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Commentary From the Edge - Week 15
Kevin Ratterree
December 13, 2005
Newsflash.  I am an idiot.  Not big news to most of you loyal readers, but possibly helpful for the uninitiated.  I forgot one of the cardinal rules of the game.  When fantasy playoff time comes around, the NFL goes berserk.  It never fails.  Strange things happen this time of year.  For instance, the team with no quarterback goes into San Diego and rips up the 14 point favorite that some were touting as the 2nd best team in the league.  In the middle of a playoff hunt.  Huh? 
Philadelphia fresh off a blasting from the Seahawks pulled Ryan Moats out of a hat, and gave the Giants all they wanted.  I bet nobody had Ryan Moats in their fantasy lineup last week.  This week there will be some takers.  Spin that wheel baby.
The elite teams all put the offenses on cruise control and margins of victory slid in safely under the huge spreads.  It was not a pretty picture.  This time of year I want to see teams pouring it on like the Seahawks are.  Not trip backwards and fall into a win at home against the Browns like the Bengals did.  Carson Palmer  looked more like Arnold Palmer out there.  Lots of bogeys on Sunday for Palmer.  I forgot how the beginning of fantasy playoffs usually spells madcap misadventure in the NFL.  Chad Johnson, anchor of all my teams suddenly goes down with the Palmer ship in week 14.  I would like to say I am surprised, but that would be a lie.
I should have expected that the one fantasy team I have that didn't make the playoffs would notch a season high score of the season in the first round of the Loser Bowl.  I should have known that was coming.  Note to self:  You must first make the playoffs before you can win them.  Having the right combination of players in your fantasy lineup for week 14 does little good if you are not in the playoffs.  A high score in the toilet bowl is the ultimate insult to a season gone wrong. 
Of course, in another league where I did make the playoffs, early season injuries led to the Dallas Cowboys ending up as the bulk of my lineup.  Bledsoe, Witten, and Glenn.  A huge score.  They almost dragged me out of the playoff hunt in recent weeks.  But sure enough they came through when I needed them most.  And likely at the expense of my favorite team's season.  Note to Bledsoe:  I didn't really need that last one.  But thanks for all your help.  Nothing cushions the blow of the end of your favorite teams season like a fantasy playoff win.  But if I know me, and I think I do, the Cowboys offense will lay down like docile little lambs next week and it will be all for naught. Fate, is a cruel cruel bitch.  No?
I have to say something right now, while I am on the subject of self loathing.  I rode the Vikings like a mule in the Misery Index early the first half of the season.  I have made a habit of calling their head coach Dawber.  I have scoffed them.  Pitied them.  Abused them.  Wrote them off as a no trick pony, and cursed their very name.  But then,  Brad Johnson to save the day.  I am humbled.  Speechless.  And re-thinking my whole value system in the laws of physics and probabilities.  They may play the Bears in the season finale for the division title.  Un - frickin - believable.
Lot's of people are really getting pumped about the Colts chances for an undefeated season.  But I just can't make myself believe it.  They have already proved their point.  While lots of the players will want that undefeated season distinction badly, I just don't believe Dungy is going to let it affect his decision making.  He will give his guys some play, but he isn't going to risk what he has coming.  Too many years to get here.  Are the Colts going to show the Seahawks all their tricks in that critical week 16 game?  Would that be smart?  The Colts don't need an undefeated season to prove they are the greatest.  It is obvious while Manning reads a few chapters of a book each week while in the pocket, only glancing up occasionally to find Harrison open and toss him the ball.  I think it would be a cool thing to finally get those old Miami guys over themselves, but I just don't believe it is going to happen.  But then again, witnessing the level of ineptitude displayed by the upper echelon teams, the Colts may only need half throttle to pick off 3 more of these losers.  The Colts may be the best team in NFL history.
A low point to report on Monday Night Football when Madden observed that mixing the yellow food substance he had splattered on his red tie made the color green.  Complete with an attempted camera close-up of the offending area.  I bet Howard Cosell never thought of that.  That was quickly followed by Michaels flat half hearted rendition of Eric Clapton's "After Midnight."  Clowns to the left of me.  Jokers to the right. Here I am.  Stuck in the middle with you. 
Crazy As Hell Pick of the Week:
A devastating correct pick last week.  I was never so sure I would be wrong in my life.  The mighty Broncos at home against the pathetic Ravens.  Despite Kyle Boller's repeated attempts to make sure the Broncos covered the spread, in the end the Broncos decided that this was the week for their much needed rest.  Note to Broncos:  You suck.  When you are experiencing the cornholing of your life in the playoffs, I will be smiling.  Ok, now that is off my chest, and I can go on with my life.  I'm sorry, but that was the most pathetic display I have seen in quite some time.  The Broncos were Texans bad.  The Crazy Pick record is 3-7.  And though that is a fair showing, last weeks loss points out an inescapable fact.  Those who bet on NFL games are morons.  And I can say that because I am one of them.  Parity has ruined playing the numbers on games.  There is only one sure bet left on the board this year as far as I am concerned, and that is a bet on the Indianapolis Colts to win the Superbowl.  You can't count on them to cover the spread every week.  (though they have been pretty good against the number)  But the one sure bet on the board is the Colts to win the Superbowl, and win it convincingly.  Because while they may appear to be toying with their opponents at times this year, when the time for the big game comes, they will hit the Nitro switch and have everybody in America ready to see what else is on by halftime.  That, is the only sure bet on the board.  Who's ass they are going to kick along the way really doesn't matter, because the the only real question left in this football season is what will the final score be and which Colt gets the Superbowl MVP.
