And Now We Present Tony Siragusa Composing a Love Poem to a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup

Rejoice, oh my soul! It’s that time of year again

Where leaves fall off trees and diets are disdained

It’s October 31st, the spookiest, scariest time of year

I cannot contain my joy! Nor the noises passing through my rear

Soon my children will throw on their cute costumes

“So much candy we’ll get!” I’m sure they assume

Little do they realize, the Dad Tax still lingers

I demand 20% of all Twix and Butterfingers

But hark! What’s this? The crown jewel of them all

My paunch awakens and begins its mating call

Chocolate and peanut butter, what a delightful combination

I simply must have a dozen of you, despite my constipation

Oh! Good gracious, it’s such heaven in my mouth

So good, I can ignore the stains appearing down south

H.B. Reese, how can I ever thank you enough?

You’ve made me so happy, I could run around in the buff

Suddenly, my wife appears and smacks the cup out of my hand:

“If you keep eating at this rate, you’ll destroy your thyroid gland!”

Woman, can’t you step aside and let me eat in peace?

I’ve lost a lot of weight this year! Now I’m “just” obese

But now dear Halloween is drawing to a close

“Maybe it’s all for the best,” I thoughtfully suppose

Then, with a smirk, I think of a scheme worthy of Machiavelli

Don’t worry, little peanut butter cup; soon, you’ll be in my belly

Happy Halloween.


Week 8 Power Rankings: Fran of Worms

Welcome to the Week 8 edition of Someone Still Loves You Alberto Riveron’s weekly NFL power rankings. To help us make sense of what happened during this last batch of NFL action, we’ve asked Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton to share his thoughts with us below. Please enjoy.

Hello, folks. My name is Francis Asbury Tarkenton and you may remember me from my days as the quarterback for both the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants, as well as my stint co-hosting the beloved ABC program That’s Incredible! If you’re too young to remember that program, you’ll be delighted to know that all five, award-winning seasons are now available on my official website,, for the low, low price of $24.95 a piece. If you call soon, we’ll even ship you off one of the That’s Incredible! collectible throw pillows that were produced en masse at the height of the show’s success and have been sitting comfortably in my basement ever since. Makes a great gift for the holidays.

Of course, I’m not here to solely speak to you good folks today about my wonderful forays into broadcasting. I’ve also been asked to give my thoughts on this current NFL season and who I think have been the most impressive players in the league so far. There’s a bit of an issue I’ve got with this request, however: frankly, I’m just not very impressed with most of the players that are coming into the league these days. Are they bigger, faster, stronger, smarter, more able to carry out complex schemes, and undoubtedly better at every phase of the game? Of course. But I maintain that they’ll never measure up to all the greats that came before them, such as myself.

Now, when I want to take a look at all that’s wrong with the league today, I just feast my eyes on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. This is a guy who was such an extreme injury risk when he left San Diego that nobody in their right mind was willing to take a shot on him. Only the Saints saw enough in him to roll the dice and give him an opportunity. And what’s the way he repays them for all the faith they showed in him? He holds out for a bigger contract the first chance he gets and forces the Saints organization to commit an unduly large amount of their resources to just one player. What madness is this? For the life of me, I can’t understand what would drive someone to hold an entire organization hostage like thatWhat are these people thinking when they make insane demands like this? Well, I’ll tell you what they’re thinking of: themselves. And that’s it. Thus, you can understand my reticence in praising today’s players too effusely.

However, I am nothing if not a man of my word. And I promised the writer of this website that I would bring forth a list of the players that I think I have been most valuable so far this season. So, as follows, this is the list of the players that have bothered me the least in 2012:

5. Robert Griffin III. What an exciting player. This young man really reminds me of myself during my rookie year, when I was scampering for my life behind a dogcrap offensive line and experiencing major philosophical differences with my coach, Norm Van Brocklin. The only drawback for me is the 3-5 record. I can’t support a quarterback who doesn’t win the big one.

4. Tom Brady. Does anything really need to be said here? He’s been fantastic as always. I do wish he wouldn’t have brought so much attention to himself by marrying that Brazilian supermodel, however.

3. Matt Ryan. Well, has this guy been the Comeback King so far this season or what? Leading your team to an undefeated record is the only sort of statistic that really matters. Only reason he isn’t above the next two guys is because his efficiency stats aren’t as high as theirs.

2. Eli Manning. Baby Brother has sure grown up before our eyes the last few years, hasn’t he? He’s quickly rising up the ranks of both the greatest Giants quarterbacks of all time and finest Saturday Night Live hosts of all time. Sitting comfortably behind yours truly in both areas, but it’s a start.

1. Peyton Manning. Look, what Peyton’s been able to accomplish this year has been nothing short of astounding. Nobody had a right to expect to play as well as he has. His effiency numbers right now are in the same caliber as they were when he was in his prime six or seven years ago. And because of that, the Broncos somehow are real Super Bowl contenders. However, I must take issue with Peyton flaunting his new role as Papa John’s franchise owner in everyone’s face so prominently. John Schnatter approached me back in 1992 with the same Godfather offer he extended to Peyton and I told him I was simply too busy running a real business – Tarkenton Software, now a partner with Sterling Software, which is now defunct – to muck around with some pizza places. Would I have been singing a different tune had my bank not rejected my application for a loan? Perhaps. But some of us choose to take the high road in life and not sell out for a few extra bucks and delicious, delicious pizza pies. I thought you were better than that, Peyton…


A quick thought on Monday Night’s game…

San Francisco 24, Arizona 3
Adjusted Yards per Play: 7.25 – San Francisco, 3.39 – Arizona
AY/P Projected Point Totals: San Francisco 26.93, Arizona 15.71

Quick Thought: …Aaaannnnnndddddddd let the Patrick Peterson: Superstar Cornerback backlash begin. Unsurprisingly, it only took noted voice of reason Bleacher Report an hour and a half to whip up a quick OVERRATED article largely built upon stealing other writers’ work. Can a New York Times op-ed piece be far behind? Maybe the bigger takeway from last night’s game is Michael Crabtree might not be a phenomenal bust? I mean, that first touchdown catch at the goalline when Peterson was doing everything short of sodomy in an attempt to knock the ball out of his hands…well, that was a pretty good catch. Megatron himself got the very same type of pass knocked out of his hands last week (then again, Peanut Tillman is a ball-punching god). Is Michael Crabtree a better wide receiver than Megatron? CAN’T RULE IT OUT.


Here’s SSLYAR’s Week 7 rankings by Adjusted Yards per Play Differential, which is a descriptive metric that is designed to give an accurate representation of how each team has played thus far. The combination of the 49ers’ impressive Monday Night win over the Cardinals and the Bears’ equally unimpressive victory over Carolina lifts San Francisco back to the top spot and drops Chicago to third; idle Houston moves up to second. Oakland is the biggest riser this week, going from #25 to #16; St. Louis drops from #17 to #24 after their 38-point London drubbing at the hands of the Patriots.

Adjusted Yards per Play Differential (league average: 0.00)

  1. San Francisco: 2.39 (last week: 2, high–>low: 1–>11)
  2. Houston: 1.78 (last week: 3, high–>low: 1–>5)
  3. Chicago: 1.74 (last week: 1, high–>low: 1–>14)
  4. NY Giants: 1.45 (last week: 4, high–>low: 4–>26)
  5. New England: 1.43 (last week: 6, high–>low: 3–>8)
  6. Atlanta: 1.28 (last week: 5, high–>low: 1–>6)
  7. Denver: 1.26 (last week: 9, high–>low: 7–>19)
  8. Pittsburgh: 0.89 (last week: 11, high–>low: 8–>24)
  9. Baltimore: 0.86 (last week: 7, high–>low: 1–>9)
  10. Green Bay: 0.65 (last week: 8, high–>low: 8–>22)
  11. Tampa Bay: 0.63 (last week: 12, high–>low: 11–>29)
  12. Washington: 0.48 (last week: 10, high–>low: 5–>13)
  13. Detroit: 0.20 (last week: 14, high–>low: 11–>22)
  14. Seattle: 0.05 (last week: 15, high–>low: 11–>19)
  15. Minnesota: 0.04 (last week: 13, high–>low: 7–>15)
  16. Oakland: -0.10 (last week: 25, high–>low: 16–>27)
  17. Carolina: -0.21 (last week: 22, high–>low: 9–>23)
  18. Miami: -0.24 (last week: 19, high–>low: 18–>31)
  19. Arizona: -0.30 (last week: 16, high–>low: 10–>19)
  20. Cleveland: -0.33 (last week: 23, high–>low: 20–>27)
  21. Cincinnati: -0.49 (last week: 21, high–>low: 16–>32)
  22. Dallas: -0.52 (last week: 18, high–>low: 7–>22)
  23. NY Jets: -0.60 (last week: 26, high–>low: 12–>30)
  24. St. Louis: -0.61 (last week: 17, high–>low: 16–>28)
  25. San Diego: -0.68 (last week: 24, high–>low: 7–>25)
  26. New Orleans: -0.87 (last week: 20, high–>low: 20–>29)
  27. Philadelphia: 0.92 (last week: 27, high–>low: 8–>27)
  28. Tennessee: -1.28 (last week: 28, high–>low: 27–>31)
  29. Buffalo: -1.61 (last week: 29, high–>low: 5–>29)
  30. Jacksonville: -1.66 (last week: 30, high–>low: 23–>31)
  31. Indianapolis: -1.85 (last week: 31, high–>low: 27–>31)
  32. Kansas City: -3.12 (last week: 32, high–>low: 30–>32)

Offensive Adjusted Yards per Play (league average: 4.98)

  1. Washington: 6.15 (last week: 2, high–>low: 1–>4)
  2. New England: 6.12 (last week: 7, high–>low: 2–>12)
  3. San Francisco: 6.09 (last week: 4, high–>low: 1–>12)
  4. NY Giants: 6.05 (last week: 1, high–>low: 1–>17)
  5. Tampa Bay: 6.02 (last week: 5, high–>low: 5–>29)
  6. New Orleans: 5.93 (last week: 3, high–>low: 3–>22)
  7. Atlanta: 5.83 (last week: 9, high–>low: 2–>9)
  8. Baltimore: 5.69 (last week: 8, high–>low: 1–>8)
  9. Pittsburgh: 5.69 (last week: 11, high–>low: 9–>24)
  10. Green Bay: 5.57 (last week: 6, high–>low: 6–>24)
  11. Houston: 5.68 (last week: 10, high–>low: 6–>11)
  12. Denver: 5.60 (last week: 12, high–>low: 10–>23)
  13. Detroit: 5.13 (last week: 13, high–>low: 9–>18)
  14. Tennessee: 5.01 (last week: 17, high–>low: 14–>27)
  15. Oakland: 4.98 (last week: 16, high–>low: 10–>23)
  16. Cincinnati: 4.90 (last week: 15, high–>low: 7–>25)
  17. Buffalo: 4.80 (last week: 18, high–>low: 5–>20)
  18. St. Louis: 4.71 (last week: 21, high–>low: 13–>28)
  19. Carolina: 4.69 (last week: 19, high–>low: 4–>19)
  20. Minnesota: 4.67 (last week: 22, high–>low: 9–>22)
  21. Chicago: 4.58 (last week: 14, high–>low: 6–>30)
  22. Indianapolis: 4.54 (last week: 26, high–>low: 20–>28)
  23. Cleveland: 4.53 (last week: 23, high–>low: 23–>32)
  24. Seattle: 4.41 (last week: 28, high–>low: 24–>30)
  25. Dallas: 4.38 (last week: 20, high–>low: 3–>25)
  26. Miami: 4.33 (last week: 24, high–>low: 19–>31)
  27. NY Jets: 4.17 (last week: 25, high–>low: 8–>32)
  28. San Diego: 4.04 (last week: 27, high–>low: 9–>28)
  29. Philadelphia: 4.03 (last week: 29, high–>low: 26–>32)
  30. Arizona: 3.76 (last week: 30, high–>low: 26–>32)
  31. Jacksonville: 3.66 (last week: 31, high–>low: 16–>31)
  32. Kansas City: 3.22 (last week: 32, high–>low: 20–>32)

