Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I rank this game as number five because it has a few very intriguing qualities. First, the Giants Cowboys rivalry has been the best one in the NFC East over the last few years (that says alot coming from that division). These two teams absolutely hate each other, so anytime they play it's always a physical bruiser. Second, it's the opening of the Cowboys new billion dollar stadium. Don't lie, your a little curious about it. It cost a billion dollars!! Third, it's on Sunday Night Football. Prime Time! The Cowboys have somehow slipped under the radar, so this could be a key game for them to remind people that they are still good. The Giants were the cream of the NFC crop during the regular season and they are even under the radar a bit. So both teams will be looking for a little early season respect. (By the way, how has no one made the connection that the 2008 Giants had nearly the same exact season as the 2007 Cowboys? They ran through the competition in the regular season, were touted as the NFC Champions then eventually the Super Bowl Champions, they had a primadonna Wide Receiver who caused enough distraction to blow the season for his team, they had the number 1 seed and home-field advantage for the playoffs, and they lost their first playoff game...to a division rival! This is absolutley the same thing that happened to the 2007 Cowboys. Stunning.)
4. Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots. Week 1.
Like the Giants vs. Cowboys game this is another "looking for respect" game. The Bills added talented and troubled Wide Receiver Terrell Owens in the offseason as well as high expectations. They get their first test during the first game. If they want to hang with the big boys they better be able to beat the biggest boy of all. Division rival New England will also be out to prove a thing or two. One, it's All-World QB Tom Brady's first regular season game since Week 1 of last year when he took Bernard Pollards helmet to the knee and missed all of the 2008 season. All eyes will be on Brady's knee. The Bills want all eyes on them. This game will show alot about what to expect from both teams for the upcoming season.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens. Week 12.
This Sunday Night game will be a feast. The rematch of the AFC Championship game will feature the Defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers going to heated rival Baltimore Ravens stadium, and the Ravens will be out for blood. Second year QB Joe Flacco should have a better grip on how to play against the NFL's best defense so he will be looking to perform better then he did last year. This game has the potential to be a crucial game in the middle of the playoff hunt for both teams and could have a drastic effect on who wins the division. For an added bonus, anytime you get to watch Baltimore wear their all black uniforms with a rabid Ray Lewis roaming the field you have to think your watching real professional football.
And now the real reason I wanted to make this list. Seriously, I could of just written about the top two games of the season...it doesn't get any better then this...
2. Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers. Week 8.
Brett Favre is officially a member of the Vikings. I saw it myself when he trotted out of the locker room wearing a Vikings helmet and a number 4 jersey. He has said publicly he paid attention to what the Packers were doing in comparison to his New York Jets last season. He wanted to play for Minnesota all along for the simple fact he wanted to beat Green Bay after he felt he was ran out of town (whether you believe that or not is up to you, I'm just saying what he said). This is the game everyone will be pointing towards and talking about. Brett Favre is coming back to Lambeau Field to face his former Green Bay Packers. The crowd will be insane. The players will feel the importance of the game. Brett will want to play his best. Packer QB Aaron Rodgers will have a secret mission (he won't talk about it out loud) to out perform Brett. This could be the official passing of the torch game. If Rodgers plays well and beats Favre's Vikings he will buy himself two years of Packer fan's love. If not, it could ugly...quick. Find a way to watch this game, it's going to be a good one. I'm hoping Favre gets to Lambeau and realizes what he has done and breaks down and cries like a little girl.
1. Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons. Week 13.
This is THE GAME. You can't beat this game. There may be games that are better played but no game will have so much focus as this one. Everyone knows the story of Michael Vick. He signed with the Eagles last week. Everyone knows the story of why the Falcons selected Matt Ryan with their first pick in last years draft. You may even know how Ryan went on to win the Roookie of the Year Award and led the Falcons into the playoffs. Well, in this game, the number one game of the season, Michael Vick returns to Atlanta. He returns to the city and stadium that adored him for so long. He had the city by the you know what. He could do wrong. Owner Arthur Blank gave Vick a record contract to lead his team for his entire career. Vick was to Atlanta what Rocky is to Philadelphia, what Joe Montana is to San Fransisco, what Brett Favre is to Green Bay (haha, just kidding). You can bet when Vick takes the field there will be a very loud noise from the fans. I say noise, because I'm not sure if it will be boo's or cheers. There is still a portion of the fan base that loves Vick. They trusted him with every ounce of their hearts and even though he broke their trust, they will still give him another chance. But, there is also that group like the most of us who think that what Vick did was horrendous. They will be the ones booing him. They will be hoping Vick doesn't step foot on the field and they will be looking for the Falcons to stomp the Eagles. This will be a very emotional game. One of those games you will be able to feel the emotion from your television. I can't wait.
