SNAP! Judgment: what I think about a bunch of football games I learned about second-hand because I was at McDonald's with Mr F and Mr Bunches...
...and this week it's even worse because I ordinarily watch as much as 3/4 of a game, but I didn't Sunday night because the Packers-Falcons weren't on until 7:20 p.m. my time, which meant that I was battling a cold, and sleep deprivation and the Falcons' tendency to make me nod off by being the most boring team in the NFL, so I only watched until halftime, when I fell asleep with Green Bay down 14-6.
Nonetheless, SNAP! Judgment doesn't require facts; I'm going on pure instinct here. And my instincts tell me to begin with Which Team I'm Going To Stop Talking About This Week.
As promised/threatened last week, I am going to declare a team Dead For The Season: no longer worth talking about here on SNAP! Judgment, having no shot at (a) making the playoffs or (b) doing anything interesting, and otherwise not mattering when it comes to the NFL.
And the first 2011 Dead For The Season NFL Team Is...
The Atlanta Falcons.
All week long, judging by the single article I read on Deadspin while eating french fries at the aforementioned McDonald's and watching Mr F and Mr Bunches play, the Falcons kept proclaiming that they were a better team than Green Bay, and that they just didn't play up to their standards last year. Then, last night, they got the chance to prove it, playing at home, staked to a 14-0 lead against a Green Bay defense that is almost historically bad (NBC showed a graphic that pointed out only the 2000 St. Louis Rams gave up more points en route to going 4-0 to open a season), and they blew it.
They're 2-3 in a mediocre division, they're -26 in net points, they have "Matty Ice," the third-most-overrated quarterback in the NFL (behind Rivers and Sanchez) and are supremely boring. Atlanta Falcons, I declare you to have no hopes of doing anything interesting the remainder of the season and you are dead to SNAP! Judgment.
On to the teams!
Arizona Cardinals: Was this a great week for ex-Eagles' quarterbacks? No, it wasn't. Kevin Kolb is 27th in QB rating, so he's inefficient, but he balances that out by being 25th in touchdown passes and 20th in completion percentage. Sounds like a good time to reprint this ESPN exchange:
Jason from Phoenix writes: Hey Sando, big fan of the blog. I was wondering what the chances are of the Cardinals possibly trading for Kevin Kolb might be? Obviously, Derek Anderson is not the answer ....
Mike Sando: The structure of Kolb's contract would facilitate a trade; his salary this season is $715,000. I just don't see that happening. The Eagles gave Kolb a $10.7 million signing bonus and I do no [sic] think it's in their best interests to give up on him just because Michael Vick looks like the best option for now. Vick hasn't proved reliable for the long term.
That little e-versation actually took place in September 2010. But Kolb is a step up; Derek Anderson rated 30th in QB rating over the course of the 2010 season, beating out only rookie Jimmy Clausen at Carolina for the year. Meanwhile, Larry Fitzgerald, the Arizona receiver who hates the part of sports where they pay him $120 million to do nothing much, has 27 receptions for 183 yards through five games, putting him on pace for an 87-catch, 585.6 yard season. But he is guaranteed to be paid $50 million, no matter what happens.
Baltimore Ravens: Didn't play this week, which means their fans were only slightly less bored than usual on Sunday.
Buffalo Bills: I was certain I was going to get to watch this game, because the media (which jumped all over Hank Williams, Jr., for comparing Obama to Hitler) loved Michael Vick, who didn't commit genocide because the term genocide doesn't apply to dogs. But the game was blacked out even in most of New York, which means most of the country didn't see Packers cast-off Nick Barnett pick off Vick twice.
How are the Bills 4-1, and why don't I buy into them yet? Mostly because they've played bad teams and appear to be getting the kind of luck that the Chicago Bears had when they made the playoffs under Dick Jauron. The Bills are 29th in yards allowed on defense and 19th in total points given up per game. But they're third in total points scored per game and near the top of the league in time of possession per game, while being 8th in yards per play. That sounds a lot like they're giving up big plays and quick scores to other teams. They're number one in the league in interceptions --12 so far, and are matched, in most categories, by only one team: The Green Bay Packers, who also have scored a lot, given up a lot, and feasted on turnovers. Another surprising 4-1 team is the 49ers, who have similar stats to the Bills and the Packers.
So if you think the Packers are for real, then maybe the 49ers and Bills are for real, too -- but if you doubt the 49ers and Bills, do you have to doubt the Packers, too?
No: For the Packers to put up the kind of numbers they are is realistic; they're a team that won the Super Bowl last year playing with half an offense. The Bills and 49ers were godawful last year, and suddenly are world beaters?
Maybe that can happen. But worst-to-first is only remarkable because it happens so rarely.
Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, heir to Jimmy Clausen's heady worst-in-the-league QB rating, is currently 15th in that stat, making him slightly more efficient than... Tarvaris Jackson. Carolina is the best 1-4 team in the NFL, which makes them a 1-4 team.