Defensive Adjusted Yards per Play (league average: 4.98)

  1. Chicago: 2.84 (last week: 1, high–>low: 1–>5)
  2. San Francisco: 3.69 (last week: 3, high–>low: 2–>20)
  3. Houston: 3.91 (last week: 4, high–>low: 1–>5)
  4. Arizona: 4.06 (last week: 2, high–>low: 2–>5)
  5. Denver: 4.34 (last week: 7, high–>low: 5–>20)
  6. Seattle: 4.36 (last week: 5, high–>low: 4–>7)
  7. Atlanta: 4.56 (last week: 8, high–>low: 3–>13)
  8. Miami: 4.57 (last week: 11, high–>low: 8–>23)
  9. NY Giants: 4.60 (last week: 19, high–>low: 9–>30)
  10. Minnesota: 4.63 (last week: 6, high–>low: 6–>14)
  11. New England: 4.69 (last week: 10, high–>low: 3–>14)
  12. San Diego: 4.72 (last week: 14, high–>low: 9–>17)
  13. NY Jets: 4.78 (last week: 17, high–>low: 13–>21)
  14. Pittsburgh: 4.79 (last week: 15, high–>low: 14–>23)
  15. Baltimore: 4.84 (last week: 16, high–>low: 7–>16)
  16. Cleveland: 4.86 (last week: 21, high–>low: 4–>21)
  17. Dallas: 4.89 (last week: 20, high–>low: 7–>22)
  18. Carolina: 4.89 (last week: 22, high–>low: 12–>26)
  19. Green Bay: 4.92 (last week: 18, high–>low: 7–>28)
  20. Detroit: 4.93 (last week: 12, high–>low: 12–>23)
  21. Philadelphia: 4.95 (last week: 9, high–>low: 1–>21)
  22. Oakland: 5.08 (last week: 24, Week 1: 19–>31)
  23. St. Louis: 5.32 (last week: 13, high–>low: 8–>23)
  24. Jacksonville: 5.32 (last week: 27, high–>low: 24–>27)
  25. Tampa Bay: 5.39 (last week: 26, high–>low: 15–>26)
  26. Cincinnati: 5.39 (last week: 23, high–>low: 21–>32)
  27. Washington: 5.67 (last week: 25, high–>low: 11–>27)
  28. Tennessee: 6.28 (last week: 28, Week 1: 26–>30)
  29. Kansas City: 6.34 (last week: 31, Week 1: 27–>32)
  30. Indianapolis: 6.39 (last week: 29, high–>low: 24–>31)
  31. Buffalo: 6.40 (last week: 30, high–>low: 12–>32)
  32. New Orleans: 6.80 (last week: 32, Week 1: 28–>32)

SSLYAR also ranks teams according to Predictive Yards per Play Differential, a metric which doesn’t give as large a penalty or bonus to turnovers or touchdowns, will also take into account strength of schedule and will (theoretically) better able to predict future performance. This metric uses probabilities drawn from research Brian Burke did back in 2008 in trying to determine which stats best correlated with future play. For example, because offensive performance is much more consistent from week-to-week than defensive performance, offensive play is more highly prioritized in these rankings.

The 49ers are #1 for the fourth week in a row, but for the first time in a long while they’ve got a serious challenger: the Broncos rise to #2 and are within three hundredths of San Francisco. No other team is close to these two at the moment; the distance between the second-place Broncos and third-place Giants is roughly the same as the distance between the third-place Giants and eleventh-place Ravens. You know how Peyton Manning’s playing, but how about the Broncos defense? They’re in a virtual tie with the 49ers for first place in Defensive PY/P to go along with their third-place ranking offensively. Since we all know the consensus best teams in both conference at Halloween always end up playing each other in the Super Bowl, San Francisco and Denver should probably start booking hotel rooms for New Orleans now. One last note, this one related to LOLZ KANSAS CITY: the Chiefs now have a negative rating in PY/P differential, which is really hard to do considering the offensive rating is generally going to end up a yard higher than the defensive. Another round of applause for Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel, everyone!

Predictive Yards per Play Differential (league average: 0.9996523)

  1. San Francisco: 1.930454 (last week: 1, high–>low: 1–>3)
  2. Denver: 1.902147 (last week: 2, high–>low: 2–>6)
  3. NY Giants: 1.580872 (last week: 4, high–>low: 3–>11)
  4. Houston: 1.467343 (last week: 7, high–>low: 2–>12)
  5. Green Bay: 1.39675 (last week: 3, high–>low: 3–>20)
  6. Detroit: 1.36916 (last week: 6, high–>low: 5–>7)
  7. Seattle: 1.356862 (last week: 8, high–>low: 7–>16)
  8. New England: 1.342976 (last week: 13, high–>low: 5–>13)
  9. Carolina: 1.335846 (last week: 14, high–>low: 9–>18)
  10. Dallas: 1.321574 (last week: 9, high–>low: 2–>17)
  11. Baltimore: 1.267565 (last week: 12, high–>low: 1–>12)
  12. Chicago: 1.190137 (last week: 5, high–>low: 2–>12)
  13. Washington: 1.109771 (last week: 10, high–>low: 10–>18)
  14. Atlanta: 1.071859 (last week: 20, high–>low: 4–>20)
  15. Pittsburgh: 1.064747 (last week: 18, high–>low: 15–>24)
  16. St. Louis: 1.04094 (last week: 11, high–>low: 11–>28)
  17. Tampa Bay: 0.987884 (last week: 15, high–>low: 15–>30)
  18. Minnesota: 0.982311 (last week: 16, high–>low: 9–>18)
  19. Philadelphia: 0.871866 (last week: 21, high–>low: 10–>21)
  20. Oakland: 0.863983 (last week: 22, high–>low: 19–>26)
  21. Miami: 0.863599 (last week: 17, high–>low: 11–>21)
  22. NY Jets: 0.84371 (last week: 25, high–>low: 22–>32)
  23. New Orleans: 0.832444 (last week: 19, high–>low: 19–>23)
  24. Cincinnati: 0.801711 (last week: 23, high–>low: 8–>24)
  25. Arizona: 0.692032 (last week: 24, high–>low: 23–>25)
  26. Tennessee: 0.625858 (last week: 28, high–>low: 21–>26)
  27. Buffalo: 0.601401 (last week: 27, high–>low: 14–>27)
  28. Indianapolis: 0.449054 (last week: 26, high–>low: 17–>28)
  29. Cleveland: 0.34329 (last week: 29, high–>low: 28–>29)
  30. San Diego: 0.265674 (last week: 30, high–>low: 22–>30)
  31. Jacksonville: 0.231677 (last week: 31, high–>low: 31–>32)
  32. Kansas City: -0.06125 (last week: 32, high–>low: 27–>32)

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play (league average: 2.856058)

  1. NY Giants: 3.627954 (last week: 1, high–>low: 1–>2)
  2. San Francisco: 3.324089 (last week: 4, high–>low: 2–>13)
  3. Denver: 3.301201 (last week: 7, high–>low: 3–>12)
  4. Detroit: 3.265455 (last week: 6, high–>low: 4–>11)
  5. New England: 3.256829 (last week: 9, high–>low: 5–>9)
  6. New Orleans: 3.226616 (last week: 5, high–>: 5–>11)
  7. Green Bay: 3.208074 (last week: 2, high–>low: 2–>22)
  8. Washington: 3.189084 (last week: 3, high–>low: 2–>8)
  9. Baltimore: 3.127747 (last week: 10, high–>low: 1–>10)
  10. Atlanta: 3.064906 (last week: 16, high–>low: 4–>16)
  11. Tampa Bay: 3.032348 (last week: 11, high–>low: 11–>26)
  12. Houston: 3.02114 (last week: 13, high–>low: 10–>15)
  13. Carolina: 3.014443 (last week: 12, high–>low: 7–>17)
  14. Buffalo: 2.993355 (last week: 15, high–>low: 9–>15)
  15. Dallas: 2.970638 (last week: 8, high–>low: 5–>20)
  16. Cincinnati: 2.909545 (last week: 20, high–>low: 6–>20)
  17. Seattle: 2.908704 (last week: 18, high–>low: 17–>25)
  18. St. Louis: 2.895257 (last week: 14, high–>low: 14–>28)
  19. Oakland: 2.892319 (last week: 19, high–>low: 12–>19)
  20. Pittsburgh: 2.750955 (last week: 23, high–>low: 17–>23)
  21. Minnesota: 2.732344 (last week: 25, high–>low: 21–>25)
  22. Tennessee: 2.72033 (last week: 22, high–>low: 14–>24)
  23. Chicago: 2.685335 (last week: 17, high–>low: 10–>23)
  24. Indianapolis: 2.674477 (last week: 21, high–>low: 11–>24)
  25. NY Jets: 2.597702 (last week: 27, high–>low: 25–>31)
  26. Philadelphia: 2.569328 (last week: 26, high–>low: 19–>26)
  27. Miami: 2.543594 (last week: 24, high–>low: 16–>27)
  28. Arizona: 2.377697 (last week: 29, high–>low: 27–>32)
  29. Cleveland: 2.216187 (last week: 28, high–>low: 27–>29)
  30. Kansas City: 2.07076 (last week: 30, high–>low: 24–>30)
  31. San Diego: 2.064745 (last week: 31, high–>low: 27–>31)
  32. Jacksonville: 2.050738 (last week: 32, high–>low: 30–>32)

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play (league average: 1.859535)

