Monday, September 30, 2013

The Chiefs Are 4-0, Best Start in Ten Years

The call on the field was a first down.

The Giants had the ball, only down three, with less than two minutes to play in the 3rd quarter. Victor Cruz caught a 17-yard pass on 3rd and 17 at their own 31-yard line. Except that it was really only a 16 and a half yard pass at their own 30 and a half yard line.

Andy Reid threw the red flag. The call was reversed. It was now 4th and half a yard. The Giants decided to punt. They had their reasons. They were on their own 30. It was a three point game so they probably thought the game wasn't on the line. And they hadn't been able to move all day on the Chiefs.

So they kicked it away. And this happened.



Let's start at the beginning. The Chiefs' offense didn't play well enough to win by themselves. They had three turnovers. And through three quarters, only put up 10 points.

So how did they get to a 31-7 final score?

The Chiefs defense is for real.

3 turnovers. 3 sacks. Under 100 yards rushing. Only 200 yards passing. Only on the field for 24 minutes.

The Kansas City offense gave up three turnovers.
The Kansas City defense allowed zero points off turnovers.

The Giants were 1 of 14 on third down.
The Giants never made it to the red zone.

The lone score for New York was a 69-yard pass to Victor Cruz. Other than that one play, the Giants offense looked hopeless against the Chiefs.

Of course, it was a close game because the Chiefs offense looked just as bad through three quarters.

- - -

There is a certain grain of salt to the Chiefs 4-0 start. Here are their opponents, removing the games versus the Chiefs.

Giants 0-3
Eagles 1-2
Cowboys 2-1
Jaguars 0-3

Combined 3-9 record. These are not good teams. As you might expect based on those records, the Cowboys game was the closest, followed by the Eagles. The Giants and Jaguars were blowouts.

That said the Chiefs did what they were supposed to do.

@ 3-1 Titans (but without Jake Locker)
vs 1-3 Raiders
vs 2-2 Texans
vs 2-2 Browns
@ 2-2 Bills
@ 4-0 Broncos
vs 2-2 Chargers
vs 4-0 Broncos
@ 1-3 Washington
@ 1-3 Raiders
vs 3-1 Colts
@ 2-2 Chargers

I think the Chiefs make the playoffs. I think the Broncos win the division and the #1 seed.

Which means that the Chiefs would go on the road as the 5th or 6th seed. Get the 5th seed and you're playing in Baltimore/Cincinnati/Cleveland. Get the 6th seed and you're in Indy or Houston.

And who knows...Peyton is 37 years old. Maybe he falls on a banana peel or something.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chiefs Fav Five 2013

I did this in the off-season, before the draft and before we got Smith. Three games in, I figured it would be fun to do it again.

Here's my first pass through the roster:

Offense
Bowe
Charles
Smith

Defense
Houston
Hali
Berry
Flowers
Poe
Derrick Johnson

Special Teams
Colquitt


Making a top five is pretty hard, for the first time ever. So I'm going to cheat at the 5 spot.

5. Berry/Flowers
4. Justin Houston
3. Dontari Poe
2. Dwayne Bowe
1. Jamaal Charles




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

week 4 on the big screen

11am Fox: Giants at Chiefs
2:25 Fox: Eagles at Broncos
6:30 NBC: Patriots at Falcons

MNF
6:30 ESPN: Dolphins at Saints

Another week where I get the Chiefs on TV that I wouldn't have gotten them in Chicago.
Looks like I'll try and go over to Joe's on Monday to watch his Saints.

