Wednesday, September 29, 2010

real difficulty in the nfl schedule

From Whitlock to the B.S. Report, I've heard over and over this year how easy the Chiefs' schedule is, and how that along will make them a playoff contender.

Let's go deeper.

- - -

16 games in a season.
6 games are divisional opponents (3 home, 3 away)
4 games against division in conference (@IND, @HOU, vsTEN, vs JAC)
4 games against division out of conference (vsSF, @STL, vsARI, @SEA)

That's 14 opponents that were decided years ago.

Only 2 games were scheduled based on last year's schedule. Since the Chiefs are playing all the AFC South, they get one game against the AFC North and AFC East team that finished in the same place, in this case 4th.

So that's why the Chiefs have @CLE, vsBUF.
Meanwhile the Chargers have the first 14 common opponents, but are playing Cincinnati and New England.

(Which is the reason why it seems like New England and Indy play every year. It's automatic once ever three years, and the other two years they would be paired up if they both finished first.)

- - -

So, obviously, you'd rather play the Browns and Bills than the Bengals and Patriots. And yes, you'd rather play the NFC West than the NFC East (which the Chiefs did last year.) So the 2010 opponents are about as easy as it gets in the NFL. But compared to the Chargers who finished 13-3 last year, (Chiefs 4-12) they only have 2 different opponents.

In 2009, the NFC West was paired up with the AFC South. The Colts went 14-2, but the next best team was the 9-7 Texans that missed the playoffs.

- - -

But let's go deeper.

Are opponents the only factor in determining a difficult schedule?

There are 4 factors that I've identified off the top of my head, and I'm sure there are more.

1. Home and road designations of the 10 games outside your own division
2. Playing on short rest, facing opponents on short rest
3. Playing after bye week, facing opponents after their bye week
4. Rare situations where you lose a home game (England, Toronto, Katrina, etc.)

Let's go one by one.

1. The first one is tricky because it's hard to say whether it's a plus or a minus until after the game. For example, facing the Browns at Cleveland. Since the Chiefs won by 2, it was great that it was a road game. But what about the Chiefs on the road at Indy. Is it bad because if it was a home game, the Chiefs would have a better shot. Or is it a good thing because the Chiefs would lose to the Colts either way, so might as well have it be on the road. And what about hosting the 49ers, it's hard to say, if the Chiefs won have won that game if it was in SF, but we don't know.

About the only definitive thing I could say is that of the NFC West teams, I wish that we were hosting the Seahawks, but who knows, maybe we could win on Qwest Field anyways.

2. Playing on short rest is more definitive. This year, every Chiefs' game is on Sunday. So they're never playing on short rest. But they faced the 49ers after a MNF game, and will face the Jaguars after a MNF game as well.

3. Who you face after the bye week seems like it would matter, but again hard to predict. This year the Chiefs have 2 weeks to prepare to play the Colts. If they win, you could credit the extra prep. But if they lose, that extra prep would have been better spent anywhere else.

However it easier to see how many times you face an opponent coming off the bye week. This year, it's balanced that the Chiefs only play the Broncos coming off their bye. This is a game in Denver and would be a tough game regardless.

4. This year the Bills are hosting the Bears in Toronto, and the 49ers are "hosting" the Broncos in London, so Buffalo and San Fran are effectively playing 7 home games, 8 road games, and 1 neutral game. (I'm not convinced that the people of Toronto will back the Bills that much more over a Chicago team. Plus, home field is about being comfortable, staying at home, not just the fans.)

So the point of all this?

Yes, of course, the Chiefs schedule is easy.

But also, that there's more to the schedule than just opponents. If I had 5 more hours to devote to this, I could go team-by-team, and see who's playing or facing opponents on short rest, and who's facing teams coming off their bye, but I'm not going to go that deep.

- - -

Let's go deeper

I went back and looked at the Chiefs' schedule in 2003, when they went 13-3. Let's take a look at the final conference records for 2003.


Based on the AFC standings, ideally you'd want to play the AFC North. And in the NFC, the North looks the weakest here too. And that's exactly who the 03 Chiefs faced, along with Houston and Buffalo. (But look at those Chiefs' touchdowns and net points!)

I've never said that the schedule is not important.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2010 census: projecting the future

Where will I be in 10 years?

Well, let's recap where I'm at right now in 2010. I'm 26, a 5-year copywriter in Chicago. I'm married, no kids, and write in my free time but have nothing published.

In 2020, I predict I will be an ACD in Denver. I'll be married, have 2 kids, and I predict I'll have at least gotten one thing published.

- - -

I also have a favorite quote that seems appropriate: "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans." Or shorter, "We make plans, God laughs."

- - -

Oh and I predict I'll be 36.

2010 census: favorite hobbies

In no particular order...

cooking & eating
watching football and march madness (and the fantasy, brackets, betting that goes along with that)
creative writing (blog, fiction, ads, writing about cooking and sports)
listening to music
reading
shooting hoops, playing golf, tennis, soccer, frisbee golf
video games
photography

War Across the Shore 2010 IS ON!


