Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Worst To First

In April 2013, the Chiefs had the #1 pick in the NFL Draft.
In October 2013, the Chiefs have the #1 record in the NFL.

In June 2013, the Avalanche had the #1 pick in the NHL Draft.
In October 2013, the Avalanche have the #1 record in the NHL. 

- - -

At the moment, the Sharks have more points, but they've played an extra game. Colorado had more points on Saturday and won yesterday. Colorado has the #1 record based on points percentage. 

For the record, the Avs were only the second-worst team in the league. A team in Florida was worse. But the Avs won the lottery. 

And the Chiefs and a team in Florida both went 2-14 last year. But the Chiefs faced an easier schedule so they earned the #1 pick. They Chiefs are 8-0 and the Jaguars are 0-8. 

Still hard to wrap my head around. 

NFL Rule Loophole

This is for the small parts department:

Peyton fumbled yesterday and he was chasing Brian Orakpro for the loose ball. Manning sort of tackled him from behind to try and prevent him from recovering it. Orakpro recovered it anyways and Washington took over.

The refs called a penalty on Manning for offensive holding. But Washington had to decline it in order to keep the ball.

I was annoyed that the penalty couldn't be enforced once Washington took over, as an "and-one."

- - -

This made me wonder if there were other loopholes. There used to be a 12 men on defense rule loophole that the Giants used in the Super Bowl, where the penalty cost them five yards but the Pats didn't get the time back on the clock. That has since been fixed where the refs are supposed to blow the play dead before it starts.

The other one I know of: Say a team has a 1st and goal from the 1, with 20 seconds left. I would instruct my defense to disrupt any passes by committing pass interference. They'll get a free first down every time, but the goal is to run down the clock to give them only one actual shot, instead of having to defend 4 passes.

Situational Football (Stafford's Play For The Ages)

With 22 seconds left, the Chiefs faced a 4th and 1 from the Browns 22, up three points.

I wanted them to go for it, thinking worse-case scenario, the Browns have the ball on their own 22, needing a field goal to tie, touchdown to win.

Best-case scenario you win the game.

I didn't want them to kick a field goal.

Worst-case scenario you have a blocked field goal, or a big return on the ensuing kickoff.

Best-case scenario you give the Browns the ball on their own 20, needing a touchdown to win.

(The Chiefs kicked the field goal and won anyways, because there wasn't much time left.)

- - -

Then I switched over to the Lions-Cowboys game. The Cowboys had the ball on 3rd down with about 1:15 remaining. The announcers starting talking about if the Cowboys hang on to win they'll be 5-3. They started talking about how it's their first winning record at the halfway point of the season since 2007.

In the moment, I thought that was a bit premature. Sure it seemed like they Lions would only get the ball back with 20 seconds left, but I've seen good returns and hail mary's work, especially to Calvin Johnson.

A play later, the Cowboys were in a similar situation that the Chiefs were just in: with a minute left they faced a 4th and 5 from the Lions 26, up three points.

The Lions had just correctly declined a penalty on 3rd down, realizing that the 40 seconds of play clock are far more valuable than pushing the Cowboys back 10 yards, even though it would make for a tougher field goal attempt.

The Cowboys choice was a little tougher because it's a 4th and 5 and there's a minute to go. They kicked the field goal and made it a six-point game.

Another reason that I don't like the choice to kick the field goals, is I'd almost rather be down 3 than 6. Of course, a 7 point lead is better. But a 6 point lead? It forces the other team to be aggressive. If the Lions were only down 3, it would have played out differently once they got to the 23. They might have taken a shot to end zone, but they would have been thinking about preserving their field goal attempt.

At any rate, that last drive with no timeouts was incredible. And the last play was one for the books, up there with Dan Marino's fake spike touchdown pass.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Good Riddance to 2-3-2

I've written about it before. And now I never have to again.

In Roy We Trust

The Avalanche played 9 games, won 8. Good for the 2nd best record in the league.

Their opponents currently have a combined record of 45-34-3.

Take away the games against the Avs, and their opponents are 44-26-3.

They're 5-0-0 on the road.

And then there's this:

Ponder, Cassel and Freeman

Let's start with some facts.

1. The Vikings QB situation is a mess.
2. In seven weeks, they've played Ponder, Cassel and Freeman.
3. The Vikings have Adrian Peterson who has been the best running back in football for the last 6+ years.
4. The Vikings made the playoffs in 2012 despite Ponder as QB.
5. The 2013 Chiefs have shown what a difference it makes to go from a Cassel-level QB to an Alex Smith level QB.

