contenders from the North, South, or East that doesn't make my blood boil. Go Chiefs?

Patriots 45, Jets 3
People are probably pants-shitting in Chicago over the Patriots, and, well since they always shit their pants I suppose the Patriots are as good as any team to worry about. However, while it's undeniably going to be the toughest challenge the Bears have faced yet, there's no reason to extrapolate what happened to the Jets last night to this Sunday. The Jets defense was somewhat hollow, having padded it's stats against an easy early slate and was fairly weak against the pass (15-7 TD:INT ratio Before last night), and their pass rush has struggled at times and relies almost entirely on the blitz. Tom Brady will kick your ass every time in that situation. The strategy remains the same as it was against the Eagles: stop the run, get to Brady with your front four alone, make tackles, and don't get beat deep. Rico Mirerez's total ineptitude at playing QB (his 16:8 TD:INT ratio before last night couldn't hide his mediocre numbers in every other area. His passer rating was just 81.9 (now 77.4), his YPA was a pedestrian 6.8 (now 6.6), and his completion %, as always, was pathetic for a guy who isn't asked to make that many throws (55% before last night, 54.9% now) doesn't excuse the Patriots from their 11 other games of relatively porous defense. They still allowed nearly 5.0 YPC against the run last night before the Jets had to abandon it. Should be a great game, and anyone expecting the Bears can be embarrassed can eat shit for what must be the millionth time this year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

College Football Roundup, Championship Weekend

Oklahoma 23, Nebraska 20
Nebraska had a 17 point lead before falling apart. Their offense just isn't there yet. Next year they may take another step and not self-destruct against every quality opponent. Of course, that corresponds with their move to the Big Ten. Greaat.

Auburn 56, South Carolina 17
I have no idea what to make of the Cam Newton situation. As long he's eligible, however, and he is right now, I don't see how you deny the man the Heisman. I'm very interested in his pro prospects. Not sure what to think yet where he'll fall when there are seemingly ready-made NFL passers in Luck and Mallett.

Virginia Tech 44, Florida State 33
Christian Ponder would be in the discussion with Mallett and Luck if he could ever stay healthy, yet he missed his 6th start in 2 years in what could have been the biggest game of his college career. Not that it matters, as neither one of them stood a chance against Stanford. Harbaugh will crush you.

Oregon 37, Oregon State 20
As much as I hate the BCS, this was definitely the right matchup for the national championship game. This is going to be exciting. Too bad we have to wait a month.

UConn 19, South Florida 16
And UConn is your Big East Champion. A team that had their ass handed to them by multiple scores by Temple will now go to the BCS. I'm not sure why the BCS didn't give us the usual matchup of ACC vs. Big East, at least that only makes one of those games irrelevant, but now the Orange (Stanford vs. Virginia Tech) and the Fiesta (Oklahoma vs. UConn) are foregone conclusions. Stanford vs. Oregon would have been, you know, entertaining, but the BCS hates you as much as always.

Fresno State 25, Illinois 23
I'm not one to blame officials. Illinois should have not started out down 16-0 if they wanted to win the game, but the officiating in this game certainly did them no favors. I'm not surprised Wisconsin vowed they'd never play Fresno State and its officials ever again. Either way, disappointing effort by the Illini and a sadly deserved 6-6 record. At least they get a watchable matchup against Baylor in the Texas bowl. It would be nice to win that and avoid five losing seasons out of six in the Zook Era.

Oh Hell Yes

Laugh it up, asshole. Your ass is unemployed.
Boom. Jay Cutler has to be laughing his ass off right now. I know I am. Thank you for absolutely shitting all over an organization that I will now hate for the rest of eternity solely for the trolls that it sent over here all. year. long last year. Nothing like turning Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Peyton Hillis, and Tony Scheffler into one game manager and his two back up quarterbacks. You sir, have left an entire franchise in ruins with such haste that Matt Millen applauds.
Eat a dick, Josh.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bears 24, Lions 20- IT'S A TRAP!

Give the Lions credit. They had one hell of a gameplan to utilize Drew Stanton's talents and to grit their way to some points against the Bears defense. However, that dink and dunk, manage the game style that so famously cost the Bears games the last few years isn't going to get it done this year unless your defense is good enough to shut out Cutler and company. And the Lions' defense is far from that. So, like Ackbar when he rallied and destroyed the imperial fleet and saved the galaxy, Jay Cutler, Earl Bennett, and Earl Bennett's balls of solid brass surgically dissected the Lions for most of the last three quarters and the Bears finally swatted them down in the fourth quarter. Lions fans will take their usual comfort from one questionable penalty on Suh that they think was clearly the turning point in the game (never mind the fact the Bears would have had 2nd and 2 at the 14 yard line without the penalty and had driven the ball well all day long), but, as usual, the Bears have the scoreboard on their side. The Packers won to keep pace at 8-4, but everything remains in the Bears' control.

