Friday, January 20

But Really, Who Knows?

I rode the Eagles all regular season. They blew a gasket week one, had carburetor troubles week three, got blindsided week five, got a tune up, slid through the turn week seven (just missing that patch of oil), and finally the wheels fell off in week eight. Fortunately this came with a nice piece of information:

DENVER (-3) is a rock-solid ball club. I still don't have much faith in Shaky-Jakey, but I can't get enough of their gameplan on both sides of the ball. Note to Andy Reid- playfakes work when the other team actually believes you're going to run. Just like the myth that the Eagles blitz more than any team in the league, the Broncos are surrounded by an aura of running the ball. And while they do favor the run, things are not as lopsided as they seem. Jake put 456 passes in the air this season, which works out to 28.5 per. As a team, the Broncos ran 542 times, good for second in the league. However, Jake carried the rock on 43 of those plays, and although Denver's playbook is home to a great number of roll-outs and boolegs, it's safe to figure that at most they only ran 10 designed runs for the Snake. That brings their run total down to 509 on the year, an average of 31.8 runs per. This is called balance. This is called keeping the other team on their toes. When a middle linebacker has to take half a second to decide whether the play is coming at him or away from him, you're ahead already. Don't forget that Denver won thirteen games this year, which means they could play from ahead and milk the clock. Oh, and they're 9-0 at home this year, most recently giving Tom Brady his first career early golf season.

I like what the Steelers bring, and I feel like Jake is due for an implosion, but he's burnt me all year, and I gotta go with him.

I understand that he put up 28 touchdowns this year, but if your team can win a playoff game without you, then you are not the most valuable player of your league. Even before being concussed, Shaun wasn't exactly tearing up the turf, and if you can't run behind Mack Strong, Walter Jones, and Steve Hutchinson, then you don't really deserve a job in an NFL backfield.

On the other hand, when you are your team's lone offensive threat, and your wide receiver companions are a has-been, a never-was, and a practice-squad reject, and you go up against the best D in the league, then post 12 catches for 218 and 2 touches, throwing in 26 on the ground (and catch a couple punts), well then bravo sir, bravo. No one is stopping Steve again this week, and Carolina's top-notch secondary (Mike Minter, I barely knew thee) will put a quick end to Seattle's three-wide sets. Seattle hasn't lost all year at home either, but this Jake has won five straight on the road and won't be making a pit stop in Seattle.