FanDuel - WFBC

December 01, 2009

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 36 comments

I think it's much clearer this morning why Belichick went for the first down against the Colts late in the game rather than trust his defense to stop Manning. The Pats pass defense is terrible, and that's obviously a glaring problem against the top quarterbacks like Brees last night. Against the Colts I believe Manning would have easily gone down the field against New England whether he had to take the team 27 yards or 70. Kudos to Brees and the Saints, though. Impressive performance all around.

posted by dyams at 07:14 AM on December 01

There are definitely two elite teams in the NFL right now; anyone who listed the Patriots there was fooling themselves. At some point, they're going to have to beat both Indy and NO to get to the Superbowl and having watched both games, I cannot see that happening.

That said, if getting shredded by Brees and Manning equals bad pass defense, the entire NFL is suffering. They've both gone against the top pass defenses in the league and ripped them to shreds. They've actually played well against almost everyone else this season and Bodden and Meriweather are developing into ballhawks, but the key word is developing. They're not consistent yet.

posted by dfleming at 07:49 AM on December 01

I can't remember the last time I saw the Pats soundly dismantled by another team. They've lost games because they faded late and dropped a lead (Denver, Indy); they've lost games because they played terribly (NYJ, Mia in recent years); they've lost competitive games (NYG in the Super Bowl); but, I really cannot remember the last time I saw the Pats looking so lost on the field.

NO has the spark. NE is missing theirs.

Mind you, I still think the Pats can win in the AFC - they owned Indy for 3 quarters and anything can happen come playoff time.

So, what are the undefeated odds for Indy & NO?

posted by kokaku at 08:26 AM on December 01

There are definitely two elite teams in the NFL right now ...

I would include Minnesota in that category. A Minnesota-New Orleans NFC Championship game could be epic.

As for the chances to go undefeated, New Orleans goes to Washington and Atlanta, then hosts Dallas and Tampa Bay, and finishes at Carolina. Indianapolis hosts Tennessee and Denver, goes to Jacksonville, hosts the New York Jets and goes to Buffalo.

They both have pretty strong shots at 16-0. Their toughest opponents are in-division foes Atlanta and Tennessee, respectively. I don't think Dallas and Denver can beat these teams on the road.

posted by rcade at 09:14 AM on December 01

I wouldn't be surprised if Indy rests their players in Buffalo (especially if the weather is foul), but even then, I'm not so sure the Bills could beat them.

posted by kokaku at 09:30 AM on December 01

New Orleans was crazy good last night. No one can beat them if they play like that. Their defense was great. MacKenzie has been on the team for one week. What has Williams done to those guys? The offense was unbelievable. I feel like gushing they were so good. The lone weak spot was Carney.

The Patriots are going to have to put more pressure on the QB if they are going to have success in the playoffs. Brady won't always miss open receivers like he did last night, but they can't have shootouts all the time.

posted by bperk at 09:33 AM on December 01

I grew up in Mobile, Al and attended college in NO when they were busy earning their "Aints" nickname. bperk, I have been gushing since the season started. Gosh darn, this feels good!

posted by yzelda4045 at 09:56 AM on December 01

Discovery from last night: the one thing worse than your team taking an ass-whuppin' is your team taking an ass-whuppin' narrated by Jon Gruden. That makes it a BIG TIME ASS-WHUPPIN' BY SOME GUYS WHO ARE BIG-TIME PLAYERS WHO LOVE TO PLAY THIS GAME! BIG TIME!

posted by yerfatma at 10:45 AM on December 01

narrated by Jon Gruden.

I like Jaworski (especially on NFL matchup) but listening to Jaworski and Gruden try and outdo each other is just sensory overload.

STFU and let me watch the game, guys.

posted by cjets at 12:02 PM on December 01

I don't consider Minnesota to be an elite team. Look at the teams that they have played. only 3 of those teams have a winning record and if you consider that those 3 are only 1 game above .500. Minnesota has beaten the teams that they are supposed to beat that is all.

posted by twgibsr at 12:03 PM on December 01

The Patriots are going to have to put more pressure on the QB if they are going to have success in the playoffs. Brady won't always miss open receivers like he did last night, but they can't have shootouts all the time.

