Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Oct 2005

Week 7 Rundown

Here's our weekly rundown of upcoming games on FOXSports.com. The Giants want to show the world they're for real, the Broncos want to show Football Outsiders they're for real, and the Ravens and Bears just want to figure out if they can play a game with nothing but defensive touchdowns. Plus some thoughts on Steelers-Bengals, and Gordon Lightfoot sings "The Wreck of the Daunte Culpepper."

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 20 Oct 2005

51 comments, Last at 22 Oct 2005, 11:17am by admin


by TMK (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 3:33pm


I don't care what Al and Vivek say, you've got the most complete obscure pop cultural reference of the week. It even scans right; very impressive.

Thanks for not giving the Must-Flee designation to Bears-Ravens, since it's the only game on in Chicago late Sunday anyway. CBS must be screaming at the thoughts of an audience switching en masse to the World Series; even scheduling Michael Jordan for 60 Minutes may not be enough to save the Chicago market.

Will Kyle Orton screw up more than Anthony Wright? As Kyle's my Loser League QB, I sure hope so.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 3:46pm


You meant to say that Haslett used a barnyard epithet, not epitaph.

An epitaph is something that's written on a tombstone. Wait, maybe that is appropriate for describing the Saints. But anyway, it's still a typo. :)

by Joon (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 3:50pm

todd peterson was only the kicker for one of those two do-overs, the one last week against the saints. against the patriots the week before, it was punter/kickoff specialist michael koenen, who has a stronger leg, making the 58-yard FG attempt.

by Mike M (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 3:51pm

Was Todd Peterson's first "do-over" the 58 yarder against the Patriots? If so, that was the punter, Matt Koenen, not Peterson. Just sayin'.

by B (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 4:04pm

Also it was a timeout, not a penalty.

by pawnking (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 4:14pm

On an unrelated topic, does anyone read ESPN.com anymore for any reason other than Bill Simmons? I know I stopped looking up scores there when the "ESPN Motion" started to get me "looks" from my boss, and I can't think of any writer over there who isn't part of their pay package that I'm remotely interested in. I mean Myers is pretty good, but am I going to pay to read him? And how critical is it for me to get Gene Wojciechowski's unique take on sports?

I mean, do you want people to visit your site or not? Hiring Simmons back is the only move aimed at attracting readers I think they've done in the past 2 years or so. Since I can get his articles on his "Sportsguy world" site, and since he's vowed never to be a pay site, I'm about this close to removing espn from my bookmark list. Am I alone in this?

by DGL (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 4:17pm

The community college of Monmouth County is Brookdale Community College, not Monmouth County Community College. (And don't tell me you meant another Monmouth County; there's only one Monmouth County in the US.) And they don't even have a football team. (See link.) So, yeah, about on par with the Colts' strenght of schedule so far, I guess.

by Luz (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 4:22pm


nope, you're not alone on that. couldn't have said it better.

by Fiver (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 4:25pm

In short, the Bears are the team the Ravens think they are: a defense-first team with a sound running game that can sneak into the playoffs if their quarterback figures things out.

Ayup. I've been saying this same thing all week. These two teams are mirror images: good defenses, good special teams, good runners, and "Why has God forsaken us?" QBs. The major diff is that the Bears are playing defense the way the Ravens should be playing defense with the talent they have.

If the Ravens are actually capable of a higher level of play than they showed in Weeks 1-4, and last week's win was an indicator of this "true" level of play that they will maintain the rest of the season, then the Ravens may win this game and still factor into the playoffs. But if I had to put money on it, I'd lay it down against Anthony Wright winning on the road.

Sad, in a way. They have all the talent in the world, and with any one of the top 10 QBs in the league, this would be a SB-caliber team. But what they have is a bottom 3 QB situation, so they're destined for somewhere around 8-8. Makes me wonder how many other talented rosters have wasted their seasons in similar situations.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 4:32pm

I don't know what's lamer, that I'm the second person to come here to nitpick about the "Monmouth County Community College" line, or that I wasn't paying enough attention to figure out that Brookdale Community College is the equivalent.

