Sunday, February 6, 2011

Here We Go

Let’s be straight up. I think we all knew how this was gonna go down once the Pats bent over for the Jets. Two weeks of blog silence compounded with the refusal to make selections or give insight to the conference championship games (I would however like the record to show that I did pick both championship game winners correctly making my playoff record 8-2; the evidence can be seen on Talbot Talk Sports). I’ll spare myself the pain of game analysis; I’ve done that enough over the last couple weeks. Just going to take the same approach I took after the Super Bowl That Never Happened/Shall Never Be Mentioned and move on. If there is one thing I would like to share, it’s this: if Brady released the flow and didn’t dress up as a human condom, we would be talking about a Super Bowl XXXI rematch right now.

To get to the point, here’s why I like the Packers: Aaron Rodgers (I think that answer was about as predictable as the end of Miracle). He’s playing on a level of his own right now, sniping receivers all over the field, squeezing the ball through tiny windows no bigger than the size of the football. Now here’s where I’m gonna get a tad bit crazy: I think this will be the game where Rodgers establishes himself as one of the all-time greats. Oh yeah, I should’ve mentioned before, I think Rodgers is going to be one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Like, by the time all is said and done for him, top 10 ever. He has all the tools you could ever want in a QB: a rocket/laser arm, precision accuracy, mobility inside and outside the pocket, and an ability to perform on the big stage. This is when he’s really going to the next step on that last attribute.

Why will this be the game when he does it? Because Rodgers matches up well against the Steelers’ defense. The Steelers play a zone-blitz scheme, which works right into his game as Rodgers is one of the best QB’s against the blitz. He is great at identifying the blitz and hitting the hot receiver, and he has the vision to find the holes and pick apart a zone. In last season’s meeting with the Steelers, Rodgers threw for 383 yards, 3 TD and no interceptions with a 101.3 rating.

The Packers also have a Super Bowl caliber defense that can match that of the Steelers. The Pouncey injury is huge for Pittsburgh, especially when you consider that BJ Raji has eaten roughly four offensive linemen this year. I mean literally ingested them. The Packers’ D has the speed to contain Roethlisberger, but the key will to not let Mendenhall run through them. They also certainly don’t have the experience the Steelers do. There’s something to be said for two Super Bowls worth of experience, but I don’t invest too much into that. These players are all professionals of highest caliber and aren’t going to poo their pants because of the stage they are on.

Here’s one reason why I’m scared: the Packers have won all three of their playoff games this year in the white uniforms and now they’ll be forced to go with the green. On the flipside, the Steelers have only worn black, but they did beat Arizona two years ago in the white uni’s. One stat on my side: the Packers are 3-0 in the playoffs this year in games televised on FOX, while the Steelers have yet to win on that network. Another slightly-more-relevant fact: in his two career playoff games played in a dome, Rodgers has led the Packers to 48 and 45 points, respectively. The Steeler’s can counter with Brett Keisel’s beard. This is all stuff you don’t mess with when it comes to the NFL playoffs, especially the Super Bowl.

Prediction: Packers 31, Steelers 27

I fully expect this to be a fantastic Super Bowl, you know, aside from the fact that we all have to listen to Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for 3+ hours. I may recommend putting the TV on mute and queuing up some Gus Johnson highlights, then using your imagination to apply them to the game.

*images courtesy of Google images

Friday, January 14, 2011

No Regrets

If you expect me to apologize, I’m not going to. If you expect me to take back what I said, you’re wasting your time. If you think my opinion has changed at all, you’re more delirious than Ricky Bobby after his crash. There was no reason for anyone to believe that the Seahawks would play as well as they did against New Orleans, and if you still say that you thought Seattle was going to win the game then you are lying to yourself. You simply got lucky that they performed out of their minds because they gave no indication that they were capable of doing anything more than lose by two scores at best. Nothing they did all season suggested that they had any chance to pull this game out. Granted it is the NFL, and (especially after Any Given Sunday being on TV last week) I should’ve known that anything is possible (KG, respect), but come on.

Take a look at Hasselbeck’s stats from the regular season. He played in 13 games for the Seahawks (14, but two of those games were three quarters against Atlanta, and one quarter against Tampa, so 13 games in total). Here they are:

59.9 CPT, 3001 yards, 12 TD, 17 INT, 73.2 QB rating

He threw for 300 yards or more only twice, never threw for more than 2 TD’s in a game (only threw two TD three times), and only finished with a QB rating over 100 three times (only had a rating over 80 one other time, all other games had a sub-80 rating). One thing I didn’t factor in, arguably his best game (32/44, 366 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 104.9 rating) came at New Orleans. But still. Matt Hasselbeck randomly started playing like the Seahawks Super Bowl year without any warning (22/35, 272, 4, 1, 113.0). If you picked Seattle to win, you are an idiot that got lucky (I’m looking at you, Ubacca). I stand by that, no apologies. With all that said, I will no longer refer to them as the Stinkhawks.

