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Musings Of A Depressed Pats Fan
October 17, 2008 - John Whittaker
I tried to be upbeat about this whole Tom Brady's Out For The Whole F______ing Season thing.
I swear I did. The News Gal will back me up on this.
I tried talking myself into the Matt Cassel era. I tried talking myself into believing a geriatric defense could step up for one more year and keep the pressure off Cassel. I tried talking myself into a flawed team gelling while it played a weak schedule and going on a late-season run. I even tried to use the "Brady Was A Backup Too" angle. I even tried the "Belichick has done well with little talent before" line of reasoning.
The lesson? I'm an idiot. Don't listen to me. I know nothing about the NFL.
Or, maybe, I'm just an optimist when it comes to my favorite teams (see, Time To Root For The House, posted in July, in which I spewed good tidings about Darrel Rasner. Shoot me now, please).
All that ended Sunday with me sitting in my Steve Grogan jersey watching my "They Don't Have It This Year" moment as the Pats got stuffed four times from the 1-yard line. It's not the whole coming up empty four times three feet from the goal line thing that ticked me off -- it was the defense turning around and letting the Chargers waltz their way down the field in four plays for a touchdown. On the plus side, Bruno Tonioli gave that performance an 8, so the Pats defense will stick around to do the quickstep with Jay Cutler and the Denver offense this weekend.
Sunday's game was my equivalent of Dan Marino pointing out Captain Winkie in Ace Ventura, of Lt. Caffey getting Col. Jessup to say he ordered the code red or even that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the Nazis take the lid off the Ark of the Covenant.
I've seen the light.
After three championships and one Super Bowl appearance in the last seven years, I'm not abandoning the Pats. They've given me too many good times for that. Let's just say my expectations have been lowered to their proper levels.
So, no, I won't be picking the Pats to beat Denver on Monday night. And, I'll probably flip back and forth between How I Met Your Mother/Two and a Half Men and the game. There will be no lucky jersey, no taco dip (I make a mean taco dip, by the way, that I break out for special occasions. Just ask the News Gal) and no me in the living room watching the game while the News Gal watches Bridezilla in the other room.
Wow, let me have some cheese with my whine. I can't believe you read all that. I'll try to make it up for you in future blogs.
On to Sunday's games (favorite will be in bold once I get the rest of the picks).
San Diego at Buffalo: Buffalo, meet LaDanian. LaDanian, meet Buffalo. Don't panic, Bills fans - your team's probably losing on Sunday. It's nothing your team did, but they're running into a Mack truck Sunday. I left last Sunday night's game impressed with the Chargers - who the heck is Vincent Jackson, and why couldn't anyone cover him. We all know LaDanian, but that toe injury sure looks healed to me. Philip Rivers looked really solid, and the offensive line kept him safer than my retirement savings. Meanwhile, Buffalo is taking on a team that pressured the heck out of the Pats with the recently concussed Trent Edwards under center. Hope J.P. Losman's ready to take over sometime in the third quarter -- that's right about the time Edwards should start thinking he's Batman.
New Orleans at Carolina: That thud you just heard was me jumping off the Carolina bandwagon. Yikes, what the heck was I thinking -- this team is an inconsistent mess. Yeah, Jake Delhomme might throw for 300 yards against the Saints, but I still like the Saints' chances to outscore the Panthers. This smells like a 30-24 game to me … or a stinky fart -- I get those confused, sometimes.
Minnesota at Chicago: Who would have thought, at the start of the season, the Bears would have a better quarterback situation than the Patriots? Part of me wonders if the Bears would have traded Rex Grossman to the Pats - like it could have been any worse. Conventional wisdom says this will be a slugfest, but I go the other way. The best way for Chicago to win is to throw early and often - Minnesota is great against the run. Look up the Patriots gameplan last year against the Vikes - throw, throw, throw. My money is on Kyle Orton tossing three touchdowns and about 280 yards in a Bears win.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: Do I really need to say anything? Steelers win, with or without Willie Parker (I'm crying for my fantasy team, by the way).
Tennessee at Kansas City: Do I really need to say anything, Part II? Titans win. Just insert your own punchline.
N.Y. Jets at Oakland: Do I really need to say anything, Part III? Jets win. You can feel free to make up a Favre joke and paste it here.
Baltimore at Miami: Thank you, Baltimore, for firing Brian Billick and giving us an announcer who can say something interesting about a football game. Billick was great Sunday doing the Atlanta-Chicago game - I actually enjoyed listening to a broadcast. What does that have to do with this game - NOTHING, which is what Miami is about to become. I'm not drinking Miami's Kool-Aid quite yet. I think Ray Lewis might be a little peeved about that whole Colts debacle - and I feel sorry for whoever he hits Sunday (though the best person for him to have hit last week was Chris McAllister, the corner who got toasted twice by Marvin Harrison). I'm going with the Ravens in one of the ugliest games of the season - it could seriously be a 9-3 game.
San Francisco at N.Y. Giants: So, I think I remember seeing a blogger, some guy calling himself the Whitless Wonder, who nailed that Trap Game pick against the Giants on Monday. Unfortunately for San Francisco, this week will be the "F-You Revenge Game" for the Giants. Hope this one's not on TV -- it might get messy.
Dallas at St. Louis: First, it's a national emergency that Tony Romo's out four weeks with a pinky injury. Now, he wants to play despite his injury -- who does he think he is, Trevor Wikre? Steve Pelluer (remember him?) could start at quarterback this week for the 'Boys and it wouldn't matter - the Rams peaked last week.
