Monday, October 16, 2006

Nuggets of Wonderment, Week Six

Troy Aikman is a unique announcer
Why? Because he'll actually admit when he's wrong. Twice on Sunday, he saw a play and made a claim about it. Once he saw the replay, he was willing to admit that he was wrong. He didn't do what most announcers do, which is either to contradict themselves without acknowledgement or go on fighting for an argument which is clearly wrong.

John Madden
I'd like to thank Madden for mentioning the Gary Anderson game. It was a Viking bye week, but I still got to be tormented by my team.

Two comments from Madden stuck out to me as somewhat absurd.

--On a Denver playcall (during the play, and in context, seemingly directed at the Oakland defense): "Here's another bootleg. You can't let that happen." How, I am curious, is the Oakland defense supposed to prevent Denver from calling a bootleg?

--On Al Davis: "Not winning is killing him." This seems like a cold thing to say at the end of a conversation about how decrepid Davis is. I would say the way of all flesh is killing him, but maybe Madden is right.

What does an ACL injury mean anymore?

It used to be that a WR or RB could be damaged for his career after an ACL injury, then it was that he'd miss a year and come back slow for a year. But Javon Walker and Deuce McAllister both look pretty sharp.

Looking ahead: Vikings at Seahawks
The Vikes catch their third break of the season: they faced Washington with half of Portis, Carolina without Steve Smith (they're 4-0 with him), and now Seattle without Alexander. However, the Viking run defense has been stifling all season; I'm more worried about the Viking secondary's ability to stop Agent Smith at WR (I'm convinced that #81, #82, #83, and #84 at WR for the Seahawks are a computer virus clone). Seattle has a chance to really exploit the Viking secondary, and the Johnson-led mundane Purple offense is going to have trouble keeping up. The Vikes are going to need to force some turnovers to win this one.

Making sense of it all
(note: These are not predictions, even though it may appear they are. This is an attempt to make sense of the league based on what we know, and using the playoffs to try format the chaos.)

In the AFC, New England and Indianapolis look like strong division winners. Either Denver or San Diego will win the AFC West, and the other will make the playoffs as a Wild Card. I don't know whether Pittsburgh, Baltimore, or Cincinnati is the best team in the AFC North, but I believe that division will NOT have a Wild Card team. I believe the sixth Wild Card team will be Jacksonville.

In the NFC, the Bears will win a ton of games, and Philadelphia, Dallas, New York, Minnesota, Carolina, New Orleans, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Seattle will win between 8 and 10 games.

This is the way the league looks to me right now.

ADDENDUMS (as often happens on Monday, more ideas come to me as I sit in my office and read various things around the internet. Rather than write a new post--or save the ideas for later this week--I'll add addendums to the Nuggets of Wonderment).

Addendum #1: Here are two sports cliches I would like to see retired.
1. "thrown under the bus"
2. "drank the kool-aid"
Both were fairly clever at one time, and evoked clear images to make sense of a situation. Now they are just overused by non-clever writers.

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