Washington-Minnesota Game Now At Night
I'd like to thank the NFL and NBC for moving the Minnesota-Washington game on December 23rd from 12:00 to 7:15 (NBC, via PFT). I wanted my Holiday driving to begin at around 11:00 p.m. instead of around 3:30 p.m. What about my needs? And as long as I'm confronting those who have been inconsiderate of my feelings, thanks to the block of ice in the middle of the road that caused my car to leak transmission fluid this morning.
Who throws a more beautiful, accurate deep ball in the NFL today? Brett Favre throws a good deep pass, but it often depends on a wide receiver making an athletic play on the ball (think how often you've seen a huge Packer WR leap up in the air to make a catch with a defender draping him). Peyton Manning hits those go pattern receivers in perfect stride; he's incredible to watch.
His numbers on the season are now significant for three reasons:
1. With 27 touchdown passes this season, he's still thrown at least 26 TD passes in each of his ten seasons.
2. He maintains his career average of 30+ TD passes per season, now over an incredible 10 seasons.
3. With 302 career TD passes, he passes John Elway into fourth all-time.
Peter King, the Vikings, and Us
I think a lot of members of the national media respect the Vikings more than Viking fans do. Those of us that have both eperienced all the underachieving disappointment of the past ten seasons and have watched every Viking game this season are slightly less thrilled with the Vikings' chances than some national commentators.
In particular, Peter King ranks the Vikings 7th in his fine fifteen (ahead of five teams with better records than the Vikes), and says of possible New England-Dallas or New England-Green Bay Super Bowls, "Why do I think the Vikings might have something to say about that?"
Uff dah. I don't think the Vikes are quite ready for that sort of conversation (though that conversation is certainly happening in my secret fantasies--I'm just not capable of voicing such things).
Michael Vick has been sentenced for his role in dog fighting (Sports Illustrated). Every part of this story makes me sad, and I won't rehash things I wrote a lot about last spring and summer.
Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson
The 2007 Vikes have a shot at having two RBs with 1,000 yards: Adrian Peterson is currently at 1,200 and Chester Taylor is at 716. Wouldn't it be something if Adrian Peterson wins the rushing title, AND the Vikings' other tailback rushes for 1,000 yards? If you like watching the run game, you've really enjoyed the 2007 Viking experience.
It's always slightly embarrassing watching some of the QBs that start NFL games in December. Some backups and third-stringers are in because of injuries. Some very inexperienced and very lousy QBs are in because teams have already lost their seasons and they're looking at possible future quarterbacks.
This week saw starters like Brock Berlin, Luke McCown, John Beck, Brodie Croyle, and Sage Rosenfels (and Vinny Testaverde and Kellen Clemens and Trent Dilfer). Next week will feature starters like Todd Collins and probably Shawn Hill.
The lousy quarterbacking is also a partial explanation for the high number of blowouts we saw this weekend.
Here's my ranking of the top five quarterbacks in the league right now.
1. Peyton Manning
2. Tom Brady
3. Tony Romo
4. Brett Favre
5. Matt Hasselbeck
You expect the first four names (though I suspect you'd flip up the order). But Matt Hasslebeck? But it's true. With the 2007 Seahawks ranking 21st in rushing yards, 26 in rushing yards per attempt, and 24th in rushing touchdowns (with rushing numbers rather similar to the 2007 Packers), the offensive burden in Seattle has been pretty heavily on Hasselbeck. He's got the 9-4 Seahawks ranked 6th in points scored, throwing for 3,346 yards and 24 touchdowns. He's playing really good football, and could take Seattle deep in the playoffs (they also rank 5th in points allowed).
Matt Hasslebeck hasn't been getting a lot of publicity this season, but with Seattle clinching the NFC West and its fifth straight playoff appearance, you might want to take some notice of a solid quarterback.
(OK, so Ben Roethlisberger is beating Hasselbeck in completion percentage, yards per attempt, and touchdown passes. It's my completely subjective list, and right now, I'd take Hasselbeck over Roethlisberger, by just a little itty bit).