Week 21

Week 0 = 205 pounds
Week 14 = 180
Week 15 = 179.5
Week 16 = 177.5
Week 17 = 176
Week 18 = 177
Week 19 = 175
Week 20 = 176
Week 21 = 175

I was off the train for a while. Monday morning I was 178.5. So back on the train Monday and Tuesday and back to my lowest point. I'm going to try and stick with it again for a while, get into the 160s. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fantasy Power Rankings

For starters, here's everyone's current points with records:

1. Stevo 359.5 (1-2)
2. Spencer 358 (3-0)
3. Mark 344.5 (2-1)
4. Cobb 343 (2-1)
5. Bobby 340.5 (2-1)
6. Dave 330 (2-1)
7. Kirat 328.5 (2-1)
8. Ted 323 (2-1)
9. Savan 317.5 (1-2)
10. Mac 297 (1-2)
11. Harlan 290 (0-3)
12. Drake 260 (0-3)

It's all pretty even except for the glaring bad luck that Stevo has faced.

Let's go deeper.

I want to figure the average ranking, by calculating each person's weekly scoring rank. Lower scores are better.

Stevo 5t - 2 - 3
Spencer 2 - 3 - 6
Mark 8 - 5 - 2
Cobb 1 - 4 - 12
Bobby 7 - 1 - 9
Dave 5t - 8 - 4
Kirat 3 - 7 - 7
Ted 11 - 6 - 1
Savan 10 - 9t - 5
Mac 9 - 12 - 8
Harlan 4 - 9t - 11
Drake 12 - 11 - 10


Here are these average rankings, placed in order.

Stevo 3.33
Spencer 3.66
Mark 5
Cobb 5.66
Bobby 5.66
Dave 5.66
Kirat 5.66
Ted 6
Savan 8
Harlan 8
Mac 9.66
Drake 11

So going by these, we see that Stevo was really unlucky as he consistently performed the best week in week out, and still went 1-2. Also, Harlan was a tad unlucky as he should have figured to win his first game.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Chiefs 3-0

At the end of last night's game one of the announcers said, "And the Chiefs are 3-0 for the first time in forever."

Forever, apparently, is 2010.

That said, it feels really good. And I was sort of wrong about Alex Smith. I thought he would be an upgrade, but not a significant one. Not a top 10 QB. But he's been what we needed. Which reminds me. I want to take a minute to talk to someone.

Hey Matt Cassel.
Remember when we traded a 2nd rounder for you?
Did you see Alex Smith play last night?
He wasn't that great, was he?
But that's all we needed.
Do you see how he doesn't throw the ball to the players in the other color jersey?
That's what we needed you to do.

So yeah, Alex Smith has led the Chiefs to a 3-0 record. I was right about him not being a top 10 QB.
He's currently 16th in passer rating. 25th in yards/game. 19th in completion percentage. 1st in avoiding interceptions.

Here were the Chiefs possessions:

1. 3 and out, punt
2. 3 and out, fg (following muffed punt) (rz)
3. punt at midfield
4. punt from KC 39
5. missed 51-yard fg
6. 69-yard drive, made fg (rz)
7. 45-yard drive, made fg (rz)
8. time expired
halftime
9. punt from KC 34
10. punt from KC 30
11. 62-yard td drive (rz)
12. 73-yard, 8:15 elapsed, drive for fg (rz)
13. turnover on downs at PHI 1 (rz)
14. victory formation

This is the team I'm supposed to be jazzed about.

1 offensive touchdown. 1/6 tds in the red zone. Lots of punts, but no turnovers.

This game dropped our red zone td percentage to 55%, 15th in the league.

But turnovers.

So far this year:
Giveaways 0 (1st in NFL, tied with Titans)
Takeaways 9 (4th in NFL)
Margin +9 (1st in NFL)

I like that.

And our defense?

1st in NFL in sacks.
2nd in points allowed (Seattle is 1st)
9th in yards allowed

Take a look our schedule. The Chiefs look like a playoff team.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Buffalo Wild Wings

I would have tweeted this but TMI:

I think commercials for Buffalo Wild Wings are smart to focus on the experience in the restaurant, as opposed to showing people in pain on the toilet the next day.

- - -

I went to Buffalo Wild Wings last night to watch Chiefs-Eagles on the NFL Network. Joe and I got there midway through the 3rd as I had to put the kids to bed first.

