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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Commentary From the Edge - Week 11
Kevin Ratterree
November 13, 2007

The Colts have been on quite a trip through hell over the last two weeks. They had a chance to slay the might dragon in their own house and blew a 4th quarter lead. Then the trip to rainy San Diego, where they pulled defeat from the jaws of victory again. That was one of the most bizarre games I have ever seen.

Consider the Colts found themselves without Peyton Manning’s two security blankets in Clark and Harrison. They couldn’t even roster a 45 man lineup for the game. They had a field full of guys most people never heard of catching passes from Manning, or in some cases breaking off routes and letting those passes get intercepted. The Colts, normally an orderly well oiled machine found themselves with all the efficiency of a Yugo. Peyton Manning had 6 interceptions. You will never see that again. Adam Vinatieri missed two field goals including the “game loser” from 29 yards. You will never see that again.

I mean we are talking about Vinatieri here. 45 yards in the snow for the Championship. Two Super Bowl winning kicks, and a slew of game winners on top of that. Two probable hall of famers had legendary bad nights. They could barely field an offensive team, yet the Colts almost pulled off the victory anyway after going down 23-0.

That was an unfortunate result for the Colts, but it doesn’t really dim my view of them in the least. With the plethora of disasters the Colts endured, they were a couple of Darren Sproles tackles away from dominating that game.

That was a “must win” game for the Chargers as well, though it was hard to tell. The Colts are still far and away the 2nd best team in the league, even the JV squad they trotted out Sunday night. The Colts proved their heart in that game. The Chargers I’m afraid proved nothing.

I really appreciated the NBC cameras catching Hulk Hogan in the luxury box Sunday night, and allowing him to mug for the camera and flex his steroid induced guns for our viewing enjoyment. No matter how much time passes, I can’t get enough of the Hulkster. But Hulk, let me tell you something brother. I wouldn’t trade my freakishly normal guns and two healthy danglers for those pumped up arm thighs and that shrunken head grape sack of yours.

Another thing that annoyed me was NBC showing a closeup of Norv Turner’s face in the rainstorm. Do the people in the production trailer realize that some of us are watching this in Hi Def? Can they be held liable for any damage that occurs to my retinas, or the unexpected violent loss of my dinner? Could we all please just agree to use this new HD innovation responsibly?

I actually saw some pretty interesting conversation on the pregame shows. Once again led by the ESPN crew, who were discussing the Patriots 16-0 question. Keyshawn predicted yes they can go undefeated with the Steelers and Giants as the only real remaining threats. (I think you can cross the Giants off that list, they got ate up by Owens. What will Moss do to them?)

Everyone on the crew agreed they should go for 16-0 if they have the opportunity. But Ditka was the only one who would actually say that they will not go undefeated. Ditka related the story of his Bears Super Bowl team that was 12-0 going to Miami and lost. Coach was caught off guard. The team was caught off guard. He says the same thing will happen to the Patriots. “Someone will sneak up on these guys.”

After hearing Ditka’s tale of woe, Keyshawn said, “I think that head coach (Belichick) is a little bit smarter than that.”

Key gets in some good ones sometimes. Doesn’t always have his facts straight, but he can deliver a line.

The Fox pregame show was even better. Terry Bradshaw was fired up about Don Shula’s remarks concerning putting an asterisk by the Patriots season should they go undefeated. Referring to the legendary Shula, Bradshaw said something to the effect of, “Is that guy still around”? Bradshaw is now rooting for an undefeated Patriots season just to stick it to Coach Shula.

I think it is ok for one legend to diss another legend. I’ll allow that. It’s healthy.

Jimmy Kimmel replaced Frank Caliendo on the comedy segment this week. I suppose the writers strike gave Kimmel some free time, and Caliendo may be struggling to come up with new and interesting ways to make fun of John Madden. Kimmel did a satellite interview with “Pacman Jones” at a strip club. Not bad. After that, Kimmel nailed 4-4 with his picks of Eagles, Cowboys, Packers, and Chargers. Impressive on all counts. Can we work him back into the rotation?

Then due to a quirk of the way the games were timed out Sunday, I actually found myself watching a bit of the Fox halftime show, and caught Jimmie Johnson going off on the lack of discipline the Cowboys showed near the end of the half with the taunting penalty. Johnson was fired up and preaching the gospel about discipline. That was right in his wheelhouse and he mashed it. A very cool grandpa meltdown. Loved it. Veins popping. Spit. The whole nine yards. It was almost as if he had a large first half bet on the game. Nah surely not. But in any case, I guarantee you he was a lot more fired up than the Cowboys current coach was about it.