Bigger and better than ever in 2010. 3-way War Across the Shore (Dave vs Mark vs Niraj) over weeks 4 & 5. Highest combined point total for those weeks, smacks the lowest 13 times. Middle participant buys burrito. Let's get it on.

- - -

There's a clear pecking order in the East and West, with last year's BS SB I matchup both undefeated. 3-way tie in the central for first, thanks to my miracle at Candlestick.

this doesn't get old


Sunday, September 26, 2010

history of attending chiefs games

Childhood Era
11.4.1990: 9-7 win vs. L.A. Raiders (Bo Jackson)
10.11.1992: 24-17 win vs Eagles (Cunningham)

For the modern era, let's take a look season-by-season...

2004
Coming off a 13-3 season, I bought a pair of tickets through ticketmaster in the offseason. The Chiefs started 0-3 and by the time we were going to the game, the Chiefs were 3-7. Our seats were section 343, row 10 and they were $73 each. That game featured Brees, Tomlinson, Gates, Trent Green, Larry Johnson, Gonzalez. Plus a kickoff TD return by Dante Hall, and another that should have been. Although Priest Holmes was injured earlier in the year, and I didn't get to see him play.

11.24.04: 31-34 loss vs Chargers

2005
The following year was our first year in Chicago. We made plans to spend New Year's in Kansas City and see the Chiefs finish the season on New Year's Day. The Chiefs were 4-2 at the time we purchased the tickets. I got the tickets through ebay, section 301, row 5, $70 each.

This was Vermeil's last game. It was a good season. The Bengals didn't try much and it was a blowout win. The Chiefs finished 10-6 but didn't make the playoffs. The Steelers finished 10-6, got the wild-card spot on tiebreakers, and won the Super Bowl.

1.1.06: 37-3 win vs Bengals

2006
After attending games in back-to-back seasons, we decided to pass on year 1 of the Herman Edwards era. They did go 9-7 and get a playoff spot on a wild last day of the season.

2007
In August, I found a great deal on lower bowl seats through a private seller. Section 122, row 10 for $90 each.

Trent Green was traded, so Damon Huard was the starter. Bowe was a rookie. The Chiefs were 2-2 coming into the game, but 1-0 at home. They would lose this game, win the next two to get to 4-3, before finishing 4-12.

MJD had a 52-yard TD run and it was 17-0 Jaguars, before Croyle came in for a garbage time TD in the rain. (Modern era seating chart image link.)

10.7.07: 7-17 loss vs Jaguars

2008
The Chiefs brought back Herm after a 4-12 season, so he could go 2-14 (still better than the Lions). We did not attend a game.

2009
We also didn't attend a game in year one of the Haley era. They went 4-12 (1-7 at home.) Only home win was upset in overtime vs the Steelers on my birthday. Thought about it, but Arrowhead was under remodeling construction and figured there would be better days ahead.

2010
The Chiefs are 3-0, which means the wife is on the bandwagon! We just got tickets through NFL.com Ticket Exchange, section 301, row 28, $64 each, to see the Chiefs host the Cardinals on the day before my birthday.

Not only do the Cardinals seem quite beatable on the road, but you have to think that Haley will have extra incentive and know how to beat his old team.

11.21.10: win vs Cardinals, 31-13

2014
We got two tickets through Crowd Seats, Section 324, Row 28, $48 each. 
10.26.14: win vs Rams, 34-7

Chiefs Blowout 49ers, 3-0 for first time since 2003

I didn't get to watch much of this game, but there were some great highlights. To help me process and understand exactly how the Chiefs dominated the 49ers, I'm going to breakdown how each drive ended:

KC punt

SF punt
KC punt
SF punt
Cassel throws interception
Smith throws interception
Cassel to McCluster, 31-yard TD pass
Nedney 51-yard FG
Succop misses 38-yard FG
SF punt
Succop 32-yard FG

Halftime

SF punt
KC punt
SF punt
Direct snap to Jones, handoff to McCluster, pitch to Cassel, bomb to Bowe 45-yard TD pass
SF punt
Cassel to Moeaki, 18-yard TD pass
SF turnover on downs
KC punt
SF punt
Jones 3-yard TD run (57-yard drive: 7 runs, 0 passes)
SF punt
KC turnover on downs (with 3rd string trying to run out clock)
Smith to Morgan, 12-yard TD pass on last play of game.

Wow. So despite a Cassel interception and a Chiefs missed field goal, the Chiefs were up 31-3 with 3 seconds to go. Let's take a look at this Chiefs' defense.

San Francisco had the ball 12 times.
8 punts.
1 interception.
1 failed 4th down.
1 field goal from 51-yards.
1 garbage time touchdown.

Last year the Chiefs had the 2nd-worst rush defense = 156 yards/game. (TB 158)
They were 30th in total yards on defense, and 29th in total points on defense.
That's not good.

Through three games, the top defenses in points/game are Steelers, Jets, Chiefs, Vikings.
And right now they are 6th in rush defense = 75 yards/game.

And really, the front seven hasn't changed. We brought in Eric Berry at Safety, but you'd have to think that Romeo deserves the credit for the run defense's improvement.

What about on the offensive side?

