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Commentary from the Edge: Week 17
Kevin Ratterree
December 20, 2011

Another regular season winds down. Seems like only yesterday I was confidently laying out doomed predictions and anticipating multiple championships. I have spent the season as usual raking the deserving and sometimes undeserving over the coals. But now it is my turn. Lets take a trip in the way-back machine and take a look at my preseason predictions.

Philip Rivers wins the MVP. The holy triumvirate of Rivers, Gates, and Jackson lead me to fantasy glory. LeGarrette Blount will turn in a first round running back type season. I’ll take the Falcons over the Packers in the NFC, and the Chargers over the Patriots in the AFC. Yeah, that’s right. You heard me. I just stated publicly that a Norv Turner coached team will beat a Bill Belichick coached team for the right to go to the Superbowl. That is a doomed prediction if there ever was one, but the little voice in my head keeps telling me to say that. So it’s out there. What the hell, you’ll probably forget.

Boy, it is hard to pack that much wrong into one paragraph, but somehow I managed. Let this be a lesson to you. Pharmaceuticals should only be used when prescribed by a physician, and even then, one should avoid operating dangerous equipment such as Word Pad while under the influence.

I also made a crack in the week one Misery Index about the Harbaugh not being able to connect the dots between having Alex Smith as your quarterback and the unemployment line. I really thought that was pretty solid ground at the time, yet today I sit here once again like a humbled village idiot.

But I didn’t whiff on everything in the preseason. My Players to Avoid list was a success as usual. Mike Vick, Michael Turner, Peyton Hillis, Anquan Boldin, Austin Collie, Maurice Jones Drew, Felix Jones, Brandon Lloyd, Michael Crabtree and Kenny Britt.

MJD stands out as a swing and a miss. Though he did have a really slow start, ranking 14th best RB at mid-season, he rebounded strong and actually closed as the 4th highest RB in PPR. Of course, by then it may have not mattered for you, so I don’t really regret the pick. Much.

I was honking the horn loudly for Jimmy Graham in the preseason. On the Huddle message boards I assured the doubters that I rarely make proclamations like this, but Jimmy Graham was going to be huge. I suggested he could have a breakout season similar to Antonio Gates sophomore campaign. This was met with some resistance, but in the end Graham eclipsed Gates breakout numbers, surpassing even my relatively generous expectations. Jimmy made Kevin look good. Kevin loves Jimmy. No, not like that. Like a brother. You sick bastards.

So here we are on the brink of the NFL playoffs. Our fantasy leagues all decided. My season in shambles. Did not get the entry fees reimbursed this year. For me, that is the definition of success. If I can play for free and have a chance at a nice profit to boot I am cool with that. I am not cool with a 3rd, two 5ths and a 7th. That makes me a very grumpy fantasy manager. But as usual, I have only myself and my one or two critical errors to blame. And the quest continues…

Most of the NFL playoffs are set. And as I sit here revealing some of the foolishness of my preseason predictions I wonder what is the upside to making any playoff predictions.

Haven’t I made an ass of myself enough this year? I have some wins and some losses. Pretty even all in all. What do I have to gain my making any playoff predictions?

I’m pretty good at telling you who will win when it comes down to the last game. But this is the last week of the column, and the last chance I will have to make an ass of myself for you bunch of ass lovers. Who could resist?

First of all, the Giants will beat the Cowboys this Sunday (he said confidently but with a slight twitch of the eye), and then proceed to be whacked in the first round of the playoffs.

And if the Cowboys win by some miracle, I would also expect them to be whacked in the first round. (no twitch) Weak sauce from the NFC Least this year. They are an entertaining bunch though.

Honestly, I think the Packers are on the edge of the cliff. Crazy talk? Maybe. But that game Sunday night against the Bears was the final confirmation I needed. Oh yeah, they won alright. By two touchdowns. But it was a mirage. The scoreboard lied. The teams with lethal offenses the Packers will meet in the playoffs would have cashed on that game.

