Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Five Things to Watch This Week (and Next Week) - Weeks 16 and 17 (Games 15 and 16)

The Patriots play their fifteenth regular season game on the road at The Ralph on Sunday December 26th at 1:00 PM and their final regular season game at home on Sunday January 2nd at 1:00 PM.

Another great week of Patriots football... Just like I called it!

Actually, the Packers played a really good game and exploited our weaknesses.  We were short on d-line help, and they went after that.  That was one of the better coaching jobs we've faced all year.

But let's stay positive.  We're moving on.  We did just put up 31 points on the "best scoring defense" in football.  So there's that.

1) Devin McCourty  - McCourty for defensive rookie of the year.  He's a big part of the reason why the defense has been as good as it is.  And he should be even better next year.

2) Dan Connolly - Can we make him the permanent kick-off return guy?  That was awesome. 

3) Jerod Mayo - 181 tackles so far?  He's a beast.

4) Wes Welker - 83 catches on the year.  Not bad for a guy who I thought might never see the field again after last year's knee injury.

5) Tom Brady - Seriously, I'll pissed if he doesn't get the league MVP vote.  It wasn't pretty last week, but he put a good drive together at the end when they needed the TD.

My prediction (game 15):

Pats 31, Bills 13

My prediction (game 16):

Pats 27, Dolphins 17

Now... Let's go make a goddamn foot fetish video.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 15 (Game 14)

The Patriots play their fourteenth regular season game against the Packers at Gillette on Sunday, December 19th at 8:20 PM.

I apologize.  I was waaay off last week.  I predicted the Pats would win 20 to 14.  I really thought the elements would be more of a factor.  I thought the Bears would, you know, show up.  I'm very happy to report that I was wrong on all accounts.

Six weeks ago I was talking with my buddy KC Masterpiece trying to figure out what was wrong with Brady (mechanics?  head not in the game?  bad haircut?).  The Pats had just got theyselves blowed out at Cleveland.    Things have turned out OK since then, huh?.  They've beaten the absolute iron of the NFL.  And they're not just winning.  They're CRUSHING teams. 

How will the Patriots ever score with Randy Moss?!  Yeah, that one somehow worked out OK, too.

You know what?  I'm calling my shot right now.  I don't think they're going to lose again this year.  Not the way they're playing right now.  Not to turn into one of "Da Bears" guys ("What about Belichick? Would he be mini, too?"  "No, he would be full-grown."), but I'm pretty sure we're unstoppable at this point.

You know who else must read my little newsletter?  Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau:

     "To do what Brady did in those weather conditions in Chicago? That might be one of the most outstanding quarterback performances — ever."


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

1) Tom Brady - Another week, another great QB for Brady to face.  So far this season, he's beaten Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger.  This week, Tom goes up against... Matt Flynn?!  Who?  That can't be right.

2) Aarob Gronknandez - I've combined Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez into one player for easier reference (and I swear I wrote this joke down before seeing something similar in Simmons column this week).  Don Banks of SI thinks they each would go in the first round if we held the draft again today.    Hell of a draft.

3) BenJarvus Green-Ellis - Benny is looking strong.  Over 4 yards a carry in the snow last week.  I love watching him hit the hole. 

4) Gary Guyton - Guyton got some extra snaps last week with Brandon Spikes on suspenders, and what does he do?  Fumble recovery for a touchdown.  And an INT off of Mr. Cutler.  Not bad for another undrafted guy.

5) Singing Dogs - If this game ends up being a blowout by halftime, you have my permission to go to bed early.  Or get in the holiday spirit by watching dogs singing Christmas tunes.  Even Hoth Belichick approves.

My prediction (if Rodgers plays):

Pats 42, Packers 10

My prediction (if Rodgers doesn't play):

Pats 42, Packers 7

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

Anybody want a holiday mailbag column next week?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 14 (Game 13)

The Patriots play their thirteenth regular season game on the road at Soldier Field on Sunday December 12th at 4:15 PM.

Hey!  Wake up, readers!  There's another game this week.  Between all the Red Sox hysteria and afterglow from the Jets victory, it's a little too easy to forget that the Pats have to play again this Sunday.

Ho hum.  Another AFC Offensive Player of the Week award for #12.  Tom Brady has been getting an awful lot of love from me lately, so we'll give him a break this week.  If he's not the league MVP, I'll be super pissed.  This week I'll let Dan Wetzel make the case for me.

According to the Football Outsiders guys, the 2010 Patriots are so good offensively:

     (T)hey are now close to surpassing their 2007 selves for the title of "greatest offense in DVOA history" 

(Don't worry... "DVOA" isn't a dirty porn thing or anything like that...)

OK.  Enough about the offense.  Let's give the defense some love this week.  It hasn't always been pretty, but they're getting it done.

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

1) Jermaine Cunningham - He's keeps just missing the big sack.  Last week Sanchez totally facemasked him.  What a fraud!

2) Devin McCourty - This week, he'll be challenged by... Um... Who do the Bears have at WR? 

3) Patrick Chung - He's due for a big week.  Secretly, I think his knee still hurts and they're just not telling us.

4) James Sanders - One of the few seasoned veterans in the secondary.  Plays smart.  Had they pick of the year against Pey Pey.

5) Vince Wilfork - I like when he has two guys blocking him and still makes the tackle.  Is he awesome?  My sources tell me... YES.

One player not to watch this week is Brandon Spikes, who has reportedly been suspended four games.  Dumbass.

My prediction: Pats 20, Bears 14

Monday, December 6, 2010

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 13 (Game 12)

The Patriots play their twelfth regular season game at Gillette on Monday, December 6th at 8:30 PM.

In honor of the Patriots playing on Monday Night Football this week, we've brought in special guest columnist Jon Gruden.

Thanks Pat!  Doesn't it seem like we've been waiting for this game FOR-EV-ERRR?  I know I've been looking forward to it.  I woke up at 4:00 AM this morning, I'm so excited for this game.  My wife made me go downstairs.  I like to pop in my DVD of "The Incredibles" when I get this excited.  It helps calm me down.  I really like that Syndrome guy.

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

1) Tom Brady - You want to talk about a guy having an MVP caliber season?  WATCH THIS GUY RIGHT HERE.  The Patriots are only going to go as far as Number 12 takes them, and right now his back is looking pretty strong.  Can he pick up the blitz and get rid of the ball against the best defenses in the NFL?  YOU BET HE CAN!

2) Wes Welker - This guy is a beast.  He just had knee surgery!  He's got 65 catches!  Comeback player of the year?  WATCH THIS GUY RIGHT HERE.

3) Deion Branch - You want to talk about a guy who never should have left Tom Brady and the Patriots?  WATCH THIS GUY RIGHT HERE.  He's perfect for this offense.  Why did he talk his way into a trade?  I don't know!

4) Jerod Mayo - You want to talk about a guy having a monster season and yet still flying under the radar? WATCH THIS GUY RIGHT HERE.  He's on pace for 200 tackles!  We should be talking about him a lot more.

5) Devin McCourty - You want to talk about a guy having a rookie of the year kinda year?  WATCH THIS GUY RIGHT HERE.  Speedy?  Definitely.  Knack for the ball and making the big play?  You know it!

My prediction: Pats 31, Jets 13

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