Our offseason Four Downs series ends with a look at the NFC West's biggest remaining holes and their most notable UDFA signings. The Rams and 49ers have to kick-start their passing games, Arizona's offense lacks a big dimension, and the Seahawks continue to rely on Russell Wilson's magic tricks.
29 Sep 2010
by Tom Gower and Mike Kurtz
Tom: Both of this week's prime-time games featured interesting end-of-game scenarios. The Jets had first-and-goal at the 5-yard line with 2:24 to play, leading by one, and the Dolphins having all three timeouts remaining. Meanwhile, the Bears had first-and-goal at the 9-yard line with 1:44 remaining in a tie game with the Packers, who had one timeout.
Mike: Yes. Conventional wisdom states that you must fight tooth and nail to prevent your opponent from scoring, and that any time you give up points, regardless of context, is a failure. But does there come a time when it makes more sense for a defense to fall on its sword?
Tom: We actually have a famous historical example of a defense choosing to do just that: the Packers against the Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII. Mike Holmgren ordered his defense to let Terrell Davis walk into the end zone in order to preserve time for a comeback.
Mike: There is also a corollary of intentional safeties, which are not unheard of and are actually even less advantageous for the team since they surrender both possession and good field position afterward.
Tom: Intentional safeties can make a great deal of sense, depending on the amount of time left and the score. For example, Jeff Fisher opted to take the safety with three-point lead and less than 10 seconds to play in the Titans' win at Jacksonville in 1999. I'd almost venture to say any coach who didn't take an intentional safety to run out the clock in that situation was wrong.
Mike: And the intentional safety is nearly a central part of the mystique that has developed around Bill Belichick. Clearly, there are times when you have to retreat in order to move forward.
Mike: The question is, then, when should a team pack up its defense and let them score? As you noted, this week gave us some good material on this subject.
Tom: More importantly, I think the two games gave us different situations with different results in terms of whether or not to let them score. To me, there are two differences between the two situations. First, the Jets were up one point. A touchdown would mean the Dolphins needed a touchdown -- itself difficult -- plus a two-point conversion, merely to tie. Whereas if Miami played defense, they could hold the Jets to a field goal and win the game with a touchdown. With a (roughly) 60 percent chance of a two-point conversion and 50 percent chance to win a tied game, their chance of scoring a touchdown needs to be vastly decreased by playing defense for "let them score" to make sense. And they had two timeouts, plus the two-minute warning.
Mike: Quality of offense also must be taken into account, as well your opponent.
Tom: You got right to the crux of the matter. There is no hard-and-fast rule for when letting them score makes sense. Instead you have to look at game and clock situation, field position, and the opposing team.
Mike: So it's worth mentioning that neither the Jets nor Dolphins generally have quick-strike offenses.
Tom: The Dolphins did hit a nice deep pass to Brandon Marshall, but I generally agree with you.
Mike: What's the second difference?
Tom: Sorry, two differences. First, the score. Dolphins down one, which means they'd be down eight with a Jets touchdown. That's a much less favorable situation. Second, the clock.
Tom: The Packers were in a tie game and could tie with a touchdown and just an extra point.
Mike: To which I add the type of offense to the difference, as the Packers do have the kind of offense that can get down the field quickly. That's settled.
Tom: Yes, but by playing defense, the Packers forced the Bears to kick a field goal with eight seconds left. No matter what kind of offense you have, that's not enough time.
Mike: Right, that's why letting them score made sense. Because they could go down a touchdown and be reasonably confident in their offense's ability to get the touchdown. It's kind of the corollary to the "go for it" calculus, where you're confident enough in your defense that giving up points in exchange for field position is a positive outcome. Well, plus potential points.
Tom: Or at least much more confident than they could be in their chance of winning the game by playing defense. Or your relative confidence in your offense's ability to convert and your defense's ability to stop the other team. Part of Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 last season was probably preserving time after Peyton Manning's Inevitable Go-Ahead TouchdownTM.
Mike: I think it comes down to the point where there are no good defensive outcomes. You have to look at the best possible outcome and the worst possible outcome, figure out how likely you think each is, and how close to winning each gets you. In the Packers' case, the best-case defensive scenario was a field goal with little time left. The worst was down a touchdown with some time to try and tie the game. In that case, the best-case scenario led directly to the team losing.
Tom: Had Mike McCarthy been thinking like that, he'd have seen the benefits of "let them score." But, well, he wasn't.
