ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOOOOTBALL!!!!!!!!

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Daz
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ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOOOOTBALL!!!!!!!!

Postby Daz » Thu Aug 28, 2003 7:58 am

This year, we enter into what will undoubtedly be another roller-coaster ride of a season. The NFL is unparalled by ANY sport on the same level of commercial awareness. With intense competition, passionate and talented players, and a free agency system and salary cap rules that allow a constantly changing balance throughout the entire league, you won't get anything better than this.

Last year the Bucs won the Superbowl, and pretty much decimated every single 'Curse' that plagued them over the course of a single preseason. Led by a defense that continues to dominate, they have 9 starting players returning this year, so expect nothing to change on that side of the ball.

On the flip side, our offense showed GREAT signs of improvement towards the end of the final season, and I have to believe that the continued support of the defense allowed the offense time to grow together and become nearly the seamless unit that it needs to be to put points up this year.

Mike Alstott is one of the best in the sport, and if Pittman stays out of jail - the backfield may finally be a threat for the Bucs, who have relied on the defense to put points on the board until the end of last season.

Even if the running game is only marginally dangerous, however - the recieving corp should strike fear into ANY defense . . with Brad Johnson as one of the most accurate passers in the sport, he has an array of targets to choose from. Keyshawn Johnson, Keenan McCardell, Joe Jurevicious (after last year's postseason I think this number 3 receiver earned a little marker on every coach's map) and . . . Andre Rison? Well, it seems that Mr. Rison will be joining the buc squad this year . . . seriously . . . how many teams in the NFL have 4 deep threats of that caliber? Anyone? This year, expect a LOT of cheering in Tampa Bay, because I predict that we are going to see an explosive Buccaneer team that has never before scared you on both sides of the ball.

Seasonal Breakdown.

Week 1 - Eagles

Hot DAMN! this game is going to be hot! I hate to say it, but I don't even have much doubt about this one, with Hugh Douglas gone, alstott is gonna wear down that weakened line enough for johnson to show the league just what his receivers are going to do this year.

TAMPA wins

Week 2 - Panthers

TAMPA wins

Week 3 - Falcons

Without Vick? No question.

TAMPA wins

Week 4 - Colts

I bet Peyton Manning is a good quarterback, but I bet the experience on the Buc D is going to outmatch his natural talent.

TAMPA wins

Week 5 - Redskins

TAMPA wins

Week 6 - 49ers

After losing the only decent coach available? I doubt the Niners have the cohesion to pose much threat.

TAMPA wins

Week 7 - Cowboys

TAMPA wins

Week 8 - Saints

Because I don't believe tampa is a wholly unstoppable juggernaut, or mostly because I dont wanna jinx a perfect season, I think NO has our number, and may upset us . . . good coaching on their part will cause the upset. However, it will serve as a wake up call and revitalize any tampa players who were just coasting through the season

SAINTS win

Week 9 - Panthers

TAMPA wins

Week 10 - Packers

In Tampa, lucky for us.

TAMPA wins

Week 11 - Giants

This is a good team, with a lot of talent.

GIANTS win

Week 12 - Jaguars

Poor Jacksonville, Hugh was so sad about leaving his cheese steak haven that he put on some weight and his game is suffering. The disappointment on the defense is going to drag the spirits down on his teammates, too. You can't afford doubt against Tampa.

TAMPA wins

Week 13 - Saints

Not again

TAMPA wins

Week 14 - Texans

Who?

TAMPA wins

Week 15 - Falcons

now THIS will be a good game, Vick will have something to prove here, as tampa has trounced his team several times consecutively at this point, and if they expect to rally next year, this would be the game that gives them momentum to look forward. Wont happen though, this isnt a disney flick.

TAMPA wins

Week 16 - Titans

Not a shot

TAMPA wins

So, Tampa enters the Playoffs with a strong 14-2 record, and to be honest, I expect we are gonna march pretty hard and solidly like last year. Lets hope no one gets injured or its gonna skew ALL the numbers.