It was Boneless Thursdays, which meant boneless wings were on sale. I prefer traditional, but couldn't pass up a good deal. They had about 5 or 6 flavors I wanted to try, but they said the smallest order per flavor was 4 wings.

So I got, in order of increasing heat:
4 Jammin' Jalapeno (8th spiciest out of 16)
4 Carribean Jerk (10th out of 16)
4 Mango Habanero (14th out of 16)

Others that I would have liked to sample:
Hot BBQ (12th)
Hot (13th)

As you can see, I like hot wings. Truthfully, last night was the hottest wings I've ever had.

All three flavors were quite hot. I usually never touch the celery/carrots, but last night I ate all of mine and all of Joe's. My mouth was on fire. In a good way. I would eat about 3 or 4. And then need a couple minutes to cool down. I ordered extra ranch. Over the course of the hour sitting there, I went through 2 and a half diet cokes. It was hot.

I did finish all 12 boneless wings while sitting there. And they were tasty.

I would try all the flavors again, though next time I would prefer traditional wings. The sale night for those is Tuesday though, not a lot of hot sports action on a Tuesday. I'll talk more about the Chiefs in a separate post.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Week 20: The Hold Steady

Week 0 = 205 pounds
Week 14 = 180
Week 15 = 179.5
Week 16 = 177.5
Week 17 = 176
Week 18 = 177
Week 19 = 175
Week 20 = 176

I just haven't been trying. It's hard to stay motivated when you look at yourself and say, "Eh, not that bad."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chiefs are 2-0

The Kansas City Football Chiefs are 2-0 for the first time since 2010.

Okay, so that's not that long ago. The time before that was 2005. In both of those seasons, the Chiefs finished 10-6.

So far, they've beaten the Jaguars on the road and the Cowboys at home. I didn't make a post after the Jags game because Jax is the worst team in the league by far.

And although the 28-2 score is great, the Chiefs offense didn't impress.

Week 1 vs Jaguars

A quick recap of the Chiefs possessions:

1. 3 and out, blocked punt for safety
2. 3-play, 24-yard touchdown drive (following good punt return)
3. 1 first down, punt
4. 2-play, 21-yard touchdown drive (following interception)
5. 1 first down, punt
6. 8-play, 57-yard touchdown drive
7. 1 first down, punt
halftime
8. 2 first downs, punt
9. 1 first down, punt
10. 3 and out, punt
11. 2 first downs, punt
12. 3 and out, punt
13. 1 first down, punt
14. victory formation

Great day for the Chiefs defense. Sacked Jax 6 times. Allowed 0 points. Two picks including a pick-six. Only allowed 178 total yards.

But look at the Chiefs offense. 10 punts. 3 touchdowns. 2 of which, they started inside the opposing 25. The good news: 3 times in the red zone, 3 touchdowns. But only 3 times in the red zone against Jacksonville? Not inspiring.

Week 2 vs Cowboys

The Chiefs were slightly outgained in yards, had less time of possession, and even had more penalties. They were losing for all of the second quarter and most of the third. Let's look at the Chiefs possessions:

1. 13-play, 77-yard touchdown drive
2. 3 and out, punt
3. 1 first down, punt
4. 3 and out, punt
5. 1 first down, punt
6. 3 first downs, 57-yard fg attempt blocked
halftime
7. 10-play, 79-yard touchdown drive
8. 3 and out, made field goal (following DAL fumble)
9. 3 and out, punt
10. 3 and out, punt
11. 3 first downs, punt

In case you're wondering, through two games, the Chiefs punted 16 times, 3rd most in the league. The Chiefs are not moving the ball down the field. They have 1 made field goal on the season, and that came on a 3 and out.

So they had two good drives (their last drive was a good one to eat the clock) and got a field goal off a turnover.

The Chiefs first drive included a 3rd and 15 conversion when Alex Smith scrambled for 17 yards.
The Chiefs second td drive included a 31-yard pass to Avery on 3rd and 9.
Both of those plays were essential to winning.