To the recap!


-Earl Mother Fuckin' Bennett: The Black Bobby Engram continued his solid play as he singlehandedly destroyed Detroit on third down. Cutler looked his way all day and Bennett responded with a career day: 7 catches for a 104 yards that had a lot to do with the Bears continued success on the most important down (5/9).

-DJ Moore: He got destroyed by Megatron on his TD, but that matchup should never have occurred anyway. Meanwhile, he played incredibly well against the rest of the Detroit offense and had some timely corner blitzes as well as a huge sack. Then he said this in the postgame
"D.J.: I mean, aint nobody wanna lose to the Lions. Jeez, Louise. But it's always good to get a win."*

God bless you, DJ.

-Matt Forte and Chester Taylor: While this game featured more of Taylor than I'd have liked, he at least averaged more than his usual nothing-per-carry average and the two combined for 97 yards and 2 TDs on the ground to go with 7 combined catches for 67 yards.

-Julius Peppers: He got sack #7 today and seemed to be the first member of the defense to step up in the second half and state that they were not going to tolerate any more bullshit.

-Brian Urlacher: This guy showed up, too, and split a sack with DJ Moore. He also threw in 16 total tackles.

- Jay Cutler: The pass blocking was atrocious, and I'm sure Jay would have loved more time to shred that terrible secondary, but he was, as I said, surgical in tearing apart the defense with short, quick throws and some backbreaking 3rd down passes till he finished at 21/26 (80.8%) for 234 YDs, 1 TD, 0 INTs, and a sexy 117 passer rating. He's now got just 11 interceptions in his last 13 starts for the Bears. That'll do, Jay.

-Second half defense: After a miserable first half they allowed just 3 pts (after a Cutler fumble that occurred within the Bears red zone) and 49 total yards. Excellent.

The Bad:

-The first half defensive line: It took them a long damn time to wear down Detroit's starting five, and in the first half they got pushed all over the field. They made the necessary adjustments though.

-J'Marcus Webb and Frank Omiyale: Cliff Avril, Frank? Cliff fucking Avril? I watch 975 games of football every week and I didn't even know who the fuck Cliff was before this game. Frank and Webb (he rotated) made him into a hall of famer. Guh. If Frank's not the first guy thrown overboard this offseason I'm going to kill something young and innocent.

-Lions fans and Tim Ryan: IT DOES NOT MATTER THAT CUTLER WAS ACROSS THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE. THAT WASN'T ROUGHING THE PASSER, MORONS. YOU CAN'T SHOVE ANYONE, QB OR NOT, IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD. Angry caps done. Jesus, how deluded can a franchise be? Just like in the first game, try picking up a first down in the second half if you want to bitch. Your team sucks. Bad teams lose a lot of close games and let one fucking penalty wreck their shit. That's you. A bad team.

That's all for now. Going to need a better defensive effort to beat the Patriots next week, but I'm still feeling pretty good. Go Bears.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bulls 119 - Rockets 116 (OT)


Well that was much closer than it should have been, but a W is a W as they say. You will notice there was no summary for the Celtics game, and that is because it was essentially a slightly better played version of the Magic game, so remove some of the hate and read the Magic summary if you want to know what happened there. The important thing is the Bulls showed signs of progress with Boozer in the lineup last night and tonight a lot of things came together.


-Pissing away the lead. The Bulls had a 14 point lead and lost it all, forcing Derrick to make a buzzer-beating 3 pointer to send the game into OT. While that isn't good, it's a step up from looking awful for one quarter every game. NBA basketball is a game of runs, and the Bulls did a great job for most of the game of building a lead and keeping it (and without that ridiculous 3 at the end of the 3rd quarter I suspect this game would have never gotten so close).


-The offense is meshing. The Bulls meshed with Boozer for the first time in 3 games. Boozer ended the game with 25 points and 9 boards, but most importantly he looked like he was catching on to the flow of the offense and how he fits into it. He made several jumpers and demonstrated some nice moves in the paint. There was also some nice coordination between Boozer and Noah on a couple occasions, though Rose is clearly still getting used to Boozer and what he is capable of.

-The rebounding came back after a 2 game hiatus. Noah, Boozer, and Taj all dominated the boards and even Rose had 7 rebounds. This isn't unexpected, once Boozer meshes completely with the rest of the team the Bulls should be the first or second best rebounding team in the NBA.

