Thursday, December 27, 2007

Under Review: Week 16

With the Holiday season upon us, this was hard to get out on our normal day, Tuesday. That was Christmas if you recall. So this will be questions involving week 16 and the last week coming up this weekend.

How disappointing was the Vikings loss to the Skins? Were you thinking it was a nice run but expected it to end at some point or thought we choked it away? What % do you put us getting in?

Fuzz: It was horrible. The Twins and T-wolves didn’t even sniff the playoffs and then the Vikings go on this mini-run that has everyone acting stupid & shit. Breaking down playoff matchups and thinking we might actually have a shot in Dallas with a smart game plan. Well, that pretty much went like a fart in the wind. It’s gone…kind of. We still have one scenario to get us in but I don’t see it. I do think they choked it away but they put themselves in this position in the first place. It’s their own damn fault. They should have won at Detroit, KC and home against Philly. All were games they should and had to win. They win one of those creampuffs and we’re fucking in. As you can tell, I was sold on the playoffs and now I’m extremely pissed. I have a scenario no one is talking about...Washington loses and we lose! Knowing our history I'm not eliminating this possibility. I put their playoff chances at 13%.

Q: On a scale of 1-10, last Sunday night's loss ranked a 246 in terms of its depression level. I guess part of me kind of expected it because 1) Minnesota teams always get our hopes up and then blow it, and 2) we couldn't realistically expect to win 7 straight games, especially with our lack of a passing game. It was only a matter of time. That said, if we win in Denver this week, regardless of whether we get into the playoffs or not, you have to consider this a good year. 9-7? I think that's at least 2-3 wins higher than most people around here expected back in August. At the very least, we've established an identity, created a superstar in AD, and will have the experience of a run at the playoffs to use as experience/motivation going into next year. Plus, there's no way Jackson could play any worse next year, could he?

Dogg: I wasn’t disappointed at all with the loss because I figured it was going to happen sooner or later. This Vikings team isn’t that good and they have a bad QB at the helm right now so once you get down a score or two it’s pretty much lights out. They played a 4-4 all game which means they were basically holding up a sign that read “we will stop the run” but TJ still couldn’t find a way to get the rock to our WR’s downfield. That might be on our WR’s as well but he made several inexcusable throws again, namely the one that got it all started to ex-Viking Fred Smoot. There is 0% chance we make the postseason. Denver at home will not be easy no matter who they put on the field and Washington won’t lose to Brad Johnson and Co.

Does New England complete the 16 game sweep? New York won’t cause a problem will they? How do you beat these guys? Can you?

Dogg: New England does complete the 16 game sweep because they are still hungry to win. Most teams in the NFL have either clinched a playoff spot or just simply don’t care anymore because their team was mathematically eliminated 2 weeks ago. NY will be playing without Shockey, a limited Burress, a limited Jacobs and just an average QB in Eli Manning. You beat them by playing better than they do. They have more talent than anybody in the league and have one of the best schemers of all time in Bellichick so you simply have to show up and outplay them. It’s not easy but somebody can do it. Will they? Probably not but I hope every team from here on out leaves everything they possibly can on the football field.

Q: Absolutely they finish the regular season 16-0. All year I've been saying (hoping) that they wouldn't, but it seems like a virtual lock now. I know that the Giants say they are playing their starters, but I can't imagine they'll play for too long. Hell, they could play the whole game and not come within 21 points of the Patriots. Bellichick will have his starters in for the majority of the game so that they can ensure the win, get Brady his TD record and Moss his TD record.
That's just his mentality. If they have all of their records set by halftime, then you might see bench guys in the second half. Otherwise they'll be in until they get them. As far as beating them goes, I think the past 4 weeks or so have given most teams a seemingly simple recepie: run the ball effectively and blitz the hell out of Tom Brady. If you get pressure on TB, he is prone to poor throws and turnovers. Then you dominate the clock by running against their sketchy run D. It all seems so simple in theory, but of course we know that it isn't that easy.

Fuzz: The Patriots have this thing locked up friends. It’s done. 16-0…best team ever. I thought maybe I’d see this in my lifetime but didn’t expect it this year. I can’t stand them because they are ridiculously cocky but you have to hand it to them. Running the NFL season table is insane. The Giants will fold like pre-pubescent boys. The only way to beat these guys is luck and Tom Brady somehow playing like T-Jack for a game instead of his GQ self. We are about to witness a 19-0 season...

What are your thoughts on resting your starters the last game of the season if you have nothing to play for? Play them like normal or sit them?

Q: To me, it depends on your playoff situation. If you're a team like Pittsburgh or the Giants and your matchup is set and you play next weekend, then I say rest your big guns a little. Give them a break for a week and let some backups get some run. Not only don't I have a problem with that, but it seems to me like the smart thing to do. On the other hand, if you're Dallas, New England, etc. and you have a first round bye, then I don't think it's a great idea to rest your starters. It's one thing to give your key players a week off to prepare for the playoffs, but it's a whole other thing to give them two weeks to rest. I feel like guys would get rusty when they haven't played a game in two full weeks. And I don't want to hear all of this BS about risking injury. The guys have played 15 games just fine, I think they'll make it one more.