  1. San Francisco: 1.393635 (last week: 1, high–>low: 1–>1)
  2. Denver: 1.399054 (last week: 4, high–>low: 2–>11)
  3. Chicago: 1.495197 (last week: 2, high–>low: 2–>5)
  4. Seattle: 1.551842 (last week: 3, high–>low: 2–>4)
  5. Houston: 1.553798 (last week: 5, high–>low: 3–>11)
  6. Dallas: 1.649064 (last week: 14, high–>low: 6–>14)
  7. Carolina: 1.678597 (last week: 16, high–>low: 7–>25)
  8. Miami: 1.679995 (last week: 9, high–>low: 8–>12)
  9. Arizona: 1.685665 (last week: 6, high–>low: 6–>10)
  10. Pittsburgh: 1.686208 (last week: 13, high–>low: 10–>20)
  11. Philadelphia: 1.697463 (last week: 8, high–>low: 5–>11)
  12. Minnesota: 1.750033 (last week: 7, high–>low: 3–>12)
  13. NY Jets: 1.753992 (last week: 15, high–>low: 13–>21)
  14. San Diego: 1.799071 (last week: 17, high–>low: 10–>17)
  15. Green Bay: 1.811324 (last week: 12, high–>low: 10–>17)
  16. Jacksonville: 1.819061 (last week: 20. high–>low: 16–>24)
  17. St. Louis: 1.854317 (last week: 11, high–>low: 8–>18)
  18. Baltimore: 1.860182 (last week: 18, high–>low: 12–>18)
  19. Cleveland: 1.872897 (last week: 21, high–>low: 15–>22)
  20. Detroit: 1.896295 (last week: 10, high–>low: 10–>20)
  21. New England: 1.913853 (last week: 19, high–>low: 16–>21)
  22. Atlanta: 1.993047 (last week: 22, high–>low: 14–>23)
  23. Oakland: 2.028336 (last week: 25, high–>low: 23–>29)
  24. Tampa Bay: 2.044465 (last week: 23, high–>low: 19–>27)
  25. NY Giants: 2.047082 (last week: 29, high–>low: 25–>32)
  26. Washington: 2.079313 (last week: 26, high–>low: 26–>32)
  27. Tennessee: 2.094472 (last week: 27, high–>low: 25–>27)
  28. Cincinnati: 2.107834 (last week: 24, high–>low: 21–>28)
  29. Kansas City: 2.132007 (last week: 30, high–>low: 22–>30)
  30. Indianapolis: 2.225423 (last week: 28, high–>low: 24–>30)
  31. Buffalo: 2.391954 (last week: 31, high–>low: 23–>32)
  32. New Orleans: 2.394173 (last week: 32, high–>low: 30–>32)

Week 8 Quick Thoughts

Scattered stats and thoughts regarding Week 8 of the 2012 NFL Season…

NY Giants 29, Dallas 24
Adjusted Yards per Play: 3.76 – NY Giants, 2.58 – Dallas
AY/P Projected Point Totals: NY Giants 15.58, Dallas 15.30
Quick Thoughts:
1. Rare is the game in which a team turns the ball over six times and you still sort of feel they should have won the game…but, on the other hand, rare is the game in which a ball bounces off Gerald Sensabaugh’s buttocks and winds up an interception, so let’s just acknowledge some strange stuff was going on at Cowboys Stadium yesterday. Namely, the Cowboys coming within a Dez Bryant pinkie of making an incredible comeback from a 23-0 deficit and an utterly dogcrap first quarter performance from Tony Romo. Dallas’s performance from the second quarter on was a solid reminder of how well they can play when they don’t have their heads firmly wedged up their derrieres. Unfortunately, they’re the Cowboys and they always have their heads firmly wedged up their derrieres. So they head to undefeated Atlanta now with the knowledge that if they had been just 5% smarter over the course of the game, they would have emerged victorious. In other words, it’s just like every other Cowboys loss.
2. The Giants, on the other hand, were boringly competent as usual, which doesn’t give me a whole lot to write about. This is the one area where the Cowboys have a leg up on the Giants – no matter what they do (usually it’s failing spectacularly), they’re always wildly entertaining and provide a treasure trove of material for internet schlubs such as myself. The Giants are essentially the NFL’s straight man – they play the role of the Mac in those Mac vs. PC Apple commercials and nerdily yet calmly let their PC opponents flail about with misread coverages and hard drive viruses. If Eli Manning ever rolls his eyes and talks about how much simpler and easier it is to use Kevin Gilbride’s playbook in comparison to Jason Garrett’s, the analogy will be complete.

3. Finally, can I get a what-what for recognizing how INCREDIBLY DISCONCERTING Thom Brennaman’s laugh is? He usually only unleashes it once a game, but that’s part of what makes it so terrifying – you never know when it’s going to attack. I’ll just be sitting there, minding my own business, listening to Troy Aikman explain how Tony Romo is somehow a better quarterback than he was when, all of a sudden, it sounds like someone’s shooting a machine gun full of canned douchebag bro laughter. HUHHUHUHUHUHUHUHUHUHUHUHUH. Jeez, it makes Butthead sound cerebral by comparison.

Denver 34, New Orleans 14
Adjusted Yards per Play: 7.89 – Denver, 4.12 – New Orleans
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Denver 40.01, New Orleans 17.66

Quick Thought: Denver was the top ranked AFC team in SSLYAR’s Predictive Yards per Play metric last week and they looked the part last night against the Saints. It’s no big surprise Peyton and the offense put 500+ yards up on the Saints’ D – I think Abe Vigoda and Betty White did the same thing in a scrimmage during the Saints’ bye week – but it’s particularly impressive that the Broncos shut down Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense, which has still played very well this year. If Dan Dierdorf were announcing that game, I’M NOT SO SURE he wouldn’t have been singing the Broncos’ praises.

Pittsburgh 27, Washington 12
Adjusted Yards per Play: 6.80 – Pittsburgh, 4.83 – Washington
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Pittsburgh 29.63, Washington 19.67

Quick Thought: We all saw the Steelers’ throwbacks yesterday and collectively decided as a nation, within 1.3 seconds, that they were hideous and worthy of being tossed into a nuclear waste facility. Nothing new to add here. What you may not remember is, back in 1994, EVERYBODY was wearing their horrendous throwback jerseys in honor of the NFL’s 75th anniversary. Look at the Bears’ throwbacks. Now the Packers’. And, finally, the Cardinals’. Now you look me in the eye and tell me we haven’t come a long way as a country in 92 years.

Atlanta 30, Philadelphia 17
Adjusted Yards per Play: 6.65 – Atlanta, 5.00 – Philadelphia
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Atlanta 32.30, Philadelphia 22.14

Quick Thought: I find it highly unlikely that Nick Foles would be a notable improvement at quarterback over Michael Vick, but when Vick is offering up the knowledge that Andy Reid’s thinking of replacing him and “if that’s the decision Coach wants to make, then I support it”…well, then you gotta get him out of there. It’s one thing if a quarterback is struggling; it’s quite another when a quarterback is struggling and has no confidence. When that happens, you get 2007 Rex Grossman. Make sure you get a reputable realtor, Andy.

New England 45, St. Louis 7
Adjusted Yards per Play: 8.99 – New England, 4.49 – St. Louis
AY/P Projected Point Totals: New England 42.38, St. Louis 18.28

Quick Thought: Judges’ score for Gronk’s first touchdown celebration (a Palace Guard-mimicking strut followed by an emphatic spike): 8.6 out of 10 for a creative, if somewhat rigid, performance. Judges’ score for Gronk’s second touchdown celebration (a perplexing dance involving waving the ball over his head and repeatedly thrusting his pelvis in a circular fashion): 0.0 out of 10 for OH MY GOD GRONK YOU GOTTA PUT THAT THING AWAY NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT I’M GOING TO WASH MY EYES OUT WITH BLEACH NOW.

Detroit 28, Seattle 24
Adjusted Yards per Play: 6.16 – Detroit, 6.19 – Seattle
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Detroit 32.12, Seattle 23.88

Quick Thought: The Lions ended up winning thanks to a surprise appearance by Titus Young (Sr.), but I still have to question their defensive play call on Marshawn Lynch’s 77-yard touchdown run. I respect Kyle Vanden Bosch as much as the next guy – actually, what am I saying, I hate that guy’s guts, his red contact lenses are classic HURR I’M TOUGH DURR I’M LIKE A RABID WOLF OUT THERE HURRRRRR tough guy posturing – but if he’s your last man back trying to run down Beast Mode…well, I don’t like them odds.

Chicago 23, Carolina 22
Adjusted Yards per Play: 1.98 – Chicago, 4.49 – Carolina
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Chicago 7.50, Carolina 24.70

Quick Thought: The Panthers need to fire either Ron Rivera or special teams coach Brian Murphy. Or both. But someone has to be held responsible for the INCREDIBLY IDIOTIC kickoff strategy of pooching it 25 yards so the Bears could get the ball at their own 43 every time. That single-handedly kept the Bears in the game in the first three quarters when they were actively attempting to fall behind by four touchdowns. I liked Ron when he was the Bears’ Defensive Coordinator in the middle of last decade, but unfortunately all signs are pointing to him being a TURRIBLE (copyright Charles Barkley) head coach.

Miami 30, NY Jets 9
Adjusted Yards per Play: 3.83 – Miami, 3.65 – NY Jets
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Miami 16.14, NY Jets 20.60

Quick Thought: Let the record show that this wasn’t as bad a performance by the Jets as the final score would indicate. They got eight more first downs than the Dolphins, averaged 4.6 yards per play compared to Miami’s 4.0, and were able to get six of their seven punts out of there without a block. Well done! Now, during the bye week, guys, let’s AIM FOR PERFECTION and try to go seven for seven next time.

Green Bay 24, Jacksonville 15
Adjusted Yards per Play: 3.56 – Green Bay, 4.38 – Jacksonville
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Green Bay 16.27, Jacksonville 22.21

Quick Thought: Raise your hand if you had Blaine Gabbert throwing for 117 more yards than Aaron Rodgers yesterday. …*scans crowd quickly, rolls eyes*…Now, Mrs. Gabbert, I realize you want to exude a sense of confidence in your son, but we all heard what you were saying Sunday morning, put that hand back down…

Indianapolis 19, Tennessee 13 (OT)
Adjusted Yards per Play: 6.11 – Indianapolis, 6.41 – Tennessee
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Indianapolis 32.30, Tennessee 25.64

Quick Thought: Is there a more awesome way to score a game-winning touchdown than Vick Ballard’s somersaulting, head-hitting-the-pylon method? Well, in a literal sense, yes. If, let’s say, Arian Foster jumps from his own goal line and soars 100 yards in the air, levitating over the field of play WHILE killing Cloud Nazis that have come to destroy America AND shooting cannonball farts out of his butt…that would probably be more awesome. Until then, Vick Ballard is the leader in the clubhouse.

Cleveland 7, San Diego 6
Adjusted Yards per Play: 4.36 – Cleveland, 3.12 – San Diego
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Cleveland 19.29, San Diego 15.36

Quick Thought: Uhhhhhh….these two teams played, I guess? This was the score on the bottom of the ticker during the early games that you instinctively just skipped over in favor of reaching for another Frito or picking the lint out of your belly button and then you’d look up with a start and say, “Wow, that Browns-Chargers game is really over at 7-6? Glad I didn’t watch that one. BACK TO DEFORESTING MY NAVEL.”