Anyone got a comment on the AFC? I personally am thinking either Dolphins or the Jets pulling some underdog strings. I don't think the Raiders are going to amount to shit.
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Postby Colje » Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:04 am

um go SOCCER? :P
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Postby Daz » Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:07 am

die
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Postby Kifle » Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:20 am

shouldn't it be, "ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!?!?!"

Anyway, screw you, bears all the way...
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Postby Kifle » Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:22 am

P.S. Hockey >> Football. Most of them don't wear pansy face masks. Heaven forbid a football player get an ouchie.

Look, I called last years Stanley Cup and I'm callin this years superbowl...Da Bears!
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Postby Daz » Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:00 am

This is what happens when a woman enters a sports thread. It is all downhill from here.
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Postby Colje » Thu Aug 28, 2003 9:07 am

what women?

*whistle*
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Postby thanuk » Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:03 pm

First of all, The Jets are going to absolutely suck this year. I predict between 3-13 and 6-10. Vinny Testaverde is not leading our team to victory, regardless of how many yards Curtis Martin puts up this year(which will be around 1500). I really hope i'm wrong, but for some strange reason, I don't really believe in Testaverde anymore. Maybe its cuz he's like 70 years old, maybe its because he's awful, im not sure. Your dead on about the dolphins though, as soon as they get Jay Fiedler out of there, they will be a serious threat. Bryant Griese is the man, fiedler is the only thing holding that team back. He'll be gone soon though, as he is a woman and always gets injured.

But you're obviously blinded by your team loyalty Daz. Your defense is nasty, there's no denying it. But you so grossly overestimate your offensive capability its almost funny.

First of all Pittman sucks. He sucks. That's all there is to it. He's garbage. He has no moves, he has average speed, and he isn't strong. Basically he can't do a god damn thing. Alstott is the best in the league at getting 3 yards, but he isn't gonna march your team down the field. If you're on the goal line, yeah Alstott is the man, but when you're on your own 25, don't count on him.

Brad Johnson is average at best. Keyshawn Johnson is nasty, fine. Andre Rison? Are you serious? That guys older than Testaverde for chrissakes. He will have 0 impact. Keenan McCardel is average at best. Not a threat to anyone except the Jets, as the only guy in the whole NFL who he can burn is Ray Mickens. But I could burn Ray Mickens. Joe Jurevicious has his moments, but everybody knows he has stonehands. That's why the Giants let him go, and that's why he's your 3rd receiver. Brad Johnson can be the most accurate passer in the world, it doesn't change the fact that the ball is gonna bounce right off Jurevicious's brick hands.

14-2? You gotta be shitting me.

Eagles beat Tampa. 0-1.
Panthers suck. 1-1.
Falcons no Vick 2-1.
Manning will surprise you. 2-2.
Washington sucks 3-2.
49ers have no defense 4-2.
Dallas? HAH! 5-2.
Saints you'll split with 5-3.
Panthers? riiiggghttt 6-3.
Green bay beats you. 6-4.
Giants beat you. 6-5.
Jacksonville is average. 7-5.
Saints you'll split with 8-5.
Texas? yeah. 9-5.
Falcons. Vick back. 9-6.
Tennessee. McNair will be hurt by now, and Eddie George will probably be dead from his 180th concussion. 10-6.

10-6 will probably be enough to get you into the playoffs. But 14-2? comeon now, let's be serious.

Of course, then there's Va Va Va Vinny and the Jets....

1. Washington - Chad Morton breaks his leg on the opening kickoff. Laverneus Coles is given a severe concussion. Jets win. 1-0
2. Miami - 1-1.
3. Patriots 1-2.
4. Dallas 2-2.
5. Buffalo 3-2. (we'll split with buffalo)
6. Houston 4-2.
7. Philly 4-3.
8. Giants 4-4.*
9. Oakland 4-5.
10. Colts 4-6.*
11. Jaguars 4-7.*
12. Titans 4-8.*
13. Buffalo 4-9.*
14. Pittsburg 4-10.
15. Patriots again 4-11.
16. Miami again 4-12.*