Mike: Indeed. The worst-case defensive scenario still gave some hope of victory. Once realizing that, the logical thing to do is hasten it and let them score, thereby maximizing the positive aspects of the strategy.
Tom: Exactly. The Dolphins example shows, though, that "let them score" isn't always an ideal strategy in late-game situations.
Mike: Right. the best-case scenario is down by four points, and with timeouts and the two-minute warning, they could preserve time and have a chance to win via a touchdown on the resulting drive.
Tom: Yup, yup.
Mike: Whereas the worst-case scenario is down by eight, with time to drive but with a relatively slow offense and the uncertain proposition of a two-point conversion against a stalwart red-zone defense. In that case, the best-case defensive scenario gave the team a much more clear -- and likely -- path to victory.
Tom: As it happened, the Dolphins ended up with an absolute worst-case scenario, giving the Jets a fresh set of downs with a defensive penalty and still permitting the touchdown to go down eight.
Mike: And losing extra clock due to the new set of downs.
Tom: Right. It's an unfortunate reminder that the team on the other side of the ball is trying, too, and sometimes you lose. Still, that doesn't change the fact Tony Sparano made the right call.
Mike: Yeah, in the end all you can do is put your team in the best position to win and hope for the best.
Tom: Yup. Coaches just need to keep in mind that "let them score" can be the right strategy. Which means this is just another situation where coaches can show off their lack of tactical acumen and end up as nominees for the Mike Martz Award.
Tom: After my 2-0 start, I got curb-stomped this week, 129-95. I had Reggie Wayne with six points, my opponent had Austin Collie with 29. Dolphins DST, no points. I picked up David Garrard off the waiver wire, and he gave me 2 points. I got 31 points from Adrian Peterson, but he got 32 from Anquan Boldin, Collie's 29, and 24 from Chris Johnson.
Mike: Ah, the magic of Indianapolis wide receivers.
Tom: Champ Bailey was on the injury report this week. That was supposed to mean he would throw the ball to Wayne.
Mike: There's your problem: trying to predict the dark arts of Peyton Manning.
Tom: Ah, well, he could have started DeSean Jackson instead of Donald Driver and I'd have lost even if Wayne and Collie's scores were reversed. I would, however, like to register my displeasure with John Fox, for benching Matt Moore. I cannot in good conscience start Steve Smith for at least four weeks.
Mike: To be fair, Steve Smith, Esq. was definitely not going to be a good player this year, or at least not a consistent one.
Tom: I didn't agree with you there. I thought Moore was competent enough to complete the occasional pass, and that Smith, as clearly the best option, would get enough targets to be viable play pretty much every week.
Mike: Well, hindsight is 20-20.
Tom: Sure. I'm just cranky about it. And the less said about Wagstaff's Ringers, my entry in Staff League, the better.
Mike: We'll get to that later (and it will be fantastic).
Tom: I thought about trading for Ben Roethlisberger, but I didn't want to give up Reggie Wayne, and I think it might be more interesting to play waiver wire quarterbacks the rest of the year. Admittedly, though, that's probably a strategy that works better when you're not dealing with 10 other people who have a job writing about football, plus Elias.
Mike: Yeah, although probably not well advised in general. Anyway, I won my league's game pretty handedly.
Mike: Won by 33 points, got good production out of Matt Ryan, Rashard Mendenhall and Darren McFadden. Still, extremely disappointing games by Greg Jennings, Matt Forte and Baltimore DST, which is cause for future concern. Also the fact that my team is the lowest-ranked of the 2-1 teams.
Tom: Jennings kind of scares me, because Green Bay has multiple credible wideouts. He'll have good weeks, and weeks where the targets will be spread out.
Tom: I suspect you'll end up playing matchups between McFadden and Forte.
Mike: On the other hand, Green Bay has one of the league's elite offenses. We also play with three running backs, so I will usually be playing both.
Tom: Oh, right. Well, you still have three good ones.
Mike: Yeah, just need them to all go off at the same time. Also, my Kyle Orton/Matt Ryan plan seems to be going pretty well. I think in a few weeks I'll have enough cred for both of them that I can pick one and unload the other for possibly a more consistent receiver.
Tom: Do trades happen in your league? Like real NFL trades, it seems to play a much larger role in how people think things will happen than in what actually happens.
Mike: We generally play close to the vest, but there have been trades. The waiver wire is pretty much churning constantly so we're much more about getting players off waivers on spec, and it generally works well. Like I said, it's a competitive league.