Let's look at the Cowboys possessions to see how the Chiefs D won this game:

1. fg
2. td
3. punt
4. punt
5. punt
6. kneel
halftime
7. fg
8. fumble
9. fumble
10. punt
11. fg
12. time expires

This game came down to


1. Red Zone efficiency
2. Turnover battle
3. Chiefs D

Point #1: Red Zone efficiency

(Of course, we're talking touchdowns only. I hate it when tv networks show scoring efficency in the red zone. As if it's better to get a field goal than go for it inside the 20.) Last year the NFL ranged from 68% to 40%. Except for the Chiefs. Who were dead last at 27%.

This year the Chiefs are a perfect 5/5 for touchdowns in the red zone. Only Houston is also at 100% so far. The worst? New Orleans right now at 14%.

These three sequences tell the story.

1st and 10 at DAL 18A.Smith scrambles up the middle to DAL 15 for 3 yards (B.Carter).
2nd and 7 at DAL 15(Shotgun) A.Smith up the middle to DAL 2 for 13 yards (B.Church).
1st and 2 at DAL 2(No Huddle) A.Smith pass incomplete short left to J.Charles.
2nd and 2 at DAL 2A.Smith pass short right to J.Charles for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN.


1st and 5 at KC 5(Shotgun) T.Romo sacked at KC 12 for -7 yards (D.Poe).
2nd and 12 at KC 12(Shotgun) T.Romo pass short left to D.Murray to KC 4 for 8 yards (D.Poe).
3rd and 4 at KC 4(Shotgun) PENALTY on DAL-R.Leary, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at KC 4 - No Play.
3rd and 9 at KC 9(No Huddle, Shotgun) T.Williams to KC 12 for -3 yards (H.Abdullah; Q.Demps). T.Romo attempted pass was a backward lateral.
4th and 12 at KC 12D.Bailey 30 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-L.Ladouceur, Holder-C.Jones.

2nd and 10 at DAL 26(Shotgun) A.Smith pass short middle to A.Fasano to DAL 12 for 14 yards (B.Church).
1st and 10 at DAL 12(Shotgun) A.Smith pass short middle to D.Bowe for 12 yards, TOUCHDOWN. KC-A.Fasano was injured during the play.


That's 8 points that the Chiefs could have missed out on (if they had settled for two field goals) and 4 points that the Chiefs D prevented. 12-point swing in the red zone on those sequences. In a one-point game.

Point #2: Turnovers

Last year, the Chiefs were the worst in the league at giving the ball away. 37 turnovers. (Interestingly enough, tied with Philadelphia [and the Jets]). The Chiefs -24 turnover margin was also the worst, tied with Philly.

This year, the Chiefs are one of only two teams along with the Titans not to turn the ball over. The three teams with the best turnover margin: Seahawks +5, Chiefs +4, Titans +4.

Point #3: Chiefs Defense

Last year the Chiefs were 25th in points allowed. 27th in rush yards allowed.

This year, #2 in points allowed. #2 in rush yards allowed. #3 in total yards allowed.

I know half of the sample is against the Jaguars. But still that's a big turn around.

Dallas carried the ball 16 times on Sunday. 37 rushing yards. 2.3 yards a carry.


Conclusion

The things that won us this game, were the very things that the Chiefs were the worst in the league at last year. I'm a bit concerned about our offense. They've struggled. But they've gotten it done in the red zone, haven't turned it over, and our defense has played great.

Feels like a 9-7 team. Which is a lot nicer than 2-14.


Epilogue

On Sunday I saw the best punt I've ever seen:


Standing on his own 25, Dustin Colquitt kicked it into the corner, where the ball came to a rest on its own inside the 2. Simply brilliant.

(What wasn't brilliant is that rookie on special teams got pushed out of bounds and was the first to touch it. That's a penalty that puts the ball on the Dallas 20. Unfortunate.)

nfl predictions 2013: take one

I know people typically do playoff picks before the season starts, but that's so unreliable.

- - -

I thought it would be fun to judge the teams after we've gotten to see them play.

