I went 6-4 in the inconsequential leagues (unless Mario Manningham outscores Tony Romo by 22 in which case I went 5-5) largely because I played against either McFadden or Kenny Britt (225 yards, 3 TDs) in several leagues. Or in one case, both. I lost that game 114-182.
Most importantly, I was 9-5 on my picks against the spread.
Here are just a few brief thoughts on the games ...
Browns 30, Saints 17
In the shocker of the week, Drew Brees was terrible and the Browns defense (led by former Saint Scott Fujita) had 4 interceptions and scored twice. Apparently, the Madden Curse is no longer restricted to injuries. Now it's affecting accuracy and self-confidence. Yikes.
Ravens 34, Bills 31, OT
When I saw 'BUF 24 BAL 10' at the bottom of the TV, my first thought was, "Ugh, poor Buffalo fans. Blowing a two-TD lead is a sucky way to lose." Sure enough.
Does this make me panic about my Ravens Super Bowl pick? Nah, not quite. I think it's impressive that they came back when they could have just folded. And I think this will be the game people point to next offseason when they say, "The team that went 0-16 held a 2 touchdown lead against the eventual Super Bowl champions."
Falcons 39, Bengals 32
I watched most of this game and what I saw was Roddy White and Michael Turner both looking like top 5 overall players at their respective positions. Despite scoring 21 points in 3 minutes thanks to some fluky turnovers, the Bengals still couldn't get the win. Atlanta is the best team in the NFC right now.
Steelers 23, Dolphins 22
I had an argument this weekend with my 7 year old nephew about whether or not the Steelers are in fact "the awesomest team ever."
He asked me if I like the Steelers and I said "No, I like a team called the Lions," to which he replied, "The Lions stink!" I asked him if he had ever seen them play before, or if he knew any players on their team (not an obscene request, considering that my 9 year old cousin -a Lions fan- can rattle off the starting lineups of all 32 teams without breaking a sweat) and of course he could not. I then asked the obvious question, "How do you know they stink?"
His reply: "Because the Steelers RULE!"
That mindset literally describes every football fan in western Pennsylvania. My hatred for Pittsburgh has been renewed.
Chiefs 42, Jaguars 20
After back to back losses to Indy and Houston, the Chiefs were more than excited to play Todd Bouman and the lazy Jags. This game was actually close for a while, but then KC scored 21 straight in the 4th quarter and cruised. I still can't decide ... is KC good? Or is Jacksonville just bad? Or both?? Or neither????
Redskins 17, Bears 14
The Bears are now 3-4 (wait, I forgot, you need to catch the ball with both hands and then stand completely still in the endzone for 30 seconds untouched in order to have an official touchdown and complete the process) ...My bad. Let me start over...
The Bears are now 4-3 despite starting out 3-0. They are the worst team in the NFC. Two weeks ago they were the worst 4-1 team in NFL history; now they might be the worst 4-3 team in NFL history. Jay Cutler is bad. No, he's much worse than bad. He's poisonous. He's noxious. He's pernicious. He is utterly injurious and unapologetically deleterious.
Oh, by the way, congrats to DeAngelo Hall on his four INT game.
Panthers 23, 49ers 20
With that loss, San Francisco's season is officially over. At 1-6, they aren't coming back. Maybe they'll go 5-11, but that won't be enough to win the division. This was a game they couldn't afford to lose. Expect Mike Singletary to be the first coach fired this season, followed shortly by Wade Phillips.
Niners fans who were chanting for David Carr two weeks ago were horrified to see him actually play: Carr went 5 for 13 for 67 yards and 1 very ugly interception after Alex Smith hurt his shoulder. Carr's QB rating was an unbelievably low 23.6.
The good news is that Andrew Luck, Jake Locker and Ryan Mallet all look like legit NFL quarterbacks, and San Fran will likely pick in the top 5. Buffalo will draft first (Andrew Luck I think), and the only other potentially horrible teams who need a new QB are Arizona, Jacksonville and maybe Seattle. I think San Fran's chances of getting one of the 3 coveted rookies is about 75% after this loss.
Buccanneers 18, Rams 17
Both teams were actually pretty horrible but St. Louis was a little bit more horrible. And uh, don't look now, but Josh Freeman might be clutch.
Titans 37, Eagles 19
Kenny Britt was supposed to miss this game due to some bar fighting incident. Instead, he went crazy for 225 yards and 3 TDs as Tennessee scored 27 points in the 4th quarter in a dramatic comeback win. Chris Johnson had only 66 rushing yards.
The Eagles have an A- offense but a D+ defense.
Seahawks 22, Cardinals 10
If Chicago is the worst 4-3 team in history, then Seattle is surely the worst 4-2 team in history. I hate the NFC West.
Patriots 23, Chargers 20
Every year, the Chargers start out 2-5 and make the playoffs. But with injuries and holdouts taking their top 4 receiving targets out of the gameplan and with no semblance of a running attack, is it time to panic?