There is Monmouth University, but they're on the same level as McNeese State, so there's no joke there.

by Mike M (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 4:41pm

Blast! Not only was I second to the punch on the "do over" comment, I trusted Yahoo's recap of the ATL-NE game that the punter's name is "Matt". It's "Michael." So my comment sucked the whole way round.

You win, Joon. (This time.)

by JG (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 4:45pm

RE #6:

I read the Page2 stuff because it amuses me mostly, although most of the columns are sport of the week not just football. I don't really read anything on the main page anymore. So yeah, I agree. Good call.

by B (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 4:46pm

RE #6: I read Paul Lukas' Uni Watch column. It's a fascinating look at the minutia of professional (and college) uniforms.

by MWojcik (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 4:52pm

'...the Bears aren't susceptible to big plays...'


I have to respectfully disagree. They have given up the following scores:

1. Week 2 - Detroit - 51 yard td pass (Detroit's only score of the game)

2. Week 3 - Cincy - 18, 36, & 40 yard td passes

3. Week 5 - Cleveland - 28 & 33 yard td passes (33 seconds apart)

What they haven't given up is the big run. But their corners - particularly Charles Tillman - have been repeatedly beaten for big scores.

by Jamie T. (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 5:13pm

Mike, your Indy joke had me rolling. I really enjoy these articles. Your wit is right up there with the best.

That being said, you missed a homerun when you didn't include in the "Arizona ulmni having a good year" barb, the fact that former Arizona DE Kyle Vanden Bosch is having a carreer year for....wait for it...the Titans. He's second in the league with 6.5 sacks. A half sack behind Mathis. The five or six Arizona fans that come out for this game are going to get to see KVB add a few more to his stats this weekend.

by Vince (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 5:28pm

I still read ESPN.com for:

* Sports Guy
* Len Pasquarelli
* John Clayton
* A full database of NFL stats. (I can find any player's numbers anywhere. If I want to sort teams by, say, completion percentage allowed, I go to ESPN.com.)

If anyone knows a better substitute for that last reason, I'd love to hear it.

by pawnking (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 5:38pm

Here's a non-espn site for defensive completion percentage. I don't trust espn's stats. This summer, I was doing research on park effects for baseball (long story) and used espn's site for my research. Their park effects stats were totally haywire, and I soon reaslized that they were unreliable, and to my knowledge they never fixed their bug. Just my little anecdote.

by JonL (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 5:54pm

RE: #6

I think Eric Neel's a great writer, and Alan Grant is good as well. I do agree with the larger point, though.

by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 6:33pm

" funny thing happened while the Cardinals were on their bye week: their alumni team had an awesome week"

Except, of course, for the vaunted former Arizona corner back Duane Starks.

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 6:57pm

I think Eric Neel is a great over-writer. He tries to turn every sentence up to 11, and it's a bit cloying.

by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 7:04pm

Okay, I admit it - I was one of the legions of fans rocking in the fetal position after Dallas cleaned the Eagles' clocks on 10/9. And I'm worried about the Chargers...and the Broncos...and McNabb's sports hernia...etc.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 7:07pm

Nice work, pawnking. So Milton went from a hitters' park to a pitchers' park and became a batting practice machine? If the Padres sign him next year, he'll become a slow-pitch softball pitcher.

I read ESPN for basically the same reasons as Vince, although I read the Sports Guy less often or less thoroughly now. I can only take so many violations of the five-year rule ...

MikeT, are you implying that 29 Vikings will be released or not re-signed after this season? :)

I'm guessing the Lions-Browns game isn't Must-Flee TV solely because everyone wants to know who'll be the Lions' QB on Sunday.

by Jason (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 7:10pm

I'm sure this will be considered blasphemy but I blame the scheme more than Starks. If you know a corner is struggling why not devise schems to help him out, like safety coverage over the top. It's like how when a tackle is struggling vs a defensive end a coach often uses a tight end to help out. Cotinually allowing a player to be isloated 1 on 1 deep down the field is poor game planning

by Fnor (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 7:57pm

Yeah, ESPN.com is fantastic for stats. Pasquarelli isn't too bad, either.

Clayton makes me want to hurt people.

by Whatever0 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 8:13pm

Baltimore's defense actually hasn't committed that many penalites, even including the Lions game. 32 penalties ties for third-least in the league, 230 yards is second. The Bears have 36 for 298, respectively.