- - -

In 2009, I wrote this:

The biggest mistake is that this hurts the Vikings. Their Super Bowl hopes in the next couple years just took a nose dive. They need to find a quarterback solution that will help them throughout the prime of AD. This is going to waste a year or two and I don't think I'm being hyperbolic when I say this could waste Peterson's Super Bowl window. I know the Vikings can't win one with Favre, so this is just pushing back their timeline for possible success.

AD is still in his prime and yet, the Vikings haven't found a QB. Despite that they're good enough to make the playoffs. I know it's not as easy as find the next great QB. But it's hard not to look at their current situation and think they would have been better off trying than playing Favre.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I was going to do a whole ranking of potato chip flavors, but that seemed like a lot of work.

In short, I like Sour Cream 'n Onion best. I also like Salt & Vinegar.

I don't care for Barbecue or Original.

Best Record in the NFL

In April 2013, the Chiefs had the #1 pick in the NFL Draft.
In October 2013, the Chiefs have the #1 record in the NFL.

- - -

I don't think the Chiefs are the best team in the league. I'd put the Broncos, Seahawks and Saints at the top three. And lump the Chiefs in with the Patriots, Colts, 49ers and Packers. So they're a top 8 team for me.

They'll make the playoffs.

But because of the Broncos being in their division, it's a strange dynamic. I wrote about it last week, but they're either looking at getting a bye or playing a wild-card game on the road. It really doesn't matter what record the Patriots or Colts end up with.

- - -

The script for this game was very familiar. Chiefs offense scores a few touchdowns, but Chiefs defense does the rest.

In the 2nd quarter, the Chiefs take the lead on a 3rd and 1 touchdown run by Alex Smith:

Ah the classic, fake to no one! I can see why that worked so well.

In the 3rd, the Texans trailed 10-14 but had 1st and goal at the 1.
QB sneak stuffed.
RB tackle for loss.
Incomplete pass.
Field goal. Texans still trail 13-14.

The teams would exchange field goals and the Texans trailed 16-17 entering the 4th quarter.

Texans 4th quarter drive #1 ends with a Flowers sack on 3rd and 9. Punt.
Texans 4th quarter drive #2 ends with a Houston/Hali sack on 3rd and 8. Punt.
Texans 4th quarter drive #3 ends with a Hali sack on 3rd and 4. Punt.
Texans 4th quarter drive #4 ends with a Hali sack on 2nd and 10. Forced fumble, recovered by Chiefs. Victory formation.

And that's after the goal line stand. FOUR TIMES the Chiefs offense put the onus on the defense: "hey can you not allow them any points on four chances, because we're done for the day."

That's not going to be good enough against top teams. But we've played 7 games and won them all.

And then this happened:

It's still totally realistic to think that the Broncos will finish at 14-2 and the Chiefs will be 12-4 or 13-3. But it would be quite lovely to win the AFC West and send Denver on the road.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

FRIES, Ranked

This was a bit strange. Because I didn't want to get into the weeds of ranking Wendy's vs Burger King vs McDonald's, but there are some places that have unique fries. And I thought it would be helpful when judging say, waffle fries, what I'm actually thinking of.

8. Steak Fries

These are usually bland and limp. If they're crispy they're not that bad. This will be a trend.

7. Potato Wedges

These have a tendency to have to much potato (the correct ratio is key). But usually they have a good seasoning or fried coating, so they're okay.

6. Waffle Fries (Chick-fil-A)

This is was mostly the inspiration for this list. Mrs. Hoagie Central loves waffle fries. They are never crispy enough for me. I had some yesterday fresh from the drive-thru and there was no crunch. They are soft. I don't get it. I think if they just cooked them a bit more they might be better.

5. Thin Cut (Steak 'n Shake)

This is the one fry on the list that gets the ratio wrong by having too little potato. In my head, Steak n Shake fries are even thinner than all the pictures on the internet. Crispiness, check. But it's all fried, no potato.

4. Crinkle Cuts

I admire the idea. Create more edges for more crispiness. The problem? I think they're always just a bit too thick. Too much potato. Maybe if these people talked to the Steak n Shake people, they could compromise.

