Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Jan 2008

Wild Card FOX Rundown

No Brady or Manning, no Favre or Romo, no Randy Moss or T.O.? Somehow, we'll manage. An excellent slate of wild card games brings us the Jaguars-Steelers rematch, the Giants trying to prove they can get up for two opponents in a row, LT vs. the Titans defense, and, uh... Seattle vs. Washington. OK, maybe they aren't all so exciting to fans of the other 24 teams.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 02 Jan 2008

71 comments, Last at 07 Jan 2008, 1:10pm by Herm?

Comments

1
by Sergio (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 7:54pm

Don't you mean:

"Ironically, the Titans' biggest star has been more of a liability than an asset this season"

In the Titans-Chargers paragraph?

2
by Zach (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 8:06pm

How can you possibly say the redskins aren't exciting to any other fans? We're the hottest team in the NFC; NFC offensive player of the month in Todd Colllins, NFL Coach of the week 2 of the last 4 in Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs; all while overcoming unbeliable odds and the tragedy of Sean Taylor's murder.

3
by Richard (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 8:11pm

#2

Perhaps because your endorsement of the Redskins' possibility for excitement includes the words "Todd Collins?"

Mike did a good job defending his opinion, I think. He pointed to their DVOA numbers and the manner in which they've been winning games over their end-of-season run.

Do I agree with him? Hell, I don't know. But to answer your question "How can you possibly say the redskins aren’t exciting to any other fans?"

That's how.

Enjoyed the article, Mike.

4
by DrObviousSo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 8:17pm

Your computer is named Skeetz? That's awesome, assuming it doesn't eat time and space.

5
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 8:18pm

The Redskins rank sixth in defensive DVOA, but neither team ranks in the top 10 in any other category: offense, defense, or special teams.

Hmm, I seem to see the Seahawks as being 9th best in Passing Offense DVOA, and 5th best in Run Defense DVOA....

Oh, scratch that, you're talking overall units.

6
by Carlos (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 8:18pm

hawks-skins features 8 vs. 10 in Weighted DVOA but that's somehow less interesting than:

bucs-gints: 9 vs. 21

or the other mismatches like:

jags-steelers: 2 vs. 14
chargers-titans: 3 vs. 16

??

7
by Dave (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 8:20pm

Wild Card Weekend in the NFL is always pretty "meh." I'll be watching for the premier of the "Get your story straight" commercials.

8
by Carlos (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 8:23pm

With three weeks of Collins tape to study, the Seahawks will be ready.

Given FO's track record of predicting QB success is no better than flipping a coin, I'll stick with Collins over the 'hawks. See, e.g., lack of love for Garrard and Garcia. See, e.g., too much love for Jason Campbell, Matt Leinart and Philip Rivers.

I'm not claiming to have any brilliant insight into QBs, but Collins has been outstanding (3rd highest DPAR in the NFL!) and has been in this offense for years. That probably makes hime good enough to be a decent but not great 'hawks team.

9
by Carlos (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 8:24pm

in #8, that first line is a quote from the article. not sure why I didn't get the italics.

10
by DK (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 8:30pm

I disagree with pretty much everything in this article.

All of these games look interesting to me, and I think all of these teams (especially the NFC teams) have shown me that they have a decent chance of going to the Super Bowl.

I also think Seattle-Washington is the most interesting game here, since it's the closest matchup on paper.

It's the freaking playoffs, and I don't buy this I'm-too-good-for-wild-card-weekend nonsense.

If you can't find anything compelling about these four games, let's just say I don't think that's an indictment of the quality of the games.

I am actually pretty excited about our second Patriots-free week of football this season. Hopefully it won't be our last.

11
by Stereochemistry (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 8:41pm

"But while the Bucs' youngsters are good run blockers, they aren't great pass protectors; the Bucs rank 24th in Adjusted Sack Rate despite Garcia's ability to escape trouble"

Well, if we're considering Garcia's ability to escape trouble, it should probably be noted that of the Bucs 36 sacks, 19 are Garcia's. I imagine Luke McCown's 15 sacks in less than half as many drop backs is raising the sack rate rating a tad.