The Ravens have also given up only 3 TDs of more than 20 yards: Two to Peyton Manning, and Shawn Bryson's run in the Lions game, where the D was stacked tight to try to stop him short, due to the Ravens being so far behind. The Bears have given up five, as stated.

That's not to say the Bears D haven't outplayed the Ravens D so far this year. However, that mainly has to do with Chicago generating more pressure (13 sacks to 11, five of which came last week), and getting more big plays (13 takeaways to 6).

The Ravens D has picked it up a great deal since the bye, absolutely manhandling the Jets, Lions, and Browns. Over/Under on the game is thirty, and I'm seriously considering taking the under.

by MikeT (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 8:53pm

Re: Monmouth County Community College. I was going out of my way to pick a college that didn't exist. I figured angry emails from McNeese State would be bad enough.

But all the other mistakes were 100% dumbness on my part. Especially the Falcons kicker thing ... the Eagles-Cowboys game killed brain cells.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 9:30pm

Loved the Lightfoot rewrite. Might Culpepper set a record for one-season fall-off by a non-injured quarterback? Sort of a reverse comeback player of the year award?

by Sergio (not verified) :: Thu, 10/20/2005 - 10:53pm

I have to say something here...

Back to normal with the Dolphins? Please tell me you're kidding...

by GBS (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 12:23am

"Re: Monmouth County Community College. I was going out of my way to pick a college that didn’t exist. I figured angry emails from McNeese State would be bad enough.

But all the other mistakes were 100% dumbness on my part. Especially the Falcons kicker thing … the Eagles-Cowboys game killed brain cells. "

There's a St. Maria Goretti parish with a middle school less than 10 miles from my house.

Yes, I'm serious.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 1:50am

"Manhandle," "Jets," "Lions," "Browns."

Is that damning with faint praise, or are you serious? ;)

by ammek (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 8:23am

I clicked on this thread in eager anticipation of reading a complaint from Kibbles with regard to your Broncos' prediction.

And it's not here.

He must be on vacation.

by Whatever0 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 9:34am

30: Well, it's not exactly like they're playing the Colts this week, either.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 9:37am

#6 et al

Page 2 was worth checking every day before the departures of Hunter Thompson and Ralph Wiley. There was a girl who wrote on occasion, I want to say Sarah Pressman but could be mistaken, whom I thought was a good read as well. I like reading Alan Grant. But Simmons is definitely the only reason I check it out these days. And I think ESPN knows it, seeing as they link to his mailbag from the Page 2 mainpage. Whitlock's columns seem to flip-flop between insightful and moronic, and I can't stomach Flemister any more. But I think they sunk to an all-time low with the Soap Opera they've been running a couple of weeks.

by B (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 10:51am

RE #31: I'm not Kibbles, but I think the Giants over Denver prediction is out of whack. The Giants have been playing sloppy all year, and I don't see anything changing when thy go up against Denver.

by Jamie T. (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 11:29am

Has anyone else noticed that Mike T is the only FO writer to get a nice graphic, complete with his picture? Fox must really like you, Mike.

by Mitch (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 11:40am

The test for writers is the ol' "what are you bringing to the table?" question. You either have to bring unique information (Lenny P) or unique perspective (Simmons).

John Clayton, despite his professorial reputation, brings very little to the table.

by TomC (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 1:16pm

That’s not to say the Bears D haven’t outplayed the Ravens D so far this year. However, that mainly has to do with Chicago generating more pressure ... and getting more big plays[.]"

I'm of the opinion that the success of the Bears D this year has even more to do with stopping the run. I will aver boldly with no supporting data that the Bears have the lowest opponent RB success rate in the league, and I attribute their continuing improvement in this department to a combination of the emergence of Ian Scott (finally getting some national props, thank you), a healthy Adewale Ogunleye (he's not just a pass rusher), and Mike Brown's move to SS (though he still gets caught out of position on traps and counters once in a while).

by JG (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 2:02pm

re: 33, 6 etc.