Last year we had the #11 rush offense. This year? #1. 160 yards/game. Best in the NFL.

Let's look at yards/carry (minimum 10 carries):

1. Jamaal Charles 7.0
2. Tomlinson 6.3
3. McCoy 6.1
(Peterson 5.6, C. Johnson 4.0)

Charles -- 34 carries for 238
Chris Johnson -- 75 carries for 301

- - -

Let's get back to today's game. The turnover battle was even. The Chiefs didn't get any huge plays on special teams. And it was scoreless after one, and close at the half. How'd this get to be a blowout?

Well it helped that we sacked them 5 times, and gave up 0.

Last year we sacked opponents 22 times, and gave up 45. (Coming after the year which we broke a record, only sacking opponents 10 times in 16 games in 2008.)

The first score came following the Flowers interception: Cassel to McCluster in the flat, spin move, speed burst up the sideline, cut it back and dive in the endzone.

The second touchdown came on a possession starting at the SF 45. (Chiefs punted from KC 19 + SF penalty and 49ers start on own 12. SF punts from SF 15 + KC return to start on SF 45--that's winning the field position battle.) This was the fleaflicker from Jones to McCluster to Cassel. Previously in the game the Chiefs converted a 4th and 1 with a handoff to McCluster. That play forced the 49ers to key on the McCluster handoff, leaving Bowe wide open deep. Great play design. I'll take deep touchdown passes anyway we can get them.

Up 17-3, the Chiefs finally had their first solid touchdown drive of 2010. 8 plays, 61 yards. 6 runs, 2 passes. First pass was on 3rd and 4, short pass to Charles that he turns into a 22-yard pickup. Second one was a 3rd and 5 from the 18, pass to the endzone and Moeaki makes a spectacular one-handed touchdown grab.

Up 24-3, with 8 minutes left in the game, the Chiefs run the ball 7 times in a row, eat up 4:30 and get a touchdown. Seals the game.

Who deserves game balls? Just about everyone.

Cassel gets 3 TDs for first time as a Chief.
Jones and Charles are two-headed monster.
McCluster made key plays, turned a short pass into a touchdown, and set up the fleaflicker.
Bowe made the big deep catch that broke the game open.
Moeaki is the team's leading receiver and had a huge one-handed catch.
O-line gave up ZERO sacks and paved the way for over 200 rushing yards.
Flowers created an interception out of nothing.
Hali had three sacks and a forced fumble (even though it wasn't recovered)
Romeo's D shut them down.
Charlie's O had 21 first downs, 50% on 3rd down and even had a few tricks.
Haley has turned this team around. The players believe and they show up at home. This team may not be guaranteed a playoff spot, but Arrowhead is back (at least for now).

Everyone came together for a blowout. I'm not singling any one out, this was a team win.





Friday, September 24, 2010

thanks a lot, brazilian consulate


This is the FAQ section. I clicked on "what documents do I need." Since all it talked about is the form, and I had copies of our passports, I figured I was golden.

Turns out they need the actual passports, copies of your driver's license, and printed out itineraries. Maybe it would be helpful to list that under "what documents do I need" instead of saying "enclose it with all the other requirements for a visa." Just a thought.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

supercontest: week 3

This fun experiment might end sooner rather than later. I go 9-7 across the board, but 1-4 in the games I had pick.

This week:

Steelers -2.5 over Bucs
Pats -13.5 over Bills
Lions +10.5 over Vikings
Packers -3.5 over Bears
Saints -4.5 over Falcons

Last Week: 1-4
Season: 2-8

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Do you believe in miracles? YES!


I needed 12 to win. I got 12 to win. As the clock expired.

Of course, every point mattered. I needed Schuab's game to go into overtime. I needed my defense to get 6 turnovers. I even needed that stupid 1 catch for 11 yards by Garcon.

But on Monday night, I needed 12 from a kicker. At the start of the 4th quarter, Hartley had 2 points. Look, I knew coming into this that it wasn't likely. Candlestick is up there with the Meadowlands as the toughest place to kick field goals in September. Plus, he missed 2 last week in a dome, giving him -1 points. But whatever hope I had, was certainly gone when I saw that he only had 2 points with 15 minutes to go.

So what happened?

1. The Saints go 3 and out after a long Bush punt return, and Hartley his a 46-yarder. 4 crucial points, and now I'm only down 6. This kick starts out at the right upright, and the wind shifts it dramatically at the end, falling down the middle.

2. With 5:36 to go, the 49ers muff a punt, giving the Saints the ball at the SF 15.

3. With 2:33 to go, the Saints give it to the full back on a 3rd and goal from the 1. Stuffed. Up 19-14, Payton calls on the field goal. He makes it and now I'm down 3 with 2 minutes to go.

4. I'm praying for SF to get a touchdown and 2-point conversion to send this to overtime. Alex Smith executes a perfect 2-minute drive, players getting out of bounds often, and they get a touchdown with 1:23 to go. They ran it in on 2nd and goal, probably thinking it would eat some more clock, but Gore scores.