The *'s are games the Jets might actually win for weird reasons, like Miami's usual late season collapse, or the fact that they get fired up to play the giants. So in theory, they could go 10-6. But they won't. The Jets will have a losing record this year, .500 is a pipe dream. I can't belive chad pennington broke his wrist. Ruined my entire fall/winter.
Mysrel tells you 'have my babies'
You tell Mysrel 'u want me to be ur baby daddy?'
Mysrel tells you 'daddy? No, I think you have the terminology wrong'
You tell Mysrel 'comeon now we both know i would be the top'
Mysrel tells you 'can be where ever you want to be, yer still getting ****** like a drunken cheerleader'
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Postby Daz » Thu Aug 28, 2003 4:09 pm

the reason why i think the jets will do upset shit is because vinny is a former buc.

tampa goes 14-2 or at worst 13-3

if i had anything of value on the game i'd lay down a wager :D
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Postby Ensis » Thu Aug 28, 2003 7:32 pm

Daz wrote:the reason why i think the jets will do upset shit is because vinny is a former buc.


In the 50's.
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Postby Gormal » Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:37 pm

The best part about living in England is the close proximity to real football... you know, that sport that the rest of the world knows is better then the crappy American version. Soccer > American football
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Postby thanuk » Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:38 pm

Gormal wrote:The best part about living in England is the close proximity to real football... you know, that sport that the rest of the world knows is better then the crappy American version. Soccer > American football



So its true what they say about guys in the navy then...
Mysrel tells you 'have my babies'

You tell Mysrel 'u want me to be ur baby daddy?'

Mysrel tells you 'daddy? No, I think you have the terminology wrong'

You tell Mysrel 'comeon now we both know i would be the top'

Mysrel tells you 'can be where ever you want to be, yer still getting ****** like a drunken cheerleader'
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Postby Gormal » Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:43 pm

Yes we do love to drink, yes we are better then those other 3 lame services, yes I look damn sexy in bellbottoms.

None of which changes the fact that not only do the Jets suck, the sport does as well.
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Postby Kifle » Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:47 pm

They are good at swabbing poop decks.
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Postby Salen » Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:50 pm

You know why Marines are put on Navy ships?


Sheep would be pretty obvious, don'tcha think?
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Postby Gormal » Thu Aug 28, 2003 8:54 pm

Aside from the fact that Marines are in the Department of the Navy?
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Postby Ensis » Sat Aug 30, 2003 8:31 am

Gormal wrote:Yes we do love to drink, yes we are better then those other 3 lame services, yes I look damn sexy in bellbottoms.

None of which changes the fact that not only do the Jets suck, the sport does as well.


A: There are only two other services, the Marines belong to you clowns.
B: Better as in easier, further from danger, and all around less work? yes.
C: Navy uniforms attract women the way Gay men attract women. Sorry if thats redundant :)

BTW I think you need to mention that you are stationed in England a few more times, you've only mentioned it like a thousand times =)

I don't think anyone would be saddened if you stayed there :), enjoy cricket and watching the brits lose at football.
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Postby Daz » Sat Aug 30, 2003 8:37 am

SOCCER

NOT

FOOTBALL
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Postby Gormal » Sat Aug 30, 2003 4:39 pm

Sorry I didn't reply in a manner that Ensis would udnerstand....


Hooah.
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Postby Daz » Sun Aug 31, 2003 4:16 pm

Fearless forecast
Here's the reasoning behind my 2003 playoff picks
Posted: Thursday August 28, 2003 6:30PM; Updated: Friday August 29, 2003 10:08AM





Reading the NFL news in March and April is like reading the financial pages. You're buried under a mass of seven- and eight-figure contract numbers. It's depressing to a true football fan, but it's not as bad as now, when you feel like you're looking at a never-ending hospital report. Chad Pennington -- 12 weeks; Michael Vick -- maybe six weeks, maybe eight; Tony Gonzalez -- out for an unspecified time; Chad Eaton -- out for the season (and that's a bigger loss than it seems); Kyle Vanden Bosch, Duane Starks -- gone for the year from a Cardinals roster that was plenty thin to begin with. Terrible reading.

