October 22, 2014

Around the League, Week One

by Jeremy Gottlieb, Patriots Daily Staff
September 16, 2009

Brett Favre.

There’s two words sure to entice readers not to surf elsewhere/vomit, right? I’m sorry, loyal readers, I couldn’t help it. The thing is, I hate the guy. Loathe him. As far as I’m concerned, he resides in the upper stratosphere of the worst professional athletes known to man, resting comfortably alongside the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Terrell Owens and Kobe Bryant. I had promised myself following this summer’s installment of his stupid, boring, completely predictable, ego-maniacal, ongoing soap opera that I would do what needed to be done and just pretend he didn’t exist. It was working, too, even as all the ESPN robots and the like continued to suck up to him like he cured cancer. And then, Week 1 happened.

The headline for the Worldwide Favre Leader’s web coverage of the Vikings/Browns tilt read, “Favre, Peterson Lead Vikes.” It occurred to me nearly instantaneously that such a statement was patently untrue and absurd. Favre passed for 110 yards. Peterson rushed for 180 yards and three TDs, including a 60-yarder that was nothing short of breathtaking. If Favre absolutely needed to be included in the headline (which he probably did seeing as how the decision makers at ESPN would seemingly rather piss themselves continuously for all eternity than not treat him as the centrifugal force around which the entire universe revolves), shouldn’t Peterson’s name been listed first? Just a thought.

I could go on about how ESPN went on to feature one of their (and perhaps biggest) Favre shills Gene Wojciechowski’s postgame column, which naturally was all about Favre, or have the lead photo on both their front page and NFL page show Favre in the foreground and Peterson not only in the background but also out of focus. But I won’t. I need to stop before I’m the one who vomits. I’ll just end this little diatribe by noting that the chances of ESPN doing something like this again later in the season – that is to say hyping a washed-up, overrated, team and coach killing has-been over the best, most dynamic player in the league who also happens to play for the same team -are about as good as the sun rising tomorrow.

This Week’s Five Best Teams

1. Pittsburgh: Their bruising win over the Titans on Opening Night was not terrible artistic and losing Troy Polamalu for any length of time will definitely hurt. But until they lose, it’s hard to put them anywhere else, especially with Ben Roethlisberger being the best clutch quarterback in the league who isn’t named Brady.

2. New York Giants: They may be thinner at receiver and running back than in the past couple of years, but they still have a super defense and a (gulp) proven winner at quarterback in Eli Manning. There was never a time in their Week 1 win over the Redskins when it looked like anything but a sure W.

3. Philadelphia: There’s a caveat to this one since Donovan McNabb is now hurt (again) and the team the Eagles walloped last week – Carolina – seems to have a season ticket holder calling signals these days instead of an actual quarterback. But they are loaded with talent in all phases and showed it in abundance down in Charlotte.

4. New England: I’m gonna get hated on by the homer bashers for this one, especially considering how potentially disastrous the situation on defense looks. But with everything the Pats have on offense it won’t be long before they can afford to give up 30 points per game and still win. That’s how good Brady, Moss, Welker, et al are.

5. Green Bay: It took the Pack nearly the entire game to get anything going (sound familiar) on Sunday night, but when they did, Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings exploded. It helped that they played the Bears, who have 6-10 written all over them with Brian Urlacher going down and the fraudulent Jay Cutler at QB. But their offense still seems to have what it takes and their defense, which killed them last year, looks much improved.

This Week’s Five Worst Teams

1. St Louis: It took the entire lifespan of the NFL for there to be a winless team before last year’s Lions. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that this year’s Rams – completely devoid of talent beyond Steven Jackson – make it two in two years.

2. Cleveland: If the over/under on how long it would take Eric Mangini to go from hot, young coaching star to unbearable, pig-headed, soon-to-be-unhireable loser was six years and you took the under, you win!

3. Detroit: It’s amazing – the Lions are now just the third worst team in the league and we may as well throw them a party. How many teams can get pasted with 45 points in Week 1 as Detroit was last week and still have reason for optimism?

4. Jacksonville: The Jags hung with the Colts last week, as they usually do. And they may even beat the Cardinals this week in their home opener. But really, what’s there after Maurice Jones-Drew? Not much, which means we may only have to live through 15 more weeks of the insufferable Jack Del Rio.

5. Cincinnati: I know, the Bengals didn’t play that badly against Denver last week. And they were just over 30 seconds from winning. And this year’s edition of “Hard Knocks” on HBO was cool. But really, could what happened at the end of the Broncos game have happened to any other team but them? 5-11, here they come! Again!

