Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?
28 Nov 2012
by Tom Gower and Mike Kurtz
Mike: So, Tom and I were sitting around the other day, wondering why teams have mascots. Where does the idea come from? Do they have mascots in mind when they give the team its nickname? Why do people with advanced marketing degrees think mascots (which only children pay any attention to) will draw any adult attention when there are already a pair of other clowns up in the announcing booth?
That got us thinking; there has to be some way to recreate the thought process behind a team's decision to create a mascot, and in turn which mascot to settle upon. Besides alcohol, I mean.
(Mike is lying. Alcohol is the only way.)
Your Scramble writers, in an attempt to get to the bottom of this conundrum, have devised what we are calling the "Mascot Flowchart." It's a handy little (gigantic) flowchart that will explain exactly what is going through your team president's head when he rolls out Otto the Lupus Patient at the next Lions game. As a special bonus, if you don't currently have a team, you can follow the lines of your various neuroses to figure out which is the right fit for you! You probably want to click to enlarge. (Be warned, it is a 500k .jpg or a 2M .png!)
QUARTERBACK: The Quest for Quinn was the nickname in Pro Football Prospectus 2006 for the chance a team would have no more than four wins per the Football Outsiders projection. This week, Brady Quinn was Loser League's lowest signal-caller of the week with 4 points, and his Chiefs appear headed to the top of the draft.
RUNNING BACK: Jonathan Dwyer: number one in Loser League this week with -1 point and apparently now number one on the Steelers running back depth chart. With 2 points were a trio of NFC South backs selected in the first round, Mark Ingram, Jonathan Stewart, and DeAngelo Williams.
WIDE RECEIVER: Donald Jones, Brian Hartline, Harry Douglas, Michael Jenkins, and Stephen Hill each had 1 point.
KICKER: Matt Prater missed two field goals. Combined with two made extra points and one made field goal, that's 1 point. At press time, Peyton Manning was not known to have killed him, ordered his release, or referred to him as an "idiot kicker." That we know of, at least.
KEEP CHOPPING WOOD: With no Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers tried to rely on their run game against the Browns. How did their running backs respond? Jonathan Dwyer: nine touches, one fumble. Rashard Mendenhall: four touches, two fumbles. Chris Rainey: thirteen touches, two fumbles. Isaac Redman: three touches, one fumble.
MIKE MARTZ AWARD: We like Jim Schwartz, really we do. He's plugged our work. He took over a bad team that has turned into an at least respectable one quickly. Like one of your Scramble writers, he is an alumnus of Georgetown University. He still did something really dumb against the Texans, and as a head coach that is an inexplicably terrible thing to do, no matter how bad the (atrocious) call on the field was. Why, Jim, why?
Tom: Seattle's run defense has been surprisingly porous of late.
Mike: While true, Indianapolis is nothing to write home about. It's also the choice between a starter on a mediocre running team versus a vulture on a decent running team.
Tom: Yes, while Seattle's run defense has struggled of late, Indianapolis' has been terrible pretty much all season. Leshoure is also likelier to get carries than Bush. Don't overthink things. Start Leshoure.
Mike: Bush hasn't been productive this year outside of one game, and there is no reason to believe he'll have the goal-line opportunities he needs to be a value start. Leshoure all the way.
Tom: As an aside, I will also note I warned you, Eagles fans. I mentioned every running back I drafted in fantasy football this year except LeSean McCoy has been injured. Sadly, McCoy has joined the list of the injured. Don't say I didn't warn you, Eagles fans. Also, Giants fans, sorry for picking up Andre Brown. I believe it is now not just every back I drafted, but every back I have had on my roster that has been injured. If you have a back who may be available on the waiver wire you'd like me to hurt as well, post him in the comments. It seems I could use another one or two.
Tom: Or, darnit, even on Tuesday night six games don't have lines yet.
Mike: What a mess. Still, even were the others available, I'm still very much inclined to take Houston Texans -6 at Tennessee Titans. Houston is somewhat inconsistent, but they're a complete package and better on both offense and defense than the Titans. Winning by a touchdown shouldn't be too high a hurdle.
Tom: My heuristics indicate Detroit -4.5 versus the Colts and Miami +9 against the Patriots may be favorable numbers. Especially tempting is the Rams +7.5 at home against the 49ers. I will instead take the Washington Redskins +3 vs. the New York Giants. The gap between these two teams in Weighted DVOA is roughly equal to the homefield edge, and I don't trust the Giants even after the blowout of the Packers.
Mike: Wow, a bold call.
Tom: As a reminder, all picks are made for enjoyment purposes only and, except to the extent disclosed herein, have no money riding on them. In other words, if I'm wrong, I say, "Oops," and try to do better the next time.
Mike: And if you're correct, you lord it over us all for a week?
Tom: Have I mentioned I picked the Lions +3.5 and won last week yet?
Mike: Astoundingly, no.
Tom: Well, let me take the opportunity to do just that then! With you idle last week, I moved a half-game closer and am now 6-3 after the Lions covered last week even after blowing a fourth-quarter lead because Matthew Stafford kept getting sacked on third down just short of field-goal range. You stand at 7-3. As a reminder, all lines are courtesy of Bovada and were accurate as of time of writing. All picks are made without reference to FO’s Premium picks.
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43 comments, Last at 02 Dec 2012, 10:24am by Mr Shush