Oakland 26, Kansas City 16
Adjusted Yards per Play: 5.47 – Oakland, 3.03 – Kansas City
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Oakland 24.22, Kansas City 12.77

Quick Thought: And the Brady Quinn Era in Kansas City ends much as we all expected it would. Two of four for one yard. One sack for seven yards lost. One terrible interception. One painful concussion. A Total Quarterback Rating of 1.5. R.I.P. hilariously bad Kansas City quarterbacking. Now we’re back to just bad Kansas City quarterbacking.  

2012 NFL Week 8 Preview

Before we get into our Week 8 preview, let’s post a quick recap on last night’s Buccaneers-Vikings game…

Tampa Bay 36, Minnesota 17
Adjusted Yards per Play: 6.36 – Tampa Bay, 4.48 – Minnesota
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Tampa Bay 35.43, Minnesota 18.88

Quick Thought: Not the greatest time for the Vikings to crap the bed, given that the combined record of their opponents the rest of the way is 63-1 (NOTE: statistic may not be correct). As for the Bucs, their Adjusted Yards per Play figures the past three games have been 9.77, 8.72, and 6.36, respectively; that’s the pace of an offensive juggernaut. Looks like there’ll be a solid base there in Tampa for the next year and a half before they quit on Greg Schiano in December of 2013.


Below are SSLYAR’s Week 8 NFL Projections, ranked by the author’s subjective interest in watching each game. Home teams are italicized; projected winners against the spread are underlined. To see which games are being shown in your area, check out the506′s TV distribution maps. Our guest analyst this week is the director of the parks and recreation department of Pawnee, Indiana: Ron Swanson.

Dallas Cowboys 31, New York Giants 30: “I don’t want this parks department to build, any parks, because I don’t believe in government. I think that all government is a waste of taxpayer money.”

Denver Broncos 34, New Orleans Saints 24: “On my death bed, my final wish is to have my ex-wives rushed to my side so I can use my dying breath to tell them both to go to Hell one last time. Would I get married again? Oh, absolutely. If you don’t believe in love, what’s the point of living?”

Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Washington Redskins 23: “Everyone is miserable. Tom can only work if there’s someone to impress, so stranding him in Freak Island isn’t helping anyone. You made April everyone’s assistant. You know who April hates? Everyone. And Jerry can only perform when no one is looking. Shine a spotlight on him and he shrinks faster than an Eskimo’s scrotum.”

Philadelphia Eagles 23, Atlanta Falcons 20: “If you’re gonna stay here, there are three rules you need to follow: One, no talk about Tammy One. Two, no talk about Ben. Three, no talk.”

St. Louis Rams 24, New England Patriots 23 (in London): “OK, everyone: shut up! And look at me! Welcome to ‘Visions of Nature.’ This room has several paintings in it. Some are big, some are small. People did them and they’re here now. I believe that after this is over, they’ll be hung in government buildings. Why the government is involved in an art show is beyond me. I also think it’s pointless for a human to paint scenes of nature when they could just go outside and stand in it. Anyway, please do not misinterpret the fact that I am talking right now as genuine interest in art and attempt to discuss it with me further. End of speech.”

San Francisco 49ers 16, Arizona Cardinals 7: “Every year, I give Leslie the same present I give everyone: a crisp 20 dollar bill. And every year, she gets me something thoughtful and personal. It makes me furious.”

Detroit Lions 20, Seattle Seahawks 17: “I have cried twice in my life. Once when I was seven and I was hit by a school  bus. And then again when I heard that Li’l Sebastian had passed.”

Chicago Bears 24, Carolina Panthers 16: “Leslie needs to butt out. The whole point of this country is if you wanna eat garbage, balloon up to 600 pounds and die of a heart attack at 43, you can! You are free to do so! To me, that’s beautiful.”

Miami Dolphins 17, New York Jets 16: “Oh, all of you shut up! Andy, April is mad because you said ‘Awesome sauce’ instead of ‘I love you, too’. April, he loves you, so stop being a child. Tom, we all know that you lost Lil Sebastian. Jerry, you shouldn’t have been burying your face into funnel cakes. Now all of you apologize.”

Green Bay Packers 34, Jacksonville Jaguars 17: “I have a hernia. I’ve had it for a while. And I’ve been ignoring it… successfully, but this morning, I made the mistake of sneezing.”

Tennessee Titans 24, Indianapolis Colts 20: “Leslie has a lot of qualities I find horrifying, but the worst one by far is how thoughtful she can be.”

Cleveland Browns 17, San Diego Chargers 14: “Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait…wait. I worry what you just heard was: Give me a lot of bacon and eggs. What I said was: Give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Do you understand?”

Oakland Raiders 21, Kansas City Chiefs 17: “You had me at meat tornado.”

2012 Record Thus Far: 65-40 (10-3 last week)

2012 Record Against the Spread Thus Far: 45-60 (4-9 last week)

COAS / SSLYAR Pigskin Pick ‘Em: Week 8

It’s that time of the week again, folks: the Confessions of a Sportscaster/Someone Still Loves You Alberto Riveron blog coalition is proud to present their joint Week 8 picks to you, our beloved reader, as a special gift for all the great work you’ve been doing so far this year. Good job, kiddo! Last week was rather painful for me; I went 10-3 straight-up but only 4-9 against the spread. WHAT INJUSTICE! Lucas did considerably better, posting an 8-5 mark and extending his lead back to eight games. Like last week, we disagree on six outcomes in this upcoming slate of action but do agree that Rahm Emanuel is a pretty cool dude and that we could put up some numbers on the Patriots’ secondary. I swear, we really could! Please read on.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings (-6.5)
Lucas: Vikings. If Tampa can only get 28 points and still lose to the Saints, I don’t think they can go into Minnesota and cover. Adrian Peterson looks great, Christian Ponder is developing at a decent rate, and Mike Singletary is having an impact. NATHANIEL, NATHANIEL… WE NEED TO GET AFTER THE QUARTERBACK.

Nathaniel: Buccaneers. Hey, I love tossing bubble screens to Percy Harvin and running Adrian Peterson into the ground as much as the next guy. But when your entire offense consists of only those two tenets…let’s just say that, much like Dan Dierdorf, I’m not unconcerned. Bonus delightful thought: does Phil Rivers watch these Buccaneers games at home with his eighteen children, get tears in his eyes, and mumble over and over, “I miss you, V-Jax. I miss you, V-Jax.” Let’s hope so because that would HILARIOUS.

Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears (-7.5)
Lucas: Bears. Rahm Emanuel visited my office on Tuesday. Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to meet him because the people showing him around were trying to move him quickly through the facility. He talked to the Chicago editor and tried to see what shirt she was wearing (she was wearing Bears gear) and then talked about how thrilled he was with the game the night before. I can’t go against Rahm.

Nathaniel: Bears. Setting all incorrectness of the pick aside, picking against the Bears last week just felt so dirty and wrong; the cognitive dissonance that was going on in my brain was truly profound and disturbing. I’m going with cognitive harmony this week.

San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns (+2.5)
Lucas: Browns. Norv Turner’s time approaches. Then again, I’m picking Brandon Weeden… though in fairness, he’s been okay the last couple weeks.

Nathaniel: Browns. I think this GIF provides all that needs to be said on the matter…

Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions (-2.5)
Lucas: Seahawks. Seattle’s defense is legit and Matthew Stafford is probably still picking turf out of his helmet.

Nathaniel: Lions. I have to say, I’m really proud of Matt Stafford’s performance on Monday Night – only about a quarter of his throws sailed completely off target, as opposed to the 40-50% number he was putting up in the first five games. Well done, Kerry Collins 2.0!

Jacksonville Jaguars at Green Bay Packers (-13.5)
Lucas: Packers. At first I laughed when I saw this line. Then I remembered Blaine Gabbert and MJD are both hurt and might miss this week. Chad Henne would start for Gabbert. I think I have enough Rodan skills in me that I could replace Charles Woodson for maybe a play or 2 against Jacksonville and have an impact. That combined with Aaron Rodgers back to putting up ungodly numbers again and you could give me my Manifest Destiny: red zone tight end threat. Just have Aaron toss me back shoulder throws above my head to the end zone all game.

Nathaniel: Packers. The rare double-digit line that’s at least three or four points too low. Just don’t eff this up when you come in the fourth quarter, Graham Harrell. I’ll be watching you with an eagle eye.

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (-3.5)
Lucas: Colts. We need to remember, it’s not 2009, and Chris Johnson is not facing the Bills defense. Don’t think Gus will be yelling “He’s got ‘gettin’ away from the cops’ speed!” in this one where in an alternate universe he’s still an NFL play by play man. As an aside, let’s take a moment of silence to mourn that Gus isn’t calling games while Joe Buck is a #1 guy and Dick Stockton still has a job. I hate the sports broadcasting industry.

Nathaniel: Titans. The Colts have lost by 20 and 26 points, respectively, on the road so far and probably should have lost to the Browns at home last week. All of this to say that, yes, I am putting my faith in Matt Hasselbeck’s receding hairline. And it feels terrifying.

New England Patriots at St. Louis Rams (+6.5)
Lucas: Rams. Last week’s cover confirmed my thoughts of New England being overrated. I don’t care that Bradford has no one to throw to. Against the Pats D, Nathaniel or I could conceivably do some damage… right buddy?

Nathaniel: Rams. Darn tootin’ we could, amigo.

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-2.5)
Lucas: Dolphins. Mark Sanchez’ two best games this year were against the Patriots and Bills. I would like to think Miami’s secondary is better than both of those teams’ combined prowess.

Nathaniel: Dolphins. The Dolphins right now are only allowing 3.3 yards per carry. Which means OH CRAP MARK SANCHEZ IS GOING TO HAVE WIN THIS GAME FOR US AND AHHHHHHHH I DON’T FEEL SO GOOD ABOUT THAT.

Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)
Lucas: Falcons. I’m going to miss Andy Reid when he’s fired after this year for another subpar performance. Who will become his successor as the Bad Clock Management Coach in his absence?

Nathaniel: Eagles. If Andy can’t work his traditional post-bye week magic this Sunday, he might as well clean out his office now. With all the Domino’s pizza boxes and Quizno’s sub wrappers that have accumulated over the past fourteen years, it would probably be for the best anyway.

Washington Redskins at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5)
Lucas: Redskins. Washington has shown some cajones, something the Bengals lacked in their Sunday night loss. I think they can cover.

Nathaniel: Redskins. And this year’s Performance by an Actor in a Football Role goes to…Emmanuel Sanders, wide receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers.

Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5)
Lucas: Raiders. Okay, KC. You got what you wanted. Cassel is out as starting quarterback. You really think this will change anything?