12
by Dave (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 8:42pm

10 - I'm going to have to disagree with you about wild card weekend. Just take last year for example:

Colts/Chiefs - boring
Seahawks/Cowboys - very sloppy
Pats/Jets - blowout
Giants/Eagles - close but unexciting

13
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 8:51pm

Tanier is from Philly. I don't think his run-downs have praised the Redskins at all... I always read them as enterformative rather than "hard football journalism"... I think his picks for the Washington games are nearly always wrong.

10 minutes later
Actually throughout the season he's been decent about picking the Redskins, it's just the past 3 weeks he has picked against the Redskins. Yes I looked it up.

If I had to write a sports column picking NFL I'd probably be a little rough on the division rivals of my favorite team too...

... and for what it's worth would you really believe that Joe Gibbs would bring enough Todd Collins kool-aid to last 4 games?

I disagree with the assertion that the Seahawks are better now than they were in 2005. But the Redskins are much better on both sides of the ball than they were for the 2005 game. Remember the offense they brought to Seattle? It was the same offense that set the record for "lowest total yardage for a team winning a playoff game". Their line was banged up (Ray Brown was starting), and their top 3 WRs were Santana Moss, James Thrash and Jimmy Farris.

Their OL has improved this year, particularly of late, and even though they have a reputation for signing free agents I think the Redskins Roster hasn't turned over too much from that 2005 team.

I don't know what type of film study he's completed, but their offense isn't really at all what Tanier described... film study reveals a lot of fullback dives, screens and chuck-it-and-pray bombs to Santana Moss.

Really? You didn't see the improved OL play?

The Seahawks aren't really like the Vikings, Giants, or Week 17 Cowboys so I do expect it will be a hard fought and good game, and it wouldn't surprise me if Seattle wins... Tatupu has been great at picking off the passes of NFC East QBs... but it also wouldn't surprise me if this was a game that came down to the final 3 minutes or so...

I'd like to see what Gregg Williams does to stop the Seahawks passing attack, as I think in their 20-10 victory 2 seasons ago Seattle barely had any rushing yardage and Alexander was knocked out of the game with a concussion on the 1st or 2nd drive...

Anyway, I'm sure there will be a FO thread breaking down the wild-cards...

Todd Collins reminds me of Brandon Fraiser... specifically his characters in Blast from the Past and Encino ManHe even looks like a caveman standing in the pocket...

14
by putnamp (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 9:23pm

What was the point of even writing anything on the Seattle/Washington game if you're just going to yawn at it the whole time? Use that word count for one of the other games or something if you think this game will suck that bad.

15
by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 9:40pm

Say what you will, naysayers, the article DID have a Spinal Tap reference. That's gotta count for something.

16
by DrObviousSo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 10:41pm

I believe that these articles are just excuses to fit as many pop culture references in as possible. Skeets, for those that don't blow too much time and cash on comic books, is the super advanced robot sidekick of Booster Gold. Booster is a washed up football player from the future who uses Skeets to help him be a super hero in the present day.

17
by Will (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 10:43pm

Someone already pointed out the Weighted DVOA, so if the Wild Card games play out like WDVOA suggests then Seahawks/Redskins should be a close, hard fought game.

But why would anyone want to watch a close game? LT and Eli are playing!

18
by Eric J (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 10:55pm

Fergasun, Mike doesn't say that the 2007 Seahawks are better than the 2005 Seahawks. He says "That Seahawks team was better than this one," which is kind of the opposite.

19
by Temo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 11:33pm

I'm happy for all the redskins fans who are excited about their team, I really am. But I'm still skeptical about what this team can accomplish in the playoffs. That said, I can easily see them beating the seahawks (I just can't take the seahawks, they always do badly when I think they'll be good, and vice versa) but I'll go on record now as saying that I don't think they'll go any further than that.

