East Coast Offense
By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor
Losing in Survivor Blows Chunks
Especially when you're a Giants fan, you correctly told people to stay away from Denver and you picked the Cowboys whom it sickened you to root for in the first place. Could that defense be any softer in the fourth quarter when they knew the Redskins were going to run, and they just needed a stop? (During the game's key drive, with 10.22 left in the fourth quarter, and Washington up six, the Redskins ran seven minutes off the clock and drove into field-goal range to go up nine and essentially ice the game. Ten of the 11 plays on that drive were runs, the only pass play being a six-yard completion to Chris Cooley).
And never ever watch a game that you have a large stake in when Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are announcing. Buck was so taken by the Cowboys hype during the game that he started congratulating Jerry Jones for the great job he had done in bringing in Tank Johnson and Pacman Jones. First off, the Cowboys haven't won a playoff game in more than 10 years. Shouldn't we wait until the verdict is remotely in before we start praising Jerry Jones for signing a bunch of talented but troubled guys? Second, Aikman can't stop saying the obvious - it's Joe Morgan-esque. At one point he said the Redskins were winning because they were outplaying them on defense, and they had the offense going. Or something to that effect. I had to turn the game on mute, but then you miss the sound of the hits and the crowd noise. Can DirecTV add a "mute the announcers" button as part of its SuperFan package? Seriously, why can't the announcers be optional?
Actually, I don't have SuperFan anymore because last season DirecTV charged me a $5 late fee because my bill was two weeks past due. I called to point out that I buy the basketball, baseball and NFL with SuperFan packages as well as HBO and Showtime from them, i.e., it costs more than the lease on my car, and that I was sincerely sorry for being late in paying, but could they please credit me back the $5 as a way of taking care of a good customer? They refused, so I said, fine, cancel SuperFan and credit me $100. Which the customer service rep did. Never got the $5 back, and I hope they're happy. I'm not.
But back to the Cowboys - what an absolutely gutless performance at home against a division rival in a key game. The Cowboys might be the most talented team in the NFL, but they're not one of the toughest, mentally or physically. Tony Romo always seems to make a couple inexusable throws, Wade Phillips is a jolly old Santa Claus type on the sidelines - I mean is anyone scared of Wade Phillips? Bill Parcells was arguably even flabbier in his prime, but you knew not to mess with Parcells. The team's attitude seems to be, we can nonchalant and half-ass it at times, and because we're so good, we can still win. Not against good teams like the Redskins who show up you can't.
The bottom line: I'm an idiot for taking Dallas when my first instinct was Carolina, but I need to get over my disgust with the Cowboys quickly - otherwise, it'll screw up my handicapping of their games going forward. I still routinely get the Ravens wrong because I haven't let go of my hatred for them on account of the 2000 Super Bowl.
Folding When You're Already All-In
In his weekly RotoWire blog, Dalton Del Don reminded me that Brad Childress, down 13 with 1:53 left, punted on 4th and 13 from his own 18. The Titans fielded the punt, and Kerry Collins promptly knelt on the ball three times to close out the game. Think about that - what does it matter where the opposing quarterback does his kneel down? And it was a two-score game with almost two minutes left - certainly it was possible to score and get the onside kick. Even if it's unlikely, isn't a coach at least obligated to try?
Santana for Randy revisited
Last week, Scott Pianowski traded me Randy Moss for Santana Moss. How'd that work out after one week? Just fine. I lost my game by 13.08 points. Had I not made the trade, I would have started Santana over Antonio Bryant (Randy Moss had a bye). Bryant had 5.90 points, and Santana had 18.5 points. That's a diffence of 12.6, so I would have lost anyway. Of course, Jason Campbell looks like he might make the Pro Bowl, and if Santana stays healthy all year, he could match his monster 2005 (1483 yards, nine TD). Incidentally, Scott lost last week, too.
Things to Take Away From Week 4
Beating the Book
The Jets covered last week, which puts us at 4-0 against the spread in this forum so far this season. We're 38-21 overall.
Bills +1 at Cardinals
Four favorites in a row, albeit a small one again this week. The Bills have played very well so far, but this is their second straight road game, and Arizona plays much better at home. Expect some regression to the mean for Buffalo with Arizona pulling out the win.
Cardinals 23 - 19
We were 6-10 in this forum last year, but 127-120 on the season overall. From 1999-2007 we're 1184-1018 (53.8%, not including ties).
The full article comes out on Thursday morning.
Surviving Week 5
We lost with Dallas last week, but that doesn't mean we get to stop writing the column.
If you're still alive, you didn't use Dallas last week, so now's as good a time as any to use them. I despise the team, but they're likely to be less cocky and more focused after the loss, and Cincinnati could be without Carson Palmer. With Palmer, it's not quite as much of a no brainer, but we'd still expect Dallas to bounce back at home. We give the Cowboys a 91 percent chance to win this game.
If you've used Dallas, we'd take the Panthers over Kansas City.
The full article comes out Thursday.
Article first appeared 10/1/08