Saturday, December 24, 2011

Five Things to Watch This Week - Week 16 (Game 15)

The Patriots play their fifteenth game of the season at Gillette against the Miami Dolphins on Saturday December 24th at 1:00 PM.

Yay!  Saturday football.

Don't look now, but the Pats are on track to have the number one seed in the AFC.

Really.

With that defense.

Really.


Aaron Hernandez makes it rain against the Broncos.

Dear Santa - I want a pass rush for Patriots this year for Christmas in these last few games.  Please?  What's that?  We lost Andre Carter last week?  Oh... OK.

Here's five guys in the secondary I'll be hoping can pick things up a bit in the next few weeks:

1) Patrick Chung - Will Chung be back this week?  Maybe! 

2) Devin McCourty - Is he getting slightly less terrible as the year goes on?  Kinda.  Not a great sophomore year for #32.

3) Kyle Arrington - Also questionable.  I see a lot of "questionables" on the injury report this week.  Outlook not good.

4) James Ihedigbo - I think he got hurt six times last week.  Dude, just stay down.

5) Matthew Slater / Julian Edelman - The converted WRs / Special Teams guys haven't been that bad in the secondary.  Seriously.  But it's really not a good sign that they've been on the field with the defense so much this year.  General Manager Belichick has really let down Coach Belichick with the defensive draft picks the last few years.


Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

YES.

(And a touchdown, too!)

My prediction: Pats 31, Dolphins 24

Stay hydrated, my friends.


*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

It's Christmas 1991. It's my first year as a head coach in Cleveland.  The PR department thinks it would be a good idea for me to dress up like Santa Claus and hang out in the stadium parking lot handing out footballs to the local kids.

I reluctantly go along with it.  I put the Santa suit on and head on out.  I'm trying to be a good guy.

I thought they were going to just have me throwing balls to the crowd.  I didn't realize until I was actually out there that they wanted to have kids sitting on my lap.

The first two kids sit on my lap and get their footballs without any problems.  Then I can see the third kid is going to be trouble.

He's maybe 10 or 12.  Kinda thick.  He staggers over to me.  There's a strong smell coming off him.

"Is that beer I smell?" I ask him.  "Kid, it's 10:15 in the morning."

And then he barfs on me.

Then he looks up at me says, "Welcome to Cleveland, dick."

The beer barf goes right through the Santa suit.  I'm soaked.

Ever since that day, I wear the hooded sweatshirt at all times as a protective layer.

Even to bed.

True story.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

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

The Patriots play their fourteenth game of the season against the Denver Tebows Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High on Sunday December 18th at 4:15 PM.

Aaaaand we're back to 4:15 games this week.  Crap.

Also... There's only three regular season games left.  Crap crap.


Who had their sexual assault charges dropped this week?  THIS GUY!


Anyone watch any ESPN this week?  I'll recap for you:

Tebow.  Tebow Tebow. Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow.

Tebow Tebow?

Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow.

How do you contain Tebow?  He's too fast for a lineman to catch him.  He's too big for a defensive back to take him down.  If I'm the defensive coordinator for the Patriots this week, I want linebackers taking up space and making tackles.  Linebackers everywhere.  Put 5 or 6 of them out there at a time (note to self - do we even have 6 healthy linebackers at this point?).

Here's five guys from the linebacking corps I'm hoping to see step it up this week:

1) Jerod Mayo - Game saving play last week.  Also, congratulations on your five year extension.

2) Dane Fletcher - Dane was poised to have a break-out year then missed a bunch of time due to a thumb injury.  Hopefully he can get things back on track.

3) Gary Guyton - I like Guyton a lot, but I'm not seeing him on the field as much this year.  Health issues?  Coach's decision?  I have no idea.

4) Rob Ninkovich - Strong season.  He's had a couple of big games this year.  Watch for him to set the edge on Sunday.

5) Brandon Spikes - Also recovering from injury.  Not quite living up to his potential yet, but there's still time.  (UPDATE:  Out this week.)


Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

YES.


My prediction: Pats 35, Broncos 34

(Broncos come back from 21 points down with 2:30 left to play and fail on the 2-point conversion attempt while going for the win... Gronk and Tebow then have a dance-off at mid-field.  Gronk wins and proceeds to tebag Tebow on national television...)

Stay hydrated, my friends.

*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

Super Bowl XXV - 1991.  We had just beaten the Bills for our second title.  My last year with the Giants as defensive coordinator.  A nation that was heavily involved in the Gulf War looked to football for a welcome distraction.  And Bill Parcells was more drunk with power than ever.

We're flying back to New York on a late night flight.  The whole plane is a huge party at that point.  If you can ever get yourself on a flight home with a Super Bowl winning team, I highly recommend it.