5. 2-point conversion to Vernon Davis. Ruling on the field was stopped short. Stuff was thrown in the Fymbo-Verrette household. I go stomping up the stairs pouting. But I come back down, thinking that it looked good to me, hoping for a challenge. (Side note: the only ESPN feed I have at home, is a sports summary channel. So the game is taking up 1/6th of my screen and I have no game audio.)

6. The officials review the play and call it good, making it a tie game.

7. But the 49ers left too much time there. A few plays later, including a great 30-yard catch by Colston, and Hartley is attempting the game winner.

8. Whether it was partially deflected or not, the knuckleball fluttered and sputtered through the air, falling sharply over the crossbar.

All of those had to happen last night for me to win by half a point.

Easily, the best fantasy win I've ever had. When the 2-point conversion was ruled no good, I couldn't stop thinking about how stupid this whole thing is. How I hate fantasy.

Now? I'm facing a cakewalk next week, and could easily be 2-1 and tied for 1st place in the division. My team can score points and has depth. And Adam will be taking the red banner of shame away for a long time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hoagie Central's Monday Morning Bonerjam NFL Jumbalaya: Week 2 2010


The Cowboys were 8.5 point favorite at home against Chicago. Dallas outgained, and outconverted 3rd downs, but they had 3 turnovers. Meanwhile, Cutler has a great game with 3 scores and no picks. While it looks like you can pencil in the Packers as the division winners, Chicago's setting themselves up nicely for a wild-card berth.

Speaking of the Packers, they had a ho-hum 27-point blowout of the Bills. Buffalo seemed to be more interested in showcasing Lynch as trade bait. The Bills haven't done anything yet to prove they aren't the worst team in the league, or at least the conference.

Meanwhile, at the Metrodome, they popped the cork on a vintage Favre performance. Swirl the glass to smell the sweet aroma of 4 turnovers. Classic. The Dolphins open with 2 road wins, and the AFC East looks like a three-way dogfight, plus the Bills.

Matt Ryan is 13-1 at home and the Falcons bounce back after losing at Pittsburgh on the road in overtime last week. The Cardinals stink. It's a shame for Fitzgerald that Holmes made that Super Bowl catch, because the good times in Arizona are over.

So the Titans look great in week 1, now they're home against the Steelers who are playing a combo of Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch...and they can't do anything against that defense. Chris Johnson held under 40 yards. They bench VY and Collins gets in to throw a pick. If the Steelers can win on the road with those QBs, watch out, because their defense is for real again.

The Panthers/Bucs are an example of how fantasy skews your perspective. The Bucs have no fantasy stars, and the Panthers have 2 good backs. But the Bucs go on the road and Freeman looks good. Matt Moore not so much, plus an injury, and the Jimmy Clausen era is ready to begin in Carolina. If you picked the Panthers to be last in the South, congrats.

Lions get up 17-7 on 2 scores by Jahvid Best, who's breaking all sorts of records. Now we all know what Schwartz meant when he said. "Some people watch adult videos on their computer, I go to YouTube and watch Jahvid Best highlight clips. That's what gets me aroused." But because it's Detroit, the Eagles score 4 touchdowns unaswered, 35-17. Again the Lions storm back, too little too late. Also, have 2 running backs owned by the same fantasy team who looked that unimpressive on paper, ever combined for that many points? 76.5 for Best and McCoy. Matt didn't have a chance.

After winning ugly vs the Jets last week, the Ravens fall to the Bengals. But the Ravens always struggle with Cinci; there are better days ahead for Baltimore. A roughing the passer that shouldn't have been also helped the Bengals get the go-ahead field goal.

Denver wins at home. Yawn. This is how stuff works. Seattle can beat the 49ers at home. Denver can beat Seattle at home. Can the 49ers beat the Saints at home? We'll find out tonight while Hartley kicks 4 field goals.

Rare that you bench your newly acquired free agent QB, and get a win out of it. But I guess that's how good Bruce Gradkowski is. Also, that stupid field in Oakland with the baseball dirt is terrible.

Moss scores on Revis Island, but it doesn't matter. You cannot stop Mark Sanchez, you can only hope to contain him! The Pats still have Brady, but don't have the defense that led them to titles.

Garrard was not as silky as Rivers. I think the Chargers proved that they are still the best team in the AFC West.

And the Manning Bowl was a dud. Did the Colts not read Simmons' column? The same one that thought the Colts were done with, but led with a big focus about not jumping to conclusions after week 1?

And then we get to Texans @ Redskins.

Washington proved they had an offense and jumped out to a 27-10 lead in the 3rd quarter at home. Cut to 27-20 in the 4th and the Texans' Pollard blocks a field goal. And just before the final two-minute warning, on 4th and 10, throws a prayer to A. Johnson, who answers it in the end zone.

In overtime, the Texans get the ball first, and instead of allowing Rackers to attempt a 53-yarder for the win, they punt. I thought it was a mistake, that you have to attempt to win. The punt goes for a touchback and before you know it, the Redskins are ready to attempt a 52-yarder.

The same kicker that had one blocked earlier, this time sails it right through. But Kubiak, the Texans coach, called timeout and it doesn't count. Of course, the NFL coach that first used that move is the current Redskins coach, Shanahan. The second time, the kicker shanks it right and now you know how this story ends.