Vegas keeps shifting its odds on who's going to win the Super Bowl every five minutes, as the casualty reports keep filtering in. But I change nothing because last weekend I handicapped the 2003 season, based on a gigantic game-by-game chart, but even now, one week later some of that is obsolete. My predictions appear, without explanation, in Sports Illustrated's NFL Preview Issue. I will now offer something in the way of explanation and flesh it out. Flash it out. Trash it out.



A word of caution for those of you who are contemplating a serious investment, based on what you are about to read. In 1986 I predicted every division, including wild cards, correctly, and had the Giants beating Denver in the Super Bowl, which happened. People from as far away as Jersey City were writing to me to tell me how I had won them a yacht, a trip to the Bahamas, a new dining room set, you name it. I could have run for governor. In the 16 seasons since then, I haven't come close to that achievement, and some of the picks were real howlers, but I won't go into that now.

The trick is to strike a balance. So in the name of the balanced strike, I offer my predictions for 2003.

AFC
East

Bills, 10-6: I wasn't that sold on them until I visited their camp. Then I got a lively swashbuckling feeling that they really think they have something special going. I'm not wild about their D-line, but I think the linebacking set, with new additions Takeo Spikes and Jeff Posey, will be so good that it'll cover for the deficiency. I see them jumping off to a fast start, winning four of their first five games. It could be even better than that because they face the Jets on the road in Game No. 6, and with Pennington out, the Bills could take that one. Washington the following week figures as a letdown, but it's in Buffalo, so the Bills could be 6-1 after the contest, with the rest of the division chasing them.

Patriots, 10-6 *: I'd be happier about the Patriots if they didn't settle on 35-year-old Ted Washington at nose tackle. He may not last the season. But overall, I think their defense has improved enough to give them a playoff-caliber record. The offense could use a running game, but a lot of NFL teams can't run the ball. I gave them a split against each division team, with the road game against the Jets iffy now because we don't know how much Vince Testaverde has left. I didn't see them suffering any major upsets, but I gave them a couple of minor ones -- Washington on the road and Tennessee at home, a game in which the Patriots might be favored, so it won't be an upset at all. You want to have some fun? Try setting the line right now on all 256 regular-season games and see how close you come. I tried it the other day. Got about 10 games done and then I said, "What, am I nuts or something?"

Dolphins, 9-7: This third-place prediction surprised me, too, because the Dolphins don't have a real weakness. I could be very wrong here, but I haven't yet figured out why their defense is so much better at home than it is on the road. So I had them getting upset in Jacksonville and San Diego. My predicted loss to the Jets in New Jersey in Game No. 2, could be all wrong, though. Then Miami would be 10-6 and the second and final wild-card entry, edging out the Raiders.

Jets, 7-9: This was predicted before Pennington went down. I didn't like the receiving corps. I didn't think the defense had improved as much as everyone hoped it would. Now any record is possible, including a better one, if Testaverde becomes the inspirational comeback story of 2003 and the Jets rally 'round him. I refuse to give that scenario the sneer treatment, the curled lip and raised eyebrow, because those are the judgments that, if proved wrong, people never let you forget.

NORTH

Steelers, 10-6: Very solidly coached, year after year. Bill Cowher and his staff do not get the credit they deserve, because the personnel department does not work any miracles. I tried to make them occasional upset victims, i.e., Chiefs and Bengals on the road (not so sure they'll be favored at K.C.), just to keep their record within reason, but I have them sweeping Baltimore (the Steelers have won their last four against the Ravens), and knocking off such toughies as St. Louis and Oakland at home.

Browns, 7-9: They were 9-7 and playoff bound last year. This season, they'll play the better QB, Kelly Holcomb, right away. So what's my beef with Cleveland? Not really sure. Offensive line, defensive line, schedule's a little tougher. Just a feeling. Please do not send irate e-mails hollering, "Waddya mean, a feeling? What kind of reason is that?" If you've ever tried to handicap something like this, you'll realize that hunches play a big part. I've run into trouble in the past when I let better sense talk me out of those "feel" games.

Ravens, 7-9: I'm sorry, I just won't take them all that seriously until they have a functional quarterback. Maybe Kyle Boller will be the man some day, but not right now.

Bengals, 5-11: No miracles yet from Carson Palmer. Wait a year, maybe two. But still, 5-11 is a whole lot better than last year's 2-14.