Tom: That's what my experience has been, but I wasn't sure if leagues where people actually knew people worked the same way.
Scramble Forever (Ian & Al) 96 def. Team CBORG (HAL) 67
Part of the CBORG experiment is a test of human ability to gauge matchups compared to whatever algorithms ESPN has developed in their (largely successful) quest to make large piles of money off our fantasy football-obsessed culture. How has it done? This week, CBORG left a boatload of points on the bench in Austin Collie (29 points) and Eagles DST (15) in favor of Steve Smith, Esq. (2 points) and Jets DST (7). The only mistake Insufferable Ian made was playing Aaron Rodgers (22 points) over Michael Vick (32), which only the craziest Philly fan could criticize him for. This week, the decision-making favored the human by a margin of 10-35. The previous weeks also went for the humans, 9-15 in Week 2 and 14-20 in Week 1.
Remain in Matt Light (Barnwell) 93 def. Wagstaff's Ringers (Tom) 55
And the hurting continues. The league's last-place team was disintegrated under the terrifying glare of Barnwell's disturbing mascot. The really sad part is that Tom's starters lost to Barnwell's backups, which included Malcolm Floyd (15 points), Eli Manning (11), Leon Washington (12), Jabar Gaffney (14) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (15). Tom's best play this week was Mike Williams (22 points), who sat on the bench. On the upside, that was the only star/sit problem Tom had, since the rest of his bench (Ryan Mathews, Fred Jackson, Laurent Robinson, Mohamed Massaquoi, and Anthony Dixon) contributed 0 points each.
Team Verhei 108 def. Triple Asian Flu (Doug) 76
Doug was somewhat hurt by Visanthe Shiancoe's early exit from Monday night's game, but in the end it didn't make too much of a difference, as Vince had too many players (Philip Rivers, Rashard Mendenhall, DeSean Jackson and Braylon Edwards) firing on all cylinders.
Malice Aforethought (Will) 112 def. Phanatic Codebreakers (Tanier) 84
Mike is clearly not a believer in Chicago's defense or Denver's offense, and it burned him badly, losing 14 points between Brett Favre and Kyle Orton. Strangely, Will was slightly dinged by his faith in Chicago's offense, and fear of Miami's defense, dropping nine points between Jay Cutler and Mark Sanchez. In the end, however, Will owned 30-plus point games from Adrian Peterson and Anquan Boldin, which proved to be the difference.
Equipo del Jefe (Aaron) 95 def. Consensus Picks (Elias) 76
Unlike most of this week's matches, neither of these teams had any real break-out performances. All the points were relatively well distributed between the starters, and the highest performer on either team was amusingly a tight end, Tony Gonzalez, with 17 points. On the other hand, consistency is a key to fantasy football victory, so Aaron has to feel good about this performance.
That's Great Hustle! (Sean) 121 def. Better Call Saul (Rob) 80
Rob fell victim to the random and still unexplained benching of Devin Aromashodu, explaining the big zero on the scorecard. Good performances (Tom Brady for 22 points and Chris Johnson for 24) were mixed with awful performances (Miles Austin with two points and Tim Hightower with four) to show that Rob's team isn't about to fall off a cliff, even when things go poorly. Consistency was also the name of the game for Sean this week, but his across-the-board totals were more impressive than the other teams, with 20-plus point performances by Peyton Manning, Jeremy Maclin and Dustin Keller. Sean also successfully unloaded Roethlisberger to Doug, netting an elite receiver in Larry Fitzgerald and giving up basically nothing. Well played, Sean!
The rankings finally have some meaning. As predicted, the big losers are Wagstaff's Ringers and Team CBORG. Scramble Forever is the lone unbeaten team, although Equipo del Jefe is putting together a nice streak and stands in first place in the Non-Scramble Alumni division (second overall in points). For some reason, ESPN schedules fantasy "games" with home and away teams. ESPN is run by crazy people, but they are nice enough to occasionally give us a check.
Mike: So, I had occasion to watch a British broadcast off Sky.
Tom: That's a bad idea. Few good things have come out of Britain since 1800 other than Benny Hill music.
Mike: There's all sorts of weird stuff going on, like describing a player as "a tough so-and-so."
Tom: Not too weird; "tough little monkey" is how Billy Packer described Allen Iverson in an NCAA basketball broadcast.