Agreed. They just don't have the personnel depth they're used to and I think the Seymour trade, as positive a long-term move as it was, showed it. It seems like the Patriots have been able to just insert players and have them play at a high-level but they present almost zero pass rush right now; noone has taken Seymour's place. I think their secondary are talented, just young, and you can't allow the receivers to run the kind of routes they're getting.

I had forgotten about Minnesota, who rightfully belong at the top of that list, and San Diego, who after a rough start to the season are looking like a wrecking ball.

posted by dfleming at 12:04 PM on December 01

I don't consider Minnesota to be an elite team. Look at the teams that they have played. only 3 of those teams have a winning record and if you consider that those 3 are only 1 game above .500. Minnesota has beaten the teams that they are supposed to beat that is all.

Outside of New England, you could make the same accusation towards Indy, but it's more the manner both teams win. They control the ball, they don't make mistakes and they have big time play-makers on both sides of the ball.

posted by dfleming at 12:09 PM on December 01

I don't consider Minnesota to be an elite team. Look at the teams that they have played. only 3 of those teams have a winning record and if you consider that those 3 are only 1 game above .500. Minnesota has beaten the teams that they are supposed to beat that is all.

Outside of New England, you could make the same accusation towards Indy, but it's more the manner both teams win. They control the ball, they don't make mistakes and they have big time play-makers on both sides of the ball.

posted by dfleming at 12:09 PM on December 01

Yeah but look at how Indy is doing it with so many injured players not playing. Indy is having to fight tooth and nail every single game.

posted by twgibsr at 12:22 PM on December 01

Minnesota beat the Packers twice, who by the way have the same record as the Pats. It's silly to parse how a team has such a good record late in the season. Of course, they are a elite team as the 3rd best team in the NFL at this point. The Vikings have one tough game left on their schedule and that is against the Bengals. So, we will find out how good the Vikings are in the playoffs. I would be pretty happy with that if I were a Vikings fan.

posted by bperk at 12:28 PM on December 01

I don't consider Minnesota to be an elite team. Look at the teams that they have played.

You don't win 10 out of 11 games unless you are an elite team or pretty close to one. They go to Arizona Sunday, so we'll see how they do against the defending NFC champs.

... listening to Jaworski and Gruden try and outdo each other is just sensory overload.

Gruden is so much better than Jaws that it's a little painful to hear. Last night made me wish for a two-man booth. Jaws can't compete with Chucky.

posted by rcade at 12:47 PM on December 01

Gruden is so much better than Jaws that it's a little painful to hear.

Wow. I'll agree that Jaws is mis-cast in the hype man role ESPN has stuck him in. He was terrific breaking down film on their NFL shows, so they tried to capitalize on his popularity, but obviously it's tough to break down film in real time. That said, I am at a loss for what it is about Gruden someone would like. The nadir for me was when he described one of the Saints' players return from a year-long substance ban as a "GREAT STORY" twice in the span of two sentences. He's got a total of four adjectives and about two phrase formats and he's Mad Libbing the shit out of every broadcast.

"I'LL TELL YOU ONE THING ABOUT [THIS GUY]. [THIS GUY] IS THE BEST IN THE NFL AT [DOING COMMON FOOTBALL ACTIVITY] AND HE'S BEEN DOING IT A LONG, LONG TIME! [THIS GUY] LOVES THE GAME AND IT SHOWS!"

posted by yerfatma at 12:57 PM on December 01

he's Mad Libbing the shit out of every broadcast.

Heh.

posted by cjets at 01:55 PM on December 01

"I'LL TELL YOU ONE THING ABOUT [THIS GUY]. [THIS GUY] IS THE BEST IN THE NFL AT [DOING COMMON FOOTBALL ACTIVITY] AND HE'S BEEN DOING IT A LONG, LONG TIME! [THIS GUY] LOVES THE GAME AND IT SHOWS!"

It also works for John Madden.

posted by dfleming at 01:57 PM on December 01

The nadir for me was when he described one of the Saints' players return from a year-long substance ban as a "GREAT STORY" twice in the span of two sentences.

I remember when we said that, I don't recall the players name but the guy is on the Saints defense. Chucky was basically saying that it's a great story due to the fact that he apparently learned from his mistakes.

It also works for John Madden.

Only if you throw a BOOM! in every other sentence. Sort of like this guy.

posted by BornIcon at 02:01 PM on December 01

The nadir for me was when he described one of the Saints' players return from a year-long substance ban as a "GREAT STORY" twice in the span of two sentences

Far be it from me to defend Gruden, but it is a pretty great story. Anthony Hargrove is battling his addiction, piecing his life back together, and playing GREAT football. Still, I think I would prefer Gruden if they gave him a sedative to calm down. Why does it seem like he is yelling all the time?

posted by bperk at 02:45 PM on December 01

... I am at a loss for what it is about Gruden someone would like.

I loved the way he broke down a sluggo route (slant and go) in real time as the Saints used it to shred the Patriots secondary late in the game. Gruden talks Xs and Os in a way that's entertaining and boisterous. (Jaws, by comparison, is slow to make a point and quiet.) If Gruden doesn't want to coach again, he could be the next Madden for another 25 years. And we need a next Madden.

posted by rcade at 02:52 PM on December 01

Jaws, by comparison, is slow to make a point and quiet

Call me biased, but I tend to find people with those qualities are also correct about the points they make. Gruden broke down a Kevin Faulk route by diagramming it on the wrong side of the first down line from where it was run. A simple mistake to make with a telestrator, but I wonder how often he's actually correct on the facts. It's easy to get away with claiming all sorts of things in the heat of the game.

posted by yerfatma at 03:01 PM on December 01

The Saints looked awesome against the Patriots, but this year's Patriots team is way off their glory days. They've got holes in their defense and haven't won a road game all season (except the one in London). The Saints' schedule is pretty soft, too. They've beaten Detroit (2-9), Philadelphia (7-4), Buffalo (4-7), the Jets (5-6), the Giants (6-5), Miami (5-6), Atlanta (6-5), Carolina (4-7), St. Louis (1-10), Tampa Bay (1-10), and the 7-4 Patriots. Their games against the Panthers, Falcons, and Rams were surprisingly close.

The Vikings outplayed the Steelers in Pittsburgh and lost due to two fluky turnovers for touchdowns at the end of the game. The Vikings' pass defense is mediocre but slightly better than the Saints'. The Vikings' run defense is excellent and much better than the Saints'. I like the Vikings' chances against the Saints.

posted by kirkaracha at 03:23 PM on December 01

I don't think Jaws is a bad announcer. I just think his style is completely overwhelmed by Gruden's. Did Madden ever work with a third man in the booth also providing color commentary?

posted by rcade at 03:33 PM on December 01

I rehearse on Mondays so the band room has the game on with the sound turned off. So I never hear the game. I keep hearing that Chucky is good. And then I hear the bit about the Mad-Libs approach and that just seems more accurate in my imagination. I've always liked Jaws' breakdown on ESPN but can see how Gruden's bombast might blow by Ron.

Since my team is mathematically eliminated from this year and next, my wish is for an Indianapolis v New Orleans Big Game. As undefeateds.

posted by THX-1138 at 03:35 PM on December 01

I've thought all along that this is a rebuilding year for NE. Of course, they rebuild in the same way that Florida, Texas, and USC, to name a few, rebuild. That is, they are still competitive, and will win most of the games they should win, but display weaknesses against top competition. Part of the problem is their personnel moves in light of the uncertainty of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFLPA. NE seems to be taking the approach that next year will be uncapped, and also betting on a slotting system will eventually be put in place for draft picks' salaries. Patriots will make the playoffs, will likely win their first round game, but after that, it will take an upset to move on. The next few years will tell the rest of the story.

posted by Howard_T at 03:40 PM on December 01

A Minnesota-New Orleans NFC Championship game could be epic.

Oh yes. I pray for this.

I actually didn't think NO was ultimately that good considering some of their recent tight wins against lousy teams. But last night was fantastic. A really great performance on a big, big stage. Yet, I still don't get that "they're unbeatable"kind of vibe. wanna see them against a really mean defense. Even though I was totally impressed with their receiving corps. New England was a passive team last night. It was strange to watch.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:26 PM on December 01

Incredible goal by Diego Souza of Brazil in Palmeiras' hugely important win over Atletico-MG.

I plagiarized the last part. I have no idea if the win was hugely important.