With the good field position, and the final of Schuab's 497 passing yards, the Texans set up a game-winning Rackers field goal. And that's what happens in the NFL. If it works, you're a genius.

going into monday night

During the early games, I was down in the neighborhood of 70 to 30. Going into the Sunday night game, it was really close. I had Garcon and Hartley, he had Addai and Hicks.

Throughout the game, Hicks had no catches and it looked like his injury might be affecting him. Addai was running well, but didn't get a touchdown. And Garcon didn't do anything.

But with 5 minutes to go, I saw that Addai was on the bench, with the Colts up 31. I was up 117.5 to 115.5. I was ready to start thinking about if I should bench Hartley. I had this wrapped up.

And then after the two-minute warning, stupid Hakeem Nicks gets a touchdown worth 9.5 fantasy points. I went to bed thinking that I was down 117.5 to 125, with a kicker to go.

And then I wake up, and all of a sudden Harlan has 129. I believe they added 4 pts to his defense.

So now I need 12 from a kicker.


We've seen this situation before, a week 2 divisional matchup which you would expect to have serious playoff implications. If I go to 0-2, it could be nigh impossible to get back in things against 2 opponents that are 2-0.

So now I need Hartley to kick 3 field goals and some extra points.

bonerjam on the way

Don't bother reading any NFL columns today. Full bonerjam covering the whole league coming either late today, or tomorrow morning.

Another Ugly Win, Chiefs Are 2-0

Against what some considered the worst team in the league, Cassel threw for 176, zero scores and two picks. The Chiefs did get 140 on the ground, but couldn't punch it in. This was a two-point game that included the Browns missing a 42-yard field goal, and the Chiefs benefiting from a Browns fumble that seemed like it wasn't, even thought it was reviewed.

The Browns had the lead at halftime, scoring on a 98-yard drive and a big play over the top to Cribbs. The Chiefs' only touchdown was a pick six by Brandon Flowers. But Succop was 3/3 on field goals and the Chiefs defense had a shutout in the second half to win.

Here's a look at the Browns' possessions in the second half:

6 and out, punting from KC 44
8 and out, punting from CLE 32
5 and out, punting from CLE 43
3 and out, punting from CLE 8

So what does this tell us? Only 4 times with the ball, means the Chiefs were sustaining drives, running the clock out. The Chiefs offense & punter won the field position battle, giving the defense room to make a stop without giving up a field goal. And the Chiefs defense was good enough to hold them when it mattered. (It didn't help the Browns to get some holding penalties either.)

But hey, it's a road win. The Chiefs are 2-0 in close games. Two weeks in a row the defense has held on to win the game. And I would gladly take a team that is built on a great defense, has playmakers on special teams, and has a competent, game-managing offense. Unfortunately, I think our defense is in the okay-good range, and our offense hasn't shown they can execute a touchdown drive.

So what kind of team is the 2010 Chiefs?

My first thought, based on the quarterback play, was that maybe they were the 2006 Bears. Led by Rex Grossman, they reached the Super Bowl, and on Monday night they showed that the Bears are who we thought they were.

Yes, the Bears did win games with defense and special teams. But two problems: that Bears defense was elite, these Chiefs are nowhere near that yet. And if you look at that Bears offense, they were hit or miss. Sure some nights, Rex had turnover problems, but they also put up 30+ in 8 games. And 26 in 3 others. Right now the Chiefs offense seems to just be poor.

Okay, maybe they could be the 2009 Jets? They finished 9-7, got the wild card, and snuck into the AFC championship. The level of QB play from rookie Sanchez to Cassel seems fair, and the running game is comparable. But the Jets had the #1 defense. Right now the Chiefs D is 9th in points allowed and 24th in yards allowed. So a fair statement might be, the 2010 Chiefs are the 2009 Jets with a mediocre defense. And that's not saying much.

Or...they could be the 2009 Broncos. A hot sleeper pick in the AFC West with new coaches from New England, with a considerable home field advantage. They both had fluky wins in week one (moonsoon & Stokley's catch). And Orton to Cassel seems fair. Denver had a hot start but after the bye, fizzled out, finishing 8-8 and out of the playoffs.

Based on these comparisons, a 7-9 Chiefs campaign seems likely. (Should be good enough for a burger bet though!)

On to the game balls.


#3: Ryan Succop

Not often a kicker gets a game ball, unless he makes a game winner with less than 5 minutes to go. But he was 3/3 on a day when the other kicker was 0/1. And we needed all 9 of those.


#2: The Defense

The offense scored 9 points, 3 of which were set up by a fumble. The only touchdown came from the defensive side. When the offense can only muster 6 points on their own, and you hold on for the win, that's a game ball. (No good photos of the defense, when in doubt, the coach represents the team.)


#1: Brandon Flowers

Easy choice. The only player that made a big play. Last year, he had a couple of these that he dropped. This time he hangs on and makes the difference. He's been really good for a while now, good to see him win a game, basically on his one play.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

heard on chiefs radio

Len Dawson: "Vrabel did a good job of stripping the ballcarrier from the football."