3. Classic

McDonald's is always sort of the gold standard. And they're good for sure. But there are two that if I see on a menu, I'd order instead.

2. Sweet Potato Fries

Maybe there's still a novelty factor, but these are usually crispy, have the right amount of potato, and have more flavor too.

1. Curly Fries

A-ha! These are fun, but more so, they're crispy, with a great potato ratio, and they're usually seasoned quite nicely too. Arby's, you're doing something right.

Predicting the AFC Championship Game

It seems very likely that both the Chiefs and Broncos will make the playoffs. I was hoping that if the Chiefs meet the Broncos it would be in the AFC Championship, as opposed to the divisional round. Denver is the biggest dragon to slay, I'd hope that would be worth a Super Bowl berth.

But it probably won't happen.

- - -

The most likely scenario at this point would be the Broncos get the #1 seed, and the Chiefs get the top wild-card, #5.

In that case, the Chiefs path to the Super Bowl would be something like:

@ Ravens/Bengals
@ Broncos
@ Patriots/Colts

That's no fun. (It's also the same if the Chiefs fall to the #6 spot)

It would be possible for the #6 to upset #3. Perhaps Dolphins over Patriots. In that case, the Chiefs would face:

@ Ravens/Bengals
@ Colts
@ Broncos

If however, the Chiefs could win the division, that changes everything. If the Chiefs get the #1 seed, they would most likely face

vs Broncos
vs Colts/Patriots

or in the case of a #6 upset

vs Dolphins
vs Broncos/Colts/Patriots

That, of course, would be ideal.

If the Chiefs get the #2 seed, the Broncos couldn't be #1. So the path would likely be:

vs Patriots
@ Colts or vs Broncos

- - -

It's entirely possible to play the Broncos in the AFC Championship, but not that likely. And reaching the Super Bowl will be much easier if the Chiefs could win the division. Those two games against the Broncos are going to be huge.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Arrowhead Is Back 6-0

Here's what you need to know about the Chiefs beating the Raiders and improving to 6-0.

The Chiefs offense, once again, didn't play well. This was Alex Smith's worst game as a Chief. 14 of 31. 128 yards. 4.1 per attempt. Yikes. But no picks.

The only good thing I can say, this offense has yet to play it's best game. If they can figure something out by January, that would be nice.

The Chiefs defense is legit. 10 sacks. Second-most for Chiefs ever. This year's Chiefs team has been great at putting games away in the 4th quarter. Time-killing drives. Comeback touchdown drives. And now this...

With 7:20 to go in the game, the Raiders were only down 7-14. They had a first and 10 at midfield. The game is on the line.

Holding. 1st and 20.
Sack. 2nd and 32.
Delay. 2nd and 37.
Sack. 3rd and 48.
Incomplete. 4th and 48.

The Chiefs went 3 and out.

So the Chiefs D comes back out and gets a pick to set up a game-clinching field goal.

And then the Chiefs D comes back and gets a pick-six.

In 5 out of the Chiefs 6 games, they've had a defensive/special teams touchdown. Reminiscent of the 2006 Bears (the Bears are who we thought they are) who won games that they had no business winning, thanks to their defense. That team lost to Peyton Manning in the playoffs. (Though it was the Super Bowl.)

Points allowed per game:
Chiefs: 10.8 (1st in the league)
Broncos: 26.3 (24th in the league)

Defensive Takeaways:
Chiefs: 18 (1st in the league)

Turnover Margin
Chiefs: +12 (1st in the league)

Arrowhead Is Back. It is, once again, officially the loudest stadium in the NFL. Also, the loudest open air stadium in the world. But I don't care about that. I think now it's going to be a thing for a bit between Seattle and Kansas City. Seattle has a more sound-resonating stadium. KC has more seats. Whatever. Both are tough places to play.

What I do care about:
3 delay of games on the Raiders.
3 false starts on the Raiders.

That's the definition of a home-field advantage.

- - -

There were 5 scores in the game. Let's look at them.

Raiders: 78-yard touchdown drive. 39-yard touchdown slant pass. 

This was similar story to the Giants game. The Chiefs allowed 1 big play and that was it. The Raiders never made it to the red zone.

Chiefs D also 1st in the league for fewest opponent red zone attempts and worst opponent red zone TD percentage.

Chiefs: 55-yard touchdown drive. 7-yard touchdown run. 

It was 7-7 at halftime.

Chiefs: 23-yard touchdown drive. 2-yard touchdown run. 

