December 15, 2011
How long can Tebow do this? The Broncos had no business winning that game, but for whatever reason, Marion Barber was compelled to run out of bounds to stop the clock, then suffer an odd fumble in overtime. Barber had a good game up until the last few minutes. Truly bizarre. A very entertaining game for how boring it actually was.
Other than that spectacle Sunday afternoon, I’m very bitter right now. The majority of my predictions were on point – Ray Rice, Reggie Bush, and the Jets defense came up big, but that wasn’t enough. My fantasy team managed to score a whopping 150 points, demolishing my opponent, but I missed the playoffs by a mere nine points. If only rotisserie leagues were the norm.
I’ll admit I’m less interested in predictions now, but I enjoy when they come through, so I’ll continue the next couple weeks.
Week 15 Predictions
Cleveland was able to hold Rashard Mendenhall in check Thursday night, to my astonishment, but that success will be short-lived. Division battles are also the most fierce battles, especially involving two heated rivals with a history. But the Browns have no beef with the Cardinals whatsoever, and Wells has come on strong this year as worthy of his first round selection years ago. He’ll be aided by the lack of quarterback consistency, playing with a game manager rather than a touchdown generator. Solid Sunday play.
For whatever reason, I’ve been on a running back kick the past few weeks, as well as anti-Colts. I can’t argue with what I see. Chris Johnson seems to have gotten his legs back after the lockout and holdout left him dormant too long, and the Colts are the Colts. Don’t think this needs further explanation. CJ all the way.
Another running back? Yes. This time of year, teams develop obvious tendencies, and save from a few strange occurrences, things become more predictable. Detroit has had a poor run defense all season, but it will help that Ndamukong Suh is coming back from suspension. Bush has come on strong as a replacement for Darren McFadden, much to my excitement – I drafted him in the 10th round. If the Raiders make the playoffs, it’ll be because of Bush – and definitely NOT Carson Palmer, who in my mind, is the AFC’s Rex Grossman.
That’s right – he can’t throw a spiral, but he gets the job done so well he’s going to make the leap into fantasy stud this week. This is a perfect match up for him against a dismal New England defense. They can’t defend the pass, and aren’t much better against the run. Belichik is somewhat of a defensive guru, so he may be able to solve the Tebow conundrum, so don’t be shocked if this prediction falls flat. But also don’t be shocked if Tebow throws a couple bombs to Eric Decker.
This matchup will likely prove to be the game of the week, as well. The New England high powered offense versus the stalwart Denver defense – two worlds collide.
November 18, 2011
Could the Indianapolis Colts go 0-16?
Going into their bye week this Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts are a brutal 0-10. Before the Detroit Lions in 2008, losing every game on your schedule in a 16 game season was thought to be impossible. Could it possibly happen again just three years later? I thought I would take a look at the Colts remaining 6 games and see just how real the possibility may be.
This could be their best chance at finally getting a win. The Colts have been at home for their previous two games and will be yet again when Carolina comes to Lucas Oil Field. Add to that the extra time they have to rest from their bye, and Indianapolis should be well prepared for this game.
Unfortunately for them the 2-7 Panthers are no pushover. Cam Newton is getting better and better as he continues to get more comfortable in the NFL. If the Colts can’t find a way to shore up their run defense (31st in the league), they could lose yet another decision.
The Colts are going to have a hard time leaving Foxborough with a win. Even if New England has the 32nd worst pass defense, I don’t see the Colts winning a shootout with New England. The Colt’s defense will simply be outmatched with the firepower Tom Brady and the Patriots have on offense. Besides, New England might take pleasure in beating a recent rival who is down.
Double what I just said above. Ravens fans have a deep-seeded hatred for the Indianapolis Colts, who were once the Baltimore Colts. Expect M&T Back Stadium in Baltimore to be rabid as they hope to help their old team to a winless record. The Ravens are better in all phases and should have an easy time getting a win at home.
This game starts the stretch of divisional games that will run through the end of the season for the Colts. If the Colts don’t have a win by this point in the season, their spirits won’t be very high. Having already lost at Tennessee this year, chances are slim home field advantage will be able to make up the difference in this match up. The Titans at this point in the season still have a shot at the playoffs. If that is still the case in Week 15, you can bet they will be poised not to let this game get away.