SOUTH

Titans, 10-6: I thought very seriously about making the Titans my AFC Super Bowl entry. They had two major areas of concern last year -- pass defense, notably the nickel and dime packages, and quality wideouts behind Derrick Mason. The nickel situation took a hit when No.1 draft Andre Woolfolk dislocated his big toe in the first exhibition game (he should be back for the regular-season opener, but it's a bad injury for a cornerback), and they feel that the wideouts -- "good guys you never heard of," Jeff Fisher says -- are just fine. The Titans still don't know who their MLB will be. A Super Bowl? Ah, I just can't pick 'em. Division champ, OK, but not for the big ride.

Colts, 9-7: They're right on the playoff bubble. If someone else falters, the Colts are in. What will cost them? Two losses to the Titans, which doesn't really make sense, since I said Tennessee's nickel defense is a problem, and all the Titans will see in those games will be three and four wideout packages, right? But I just think that Tennessee is a tougher team. The Titans have beaten the Colts three straight, including twice in Indy.

Jaguars, 6-10: Poor Jack Del Rio seems snakebitten in his first season as coach. First, all those guys go down in camp from heat prostration, then his top wideout, Jimmy Smith, gets a four-game substance-abuse suspension. I think Del Rio will be a good coach, and he'll get the Jaguars back in the hunt, but not this year.

Texans, 4-12: Yep, they're inching along on tiny feet, and I like their defense OK, but an O-line that set a record for sacks allowed last year doesn't really look all that better now. I have them beating the Jaguars, Jets, Panthers and Colts, all at home, and that's it. OK, maybe they could upend K.C. at home, but I have big things in store for the Chiefs and I don't want to ruin it.

WEST

Chiefs, 10-6: Speak of the devil. If the defense improves, they're a playoff team. If the defense improves a lot, then they will go to the Super Bowl. Do I like their new DE, Vonnie Holliday? Yes, a lot. How about their new weakside backer, Shawn Barber? Uh, kind of. At least he offers speed. Do I think Ryan Sims, who was injured last year, can come back and be the force that everyone said ... blah, blah, blah. Yeah, OK, right. Stop asking me all these questions. One more. Is Dexter McCleon really the answer to the speed problem in the secondary? How should I know? That's why they play the season. Maybe those guys will run faster this year. I like the Chiefs, see. I like them to go all the way. Priest Holmes has to stay healthy. Lots of teams have guys who have to stay healthy. Where would the Raiders be without Rich Gannon, for instance? Or the Jets without Pennington?

Raiders, 9-7 *: This time last year I said, "Just watch, the age thing will get them and they'll fold." So they didn't fold. "Just watch," I said, "the age thing will get them and they'll fold down the stretch." So they didn't fold down the stretch. And they went to the Super Bowl. So I picked them to win it. Did I know that Lincoln Kennedy wouldn't be able to block Greg Spires? So where am I now? The age thing has to catch up to them sometime, but I won't be roped into predicting it again just yet. I'll play it smart, like all the other writers do, and predict it after it happens. Health will determine their fate. If they stay healthy, they could wind up in the Super Bowl again, but I'd hate to pick two repeaters (see that, I've just revealed the secret of whom my NFC team will be).

Broncos, 9-7: Larry Coyer, who coached a set of linebackers who played just great last year, now takes over a defense that started off fine for Ray Rhodes but then tailed off. Coyer could be just the man to pull things together, and if that happens then the remaining "if" belongs to their new QB. I loved Jake Plummer as a rookie in Arizona. Then bad stuff started happening. I think he got overcoached. He also picked up some bad habits that'll be tough to break. But Mike Shanahan knows the position, even though things didn't work out so well with Brian Griese. I'd say this is a very happy marriage if not for one thing: The fans were very rough on the Snake in Monday's exhibition game. After a while they were booing him for every screw-up. And yet his final rating for the game -- not that one contest means an awful lot -- was 93.9. I hope they don't turn him into a psychological basket case.