AFC Division Winners:
Patriots
Ravens
Texans
Broncos

AFC Wild-Cards:
Bengals, Dolphins, Chiefs, Colts fighting for two spots. I think the Colts fall short but the Bengals make it and possibly win the division (but then the Ravens get that wild-card spot). So it's between the Chiefs and Dolphins for that final spot? Let's give it to the Chiefs.

Playoffs:
1 Broncos
2 Texans
6 Chiefs at 3 Patriots
5 Bengals at 4 Ravens

NFC Division Winners:
Eagles
Packers
Saints
Seahawks

NFC Wild-Cards:
Bears, Falcons, 49ers fighting for two spots. At this point, I'd probably leave out the Falcons, but really the Bears will disappoint.

Playoffs:
1 Seahawks
2 Packers
6 Falcons at 3 Saints
5 49ers at 4 Eagles

illinois 2013-14 basketball preview

College basketball recruiting still eludes me.

Here are the incoming freshman recruits for this fall:


This 2013 class is ranked #15 on ESPN:

And here's how our roster looks this year:


But wait...Aaron Cosby and Darius Paul (brother of Brandon) are incoming transfers which means that they aren't eligible to play until the fall of 2014. (If it were me, I wouldn't put them on the roster, but whatever.)

Rice and Ekey are transfers that are eligible for this season.

Ahmad Starks is a transfer that is waiting on a waiver for this season. Full story here.

- - -

Cosby and Paul will join our class of 2014 recruits that everyone is already excited about. Black, Snider and that other guy.


I know it's early, but we're currently the #4 class for 2014. 

- - -

Anyways, back to this year's team. I'll put an asterisk on Starks because we don't know what we've got.

Guards: Bertrand, Starks,* Rice, Abrams, Nunn, Hill

Bigs: Egwu, Ekey, Colbert, Morgan

Bench: LaTulip, Tate

The bench is just a guess. We're thin on bigs this year, as Egwu is the only returning player.

This year is a setup year. Because in 2014/2015 our top ten guys looks like this:

1: Tracy Abrams (SR), Quentin Snider (FR)
2: Aaron Cosby (JR), Kendrick Nunn (SO)
3: Rayvonte Rice (SR), Malcolm Hill (SO)
4: Leron Black (FR), Darius Paul (SO)
5: Nnanna Egwu (SR), Maverick Morgan (SO)

That's four new players in bold, two transfers, two freshmen.

Here's the Big Ten predictions for this year, with odds for winning it all. I expect our odds to a be better next year.

Michigan State 10/1
Ohio State 18/1
Michigan 35/1
Wisconsin 60/1
Indiana 75/1
Iowa 80/1
Illinois 125/1
Purdue 125/1

first triple crown in a while

This post is a week old, but a good one.

Illinois football beat Cincinnati 45-17.
The Chiefs beat the Jaguars 28-2 to start the season.
And thanks to Randall Cobb and Witten, I beat Ted 119.5-93.5.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fun with the Lions Drafts

2002: With the 3rd pick, the Detroit Lions select QB Joey Harrington. 

He started 55 games for Detroit. 60 touchdowns, 62 interceptions. 54.7% completion rate. 176 yards per game. Quarterback Rating: 68.1.

2003: With the 2nd pick, the Detroit Lions select WR Charles Rogers. 

Played 15 games for Detroit. Career totals: 36 receptions, 440 yards, 4 touchdowns.

2004: With the 7th pick, the Detroit Lions select WR Roy Williams. 

Played 60 games for Detroit. Detroit totals: 262 receptions, 3884 yards, 29 touchdowns. (Note: not bad)

2005: With the 10th pick, the Detroit Lions select WR Mike Williams. 

Played 22 games for Detroit. Detroit totals: 37 receptions, 449 yards, 2 touchdowns.

2010: With the 30th pick, the Detroit Lions select RB Jahvid Best.

Played 22 games for Detroit. Career totals: 43 rushing yards/game. 35 receiving yards/game. 9 total touchdowns. Released by team.