The Colts may have caught a break in this game (no pun intended) as Matt Schaub may be done for the season with a foot injury. However, Texans fans would probably still like their chances with Arian Foster against the Colts run defense. If the Colts can avoid Schaub and stop the run, this could be a game they could sneak away with.
Could you imagine the pressure if the Colts are 0-15 going into this game? The Colts fans would be in attendance for what could be a historically bad ending to their season, something Lions fans were spared in 2008. The good news would be, Jacksonville is not a world beater, and if the Colts haven’t packed it in already, they could save themselves in the 11th hour.
So many twists and turns could happen between each week of this outline. Regardless, the tension (and fear from Colts fans) is palpable as Indianapolis travels towards a mark that no one wants to be associated with. If they do achieve this unfortunate record, at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel. They will be getting Peyton Manning back next year, and they will have his successor, Andrew Luck, ready to learn.
October 3, 2011
Football is often described as the most team-oriented of the major sports. With a total of 22 athletes on the field at the same time, players need to rely on others to do their job more than in any other game. But there are a few players in the NFL that help determine the success of their team a great deal.
One is Peyton Manning.
At 35, Manning is still one of the top quarterbacks in the game. When it was known that he would be out for a while with his neck injury, the Colts went out and brought in veteran Kerry Collins. While Collins has been a serviceable quarterback throughout his career, it’s clear his better days are behind him. Through three games, he’s thrown for only two touchdowns and has completed less than 50% of his passes. And with Collins now out with concussion-like symptoms, the Colts are turning to young backup, Curtis Painter. Both may be capable to a degree, but neither is as qualified as Manning, obviously.
As the Indianapolis Colts sit 0-3 heading into tonight’s Monday night matchup, there’s no question about his importance to the team. With Manning last year, the team was 10-6 and in the playoffs. It’s still early, but at first glance, the playoffs are looking out of reach for this team.
If you need to know just how important Manning is, another indicator besides the record is in the rest of the Indianapolis roster. It doesn’t take long to see there’s clearly talent on the team. There’s Joseph Addai in the backfield, the future Hall of Famer Reggie Wayne at wideout, and defensive playmakers Dwight Freeney, Pat Angerer, Robert Mathis, and Antoine Bethea. The point is that even with considerable talent, the Colts are still failing. Miserably. Yes, the Colts are a year older, but this team is largely the same as it was in 2010 … and that team was 10-6 and reached the postseason. Some dropoff can be expected if an already veteran team gets a year older, but the change in the 2011 version of the Colts is night and day from the 2010 squad.
Manning isn’t simply a good player, he’s a leader. Sure, he can still provide guidance from the sidelines and during practices, but his impact is obviously going to be limited. It’s not the same with him out of the huddle and maybe more importantly, Manning also has to be careful to not encroach into the territory too much since the players need to rely on their current quarterbacks, Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter for leadership. There’s no question that neither has the talent of Manning, but they still need to be able to instill their own types of leadership while on the field – especially because it’s looking more and more like he could be out the entire season.
So the question becomes, “Is the season lost for the Colts?” There’s talk that Manning could potentially be back in December. It’s pretty clear that there would be a certain amount of rust to shake off, but I believe that Manning could be pretty effective with little game action. He’s been playing football long enough that with a bit of practice time, he should ready to go fairly quickly. A December return could give Manning that needed preparation time to get ready for, you guessed it, the playoffs.
The only problem is that the Colts actually need to be in striking distance. Since it’s not known when in December Manning might be ready, let’s assume he gets back by the middle of the month in time for the Colts’ December 18th matchup against the Tennessee Titans. Indianapolis has ten games up to that point and, realistically, probably need to win six of them at the very least. That would put them at 6-7 and with wins in their final three games, would give the Colts a 9-7 record. Of course, with what we’ve seen so far, winning six out of ten is going to be easier said than done – especially considering Indianapolis has some stiff competition over that span with road games against New Orleans, New England, and Baltimore, and a home contest against the Falcons.
And even if Indy is somehow able to win six games, that still means Manning needs to pitch a shutout and win the final three games of the season to get that 9-7 mark. In addition, that assumes that 9-7 is even good enough to get in the playoffs.
When you add it all up, the playoffs are looking like a long shot this season for Peyton and Indy.