Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

That’s Why They Play the Game!

Posted by mizzou1028 on October 14, 2008

– Giants over Browns: This has mismatch written all over it.  The Giants are without question the best team in football through the first month, and they will be heavily favored in this one.  It’s a weekly theme, but the Giants continue to prove wrong all the so-called “experts” who picked them to miss the playoffs.  How on Earth could anyone have predicted them to miss the playoffs after taking a look at their soft early schedule?  Even without Plaxico Burress last week, they didn’t skip a beat at all as they destroyed Seattle.  Cleveland for whatever reason has yet to bench Derek Anderson in favor of Brady Quinn, even though the Browns only have a win this year because the Bengals gave it to them.  I hate to say I told you so, but the Browns are not a contender in any way, and continue to prove they were a big time fluke last year.  Think the Monday Night Football crew regrets selecting so many Browns games yet?

Ummm…yeah, so I clearly misfired on that one.  I promised at the beginning of the season I would be the first to admit my prediction errors, and here you go, that was a big one.  In my defense I wasn’t by any means the only one.  Eight of the nine pickers on espn.com picked the Giants.  (On the flip side, I did correctly predict Arizona’s win over the Cowboys, but that’s not the topic here).  It certainly seemed going in that the Giants had the best team in football by far, while the Browns had clearly struggled coming into the contest.  Sure, the Browns had the bye week to regroup and were playing in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, but the Giants had won 12 straight games away from Giants Stadium dating back to September of last year, including their miraculous playoff run, so it wasn’t like the crowd was going to adversely affect them.  I certainly did not expect Derek Anderson to save his job, which he did with a 301 yard, two touchdown effort.  I absolutely didn’t expect a breakout game from Braylon Edwards, who had been notably absent the first four games of the season for the Browns.  Most of all, I didn’t expect the Giants to implode the way they did.  Eli Manning in particular was not the same last night as he was early in the year, throwing several crucial picks at inopportune times. 

So what does all that mean in the grand scheme of things in the NFL?  For starters, it’s only one game so it’s difficult to ascertain whether that was one egg laid by the Giants or whether there is a larger concern for the defending champs.  Likewise, are the Browns back among the contenders, or did they just have everything going well for one night?  It’s the same theme every week but it bears worth repeating: the NFL season is such a roller coaster that things really do vary radically from week to week, making it difficult to predict the games, which in turn is what makes the league so great.  Who expected the Rams to beat Washington Sunday?  Sure, I said a Rams win wouldn’t be surprising, but I didn’t actually go out on a limb and pick them.  Did anyone really expect the Vikings to struggle in any way against Detroit, and would need a last second field goal to win?  How about the Falcons?  Show me anyone that thought they would start the year 4-2, and I’ll give you the oceanfront property I own in Wyoming for free, no questions asked. 

How about the games coming up this weekend? Cowboys-Rams looked like a guaranteed Dallas blowout victory a month ago, even two weeks ago.  Now?  The Cowboys are without Tony Romo (broken finger on his throwing hand), Pacman Jones (suspension), Terence Newman (sports hernia), and Felix Jones (hamstring).  Besides all the injuries, the Cowboys have lost two of three, and very nearly all three if not for a sloppy win against the winless Bengals.  Terrell Owens has been essentially shut down for three straight games, tallying just four catches for 36 yards in the loss to Arizona, and now will undoubtedly be petulant when he’s not getting downfield looks from Brad Johnson over the next month.  The Rams meanwhile are coming off a win and will be coming back home.  Granted, despite all that Dallas is still favored to win the game, but is it a gimmie in any way?  Absolutely not.

It will be needless to say interesting to see how things really do shake out at the end of the season.  I still think teams like the Jaguars, Chargers and Colts that are hovering around .500 will be major players in the AFC.  It will be interesting to see if Buffalo and Tennessee can keep up their fast starts in the AFC, or if Atlanta and Arizona can stay in the chase in the NFC.  Will the Cowboys fold? Are the Redskins for real?  What about the Broncos, will they be able to hold off San Diego?  Who are the real Patriots, will they end up being in the mix, or is their dynasty derailed for the time being?  Who will win the NFC North, where three teams currently sit 3-3?  For that matter, who will come out of the NFC South logjam, where every team is .500 or better?  The point is everything is up in the air, and that will ultimately make mine or anyone else’s predictions look like garbage at the end of the year.  The fact is it is most likely no one will end up being completely correct or close to it.  Even the winless Bengals and Lions are likely to shock somebody at some point, for there has NEVER BEEN an 0-16 team in NFL history.  So while I may have looked foolish with my pregame assessment of the Giants-Browns game, at least I still went over .500 for the week, which means i did better than 5 of the ESPN experts for the week.  Considering the state of the NFL these days, that doesn’t seem to be too bad at all.  Besides, if I really could pick the games that well, I wouldn’t be bothering to write about them here, and I would be enjoying my weekly fortune from Vegas.  Until I get that patent for the time machine approved, the teams of the NFL will just keep proving me and everyone else who doubts them wrong.

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