Mike: Still completely weird. Anyway, while we were watching, we were struck by how different British commercials are.
Tom: I believe you.
Mike: On the whole, they're more demonstrative than ours, which are more aspirational.
Tom: Isn't being demonstrative what we tend to make fun of the most on here?
Mike: This is true, probably because our advertising from 30-40 years ago was entirely demonstrative so the style is old-fashioned and hokey for us. It is good evidence of how terrifyingly good we've become at advertising.
Tom: Have we? I feel like we're just hitting our cultural touchstones, and other countries' commercials are hitting their cultural touchstones.
Mike: Oh, we're ridiculously good at it. We can sell things without actually talking about what the things are or as we saw last year, without even showing the product.
Tom: Yes, but our commercials almost always have one thing in common -- they're in the local language. Sure, you get the occasional NFL Latino promotion that's mostly in Spanish or something, but other than that all the major commercials are in English.
Mike: I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, British commercials are also in English.
Tom: Not this one.
Mike: That's because this one is completely insane. Anyway, there are a few bonkers ones in Merry Olde England ... e. Like the investment one where your money was little pound-note birds and this one which is just ... what. It gives the ANA commercial from last year a run for its money, despite its brevity.
Tom: That investment one accurately describes the state of my 401(k), but I suppose that's neither here nor there.
Mike: Good ole sack of $100s under the mattress. Nothing bad could ever happen to you ...
Tom: See, the ANA commercial actually sort of told a story. This commercial is only 10 seconds long, and is a good example of why you don't tend to see commercial spots in the U.S. under 15 seconds.
Mike: True, the only super-short commercials I can think of over here, recently, are the fake Rod Serling Geico ads.
Tom: The 15-second commercials tend to be stripped down versions of longer ads, so they're connecting to something else. Compare this other 118 advert, which is also only 10 seconds. It's just as nutty, but on a completely different topic. The only commonality is the Ghostbusters theme.
Mike: I discussed this with a British friend of mine. Apparently the commercials started off as goofy but somewhat sane and have since slowly devolved into this kind of insanity.
Tom: Kind of like this column, then?
Mike: No, we started out at this level. How's that for sad?
Tom: Right, good point.
Mike: Anyway, what the heck is with the Ghostbusters theme? Seriously.
Tom: It's instantly recognizable, but apparently not close enough to get them sued.
Mike: But still. Why?
Tom: Why ask why, try Bud Dry. There are things in this world that make no sense and/or which we are better off not knowing. Why 118 uses Ghostbusters is quite likely one of those things.
Mike: Yes. Although, I can at least understand the weird Japanese setting. England has had a strange fascination with fast-paced Japanese TV since the 90s. Anyone who has seen Banzai! knows what I'm talking about.
Tom: I've never seen Banzai!, so I'll take your word for it.
Mike: HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TOM TO LEARN ABOUT BANZAI!? PLACE BETS NOW!
Tom: I bet $100 I've never seen it.
Tom: I don't drink heavily enough to watch knockoffs of Japanese game shows.
Mike: True. On the other hand, Banzai! is pretty much the pinnacle of the genre.
Tom: I don't understand, though, how you get from game shows to this commercial.
Mike: Well, I was talking about the insane Japanese setting for the 118 commercial and commenting that it works more in England because of shows like Banzai!.
Tom: Sure, but Spike TV has shown that one game show, and Japanese-language commercials aren't on US television.
Mike: Weeeird. It also sounds like a complete disaster, concept-wise.
Tom: I'm not a fan of Takeshi's work, generally, so MXC didn't appeal to me at all.
Mike: The sushi-plate contest also looks like it would never be resolved since both sides would just keep slamming the buzzer over and over again, keeping the plate in the middle.
Tom: You're over-thinking this, Mike. It's about people acting stupid, not developing a good game.
Mike: I suppose
Tom: What they're lacking in length, they're trying to make up in incomprehensibility. For some reason, I'm doubtful of that as a good marketing strategy.
Mike: True. On the other hand, 118 is an easy number to remember, unlike British emergency services' 0118 999 881 999 119 725.
Tom: Couldn't they have just gone with 867-5309?
Tom: That 0118 ... 725 3 seems like it should be trying to get people to sign up for Life Alert.
Mike: England is complicated.
Tom: If you say so.
KICKER: Lawrence Tynes missed two field goals as part of the Giants' quest to score only 10 points despite never punting. This offset his successful field goal attempt and extra point and left him as the low man with zero points.