Of course, in the end the good time boys found a way to win anyway. And no offense to coach Johnson, but this team is 8-1. They don’t want to listen to grumpy grandpa and all of his rules. They want to listen to happy grandpa. The one that gives them change from his pockets, and lets them have a sip of his beer and trash the house.

I was just wondering, is it socially acceptable to call someone that likes Tony Romo a whole lot a Romosexual? Is that wrong? I think I may be becoming a Romosexual. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

Crazy as Hell Pick of the Week

Well this just isn’t as much fun any more. The record is 5-5-1. This has become as pointless as is for the Dolphins to put on their uniforms every Sunday. Really sad. But when you are taking crazy as hell picks, sometimes you get what you get. You lay 3 points against a winless home dog, you shouldn’t be surprised when the game is a push.

There still seems to be some confusion as to the mystery of the Crazy as Hell pick. But is is very simple. The team that is my official pick is supposed to be incorrect. I am trying to pile up the right side of the ledger. I am betting the opposite of my official pick listed at the end. I know it sounds crazy as hell, that’s because it is!

Alright, I’m going all in. Two picks this week and I like them both a lot. Next week I will brag about my 5-7-1 record, and I will buy my wife a nice flower for her birthday for putting up with my sorry gambling, fantasy football playing, TV hogging ways. Always remember to thank your wife for putting up with your sorry ass gambling fantasy football playing ways.

Detroit got racked up pretty good last week against Arizona. That game will have probably have the public bailing off the bandwagon. But don’t leave yet. The Giants are coming to town off a tough loss to the Cowboys. Most would compare these teams and say, the Giants are a better team. Maybe. But Detroit at home is magic. Detroit on the road is manure. Don’t forget that. The Giants are a good team. But they got ripped up by Owens last week, and actually made him look fast. The Giants are going to have trouble with this receiving corps. The Lions are 4-0-1 ATS at home. They are getting 3 points. Sorry, I can’t refuse that.

Cleveland gave the Steelers one hell of a game. And of course covered the lofty spread. They are getting considerable more respect this week on the road against the offensively disabled Ravens. The Browns are a 3 point road favorite. Wow. They have really arrived. People are going to call this a sucker bet, but recent ATS numbers are heavily on my side. Baltimore is 1-9 ATS. Cleveland is 7-1 ATS overall and 4-2 on the road. Cleveland is playing great. The Ravens are not, and will not.

My picks: Giants -3 Ravens +3

Misery Index

10a) Redskins: Guys, guys, guys. This is one you had to have. You had it. What happened? I know, I know. Brian Westbrook happened. He’s been happening to a lot of people. That was your chance to break out of mediocrity. You have to win those home division games. Had to have that one. Especially against the “weakest” team. Redskins? I tend to think more charred brownskins. Joe Gibbs is getting grilled pretty good over his game management skills. The bottom line is that he is not giving his team the best chance to win on a weekly basis, and they are simply not good enough to overcome coaching errors. Joe, NASCAR is calling. With the switch to Toyota next year you might want to give that racing team some attention. They will need your guidance to overcome that coaching error as well.

10) 49ers: I really intended to leave the 49ers off the Misery Index in deference to recent developments with the team. But I would be remiss to leave them out on a week when they looked so particularly horrible. Added to the serious lack of talent and cohesiveness displayed on the field, the head coach’s decision making during the game was suspect at best. I mean, when you are down 17-0 in the 3rd quarter, and you are 0-8 on 3rd and 4th downs combined for the night, and you find yourself in field goal position thanks to a miracle from God, you might want to let your guy punch those points in. The only thing more depressing than getting your ass kicked in front of a horrified national audience, is getting it kicked with a giant goose egg on the scoreboard.