Chicago Bears: Plays tonight. To help dramatize the matchup, the Detroit Zoo had some lions eat what was supposed to be a person but looked a lot more like a lion attacking Awesome-O:
Cincinnati Bengals: Don't look now, but the Bengals are 3-2. Hey, why'd you look? When someone says don't look, you don't look! If you did look, don't feel bad; 6,662 people like the Facebook page devoted to how people can't help looking when told not to look. In related news, a Facebook status update led to a fight between a man and his estranged wife when said wife didn't click like on the man's stirring Facebook tribute to his dead mom. I know what I said one day on Twitter about the medium not being the message, but, really, a tribute to your dead Mom on Facebook? Come on.
This site records awesome Facebook fights, proving that you're a loser if you're on Facebook. Speaking of which, Follow me on Twitter!
Cleveland Browns: Didn't play football this weekend. Or any other weekend. (Whoa! Look at that SNARK! I'm like Rachel In The O.C., only with humor!)
Dallas Cowboys: This week's installment of "Tony Romo: Fear Factor" was also not held due to bye weeks.
Denver Broncos: Me last week: "Denver's 1-3, though, so Tebow's the starter by week 8." To which the Internet responded: "Yawn." This week, NFL.com's official game recap reads:
Philip Rivers overcame an interception and a fourth-quarter fumble to lead the San Diego Chargers to a 29-24 win in Denver despite Tim Tebow's best efforts to rally the Broncos from a 16-point deficit.
Tebow threw two touchdown passes after replacing starter Kyle Orton to start the third quarter and had one final shot for the win before his pass fell incomplete in the end zone on the final play.
Seriously, why do I still have to come into my office on Mondays?
Detroit Lions: They play tonight, against the Bears. Want a weird stat? On BearsGab.com, there's a poll to predict tonight's outcome. I voted "Lions by 7 or more," and it turns out that result is winning so far. With 51% of the vote. Did I mention that was on BearsGab.com?
Green Bay Packers: Sweetie accused me of loving Aaron Rodgers simply because I rushed to take a picture of the Wheaties' box with him on it, but, as you know, I don't really care for him. I'm not saying he's a bad player; he's clearly very good. I just... don't like him. I'm not even sorry. He's 5-0, he'll probably win the Super Bowl again if the Chiefs don't pick it up, but I just don't like him.
Houston Texans: Will never be very good. It's not surprising, guys on NFL TV Show wrapup, that Oakland beat them even though Al Davis died. They're not a good team and never will be.
Indianapolis Colts: Hey, Curtis Painter's not the answer! Can we drum up some Favre to The Colts drama? Sure, why not: Jim Irsay tweeted about Favre in the summer, by mid-September Indy Star columnists were calling for Favre to unretire himself up to Indiana, and Bleacher Report just three days ago said
Favre would be a perfect fit in Indy. Yes, they have work to do because they are 0-4, but with a legitimate quarterback, they have a shot at making the playoffs.
No, they don't. They don't have a shot at making the playoffs, even with Favre. They're 0-5, now, by the way, and they're actually on the verge of being mathematically eliminated from the Wild Card.
But by all means, let's BRING BACK FAVRE!
Jacksonville Jaguars: My favorite pro football comment of the week came from Deadspin about this game:
Blaine Gabbert leads the league in being a terrible quarterback and having a villainous first name.And, really, they're right. Blaine is the most villanous first name of any starting quarterback, unless you count Tony, but it's impossible to think of Tony Romo as a villain. He's more the inept bumbler type.
Kansas City Chiefs: My pick for the Super Bowl winner is now 2-3 and only 2 games out of first in their division, behind the all-too-fallible Chargers. I went looking for a stat that Kansas City leads the league in, and couldn't find one. But they are second in the league in teams attempting to go for it on 4th down against them -- 7 tries by opponents this year, with 4 of them succeeding. The only team to face more attempts to go for it against them on 4th is the Patriots*. What does this stat say about the Chiefs? I don't know.
Miami Dolphins: I don't think they played, and I can't be bothered to go check.
Minnesota Vikings: What do you suppose Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb talked about in this picture? I bet it was "Which one of us will be replaced by Andrew Luck at this time next year?"
Also, yesterday, something happened for the first time in my, and possibly your, life: A team (the Vikings) scored four rushing touchdowns in a single quarter. The last time that happened was 1968, when the Jets did it against the then Boston Patriots.
In case you were wondering, related stats are: 1. Doug Williams is the first player to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter in the Super Bowl, 2. David Klingler (remember him?!) holds the NCAA record for most touchdown passes in a single quarter (6), 3. You will see Encke's Comet more often than you will see four rushing touchdowns in a single quarter. 4. Adrian Peterson has only fumbled once this year.
New England Patriots*: God, how I hate them. Tom Brady, whose numbers are falling back to normal now, looks a lot like Derek Zoolander in his press conferences.