They can’t run, and they can’t stop the run. That’s kind of important in the playoffs. Right now the Saints are a better running team than the Packers, and the Saints are doing a much better job up front.

The Packers, who had an aura of invincibility a month ago, suddenly look vulnerable. Maybe they can get healthy in the next few weeks, and iron out some of their issues. But right now, at this moment in time I believe the Saints to be the best team in football. And assuming the Saints enter the playoffs with a full complement of running backs the absolutely can come marching to into Green Bay in January and punch their ticket to the big game. The Saints are better equipped to win a game in January at Lambeau than the Packers. I really think they are.

Of course, I am writing this before Monday night football, so if the Falcons should dominate the Saints, just insert them in place of the Saints in the previous paragraphs.

And then we have the AFC. Boy, oh boy. How the mighty have fallen. I think about anybody in the NCF playoff field could run any of these teams. The Pats are the front-runners now, but they just took all they could handle from the Dolphins at home.

The Steelers and the Ravens are playing Jekyll and Hyde on a weekly basis. The Texans are counting on a rookie QB. And the other teams (whoever they end up being) don’t really even deserve to be in the playoffs. I don’t want to crawl in bed with any of these teams, Not even with a steel-belted rubber. Good luck trying to handicap that field. I mean, yeah I’m willing to make an ass of myself, but I’m not going to be seen in public with any of these skanks.

Bonehead Play of the Week: I only had one semi-meaningful game in week 16 and it was for the 3rd place honor in my keeper league. I had no bonehead play unless you want to count continuing to start the wealthy Mr. Chris Johnson. Glad you got that money Chris. Not sure what I’m going to do for a keeper running back next year, but you have fun spending that money in the off-season now, ya hear?

Misery Index

10) Chargers: I hate to keep harping on Marty Schottenheimer, but the evidence is overwhelming. The team has turned into a garbage scow fouling the waters of the San Diego bay. The man who replaced him, and the man who fired him who are piloting the stinking ship need walk the plank.

9) Bears: Well, at least you went down with dignity instead of bringing in McNabb and making a bad situation horrific.

8) Bills: If you throw out that seven game losing streak, it really wasn’t a bad year at all. I mean, for the Bills.

7) Cardinals: Look on the bright side. Now you know you don’t have a starting quarterback on the roster. Unfortunately the powers that be don’t seem to be all that talented at spotting what one of those looks like. So there really isn‘t a bright side. I just thought I would say that.

6) Buccaneers: The only thing this team inspired was extreme hatred for Psyche Williams and LeGagger Blount.

5) Jaguars: Blame Gabbert? I do.

4) Browns: Here is some bad news. The team looked ten times better with Seneca Wallace at the helm. I mean, they still sucked, but with much less force than the chrome removing intensity of Colt McCoy.

3) Vikings: And one more final kick in the nuts as Adrian Peterson ends the season with a f’ed up knee. Oh, and the win against the Redskins dropped your draft pick. Here’s hoping the twin Cities water treatment facilities are adequately equipped to handle an enormous onslaught of vomit.

2) Rams: Okay, here is the plan. Find some people that know something about football. Preferably professional football. Pay them money to build you a team. Cash in on that #1 pick the Colts graciously gave you and go draft some damn linemen with all the picks you get from it. Maybe a wide receiver for your overpriced quarterback you are stuck with. Hire coaches that win. Hire some trainers that are good at keeping players from getting injured. You know, become an NFL team again.

1) Colts: Well there is a lesson to be learned here. We can all talk about a team “wanting the 1st overall” and this and that. But the old dudes on the Colts don’t give a rats ass about the next 10 years in the Colts organization. They only care about themselves and “long-neck” over there on the sideline. The one that took them to a championship already. Good for you guys. All that hard work blown to hell. The winless season then. Andrew Luck, down the tubes on consecutive weeks. But even in winning, you managed to cement your spot at the bottom of the Misery Index. That may have been the costliest win in the history of the NFL. A truly grisly ending to an already horrific tale. Bravo Colts. Bravo.

Thanks for spending another great season here at the Huddle!

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