Friday, October 29, 2010

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 8 (Game 7)

The Patriots play their seventh regular season game at Gillette against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, October 31st at 4:15 PM.

No column last week. I was home Friday with a sick toddler. It threw off my whole writing routine. Sorry if you spent your whole week looking forward to my Friday musings.

/sad game show sound

Let's get right back on that horse. Here's five things I'll be watching for this week.

1) Coaching - Did anyone think we'd be 5 and 1 at this point?  With this team?  I love love love me some Belichick. There's no one I'd rather have as a coach (and yes... I'm one of the people who consistently defends his need to go for it on forth down. Sometimes a little "Eff You" attitude is a good thing in football. Look at the way the Ravens totally turtled down the stretch against the Pats in Week 6). Look around the league. There's maybe 4 or 5 good coaches. That's it. We're not exactly living in a Golden Age of Great Coaching. Which is why the Patriots can have the 32nd ranked 3rd down defense and still be 5 and 1. At some point this week, Belichick will do something pretty smart. And Brad Childress will do something kinda dumb (other than "start Brett").

2) Tight Ends - Have we ever had TWO good tight ends? If so, I can't remember a pair better than Gronkowski and Hernandez. They've totally changed the offense. Belichick probably doesn't trade Moss without their emergence.

3) Running Backs - Poor showing by Woodhead and Green-Ellis last week. I'd like to see a little bounce back this week.

4) Linebackers - Mayo is a solid anchor. He looks healthy again this year. I like Spikes and Guyton. Jermaine Cunningham has taken the starting job away from TBC (Has anyone else noticed the Patriots lead the league in dreadlocks this year?).  Another strong, young group. I'm starting to really like this roster.

5) Special Teams - With the exception of the onside kick-off late last week, the special teams play has been stellar this season. Definitely a source of strength.

Bonus Item:  Candy.  Handing out Halloween candy while the game is on?  HELL YES.  There's no way I won't be sneaking a few myself.

Bonus Bonus Item: Metamucil. Once a day. It's like a present to yourself (especially after loading up on candy).

My prediction: Pats 27, Vikings 17

Now... Let's go eat a goddamn snack.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 6 (Game 5)

The Patriots play their fifth regular season game at Gillette against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, October 17th at 1:00 PM.

We're back! I hate hate hate that bye week. I didn't know what to do with myself. I had to go run a 5K just to feel useful.

On a personal note, I pulled my name off the Patriots season ticket waiting list last week. My name came up -- I finally would have gotten tickets next year. Eleven years I wanted on that list. But... I just don't have the free time I did when I was a younger man. I can't give up 10 Sundays a year out of my life.

Watching the NFL on a high def TV is now such a good experience, it almost doesn't make sense to go to the games in person anymore. Watching the game at home means cheap beer and instant access to the bathroom. My couch is warm and dry. And I don't have to give up a whole day away from my family.

But still... I'm a little sad about the whole thing.

Here's five things I'll be watching for this week.

1) Deion Branch - Welcome back, Deion. I expect your numbers to go up a bit with Mr. Brady throwing to you. Am I happy to have him back? Absolutely. But... he's no replacement for Moss. He's not even the same guy he was 5 years ago. I expect him to be more like the black Wayne Chrebet at this point in his career.

2) Brandon Tate - He's fast. He's been a joy to watch on kick returns. But is he, you know, a good receiver? We'll find out.

3) Wes Welker - It'll be interesting to see how effective he is without Moss. I'll admit I'm a little scared.

4) Julian Edelman - Julian, where have you been this year? Are you still hurt? Let's go out for coffee or something.

5) Aaron Hernandez - I like him. Brady likes him. Baltimore can't cover the TE. What's not to like?

Bonus Item

Brett Favre getting hit in the nuts!

I could watch that all day.

Bonus Bonus Item

How's Maroney doing out in Denver? 11 carries for 5 yards in week 4? Ooof. That's brutal.

My prediction: Pats 24, Ravens 21

Now... Let's go eat a goddamn snack.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"I felt a great disturbance in Patriot Nation, as if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened..."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 4

The Patriots play their forth regular season game at Joe Robbie Stadium Pro Player Park Pro Player Stadium Dolphin Stadium Dolphins Stadium Land Shark Stadium Sun Life Stadium against the Miami Dolphins on Monday October 4th at 8:30 PM.

Our defense is... bad. Even I can't fool myself into thinking it's going to be OK anymore. The offense is going to need to up 35 points a week if we're going to have a chance. We're officially the Colts now.

Here's five things I'll be watching for this week.

1) BenJarvus Green-Ellis - Maroney is gone. Fred Taylor hasn't practiced all week. Is this the week Law Firm becomes a star?

2) Randy Moss - He's still awesome. Go watch this in case you missed it last week. (The ref actually has pretty good coverage over the top...)

3) Tom Brady - One more win gives him 100 for his career. That's awesome.

4) Aaron Hernandez / Rob Gronkowski - Apparently the Dolphins have trouble covering Tight Ends. We have two great young Tight Ends! Score!

5) Danny Woodhead - He's like the Daniel Nava of the Patriots!

BONUS ITEM: Every time the Pats' defense fails to make a play on third down, take a drink.*

(*Note - not responsible if you die from alcohol poisoning).

My prediction: Pats 28, Dolphins 17

Now... Let's go eat a goddamn snack.