Monday, January 12, 2009

From the Weekend

A few news items from the weekend. Let's tackle them. No pun intended.

Josh McDaniels to the Broncos

Good for Josh. How does this effect the Patriots? Honestly, I'm not sure it will have a huge effect. Some may say that the Pats have not won since Romeo and Fat Charlie left town as a testament to the power of good coordinators. I would counter that the defense got old and injury prone after Romeo left and the offense has gotten markedly better in the post-Weiss Era. I love to knock Charlie, but I can't really say the offense taking off in recent years is because he is not there to bog it down anymore. Nope, it's because Tom Brady just got better and better and couple of receivers named Moss and Welker came to town. That's mostly on the players. As for the coaches, you have to figure that Belichek will continue to bring in/promote highly, highly competent individuals - and if he can't find any, he'll do the job himself - so therefore as long as he is running the show, I think the coaching/scheming aspects of the team will be fine.

Red Sox Continue to Stockpile Role Players

You know what, I love all the low-risk/high-reward players the Sox are stockpiling for the season. You know what I don't like though? That they aren't making any moves for anybody who could be considered close to a sure thing and are pinning all of their offensive hopes next year on healthy and productive seasons from David Ortiz and Mike Lowell. Not only that, but they are not factoring in that last year they most likely received career years from Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.

Right now I find it almost foolish to assume 1100-1200 at-bats from the Ortiz/Lowell combo and for Youk and Pedroia to be as great as they were last year. I will say that I would bet on close to repeat performances from Youk and Pedroia though before I'd bet on something close to the 56 homers and 237 RBI they received from Ortiz and Lowell in 2007. Why is this? Well because Pedroia is a line drive hitter, a skill that can carry from year to year and Youk is hellbent on getting to free agency and finding himself a massive contract. As for Ortiz and Lowell, they are both getting up in age and coming off injuries that are not exactly the easiest to recover from with ones to the wrist and hip respectively. So now, if and when one of those two main RBI guys goes down in the lineup, there is absolutely no power threat to plug in for them whatsoever. Yes, Kotsay and Baldelli are nice guys to have on hand - very nice actually - to fill in as bench/role players but the team is still a proven and reliable bat away from having a lineup that will be able to make noise against good pitching. This is what killed them last year. A healthy Lowell, but especially a healthy Ortiz would go a long way towards assuaging those fears, but unfortunately as we stand now those are massive assumptions.

NFL Playoffs

Right now I am sweating. Why? Because it looks like at this very moment we are heading towards and Eagles/Steelers Super Bowl and I don't like that one bit. Again, why? Well I hate the idea of the Steelers winning two Super Bowls since the Pats last won one because I like the idea of them choking in big games and specifically choking in big games against the Pats. You can almost write off their Super Bowl win a few years ago as a fluke thanks to all the fortuitous injuries/bounces/calls they received en route. Of course the bottom line is they still won.

This year for them, not so much. It would be legit. What is more, they seem like the best team and as long as they take care of business the next two weeks, they should emerge victorious. Ugh. I hate the idea of Ben Roethlisberger as a two time Super Bowl winner and the Steelers claiming victory to two of the last four without having to beat NE once in the playoffs on either of those runs. At least when the Colts won they did it the old-fashioned way, by beating their nemesis in a Conference Championship Game. Call me bitter and jealous - which of course I am - but I won't truly honor and regard the Steelers as being in the same class of the Patriots or even the Colts of the past 8 years until they beat the Patriots in the playoffs and then win the Super Bowl. Petty I know, but how I feel all the same.

So, how do I feel about the other three teams remaining:


This team has always been a bit mouthy for my taste. Still, of the three teams that I think actually have a chance to win the Super Bowl - AZ is the only one I don't think can - this would probably be the one that I would most prefer. I guess part of it could be regional pride, but more of it would be that the Ravens could kind of become the Florida Marlins of football. Huh? Well, in baseball you can pull the stat out whenever you want that the only teams to win multiple World Series in the past 15 years are the Yankees, Red Sox, and Marlins. Do the same for football - switching Super Bowl for World Series of course - and you get the Elway Broncos, the Brady/Belichek Patriots, and the Ray Lewis Baltimore Ravens. You have to admit that in both situations one of those things were clearly not like the others.


I don't like the Eagles. I don't know why, I just don't. Plus, I don't want Philly stealing Boston's thunder as the most recent city to have a World Series/Super Bowl champ in the same year. Still, I see almost no way that they lose to the Cardinals. When was the last time a great offense/bad defense team beat an average offense/great defense team? Got me.


This would be the best story. Too bad, I think their voyage ends on Sunday. At least Larry Fitzgerald has been able to have a massive coming out party these past few weeks and cement himself - with Andre Johnson probably right behind - as the best receiver in the NFL. The guy is an absolute beast and if you want a reason why Arizona could win on Sunday, it could be that Larry Fitzgerald gets it in his head that that is how it is going to be and then sees to it that it happens. Plus that crowd will be AWESOME. Good for Cardinals fans, they deserve to host an NFC Championship Game. No, I don't think they can win but if Donovan McNabb channels even a fraction of what Jake Delhomme did on Saturday night then Arizona could very well be Tampa bound.

And One More Thing

Eagles players, enough on the whole "We've made 5 NFC Championship Games in 10 years" talk. Sure that is impressive, but if you lose again then you just become the ultra-poor man's Buffalo Bills. Even if you win the NFC Championship Game and lose the Super Bowl again, who cares. The Pats have made 5 AFC Championship Games in the past 8 years, winning them 4 of those games and 3 Super Bowls. That trumps you. Sorry.

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