I still like the Flem File, and Whitlock is moronic, but I enjoy them in their own way. As for Bill Simmons, I pulled a quote out of his column today that is priceless:

"BEARS (-2) over Ravens
Any time a good defense with a crappy quarterback is battling a good defense with a crappy quarterback, I have to go with the good defense with the crappy quarterback. That's just one of my rules."

This illustrates why I atleast think Simmons is probably my favorite sports writer (I could change that to definately my favorite sports writer is Boston sports ceased to exist).

by Whatever0 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 2:39pm

37: The Bears definitely have been excellent defending the run this year, and that has been a big part of why they've been dominating defensively this year. The Ravens have also been stout against the run, mainly due to a resurgent Ray Lewis and excellent play by Gregg and Kemo inside. I was just suggesting the reason that the Bears have been better than the Ravens this year on D is that they've managed to force the big plays, while the Ravens haven't.

by Jeremy (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 2:48pm

Re: #38,

I thought Simmons' picks article this week was one of the funnier pieces he's done in recent memory. I think my favorite clips were:

"Wes Welker, Rock Cartwright and Boss Bailey ... those sound like three of the characters in "Brokeback Mountain." There's no way those are real names. Why isn't anyone investigating this? The "Madden" engine has been making up names for real NFL players all season and nobody cares."

"I love how Denny Green is playing coy with this Sunday's starting quarterback, like the Titans are going to be totally flustered if they're expecting Josh McCown and Kurt Warner lines up behind center. Oh, no, it's Warner! This changes everything! Instead of the young kid who sucks, we get the washed-up old guy! Now what do we do? In fact, it's so ridiculous, I think I have to take them."

by Devin (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 4:54pm

I loved, loved, loved this article!

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 5:34pm

Two comments on the Simmons article:

I'm fine with Chaz Batch -- you can win with him, his Detroit years were better than anyone remembers, and he won't single-handedly kill you.

Um, okay. I guess that's how it happened in your universe. Remember, this is the guy who lost his job to the Ty Detmer/Mike McMahon combination that preceded Harrington.

Did you see Kenoy Kennedy's vicious hit on Delhomme that knocked him out of the Carolina-Detroit game? I've been asking this ever since Warran Sapp twisted Jerry Rice's head around and blew out Rice's knee on the same play in 1997, but why can't we have penalties more than 15 yards? Like that Kennedy hit -- that should have been like a 50-yard penalty, right?

I can't believe I'm defending Kennedy (if this is a defense), but he didn't even manage to lead with his helmet. He did dive at a sliding QB, but for Kennedy, this wasn't even in his Top 10 Cheapest Shots list.

by Kordos (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 5:41pm

Aside: should we get a quick reads link / comment thread to Simmons' weekly NFL piece? Seems to be popular around here (and it certainly is with me...)

I certainly would rank it ahead of Eisen's.

by JG (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 5:44pm

RE 43:
I'll second that nomination.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 5:51pm


by owen (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 10:05pm

Great idea.

by Malene, cph, dk (not verified) :: Sat, 10/22/2005 - 9:15am

re: 43-45 - yeah, what's with that?
FO used to reference Simmons all the time in the first few months - common Boston background and all - but it stopped pretty suddenly when Simmons apparently intervened personally to stop the

by Malene, cph, dk (not verified) :: Sat, 10/22/2005 - 9:18am

re: 43-45 - yeah, what's with that?
FO used to reference Simmons all the time in the first few months - common Boston background and all - but it stopped pretty suddenly after Simmons apparently intervened personally to stop the

by Malene, cph, dk (not verified) :: Sat, 10/22/2005 - 9:20am

... it stopped pretty suddenly after Simmons apparently intervened personally to stop the FO readers' Sportsguy Hommage thing (after the TMQ contest). I remember thinking that was the reason he was sort of ignored afterwards - that maybe he'd responded in harsher words than necessary ;-) (bad blood conspiracy theory brewing...)
But maybe it was just because he stopped writing regularly about NFL and more about Manny. If so, I'd say his weekly picks warrant linking again.

by Malene, cph, dk (not verified) :: Sat, 10/22/2005 - 9:21am

AAARGH... sorry about the cut-up-triple-posting-spasms.

by admin :: Sat, 10/22/2005 - 11:17am

Sorry about the strange comment spasms, they are related to the re-code and using quote marks. We’re working on the issue.