Also, the Saints 6-2 road record during the season was very deceiving. They were lucky to beat Dallas and San Francisco, while barely escaping Cincinnati and losing to Arizona (combined record: 21-43). They routinely played down to their competition.

One more observation: Roman Harper has supplanted Brandon Meriweather for the honorary Safety-Who-Takes-The-Worst-Angle-At-Plays Award.

Another thought: can someone please explain to me Jim Caldwell’s thinking when he called that timeout with :29 left? No reasonable explanation can be given. He gave the Jets an extra TO and you can argue allowed them to make the Braylon Edwards play and make it a chip shot for Nick Folk instead of a 40-something yarder. My friend Bob and I share the common belief that Caldwell is a robot, and we joked that the person controlling him hit the wrong button. If you think you have a better explanation I’m all ears, but for now I’m sticking with that.


What we learned about Baltimore: Didn’t learn much new about the Ravens. They did manage to make Matt Cassell look like a Ryan Leaf reincarnate, which was impressive, but I thought all season that Cassell’s success was a byproduct of the system he was in and the responsibility he was given to simply manage games. Once they got up on the Chiefs and forced Cassell to bring KC back, it was more painful to watch than a Shaq instructional free throw video. They aren’t going to be able to do the same to Roethlisberger who can move and make plays out of the pocket with his arm and legs. Regardless, with Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and others, the defense is as tough, experienced, and stingy as any other, and it’s going to be a grind against Pitt.

What we know about Pittsburgh: Their O-line is about as sturdy as the construct that Marv built to get out of the basement in Home Alone 2. Roethlisberger is going to have to run around and make plays out of the pocket, but that’s nothing he’s not used to. While their offense will struggle, expect Troy Polamalu and the defense to make the Raven’s offense do the same. You simply can’t run the ball against them. Can’t do it. They only allowed 62.8 yards per game rushing this season. And I still don’t completely trust Flacco to go out and win games with all the pressure on his shoulders. Despite his 4-2 playoff record (all on the road), I don’t think he can do it, especially with his receivers against the Pittsburgh D.

X-Factor: Mike Wallace- Wallace is going to need to be the playmaker for Steeler’s offense and help Roethlisberger out by stretching the field and winning 50/50 balls over Ed Reed and that secondary. If he can make some big plays then Pitt will prevail.

Chances Mike Tomlin throws on some pads and jumps into the game himself: 63% (I’ve always wanted to see him do this, you can see him itching to almost every game).

Prediction: Steelers 16, Ravens 13


What we learned about Green Bay: This team is fun to watch but simultaneously just as frustrating. It’s hard to argue the fact that they are playing their best (with wins over the Giants, Bears, Eagles in the last three weeks), but at the same time they never seem to get their best outcome. They always seem to leave points on the board, whether because of stupid mistakes, penalties, and even play-calling (I’m not a Mike McCarthy fan at all and I honestly think he holds this team back). They should’ve taken a stranglehold on the Eagles last week, but didn’t, and ultimately got a little lucky to win. They did the same in their regular season matchup with the Falcons (when Rodgers fumbled on the goal line) and ended up on the short end. You could say that the Packers lack the intangibles necessary to win in the playoffs and win close games. At the same time, maybe I’m swayed by my man crush on Rodgers, but he is a stud, and he will have no problem moving the ball up and down the field against Atlanta if his O-line holds up well enough.

What we know about Atlanta: They just a really solid team all around: a balanced offense with a power running game, weapons in the passing game (White, Gonzalez) and an accurate QB; above average defense against the run and an improving passing defense; dynamite special teams, one of the best in the NFL. This was a weak year for the NFC record wise though (maybe because each of the top teams had tough schedules and slip ups against weaker teams), and at 13-3, I never felt that Atlanta went out and beat up the competition to earn the top seed (I mean, obviously they did, but I hope you can understand what I’m saying). It’s almost as if they got the #1 seed by default. Yeah, they’re really good and nearly unbeatable at home in the last two seasons, but I don’t think of them as a dominant team at all.