Friday, September 17, 2010

supercontest: week 2

Last week I went 8-8 on pigskin pick'em against the spread, but only 1-4 on those games that I selected for the Supercontest. To recap, I'm perfectly average when it comes to picking games, but I'm terrible when it comes to picking picks.

This week:
Broncos -3.5 over Seahawks
Panthers -2.5 over Bucs
Titans -5.5 over Steelers
Eagles -3.5 over Lions
Ravens -1.5 over Bengals

Last Week: 1-4
Season: 1-4

Thursday, September 16, 2010

know your tates

Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks, 2010 2nd round draft, Notre Dame
Ben Tate, RB, Texans, 2010 2nd round draft, Auburn
Brandon Tate, WR, Patriots, 2009 3rd round draft, North Carolina

Golden Tate was a healthy scratch in Week 1. He was the one that was arrested for trespassing at a donut place at 3 am.

Ben Tate was supposed to split carries with Arian Foster this year, but he broke his ankle in the preseason.

Brandon Tate had a kickoff TD return and 4 catches for 36 yards in Week 1.

nfl week one thoughts

There were 4 "surprising" results in week one:

Texans over Colts
Chiefs over Chargers
Redskins over Cowboys
Seahawks over 49ers

What do they all have in common? Sure, they were all divisional games. But, more importantly, the winners were all at home.

I don't think any of the teams that lost should be panicking. Dick Vermeil told me that the formula for going 12-4 is to win your games at home and go 4-4 on the road. And as bad as the 49ers looked, we know Qwest field is a tough place to play. Despite being blown out, I would not be surprised if the 49ers finish a couple games ahead of the Seahawks, once it's all said and done.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

my first trophy

Can anyone take the crown away? Maybe during a bad bye week, but I bet I'll hold onto this for a while.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chiefs Open 2010 By Taking Down The Division Champs (Game Ball Edition)

Last night was a big game for a lot of reasons.

First game in the newly renovated Arrowhead.
First MNF in 4 years, first time ever opening the season on MNF in Chiefs' history.
The one home game you get against the division champ Chargers.

I thought that if the Chiefs couldn't win last night, in a perfect storm (excited home crowd, Chargers start slowly and missing key players) that there's no way they could keep up with teams like the Chargers throughout the season. This was a litmus test, no doubt about it.

Coming into the game, I thought that Kansas City had a decent chance to win. But I thought it would take a good performance on offense, great performance on defense, and getting a big play on special teams or a turnover, and a lucky break or two.

I didn't think there was a way to beat the Chargers by getting a poor performance on offense.

Here's what we know:
The Chargers are a better team than the Chiefs.
The Chiefs' offense didn't do anything to deserve a win.

So how'd they do it?

They had 3 big plays, and got touchdowns out of all 3.

1. Down 0-7, Charles ZOOMS behind the left guard for 56 yards, spinning the safety around in the open field.
2. Tied 7-7, Derrick Johnson RIPS the ball away from Mathews, giving Kansas City the ball at the SD 12.
3. Up 14-7, McCluster catches a punt on his own 6 and BREAKS it all the way. (longest in KC history, breaking Dante's 93-yard record vs Denver)

Sure, but Hoagie Central takes you deeper.

Sproles had 5 punt returns with an average of 6 yards on the return.
Arenas had 2 punt returns with an average of 30 yards, McCluster 3 returns, average of 33 yards.

Chargers yards: 389. Chiefs yards: 197. But Chiefs had 0 turnovers, Chargers 1. Chiefs had only 3 penalties, Chargers 5. Red Zone: Chiefs 1/1, Chargers 1/2. Cassel sacked once, Rivers twice.

Chiefs a miserable 1/11 on 3rd down, but Chargers only 4/15, and only 1/3 on 4th down.

Okay, but Hoagie Central takes you deeper.

The Chargers had 13 possessions. How did they only get 14 points?

Punt - KC 20
Touchdown - Gates
Punt - SD 32
Punt - KC 41
Fumble - SD 12
Punt - KC 33
Punt - return TD
Punt - KC 29
Punt - KC 20
Punt - KC 20
Touchdown - Nanee
Turnover on downs
Turnover on downs

The Chargers scored on 2/13.
The Chiefs defense & special teams scored/set up scores on 2 of the Chargers 13 possessions.
11 times the Chiefs forced the Chargers to fumble, punt, or late in the game held on 4th down. And look at that field position. The defense & special teams fueled the offense, and they still sputtered with 3 and outs. But it was enough.

But enough stats. Let's hand out some goddamn game balls.

Honorable Mention: The Crowd at New Arrowhead

The announcers wouldn't shut up about how electric it was inside the stadium. Which is all fine and dandy. But when it's so loud that the Chargers get 3 delay of game penalties, and burn an early timeout, that's when the crowd is helping you win football games.