Nathaniel: Raiders. Fitting that Romeo Crennel faces off against the team Art Shell used to coach for, considering ‘ol Romeo’s turning into Art Shell 2.0. You may not see a better game for unintentional comedy all year, folks.

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (+1.5)
Lucas: Giants. Small enough line combined with the fact that Coughlin’s squad has never lost at Jerry World? I’ll take it.

Nathaniel: Cowboys. After all the crap the Cowboys have gotten this year, a win on Sunday ties them in the loss column with the Giants and gives them a season sweep over Big Blue. I’m just sayin’.

New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos (-6.5)
Lucas: Broncos. Peyton Manning at night against a bad defense. I’m sure it’ll take more than pushing a receiver out of bounds (apparently legally because the quarterback was outside the pocket) to take down Denver.

Nathaniel: Broncos. More interesting question: whose turn will be among Denver’s receivers to mess up a long touchdown catch? Demaryius Thomas has had more than his fair share this year already and Eric Decker seems competent enough to avoid doing it in consecutive games. I think I’ll go with Willis McGahee getting in the clear on a screen pass, then spiking the ball fifteen yards too early. Who knew the greatest injury threat to Peyton this year would wind up being an aneurysm?

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals (+6.5)
Lucas: Cardinals. The Niners seem like their offense is coming back down to earth, and despite the fact that I could make cross-sport Cardinal parallels in terms of offense, I think AZ covers. I will proceed to regret this driving home at 8:45 Monday night when Alex Smith has thrown for 200 yards halfway through the 2nd quarter and the Niners are blowing out the Cards.

Nathaniel: 49ers. I wouldn’t worry about Alex Smith throwing for 200 yards, Lucas. What I would worry about is the prospect of the Cardinals gaining 200 yards total against the Niners’ defense. Suffice it to say, I don’t like them odds.

Lucas’ 2012 Record So Far: 52-52 (8-5 last week)

Nathaniel’s 2012 Record So Far: 44-60 (4-9 last week)

(Bizarro) Game of the Week: Raiders vs. Chiefs

When I was examining the candidates to profile for this edition of Game of the Week, let me just say that I was…underwhelmed. New Orleans vs. Denver should be exciting, but should a 2-4 team playing a 3-3 team really get the Game of the Week title? I say no. Atlanta vs. Philadelphia would be more interesting if the Falcons weren’t frauds and Michael Vick could keep from fumbling every ten plays. The Cardinals’ tailspin has taken a lot of the luster out of their Monday Night matchup against the 49ers. Honestly, we’re basically left with Giants-Cowboys as the default option. However, we already wrote about those two back in September and the last thing I want to be accused of is being East Coast-biased; it’s a very unsavory notion. So let’s instead profile a game that no one will be watching: it’s Sebastian Janikowski vs. Ryan Succop! Carson Palmer vs. Brady Quinn! It’s Raiders-Chiefs on CBS!

Who: Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO

When: 3:05 P.M., Sunday, October 28th

Network: CBS (Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots)

Key Storylines:

  1. The team that HERPs and DERPs the least shall win the game. This is a harder notion to actually put in place than you think. The Raiders’ secondary is so bad, they made Blaine Gabbert look like a viable NFL quarterback last week (before Blaine naturally left with a shoulder boo-boo). The Chiefs‘ secondary is so bad, they thought signing a Raiders castoff (Stanford Routt) would be a great boon for their pass defense. To his credit, Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer is capable of moving the ball downfield at times when he’s not throwing the ball to his opponent. Unfortunately for the Raiders, he’s always throwing the ball to his opponent, so the net positives there are kind of non-existent. On the other side, Chiefs offensive coordinator Brian Daboll seems to have stolen the 1973 Dolphins’ playbook and reverted the Chiefs’ game plans back to the Stone Age. Of course…
  2. When Brady Quinn is the answer, the question is COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY SCREWED UP. Let’s be frank here: we here at SSLYAR are no big fans of Matt Cassel and it is fair and just that he seems back on a career path of being a clipboard holder. But holy crap, Brady Quinn is DEFINITIVELY NOT BETTER. Did Romeo Crennel see the name “Brady” on his depth chart and just assume that Scott Pioli had traded for Tom, not Quinn? This would be a good question to ask Romeo if he were still alive. And while we’re here, let’s just point out that the Chiefs could and arguably should be enjoying the complete competence of Mr. Kyle Orton at quarterback and just avoided this whole debacle altogether. Unless Scott Pioli’s plan all along this year was to bottom out and get a high draft pick. I somehow doubt that, though.
  3. Will the number of people watching this game reach into the hundreds or thousands? The only other game going on in the late-afternoon window on Sunday is Giants-Cowboys, which may have SLIGHTLY HIGHER national appeal. Honestly, the bigger question is: will Raiders-Chiefs be able to beat the Pasta Boat infomercial that will no doubt run concurrently somewhere in the nation? Personally, I’d make Raiders-Chiefs a slight favorite because it’s likely everyone in America has already purchased a Pasta Boat and knows first-hand how easy it makes cooking, draining, and serving pasta dishes. But if there’s a NuWave oven infomercial on somewhere? Look out, Raiders-Chiefs…

Steve Stone’s Said in Stone Cold Lock of the Game: “Ten days later, I was golfing at the Silverado Resort in Napa Valley when I was informed there was a telephone call for me in the clubhouse from Nick Peters, a Giants beat writer now in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.”

Projected Final Score: Raiders 21, Chiefs 17

Team To Bet On If Gambling Were Legal: Raiders (+1.5)

Week 7 Power Rankings: Let Big Bud Take Care of You

*sits on couch, turns around with a big smile* Oh, it’s you! I was beginning to think that you’d never show up, you big silly goose! Come…*pats the seat of the couch next to him*…I was just starting to settle into a delightful episode of Dateline’s To Catch a Predator. Look! Chris Hansen’s just beginning his opening voiceover; you’ve arrived at a perfect moment. We’ve got some succulent grape jelly to roll over your taste buds…and then…*leans in, winks*…maybe you’ll be in the mood to TASTE BUD? HAHAHAHAHAHA. I crack myself up sometimes. And for a nightcap, we have a soothing hammock imported from the mountains of Chile just for the two of us to settle down for some R&R: Reclining and Rump-Rubbing. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

*eyes narrow* What’s that? You want to talk about football for a while first? What’s there to talk about? Thanks to that fat lesbian Charlie Weis, Kansas’s season is deader than a skunk run over by a Jeep Cherokee on the highway; there’s no other football in the world that matters. *Tilts head, curls lip in distaste* Well of course, I’m the owner of the Titans, but why does that mean I have to give you an update on their whereabouts every few seconds? Big Bud here is a delegator. The players play out there on the field, the coaches coach the players, the front office hires the coaches and players, and I sit back and print the money. What’s so hard to understand about this? Now hush. Chris Hansen’s starting to get a lead here, so you just sit tight and let Big Bud massage those aching muscles of yours with my cold, clammy, arthritic hands. *leans in, winks* It’ll be the closest you ever get to being felt up by a mummy. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

*sits back, recoils in disgust* What the – “referee lockout?” Why in the name of Dolly Parton’s bosom would you want to bring that up at such a sensual time like this? Big Bud cannot adequately set the mood that he so desires when mentions of those ethnic, money-grubbing weasels get brazenly tossed in the air! Sweetheart, we simply must leave the work talk at the door if we’re going to achieve all that we can achieve tonight. *listens with a constipated look on his face, spits out chewing tobacco in disgust* No, of course I don’t attend the owners’ meetings anymore! I stopped doing that on a regular basis when that lily-livered Paul Tagliabue came in and said he wanted to start enforcing the “No Bringing Hookers to the League Meetings” rule. *shakes head ruefully* What Paulie didn’t understand here is that Pete Rozelle wrote a G-D- Grandfather Clause for Wellington Mara, Bob Irsay, and myself. Not written down anywhere, but…it was implicit! *picks up piece of chewing tobacco he spit out, puts it back in his mouth* That was the day the NFL died, my voloptuous friend. But…*leans over with a come-hither look in his eye*…there’s no reason our romance has to die today, Sweet Cheeks. Just wait until I pop my Dips**t-Free Dentures out. I can assure you’ve never tasted gum as sweet as…Big Bud’s. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

*Stands up, starts walking in a panic* Don’t you worry about LuAnne, she’s on a business trip for Hooters International. She won’t be back until next week at the earliest. You don’t understand the mistake that you’re making, Honey Buns! Big Bud can make all of your wildest dreams and desires come true! *slicks hair back, stammers hurriedly* D-Do you want the Titans? I’ll give you the Titans! Just promise you flip Ralph Wilson the birds every time you see him. That’s my only stipulation! He’s the absolute worst. No, Sugar Cakes! DON’T GOOOOOOOO!!!! *grows despondent for a moment, then notices gold statue of an Indian woman in his doorway, begins perking up again* Oh, hi there! I’ve been waiting for you to join my To Catch a Predator marathon all day. Come, now. There’s a lovely microwave dinner sitting in my freezer. And you don’t possibly think Big Bud can finish that all on his own after his gallbladder surgery, do you? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH-errrerrr…*begins coughing violently, hacks up a lung*


A quick thought on Monday Night’s game…

Chicago 13, Detroit 7
Adjusted Yards per Play: 4.58 – Chicago, 3.21 – Detroit
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Chicago 22.57, Detroit 15.36

Quick Thought: If I may be allowed to write as a biased Bears fan for a moment, let me just say that the commercial break for Jay Cutler’s injury timeout after he got crunched by Ndamukong Suh was spent curling up into the fetal position and semi-watching Chris Berman’s dumb Applebee’s commercial IN ABJECT TERROR. I was relatively convinced that Ndamukong had ripped his spleen out and Jay was dying from the resultant bloodloss but was refusing medical attention because he’s Jay Cutler and he’d rather spend his final moments on Earth enjoying a fine cigarette over putting his internal organs back together. Needless to say, it was a long two minutes. Then Mike Tirico comes back from the break and says, “Hey guys, Jay’s fine, he’s not even going in for X-rays, he’ll probably be back in the next play.” FOR GEORGE STANLEY HALAS’S SAKE DON’T SCARE ME LIKE THAT EVER AGAIN JAY. Also, the Bears defense is good.


Here’s SSLYAR’s Week 7 rankings by Adjusted Yards per Play Differential, which is a descriptive metric that is designed to give an accurate representation of how each team has played thus far. The Bears remain #1 for a second week after another great defensive effort against the Lions; San Francisco, Houston, the Giants, and Atlanta round out the top five. Otherwise, there wasn’t much movement in these rankings this week: Cleveland had the biggest rise from #27 to #23 despite their loss to Indianapolis and Baltimore only fell four spots from #3 to #7 in the aftermath of the blowout loss to the Texans.