Chargers, 8-8: I've heard some people pick them as their sleeper team to go all the way. Well, OK, it was my cousin's nephew who picked them, and he's only 8. But still, this is a team that catches everyone's fancy. They can sure run the ball. Ex-Cardinal David Boston is a Pro Bowl-caliber wideout. Their high drafts have gone for the secondary the last two year, and the defense in general should be better. Sure, they could find the playoffs, why not? And that would make the AFC West one of the premier divisions in football, right?

NFC
EAST

Eagles, 11-5: Personnelwise, I see holes. Other teams can match up well against Philly. But I like the coaching. Andy Reid runs a good ship. Defensive coach Jim Johnson's terrific. The Eagles know how to win. The East will be a good two-team race between the Eagles and Giants, who also know how to win -- now. (So watch, the 'Skins or Cowboys will sneak in, and all I'll hear for a month is, "Aren't you the guy who said it would be a two-team race?")

Giants, 10-6 *: Let's hear it for line coach Jim McNally, who molded all those great Anthony Munoz-Max Montoya units in Cincinnati. His Giants lines keep losing people, but he keeps putting them back together again. How about now? How about his young RT, Ian Allen, for instance, who has looked like a stiff in the exhibition games? Nah, McNally says. He'll be fine. When the O-line came together at the end of last season, the Giants had one of the NFL's most devastating attacks. But the D-line came up with a case of the shorts against San Francisco in the playoffs and the ship went down with all hands aboard. So the offseason was dedicated to a defensive-line overload, although, personally, I'd be happier if they hadn't brought in so many skinny pass-rushers and just gave DE Frank Ferrara, a very formidable run-stopper, a more serious look.

Cowboys, 5-11: It doesn't get any more interesting than this. Bill Parcells is arguably the best coach in football. He comes out of the TV studio and takes over a demoralized team with no clearly defined QB. The Cowboys will improve, if not in the record then in the outlook. I probably should give them another couple of victories, but it's tough to do when they don't have a real quarterback. Next year, when Parcells either figures out a way to coach Quincy Carter or Chad Hutchinson up to serious status, or more likely, brings in a guy with real credentials, then they'll be at playoff level. But not yet.

Redskins, 5-11: How could I let this happen, after I've already expressed in print that I liked their offseason moves? Well, I have them losing all their road games. Last year they were 2-6 away from home. It isn't that I think Steve Spurrier's a screw-up. He says he's learned from his 2002 mistakes. It isn't, as I've been accused, that I have a rooting interest against the 'Skins because of the owner. I got over that a long time ago. It's just that I don't see a sense of purpose with this organization. It has a hole in it. Difficult to fully explain. I'll develop the thesis to a greater extent when they start off 2-6. If they start off 6-2, why then I'll have an equally acceptable thesis for the rebuttal.

NORTH

Packers, 10-6: Let's face it, the division's a steal. Except that the Pack took a big hit when RG Marco Rivera, one of the league's finest interior linemen, went down with a torn medial collateral ligament last week. Depending on when he's back, and how he handles playing in pain (which he did most of last year) this could be one of the league's finest offensive lines. And from that freshet, all good things flow. The defense has to do a better job of stopping the run, which is why the mammoth Gilbert Brown, torn biceps and all, is back in the lineup. The early schedule is kind. I have the Pack winning its first six, four homies and two on the road against the Cards and Bears. Then it's "catch us if you can."

Vikings, 6-10: I don't see disaster here, unless a secondary that was full of holes last season fails to improve, but just look at the schedule. In the first five games I have them losing at Green Bay, beating the Bears at home, then losing to Detroit on the road, San Francisco at home and Atlanta away. So they're sitting at 1-4 and fingers are being pointed and everyone's yapping about Mike Tice's job. So they beat Denver at home. But the following week they're caught looking ahead to Green Bay and the Giants nail them. Now they're 2-5, and the season plays out, and that's how I came up with 6-10. It's tough. I just don't see the Vikes being that much better.

Bears, 6-10: Kordell Stewart is the new QB. Weeb Ewbank used to have an expression for this situation. It's called "inheriting other people's problems." Other than that I don't see a hell of a lot of difference in what was one of the NFL's great failures in 2002. So why the better record? Slightly easier schedule.