20
by Paralis (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 12:14am

19: I'm not sure why you think that (I was also a bit puzzled by Tanier's suggestion that the Redskins couldn't pose a serious challenge to the other playoff teams).

The Redskins lost to the Packers in Green Bay by 3 points after losing their third and fourth lineman of the season (and 5th when Stephon Heyer strained his groin and the Skins ended up sending the injured Todd Wade back in the game for the hurryup offense) and Santana Moss's worst game ever (INT off of his hands, fumble on a reverse returned for the winning TD).

They lost to the Cowboys by in Dallas by 5 points after, well, we all saw the EPC. And then dominated them in Washington on Sunday.

I haven't seen the Seahawks at all this year, so I have no idea whether their defense (or their offense) is for real, or how the Skins stack up. But the idea that the Redskins won't be competitive against the other NFC playoff seeds is pretty absurd.

21
by Joon (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 12:53am

re: 20

agreed. i'm admittedly biased, but the redskins have definitely shown the ability to play any opponent close this year. in practically every loss, it seemed like they were driving with a chance to win or tie in the 4th quarter, and then didn't get it done.

with, ahem, one notable exception.

22
by jebmak (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 1:06am

Don't look now, but on 2betdsi, the line for NE to win the AFC is -210 and the line for NE to win the Super Bowl is -220. So the odds are better that they win the Super Bowl than the AFC...

23
by Carlos (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 1:46am

But I’m still skeptical about what this [Skins] team can accomplish in the playoffs.

Even in the weak NFC?

The difference between the JCampbell-led skins and the TCollins-led skins is really dramatic. The JC team struggled horribly to score TDs, whereas the TCollins team scores TDs with what appears to be at least mediocre ability.

Plus, while both JC and TC have fumbilitis, TC hasn't thrown a pick, which is helping the scoring D improve dramatically as well.

I know scoring isn't as sexy as DVOA, but I don't have premium access, so I'll use scoring.

JC skins average score: 19.1 to 21.4

TC skins (including Bears game): 26.25 to 13.25.

That's a TD better on O and a TD better on D, against 3 teams that were fighting for their playoff lives and a half game against the Dallas starters.

That's pretty darn remarkable, and that's the reason for the optimism.

The Skins dominated the first half against GB but couldn't get the points. They dominated the first half last week against Dallas, admittedly w/o TO who was the difference maker in game 1. They dominated the Giants for 3 out of 4 halfs this season.

As FO has pointed out, the Skins D has been dominant in first halfs and terrible in 2d halfs, but I suspect some of that is the result of the O going into its shell at halftime in the JC era. Lot's of reason for optimism, as there isn't a team in the NFC playoffs that is leaps and bounds ahead of Washington. NFC looks like a total crapshoot.

24
by Torn (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 3:02am

Denver first in Variance? Truth hurts...

25
by Scott (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 4:44am

Sucks for Jason Campbell - he's in a no-win situation, in a division where the fans are rabid and every other team is a legitimate playoff team in the immediate (next 3 years) future. And he's having his job threatened by a veteran QB with nothing to lose. The best thing that could happen to Campbell is for the Skins to lose this week. If they win this week, Collins is a savior and Campbell starts next week, and may very well lose, and the concensus will be that it's his fault, even if it isn't.

26
by Oldcat (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 4:58am

Surely, the best outcome for Campbell is to win tne next week, then knock off the Patriots and become a football legend. With a few babies saved from burning orphanages thrown in.

Not the most likely, just the best.

27
by Israel (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 8:55am

whose 29-24 victory over the Steelers wasn't nearly as close as the score.

The real score wasn't that close either. It was 29-22.