Fuzz: Here’s my stance: If you’re banged up at all, you should sit. If you’re healthy as a horse, you should play. Maybe not the whole game but at minimal a half. Stats prove that teams that bench their starters the whole game don’t fair well. Especially the teams with the bye’s should play their guys for a half or more. They have the first round bye to get rested and the last thing you want is to be a rusty trombone heading into the playoffs.

Dogg: I think the head coaches in this league are smart enough to make the right decisions. If I were New York, I probably would sit my starters because they can’t move up or down at this point and what if they make the SB against New England? Why show anything you might want to use later on a team that you might face for the rings? I rest most of my guys if I were Tom Coughlin this week. Play them for a quarter or two and then call it quits no matter what the score is.

Taking the Vikings out of the equation which team have you liked this year? It’s kind of like the crush theory. Everyone has their favorite team they always root for but sometimes you get crushes on certain teams and secretly follow them. Who was yours this year? Why? Can be for good or bad reasons...

Fuzz: I’ve always had a pretty supergay crush on Pittsburgh. Pure respect from this guy. The owners are a bunch of loyal bastards who’ve hired like three coaches in the last 40 years. They stick by their guys and they win at a good clip.

Have won five Superbowls and are once again tops of their division this year. The addition of Tomlin this year just added more spice to the relationship. It was at a pretty dangerous level before but now the Tomlin hire was like throwing tassels and whips to the equation. I’m a little nervous where this might go. Either way, Pittsburgh does it right and I’m jealous of the true fans of them.

Q: Jacksonville. I know that it seems like the cliché thing to say now that they are in the playoffs, playing extremely well and a sleeper pick for a lot of analysts, but I've been intrigued by them all year. It starts with their coach, and former Viking, Jack Del Rio. It's kind of like watching one of your own children: you want to check up on how they're doing. This is why I also follow Indy, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. But there was just something interesting about this Jaguars team. The big decision at the beginning of the year to cut Leftwich and roll with Garrard was huge news and made me want to see how everything played out. Then as the season progressed, it became very evident that Jacksonville was very similar to the Vikes. Two-headed rushing attack, dominant D, etc. Of course they have a quality quarterback and a competent coach, so it was really like watching what we could be, if only...

Dogg: My man crush team was the Green Bay Packers. I know being a Vikings fan should you ever be cheering for the Packers but I’ve always had a little thing for them. I secretly enjoy watching Favre play and thinking this was going to be another dismal season for the Purple I figured that I’d pay attention to the Packers. I predicted them to win the NFC North before the year started and Favre told reporters last year that this team has more talent than any other Packer team he’s been apart of. You probably laughed him but look at them know. They are primed up for a NFC Championship run and I think they’ll be representing the NFC in this years’ SB. Go Pack go!

Looks like another rushing title for LT after a “down” year for him. Is he the #1 pick in next year’s fantasy draft? Give me your top five fantasy picks right now.

Dogg: LT is the #1 pick because he’s never injured and is the most consistent RB fantasy football owners will ever have. I had him in 2 of my 5 leagues this year and he definitely has been my favorite player to ever own. That being said, it goes: LT, Brady, Westbrook, Manning, Steven Jackson. Steven Jackson is the best RB in this league when healthy. I think next year is the year for him.

Fuzz: I still believe LT will be the overwhelming #1 pick across the country…again. Here in Minny it might be a little different with AP but LT still grabs that top slot. Until he really falters he’s still going to be the man. Steven Jackson was the consensus #2 last year and he got hurt. LT doesn’t get hurt. His (great) numbers are always there. Next years top five in my opinion are: LT (he’s flipping LT for Christ sake), AP (he’ll be drafted very high, he’s good and fans love him), Westbrook (finally gets a spot where he deserves. He gets nicked but battles through injuries and puts up #’s every year), Addai (this could have gone to Fast Willie Parker, but I like Addai here) and Brady/Manning (whoever you like better. I think both go in the first round. Lately first round picks have been spotty and shotty so taking the guarantee is worthwhile.) The main omission is Randy Moss...putting up historical numbers this year but after N.E. wins the Superbowl he’ll retire, go to Mexico and smoke a bunch of weed.

Q: 1) LaDanian Tomlinson (unless you draft in Minnesota, in which case AP goes here). 2) Adrian Peterson (easily could, and will, go #1 but you have to be at least a little bit on the lookout for a sophomore slump, especially considering his last 3 games). 3) Tom Brady (depending on if Moss is still around). 4) Brian Westbrook (finally he gets some credit for the amazing seasons he has been putting together recently--especially if you get points for receptions). 5) Willie Parker (his yardage numbers will be too big to ignore and he's still the feature back in Pitt). Note, it is very possible that Moss enters the top 5 if he stays in New England.

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