-Oh Derrick. This is the way the Bulls can win games. Keep a lead into the 4th and just let Derrick do the rest. There were a few hiccups tonight, they're still working out the kinks, but the blueprint is there. Even when the Bulls were giving up the lead it's hard to fault the offense. The Bulls never rushed shots or took unnecessary jumpers, they looked to get penetration and ended up with 54 points in the paint. Rose showed the form he has shown in all but 2 games this year, and on any night that Derrick is feeling it like that the Bulls will have a great chance to win.

There are still kinks, but the improvement over the last 3 games has been impressive. The defensive switching is still off and Rose is still unsure of exactly what Boozy can do for the team, but that will come with time. The Bulls will have a stiff test on Monday against the Thunder, but if this game was any indication it should be a much closer game than the games they played against other top contenders this week.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Goodbye, Ron

Ron Santo died today. I gave up the baseball writing bit awhile ago because there are so many guys that do it better. One of those guys is Andy Dolan of and I highly recommend you all go over there and read his excellent tribute to Ron. For myself, I'm merely going to say that I'm sorry to Ron Santo for not appreciating him. The last two years the Cubs have sucked and having Ron in the booth moaning and groaning gave me an easy person to bitch about, when really he hadn't changed much at all from the guy I used to laugh with and at during my childhood. I'm not the only guy out there who probably feels like he's lost a part of his youth today. I'll miss you, Ron. For his part, I hope the Hall of Fame committee doesn't vote him in now, since he told them they could kiss his ass if they wanted to do it posthumously. Ron deserved the hall decades ago, and they never gave it to him. Let them live with their decision rather than take some easy-out from their guilt by giving it to him now as a hollow gesture. Cub fans know who Santo was and what he deserved. The Hall of Fame couldn't possibly add anything to his unimpeachable place in their memories.

Good bye, Ron. I don't envy Pat Hughes' job this spring when he was to open up the season in a booth that will never feel the same again.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Prognostication Bukakke, NFL Week 13

Texans @ Eagles
Code Red:
Last week's shutout of a team starting a rookie 6th round draft pick at quarterback notwithstanding, the Texans defense blows and doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of slowing down Michael Vick and the Eagles. Eagles win.

Yeah, hard for me to envision anything other than a 20 point Eagles win here.

Mrs. Code Red: Eagles. Michael Vick is really, really good.

49ers @ Packers
So… the 49ers are now starting Troy Smith and Bryan Westbrook, huh? I hope they lose, but I am positive the Packers win.

Code Red: I would love for the Packers to lose, but this team couldn’t top Green Bay With Frank Gore. Packers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Ugh. Packers.
I don’t like them, but I don’t have a choice.

Saints @ Bengals
Code Red:
Sigh. The Bengals have rapidly become, along with the Panthers, a team I can automatically dismiss. Saints win.

Iggins!: Last year appears to have been the fluke. Saints win.

Mrs. Code Red: I love the picture of Drew Brees’s baby after the Superbowl win last year, so I’ll root for the Saints. '

Code Red: Oh Breesus, is there anyone your charming ways can't sway?

Browns @ Dolphins
Henne is back and the shininess of the Browns has worn off. Miami wins.

Code Red: The shininess only wore off because Jake Delhomme started. It appears he’ll start again this week, so there’s no way in hell I’m Not choosing the Dolphins. Phins win.

Mrs. Code Red: I literally couldn’t care less about these teams. Usually in that case I would pick based on which mascot I liked best, but one is a color (which I always find really stupid) and one is a dolphin (which couldn’t be less menacing or more lame) so I’ll flip a coin. Browns win.

Redskins @ Giants
Code Red:
Guh. Every week logic tells you to pick whoever is playing against the Redskins and that's barely been a 50-50 proposition this week despite statistics telling us that the 'Skins should be closer to 0-11 than 5-6. The Giants have been wildly inconsistent lately. I'll take the Giants, but I won't be shocked if they fumble 17 times and the Redskins win 10-6 despite gaining 92 yards of total offense or something.

Iggins!: That was oddly specific. I will take the Giants.

Mrs. Code Red: He always bitches about how the Redskins can win games even though they get like half as many yards as the other team and also have zero talent. But since he still complains, I imagine they must still win. I’ll go with the Redskins.

Code Red: That's pretty spot-on, actually.

Jaguars @ Titans
With Rusty I don’t think the Titans can do anything. Haven’t heard from Randy Moss in a while. Jaguars win.

Code Red:
Kerry Collins might start, but he also still sucks. Jaguars.

Mrs. Code Red: Well the AFC south is a cluster fuck of mediocrity this year, apparently, so neither. But I guess if I have to pick, I’ll go with Titans. Why not? Then all four teams could be tied with a wonderfully average 6-6.