Monday, August 17, 2009
9:00-9:30 AM- This is the first and toughest part of the whole routine. One, it's Sunday and I don't have to work so I'm not obligated to wake up at all, but I know that I have to get up. I also sometimes have to deal with the night before, depending on if I found something random to celebrate.
9:30-10:15 AM- During this time I pull out my Dallas Cowboys coffee mug and sit on the couch and drink as much coffee as I can (It's going to be a long day). I also pull out the Good Ol' Laptop (GOL) and begin reading every possible thing I can about the days games and fantasy football topics. In my favorites list I have 15 different websites I go to. Also, while I'm sitting there getting my obligatory coffee fix I have the television on a pre-game show. (I actually don't like pre-game shows that much. To me they seem pretty pointless, it really is just a group of guys opinion's on the games. I watch them however, for the breaking news that may come out quicker then on the internet such as ESPN's Chris Mortenson giving the updated injury reports for various teams. I always thought "Mort" was very good at this aspect of his job.).
10:15-10:30 AM- The Triple S.
10:30-10:45 AM- The first crucial ritual of the day. Getting dressed. I have various jerseys to choose from and the selection process is important. It goes in some way, like this:
- Which jersey will the team be wearing on this day? The Cowboys wear their white home jerseys often so I am often wearing the DeMarcus Ware jersey I covet. (Note: I also have a home Roy Williams #31 jersey. He isn't on the team anymore so I won't have to decide this year which one to wear, whereas I did a few times last year.) Usually, for one game the Cowboys wear their throwback juserseys. I have a Tony Romo jersey for this occasion.
- Which player am I "feeling" today? If I decide to not worry about which color jersey the team will be wearing I just go with what I feel lucky with. Mostly, I'm feeling Ware and I go with him. But a few times I do feel froggy and decide with the Throwback Tony Romo jersey.
- Is this the kind of game where I need to summon the Ghosts of Cowboys Past? This is usually reserved for games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, or a division rival, but sometimes I just want to pull out the Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, or Emmitt Smith jersey. I miss the days when the 49ers and Cowboys battled every year in the NFC Championship. That was fun! I also still feel very nostalgic when I see the Steelers and Cowboys helmet lined up next to each other.
10:45-10:50 AM- I'm showered, dressed, and on edge from all the coffee. Now it's time to gather up the various Fantasy Football information I have gathered for this weeks matchup (Notes, magazines, newspapers, and the laptop). Also, since I'll most likely be out of the house for the next 12-15 hours I get my Dallas Cowboys mug, hat, and anything else I may need for the day.
10:50-11:00 AM- I am now embarking on a ten minute drive to the local watering establishment to conduct some fantasy business. During this drive I have sports talk radio on the dial but I'm not really listening. My mind is racing. I'm thinking about what I want to do with my various lineups, who am I betting on, what are the lines in the games, and delusions of a Dallas Cowboys victory.
11:00-12:00 PM- I grab a drink when I get to the local watering establishment and sit down with the guys in my fantasy league. Everyone has something to say about last weeks games. Either someone is talking smack about beating a fellow league mates team, or gloating about his favorite teams victory over a hated rival. By the time I sit down, I know exactly what I want to do. I know who I'm starting, who I'm playing against, and who I'm betting for/against. I figured all this out on that 10 minute drive here. It's absolutely CRUCIAL I have this time to myself to collect my thoughts. Finally, everyone settles and we go through free agent pickups, trades, lineup submissions, and trading line-ups with your opponent. This process actually takes some time. All the while, I'm getting text messages and phone calls from friends just wanting to talk about the days action. Most of the time, the last 10-15 minutes are free for me to contact my contact and put in my bets. Over/unders and point spreads are being bet on, and hopefully I won't need the Monday Night game to get myself out of a hole.