28
by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 10:31am

Johnny Rodz > Steely McBeam

29
by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 10:45am

I wonder if the Redskins might be best served by trading Campbell in the offseason. It's apparent that nobody under the sun is better equipped to run the Al Saunders offense than Todd Collins, and certainly a team like the Vikings, Bears, Dolphins, etc. would love to get a young quarterback with Campbell's experience. I would think his value would be a #1 pick and change, or a defensive player/offensive lineman that could help them. If Saunders is going to be around for a while, they should roll with Collins, acquire a halfway-competent backup (Trent Green?), and draft a QB who does nothing but study the playbook for a couple of years with an eye toward taking snaps in 2010.

30
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 10:55am

Re: 29

Collins (2007 version) looks an awful lot like Damon Huard (2006 version). Only older. I can't imagine any team investing itself in a 36 year old QB that's has started 3 games in the past 10 years. Campbell won't be going anywhere.

31
by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 11:23am

I don't know.....the offense actually opens up under Collins and maintains drives. He's been schooled in the offense for 8 years or so now. While Campbell may develop to be a above-average starter, maybe like a turn-of-the-millenium Brad Johnson, he's probably never going to be a franchise guy. Go with the guy who helps you win, and use the trade value to improve your team elsewhere.

32
by TracingError (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 11:46am

29: But why would you not let Campbell build on his two years experience studying and playing? And who is giving a first round pick for JC?

I think JC is probably learning a lot by sitting right now, and having another offseason to study, this time with the knowledge that TC was able to do much more with the same offense, can only help.

That said, TC is doing better because:
a) the line has improved, doing a credible job against some impressive D-lines. Heyer has been big, and figuring out how to run without Randy Thomas to pull took a while too.

b)Santana Moss and the entire receiving corps is somewhat healthy. JC started well with Moss and then Randle El as the feature guys, then both of them were out or playing hurt. Brandon Lloyd, the less said the better. Now the starters are both playing well, and Caldwell knows the offense, and McCardell is a useful backup. JC had no one to throw to during the middle of the season, during the losing streak.

c) Saunders has opened things up because TC knows the offense. But hopefully JC can learn a bit more this offseason like he did last offseason.

I also think it's wrong to put everything in the Redskins streak on Sean Taylor. This time won five in a row, plus a road playoff game to finish their season just two years ago! And look at Gibbs' December record. It's phenomenal. It correlates with a lower record prior to December. This is Gibbs' pattern, nearly every year.

Meanwhile, we have a 10-6 team that by DVOA played the weakest schedule in the league, -11.0 DVOA and a 9-7 team that played the fourth toughest schedule, 4.4. I know DVOA is the best tool we have for getting a reading on true quality given such schedule disparities, but I'm betting on the Skins to give Seattle more than they can handle.

33
by Ari (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 12:18pm

Jason Campbell is done for the season. His injury is worse than the original 4-week prognosis (four weeks ago), and with Collins playing well there's no reason to rush him back.

That said, the notion that the organization would get rid of him is silly--the Redskins and fans both know that he is the long-term solution, and has played just fine given his level of experience. Collins has played excellently and will play until the Redskins lose int he playoffs, but he is not going to start next season.

34
by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 12:45pm

Well, I'm not a Redskins fan, although I do live in Redskin country and have watched several of their games. I like Jason Campbell. He is a young quarterback who has shown flashes of potential. However, that's a long way from saying he's the long-term answer at QB, and in fact, you could have said the same thing about Charlie Frye or Chris Simms the past couple of seasons.

Of course, I'm not suggesting Todd Collins is the QB of the future. But he is not only better versed in the Saunders system, but I don't think the system suits Campbell's strenghts. I'm only suggesting that IMO if the Skins are committed to the Saunders offense, it's worth exploring trading Campbell and drafting a mid-round quarterback who is a better fit for the system, and let him learn while Collins holds the reins for a while. It's not like Collins is winning for a lack of videotape to study. A defensive co-ordinator can pop in any Trent Green tape from his Chiefs years and be well prepared. Collins is winning because he is the better quarterback for this offense. The ultimate "system" offense, if you will.

35
by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 12:57pm

FOMBC, Skins fans. Fear it.