Chiefs interception starts them at the Oakland 23.

Chiefs: 14-yard field goal drive. 33-yard field goal. 

Chiefs interception starts them at the Oakland 29.

Chiefs: 44-yard pick-six.

Another Chiefs interception. All their second half points came off turnovers.

If you compare total yards for scoring drives:
Raiders: 78
Chiefs: 55+23+14=92

All of a sudden that 24-7 victory margin is deceptive. The Chiefs D scored points and set up the points.

Here's your playoff pictures:

HOW TO: Barbecue Cheeseburger Quesadilla + Homemade Fries

I made both of these yesterday, but didn't take pictures of the fries. And neither is that complicated to truly warrant a "how to," but that's my tag for recipes. 

Barbecue Cheeseburger Quesadilla

two small flour tortillas
one cooked, seasoned burger
Gates bbq sauce (extra hot if you have it)
sour cream on the side

Assembly: put cheddar and bbq sauce on the inside of both tortillas, slap the burger in the middle. I used my panini press. Delicious. 

Homemade Fries

I finally found the secret to making good fries at home. 

Cut your raw potatoes into fries, 3 or 4 medium potatoes. Rub them with olive oil, then cover with plastic wrap in a big bowl, and microwave for 5-6 minutes. Then season nicely and cook for about 35 minutes at 440 degrees. Choice. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

PIES, ranked

I'm re-listening to all the MATES podcasts and rating them as I go. I'm about halfway through.
Anyways, today I listened to the banana cream pie episode. Tom asked Mike what his favorite pie was. Mike said Blueberry. This shocked and disappointed myself and Tom. Tom's was apple, a respectable choice.

After hearing that interaction, I couldn't help but ask myself, what is my favorite pie?

It's no secret that I love pie. But only certain pies. Specifically, hardly any fruit or cream pies. Here's my list:

10. Oreo Pie

This is alright. It's never quite as good as the picture looks.

9. Grasshopper Pie

Basically take an oreo pie and make it better by adding mint. Mint/brownie and mint/oreo are excellent combinations.

8. Caramel Pecan Silk Supreme

This is a particular pie that I only know of at Baker's Square. It is tasty.

7. French Silk Pie

This is a classic. I hardly eat it because there are better options for chocolate out there. That said, if it's the only option, I will enjoy it.

6. Key Lime Pie

This is a treat. It's a seasonal pie which makes it special to find. This pie is off doing it's own thing. It can't compete with the pies at the top of the list, but it's got it's niche and it does it well.

5. Apple Pie

An absolute classic. Untouchable. The only reason it doesn't rank higher? Well you'll have to keep reading.

4. Pecan Pie

There is a line between the top four and the rest of the list. If I can get one of the top four, I'm a happy camper. Growing up, for some stupid reason, I thought that I didn't like pecan pie. So this one is still holds a "rare" place in my heart. Luckily, I've wised up and now can't imagine Thanksgiving without it.

3. Peanut Butter Cup Pie

I talked about how mint/oreo is a great combination. Well, peanut butter and chocolate is the ultimate. This is put in front of you, and you're basically at maximum pie enjoyment. There might be two more on the list. But I could see rating every pie in the top four, a perfect 10.

2. Dutch Apple Pie

Bam! Thought I was dogging apple pie earlier, didn't you? I love apple pie, but at this point, I'm only going to order it if it has the delicious crumb topping. This is a perfect recipe.

1. Chocolate Chip Pie

A bit of a sentimental pick. I grew up having this pie for my birthday/thanksgiving. It's fantastic. A chocolate chip cookie in pie form. With just a bit of Cool Whip on top...perfect. The official recipe.

There you go. I would love to hear your top pies in the comments.

Chiefs and Avs Turn It Around

I follow two professional sports teams. 

In 2013, they both had the #1 pick.

The Kansas City Chiefs are currently 5-0.
The Colorado Avalanche are currently 4-0-0.

- - -

Now I'm not going to start sucking everyone's popsicles just yet, but it's pretty nice. I've yet to see the Avs in the playoffs or the Chiefs win a playoff game. 

Both are at least in play. 

Though of course, the ultimate goal is winning a championship. 

- - - 

Chiefs Thoughts

I haven't been too confident about their Super Bowl hopes. I was even shocked to see Football Outsiders give them a 14% chance of making the Super Bowl this year:

So if the Chiefs have a 14.2% chance of making the Super Bowl and the Lions have a 3.2% chance, then there is a .45% chance of a Chiefs-Lions Super Bowl. I'll take it. 

