Friday, September 09, 2005


Wow, how wrong was I? Oakland 27, New England 21? Sorry, someone must have roofied my drink before I typed that.

The score wasn’t as close as the 30-20 final would have you believe. The Patriots dominated out there. And on top of that, Corey Dillon had two TDs, which is a thorn in my fantasy football side.

I got home from work at about 9:40, and the first play I saw was a five wide receiver spread that resulted in a touchdown to Deion Branch. My first thoughts, of course, were: shit, what are the Yankees doing?

And after flipping to YES, I was right back to the football game. Two games, two infuriating sets of circumstances. It was damn close to a New York sports fan’s hell. The Pats are quickly reaching Red Sox status as far as my hatred goes, so it’s never a good time for them to be winning. The D-Rays are one of the worst teams in baseball, and here are the Yanks, in the midst of a playoff chase, throwing away yet another game against them.

At least I have the Jets. Then again, they’re infamous for coming up short of expectations, which means we should be expecting a 9-7 season. And if we’re expecting 9-7, and the Jets come up short…I’m not even going to ponder that thought.

Back to Oakland. I originally had them penciled in for 12-4, and that went hand-in-hand with my prediction of them over New England. I’m going to go further than to say Oakland will be 11-5. No, now that I’ve seen them play, I’m bouncing that to 9-7. And that’s being generous. There is a great probability that the Raiders will finish somewhere along the lines of 6-10.

Their defense is horrendous. The line put no pressure on Tom Brady, and while that may be attributed to the superior offensive line of New England, there’s no excuse for consistently failing to fluster Brady. The secondary also looked lost in zone coverage. Though Madden commented that Branch’s TD was a lapse in man coverage, it was obviously (at least to my father and I) a zone where Brady just found the seam, which happened to be the size of the Strait of Gibraltar.

If we’re breaking down this win, it has to look something like 60-65 percent was because of New England’s superb play, and 35-40 percent was Oakland’s lack of execution. Seriously, how many times did Kerry Collins have a guy right on him? Oakland’s line was terrible, resembling that of the Giants last year. And when they finally did their damn job and gave him ample time, he couldn’t find the open receiver. This proves, once again, that a cannon for an arm doesn’t make you a good quarterback.

Unfortunately for California football fans, they’re going to have to deal with this depleted team. On the bright side, they’ll get to witness spectacular connections from Collins to Moss on occasion, such as the 73-yard job last night.

Biggest disappointment of the game: LaMont Jordan. Not that 18 carries for 70 yards is bad. It’s not terrible, by most standards. I had just hoped that he would get more touches. But that’s what happens when you find yourself in a hole: abandon the run, take it to the air. And when you have targets like Moss and Jerry Porter, it’s a much easier decision to abandon the run.

At this point, I’m going to introduce my new Friday concept. Not that it’s original by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m going to pick between three and five games. Hopefully last night wasn’t indicative of my ability here. I

Dallas over San Diego (-4.5): Not a knock on San Diego. They outplayed themselves last year and conjured up one of the most surprising seasons in recent memory. I just have a feeling about Dallas this season. If I was a gambling man (which I am), I’d throw the spread away and take Dallas straight up.

Chicago over Washington (-6): Another straight up bet with the underdog. I’m unsure about Chicago this season. Bill Simmons thinks that they’re going to be a surprise playoff team, and while I’m not going to say I 100 percent agree with him, I’m not going to rule it out. If this is to happen, however, they’re going to have to stick it to the ‘Skins.

Jets over Kansas City (-3): When I bet on football, I have a strict rule to not wager on the Jets. I don’t have any money on this game, nor would I, even though I think that it’s ridiculous that the Jets are underdogs here. I really do think they’ll win Week One, and prove that these odds makers apparently forgot that it’s the Kansas City Chiefs. You know, the 7-9 Cheifs who allowed touchdowns like – sigh – it was their job. The main additions to the defense: a chronically injured MLB (Kendrell Bell), and a DB that we’ve always found a way to beat (Patrick Surtain).