2011: With the 57th pick, the Detroit Lions select RB Mikel Leshoure.

Played 14 games for Detroit. Totals: 57 rushing yards/game. 15 receiving yards/game. 9 total touchdowns. Still on the team but not on the active roster.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Happy To Be In Denver

This Sunday I'll be watching Chiefs-Cowboys on the big screen in HD. Something I couldn't have done in Chicago or even St. Louis. 


30 Pounds Down, 15 To Go

Week 0 = 205 pounds
Week 14 = 180
Week 15 = 179.5
Week 16 = 177.5
Week 17 = 176
Week 18 = 177
Week 19 = 175

I'm happy to get to 30 down, but one thing is clear. I'm not as motivated when I'm in the 170s to get to the 160s, as I was in the 190s to get to the 180s.

I'm motivated to not be fat, but not as interested in getting the body I actually want. 

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Things I Think During the 3rd Quarter of KC-JAX

Things I Know

1. Jacksonville will not win many football games this year.
2. Blaine Gabbert will not be a starting quarterback next year.
3. Alex Smith is an upgrade, the best Chiefs QB since Trent Green, though that's not saying much
4. The Chiefs will win at least 6 games this year

Things I Think, But It's Hard To Know Because Jacksonville Might Be Historically Awful

1. The Chiefs D will be a top 15 unit, possibly top 10
2. The Chiefs O-line looks great, opening holes for Charles and protecting Smith

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Calcutta Recap

It's not a good sign when the Browns are your most expensive team.

Let me start over.

Going into the draft here were my top teams by tiers:

Best
Broncos/49ers/Seahawks/Saints

Middle Value
Bengals/Bears/Cowboys/Colts/Dolphins

Sleepers
Bucs/Eagles/Browns/Chiefs

That said, I didn't do very well even according to the teams I wanted. I didn't want to overpay and run out of money early like I usually do. But I should have grabbed one good team. I could have pushed the 49ers up to 8+ or even the Saints up to 7ish. Mark getting the Seahawks early at 5.80 seems like a good deal.

Matt went lean and mean but a Packers/Broncos Super Bowl isn't that crazy. Kirat has a great roster. He has 5 teams that are all solid and could easily go deep in the playoffs.

I think Kirat did the best and I might have done the worst. But we'll see.



Week 1 NFL TV Schedule

I'm just excited so I wanted to note which games will be on my tv.

Ravens at Broncos, Thursday at 6:30
Bengals at Bears, Sunday at 11
Falcons at Saints, Sunday at 11
Packers at 49ers, Sunday at 2:25
Giants at Cowboys, Sunday at 6:30
Eagles at Washington, Monday at 4:55
Texans at Chargers, Monday at 8:20

That's a lot of games. Two more than normal, with the Thursday one being on NBC and two MNF games. I don't actually get ESPN/MNF at my house, but I can watch it at the in-laws. They don't get NFL Network, so for those I'd have to go to a sports bar.

Falcons/Saints and Packers/49ers are pretty awesome games to get for a doubleheader on week 1. Chiefs at Jaguars is at 11am so I'll try and watch that on my computer.



Week 18

Week 0 = 205 pounds
Week 14 = 180
Week 15 = 179.5
Week 16 = 177.5
Week 17 = 176
Week 18 = 177

This is the first week where I've technically gained weight. I say technically because I was 176 through the weekend and then Monday night we went to Hacienda, one of my favorite restaurants because Bridget was in town.

I got the steak fajitas that come with roasted peppers and onions, fresh jalapeƱos, cheddar and monterey jack, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, and rice. PLUS, on the side I got a cup of spicy queso blanco AND spicy pork green chili. Let's just say that I ate a lot.

Tuesday morning the scale jumped from 176 to 178.5. It was down to 177 this morning, and I suspect that I'll be at 176 again shortly. So it's a bummer that the scale went up this week, but it's nothing to worry about.

Oooh, fajitas!