36
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 1:54pm

If Todd Collins is a better in your offense than your starting QB, then you need to get 1) a new starting QB, 2) a new offense or 3)both.
There's a reason Todd Collins has only started 3 games in 10 years.

37
by gmc (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 2:06pm

People are trying to predict what Joe Gibbs will do with quarterbacks? And saying that there's no way he'll ditch the young, unproven guy for the old veteran on his last legs? How fast can I say Patrick Ramsay?

The Redskins are a decent team, and fortunately merely decent teams suddenly look pretty good if they happen to be decent and ... in the NFC. The 'Hawks are spotted 5-6 wins at the beginning of the season in the NFC West. The skins don't have it that easy, but they also snuck in a lot sneakier, and they aren't a playoff football team.

By the way, does anyone else read the winning streak and defensive dominance after Sean Taylor's death as an indication that just maybe he wasn't quite as great/important as everyone says?

38
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 2:22pm

Re: Jason Campbell
Campbell is not going anywhere. He looked more comfortable in this offense, and I think he'll be able to work hard and improve over the offseason. I didn't have high expectations for him, but he did get his completion % up. Next season I'm going to expect him to make correct reads and improve his red zone performance (although its hard to tell if red zone performance is more of a correlation to the improved OL play).

From looking at other young QBs who have taken awhile to develop, I've got the impression they take a big jump at the end of their 2nd full year starting. Campbell put up 2 300 yard games, and a 3 TD game over his past 5 games. Those are encouraging signs to me. Regardless of how TC15 does in the playoffs, all eyes in DC will be on Jason Campbell in 2008, and if he hasn't improved in 1 year we can talk about his exit... or acquiring a new young QB.

FOMBC? We're just juiced because our team won 4 in a row, and is playing the best football all year, on both offense and defense. It's not a curse to point this out, and no one here expects the Redskins to roll.

Thanks for the correction #18, I swear I read it over again to make sure I was reading correctly but must not have.

39
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 2:38pm

Bo Scaife IRd with "lacerated liver".

40
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 2:49pm

Re: 38
Yeah I don't think you should've said that about Taylor. Taylor was the man and on track to be better than Ronnie Lott. I don't care what people say about Jermaine Phillips or anyone else, no other FS currently in the league matched what Sean Taylor was doing. And while he showed plenty of immaturity in 2004, 2005... the past half season and 2006 he has shown he could be a great safety.

If you really want to know about the Redskins defense without Taylor look how McNabb tore the team up after Taylor went out with injury, which included a ridiculous screen pass to Westbrook. Or how about the safety play when Terrell Owens scored 4 TDs on them?

Taylor was around the ball on every play... you just have to watch film of the 2005-2007 Redskins defense and any play that enter's his zone he cleans it up, any long passes he's there putting his body on the man... and it was the way he hit that was awesome. He didn't lead with his helmet, he lead with his whole effin' body... just amazing to watch... just a blur coming in from the left side of the screen and laying a hit on someone. It's been painful watching even footage from earlier in the year. He was leading the league in interceptions when he went out with injury.

But I guess you didn't realize that Taylor was injured before they went on the winning streak. The defense improved because Williams adjusted Laron Landry to the FS position and played him like 30 yards off the ball... after the Dallas game in order to stop the long passing plays.

41
by cjfarls (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 2:55pm

Re:37

I think thats a tad unfair re: taylor... I think most of us watching skins games were pretty convinced that Taylor was the best defensive player on the team. Its tough to judge safety play off TV, but he seemed to be having a hell of year. He's one guy out of 11, so he may not be "irreplaceable", but I do think that the other 10 guys have stepped up their play significantly since his death.

42
by Carlos (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 3:44pm

I agree that Taylor was the best skins defender, but "on track to be better than Ronnie Lott"? That's pure crazy talk.

Lott was a All-Pro CB 3 of his first 4 seasons, and then an All-Pro safety for another 6 seasons.

You can defend Taylor's importance to the Skins D w/o exaggerating his abilities to the point where you're trying to argue he's better than the greatest DB in league history.