Honorable Mention: The Rain

I can't believe the announcers didn't mention how the weather impacted the game. At kickoff it was dry and the Chargers took an early 7-0 lead. The rain started coming down and Charles gets past falling defenders. The defense rips the ball out, and McCluster races by slipping defenders. Credit to the equipment manager, the Chiefs weren't falling nearly as much as San Diego. It also hindered the passing attack of the Chargers, and while it might explain Cassel's throws, it didn't hurt our running attack. It dried up in the 4th, and the Chargers get another touchdown. But then I did a rain dance in Burnsy's apartment and on the final play of the game, the rain was back and the open receiver slipped. KC +21 when wet, SD +14 when dry.

#3: Jamaal Charles


You had 11 carries, the same as Thomas Jones who got the start. But you made the most of yours. We needed a spark on offense and you made it happen.

#2: The Rookie Class, especially McCluster


Arenas had two great punt returns and played solid defense. McCluster had the big return TD and some crucial screen passes. Moeaki caught some key passes including the TD set up by the Mathews fumble. The one player that looked like a rookie at times, was the #1 pick Berry. But Gates does that to everyone. He held his own for the most part. For what it's worth, McCluster had the winning points, in the 2nd quarter.

#1: Romeo's Defense, especially Derrick Johnson

The forced fumble was crucial, but overall the defense won the game. Two huge fourth down stands, more sacks than we allowed, hardly any penalties, only one big play given up. I'll take a team built around a solid defense any day.


- - -

You know, as good as this looks...


...last night wasn't about a win that ignites a march to the playoffs.

Last night was good enough on it's own. A better, more established team came into our house on national TV and we played well enough for 60 minutes, offense, defense, special teams, coaching, to send 70,000 in red and gold home with a smile on their face.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hoagie Central's Monday Morning Bonerjam NFL Jumbalaya: Week 1 2010


Sunday night featured a game between two playoff contenders in the competitive NFC East.
Sunday morning featured a game between two basement dwellers in the lackluster NFC North.

But lets explore the similarities.

The favored teams--the Bears and Cowboys--had more offensive yards, yet more turnovers. The favored teams also made terrible coaching decisions. When the Lions can't move the ball, and you couldn't break the plane on 3 chances, you've have to take the lead with the field goal. And when I saw Romo drop back from his own 37, I thought "wouldn't it be funny if he fumbled and the Redskins scored?" And the reason I thought that, is that's the only thing you can think from that position. I didn't have the foresight to predict that Romo would flip it to Choice, who would fumble away the game.

And both games ended with a player catching the ball in the endzone, and neither one counted. The Cowboys was the right call, an obvious holding that clearly affected the play. The Lions got robbed. Here's why: the rule about completing the process of the catch makes sense if you envision a receiver diving for it, grabbing it, his knee hits down while in control, but then when his body hits the ground it comes loose. It doesn't look like a catch. Even if a knee would make him down if he was a running back, he never had control. But what Calvin Johnson did?

He got two feet in the endzone. Then his butt hit in bounds in the endzone. (As we know, a butt counts as two feet anyways.) Then he's getting up and he still has control and he uses the ball to lift himself up, and the ball is still in control when it touches the ground. That's a catch.

But what do I know?

- - -

Fun Stats

Bears-Lions game featured 13 punts and 7 lost fumbles.

Texans were 30th in rushing last year. Foster had 231 rushing yards yesterday against conference champion Colts.

Stevo has Chris Johnson and the Player of the Week, Arian Foster.

Niraj had 2 of the top 3 performances, Manning and Forte. Forte should have had more than his 35 points, as he was shut down on 3 carries from the 1.

Manning outscores Schuab 35-8, in a 24-34 loss.

Back from the dead, the week's #1 receiver was Chad Ochocinco.

On 4th down inside the final minute, the Redskins let Miles Austin go uncovered down the middle.

ESPN projected me to beat Niraj by 23, the largest margin. Quite likely that I will lose by the largest margin. Possible that I get the lowest score of the week.

Michael Vick (on waivers) who didn't start for the Eagles, had the 5th best QB fantasy day, in a loss. Brees and Rodgers had 14th and 15th best days, in wins.

I was the first to get negative points for a kicker, -1 for Hartley.

Kirat was the first to get negative points for his defense, -5 for Bengals against Patriots.

challah!

The headline works better if you imagine someone shouting it on Yo! MTV Raps. Which is how I imagine all my blog posts being read.

- - -

I bought a loaf of challah to make french toast (obligatory video clip) an un-stuffed version of the one we made in August. It was delicious. Of course it was.

The recipe for the batter made more than I could eat, so I cooked up some more, and saved them for the next day. Stored well.

But then I had half a loaf of challah. What to do with it?

I gave it a shot, and I discovered something amazing. Pan-fried sandwiches. I've loved these sandwiches as a kid, with their buttery, crusty outside, and the soft, warm inside, especially with melted cheese.

But the challah takes it to the next level. First, I up I used a burger, mayo and garlic mustard on the inside of the bread. On the outside, just cooking spray (and spray butter if you want extra butter flavor). With the pan on medium, it only takes a couple minutes on each side. The outside takes on a beautiful color and flavor, a rich crust, while the inside becomes soft and delicious.

It was so good the next day I did a repeat using grilled chicken. I even added a little parmesan to the pan, but I could hardly taste it.