I go to the back of the plane where the most yelling is to see what's going on.

Parcells sees me and grabs me by the arm.  "Belichick, you're in the next game" he barks at me.

What are they playing?  Poker?  Dominoes?

Nope.  Russian Roulette.  Seriously.

At this point, Parcells had two of his own personal Viet Cong gunmen he traveled with at all times.  I'd have been shot on site if I refused.

I sit down at the table.  And my turn comes up.

"Is this a good idea at thirty thousand feet?" I ask.

"Just shut up and pull the trigger!" Parcells come back with.  One of the gunmen steps forward and shows his rifle.

It was 10 times scarrier than that scene in "The Deer Hunter". 

I eventually get up the courage the pull the trigger.  And...

  * click *

Nothing.  Phew.

"Hey!  Another one goes wide right!" Parcells yells and slaps me on the back.

"This is nuts," I say to myself.  And I got out right after that.  I took the head coaching job with Cleveland.  Sure, it was the Browns.  But at least I was able to get away from Parcells for a few years.

True story.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

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

The Patriots play their thirteenth game of the season against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on Sunday December 11th at 1:00 PM.

Oh wow... That field looks like crap.

I predicted a complete and total blow-out last week... and I was way off.  I can't handle watching this defense give up 500 yards every week. From now on, I'm going to turn the channel when the Pats don't have the ball.  Maybe I'll watch a movie or something.



Here's five guys on offense I'm going to be watching this week:

1) Tom Brady - Brady is going to have to play out of his mind for us to do anything in the playoffs.

2) Benjarvus Green-Ellis - It's December.  Time to start giving BJGE the rock.

3) Stevan Ridley - Still loving this kid.  4.8 yards per carry.

4) Chad Ochocinco - Up to 12 catches on the year now.  Or, you know, about one game's worth of balls for Wes Welker.

5) Matthew Slater - And let's go with Matthew Slater.  Sure. Why not?


Also, Mike Shanahan is not so good.

Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

YES.

My prediction: Pats 31, Redskins 28

Stay hydrated, my friends.

*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

Most people already know I'm BFFs with Jon Bon Jovi.  What most people don't know about is my feud with Richie Sambora.

It definitely wasn't over a woman.  They used to pass the ladies around like water in those days.

And it wasn't over money.

I won't bore you with the details...  But it was over a chocolate chip cookie of all things.

Anyway, even to this day, Sambora is banned from all our facilities.  He knows what he did.

True story.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

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

The Patriots play their twelfth game of the season against BYE the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette on Sunday December 4th at 1:00 PM.

Finally!  A 1 o'clock game!  This pleases me.  Hopefully I can watch the whole game without having to get off the couch.  That's pretty much all I want in my life these days... a little uninterrupted couch time.


Vince Young is not so good.

There's been some great battles between the Pats and Colts over the last decade... But this one isn't even going to be close.  Belichick is going to unleash the dogs with bees in their mouths.  He rarely misses an opportunity to rub an old rival's nose in it while they're down (see Pats vs. Redskins 10/28/07).

He's five unsung heroes of the Patriots 2011 season I'll be watching this week:

1) Aaron Hernandez - Quietly having an excellent season.  He's not getting in the end zone as much as Gronk (who is?), but he's been playing pretty darn well.  He's already caught as many balls as all of last season.

2) Deion Branch - Not a great receiver, but a really good fit for this team.  I'll bet he wishes he never left town.

3) Julian Edelman - Considering he wasn't a lock to even make the team earlier in the year, he's definitely making his presence felt the last few weeks.  He got a great shot in on Vince Young last week.

4) BenJarvus Green-Ellis - He may not always be part of the game plan, but he's been pretty consistent when called upon this year (OK, except for the Pittsburgh game.  But nobody had a good game that week).

5) Rob Ninkovich - He's become a real player this season.  It's been nice to watch his development.


Did Chad Ochocinco have a catch last week?

NO.

My prediction: Pats 52, Colts 7

Stay hydrated, my friends.


*****

This year, we're going to have regular contributions from Fake Bill Belichick for your reading pleasure.  Here's this week's selection from Fake Bill Belichick's "Tales From a Life in Football":

It's January 2004.  Playoffs.  We're about to face Indy at home.  Manning is absolutely on fire.  I think he ended up being co-MVP that year.  And I'm feeling more confident in my team than I've ever felt in my whole career.  I just knew we had it that year.

I skipped the Friday night coaches' meeting and went out to see "THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING".  That Viggo Mortensen is something special.  If you didn't like him in "A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE", we can't be friends.

Anyway, we won that game 24 to 14, but it wasn't even that close.  Ty ended up picking off Manning 3 times that game.

True story.