Monday, November 27, 2006

There's been a lot of talk

Today about the luck the Patriots had getting away with a win yesterday.

It was not pretty.

In fact, it was pretty ugly...well, at least on the offensive side of the ball.

The Patriots offense coughed up the ball five times. Three times on four fumbles and twice on interceptions, only one of which was Brady's fault.
Corey Dillon has now turned the ball over twice in two weeks and yesterday two of the turnovers started in the hands of Watson, so I really think it's time Doug Gabriel gets out of Belichick's doghouse.

The lone turnover that was Brady's fault was a pass thrown high and slightly behind Troy Brown on an attempt where Brady had enough time to finish the New York Times Sunday Crossword puzzle. After a solid five or six seconds surveying the field, Brady finally threw the ball while under pressure - and as I said before - off target, resulting in a tipped ball and an interception.

The defense, while not exactly stout against the run (and noticeably weaker in the middle without Junior Seau), did what they needed to in order to win in spite of (and this is not something I will normally rant on, but this was particularly egregious), two of the worst pass interference calls I have seen and a weak defensive holding call that set up ten of Chicago's 13 points. On both pass interference calls the Patriots defensive player had better position on the ball than the receiver and was playing ball. On the first one, the receiver had even grabbed the defensive back and was pulling on his jersey. I would love to hear the conversation between Mike Perreira and this officiating crew this week.

Other thoughts on the weekend...

Watching the highlights of the Giants TEN MINUTE MELTDOWN, I couldn't help but think that the Giants season might well be done.
This is a team where the veterans aren't executing, and then blaming the coaching staff for their own inability to get the job done. It ain't pretty.
I think I liked Tiki Barber before he was full of himself. When Tom Coughlin arrived, the book on Barber was that he was an undersized running back, best suited to third down situations and prone to fumbling.
Before you start bitching and moaning about the way your coach uses you, you might want to remember how you were used before Coughlin started running the show in the Meadowlands, not to mention who helped you get over that fumbling issue.

Is there a better story in football right now than the Saints?

A brief reflection on preseason predictions...
The NFL's toughest division (according to the preseason), the NFC East, could have only one winning team at season's end. Currently Dallas is the cream of the crop with 7 wins, the Giants are imploding and could feasibly finish at 7-9 or 8-8. The Eagles will be lucky to finish out the string at 7-9 and the Redskins might get to 6 wins, although I think 5 is more likely.
If it all falls the way I'm guessing, Dallas will be 11-4, Giants at 7-9, Eagles at 6-10 and Skins at 5-11. If the Giants can eke out one more win than I think they have in them and get to .500 that could be enough to get into the post season in a conference that currently has five sub .500 teams only one game out of the playoffs. There is an outside chance that this could be the first season of a sub-.500 wild-card entrant.
The NFL's weakest division (according to the preseason prognostocators) was supposed to see the changing of the guard. Nick Saban was supposed to lead his Dolphins to the Super Bowl this year.
The Patriots are likely to reach the 12 win, possibly 13 win mark. The Jets are likely to make it to 10 wins...and could still miss the postseason. Miami is charging late again and looks like they will finish at 8-8 and Buffalo could feasibly have 7 wins by the end. If that happens, then the AFC East will have the winningest last place team in their division, likely finishing the season with a record that would put them ahead of the Steelers and Browns if they played in the North, the Titans and Texans if they played in the South, and the Raiders in the West.
I won't even speculate as to where they would finish in the NFC on the premise that if they played in the NFC full time, they'd probably have a better record overall (although they do seem to have the AFC South's number, beating Houston, Jacksonville and coming within a blown field goal of pulling the upset over Indianapolis).

I would like to see the Patriots use the injury to Seau as a rallying point. The man is a Hall-of-Famer and deserves the one reward he has been denied throughout his career - a Super Bowl ring. Win this one for 55 guys.

And in other news...

Am I the only Boston fan sick of the Clemens thing. Forget about signing Clemens - at this age he's not worth the special treatment, and we already went through the Rest Home Rotation last year with Schilling, Wells, and Wakefield at the top of the rotation. You've got the mentors in Schilling and Wakefield. Papelbon is going into the rotation. Get Daisuke Matsuzaka signed and have some of the youg guns fight it out for that last spot in the rotation.

Next week, the quarterly evaluation...

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