Adjusted Yards per Play Differential (league average: 0.00)

  1. Chicago: 2.38 (last week: 1, high–>low: 1–>14)
  2. San Francisco: 2.20 (last week: 2, high–>low: 1–>11)
  3. Houston: 1.78 (last week: 5, high–>low: 1–>5)
  4. NY Giants: 1.34 (last week: 4, high–>low: 4–>26)
  5. Atlanta: 1.21 (last week: 6, high–>low: 1–>6)
  6. New England: 1.06 (last week: 8, high–>low: 3–>8)
  7. Baltimore: 0.86 (last week: 3, high–>low: 1–>7)
  8. Green Bay: 0.85 (last week: 10, high–>low: 8–>22)
  9. Denver: 0.82 (last week: 9, high–>low: 9–>19)
  10. Washington: 0.80 (last week: 7, high–>low: 5–>13)
  11. Pittsburgh: 0.73 (last week: 12, high–>low: 10–>24)
  12. Tampa Bay: 0.42 (last week: 15, high–>low: 12–>29)
  13. Minnesota: 0.36 (last week: 13, high–>low: 7–>13)
  14. Detroit: 0.21 (last week: 11, high–>low: 11–>22)
  15. Seattle: 0.12 (last week: 14, high–>low: 11–>19)
  16. Arizona: 0.12 (last week: 17, high–>low: 10–>19)
  17. St. Louis: -0.04 (last week: 16, high–>low: 16–>28)
  18. Dallas: -0.33 (last week: 20, high–>low: 7–>21)
  19. Miami: -0.34 (last week: 19, high–>low: 19–>31)
  20. New Orleans: -0.42 (last week: 21, high–>low: 20–>29)
  21. Cincinnati: -0.49 (last week: 18, high–>low: 16–>32)
  22. Carolina: -0.49 (last week: 23, high–>low: 9–>23)
  23. Cleveland: -0.55 (last week: 27, high–>low: 20–>27)
  24. San Diego: -0.58 (last week: 22, high–>low: 7–>24)
  25. Oakland: -0.62 (last week: 25, high–>low: 20–>27)
  26. NY Jets: -0.63 (last week: 24, high–>low: 12–>30)
  27. Philadelphia: 0.76 (last week: 26, high–>low: 8–>27)
  28. Tennessee: -1.49 (last week: 29, high–>low: 27–>31)
  29. Buffalo: -1.61 (last week: 28, high–>low: 5–>29)
  30. Jacksonville: -2.08 (last week: 31, high–>low: 23–>31)
  31. Indianapolis: -2.12 (last week: 30, high–>low: 27–>31)
  32. Kansas City: -3.14 (last week: 32, high–>low: 30–>32)

Offensive Adjusted Yards per Play (league average: 5.00)

  1. NY Giants: 6.34 (last week: 2, high–>low: 1–>17)
  2. Washington: 6.32 (last week: 1, high–>low: 1–>4)
  3. New Orleans: 6.20 (last week: 6, high–>low: 3–>22)
  4. San Francisco: 5.94 (last week: 4, high–>low: 1–>12)
  5. Tampa Bay: 5.94 (last week: 13, high–>low: 5–>29)
  6. Green Bay: 5.85 (last week: 8, high–>low: 6–>24)
  7. New England: 5.77 (last week: 5, high–>low: 4–>12)
  8. Baltimore: 5.69 (last week: 3, high–>low: 1–>8)
  9. Atlanta: 5.69 (last week: 7, high–>low: 2–>9)
  10. Houston: 5.68 (last week: 10, high–>low: 6–>11)
  11. Pittsburgh: 5.52 (last week: 9, high–>low: 9–>24)
  12. Denver: 5.19 (last week: 14, high–>low: 10–>23)
  13. Detroit: 4.96 (last week: 11, high–>low: 9–>18)
  14. Chicago: 4.93 (last week: 16, high–>low: 6–>30)
  15. Cincinnati: 4.90 (last week: 15, high–>low: 7–>25)
  16. Oakland: 4.90 (last week: 12, high–>low: 10–>23)
  17. Tennessee: 4.82 (last week: 24, high–>low: 17–>27)
  18. Buffalo: 4.80 (last week: 20, high–>low: 5–>20)
  19. Carolina: 4.79 (last week: 18, high–>low: 4–>19)
  20. Dallas: 4.76 (last week: 19, high–>low: 3–>25)
  21. St. Louis: 4.74 (last week: 21, high–>low: 13–>28)
  22. Minnesota: 4.70 (last week: 17, high–>low: 9–>22)
  23. Cleveland: 4.55 (last week: 23, high–>low: 23–>32)
  24. Miami: 4.41 (last week: 22, high–>low: 19–>31)
  25. NY Jets: 4.27 (last week: 26, high–>low: 8–>32)
  26. Indianapolis: 4.27 (last week: 27, high–>low: 20–>28)
  27. San Diego: 4.21 (last week: 28, high–>low: 9–>28)
  28. Seattle: 4.18 (last week: 25, high–>low: 25–>30)
  29. Philadelphia: 3.89 (last week: 29, high–>low: 26–>32)
  30. Arizona: 3.81 (last week: 30, high–>low: 26–>32)
  31. Jacksonville: 3.51 (last week: 31, high–>low: 16–>31)
  32. Kansas City: 3.36 (last week: 32, high–>low: 20–>32)

Defensive Adjusted Yards per Play (league average: 5.00)

  1. Chicago: 2.55 (last week: 1, high–>low: 1–>5)
  2. Arizona: 3.69 (last week: 2, high–>low: 2–>5)
  3. San Francisco: 3.74 (last week: 3, high–>low: 2–>20)
  4. Houston: 3.91 (last week: 5, high–>low: 1–>5)
  5. Seattle: 4.06 (last week: 4, high–>low: 4–>7)
  6. Minnesota: 4.34 (last week: 6, high–>low: 6–>14)
  7. Denver: 4.37 (last week: 7, high–>low: 7–>20)
  8. Atlanta: 4.48 (last week: 9, high–>low: 3–>13)
  9. Philadelphia: 4.65 (last week: 11, high–>low: 1–>11)
  10. New England: 4.72 (last week: 13, high–>low: 3–>14)
  11. Miami: 4.74 (last week: 12, high–>low: 11–>23)
  12. Detroit: 4.75 (last week: 15, high–>low: 12–>23)
  13. St. Louis: 4.78 (last week: 8, high–>low: 8–>22)
  14. San Diego: 4.78 (last week: 14, high–>low: 9–>17)
  15. Pittsburgh: 4.79 (last week: 18, high–>low: 15–>23)
  16. Baltimore: 4.84 (last week: 10, high–>low: 7–>16)
  17. NY Jets: 4.89 (last week: 17, high–>low: 16–>21)
  18. Green Bay: 5.00 (last week: 16, high–>low: 7–>28)
  19. NY Giants: 5.01 (last week: 20, high–>low: 18–>30)
  20. Dallas: 5.09 (last week: 22, high–>low: 7–>22)
  21. Cleveland: 5.10 (last week: 21, high–>low: 4–>21)
  22. Carolina: 5.28 (last week: 25, high–>low: 12–>26)
  23. Cincinnati: 5.39 (last week: 23, high–>low: 21–>32)
  24. Oakland: 5.52 (last week: 26, Week 1: 19–>31)
  25. Washington: 5.52 (last week: 24, high–>low: 11–>27)
  26. Tampa Bay: 5.52 (last week: 19, high–>low: 15–>26)
  27. Jacksonville: 5.59 (last week: 27, high–>low: 24–>27)
  28. Tennessee: 6.31 (last week: 30, Week 1: 26–>30)
  29. Indianapolis: 6.38 (last week: 31, high–>low: 24–>31)
  30. Buffalo: 6.40 (last week: 28, high–>low: 12–>32)
  31. Kansas City: 6.50 (last week: 32, Week 1: 27–>32)
  32. New Orleans: 6.62 (last week: 29, Week 1: 28–>32)

SSLYAR also ranks teams according to Predictive Yards per Play Differential, a metric which doesn’t give as large a penalty or bonus to turnovers or touchdowns, will also take into account strength of schedule and will (theoretically) better able to predict future performance. This metric uses probabilities drawn from research Brian Burke did back in 2008 in trying to determine which stats best correlated with future play. For example, because offensive performance is much more consistent from week-to-week than defensive performance, offensive play is more highly prioritized in these rankings.

San Francisco owns a big lead for the third week in a row in Predictive Yards per Play Differential; Green Bay and Houston both shoot up five spots as the biggest risers, while Baltimore’s turd in the punch bowl against the Texans becomes more pronounced in these rankings (they fall from #4 to #12). As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the AFC has had its struggles all year long and this metric reflects that. Denver and Houston are the only two AFC teams in the top ten and Baltimore and New England are the only two other teams in the conference that even have an above-average rating. Further, look at the bottom of the rankings: the bottom eight teams in PY/P Differential are ALL from the AFC and Arizona is the only NFC team within the bottom eleven. Long story short: you’ve come a long way since 2006, NFC!

Predictive Yards per Play Differential (league average: 0.999214)

  1. San Francisco: 1.967317 (last week: 1, high–>low: 1–>3)
  2. Denver: 1.669391 (last week: 3, high–>low: 2–>6)
  3. Green Bay: 1.655544 (last week: 8, high–>low: 3–>20)
  4. NY Giants: 1.483209 (last week: 5, high–>low: 4–>11)
  5. Chicago: 1.476425 (last week: 6, high–>low: 2–>12)
  6. Detroit: 1.467945 (last week: 7, high–>low: 5–>7)
  7. Houston: 1.434841 (last week: 12, high–>low: 2–>12)
  8. Seattle: 1.368251 (last week: 9, high–>low: 7–>16)
  9. Dallas: 1.347244 (last week: 2, high–>low: 2–>17)
  10. Washington: 1.279841 (last week: 10, high–>low: 10–>18)
  11. St. Louis: 1.21241 (last week: 14, high–>low: 11–>28)
  12. Baltimore: 1.209588 (last week: 4, high–>low: 1–>12)
  13. New England: 1.197591 (last week: 11, high–>low: 5–>13)
  14. Carolina: 1.196354 (last week: 13, high–>low: 13–>18)
  15. Tampa Bay: 1.000798 (last week: 17, high–>low: 15–>30)
  16. Minnesota: 0.99966 (last week: 18, high–>low: 9–>18)
  17. Miami: 0.971079 (last week: 15, high–>low: 11–>17)
  18. Pittsburgh: 0.913545 (last week: 22, high–>low: 18–>24)
  19. New Orleans: 0.907931 (last week: 23, high–>low: 19–>23)
  20. Atlanta: 0.893256 (last week: 20, high–>low: 4–>20)
  21. Philadelphia: 0.832365 (last week: 21, high–>low: 10–>21)
  22. Oakland: 0.748692 (last week: 19, high–>low: 19–>26)
  23. Cincinnati: 0.732343 (last week: 16, high–>low: 8–>23)
  24. Arizona: 0.692334 (last week: 25, high–>low: 23–>25)
  25. NY Jets: 0.653643 (last week: 27, high–>low: 25–>32)
  26. Indianapolis: 0.625593 (last week: 26, high–>low: 17–>26)
  27. Buffalo: 0.580981 (last week: 24, high–>low: 14–>27)
  28. Tennessee: 0.573095 (last week: 29, high–>low: 21–>29)
  29. Cleveland: 0.329332 (last week: 28, high–>low: 28–>29)
  30. San Diego: 0.258695 (last week: 30, high–>low: 22–>30)
  31. Jacksonville: 0.095926 (last week: 32, high–>low: 31–>32)
  32. Kansas City: 0.003386 (last week: 31, high–>low: 27–>32)