I also don't know why the announcer keeps saying "goal a--hole" over and over afterward.

posted by rcade at 05:02 PM on December 01

wanna see them against a really mean defense. Even though I was totally impressed with their receiving corps. New England was a passive team last night. It was strange to watch. posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:26 PM on December 01

Who has a really good defense? When it comes to the NO offense, I don't know if there really is one. Makes you wonder. At least makes me wonder.

posted by kerrycindy at 05:16 PM on December 01

I also don't know why the announcer keeps saying "goal a--hole" over and over afterward.

Perhaps wishful thinking? Love is a many splendored thing, you know. That was a good boot, BTW.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:34 PM on December 01

Why was that goaltender out that far? Did Hasek change sports?

posted by MeatSaber at 12:07 AM on December 02

I also don't know why the announcer keeps saying "goal a--hole" over and over afterward.

I believe what you're hearing is Portuguese for "And he didn't have to use his hannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd."

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:15 AM on December 02

More often than not the high-flying, high-scoring teams run into a buzz saw in the playoffs and don't win the Super Bowl. They often end up in a close, physical game, and usually lose. Of the top three highest-scoring teams, the 1998 Vikings and 2000 Rams didn't make it to the Super Bowl, and the 2007 Patriots lost to the Giants. The 1999 Rams won the Super Bowl; their 23-16 win was closer than their 33-15 average during the season. The 2001 Rams got smacked around in the Super Bowl by the up-and-coming Patriots and lost 20-17. The Giants did the same thing to the 2007 Patriots, beating them 17-14.

The Saints are cruising along, crushing their opponents, and are looking to have home field advantage in the NFC Championship. In 1998 the Vikings set the then-all-time record for scoring, were 15-1, and lost the NFC Championship at home to the Falcons.

Also, this is all unexplored territory for the Saints. This is already one of the most, if not the most, successful seasons in their history. If they go into the playoffs undefeated, the pressure will be huge in a close game.

A Vikings-Saints game would ultimately come down to how the Saints' offensive line does against the Vikings' defensive line. In most of their games the Vikings have been able to pressure the quarterback with their four down linemen, so the QBs haven't had time to throw downfield against their mediocre secondary. If the Vikings can pressure Brees by rushing only four, they'll probably win.

Finally, the Gus Frerotte-led Vikings beat the Saints in New Orleans last year. Yes, the Saints are playing much better this year, but then so are the Vikings.

posted by kirkaracha at 01:08 PM on December 02

I agree with your larger point, Kirk, but I wonder if the 2000 Rams are a good comparison. They were 10-6, so they had run into a lot of buzzsaws that season.

As for the 1998 Vikings, who I regard as one of the best teams ever that didn't reach the Super Bowl, they had a ticket to the bowl in hand. All they needed was for Gary Anderson -- who had not missed all season long -- to make a field goal. I'm still wincing about that one, and I'm not even a fan.

posted by rcade at 01:26 PM on December 02

All they needed was for Gary Anderson -- who had not missed all season long -- to make a field goal. I'm still wincing about that one, and I'm not even a fan.

How I do remember that game and I do agree with the wince-inducing miss. Ugh!

posted by BornIcon at 03:41 PM on December 02

Anderson had not missed any extra points or field goals all season long, and he missed a 38-yard field goal. In a dome. At home. That would've given the Vikings a 10-point lead with 2:07 left.

It was only within the last couple of weeks that I've been able to read a recap or watch any footage of the game (the super-sappy The Missing Rings). My recollection had been that Atlanta was an unworthy team (which did get crushed in the Super Bowl), but they were 14-2 during the season. (I'd also forgotten that the Vikings blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and didn't score on two possessions in OT. I'm so glad I looked that up.)

Anyway, back to the Saints. Since their Week 5 bye they've given up 130+ rushing yards to guys who aren't Adrien Peterson three times, and Brees has thrown seven interceptions. They've gotten away with some sloppy play because of the weakness of their schedule. If they do go undefeated, maybe we'll see a repeat of 1998, where the high-flying favorite gets surprised at home by an under-noticed team that's also good, with the Vikings in the spoiler role.

But, we'll see. Every 10-11 years or so the Vikings put together a team that should win the Super Bowl and then manage to fuck it up somehow, from the 1998 debacle to beating the Joe Montana 49ers in San Francisco in the playoffs in 1989, then losing the following week to the Redskins.

Before this season, seven teams have started 11-0 since 1972. Four of them won the Super Bowl, three lost.

posted by kirkaracha at 05:39 PM on December 02

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