WIDE RECEIVER: Among the 284 players compared to Wes Welker in Football Outsiders Almanac 2010 were the Jaguars' Mike Thomas, a reasonably successful slot receiver as a rookie who the team hoped would develop into a starter opposite Mike Sims-Walker, and Julian Edelman, Welker's injury replacement. Both had multiple catches on Sunday, and neither exceeded 10 yards, leaving them both 0 points.
RUNNING BACK: Matt Forte, Joseph Addai, and Shonn Greene were all fairly high picks in many fantasy drafts this spring. Sorry if you drafted them, as none made the end zone and each put up a mere 3 points this weekend.
QUARTERBACK: Alas and alack, Jimmy Clausen was not on the original Loser League roster so you couldn't have his 4 points this week. Next on the loser totem pole was David Garrard at 5 points.
KEEP CHOPPING WOOD: Missing a 58-yard field goal is perfectly understandable. Missing a 41-yard field goal, well, that kind of thing happens from time to time. Missing a 31-yard field goal smack dab in the middle of the field, in a domed stadium, that's very unfortunate. Do all three of those in one game, and you, Sebastian Janikowski, get this week's Keep Chopping Wood Award.
MIKE MARTZ AWARD: Monday Night Football was tied at 17 points with just over two minutes to play. Jason Jones caught a pass from Aaron Rodgers and turned upfield, but lost the ball after a hit by Brian Urlacher on the Packers sidelines. The ball bounced near the sidelines, but stayed in bounds and was recovered by the Bears' Tim Jennings. Despite several Packers, including John Kuhn, having an excellent view and immediately reacting in disappointment, and clear if mind-boggling replay footage, Mike McCarthy elected to use a challenge -- thus wasting a scarce and valuable timeout on a sure loser. As a Packer fan friend said: "Dock McCarthy's pay by $100,000 and use the money to hire someone to stand on the sidelines with the sole responsibility of keeping the challenge flag out of his hands."
COLBERT AWARD: Already leading 27-16, the Rams faced third-and-20 at their own 49-yard line with 2:52 remaining in Sunday's game against the Redskins. The Redskins had just used the first of their timeouts, and the safest play was to give Kenneth Darby or Keith Toston another carry. Whether head coach Steve Spagnuolo or offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, though, the man who made the decision chose to put the ball in the hands of The Fifty Million Dollar Man, Sam Bradford, and called a bootleg pass. Bradford hit Mark Clayton, who made a move on DeAngelo Hall and picked up the first down. The Rams burned another minute off the clock, forced the Redskins to use their final two timeouts, and kicked a field goal to extend their lead to 14 points, all because Spagnuolo and Shurmur were willing to take a risk.
StayMcCool: On draft day, I looked up in Round 3 and all of the stud quarterbacks were gone so I'm stuck with Kyle Orton and Mark Sanchez until Ben Roethlisberger returns. Orton has kept me in the game but not too confident this week. Question is: In Week 4, Kyle Orton vs. Tennessee or Mark Sanchez vs. Buffalo? Thanks!
Tom: My attitude is simple: trust in Mark Sanchez at your own peril.
Mike: Yeah. And while Orton's having trouble getting in the end zone, he has run the offense on the rest of the field with pretty brutal efficiency.
Tom: Buffalo also had one of the league's best pass defenses by DVOA last year. Yes, they're 30th so far this year, but 18th in yards allowed. Eli Manning threw for 386 yards against Tennessee last week. There's a reasonable chance Orton goes over 300 this week.
Mike: Yeah, Orton all the way.
kenstall: I thought I drafted well but after three close losses, it's time for a change, and I'm looking for help. My running backs are Ray Rice and Matt Forte and my bench is Darren Sproles. We start two backs and no flex.
Should I start Sproles? Pick up a free agent? Throw my computer away and forget the season?
Tom: You have three close losses -- it's absolutely not time to give up on the season. We'll see how Rice recovers, but against the Steelers this week, he wasn't a great start anyway.
Mike: I'm not sure where the question is. Getting rid of Sproles for Green-Ellis?
Tom: Green-Ellis can be an attractive player this week, because of the Patriots' other injuries at running back.
Mike: I think I may support that.
Tom: We don't know what your bench is. I presume you have more than 3 running backs on your team. That, or you're carrying some marginal wideouts. It's probably worth dropping one to play Green-Ellis for a week or three.
Mike: Or a small roster.