12:00-12:15 PM- Fantasy lineups are submitted. Bets are made. All I need to now is to sit down and watch, right? Hardly. I am now on my way to a location where I can watch these games. Sometimes I'll go to a bar and watch but really I only do that on Cowboys bye weeks, so I don't have to put myself in position to fight someone who may or not like what I have to say. So, I'm headed to a buddies house with the NFL Ticket and a fast internet connection. Of course, first I stop at a 7-11 and pick up something to drink and something to eat. (Note: I've been known to get more coffee depending on the strength of the headache).
12:15-1:00 PM- I'm at my buddies house. The next 45 minutes are pretty much the last 45 minutes of the day I get to just sit and relax. I set up the GOL, I get a few other things together, and pour myself a drink in my Dallas Cowboys mug. Pretty much from there until kickoff it's just hanging out, talking, and watching whatever pre-game show is on.
1:00-4:00 PM- Now for the madness. Kick-off time. I'll leave my Dallas Cowboys Game Routine for the 4:00 kick-off. For the first set of games, I'm watching the games involving different aspects.
- If the team my buddy roots for in on and I am at his house, I am forced to watch that game.
- The game with the most amount of fantasy players combined are involved with.
- The best game with the best best matchup.
During the games I'm closely montioring the GOL for fantasy scores and betting scores. I like to try to make it so every game is important, however there are exceptions (Cleveland vs. Oakland, for example. Nothing against the teams but A) they play in the AFC, so they won't affect Dallas' playoff chances and B) right now, they just aren't that good). So if the Cowboys are not playing I'm basically doing just a couple things: 1) Monitoring fantasy scores 2) monitoring betting scores 3) rooting violently against the hated teams (Redskins, Giants, Eagles) or teams that may have an effect on a Cowboys playoff spot.
4:00-4:15 PM (Note: Times are not exact here, it all depends on when first set of games end and the exact kickoff time of the Cowboys)- Before kickoff, I do a quick fantasy score scan, looking to see who needs what to give me a victory, and check the betting scores to see who needs what to give me a victory. I then go fill up my Dallas Cowboys mug with whatever I'm drinking. Then, I turn the television to which ever channel the Dallas Cowboys game is on. Now, before kickoff it's time to step outside for a quick smoke (Note: I HAVE to have all this done by the time the kicker kicks the ball off. NO EXCEPTIONS).
4:15-7:30 PM- Now for the Dallas Cowboys Game Routing.
- Hopefully, I'm already sitting in the "lucky" spot. If things are going well, I will not move from that seat. I will also become increasingly violent if someone happens to snag that seat in an attempt to get me stressed out. Even though I am reluctant to do it, if things are going bad I will try to find a new seat that may help the Cowboys out.
- I will NOT speak badly about the other team, especially if there is a fan of that team watching the game with me. I can't have bad karma on my side. So if they make a good play, I blame it on my team. If the other team makes a bad play, I cheer for my team doing a good job not by yelling "HAHA, YOU F****** SUCK!!!" at the other team. I'm trying to be respectful and not have The Football Gods of Karma (which every fan knows about) punish me.
- I absolutely under no circumstance will smoke during the game. Only at halftime do I permit myself to go outside and smoke. I'm not real sure where this superstition started but I'm pretty sure it was during a Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins game when I stepped out to smoke and ended up suffering a loss.
- So, after my halftime smoke I come back inside and empty out the Dallas Cowboys mug. I can no longer drink out of the mug. Only during the the first half. In fact, I can't even drink anything during the second half. It's really annoying. This is actually the one superstition that I have every intention of breaking this year. I think I'm going to work on it during the pre-season. I get thirsty, and I like drinking out of my mug, so I think this little tid-bit needs to come to an end.
