Friday, January 9, 2009

Yo, Meathead!

Did everyone have a good Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s? Hope you were all safe out there on New Year’s Eve!

So now it’s time for the good stuff!

I know, I know, all you fans of NFL teams that didn’t get a first-round bye have already seen some of the good stuff—at least, the fans of the Eagles, Cardinals, Ravens, and Chargers have. Fans of the Vikings, Falcons, Dolphins, and Colts will have to wait another year!

A couple of things about that opening round of playoffs before I get into my favorite football subject. First, I am very surprised that the Chargers and Cardinals won. The Cardinals haven’t won squat in so long, I thought for sure that Atlanta would handle them, rookie quarterback or no. As for the Chargers, yeah, sure, they have Philip Rivers, who had the highest QB rating in the league this year. But the Colts have Peyton Manning! What the hey? Maybe spineless Norv Turner actually deserves more credit than I ever wanted to give him. Naaah. I don’t give them much of a chance against the Steelers this weekend. Likewise, I think the Panthers will hand it to Arizona with ease.

Yes, I think the games to watch this weekend, if you’re looking for excitement, will be Ravens–Titans and Eagles–Giants. Not that these games will necessarily be high-scoring, shootout types of affairs. Quite the contrary—I think they will both be big-time defensive battles that will be decided by a touchdown or less. But that, to me, is what football is all about: two power teams slugging it out in the ground game while their defenses try to make points a rare commodity. Sacks, fumbles, interceptions—and a grind-it-out running game on offense to control the clock and the tempo and keep the other guys’ defense on the field as long as possible.

I don’t know if I could call that AFC game—I guess in a pinch I’d pick Tennessee to beat Baltimore, although the Ravens’ defense once again looks almost impregnable as it did eight years ago when they won the Big Dance. Maybe it’s not quite that good, but it sure did put a hurting on Chad Pennington and the Fish last weekend.

As for the NFC game—ah, yes, NOW it’s time to talk about the Giants. True, they lost three of their last four, one loss of which was to Philadelphia, but consider: Two of those losses were division games in which Big Blue was not fully healthy. In the last loss, to Minnesota, the Giants didn’t play their starters the whole game and still ended up losing by only a point. Now the injured players have had a chance to rest at least two weeks—some of them three. The latest report has the G-men at just about full strength, which hasn’t been the case for weeks. The Giants got banged up playing one of the toughest schedules in NFL history—they had the earliest possible bye week and then four weeks later began a stretch of ten games in a row against teams with winning records, six of which made the playoffs. Yow! But when healthy, the Giants did beat the Eagles once, in addition to beating the Steelers, Ravens, and Panthers. I think this game will be close, as division games often are, but I think Big Blue will pull it off on their way to their second straight Super Bowl appearance. Time will tell.

SEASONINGS: Good for Ed’s cousin, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, for calling out the Yankees on their obscene spending spree this offseason. Of course, Yankees flunky Randy Levine shares my last name, but he’s no relation of mine. Thank goodness, because I’d be ashamed to share genes with him after he called Attanasio’s comments sour grapes—at the news conference announcing Mark Teixeira’s new $180 million dollar contract with New York. Can’t really say much more about that—it speaks for itself, I think.

And I see Jason Giambi is back with the A’s after defecting to New York eight years ago. Gosh, A’s management keeps making it harder and harder for me to root for them. I hope “the Giambino” gets roundly booed at his first home game and every game thereafter until he gets benched for his poor play, as he inevitably will. Who’s left from Giambi’s last term with the A’s? Only Eric Chavez, who has played only 113 games the last two seasons due to injury. He and Giambi should feel right at home with one another.

Maybe I don’t know all the facts, but I think less of John Smoltz for defecting to the Red Sox for an extra $3 million. I mean, the guy played in Atlanta for 21 years! He made millions already! Isn’t there something to be said for loyalty, both by the club and the player, after that long? Yes, maybe Atlanta should have offered him more, even though he’s coming off of major arm surgery, but even so, you’d think the two would be able to come to some sort of agreement after 21 years of service! Did Smoltz really need the money that badly? Sheesh!


Michael Burgan said...

Maybe he just realizes Boston is a much better place to spend your summers than Atlanta. I just hope he has something left to give us...

BIG ED said...

Hey Meat. Let's get back out on the street. I have been so busy that I have not posted in a while, but I'll be back at it soon.

Meathead said...

I'd love for you to get back out on the street with me, Ed! Hope to see a post from you soon!