Detroit at Houston: Here's the case for buying DirectTV -- the Motor City Inbred Kittens and the Houston Former Oilers will be the 1 p.m. nationally televised game on Fox. That's right, the guy who ran out of bounds for 10 yards in the end zone is starting on national TV this weekend. Poor Dan Orlovsky - I'm sure he's a nice guy, but he's going to be looking at that piece of film, with him running out of bounds for 10 steps before anyone knew what was happening, for the next 30 years. The white line is out of bounds, smart guy. I can't believe this game is on national TV. I think I now know what Ace Ventura felt like when he realized Einhorn and Finkle are the same person. I'm picking Houston, by the way, after I'm done vomiting and clawing out my eyes.
Indianapolis at Green Bay: I don't know what to make of Green Bay, but it doesn't matter this week. As a sidenote, do you think Peyton heard those "Eli's the best Manning in the NFL right now" comments and took it a little personally? I do. Peyton's back, damn him. This could be a shootout, but I'm having a hard time picking against the Colts after watching them light up a decent secondary last week. I don't care that Joseph Addai's probably out. When Peyton's throwing as well as he did last week, you can't stop the Colts if they were stuck running the old four-play Tecmo Super Bowl playbook.
Cleveland at Washington: I nailed Cleveland in the trap game last week -- and now I'm picking against them in a letdown game. The Browns played so well Monday, there's no way they repeat that performance in a short week, especially on the road with fat guys wearing flowered dresses in the stands. It's like the anti-Replacements (where the players are distracted by the stripper cheerleaders. I don't expect you to remember much from that movie without a prompt. I forgive you). Jim Zorn gets to keep the house and car for one more week in Washington.
Seattle at Tampa Bay: Could you blame Seattle fans if they switch from Starbucks to crack, having to sit through the Mariners during the summer, the Seahawks this winter and not having the Supersonics in town anymore after the midnight move to Oklahoma City? Didn't think so. It's going to be a long winter for Seattle sports fans. On the plus side, Steve Largent's back from his back injury this week, so Seneca Wallace has someone to throw to. How's that for a bright spot, Seattle? Enjoy that second bye week, Bucs fans.
Denver at New England: If Tom Brady was playing quarterback for the Patriots, I'd pick the Pats in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, he'll be babysitting Monday night (Gisele wouldn't let him out to play, and Bridget Moynihan is off on a job, so Tom's on babysitting duty), leaving Randy Moss to sulk on the sideline after Matt Cassel misses him on another three bombs downfield and Cassel to sulk when Moss drops another 40-yard pass inside the 5 yard line.
Is it time for the Pats to consider calling Daunte Culpepper (with his knees, might as well be playing in a wheelchair), Jake Plummer (did I just write that?) or Steve Grogan to come play quarterback for the rest of the season. Did Vinny Testeverde turn down Scott Pioli's phone call? Someone tell me why the Pats are stuck with Matt Cassel and Kevin O'Connell at quarterback. I can't believe you would willingly put a team together with a guy who hasn't started a game in 10 years and a rookie as the only depth behind a franchise quarterback in a league where every team except for those with a Manning start the backup quarterback at least once a season. Tennessee is even undefeated with its backup - but the Pats didn't think a good backup was worth spending money on.
Let's try this from another angle. In a league where quarterback injuries are as common as Sarah Palin jokes on Saturday Night Live, the defending AFC Champions chose not to have an established backup quarterback. And, Scott Pioli, I'm looking right at your picture, you're the genius behind The Blueprint?
If Scott Pioli comes up missing tomorrow, I swear I was at work when it happened.
Quarterback isn't the only issue, Scotty Boy. Where did you guys go for a defensive backfield - Dollar General? Did they have a 10 for $10 special on cornerbacks? Asante Samuel leaves, and we have Ellis Hobbs III (who is fast but is also as tall as Verne Troyer. I'll call him Mini-Asante) and Deltha O'Neal (that's right, Deltha O'Neal. Think about how absurd that is) playing corner - knowing full well you'll be playing Indianapolis and San Diego in the playoffs. Cincinnati, that defensive juggernaut, cuts Deltha O'Neal, and the Pats decide to sign him why, because Tatum O'Neal wasn't available? Wouldn't she sign for the peanuts you allocate for a defensive backfield? Rodney Harrison's 100 and can't keep up with a tight end, and he's still starting? Explain it. Explain it to me now Scott!!! I"m not kidding!!! …
Deep breaths, baby. Deep breaths. Count backwards from 10. Think of non-exciting things … Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day. … Watching Darrell Rasner pitch. … Rogaine… Grass growing in a pasture … Alex Rodriguez in a clutch situation … Vanilla ice cream .... Alex Rodriguez in a clutch situation .... A nice cold glass of milk ... Sidney Ponson in a speedo .... Pepto Bismol .... Kathy Bates' nude scene in About Schmidt (Sorry, that was also Sidney Ponson in a speedo!). ...
Aaaahhhhhh….. That really helped. I feel better now, so on with the blog.
Denver wins this one, and it could get ugly before the first commercial break in Two and a Half Men. Isn't it impressive, by the way, that I picked Denver without once saying anything nice about them? What does that tell you about my feelings on the Pats at this point in the season?
If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go put my Super Bowl XXXIX DVD in and relive the good old days -- watching Donovan McNabb throw up running the seven-minute drill in the Super Bowl.
You've been a great crowd - be sure to tip your waitress.
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