The main reason I'm not confident is the Broncos are legit. They are scary good. 

But if I were to start getting confident...I might point out that the Broncos with their defensive issues remind me a bit of the 2003 Chiefs. That team never punted in their playoff game and still lost (to Peyton Manning though). You could also say that the Broncos remind me of the 2007 Patriots. The greatest football team of all time...until they lost in the playoffs. 

I could even say that the Chiefs don't have to beat the Broncos either time in the regular season. All they have to do is beat them once in January. With Peyton Manning in the cold. 

I know it's a stretch. But it's a glimmer. 

- - - 

Avs Thoughts

The Avalanche turnaround is more surprising. 

Disclaimer: I know it's only four games in. The Avs have played 4.87% of their season. The Chiefs have played 31.25%. The Chiefs could lose more games than they win for the rest of the year, and still make the playoffs as a 10-6 team. The Avs could not. 

That said, the Avs just went on the road and beat Toronto and Boston who otherwise are a combined 6-0-0. We know they have a decent offense with young, quick talent. We thought their defense was weak and goaltending was suspect. They might win some games 3-2, but they'll also lose plenty 5-4. 

Bring in a new coach and suddenly the Avs have only allowed 3 goals in 4 games, the best rate in the league. 

Even though at this point the Avs are no lock to make the playoffs (far worse odds than the Chiefs)...I think they have better odds of winning it all. For one, they don't have to play Peyton Manning. 

For another, he won the Cup the first year playing in Colorado. He won the Memorial Cup the first year coaching the Remperts. Why not win the Cup the first year coaching in Colorado?

Chiefs-Lions Super Bowl Dinner Bet

For posterity, I wanted to capture these comments in their own post (because I had a hell of a time finding it when I needed it)

World Series History for Playoff Teams

I did this last year too.

I wanted to sort the 8 playoff teams based on last World Series win:

St. Louis Cardinals - Appearance and Win: 2011
Boston Red Sox - Appearance and Win: 2007
Atlanta Braves - Appearance: 1999 - Win: 1995
Oakland A's - Appearance: 1990 - Win: 1989
LA Dodgers - Appearance and Win: 1988
Detroit Tigers - Appearance: 2012 - Win: 1984
Pittsburgh Pirates - Appearance and Win: 1979
Tampa Bay Rays - Appearance: 2008 - Win: never

I'm a little surprised. Just looking at these teams, it seemed like they're all blue-chip franchises. I was a little bummed that Pittsburgh and Oakland didn't advance. (bolded teams still alive)

Detroit was in it last year but got swept. At this point, I guess it would be best for LA or Detroit to win one.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

This is the first time this season that being in Denver sucks for watching football

Games I'm Getting On Sunday:
FOX 11am - Packers at Ravens
CBS 2:05 pm - Jaguars at Broncos
NBC 6:30 pm - Washington at Cowboys

That's it.

Games I'm Not Getting On Sunday:
11am - Raiders at Chiefs
2:25 pm - Saints at Patriots

That blows.

Monday, October 07, 2013

nfl predictions 2013: take two

After five weeks, I'm updating the playoff picture:

AFC Division Winners

Wild Cards

In The Hunt

Without Hoyer, I don't think the Browns continue their success. Same for the Titans and Locker, although they could pull together a late run. The Texans I think still have a chance, and the Bengals could easily get in.

1 Broncos
2 Colts

6 Dolphins at 3 Patriots
5 Chiefs at 4 Ravens

NFC Division Winners

Wild Cards

In The Hunt

I refuse to accept that the Cardinals are any good. The Eagles are interesting and have potential, but probably more likely to win division than get a wild-card. (I acknowledge the possibility that yesterday's Dallas loss is a turning point that spirals their season into the toilet and the Eagles could win the division at 8-8.) Not sure what to make of Packers-Lions-Bears yet. Seems like Seahawks-Saints-49ers are the class of the conference, and I believe in Rodgers/Green Bay.

1 Seahawks
2 Saints

6 Bears at 3 Packers
5 49ers at 4 Cowboys

I think the 49ers are still for real and will crush whoever is in that 4-5 matchup. I'm optimistic that the Chiefs will be in the same kind of situation in the AFC.