What’s Trendy

Joshua Cribbs, Cleveland: An argument could be made that Cribbs is the best player on the Browns. Not too far-fetched when you look at the total sucktitude of the rest of the roster. Anyway, he reinforced the notion with a 67-yard punt return for a score in the second quarter, the seventh special teams TD of his career.

Jeremy Shockey, Saints: He caught two of Drew Brees’ six TD passes for the Saints against the Lions, two more than he’s had since November, 2007, when he was with the Giants.

San Francisco: The Niners went on the road to face the defending NFC Champs, managed less than one yard per rushing attempt and featured 57-year-old Isaac Bruce as their leading receiver yet still dispatched the Cardinals, 20-16.

What’s Not

Jake Delhomme, Carolina: In leading the Panthers to 169 yards of total offense and just three third down conversions in 19 tries, Delhomme passed for 73 yards, threw four picks and fumbled. He now has nine turnovers in his last two games, 11 in his last three. He also has a $40 million contract extension (almost $20 million guaranteed) which began at the start of the season. Go Panthers.

Jay Cutler, Chicago: Four picks for the Bears’ franchise savior, each one worse than the last. Cutler may be the first franchise savior in history to assume such a mantle with a 17-20 record as a starter and never lead his team to the playoffs.

Leodis McKelvin, Buffalo: He’d do it again, 100 times out of 100. If it does happen 100 more times, look for the Bills to go 0-100.

And finally…

This week marks the regular season debut of the Cowboys new, multi-billion dollar palace when the Giants come into Arlington, TX. The over/under on how many punts bounce off that ridiculous video board that Jerry Jones won’t just move a measly 10 feet higher because, as he’s proven time and again since the last time Cowboys actually won a playoff game, he’s more interested in being gossiped about than actually winning, is 2.5. I take the over.

Jeremy Gottlieb’s ‘Around the League’ will be a regular weekly feature on Patriots Daily.

Comments

  1. man you know u readin a good article when it starts out mentionin kobe yo, but then like it gets into rankings and the pats are in tha top five and like YO wherez tha LAKES…?

    rayshawn knowz yo, its not basketball season, but still you gotta have the lakeshow above tha eagles, like they got mike vick and kobe dont never hang with him yo.

    word.

  2. Ugh.

    Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy….

    The Patriots a top 5 team? Are you serious? They needed a miracle to beat the Bills last weekend. I understand where your allegiances lie, but you have to consider your credibility too my man….

    And no mention of the Jets? They looked GREAT last weekend. Now the Book on the Texans might still be out, but the Jets, LED by a rookie quarterback, looked impressive…. now THAT’S trendy!

  3. “HOMER!! Homer?! Where’d Homer go, Barney?”
    “Well, Mo, he whacked his Duff’s, stole a doughnut or thirty, and went to write an NFL ranking column. HEY, where’d this drool I’m drooling come from?!?!”

    Pats top five!?

    Maybe you should have just named the header ‘The League’s Top Five Teams’, because ‘This Week’s Top Five’ leaves a wee rittle beet of wiggle room- tooks to me like you claim to be basing all this on games actually played “This Week”- in which case the Splats are, like, in the teens, for rankings, and N.O. or the Vikes get their spot. But then you’re really basing your rankings on how good you think teams ‘actually’ are.

    Don’t mess with me. I went to Juco because I didn’t qualify for the academic bigs based on my testing- and I took to writing. LIke Homer to donuts.

  4. I am getting very tired of everybody picking on Leodis McKelvin. Yes, he fumbled, but how would it be better to take the knee? There was 2:06 left and Patriots having 3 timeouts. They would get the ball at the 20. I guess you would not want them to run any plays at that point and just take the knee 3 times to avoid the possibility of a turnover. So the Patriots get the ball back with full 2 minutes to play and 1 timeout left. Would that be better? Some other “experts” also say that he was right in taking the ball out, but he should not have fought for extra yards. Those people should just watch the replay. He was held up by multiple people and could not do anything else at that point.

    • Chris Warner says:

      Don’t consider myself an “expert,” but I would have expected Jackson to get the ball three times to see if he couldn’t average 3-4 per carry for the game-clinching first down.

      Not understanding how McKelvin was “held up”: after Aiken slowed him down, Meriweather absolutely tagged him. In the half-second it took for Meriweather to grab for the ball after the recoil, time for McKelvin to hit the turf rather than stay up and move forward.

  5. What was that old Three Stooges bit, when they walked into a room and somebody greeted them as “gentlemen”, and they would all immediately turn and look behind them, as if this could not possibly refer to them? I’m reminded of this every time Denis mentions the experts. I start looking around to see who he’s talking about.

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