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play (league average: 2.870643)

  1. NY Giants: 3.647815 (last week: 1, high–>low: 1–>2)
  2. Green Bay: 3.425624 (last week: 8, high–>low: 2–>22)
  3. Washington: 3.365091 (last week: 2, high–>low: 2–>3)
  4. San Francisco: 3.338018 (last week: 6, high–>low: 2–>13)
  5. New Orleans: 3.30552 (last week: 11, high–>: 5–>11)
  6. Detroit: 3.214711 (last week: 4, high–>low: 4–>11)
  7. Denver: 3.191766 (last week: 9, high–>low: 7–>12)
  8. Dallas: 3.156994 (last week: 5, high–>low: 5–>20)
  9. New England: 3.105679 (last week: 7, high–>low: 5–>9)
  10. Baltimore: 3.103151 (last week: 3, high–>low: 1–>10)
  11. Tampa Bay: 3.06168 (last week: 18, high–>low: 11–>26)
  12. Carolina: 3.0287 (last week: 10, high–>low: 7–>17)
  13. Houston: 2.976514 (last week: 15, high–>low: 10–>15)
  14. St. Louis: 2.973146 (last week: 21, high–>low: 14–>28)
  15. Buffalo: 2.939817 (last week: 14, high–>low: 9–>15)
  16. Atlanta: 2.926632 (last week: 16, high–>low: 4–>16)
  17. Chicago: 2.853499 (last week: 13, high–>low: 10–>21)
  18. Seattle: 2.835877 (last week: 19, high–>low: 18–>25)
  19. Oakland: 2.817471 (last week: 12, high–>low: 12–>19)
  20. Cincinnati: 2.800157 (last week: 17, high–>low: 6–>20)
  21. Indianapolis: 2.784803 (last week: 20, high–>low: 11–>21)
  22. Tennessee: 2.702455 (last week: 24, high–>low: 14–>24)
  23. Pittsburgh: 2.694227 (last week: 22, high–>low: 17–>23)
  24. Miami: 2.680959 (last week: 23, high–>low: 16–>24)
  25. Minnesota: 2.670281 (last week: 25, high–>low: 21–>25)
  26. Philadelphia: 2.517169 (last week: 26, high–>low: 19–>26)
  27. NY Jets: 2.477954 (last week: 28, high–>low: 27–>31)
  28. Cleveland: 2.318788 (last week: 27, high–>low: 27–>29)
  29. Arizona: 2.316942 (last week: 30, high–>low: 27–>32)
  30. Kansas City: 2.190343 (last week: 29, high–>low: 24–>30)
  31. San Diego: 2.103923 (last week: 31, high–>low: 27–>31)
  32. Jacksonville: 2.073239 (last week: 32, high–>low: 30–>32)

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play (league average: 1.87143)

  1. San Francisco: 1.370702 (last week: 1, high–>low: 1–>1)
  2. Chicago: 1.377075 (last week: 3, high–>low: 2–>5)
  3. Seattle: 1.467626 (last week: 2, high–>low: 2–>3)
  4. Denver: 1.522374 (last week: 4, high–>low: 4–>11)
  5. Houston: 1.541673 (last week: 11, high–>low: 3–>11)
  6. Arizona: 1.624609 (last week: 6, high–>low: 6–>10)
  7. Minnesota: 1.670621 (last week: 7, high–>low: 3–>7)
  8. Philadelphia: 1.684804 (last week: 5, high–>low: 5–>8)
  9. Miami: 1.70988 (last week: 12, high–>low: 8–>12)
  10. Detroit: 1.746767 (last week: 14, high–>low: 10–>15)
  11. St. Louis: 1.760736 (last week: 8, high–>low: 8–>18)
  12. Green Bay: 1.77008 (last week: 10, high–>low: 10–>17)
  13. Pittsburgh: 1.780682 (last week: 16, high–>low: 13–>20)
  14. Dallas: 1.809749 (last week: 9, high–>low: 6–>14)
  15. NY Jets: 1.824311 (last week: 18, high–>low: 15–>21)
  16. Carolina: 1.832345 (last week: 15, high–>low: 15–>25)
  17. San Diego: 1.845228 (last week: 17, high–>low: 10–>17)
  18. Baltimore: 1.893563 (last week: 13, high–>low: 12–>18)
  19. New England: 1.908088 (last week: 20, high–>low: 16–>20)
  20. Jacksonville: 1.977313 (last week: 24. high–>low: 20–>24)
  21. Cleveland: 1.989456 (last week: 22, high–>low: 15–>22)
  22. Atlanta: 2.033376 (last week: 23, high–>low: 14–>23)
  23. Tampa Bay: 2.060882 (last week: 19, high–>low: 19–>27)
  24. Cincinnati: 2.067814 (last week: 21, high–>low: 21–>24)
  25. Oakland: 2.068779 (last week: 25, high–>low: 25–>29)
  26. Washington: 2.08525 (last week: 27, high–>low: 26–>32)
  27. Tennessee: 2.12936 (last week: 26, high–>low: 25–>27)
  28. Indianapolis: 2.159211 (last week: 28, high–>low: 24–>28)
  29. NY Giants: 2.164606 (last week: 29, high–>low: 29–>32)
  30. Kansas City: 2.186957 (last week: 30, high–>low: 22–>30)
  31. Buffalo: 2.358837 (last week: 32, high–>low: 23–>32)
  32. New Orleans: 2.397589 (last week: 31, high–>low: 30–>32)

Week 7 Quick Thoughts

Scattered stats and thoughts regarding Week 6 of the 2012 NFL Season…

Houston 43, Baltimore 13
Adjusted Yards per Play: 6.58 – Houston, 1.80 – Baltimore
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Houston 35.72, Baltimore 7.59
Quick Thoughts:
1. One of the search engine terms that led some poor sap to this blog yesterday was the following question: “are the ravens teh (sic) same team houston played last year.” And what I think yesterday’s game proved rather emphatically, dear anonymous internet reader, is that no, they are not. At least, not on the road. The Ravens are now 1-2 away from home this season and the one win was an ugly-as-sin 9-6 squeaker over Kansas City that inspired the Arrowhead Stadium faithful to cheer Matt Cassel’s concussion. Joe Flacco and Co. are scoring 32.25 points per game at home so far and 15 on the road. If you want to widen the sample size and include last year’s road performance, remember that the Ravens tossed in some road stinkbombs last year as well in Jacksonville, Tennessee, Seattle, and San Diego. Given their defense’s grave injury troubles and mediocre play even before the injuries set in, I’d say there’s some cause for concern here.

2. Meanwhile, things are just a tad rosier in Houston this Monday morning than they were last week. The defense rebounded from a subpar performance against the Packers (and, frankly, it might just be that no defense throughout history would have stopped Aaron Rodgers last week) back to the stellar play that marked the first five games of the season. And while I’m not completely sold that Kevin Walter is the answer to their offense’s lack of explosiveness, the Texans can solidly move the ball at all times on offense. And now, having beaten Denver and Baltimore, the Texans have both the best record in the AFC and tiebreakers over what figures to be two out of their three main competitors for the AFC’s top seed (New England still being the other, despite desperately trying to choke away another double digit lead yesterday). So they’re sitting pretty right now. Or, at least as pretty as you can sit when you’re saddled with Gary Kubiak’s greased-back hair and Matt Schaub’s receding hairline.

NY Giants 27, Washington 23
Adjusted Yards per Play: 6.05 – NY Giants, 4.71 – Washington
AY/P Projected Point Totals: NY Giants 25.93, Washington 23.21

Quick Thought: Who else is pumped for two Eli-RGIII games every year for the foreseeable future? HOPEFULLY ALL OF YOU SAY YES SO I DON’T HAVE TO KEEP MY EXCITEMENT TO MYSELF. I hate when that happens. Like, I’ll see a preview for Horrible Bosses or something and I’ll say to myself, “Ooh, Jason Bateman’s in this. IT’S GOING TO BE JUST AS GOOD AS ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT WAS.” And then I’ll read the reviews and they’ll give it like two stars or something and, needless to say, my bubble is burst. And then I don’t wind up watching Horrible Bosses at all. So no one write any scathing reviews of yesterday’s Giants-Redskins game, you hear me? DON’T RUIN THIS FOR ME.

New England 29, NY Jets 26 (OT)
Adjusted Yards per Play: 5.69 – New England, 4.46 – NY Jets
AY/P Projected Point Totals: New England 30.08, NY Jets 24.85

Quick Thought: In today’s Sure Sign The Apocalypse Is Nigh, Phil Simms was actually making lucid points in the second and third quarters yesterday. He was taking the gloves off with Sanchez and really hammering the Jets for all the yards they were leaving out on the field. I was scared. Then by the fourth quarter, he was back to saying, “Oh gosh, the team that geets the most points een thees game weell end being the weener. HEEM HEEM HEEM” and licking the boogers off his sweater vest. Oh well. We’ll always have those two quarters…

Green Bay 30, St. Louis 20
Adjusted Yards per Play: 7.00 – Green Bay, 5.92 – St. Louis
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Green Bay 33.00, St. Louis 24.95

Quick Thought: Aaron Rodgers the last two games: 54 of 74, 680 yards, 9 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, a whole lot of butts kicked, 1 “shhhhhhhh” postgame quote delivered. No, I’m not abjectly terrified of the Week 15 Packers-Bears game at Soldier Field, why do you ask?

Dallas 19, Carolina 14
Adjusted Yards per Play: 4.34 – Dallas, 4.55 – Carolina
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Dallas 20.15, Carolina 19.50

Quick Thought: Here’s how desperate the Cowboys were before yesterday’s game in Charlotte: they brought Joe Gibbs in to give them a pep talk the night before the game.If I were a Cowboys fan – and thank God that I’m not, because I would weigh 100 pounds more and feel the need to punctuate random sentences with “YEE-HAW THAT JERRY JONES SURE KNOWS HOW TO BUILD A STADIUM HOW BOUT THEM COWBOYS!!!!” – I’d be sick to my stomach over this. This would be the equivalent of having Brett Favre give an inspirational speech to my Bears to get them psyched up for playing the Jaguars or someone. Yeah, they won the game. BUT AT WHAT COST?