43
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 3:47pm

To heck with best defensive player, Sean Taylor had been the best and most consistent player on the Redskins for the past 3 years. Now I know the Redskins didn't get a lot of national TV exposure, and there was a lot of character reporting on Taylor after his death but the least focussed on aspect of Sean Taylor was how great of a football player he was.

Just think if the Colts had to play without Bob Sanders (yes, Taylor was just as good as Bob Sanders at least).

44
by tom jackson@verizon.net (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 3:53pm

i have it on good authority that additional cars are being added to the Jaguars bandwagon.

45
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 4:00pm

#39 Those damn finesse teams.... If you watch the replay, backup safety Matt Giordano tripped Scaife with his kilt, then battered his liver with toe-shoes and cosmopolitans.

Phenomenal heads-up play by Gage to make a catch out of it.

Glad to hear (and a little surprised) Scaife doesn't need surgery. 4-6 weeks rest should do it, from what I initially heard. Livers are pretty remarkable organs; we should all get four (like Larry Hagman).

46
by Carlos (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 4:02pm

most consistent player on the Redskins for the past 3 years

Okay, now you're really losing me. Taylor played a central role in the disastrous secondary last year. Much discussion by the coaches and players anonymously that he was completely lost w/o Ryan Clark.

Clearly playing deep centerfield suited his skills perfectly: an unbelievable ability to close quickly and hit hard, while masking his obvious weakness, an inability to play with his back to the LOS.

47
by ntr Chris Cooley (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 4:05pm

Taylor had been the best and most consistent player on the Redskins for the past 3 years.

Sean, I miss you, but I beg to differ.

48
by Balaji (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 4:10pm

#44: May as well pile on now. The Jags this week are playing a team with no offensive or defensive line. It could be very, very ugly. The only bright spot is Ben's seeming ability to make plays out of absolutely nothing, but you can't win in the playoffs if that's your offensive game plan.

49
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 4:12pm

I don't think more than 4 All-Pro selections as safety would've been out of the realm of possibility. Considering Taylor had improved this year and he was still entering in his prime.

I forgot that Lott played CB prior to moving over to FS. I always think of the late 80s version of Lott the feared FS.

The loss of Taylor is still very bitter to the Redskin faithful.

When Darrent Williams was killed a year ago I didn't really know what to say other than I loved the energy he had for the game, but I imagine this season Bronco fans must've been bitter about having one of their young players killed.

So talk regarding how "Maybe Sean Taylor wasn't that good" just riled me up a bit... you know how us fanatics are.

And yes I realize I never met the guy, he didn't have a great direct impact of my life, he was just a football player, etc... but I'm a really big fan of my team, and really do enjoy watching the players on the field. So I know while Sean Taylor didn't solve the problems of world hunger or middle east peace... I really did enjoy watching him play football 3.5 hours every Sunday...

Yeah this is way OT...

50
by Carlos (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 4:19pm

49 - there's something we can agree on: I loved watching Taylor too. He was my fave skin, and after that amazing bowl game he had at Miami, I was ecstatic that they landed him in the draft. How's this: he was like Alvin Walton with almost CB speed... what's more awesome than that!

51
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 4:41pm

Re: 43

You do realize there's a sizable difference between "at least as good as Bob Sanders" and "better than Ronnie Lott", right? I just thought I'd point that out since it made me chuckle a bit.

However, your overall point still stands, and I too enjoyed watching Taylor play (even though I'm an Eagles' fan). I thought the story of his recent maturation (since the birth of his daughter) didn't get enough play in the media

52
by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 4:59pm

The Four Degrees to Your Inner Conflict:
I don't know if this is going to help any wafflers decide which team they are hoping will win the Seahawks Redskins game:
1. Todd Collins is from Walpole, MA
Matt Hasselbeck is from Norfolk, MA,
2. Both towns are within 10 miles of Foxboro.
3. Foxboro is Home of the New England Patriots.
4. You hate the New England Patriots.

