September 13, 2013

SportsFilter: The Friday 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 - 16 comments

I greatly approve of how the America's Cup races have been going, with NZ thus far handing it to Ellison's crew. And with Ellison himself nowhere in sight to view the unfolding regatta of doom.

Best of 17 format at first seemed excessive, but now seems fine if it means that an extended sense of despair so exhausts Ellison that he goes away and finds some other activity to get involved with. I'd help fund a wingsuit for him if he were interested.

posted by beaverboard at 10:24 AM on September 13

Tom Brady did a great Roger Murtaugh impression during last night's Pats/Jets game.

posted by rcade at 10:33 AM on September 13

Brady found Fido, but he's the only one who can see him.

posted by beaverboard at 11:01 AM on September 13

When did NFL fans attending a game decide collectively that we can diagnose whether an injury is real or not? On the last injury delay last night the Jets player wasn't in a circumstance where an injury stoppage had any benefit to the team.

posted by rcade at 12:01 PM on September 13

"[I]t is my money, and I could be spending it on heroin or something. This is a much better habit." - The Last Loyal Astros Fan

posted by yerfatma at 12:19 PM on September 13

After two games, I really think the Pats need to bring a vet into the fold (apparently Lloyd turned them down) - these rookies are doing what 2nd round/undrafted rookies are supposed to, but outside of Edelman right now there are no veterans out there to provide a steady hand during key times of the game.

It's fine to dink and dunk around the field against the Bills and Jets and their rookie QBs, but the offence that showed up last night (no run game, no playmakers, tons of poorly ran plays) is not going to cut it against most of the teams in the NFL.

posted by dfleming at 12:23 PM on September 13

It will be interesting to see how things go when Gronk is back. That will stretch the field vertically, hopefully opening up underneath for Amendola (assuming he's healthy). They're going to have to commit to the run as well; Gronk should help with that. If he comes back and stays healthy, they should be ok as the kids learn their positions (and start catching passes instead of staring them into the ground).

posted by yerfatma at 12:50 PM on September 13

Yeah, the Pats are terribly lucky to have faced cupcakes in the first two weeks of the season to help work through some of those growing pains. You'd have to think that a team with a competent defense would have made them pay in week 1, and a team with even a normal-to-subpar offense would have throttled them last night. That being said, I've seen the Pats on the ropes looking pretty weak before (much to my delight) only to watch them make adjustments and look like a championship caliber team late in the year (much to my chagrin).

posted by tahoemoj at 01:48 PM on September 13

Pats last night reminded me of the time I agreed to help out my buddy by double-dating with him, his girl friend and his girl's best friend. You are right; best friend turned out to be something out of Dracula's daughter meets the zombies. Being young and naive, I still appreciated the "win" when I scored. In other words, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Hold your nose, close your eyes, swallow the medicine, and feel better later. Patriots now have a long week to prepare for TB, not exactly the most fearsome team in the NFC South. Gronk may still be out, Amendola is gone for 2 to 6 weeks, and the young receivers, while having some real talent, are showing no sign of grasping the offense. Perhaps i'ts time for Belichick to tell Brady to chill, dumb down the offense, and try to get through it until the team comes together.

Pats fans have become spoiled by a number of "rebuilding" years turning into "reloading" years. It looks like the gang at Foxborough has finally to clean the weapons and keep the powder dry until the guns are ready to fire.

posted by Howard_T at 02:56 PM on September 13

That's the same Tampa Bay team that the Jets beat, correct? Forget worrying about the receiving corps; folks in Foxboro ought to be concerned about Brady's waistline and triglycerides after being handed all those cupcakes. Have I referred to NE's schedule as "cupcakes" yet? I just like saying cupcakes. Cupcakes are yummy.

Seriously, looking through their schedule, with the exception of the Falcons-Bengals-Saints stretch coming up, and a Broncos-Texans back to back later, this team has a cakewalk (a CUPcake walk) into the playoffs. If they can beat 2 of the 5 legitimate teams they play this year, they should win 13 easily.

posted by tahoemoj at 05:18 PM on September 13

The Patriots schedule is ranked as 14th most difficult this season. Denver's schedule is ranked as the easiest in the NFL, meaning Peyton's giant forehead should be chisled on Mt. Rushmore by the end of the regular season (before his usual playoff collapse).

posted by dyams at 05:59 PM on September 13

Tahoemoj, I'm not sure what schedule you're looking at - Miami is improved and a better team than either of the Bills and the Jets. They're on the road against a much improved Panthers D, a Baltimore team that won't be as bad as week 1, and they're visiting the aforementioned Texans, Falcons and Bengals. They host much more potent New Orleans and Denver teams at home, before Vereen and possibly Amendola are back and Gronk is fully up to speed. They aren't built right now to horse race with other teams. That said, neither was the 2001 team.

Like dyams said, it's more or less a middle-of-the-road schedule. They're also not the only team who will adjust and improve. Looking at the way they dealt with two of the softest games they'll have all season, I think it's a stretch to think they easily win 13 games, despite the fact their defence looks a lot better.

posted by dfleming at 09:54 AM on September 14


Just trollin' ya. I understand that Miami is improved, but I would still consider them a bottom-tier team. They could certainly prove me wrong, as evidenced by my weekly performance in the pick 'em. My larger point, before I digressed into my cupcake rant, was that the Pats were extremely lucky to start their season against two really, really bad teams. Instead of 2-0 with two close victories, they could have been 0-2 with a real uphill battle ahead of them. They were given the opportunity to make adjustments before they played anything like a good team.

Now, if you're going to try to prove your point by looking at the Panthers, I think you're stretching. But the season will play out, and we'll see.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:43 AM on September 14

I am so much more comfortable when the Pats don't have a ton of stud skill players on offense and find ways to win games by Belichick-approved 1-3 point margins.

I was uneasy the entire 2007 season. It just never felt right winning games by running up huge scores.

I wonder if Antowain Smith still has some gas left in the tank.

posted by beaverboard at 01:50 PM on September 14

Now, if you're going to try to prove your point by looking at the Panthers, I think you're stretching.

The Panthers were a DeAngelo Williams 4th quarter red zone fumble away from putting the Seahawks on the ropes last week. They still don't know how to close out games, but they were 5-1 in their last 6 last year and are not going to be pushed over by many teams this year.

posted by dfleming at 05:02 PM on September 14

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