X-Factor: James Starks- he’s going to need to run the ball successfully as he did against Philly for Rodgers to have enough success to pull this game out. If he can run, it makes the Packers’ offense two-dimensional (which they haven’t been in forever) and opens up the play-action game for Rodgers. If he can’t, the Falcons can rush three and drop eight comfortably, getting coverage sacks in addition to the few that John Abraham will get for just being a beast.

Over/under on number of points McCarthy costs the Pack with his poor play calling/time management: 7.5 (still like the Pack though).

Prediction: Packers 24, Falcons 20


What we know about Chicago: I’ve already talked enough about the Seahawks. I’m not sold on the Bears as a legitimate contender. I never was this season, even when other people started to say “are you taking them seriously now?” after they beat Philly. No, no I’m not. They got more consistent late in the season, but took a step back again after getting savaged by New England. They were lucky to beat Detroit (twice) and Buffalo, and suffered early season defeats to Seattle and Washington. They’re really a Jekyll and Hyde team, which is not surprising when Jay Cutler is your quarterback. One thing is for sure: they completely shut down the opposition’s run game, and I fully expect that anomaly of a game (and run) that Marshawn Lynch had last week to not be duplicated. He will return to regular season Lynch. As a result, Hasselbeck will not be able have the same week passing the ball. He sold his soul to beat the Saints, but his soul is only worth one game.

X-Factor: Leon Washington- you thought I was going to say Devin Hester, didn’t you? That’s too easy. Chicago has the best special teams in the league, and I expect their defense to dominate (for the most part). The Seahawks are going to need a big special teams play, like a kickoff return, to ignite the scoring and give them momentum to make it close where they will have a chance to squeak it out.

Chances that this is the least cared about game of the four: 1000%

Prediction: Bears 28, Seahawks 14 (I really hate taking that whiny crybaby Cutler in a playoff game).


What we learned about the Jets: Clearly going to address the off-the-field action here. First off, I don’t really care what Cromartie said, he has nine kids by eight different women, and can’t even remember his kids’ names. His IQ is lower than the number of interceptions he had this year. But I expect more from Rex Ryan. Apparently he thinks we live in the stoneage and isn’t up to date with modern technology. Umm, Rex, you ever heard of DVR you fat turd? Just because Brady was at a Broadway play while you were playing the Colts (gaining sophistication and culture you will never have) doesn’t mean he’s not going to watch film of that game for at least 50 hours and pick your defense apart as a result. They are trying to start a rivalry by shooting off at the mouth, but really there is no rivalry. The fact is that the Jets were lucky to beat a depleted and honestly not-very-good Colts team that they are designed to beat. Without Cromartie’s kick return or possibly Caldwell’s timeout, they don’t win that game. Sanchez looked like an absolute bum ‘til the final drive. Their defense is not going to stop Brady and the Pats’ offense, and really they need Greene and Tomlinson to do twice as well as they did against Indy to control the ball and have a chance.

What we know about the Patriots: They haven’t scored less than 30 points since they lost to Cleveland on Nov. 7 (8-0 since). Only GB managed to contain their offense somewhat, and they still scored 31. The defense has been improving all year, giving up just 3, 7, 27, 3, and 7 points respectively in their last five games. With two weeks off and a week to prepare for the Jets, I don’t see how the Belicheck/Brady falters here.

X-Factor: Vince Wilfork-Wilfork needs to be the absolute monster of a human being that he is in the middle of that D-line. He will be responsible for shutting down the Jets running game inside and force them to stretch to the outside. If he does it would be a huge advantage for the speedy Pats D against two power runners.

Chances the Jets continue to run their mouth/make excuses after getting beat: 1000%

Prediction: Patriots 31, Jets 17

Straight gut homie.

P.S. Wes Welker is the man.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wild Card Weekend

No time to waste. Let’s jump right into the games:


What the Saints have going for them: I guess all that really needs to be said here is that they are playing the Seahawks. But also: championship experience, a knack for pulling out close games (6-1 this season in games decided by 5 points or less, shouldn’t be necessary here though), Drew Brees and his ability to spread the ball around and pick apart defenses.

Problem areas: Don’t see it being a problem for this game, but the loss of Pierre Thomas (along with Chris Ivory, who was already on IR) leaves the Saints with almost no running game to speak of because Bush can’t carry the load. He isn’t built to be more offensively than a third down back and receiving threat out of the back field. Thomas’ injury really hampers their chances of repeating as Super Bowl Champs as well as NFC Champs. Last year the Saints were 6th in the league rushing the ball, but this time around they will be much more one-dimensional.