- I have to watch the entire game, no matter what the score is. This isn't so hard when the game is close, or the Cowboys are blowing out the opposition. But, the real test comes when the Cowboys are getting blown out themselves. I do this for self-torture. Plain and simple. I want to feel the pain. I want to remember how it felt when the Cowboys were getting beaten badly. I want to remember the text messages and phone calls from friends who had negative things to say. I do this so that one day, when the Cowboys are again Super Bowl Champions I can think of those horrible losses and all those friends with the negativity and smile at them and relish the championship. (Note: I have failed in this step before. 2008. Week 17, Dallas @ Philadelphia. All they needed to do was win and they were in the playoffs. Instead, they came out and got whooped 44-6. I turned off the game mid-way through the third quarter and went home, and went to bed. All offseason, I have felt guilty for turning my back on the Cowboys. I swear, it will never happen again, no matter how bad it is.)
- Finally, regardless of the outcome it's reflection time. I go outside to smoke the post-game smoke, and discuss the game with my buddy Kyle, who is a Cowboys fan. After that conversation it's time to talk to various people about the days action. Who won, who loss, how much money did I win/lose, various fantasy happenings, and the game coming up at night. (You didn't think it was over did you?)
7:30-Until the end of Sunday Night Football Game- Whether I'm celebrating a victory or mourning a loss I can sit back and watch the game (Of course unless the Cowboys are playing). It's the only game on so there is no channel flipping or anything. I'm still monitoring fantasy scores, and hopefully I'm not scrambling to make up for any monetary losses. I'll either watch this game at my buddies house, or go home and watch it. All depends on how I'm feeling. If I watched a classic game by the Cowboys that calls for further celebration (Cowboys vs. Bills Monday Night Football 2007), I'll go to a local watering establishment to watch and gloat.
End of Sunday Night Football Game-The moment my eyes close to go to sleep- After all the games are done, fantasy scores are established, and monetary wins/losses are in the books, I'll lay down watch the highlights and post-game reactions on ESPN or NFL Network. I'll do this until I fall asleep. I have to get plenty of sleep, because depending on who is playing on Monday Night Football I may have a long night ahead of me once again.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Those that think this makes Philly even better, I have to disagree. This team is trying to win the Super Bowl this year or bust. I think with Vick this causes a distraction that can be equaled to that of the 2008 Dallas Cowboys. Too much media coverage and focusing on Vick rather then football is a curse. McNabb is already sensitive as it is, but now to have this on his shoulders could spell disaster. What role will Vick play? Who knows. If I were an Eagles fan I would be greatly distressed. This could backfire huge.
New England vs. Philadelphia
New England- This is a no-brainer. All eyes will be on All-World QB Tom Brady. He will be making his first start since Week 1 of last season, where as everyone knows, he ripped his knee apart and was missed for the season. Watch how Brady reacts when pass rushers close in. Watch his follow through after he throws the ball. Watch his body language. Though he'll probably only play a series or two, a couple of drop-backs could give fans all they need to see if Brady is really back. Another thing worth watching is if Brady still has that record-breaking relationship with WR Randy Moss.
Philadelphia- RB Bryan Westbrook will not play so keep your eye on rookie RB LeSean McCoy. Some have compared his abilities to Westbrook, so it could be interesting to see if he shows some of those abilities. Watch out for his receiving abilities, speed, quickness, and power. Westbrook, when healthy, is one of the best all-around backs in the league, so McCoy will have pretty hefty shoes to fill in Westbrook's absence. Also, pay attention to the Eagles new re-vamped offensive line. With little to no chemistry between the five men, the new line could prove to make or break the Eagles season and championship hopes.
Dallas vs. Oakland
Dallas- The disappointment of the 2008 season is still on the minds of the Dallas Cowboys. Everyone knows about the drastic changes they made in the off-season (Releasing Terrell Owens and Roy Williams, Not re-signing Chris Canty, Kevin Burnett, and Tank Johnson), so seeing how the offense looks now will certainly be a story-line. The relationship between QB Tony Romo and WR Roy Williams will be the main focal point. Any mis-step between the two will surely cause the sky to fall in Dallas, but that is not the only thing to watch in Dallas' offense. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett (who, trust me, is feeling the heat this season) says he wants to focus on the running game since they have probably the most talented back-field in the NFL in Pro Bowler Marion Barber and second year players Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. So pay attention to the play calling to see if Garrett is still up to his old ways in throwing the ball more or really committed to the run.