There. That's my little gift. Enjoy.

53
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 5:28pm

Re: #52

You forgot:

5) Matt Hasselbeck is the son of former Pats TE Don Hasselbeck.

There -- that should guarantee that no one is rooting for the 'Hawks :-)

54
by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 6:00pm

You haven't even mentioned Son of Mosi* in the middle of the Hawks defense.

*The blue-haired woman will make a good sacrifice.

55
by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 6:08pm

53 & 54, both excellent points.
I think we've pretty much sealed votes for the Redskins.
But then again, no one mentioned Todd Collins' alma mater: Michigan. Same as, dare I mention...

56
by Andy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 6:24pm

Once again the Bucs are getting disrespected by just about every analyst making their picks.Everyone is already forgetting that Eli Manning has been inconsistent for most of the season and now, just because he played the Pats well and the Giants "spirits are lifted because they almost didn't lose," everyone picks them to win.It should be another 2-3 INT day for the Bucs D and they should win easily.

57
by mshray (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 6:40pm

Nice Johnny Rodz reference! The '07 Steelers are a bunch of jobbers, love it!

58
by Joon (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 6:41pm

taylor was the best player on the redskins defense this year. he was also probably the best safety in the NFC. it was a huge blow when he went out, first with the injury and then with the incomprehensible murder.

having said that, 2006 was not a good year for taylor. i think probably the best and most consistent redskin for the last 3 years has been chris samuels. he's knocking on the door of elite status.

but the improvement of the redskins D in the last several weeks has a lot more to do with how teams can be a lot better playing with emotion than it does to do with taylor not being good. he was a great player; but the other guys have stepped it up in his absence. i also think williams has done an excellent job making defensive adjustments this year. playing taylor super-deep definitely played to his strengths; and after he got hurt, moving landry into that role made a lot of sense, too.

59
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 7:10pm

Re: Herm?, PatsFan, & dryheat

Could you try to do this for each of the teams? I really don't have any rooting interest except "Anyone playing Dallas" and "Anyone playing NE (except Dallas)", so it'd really be helpful.

So far I think the Todd Collins being a Michigan alum has pushed me to the 'Hawks.

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by Fergasun (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 8:06pm

Don't forget that Matt Hasselbeck went to Boston College... I'm sure there are going to be plenty of Patriot fans rooting for the local guy...

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by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 10:43pm

I'll give it a try, but the QB's in the SEA/WAS games are a big alignment of local guys. Besides the QB's and Tatupu, the only highly notable guys off the top of my head that have connections in the Northeast are Doug Flutie (Natick,, MA) and Denver center Tom Nalen (Foxboro, MA)
Whenever I look this stuff up, it seems most of the all-world athletes come from Texas, California, and Florida, with some Ohio and Pennsylvania sprinkled in.

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by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 11:19pm

Here's my take on the Pittsburgh / Jacksonville game:
There is very little in Patriot connection here. I note 3 things that should help the general public decide:
There is little to dislike about Jacksonville, but did you know that David Garrard, Mr. Snuck Up and Became #5 in DPAR, is from New Jersey? We in the Northeast know their slogan: "All the anger but without the sports teams... plus, it always smells like sulfur here" But otherwise Jacksonville is a likable team.
Now Pittsburgh has one of my favorite players..Hines Ward plays hard every down, he catches, he blocks, and I always forget about his being born in South Korea.
But the reason I'm rooting against Pittsburgh is one of their linemen: Tackle Willie Colon. You already know he's an ass*, but did you know he's from Bronx, New York...home to Yankee Stadium and the New York Yankees, America's 2nd most hated sports franchise? So using this purely scientific standard, I would have to say, Jacksonville 20, Pittsburgh 17 (despite the fact that when I compare DVOA matchups, I like Pittsburgh by 1)

*No, no I would never say this to a 6'3" 315 pound NFL Lineman.

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by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 11:27pm

This link is a bit outdated, but it shows some of the positive things about hometowns. Sure enough, FL, TX, and CA are there.