New Orleans Saints: They're 4-1, and presumably Super Bowl bound! But they only beat Carolina at the last minute by 3, and presumably basement-dwelling for the rest of the season. To help sort it out, let's look at an actual fan comment:
how can you say that brees has stopped hitting receivers in stride, I see you are also on Roders bandwagon too always riding him it makes me sick u need to watch some tape and see how brees perfectly throws the ball in stride
That's from preimiepreim2. Don't you think that just once, the NFL ought to let fans do color for the games? Maybe for preseason? Also, 1,499 fans rated this game an "85" on the "Game Fan Rating." When I tried to find out what that meant, I was asked to join the NFL and I declined, so it's a mystery to all of us what an 85 means. Those same fans gave Brees 4 1/2 stars, and Cam only 4 stars, but that's probably because the Heisman committee took a star back.
New York Giants: This is the game most of New York got to see, according to my Twitter Acquaintance Matty_315, and the Giants lost to the Seahawks. The Giants had first-and-goal at the 10 to win the game at the end, and tried to throw on first down. A lot of people will probably fault them for that, causing others to note that Seattle has the best run defense in the league, giving up only 3.1 yards per play on average.
Those people will be wrong: Opponents pass more than they run against Seattle, and Seattle gives up more than 8 yards per pass play, on average. It's not that their run defense is so good; it's that their pass defense is so bad. So should New York have tried to run on first down? Hindsight says yes. They said no, and lost.
New York Jets: Mark Sanchez has 285 yards passing... in two weeks. Why is that? Maybe because of protection. He's been sacked 13 times through five games-- at that pace, he'll be sacked 41.6 times this year. He was sacked only 27 times all last year. Also, last year, the Jets averaged 4.4 yards per carry rushing. This year, so far, they're 30th at 3.3 yards per carry, average. Last year, they rushed (on average) 33 times per game. This year, they're rushing (on average) 23 times per game.
Is Sanchez terrible? Is it their line? I don't know. I just repeat this stuff. But also, Yes, and Yes.
Oakland Raiders: Dying, as Rogue Mutt pointed out, frequently lets people off the hook. Sunday's (and today's) tributes to Al Davis prove that; Al Davis was a hated man for most of the recent NFL history; hated when he wasn't ridiculed. (By everyone but me. I always said Al Davis was a mad genius, and a superhero.)
That fulfills my quota of "saying stuff about a guy who died." Meanwhile, in football world, the Silver and Black Report is saying how the Raiders could make the playoffs, featuring this commentary on the defense:
Chuck Bresnahan’s group showed grit and what they can potentially do when they buckle up and bear down.
The defense showed grit by giving up nearly 500 yards to Houston. Matt Schaub nearly doubled his game average of 275 yards.
Philadelphia Eagles: People have now begun to clamor that "Vick is being asked to do too much." Those people include Michael Vick, who burnt off the 8 seconds remaining at the end of the first half and later said "I was just trying to do too much," about why he held on to the ball so long.
Twice before, I've mentioned that Vick's me-first attitude hurts the Eagles. A quarterback trying to do too much now kept his team from having a few seconds to try a field goal.
This is more than just hating Vick because he killed a bunch of dogs and somehow got forgiven for that. The media love Vick now; they've gotten over the handwringing and have decided to make him a star again, which means never criticizing him for not being a team player. (Except for this guy.) But a quarterback who won't give up on a play or tries to do too much may be hurting his team; isn't that the criticism that Favre faced so often towards the end of his career?
Pittsburgh Steelers: Roethlisberger, Terry Bradshaw, and some guy named Mark Malone are the three Pittsburgh quarterbacks who have thrown for five touchdowns in a single game; but only Roethlisberger has done it twice.
Malone was the top high school prospect at QB in 1975, and also was wanted by the US Olympic Committee to be a decathlete for the 1980 Olympics. He also holds the Steelers' record for longest touchdown reception -- 90 yards. Top that, Roethlisberger.
San Diego Chargers: The Chargers' QB lived up to his 32nd-best NC! rating: 1 interception, 2 fumbles, five sacks, and an 86.9 rating. Rivers has coughed up the ball 9 times, nearly twice per game, 7 of them interceptions. (2 other fumbles of his were recovered by the Chargers.) At least San Diego is warm in the winter, so Rivers can have his windows open as he watches the playoffs.
San Francisco 49ers: They're 4-1 and I don't know a single thing about them. Let's keep it that way.
Seattle Seahawks: Owned by a terrible human being who spent $160,000,000 on a yacht. But Tarvaris Jackson got injured, so they've got a chance at winning more games than they lose, which is more than they did in 2010.
St. Louis Rams: Didn't play.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Are they still the darlings of the NFL after losing 48-3? At least they didn't do that pathetic, kick a field goal when down by a zillion move so many teams do. The Bucs' 3 points were put up 6:28 into the game, which means Buccaneers fans had a nearly 54-minute slide into oblivion.
Tennessee Titans: I saw Elizabeth Hasselbeck is hawking an abs exercise machine, and her stomach looked, frankly, gross. I know she's not married to Matt, but I wanted to fit that in here.
Matt Hasselbeck threw 49 times in the game against the Steelers. His season average, as of this week, is 36, so yesterday had to pull him way up. Maybe people don't respect Troy Polamalu anymore? I don't respect him. And I don't understand those commercials, either.
Washington Redskins: Didn't play.
Tonight's Monday Night Football Matchup: