Blue Duck Must Watch List: The 2nd Week

September 19, 2009

See if you can pick em like Peyton.

See if you can pick 'em like Peyton.

Before I get to the important stuff, I just wanted to spread the word about the Blue Duck Pick ‘Em league on Yahoo fantasy.  Its just a normal office-pool type pick ’em league, and its free.  Beat the “experts” and embarrass us week in and week out.  League starts up week 3, but sign up now.  At the end of the season the winner will get an official Blue Duck T shirt.  Anyone can join.  The more the merrier.

The Group ID is: 64754, and the password is: bigblueduck.  Good Luck.

On to business:

Carebear’s Game you should watch week 2 is:

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys.

Literally built by aliens, just like the pyramids

Literally built by aliens, just like the pyramids

This is pretty much a no brainer as the game of the week.  Giants/Cowboys is always a big game, but now that the ‘boys are opening up the giant spaceship that Jerry Jones has parked out by the Ballpark at Arlington, this matchup gets even better.

I just moved to Dallas, and the city has been abuzz for a long time over this one.  The Big D is ecstatic that they got rid of T.O., and even more excited that they get to christen the new Mecca of pro sports on Sunday.  But Dallas probably feels like a high school team that scheduled a tough opponent for homecoming.

The NFC East is probably the strongest division in football.  On any given Sunday, any one team in the east can take out any other team so this game can really go either way.  Here are a few keys.

The Giants are pretty banged up.  DT Chris Canty has been ruled out, but the Giants have some depth on the D-line, Hakeem Nicks is out, and a couple key guys in the secondary are questionable.

The secondary being shorthanded may be an issue here as Tony Romo lit up the Bucs last week for 353 yards on only 16 completions, and always seems to play well against the G-men.  Patrick Crayton, Miles Austin, and Roy Williams all had long receptions.  If the Giants can keep the passing game in check, they should take this game.

These two are friendly postgame, but Sunday should be a battle.

These two are friendly postgame, but Sunday should be a battle.

The Giant’s offense will have to rely again on that no-name receiving corps we saw last week. Eli hit 7 different targets en route to their “not as close as the score made it look” win against Washington.  The Post-Plaxico Catching Team looked good, and who knows, maybe the lack of egos from receivers makes Eli more comfortable.

Ahmad Bradshaw led the Giants in rushing with 60 yards, and look for a big game out of him.  Teams prepare for big Brandon Jacobs, and the quick and nimble Bradshaw is a huge change of pace, but quick and nimble does not necessarily mean soft, as Bradshaw’s runs more often end in refs blowing them dead, than with Bradshaw being brought to the turf.

My Prediction: Giants get lit up a few times on big passes, but control the run.  Eli has a mediocre, but effective game, and the Giants open up the 8th Wonder of the world with a 31-27 victory.

And oh yeah, what we all can’t wait for:
Seeing the look on Jerry Jones face when Jeff Feagles peppers the scoreboard throughout the billion dollar cathedral’s opening act.

Alex’s Must Watch Game of the Week:

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles

Drew Brees and New Orleans cruise into the City of Brotherly Love, riding high after a 45-27 victory over the Lions.  The Eagles were no slouch last week, beating Carolina 38-10, most likely losing QB Donovan McNabb for this week’s tilt in the process.  While we may not have McNabb under center for a big NFC matchup, this game is still must watch TV.

Drew Brees looked like he was playing a game of Madden out there last week, tossing 6 touchdowns.  This week is important, because we’ll see how he fares against one of the best passing defenses in football.  The Eagles secondary added another nail to the Jake Delhomme coffin last week, and didn’t just seize the opportunity against a bad quarterback.  Asante Samuel is a premier cornerback and Sheldon Brown is solid as well.  Another advantage for the Eagles is that they are extremely deep in the secondary (Hobbs, Hanson, Harris, Jones, and Demps).  This is the perfect test to see how unstoppable the Brees-led aerial assault really is.

With McNabb, the Eagles are a playoff team (a successful playoff team? God no).  All signs are pointing towards a Kevin Kolb-led Philadelphia offense.  My magic eight ball says “outlook not so good”, even considering the Saints D allowed 27 points to the Lions last week.

Kolb has been absolutely miserable in limited relief of McNabb.  In 45 career attempts, he has thrown ZERO touchdowns, four interceptions, fumbled three times and taken four sacks.  Newly signed Jeff Garcia knows the offense and should be available as insurance, but he can’t be expected to have his timing down with the receivers.  The Eagles need to be counting on Brian Westbrook to be Mr. Everything out there on Sunday, or else they are going to be praying that Kolb gives them something.  And I wouldn’t count on much, even with the weapons he has at his disposal.

Expect a heavy dose of Brian Westbrook against the Saints on Sunday.  Kevin Kolb doesnt offer much promise if McNabb cant play.

Expect a heavy dose of Brian Westbrook against the Saints on Sunday. Kevin Kolb doesn't offer much promise if McNabb can't play.

Bottom line:  This game is more about seeing the Drew Brees Show versus the Mighty Eagles Secondary than anything else.  I don’t care who wins or loses, or about the final score for that matter.  I just want to see the battle between an unstoppable force (Brees) versus an immovable object (Asante Samuel and Co.).