Bears @ Lions
Code Red:
Some morons have the Bears losing this game since “revenge” for the Calvin Johnson catch will have the Lions out for blood. Bah. Revenge doesn't fix a god-awful defense and Cutler is exceptionally fond of destroying that secondary. Bears win handily.

If revenge needs to be your motivator to beat a division opponent, you must suck. Bears win.

Mrs. Code Red: Bears.
My man Julius Peppers is going to continue kicking butt.

Bills @ Vikings
I really hope the Vikings win so that Favre stays the starter, but I have to pick the Bills to win because God the Vikings are terrible (though apparently God hates Stevie Johnson more).

Code Red: Oh god dammit! I was going to pick the Bills. Since I need to disagree with you on something, I’ll take the Vikings very reluctantly.

Mrs. Code Red: Does Favre even understand the concept of playing football anymore? The goal is to get the ball to a guy in the same color jersey as you, buddy. Bills win even though they’re terrible.

Broncos @ Chiefs
Code Red:
A few weeks ago in Denver the Broncos shocked the shit out of everyone by trouncing Kansas City 49-29. That would seem to indicate that one should pick Denver, but I'm willing to believe that that was merely a bad game that snowballed out of control. Denver can't stop anybody and seems to have quit on McDaniels, which is awesome. Chiefs win.

Iggins!: The Chiefs are going to be 8-4? What the hell is wrong with the NFL these days? Chiefs win.

Mrs. Code Red:
Chiefs? I have no idea but I was trained by my 5th grade teacher to hate the Broncos as he used us in a war against one of the other teachers that was a Broncos fan, and that completely unnecessary and inexplicable disdain for the Broncos is still with me over a decade later.

Raiders @ Chargers
The natural order of things seems to be resetting itself, the Raiders suck and the Chargers win.

Code Red: Indeed. The Raiders still suck. Chargers win.

Mrs. Code Red: I’m pretty sure the Raiders are notoriously bad, so I’ll go with the Chargers.

Cowboys @ Colts
Code Red:
The Colts aren't very good. The Cowboys are less good-er. I expect the Colts to put it back together for a week. Colts win.

Iggins!: Yeah the Colts are better than the Cowboys, but it appears Peyton may finally be on the downtick of his career. Colts win.

Mrs. Code Red: I like Tony Romo less than I like Peyton Manning. Go Colts.

Code Red: Actually, Romo isn't playing. Either way, someday you'll learn how to hate them both.

Rams @ Cardinals
What a travesty that the Rams will actually make the playoffs. Is it really so hard for the NFL to put in a provision that says a division winner is guaranteed a spot in the playoffs only if their record is over .500? Not hard. Rams win.

Code Red: It’d be more of a travesty if the Seahawks or 49ers made it. Rams win.

Mrs. Code Red: Okay, there are a lot of teams… Rams, because they appear to be way better.

Panthers @ Seahawks
Code Red: Seahawks.

Iggins!: Oh my God this game is awful. Seahawks win.

Mrs. Code Red: Seahawks. They beat the Bears, didn’t they? Yeah. Seahawks.

Code Red: Ouch.

Falcons @ Buccaneers
This game was so damn close in Atlanta, with the difference being Legarrette Blount’s inability to gain a yard to get into the endzone. I’ll take Tampa Bay. Home field advantage for Da Bears?

Code Red: Oh please. Tampa is a 7-9 team any other year but this year. Falcons win.

Mrs. Code Red: I want to say the Bucs because I love their cheerleaders’ outfits but reason tells me I should choose the Falcons because they’re a much better team. Falcons win.

Steelers @ Ravens
Code Red:
Something about Baltimore seems hollow to me. They don't do anything on offense that's particularly great, and their pass rush hasn't seemed as impressive this year as in recent years. I'll take the Steelers, who nearly knocked Baltimore off with Charlie Batch holding them back early in the season.

Iggins!: Baltimore is the most overrated team in the league by far. They are just above average at everything they do. Steelers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Steelers.

Code Red: Well, that was awfully decisive.

Mrs. Code Red: They won the Superbowl two years ago, so they've got to be pretty good, right?

Code Red: Oh, well that's just unimpeachable logic.

Jets @ Patriots
This game is easier to pick than it looks. Brady is playing a great defense and he also has no defense to back him up. Jets win.

Code Red: Your logic is fairly solid, but Sanchez’s decent TD-INT ratio and late game heroics (against shitty teams) have hidden his rather mediocre performances. I don’t think he’ll repeat his great game from earlier this year against New England. Patriots win.

Mrs. Code Red: Hmm… good game. I really have no idea which of these two pretty good teams will win. I’ll say Pats because most of my family would kill me if they knew I didn’t. Go fack ya selves, New Yahk!

Code Red: It's true. She's half Mass-hole.