Tomorrow I'll look for some more negative reasons to pick your games this weekend.

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by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2008 - 12:06am

The Football Gods apparently smite the Titans and Fisher -- WR Roydell Williams broke his ankle in practice today and is out for whatever remains of the Titans season.

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by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2008 - 4:36am

Herm?, Hey, that's the Garden State you're maligning. Only about a 10 mile stretch of I-95 smells like sulphur. Egad, does it! The rest smells like... gardens. Yeah, gardens. The crossroads of the revolution, the breadbasket of the original 13 colonies. While the Bay State smells like... low tide?

On a serious note, I would not rely on DVOA for Pitt/Jax--too many recent injuries for Pitt that are probably not fully reflected in the stats. (akin to TO being hurt for Dal or Tenn losing both Scaife and Williams.)

Now SD is interesting for many reasons. Among them, they have been on fire lately, but have played a weak sked, and are 2-4 against playoff teams. OT win over one of the weakest, Tenn, and a win over Indy when they were down 8-9 starters and AV missed a chip shot FG to win at the end. Change 2 key plays and they lose those two, but probably don't change their DVOA much. If they had the same DVOA and yet were 0-6 against playoff teams, I wonder how people would view their recent hotness. Your thoughts?

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by The Original Sam (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2008 - 9:55am

Herm?/62:

Everybody loves Hines Ward but he was a dirty punk in the first game and there's clear video of multiple incidents throughout the game. Jeff Lageman went through the video on the Jaguars local show this week but the team hasn't posted this week's video on their website yet. In addition, Hines Ward went to Georgia and I'm a proud graduate of the University of Florida, so... I hate that guy.

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by Herm? (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2008 - 12:21pm

Oh yeah, the MA coastal towns vary between "seabreeze" and low tide. The scent creeps inland once or twice a year. Fanueil Hall alternates between low tide and diesel exhaust, but you don't have to worry, because if you're not from around here, you'll never find it anyways.
My "gut" for SD/TEN is for SD to win 30-6, practically shutting out TEN, depending on the Kerry Collins/Vince Young factor. Matching up DVOA is a slightly different story.
The first thing to prepare for is a Phillip Rivers abomination. I'm thinking 8 of 25 for 120 yards.
But San Diego should be able to run it on Tennessee. Tennessee is soft over the Right end and off the left tackle. Although SD runs between the guards most of the time, they're going to have to stretch to the outside for running success.
My offensive game plan would be to make sure both Tomlinson and Turner combine for about 40 carries, and they can squeak out a win.
If Tennessee is smart (and I think they're devotion to LenDale White proves the opposite), they'll stack against the run, with the 8th guy in there keeping an eye on Gates...single coverage on the WR's, putting the game in Rivers' hands. They also need to play Kerry Collins in this game. He's a better passer than Young, and it would be a nice day to play catch with their tight end, except for the whole lacerated liver thing. Tennessee should be able to run it, too.
Without inserting any humorous Norv factors, I like San Diego in a close, low scoring game, by 3-5 points.

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by Rex\'s Evil Twin (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2008 - 3:14pm

*twitch*

FOX Comments hurt *twitch* *twitch* *twitch*

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by Herm? (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2008 - 6:21pm

and yes, I'm quite aware that using a loose definition, there is irony in my statement about the Titans not being smart, and the grammatical error that follows. I'm over it.
(They're = they are. Their shows ownership!)

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by Bionicman (not verified) :: Sun, 01/06/2008 - 10:57pm

Score one for Mike Tanier. He correctly picked all four games (correctly ignoring DVOA with the Giants-Buccaneers game), and as an added bonus was mostly right about the Redskins-Seahawks game being a snoozer.

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by Herm? (not verified) :: Mon, 01/07/2008 - 1:10pm

not that anyone's coming back here, but I have to admit I was way wrong about Phillip Rivers. Very good game for him. Would have been good even without Tennessee's 3 big breakdowns in the secondary.