For me, I’d love to see Garcia come in and light things up, just to add more pressure to McNabb’s shoulders.  He’s got the inevitable Michael Vick threat one week away already, and I think it would be all the more amusing to see Garcia throw his hat into the ring of possible QB contenders.  He was already a fan favorite in 2006, and McNabb has never seemed to have the fans behind him in Philly.  I want to see how the three-headed quarterback headache turns out if Garcia has a good game.  Maybe the stress will cause Andy Reid to stop eating, something the rest of the starving world will appreciate, as well as his cardiologist.

My prediction is that the Eagles defense will give Brees his toughest test he will see all year, but it won’t be enough to overcome the Kevin Kolb doom that is sure to ensue.  Brees will toss a couple touchdowns and Brian Westbrook will put on a show, but the Saints will pull it out, 24-17.

At Press Time, Andy was seen sitting at Gung Ho, yelling at Jimmy about how the Pats are “a better version of the unstoppable 2007 team.”  Maybe he’ll get a must watch up before the games Sunday.  We shall see.


Terrell Owens, you have a friend in me

April 8, 2009

A true star

A true star

 

Last month the infamous T.O. was unceremoniously released from the Dallas Cowboys after 3 seasons. He wasn’t released due to lack of production. T.O. produced 38 touchdowns. He had 235 receptions. He also played in 47 out of a possible 48 regular season games. In his final year in Dallas he had 69 receptions for 1052 yards. He didn’t suffer any career threatening injury, and yet he was released. Did the Cowboys mistakingly send the notice to Terrell when it was meant for Patrick Crayton? Unfortunately, no.

T.O. is still a big time receiver with years left to play at a high level. He has been cut by 2 teams in the last 5 years. He has not been arrested during his time in the league. There are no off the field legal issues. In fact, T.O. is a big mommas boy, and very family oriented. Yet he is called a cancer in the locker room.

That label of being a “cancer” has been unfairly thrust upon him. This man has brought teams to levels they would not have reached without him, and he is named the problem? Something isn’t right. While everyone else will have you believe that T.O. is the devil reincarnate I’m going to bring you the truth.

In order to find that truth, you don’t need to look very far. The problem has not been T.O. He wants the ball, that much is known, but why is that a problem? He gives his team the best chance to win with the ball in his hands because he is not afraid of making the big play. He is not afraid to carry the weight of a team on his shoulders. The problem has been the quarterbacks he plays with, who are afraid of carrying that weight. Both Donovan Mcnabb and Tony Romo have fragile egos which have been documented in one way or another.

For Mcnabb, look no further than the Superbowl vs. the New England Patriots. The same Superbowl that Terrell Owens fought back from a broken leg, against doctors recommendations, to play in and help his team. But I digress, the part of that game that I am talking about is when Mcnabb was in the huddle calling plays, and vomited on the field. A professional football player puking on the field is generally sad in it’s own right. However, a professional football player, who happens to be the qb of a team enthralled in the biggest game of their careers, that is downright pathetic. He couldn’t handle the pressure, and he folded.

Always a brides maid and never the bride
Always a brides maid and never the bride

Mcnabb enjoyed the best season of his career with a wide receiver that is a “cancer” in the locker room. During the 2004 season, which was Terrell’s only full season with the Eagles, Mcnabb completed 5.1 percent more of his passes than his career average. Relative to his pass attempts he held a 2.1% better td to pass ratio than his career average. He also threw 6 more touchdowns that season than his next best season. Oh, did I mention they reached the Superbowl? Quite the cancerous effect T.O. had on his stats.

Let’s move on to Romo. Tony Romo has to be somewhere at the top of my “most over-rated QB’s” list. Above even the ridiculously average Eli Manning. Tony Romo has had the distinct pleasure of playing alongside Mr. Owens for the duration of his career as a starter. I do look forward to seeing him struggle mightily without T.O. to bail him out on his poor throws, or having T.O. wide open due to his crisp route running and ability to get off the line.

With the Cowboys down 21-20 to the Seahawks with 1:19 left in the ’07 playoffs, the Cowboys had driven themselves into easy field goal range. The snap came and the rest is history. Romo took a perfect snap and couldn’t hold onto it. Sealing the Cowboys fate that year. To be fair, Romo admitted responsibilty for the loss but he still blew it. He couldn’t handle the pressure and he folded.

Who would have guessed Tony Romo isn't good with balls?  Not me.
Who would have guessed Tony Romo isn’t good with balls? Not me.

Romo has since continued to wilt under big game pressure. I can’t imagine there is a single Cowboys fan that doesn’t cringe everytime their team needs a big play to save a game, and they wait for a snap to Romo. Rarely do those opportunities result in anything other than a strip fumble, an interception, or a fumbled snap.

Mcnabb has done nothing since the days of Terrell Owens to dispel his critics who question his toughness and ability. His stats have suffered since the days of T.O. He has even been benched this past season due to his struggles, and there was speculation he was going to be traded at the end of the year.

These quarterbacks needed T.O. They needed him to be a scapegoat for their own lack of mental toughness. They needed someone to blame when things didn’t go right. There was no one better to blame for their own problems, then the loudmouthed yet ultra talented Terrell Owens. Now both have been and will be exposed as creampuffs who ultimately struggle with their duties of leading their teams to playoff success.

Here’s hoping Trent Edwards lets T.O. be T.O. and lead his quarterbacking career to unbelievable levels. Or he’ll just become another QB who played the blame game, and pushed away perhaps the best wide receiver to ever play the game, and sank his own career