Oakland- All eyes in Oakland will be on QB JaMarcus Russell. He has to show improvement. He has to show management that they were not wrong in selecting him number one overall two years ago. If not, the regime could turn to veteran QB Jeff Garcia to lead the team this year. Garcia is a proven winner, and he definitely wants another opportunity to shine. Also, pay attention to RB Darren McFadden. The fourth overall pick in last year's draft had a shaky rookie campaign marred by injuries. Oakland fans are hoping this year he can show the flash he had in college that constituted the team taking him so high in the draft. Pay attention to how he reads the defense and if he has a burst that can take him through the hole and into the secondary.
Washington vs. Baltimore
Washington- After potentially getting burned twice in the off season, QB Jason Campbell still has a lot to prove. He got off to a superb start last year before failing in the last 8 games. The team tried to trade for Jay Cutler but failed, then tried again to trade up in the draft to get USC QB Mark Sanchez, but again failed. Campbell is in a contract year so he'll be out to perform this season. Tonight though, watch how he directs the offense. He is following the same system for the second year in a row for the first time since high school, so he should have a great grasp on it. Also, pay attention to Albert Haynesworth. The fat contract he received in the off-season has lead some to believe he will get fat and happy and perform below expectations. But he has vowed to still play with the fire and passion he always had. Watch how the defense looks and if they will be able to stop the run this season. They should be improved with Haynesworth and first round pick Brian Orakpo seeing significant time
Baltimore- Second year QB Joe Flacco should be improved from an already impressive rookie year. So as long as he does not take a step back, the Ravens have found a franchise QB they can rely on for years. The defense however is what is intriguing. The Ravens have always had one of the best defenses in the league. This year however they will look and act a little bit different. Longtime coordinator Rex Ryan left to take the head-coaching job with the New York Jets and he brought along LB Bart Scott. With new play calling, the defense could look different on the field. Watch to see how much they blitz, where S Ed Reed is at, and what LB Ray Lewis is doing. The defense should still be one of the best, but it should be interesting to see if there is a difference in how they play.
Arizona vs. Pittsburgh
Arizona- The defending NFC Champions did not make many changes in the off-season. They did not re-sign RB Edgerin James and drafted Ohio State RB Beanie Wells to replace him. Wells will not play tonight due to an ankle injury, so second year RB Tim Hightower will start in his place. The thing to watch however, is the play-calling. The Cardinals called pass plays 66% of the time last season (by far the most in the league) behind offensive coordinator Todd Haley's play-calling. Haley left to take the Head Coaching job at Kansas City, so that could lead to a more balanced attack. Watch to see if the Cardinals run the ball a bit more tonight. That could lead to the possibility of selecting Wells earlier then you thought based on the opportunity for more carries. One more thing worth watching is back-up QB Matt Leinart. During the Tennessee Titans game on Sunday, Vince Young looked horrible. The other QB selected in the first round of the 2007 needs to show that if Pro Bowl QB Kurt Warner goes down, he can lead the team back to the playoffs. Leinart has done very little since entering the league and with a 38-year old leading the way the possibility for injury is very likely. He needs to show that the team is still in good hands with him.
Pittshburgh- The offense is the same. The defense is still going to be dominant. The Steelers are poised to take a stab at another title in 2009. So what is there to watch? Second year RB Rashard Mendenhall had a disastrous rookie year that ended when Ravens LB Ray Lewis demolished his shoulder. He is trying to prove that he has what it takes to take over the starting job from Willie Parker. No better way to do that then with a strong pre-season. Pay attention to how he runs the ball in the red-zone as he is likely to be the team's goal line back. Also, see how the teams uses WR Santonio Holmes. He is looking to become the number one WR for the Steelers so he should get more balls thrown his way.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Buffalo: Buffalo unveiled their no-huddle offense which they hope will help them take advantage of some of their offensive weapons including RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Lee Evans, and, of course, their newest addition WR Terrell Owens. The starting offense was able to move the ball well. They did not score a TD but they were able to put two strong drives together. One of the drives ended in a Trent Edwards INT, but Bills fans can at least say to themselves "Hey, at least he was throwing the ball downfield." After the starters had their chance, one player that stuck out was RB Xavier Omon. He had 11 rushing attempts for 36 yds. and 3 catches for 25 yds. He looked like a big bruising back with a bit of quickness. He could stick around on the roster if he continues to play well during the pre-season, and if an injury occurs to the RB's on the Bills, he could see significant time. Defensively, the Bills rushing defense looked solid at the beginning. They were holding Titans RB Chris Johnson to a only a few yards and seemed to be in the backfield alot. They were forcing the Titans to beat them with the pass (which they did). It didn't last though. Johnson was able to put a couple of runs together, but overall the defense looked strong.