Results: make more pan-fried sandwiches with challah. So good!

Friday, September 10, 2010

holy shit, is it 5771 already?

2010 draft (for future reference)

Here's my 2010 draft, from the 6th position. RB/QB/WR/WR/WR


When I had my draft, I thought that I was weak having Harrison at my RB2. With Hardesty out for the season, suddenly, Harrison could be a top 20 running back.

Before yesterday's kickoff game, I was convinced that I was going to win my division. I think Burnsy's weak at receiver and I'm not worried about the other two teams.

But last night my kicker gets me negative points, and Burnsy's Henderson scoring as many points as Adrian Peterson. So, while I look good on paper, that doesn't mean anything.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

supercontest: week 1

Here's the deal with NFL SuperContest: pick 5 games each week, against the spread. That's it.

Last year the winner went 53-29-3.

Let's do it.

49ers -2.5 over Seahawks
Browns +2.5 over Bucs
Ravens +3.5 over Jets
Rams +3.5 over Cardinals
Panthers +7.5 over Giants

5th annual nfl picks

AFC East
Patriots 11-5
Dolphins 10-6
Jets 7-9
Bills 5-11

AFC North
Ravens 12-4
Bengals 9-7
Steelers 6-10
Browns 4-12

AFC South
Colts 11-5
Titans 10-6
Texans 8-8
Jaguars 5-11

AFC West
Chargers 11-5
Chiefs 7-9
Broncos 6-10
Raiders 5-11

NFC East
Cowboys 11-5
Redskins 9-7
Giants 7-9
Eagles 6-10

NFC North
Packers 12-4
Bears 8-8
Vikings 7-9
Lions 5-11

NFC South
Falcons 11-5
Saints 10-6
Panthers 5-11
Bucs 3-13

NFC West
49ers 11-5
Seahawks 7-9
Rams 4-12
Cardinals 3-13


I know that I don't have enough wins in the NFC, but I couldn't up any more teams. I already added about 10 wins to each conference, as my original thoughts underrated every team. I mean, someone's gotta win.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

one-two

For the first time in the history of the universe, I vanquished Kirat in a 3-set match of tennis. But it wasn't that I won, but how I won that was so amazing.

Yesterday we resumed a match that had Kirat up 5-3 in the first, him serving. I surprised myself and won the first two games to get it to 5-5, and was up a point (15-30 I believe) in the next game. It was strange to think that the first set could have been over, and that at that point I had the lead in the match. As quickly as it came though, I lost the first set 7-5.

We then switched courts, and Kirat rolled off the first 3 games. At this point he was on a 5-0 run and things seemed like he was about to waltz to a third straight match.

During the changeover, I walked around the net on the side opposite our water bottles, to pick up a stray ball. And I found a Wilson "W" shock absorber just laying there on the court. I didn't have one in my racquet, so I picked it up and put it in between my strings.

I immediately felt a huge difference. My serves were crisper. My ground strokes were firmer. I started hitting better angles. That moment was a game changer. I started winning games. And even when I had tied it up at 3-3, I kept telling myself that I was still down 0-3. I went on a 5-0 run, and closed out the set on my serve at 6-4.

We had time to play the third set, and we held serve through the first four games. But then I broke his serve to go up 3-2, and closed out the set and match 6-2, telling myself that I was down 0-3 the entire time.

- - -

So some stats:

Yesterday before I found the shock absorbed: Kirat 5-2 (games won)
Yesterday after I found it: Dave 12-3

There are four explanations:

1. The shock absorber made a significant physical difference in my game.
2. The shock absorber gave me the confidence to hit better angled shots.
3. My subconscious naturally responded when down 0-3 to play better and start coming back.
4. Telling myself that I was still down three games, even when I'm serving for the match, allowed me to keep that intensity and not get flustered with excitement.

More about that last point: I've heard all my life that confidence is key for athletes. So you would think that I would play better up 5-3, than down 0-3. But for me, as soon as I take the lead, my normal mental process is "Oh, I'm so close to winning. Just 8 points and I'll win. Boy it will be awesome to win and blog about it." And whenever I think like that, I play terribly.

To get back to the four explanations, I think all four are true.

- - -

Today I learned that Sabermetrics refers only to baseball, as it was derived for the acronym for Society for American Baseball Research. So what follows, could supposedly be called Satermetrics.

Total 2010 Games Won before shock absorber: 39-27 Kirat (59.1%)
Total 2010 Games Won after shock absorber: 12-3 Dave (80%)
Total 2010 Games Won: 42-39 Kirat (51.9%)

Games won in Match #3: 17-13 Dave (56.7%)
Games won in Match #2: 20-15 Kirat (57.1%)

I think it's interesting that after playing 81 games, we're only separated by 3. Also, that in two consecutive matches, the winner was different but won roughly the same percentage of games. I think it just means that we're really at the same level.

Match #3, started 8.4.10: 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 Dave
Match #2, started 7.28.10: 6-7 (2), 6-2, 8-6 Kirat
Match #1, started spring 2002: ?-6, 6-?, 9-7 Kirat