9) Saints: Over the last month Sean Payton got away from the gimmicky plays he fell in love with during the team’s horrific 0-4 start. But last week he resorted to some gimmicky motivational techniques. It seems Payton felt the need to hang a mousetrap in each players locker, to remind them how this could be a trap game. Apparently the players didn’t buy into it, or maybe they thought it was just too cheesy. Or maybe he planted a seed of doubt in their minds. Or maybe he should have put up a sprung mouse trap with a dead mouse in it. That might have drove the point home more clearly. Jacked up by an 0-8 team. But to be fair, the Saints were bucking some huge odds in this game believe it or not. The Rams at 0-8 had the worst record in the history of the franchise coming in. 0-9 teams are not very common in the NFL. The Saints had started the season 0-4 and no 0-4 team had ever gone on to win their next 5. You could look at it that way. Just a victim of circumstance. A hopeless victim of odds. Or if you look a little closer you might see that maybe Payton was outcoached by a guy whose seat was even hotter than his, and the Saints were outplayed by a team that wanted it worse than they did. This one may come back to haunt them.

8 ) Ravens: Fans in Baltimore have seen enough. They have finally completely bought into the inescapable fact that Brian Billick is a fraud. The locals are calling for his head. And after that embarrassing display against the worst defense in the league, who could argue? This was a home game against a Bengals team that had been getting torched like a “W” dummy in an Al Qaeda camp. Yet the Ravens with offensive genius Brian Billick were shut out until the final minutes of the game. I think the situation is pretty clear. Billick is not qualified to be an NFL head coach. And I’m pretty sure he isn’t even qualified to be an offensive coordinator. As a matter of fact I’m positive he isn’t qualified to do that. McNair is too old and too broken to be a starting NFL quarterback. McNair is as done as the sausage biscuit breakfast sandwich sitting under the heat lamp at the convenience store at 2 in the afternoon. Until the Ravens rotate their stock, this team shall compete quoth the Raven, “never more.”

7) Bears: Brian Griese may be faking that injury. I mean, he has had a lot of disappointment and bad moments in his career, but the thought of getting yanked for Grossman was probably more than he could bear. Settle in Chicago fans. Grossman isn’t going anywhere. Give me an A, Give me an L, Give me a B, aw the hell with it, I’ll tell you what that spells. Albatross.

6) Jets: Mark this date on your fantasy calendars. December 16. Foxborough. Week 15. Fantasy semifinals. Belichick. Mangini. Scoring. Ouch. Fantasy team eliminated. If you think people hate the Jets now, just wait until after week 15 (Black Sunday).

5) Raiders: If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good football game. And there has been little to love about the Raiders since they sent Tom Brady and the Patriots on their way to a six year killing spree on that snowy January night in ‘01. The Raiders game against the Bears was probably one of the most boring games in the history of games. I really have no idea because I didn’t see much of it. I kept trying to catch part of the game, when all the real games were on commercial. Really I did. But every time I turned over to the Raiders game it was a commercial too. Must have been a lot of punting. As it turns out they got jacked up by Rex Grossman late in the game. But I missed it. All in all, it was a pretty good Sunday.

4) Vikings: Well, the Vikings found out where they stand without Adrian Peterson. It’s deep. And it stinks. Just for your reference, I dropped Chester Taylor for Ryan Grant a couple of weeks ago. I think that is what brought on this unfortunate turn of events. Now if Grant can get injured next week the cycle will be complete, and I shall also be standing in it.

3) Bengals: The Ravens turned the ball over 22 times yet the Bengals could only muster 7 field goals. Meanwhile the defense finally ran across an offense that made them resemble an NFL caliber unit. With Arizona up next week, that illusion will likely be dispelled quickly. Houshmandzadeh owners are still combing the boxscore as there seems to be an error. There was no touchdown for Housh credited to our fantasy teams. There will be an investigation. I will review the tape and get to the bottom of this.

2) Rams: Yeah, you got back some weapons, ran up against a team that wasn’t expecting you to show up, and you finally dented the win column. Clap, clap, clap. On behalf of all the wrecked fantasy teams out there we salute you. Yeah, I got your salute right heeyah!!

1) Dolphins: And then there was one. Yeah, I had this team pegged early on. They were only ranked #6 in the preseason Index, but I mentioned that they had a real chance at the Misery Index crown. A dark horse. Little did I know that they would not only dominate the Index, but actually be in contention for the perfect 0-16 season. People are starting to wonder why Cameron doesn’t give John Beck some work. Cameron is starting to wonder if he can find a way-back machine to that magical place where he was the DC of a team with the #1 seed in the playoffs, instead of the captain of a sinking ship with the #1 pick in the draft. John Beck is supposedly very intelligent so he is probably thinking next year would be just fine.

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