Tennessee: The first drive of the game, provided the first big trick play of the 2009 NFL Season. After a very strong drive where QB Kerry Collins looked great, the Titans faced a 4th down. They brought in punter Aaron Trapasso. It was a fake! Trapasso faked a handoff, the sprinted 40 yds for a TD. Great play, looking forward to seeing it during the season. Throughout the starters performances, the Titans offense looked fantastic. LenDale "No Tequila" White was still able to punch in the ball to the end zone from the goal line, free agent acquistion WR Nate Washington looked solid, and the line looked like they were healthy. You can't talk about Tennessee without mentioning QB Vince Young. He looked bad. Bad throws. Bad decisions. Young threw a pick on a pass that was not anywhere close to his intended target. The offense overall though, despite Young, moved the ball very well. The defensive line looks vastly different without DT Albert Haynesworth, who signed a huge (seriously, huge) contract with the Washington Redskins. They still looked good though. The defense was able to force a turnover against Trent Edwards and stop the Bills on multiple drives.
By the way the final score: Tennessee 21 Buffalo 18.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
- Glad to see "Bullett" Bob Hayes get inducted. I was not alive while he played so I can't say to much stuff expertly, but he played for the Cowboys (my team) and he really was revolutionary. One of the first guys to really use his speed on the field. Oh, and he is the only person ever to win an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl.
- Rod Woodson's speech went on forever. For. Ever. But he deserves it. I do remember watching him play. He was a beast!
- I actually got sad when they were presenting Derrick Thomas. Thomas died a few years ago in a plane crash. He was truly one of the greatest players ever. He definitley goes down as one of my favorite players and I have always said that. I remember when he and Defensive End Neil Smith used to destroy Quarterbacks. Too bad he had to die at such a young age.
- Bruce Smith. Wow. Mean nasty player. To me his legacy is tainted a bit since he played for the Redskins (just kidding, but seriously). He is also from my hometown of Virginia Beach (ok, Norfolk, but it's the same thing).
This is a good class that also included Bills owner Ralph Wilson and former lineman Randall McDaniel. Can't wait until its Emmitt Smith's turn.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
- Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were revealed to be on the infamous 2003 list of failed drug tests. These two guys were the ONLY reason the Red Sox ended their "curse" and won the world series in 2004 and 2007. If not for these guys, then the Sox probably would still be griping. Honestly, who cares? Is anyone surprised? Manny got busted earlier this season, and Ortiz' career has followed the obvious trend of a Roider. All this proves is that just like the other World Series Championships of the past 10+ years, the Sox championships are tainted. Tough Break. There will be more names "leaked"
- NFL opened up their training camps across the league. Somehow, practices have become more important to the media then actual games the mean something in other sports. I for one, am pumped! I can't wait for football. This coming sunday is the first pre-season game, which of course, I will watch intently.
- The Yankess and Red Sox open a four game series tonight. This is the last distraction before football starts. New York has a 2.5 game lead, but the Red Sox have won all 8 games this season between the two teams. This series is crucial for playoff positioning for the American League and should be fun to watch.
- Stephon Marbury is crazy.
One more thing I wanted to mention. Once the NFL kicks off this blog will be shifting focus. I want to focus on football and fantasy football. I'll of course still talk about MLB during the season, with the playoffs and eventually the World Series, but football is king and that's what I think would be more popular to read...and funner to write about. Did I miss any stories? Let me know and we'll discuss.