No, I don't think so. I still think San Diego has a 10-6 team (maybe 9-7) and should win the division. The people who should be panicking are Pats fans. New England was outgained by almost 200 total yards and won thanks to dumb penalties and a missed field goal. That won't get it done in the playoffs.
If San Diego loses their next two games (Tennessee, Houston - a definite possibility) you can bet that Norv Turner is fired.
Raiders 59, Broncos 14
My 'Lock of the Week' looks pretty backwards. What the heck happened? I mean, besides Darren McFadden?
Oakland racked up more than 500 total yards and scored the most points in franchise history. Usually I'm not a big fan of running up the score, but on the road against a hated division rival with an arrogant coach who was arrogant enough to draft Tim Tebow in the first round? Yes, I think it's okay. Hopefully this springboards Oakland into competitiveness. For some reason I like Oakland.
Packers 28, Vikings 24
Ugh. I watched most of this game for fantasy purposes (screw you Randy Moss) and was utterly disgusted by everything I saw. Brett Favre didn't play like a 41 year old. He played like a 61 year old. Limping, hobbling, looking like a complete fool. Throwing interceptions straight into the arms of linebackers, not once, not twice, but three times in a span of 7 pass attempts. Completely wasting a great performance by Adrian Peterson, who really looks like he might be the best running back since Barry Sanders. I am absolutely positive that the Vikings would have won this game with Tavaris Jackson at quarterback. The Packers seemed determined to lose, but Favre was more determined.
This was a typical Vikings possession:
AP runs for 8 yards
AP runs for 3 yards
AP runs for 15 yards
AP runs for 7 yards
AP runs for 5 yards
Favre throws a pick
With Tavaris Jackson, at least you have the threat of an evasive quarterback and can keep passing plays alive a la Michael Vick. This gives Harvin and Moss time to run around and create big pass plays. It really would work. The only question is Tavaris's accuracy. But can it be any worse than Favre at this stage? I don't think so.
Between the 2-4 record, the QB rating of 68, the sex-phone scandal, the injury concerns to the ankle and arm, the knowledge that he's going to retire after this season anyway, and the fact that everyone hates him, I think the best move for the Vikings right now is to bench Favre for Tavaris Jackson. Which of course would lead to Favre being placed on IR with an ego injury and ending his career. I think it's time for Minnesota to cut their losses and try to make a playoff push with Tavaris.
Every starting quarterback in the NFL has a better passer rating than Brett Favre except Derek Anderson and Jimmy Claussen. That means it's time to call it quits.
Giants 41, Cowboys 35
Eli threw 2 interceptions on his first 4 passes and Dallas jumped out to a 10-0 lead in about 5 minutes. Then I fell asleep on the couch. Eli's passer rating was a 2.6, the lowest I've ever seen in my life.
When I woke up this morning, Eli had thrown for 306 yards and 4 TDs and brought his passer rating up to 100.4. Hakeem Nicks was a monster, with 14 targets, 9 catches, 108 yards, and 2 TDs. Steve Smith was also studly with 9 catches for 101 yards and a score. Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 126; Jacobs ran for 75; the Giants finished with 497 yards of total offense.
In short, the Cowboys suck. They're now 1-5, and Romo is out for 6 weeks with a broken collerbone. Trying to lead the heroic comeback for the Boys will be Jon Kitna, or as he's known in my household, Jon Shitna.
Dallas had less turnovers, less penalties, and better special teams play than the Giants, but ultimately, they didn't win simply because they sucked at defense. They couldn't stop the run or the pass; they ran the ball only 13 times for 41 yards; Miles Austin had only 3 catches for 38 yards and Roy Williams was catchless. Dez Bryant scored 3 times, including a very impressive 93 yard punt return, but it wasn't nearly enough.
Dallas is the most talented 1-5 team in NFL history, and Wade Phillips is currently updating his resume as we speak.
Oh yeah, basketball season starts Tuesday.
I picked 10th in my fantasy league and took Deron Williams and then Chris Bosh on the way back. I got Kevin Love (he's going to lead the NBA in rebounding - you heard it hear first), Blake Griffin (I predict a 20-12 season) and Marcus Camby (10 boards, 2 blocks) in my frontcourt, and along with Williams I have Raymond Felton (new Knicks point guard, should see 10 assists per game in Mike Dantoni's system) and 76ers rookie Evan Turner (hoping for a 15-6-4 stat line) in the backcourt. Trevor Ariza (Hornets) and Carl Landry (Kings) are my sharpshooters and I'm hoping they'll contribute heavily in the 3s category; they both play with elite point guards so that should help. As far as depth, I've got Robin Lopez (fills the gap for Amare on the Suns) and JJ Hickson (somebody's gotta score on Cleveland) as well as Grant Hill (solid 12 ppg) and my super sleeper, Beno Udrih, a Yugoslavian shooting guard on the Kings who might put up 15 pgg and 5 apg.
Do I have the sexiest team in fantasy basketball history? No. But do I have an effective, efficient and potentially championship-caliber team? Absolutely.
Stay tuned for week 8 picks, Lions stuff, and whatever else.