What the Seahawks have going for them:

Problem areas: Everywhere. Bottom five in total offense and defense during the regular season. Matt Hasselbeck starting at QB (arguably worse for them than Charlie Whitehurst). Pete Carroll as their coach. Home field will keep the game closer than it could be. (Is it obvious how incredibly much I despise this team?)

Number of times Pete Carroll kicks himself for not staying at USC: 59

Prediction: Saints 31, Seahawks 13


What the Jets have going for them: A week off to rest a lot of defensive starters against Buffalo could prove huge this weekend, especially if Revis and Cromartie benefit the most. They’re going to need to shut down Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon on the outside and force Manning to go underneath. Offensively, the Jets need to get back to pounding the ball with Greene and Tomlinson so that all Sanchez needs to do is manage the game.

Problem areas: They have the ability to self implode on themselves like they did in New England. It just seemed like they gave up on each other, and they couldn’t even regroup in time for the next game against Miami. Also, if the defense continues to be unable to get pressure on the QB without dialing up blitzes, Manning could rip them apart as the Pats and Bears did.

What the Colts have going for them: For a few teams, all I need to write in this space is a single name, and that applies here: Peyton Manning. More specifically Peyton Manning at home in Lucas Oil Stadium. If they can shut down the run and force Sanchez to make a lot of throws, they can let Freeney and Mathis loose on the outside and they will become a disruptive factor, but that’s only if they neutralize the run. Also, the glare off Peyton Manning’s forehead could blind some of the Jets receivers. I can see Braylon Edwards using that excuse.

Problem areas: The Colts are just too banged up this year and have endured way too many injuries. Also, I don’t have that tingly nervous feeling that I usually have about the Colts come playoff time. It feels like the dynasty is dying, and they are not a legitimate threat to win the AFC this year (with all that said, I still don’t want to play them). Their run defense needs to continue to play as it has the last few weeks, or teams will run and down them, more importantly controlling the ball and keeping Manning off the field.

Number of times Jim Caldwell will show human emotion: 0

Prediction: Jets 27, Colts 17


What the Ravens have going for them: A balanced offensive attack, a defense loaded with experience, and a team that knows how to win on the road in the playoffs (3-2 under Flacco the past two years).

Problem areas: The secondary can be exposed for big plays as Houston demonstrated in their Monday night meeting. I don’t think the Chiefs can pose a threat in that area unless they really establish the running game and can use play action.

What the Chiefs have going for them: Matt Cassel’s uncanny ability to go down in a heap in the pocket before he gets touched. It should prevent a few fumbles and interceptions that would result otherwise. In all seriousness though, you can’t ignore the #1 rushing attack in the NFL. They’ve got the power ground game in Jones and the electricity of Jamaal Charles (who amazingly was second in the league in rushing this season with 6.4 yards per carry on 230 attempts. I feel like not enough people are talking about this accomplishment or giving it the respect it deserves).

Problem areas: Cassel’s 27-to-7 TD-to-INT ratio was impressive, but I’ve always had the feeling that he manages the game well for the Chiefs but doesn’t win them. The Ravens will focus all of their energy on shutting down the run (their defense was 5th in the league against the run), and the pressure to win the game will be put on Cassel’s shoulders. Meaning he’ll have to beat Ed Reed (who led the league with 8 interceptions despite playing only 10 games) with an injury-hobbled Dwayne Bowe.

Number of playoff teams that KC beat this season: 1 (Seattle, doesn’t really count).

Prediction: Ravens 23, Chiefs 14


What the Packers have going for them: I don’t see Aaron Rodgers struggling at all against Philly’s secondary. He’s got one of the strongest and most accurate arms in the game. People consistently put him behind Rivers, but I think he is better. I have only Brady, Manning and Brees ahead of him right now. Also, the Pack’s defense has been surging as of late. They have the speed and athleticism to somewhat contain the Eagles’ offense.

Problem areas: The obvious answer here is Green Bay’s lack of a running game. They don’t have one. As a result this game is going to depend on Rodgers’ arm, but that leads to another vulnerability: their O-line. Very shaky and prone to penalties, if Philly can get pressure on Rodgers without the blitz then it can neutralize that deadly passing attack. Also, Green Bay has a knack for untimely turnovers and penalties.

What the Eagles have going for them: The complete definition of an X-factor in Michael Vick. The most electrifying man in football, and he can do it all from the quarterback position. If he is on, he’ll burn you with the run or the pass, and use all the weapons he has in his arsenal: McCoy, Maclin, Jackson.