I'm looking at the early board which is incomplete and I see a vast wasteland.  I was thinking the Chargers game at Indy might be an interesting one, but after the Chargers got blasted by the likes of Gus Frerotte, what will Manning do to them?  The spread is 8.  They want you to take the Chargers and the points.  Because there will be plenty of money coming in from the other way.  I think I will just watch this game and wish I had bet Indy -8 instead of actually doing it. Who are the Chargers?  Will we ever know?  We thought before this last week that they had a chance to end Indy's streak.  Now we wonder if they can cover the 8 point spread.  I want no part of it.  Betting in a game where Marty is involved is always risky business.  I see that the Jaguars are 16 point favorites over the 49ers.  I don't like that number.  I think the Jags are a pretty good team, but I ain't laying 16 on them.  No way.  That isn't how they do business most of the time.  On the other side of the coin, I would never bet on the 49ers under any circumstances this season.  They have put up some hard fought efforts, yet have been also blown up on the road.  Avoid and sleep easier. Laying 16 means if the 'Niners run back the opening kickoff for a touchdown by some bizarre quirk, you are already down 23 points.  And that's no way to watch a football game.  The big spreads all got shot down last week except the Seahawks over the 'Niners, so I am thinking I might shy away from that and go with smaller numbers.  It's crazy time.
The Cowboys venture into Redskin country this weekend fresh off a come from behind win against the Chiefs.  The 'Skins still have a glimmer of hope for the playoffs but a loss here would put them away for good.  Okay, let's make this simple.  The average Cowboys game goes down to the wire.  Getting blown out has not been one of their habits this season, though they have struggled at times on the road. But the bottom line in this game for me is that the Cowboys are just a better football team plain and simple.  I like them to win the game outright so I would have no problem taking them with points.  And getting points on a team you think will win the game is right where you want to be.   My pick:  Redskins - 2 1/2.

Misery Index

10) Chiefs / Chargers:  These teams just can't stand prosperity.  The Chiefs blew a late lead on a 4th down pass to the end zone, and then a missed field goal from Tynes as time ran out.  And the Chargers just plain let Gus Frerotte bitch slap them at home.  Add that to the Broncos putrid display against the Ravens, and the Raiders lay down against the Jets, it was an ugly week for the AFC West.
9) Titans: Needed a late missed field goal from the Texans to survive the mighty Houston onslaught.  Chris Brown must have rubbed off on Travis Henry because all of a sudden he can't stay on the field.  And McNair at this point must be wondering why he continues to torture his ragged body on a weekly basis.  Probably because he enjoys the razzing he gets from his teammates about reeking of Ben Gay all the time
8) Ravens:  Despite Kyle Boller's repeated attempts to make sure the Broncos covered the spread, the Broncos simply would not put this team away.  The fact of the matter is that the Broncos were ripe for the picking, but the Ravens let the fruit spoil on the vine while they screwed off in the Mountains.  The Ravens moved the ball well up and down the field.  They held the Broncos offense in check.  They did everything except hang onto the ball and that is one obstacle that is hard to overcome. 
7) Bears:  ...........and the baby bear said, "Somebody's been sleeping in my bed, and he's still there.  And he is wearing a number 36."  Yes, just when I threw down my guard and started to believe.   This team reminds me a lot like the one that went 13-3 several years ago, and then got blown out in their first playoff game. 
6) Eagles:  A valiant effort against the Giants threatened to delay the official end of the Eagles playoff chances, but in the end the once mighty champs went down for the count.  Yeah, teams will be lining up for T.O. next season.  He can do wonders for a franchise.
5) Packers:  I have to tell you, it is hard to get excited about the Packers victory over the Lions.  It was a game they should have won.  But almost lost.  If not for Mike Sherman bringing out an abacus on the field to explain how a safety isn't a safety to the ref's, the Packers probably would have lost.  Now that was a legendary moment in coaching.  Johnny Cochran would have been proud.
4) Jets:  Last week due to an error in omission (I have convinced myself it was a computer error) the Jets were somehow left off the Misery Index.  This caused a small shock wave of panic, and apparently vaulted their confidence enough to beat the similarly pathetic Raiders.  Sometimes I will drop one of the Index darlings off for a week after a victory, but since I left them off the list last week, and it was only the Raiders after all, this is where the Jets deserve to be.  But they have all but blown their chances for a Misery Index championship.  I am quite disappointed in them.  They coulda been a contender.
3) Raiders:  Tuiasosopo may be fun to say, but painful to watch.  When you get jacked up by the Jets this season, you really need to question the direction you are going in life.  Watching the Raiders this season was supposed to be fun.  What happened to all that?  Have you tried to watch a Raiders game this year?  They are harder to watch than one of these reality shows with the freaks that break down and cry every week.  Why does my wife watch that crap?  Why does anybody watch that Raiders crap?  Time to crack that whip Al.  It's T.O. to the rescue.  Because if there is one thing that would turn this team around it's a first class receiver. 
2) 49ers:  In a normal season the 'Niners would be a lock for the Misery Index crown.  It looks like a two horse race now.  They will have to lose to he current frontrunners to have a chance when they play head to head in the Reggie Bush Bowl.  It is coming soon.  The match of the century.  I am getting chills just thinking about it.  This is big.  This is the kind of thing you'll be telling your grandchildren during Reggie Bush's induction to the Hall of Fame.  This is the stuff of which memories are made.  An epic battle between the forces of futility for the ages.  Fa la la la la, la la la la!!
1) Texans:  Once again the Texans kept plenty of drama in their exciting contest with the Titans, only to lose to a late field goal.  Now Dan Reeves has been brought in to look over Dom Capers shoulder for the rest of the season.  What he will see is a team so in tune with the losing lifestyle, that they may collectively soil themselves if they ever win another game.