Wednesday, September 03, 2008

National League redux and more NFL

Speed kills.

On a day when the Red Sox offense was sluggish, it was the lightweights that came through at the end of the game. Playing the national league base-to-base speed game is what put the team over the top.

With the game tied at four in the ninth, Alex Cora, the same Alex Cora who bats .133 in pressure situations (runners in scoring position with 2 out) hit a flare to lead off the inning. Coco Crisp followed up with a bunt single, putting runners at first and second for Jacoby Ellsbury.

Ellsbury laid down the sac bunt that everyone was expecting, and Baltimore pitcher Jim Miller fielded the ball cleanly, only to throw it into left field in an effort to force Cora at third. Cora came home on the throwing error.

Three of the team's five runs came either from Pedroia or the bottom of the order.

With the come from behind win the Sox inched another game closer to the Rays who have not looked good against the Yankees.

And the NFC EAST....

4. Redskins - This team got by last year largely on emotion after the sudden, violent death of teammate Sean Taylor. That won't carry over. Overall, they're the least talented team in the devision, have the fourth best quarterback and the least experienced head coach in the division. Overall, that's a formula that's likely to result in a five to six win season.

3. Giants - I concede that healthy, this team has as good a chance as any to return to the postseason - they have the best running game in the NFC East, they still have a decent defense, and that running game will go a long way toward making the D better. That said, I still don't trust Eli Manning. Yes, he had a postseason for the ages last year, but he's wildly inconsistent, and that vaunted defensive line, so deep last year, is one injury away from being completely screwed. This team could well win eleven, but could just as easily crap out at seven wins. My guess, eight or nine wins.

2. Cowboys - The most talented team in the division still has the second best defense in the East (New York's is better), and there's a volatility to the team that is kind of like a powder keg waiting to go off. They have a solid coach who has never had a losing season, but he's also never won a playoff game, they have a receiver that has torn apart two previous teams, a cornerback that has never gone a season without at least one arrest, and they have the coach of the future sitting on staff. That can't be good for a head coach's confidence. This team should win ten or eleven games, assuming it doesn't eat itself.

1. Eagles - Yup, going out on a limb here. I don't believe that they're the best team in the division, I think they have problems top to bottom. I'm not convinced that Asante Samuel is going to pay dividends (what ex-Pat has been an impact player with his new team in the Bill Belichick era? Adam Vinatieri and who else?). He's largely the same corner they had before but with a different name. They have okay but not great receivers. What they really have, however, is still the most talented quarterback in the division, and he was largely all the team had when they won the three straight NFC East titles. This year he's likely out to prove that the Kevin Kolb pick was a mistake. I think this team scratches and claws its way to eleven wins and a division title.

1 comment:

Suldog said...

Yeah, Eli was one catch on top of a helmet from being relegated to the Craig Morton pile.