Problem areas: No momentum after laying an egg against Minnesota (the Dallas game meant nothing). Also, similar to the Packers, Philly sometimes has a tendency to shoot themselves in the foot. Vick can’t be careless with the football as he was against the Vikings. And Andy Reid is their coach, who I have no faith in whatsoever.

Percent chance we will get a great shot of Mike McCarthy’s lazy eye on the sideline: 73%

Prediction: Packers 24, Eagles 20

Yes, I did consider that picking all four road teams was suicide, but I had to go with gut instinct on this….although I feel like my gut instinct never serves me right. Whatever.

Bonus NCAA Prediction: Oregon 35, Auburn 31

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

NFC West Championship? Next Joke

This is disgusting. Absolutely nauseating. I’m almost embarrassed to be a football fan. The Seattle Seahawks, at 7-9, 7-and-friggin-9, are in the playoffs. Oh, no, excuse me, not only are they in, they are hosting a Wild Card game. They get to host the New Orleans Saints, the defending champs who finished four games better than them and buried them in their own stadium six weeks ago.

This Seahawks team becomes the first team to win their division and advance to the playoffs with a losing record in NFL history. And honestly, that’s a stat that should never be put in the record books, but unfortunately will. I can only hope that some football purist that doesn’t want to see the game disgraced will someday break into Canton and possibly rip out that page (do they keep the football record books in Canton?) Who would be that guy though? John Madden if he wasn’t borderline senile maybe, but then again if he still loves Brett Favre he clearly doesn’t care as much about football as I thought.

But let’s dig deeper to find out exactly how terrible this team is. Seattle finished the season on 3-7 spiral, beating only the Panthers and Cardinals (arguably the two worst teams in the NFL) before taking out the Rams on Sunday. They got outscored by a ridiculous 97 points this season (worst margin for a playoff team ever, by over 20 points), and lost all nine of their games by 15 points or more. Chicago is the only playoff team they beat, and aside from the Chargers, the other four teams they beat finished a combined 25-55 (they beat Arizona twice). They finished 28th in total offense and 27th in total defense. They are by far the worst playoff team of all time.

I shouldn’t be writing this blog, because the Stinkhawks should not be a playoff team. I don’t care if they are division champs; when the division is the 2010 NFC West, exceptions need to be made. The ESPN guys keep saying things like “they are division champs, they earned their playoff spot” and “the rules are the rules.” Well guess what, it’s time to change them. Parity exists and talent fluctuates in the NFL; there’s always going to be reasonably the same amount of crap teams as there are studs. That’s why a realignment of the divisions would be an absurd overreaction. Plus, you never really know what direction teams are heading in, and changing the divisions up wouldn’t necessarily prevent something like this from happening again in the future. I think the answer is simple: if you don’t finish above .500, if you don’t finish with a winning record, you don’t make the playoffs. You forfeit your team’s spot to the next best wild card team. (Giants fans could appreciate that. Sidenote: I also think seeding should be based upon record solely. Scrap the division titles). I’ve had two years to think about this. When the 2008 Pats finished 11-5 behind Matt Cassel but still missed the playoffs because the 8-8 Chargers won the west, I knew a better solution needed to be found.

But alas, I am just a tiny voice with no power, and instead the Stinkhawks will get a home playoff game against the 11-5 Saints. If you were watching that game on Sunday night, and you are a football fan, you had to have been rooting for the Rams. I would’ve excepted even them at 8-8 because that’s happened before. But 7-9? I don’t care if I was from Seattle, I would not have been pulling for the Seahawks. I hope the Saints go into Qwest Field and pummel them by 50. I want the game called at halftime due to Mercy Rule. I want the Stinkhawks disbanded after the season because of this game. Why am I so passionate about this? Because watching Sunday night’s game, as it became obvious Seattle was going to win, they made me start to hate the game of football. I started noticing all the little inaccuracies and flaws in the game (like the spotting of the football and chain measurements), and the game of football started to diminish in my mind. I had to snap myself out of afterwards and give myself a pep talk. This is the NFL. You love this. You live for this. It’s playoff time. Your team is looking good. Stay positive.