Lions, 5-11: Well, it's better than last year's 3-13, which was better than 2001's 2-14. Keep improving by a game or two every year and by 2006 or so Detroit will have a playoff team. Coachmooch has a nice young QB to work with, and the draft's best wideout, and ... and ... check back with me later.

SOUTH

Buccaneers, 12-4: I hate to pick Super Bowl repeaters. Boy, do I hate it. I mean, it's just so gutless. But I can't help it here. Defensive tackle Anthony McFarland's return from injury will make a dominating D-line even better. He's a terrific player. Joe Jurevicius, the third wideout, was on the verge of a breakout season last year. Now he could have one. The O-line wasn't very good in 2002, but who noticed? Now it's upgraded in two spots, assuming ex-Giants guard Jason Whittle recovers from his broken leg, as predicted. I've always gotten in big trouble when I went for a Super Bowl repeat, but I just can't help it. St. Louis would be my challenger.

Falcons, 9-7: I had them at 10-6 and a wild-card team. That was pre-Vick. Now it's Doug Johnson's club for a month or so. What's Johnson's resume? Three starts. Beat the Giants last year, throwing short passes, which the receivers kept breaking for longer gains against a stumbling New York defense. Also scooted 15 yards for a TD. Started twice in 2000. The Falcons got murdered in both contests -- by the Seahawks and Saints. There is enough spirit and verve on this team to hold the fort until Vick returns, and then it could kick it into overdrive and make the postseason.

Saints, 8-8: Well, they know how to beat the Bucs. And lose to the Falcons. Both of which they did twice last year. I don't like the Saints much better than I did last season, and when I got through marking in all my little Ws and Ls, I found that I'd given them an 8-0 mark at home, and 0-8 on the road. This, of course, won't happen, but I'll bet that their final record won't be much different from what I've predicted.

Panthers, 7-9: They have a terrific defense, but it's not enough. They spent a lot of money to bring in Jake Delhomme, hopefully to unseat 37-year-old Rodney Peete, but it hasn't happened. Peete's the QB. That ain't progress.

WEST

Rams, 11-5: I'm played out on the Rams because of all the stuff I've written about the Bulger-Warner situation. Warner's the QB, and there's enough around him to cover any failings he might experience, such as the early season miseries that plagued him last year. If they give him enough protection, he'll come through the season OK. Kyle Turley at RT was a huge pickup for them. Dave Wohlabaugh at center helps, assuming his broken hand is healed. Their defense doesn't thrill me, but it should be all right. I still think Bulger should be their starting QB. We might have to wait until the playoffs to see this situation resolve itself.

49ers, 9-7 *: I had to make a late adjustment after Vick went down. Jeff Garcia and the offense will help cover up a defense that I don't much like. I also don't like the way their secondary took a step backward last year. Mike Rumph as a starting corner is an invitation to disaster. They're gonna give up a lot of yards.

Seahawks, 8-8: They lost exactly the kind of player they can't afford to lose -- Chad Eaton, a 325-pound run-stopper and block absorber. Everybody ran on Seattle last year. The seahawks have been burning out middle linebackers like crazy, with no one else up front giving Eaton any help keeping them clean. Maybe new defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes will figure out a way to shore up the middle. Maybe the new MLB, ex-Titan Randall Godfrey, will be the answer. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Right now I'm penciling in their left guard, Steve Hutchinson, as one of my all-pros, and it'll be up to him to stay on the team or to play his way off it. He was simply sensational last season, until he got hurt.

Cardinals, 4-12: What will save Dave McGinnis' job? Tell me, please, because I'd like to get to work on it right away. He's a nice guy and a good coach who's been short-handed ever since he took over the reins of this godforsaken franchise. His quarterback, Jake the Snake, and his all-pro wideout, David Boston, are gone. His best pass rusher, Kyle Vanden Bosch, and the team's only serious venture into free agency in the last two years, cornerback Duane Starks, are out for the year. Billy Bidwill probably will fire McGinnis to save face. He ought to fire himself.

* = Wild-card team

POSTSEASON
Wild-card playoffs:

AFC -- Kansas City beats Oakland in a shootout at Arrowhead. New England, keyed by an active and aggressive defense, springs an upset, going up to Buffalo and upending the Bills.