Minnesota 21, Arizona 14
Adjusted Yards per Play: 2.96 – Minnesota, 4.36 – Arizona
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Minnesota 9.94, Arizona 21.49

Quick Thought: Christian Ponder went 8 of 17 for 58 yards, one touchdown and two picks. His quarterback rating was 35.5. John Skelton threw for two hundred more yards than he did. No matter, says Leslie Frazier: “The way we’ve tried to structure our team, the philosophy lends itself to winning games like this when you are not completing a lot of balls down the field in a league where so many say that’s the way you have to win. That’s a formula for success.” Whatever you say, coach!

Pittsburgh 24, Cincinnati 17
Adjusted Yards per Play: 5.37 – Pittsburgh, 3.67 – Cincinnati
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Pittsburgh 26.85, Cincinnati 12.85

Quick Thought: How exactly is Marvin Lewis still coaching? I don’t mean this necessarily as a smarmy diatribe against the guy; I mean, he’s not good, but you could definitely do a whole lot worse. I’m just saying, Michele Tafoya was interviewing Marvin before last night’s kickoff and NBC displayed a graphic showing his career record of 72-77-1 (with a 78th loss to shortly follow). He’s only made the playoffs three times and hasn’t won a game once he’s gotten there. And he’s been with that team for ten years! That’s crazy. He’s basically a rich man’s Dick Jauron at this point which, you know, HIGH PRAISE.

New Orleans 35, Tampa Bay 28
Adjusted Yards per Play: 8.14 – New Orleans, 8.72 – Tampa Bay
AY/P Projected Point Totals: New Orleans 36.63, Tampa Bay 42.35

Quick Thought: I’m sorry, Jerome Boger, I’m aware that Mike Williams was out of bounds before he caught what should have been the game-tying catch at the end of the game yesterday, but he was only out of bounds because he was FREAKING PUSHED OUT BY A SAINTS DEFENDER. There’s some sort of penalty for that, right? Illegal Contact is possibly the name of it? And, no, this has nothing to do with taking the Bucs +2.5 points in the Pigskin Pick’Em this week. I’ve been a big fan of the Bucs ever since last Wednesday when I…started liking them for mysterious reasons that are unclear to you, as far as you know. 

Indianapolis 17, Cleveland 13
Adjusted Yards per Play: 4.51 – Indianapolis, 6.19 – Cleveland
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Indianapolis 22.23, Cleveland 25.64

Quick Thought: The AFC Wild-Card race right now is genuinely inspiring. San Diego and Miami are your leaders at the moment with a record of 3-3, with Pittsburgh and Indy running close behind. THEM’S FOUR JUGGERNAUTS RIGHT THERE, IS WHAT THEY ARE. And the best part about it is you know at least one of them is going to end up winning a Wild-Card game because the worst team on Wild-Card weekend always figures out a way to win. Ryan Tannehill leading YOUR MIAMI DOLPHINS into an AFC Divisional Playoff game against Houston? Don’t bet against it!

Tennessee 35, Buffalo 34
Adjusted Yards per Play: 7.90 – Tennessee, 5.78 – Buffalo
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Tennessee 34.99, Buffalo 24.77

Quick Thought: Ryan Fitzpatrick always seems to know the perfect time to throw a back-breaking interception. “What’s this? We’re ahead by six with a few minutes left and the crowd is almost kind of expecting that we’re going to win? WELL LET’S JUST THROW A FLOATER INTO DOUBLE COVERAGE HERE AND SEE IF WE CAN’T FIX THAT.” Who knew Harvard grads could be so devious?

Oakland 26, Jacksonville 23 (OT)
Adjusted Yards per Play: 4.00 – Oakland, 3.26 – Jacksonville
AY/Projected Point Totals: Oakland 21.14, Jacksonville 14.20

Quick Thought: Only positive to come out of this: Maurice Jones-Drew referring to his initial foot injury as “a little boo-boo.” Hopefully that’s what his injury is described as on the injury report this week. In fact, let’s just use kiddiespeak to describe all injuries going forward. “Blaine Gabbert is questionable with an owwie this week, guys, and it’s not looking good…”

2012 NFL Week 7 Preview

Before we get into our Week 7 preview, let’s post a quick recap on last night’s Seahawks-49ers game…

San Francisco 13, Seattle 6
Adjusted Yards per Play: 5.05 – San Francisco, 3.82 – Seattle
AY/P Projected Point Totals: San Francisco 20.56, Seattle 14.73

Quick Thought: Man, that 49ers running game is a thing of beauty. The NFL is a passing league now and I’m all for that because, honestly, it’s more exciting to watch a 38-34 crapfest than a 10-6 crapfest. But there’s something intrinsically beautiful/demoralizing (depending on your rooting interest) about seeing a team just ram the ball down another’s throat like the 49ers were doing to the Seahawks in the second half last night. And the Seahawks came in only giving up 3.3 yards per carry! Incredible. Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the newest inductee into the Great Backdoor Covers Hall of Fame: Jim Harbaugh’s refusal of the 4th-down holding penalty in the end zone for a safety, instead choosing to just take the ball and kneel out the rest of the clock. And as someone who may or may not have had Seattle +7.5 points, let me just say that I think it was a smart strategical move! And I think Bill Simmons agrees with me.


Below are SSLYAR’s Week 7 NFL Projections, ranked by the author’s subjective interest in watching each game. Home teams are italicized; projected winners against the spread are underlined. To see which games are being shown in your area, check out the506′s TV distribution maps. Our guest analyst this week is the Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming for General Electric: Jack Donaghy.

  1. Houston Texans 28, Baltimore Ravens 27 (in-depth preview here): “Liz, all the VPs will be angling to golf with Don Geiss, but my partner will be Tracy Jordan, his grandchildren’s favorite movie star. Geiss will absolutely choose us, and that’s a big deal because being in a foursome with this man can change your life.”
  2. New York Giants 35, Washington Redskins 30: “We need hope. We need change. We need experience. We need pens.”
  3. Chicago Bears 24, Detroit Lions 20: “The Italians have a saying, Lemon: ‘Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.’ And although they’ve never won a war or mass-produced a decent car, in this case they’re right.”
  4. New England Patriots 27, New York Jets 17: “There is nothing gay about the Princeton fight song. ‘Oh the merry men of Princeton are charging up the rear, holding all the balls’ – okay, I hear it now..”
  5. Green Bay Packers 21, St. Louis Rams 20: “Lemon, let me tell you a little story. It was 1994, and I was ice climbing when I fell into a crevasse and hurt my leg. There was only one way out, so fighting every natural instinct I have, I did the thing I hated the most. I climbed down into the darkness. And when I came back to camp, I went to the person who cut my line and said, ‘Connie Chung, you saved my life.'”
  6. Dallas Cowboys 24, Carolina Panthers 23: “Ambition is the willingness to kill the things you love and eat them to survive. Haven’t you ever read my throw pillow?”
  7. Minnesota Vikings 14, Arizona Cardinals 9: “You know what family means to me, Lemon? Resentment. Guilt. Anger. Easter egg hunts that turn into knife fights.”
  8. Cincinnati Bengals 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 20: “Darn liberal media. That’s why I always get my news from Dick Cheney’s website,”
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28, New Orleans Saints 24: “Have you ever been to Florida? It’s basically a criminal population. It’s America’s Australia.”
  10. Indianapolis Colts 21, Cleveland Browns 16: “If we can put an ear on a mouse’s back, we can certainly make a peacock immortal.”
  11. Buffalo Bills 24, Tennessee Titans 19: “It’s gonna be a who’s who of New York royalty. The Astors, the Rockefellers, the Sbarros…”
  12. Oakland Raiders 31, Jacksonville Jaguars 20: “Being in a relationship means overlooking certain flaws. I mean, somewhere right now a guy is on a J-Date with Monica Lewinsky. Nobody’s perfect.”

2012 Record Thus Far: 56-36 (7-7 last week)

2012 Record Against the Spread Thus Far: 41-51 (6-8 last week)

Game of the Week: Ravens vs. Texans

Once the dominant of the two conferences, the AFC has gone through a particularly weak stretch so far this season. In a manner befitting Pete Rozelle’s NFL, a whopping nine teams have three losses and only two have winning records. Those two teams coincidentally meet in Houston on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional Playoff game. And this time, the injury tables have turned. This edition of Game of the Week previews what may be the deciding game in the race for home-field advantage in the playoffs: Ravens-Texans…

Who: Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans

Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX

When: 12 P.M., Sunday, October 21st

Network: CBS (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf)

Key Storylines:

  1. The Ravens defense: who will survive, and what will be left of them? You may have heard Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb were both lost for the season this week due to injuries they suffered in last week’s victory over the Cowboys. You could make a strong case that Lewis is the greatest middle/inside linebacker of all-time, but his physical skills have diminished this season to the point where he was nothing more than an above-average player. Webb, on the other hand, had turned into a legitimate #1 corner this year and his presence on the field will be much harder to replace. In addition, All-Pro Haloti Ngata sprained his MCL last week but is apparently going to tough it out and play this week in Houston. So may last year’s Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs, just six months after tearing his Achilles tendon. In any event, the Ravens defense you see take the field on defense is going to look a lot different than what it has so far this year.
  2. Can the Texans offense keep up with the surprisingly explosive Ravens attack? Now there’s a sentence I didn’t expect to write a month and a half ago! But so far, Houston’s high-profile offense has just been adequate; they’re only averaging 5.4 yards per play (league average is 5.5) and getting only 3.8 yards per carry out of their much ballyhooed running game. With Andre Johnson now in his early thirties and not looking like the same explosive player he once was, the Texans have now been having trouble stretching the field and have had to resort to manufacturing passing first downs out of bootlegs and bunch formations. Matt Schaub has done a nice job of accurately delivering passes in the short-to-intermediate ranges, but consistently scoring touchdowns on 12-to-15 play drives is an exceptionally hard thing to do. And with the Ravens now having speed to burn with Torrey Smith and former Texan Jacoby Jones at wide receiver, Houston may need to get some long scores of their own to keep up on Sunday.
  3. The rare October game with genuine January implications. Here’s the deal: the AFC is terrible. Denver and New England look like good teams that have slightly underperformed so far and you could argue that Pittsburgh is struggling due to injuries and will bounce back once they get relatively healthy. But beyond that, it’s tough to see anyone in the conference outside of these two teams being capable of making even a little noise in the playoffs. So there’s a little added urgency on both sides to get a leg up on the race for home field advantage. In particular, the Texans would much rather face the Ravens in Houston than Baltimore; they’ve never beaten the Ravens and lost twice in Baltimore last season alone. It’s probably the biggest game they’ll play the rest of the season.

Steve Stone’s Said in Stone Cold Lock of the Game: “‘Ron,’ I replied. ‘You have no feet. You could wear Bozo the Clown’s shoes, and it would make no difference!'”

Projected Final Score: Texans 28, Ravens 27

Team to Bet On If Gambling Were Legal: Ravens (+6.5)