America loves an underdog. This is completely true for me as well. Come March, I’m pulling for every single 16-seed to make the Final Four. I can’t get enough upsets. But this weekend, you can be sure that I am going to root against Seattle with every fiber of my being. And once they become the first team to get blasted out of the playoffs on Saturday afternoon, I’ll spend some time trying to erase this debacle from my memory. No team with a losing record ever made the NFL playoffs.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Leave My Playoffs, Jaguars

Hello good folks and welcome to my new NFL blog! Aren’t you excited??!! Can’t you feel the electricity emanating through the computer screen? This has a very special feeling to it; I think I’m on to something big. I think this is what Mark Zuckerberg felt like when he created Facebook. I decided to start a new blog instead of building off my old one as a symbol of a new, fresh start. I am no longer in school or have a steady job. This is Step 1 in Operation: Get Me A Job. A voice told me, “If you write it, they will come.” Anyway, the name is inspired by perhaps my favorite NFL coach press conference tirade of all-time, by the great Herm Edwards. I’ll begin this blog with a segment I like to call “Leave My Playoffs.”

Let’s start in Jacksonville, the American football Mecca. What better place? As a Pats fan, I shouldn’t say this, but I just can’t hold it in anymore: thank you. Thank you for losing to less-than-mediocre Washington team and finally putting the nail in your own coffin. Despite the Colts struggles this season, they are still one of the last two teams that I want to see in the playoffs (along with Baltimore). With the Patriots clicking into 2007 mode the last month, I’ve spent a lot of my fanhood energy into rooting against the Colts and Chargers. While KC has surprisingly taken a hold of its own destiny and locked up the AFC West, the Jaguars have been a useless pawn standing between the Colts and the playoffs.

The media and seemingly everyone else got caught up in the hype that the Jaguars had a legitimate chance to win the AFC South. And, technically, they did have a chance to clinch the division in Indy last week, but I was never sold. I felt like I was taking the crazy pills along with Mugatu. And I thought they had about as much a chance to win as Derek Zoolander had at becoming a full time coal miner. I’ll give some of that credit to Peyton Manning, but some of it is because the Jaguars can play like a team with no soul. But still I invested some time and passion into watching and hoping they could take out The Forehead from the Pats January schedule. Sixty minutes and one of the worst onsides kicks in NFL history later, I questioned why I had given in to the hype (I blame ESPN NFL Countdown, they had a very convincing pregame argument…think Matthew McConaughey at the end of A Time To Kill convincing). That ended the Jaguars incredibly listless run at a division title for all intensive purposes, but good looks to them for ending that “dilemma” officially with the loss to Rex Grossman’s Redskins. Now everyone can stop wasting their time with them. It is saddening to accept that the Colts will be in the playoffs once again, but as a football fan I could not take the Jaguars anymore. They can still make the playoffs, but they need to beat Houston and have Indy lose to Tennessee (although I could’ve sworn that Indy held the tiebreaker? But apparently not? I think the Jags also need East Carolina to beat Maryland by six points in the Military Bowl. And have the Toronto Argonauts beat the Calgary Stampede. Something like that).

The NFL is a very competitive league that uses its parity to its advantage and adopts the theme that any team can win on any given Sunday. The various upsets that take place throughout the league every week are evidence of this, and you can just take a look at the schedule for proof. Even the best teams in the league suffer an upset of two per season. But when a team is constantly being upset, you have to believe that maybe they aren’t upsets, and that team just isn’t as good as they are made out to be. And I believe that is the case with the Jaguars. The Jaguars just simply aren’t a good team. If you watched any of the Indy game or Washington game it was obvious. At 8-7, the Jaguars have a point differential of -49. That’s six points worse than the 5-10 Cowboys, and only four points better than the 6-9 Texans. Look at five of their seven losses: at San Diego 38-13, v. Philly 28-3, v. Tennessee 30-3, at Kansas City 42-20, and now v. Washington 20-17. There is no consistency whatsoever. They were never a playoff team. Watching them play today was so painful. No fire. No passion. Just complete blah. That’s the only way I can describe it. And that was from an 8-6 team in the playoff hunt. Only two other teams have ever made the playoffs after losing at least four games by 20+ points (somebody please check my research): the 2008 Cardinals, who ironically enough almost won the Super Bowl (although a couple of those occurred after they had the lowly NFC West wrapped up), and the 1989 Pittsburgh Steelers (who lost five games by 20 or more). Granted the loss of MJD was pretty devastating, but that’s no excuse to appear that you weren’t trying and didn’t care if you won or not. Garrard had that look on his face like he was at his kid’s kindergarten play and couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there. It’s no wonder they are the only NFL team that has managed to blackout their home games before. As a football fan, I say good riddance to the Jaguars, and bring on Manning and the Colts in the playoffs.