Tom: With small rosters, unless it's like a 20-team league, I'd expect to see better free agents than those guys.
Mike: I agree to some extent, but there's a comparative dearth of sure-fire top-shelf fantasy running back talent this year, so there's a lot of marginal talent on everyone's waiver wire. But I think dropping Sproles for Green-Ellis, at least temporarily, is a good play.
Tom: Play him, see if you can skate by for a couple weeks, and don't be the guy who gives up on his team this quickly no matter how much you want to (*cough*me*cough*Staff League*cough).
Soko: My team is currently 3-0 and first in points scored but I think this might be the week I fall. I'm in a PPR league and my starting receivers (DeSean Jackson and Randy Moss) and running backs are set (Rashard Mendenhall, Matt Forte); however, for my flex R/W and T/W for the week, I have a choice of Steve Breaston, Devin Hester, Tim Hightower, Devery Henderson and Mike Thomas. Talent and matchup-wise, I see pros and cons for each but it's really a coin flip with me leaning toward Henderson and Hester.
Tom: Well, Breaston had surgery and is out for a couple weeks, so he's obviously out.
Mike: Hightower and Hester.
Tom: Agreed. Henderson's targets will be too variable. Hightower will get carries, and the Bears will throw enough and Hester looks like he has a solid role in the offense.
Mike: Hester is a bit of a wild card, largely because of Aromashodu ... well, the Aromashodu situation. Because if he is playing, Cutler for some reason likes to target him.
Tom: You watch the Bears more closely than I do, so I'll your word for that.
Mike: Still, he's part of a functional offense, unlike Breaston, so he's probably the best bet of the wide receivers.
Mendenhall has a nightmare matchup, but I feel like there's no one else that'll be good enough to merit benching him. I currently have Forte and Harrison in the two Flex spots, but Harrison has been killing me all year.
Tom: As a fellow Jerome Harrison owner, I hate you, Eric Mangini. He's clearly out of favor, and even bad matchups are better than sitting on the bench all the time. Mendenhall, Forte, and Hester would by my choice.
Mike: I disagree regarding Mendenhall as a nightmare matchup. Peyton Hillis, of all people, just put up 140 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries against Baltimore. I should know, I play their defense. In any case, Harrison is clearly the odd man out. That means there's not much of a choice.
devlindeboree: The weekly What-QB-do-I-pick-up-while-i-wait-for-Big-Ben question ... Who would you recommend out of the following waiver wire QBs: M. Sanchez (@BUF), Chad Henne (vNE), Sam Bradford (vSEA), Aaron Smith (@ATL), Bruce Gradkowski, (vHOU), or Vince Young (vDEN)? 4 points for a passing touchdown and 1 point per 20 passing yards.
Also, perhaps to save you my repetition of this question with each passing week, can you generally recommend one of those quarterbackss for the next two weeks, or do you think it's best to just keep playing match ups? Thanks.
Tom: Whee, what a fun dilemma, and one I'm experiencing.
Mike: First, you should play matchups. Second, New England's secondary is at least five different kinds of awful.
Tom: Yes, play matchups. This week, though, your best matchup is Bruce Gradkowski against the Texans.
Mike: While I'm not sold on Henne, I think he'll have a big game this coming week.
Tom: The Texans "held" Romo to only 284 yards, first opposing QB under 400 yards this year. My worry about Henne is the Dolphins will run the ball, meaning fewer attempts for Henne and fewer goal-line attempts.
Mike: Romo and the Cowboys are a lot better than Gradkowski and the Raiders. And one of those previous games was against Peyton Manning.
Tom: Darren McFadden is a good receiving weapon, and Gradkowski's had some success passing of late.
Mike: I do agree that Henne is a problem in the red zone but I just can't get behind Gradkowski.
Tom: He had 255 yards passing, 13 yards rushing, a touchdown, and an interception against the Cardinals. That's 15 points, probably.
Mike: Against the Cardinals.
Tom: I think he'll be a solid 10-15 point play against the Texas most likely.
Mike: 10-15 makes sense. I think Henne will do better.
Tom: The Texans have given up 1,106 yards passing this year. I'll probably be starting Gradkowski myself.
Mike: Fair enough.
How many questions will be sent to scramble-at-footballoutsiders.com next week? A. One, B. Two, C. Three, D. Over nine thousand! Make comments now!
63 comments, Last at 30 Sep 2010, 5:13pm by Kevin from Philly