NFC -- Bulger comes in early for Warner and throws for 350 yards as the Rams beat the Niners in St. Louis. The Giants' defense rises up and gives Brett Favre a terrible time in Green Bay, as New York records the weekend's second upset.

Division Playoffs:

AFC -- Pittsburgh overwhelms the Patriots' offensive line and New England falls. Kansas City surprises Tennessee with a defense that keeps Eddie George and Steve McNair in check, and the Cinderella Chiefs are headed for the Championship.

NFC -- The Bucs beat New York in a low-scoring, ugly game decided by turnovers. Warner starts for he Rams in Philadelphia. The Eagles' blitz package is too much for him and his blockers. Philly wins it.

Championship games:

AFC -- The Chiefs invade Pittsburgh, where they haven't won in 17 years, and under a steady shower of snowflakes, spring one of the great upsets in their history.

NFC -- The Bucs beat Philly in a repeat of last year's title game.

SUPER BOWL XXVIII -- The ball is over for Cinderella. Tampa Bay 27, Kansas City 20. A late turnover sinks the Chiefs' final comeback attempt.

Sports Illustrated senior writer Paul Zimmerman covers the NFL for the magazine and SI.com. His "Inside Football" column and Mailbag appear weekly on SI.com.
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Postby amolol » Sun Aug 31, 2003 10:23 pm

i would hafto agree with the fact that tampa is prolly gonna rock some major sh*t this year but it will be interesting to see the other teams throw themselves at tampa (kinda like mori leading a tia fight).
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Postby Daz » Sun Aug 31, 2003 11:14 pm

Teams that I think about as being an obstacle before Tampa's eventual return to the SuperBowl

Philadelphia.

That's all. Any other team who may knock tampa out of the playoffs will be defeated by other teams that don't have tampa's weaknesses, leaving tampa with only one real opponent this year. the eagles.

however, with hugh douglas gone (has duce staley agreed to play yet?) their defense is crippled. everyone knows that if you kick a man on crutches in the knees, you can get a phat wallet pretty easy.

tampa's games, with a few noted exceptions, are going to be pure exhibitionism and a lesson in how a defense can dominate an entire league. tampa bay will MARCH through the playoffs, and the only real bets that you are going to see will be how many points the best defense in football will score.
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Postby Tasan » Mon Sep 01, 2003 9:56 am

Vikings losing to the 49er's... that's just laughable... and Detroit worse than the Bears? Dude... you better pass the stuff yer smokin'.

Get real.

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Postby thanuk » Mon Sep 01, 2003 4:13 pm

The Giants are going to beat tampa this year and possibly go to the superbowl. Forget the eagles, the g-men is who you need to worry about.
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Postby Kifle » Mon Sep 01, 2003 11:53 pm

Dude, the lions will always be worse than the bears...always. kordell will show you guys some stuff this year. Think of him as a rich gannon that wont choke when it comes time to pull his sh*t together. Rich Gannon was one of the crappier QB's for his long ass career until he got some people who could catch. Granted he wasn't that crappy, but he was crappy none the less. So, he went from a second string/crap starter to MVP. Yeah, i don't think he deserved it either, but oh well. Reguardless, watch stewart this year. Then watch as I gloat when my bears get their first rings in 20 years.
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Postby Daz » Tue Sep 09, 2003 10:58 pm

tampa bay, 1-0

nuff said
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Postby Daz » Wed Sep 10, 2003 6:39 pm

Thanuk called it - the only real competition in the NFC this year for Tampa will be the Giants. Their defense looks stifling, and its going to be a hell of a matchup. If you like a defensive game, this one is gonna have some highlights.

Warner is out with injuries, and the Eagles got shredded - so I no longer consider the eagles or rams as serious contenders. The bucs are gonna win it all, but the giants are gonna make it interesting for sure.
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Re: ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOOOOTBALL!!!!!!!!

Postby thanuk » Mon Sep 15, 2003 12:53 am

Daz wrote:Week 2 - Panthers

TAMPA wins




Cough.
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