Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday Morning Quarterback: Superman Is Dead

Finally - Week 12 is over. In terms of football, with the exception of the Kansas City Chiefs/San Diego Chargers game, it was a very forgettable weekend. In terms of friendship and gambling, however, it was legend - wait for it - dary. Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but when Marco and I get together, which we hadn't done in months - it's a sports watching/gambling/Nintendo playing/burrito eating extravaganza. Although over the years we've had to add child rearing/attending to wife's feelings of neglect/and run stupid errand to get baby wipes to the extravaganza. But an extravaganza nonetheless.

The good news is, Marco and I have never had a losing weekend when we know we're getting together and that streak is alive and well with our 8-6 ATS record this past weekend along with 9-4-1 O/U record. The better news is we're also on a streak of post-visit winning weekends, and the best news of all is we haven't lost a Thanksgiving game since 2011 (3-0 last year - delicious). The courses look pretty winnable again this weekend, so stay tuned.

As for Week 12, although I listened to sports radio analysts on my drive home tout the Broncos-Patriots game as "another Manning/Brady classic," personally I thought it was an awful game that revealed the weaknesses of both teams. In fact, when I gave it more thought, I realized that we're in the midst of a season where there is no Super Team, that every horse in the playoff race has its Kryptonite. Let's take a quick look at what I'm talking about.

AFC Playoff Picture

Denver Broncos: It's cold in Denver in January. It's also cold in New England, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and so on. Unless the Broncos can somehow manipulate the AFC West standing so they get to visit the Chargers in the Wild Card, they're in trouble. Kryptonite: Peyton in cold weather.

New England Patriots: I'm a short, middle-aged, historically un-athletic hippie kid, and I'm pretty sure I could have gained 100 yards against their defense. Kryptonite: rush defense

Indianapolis Colts: Remember when Peyton Manning was injured and the Colts went from 13-3 to 2-14. Losing Reggie Wayne kind of feels like that. Kryptonite: Injuries to franchise players.

Cincinnati: The most unpredictable team in the race. The Bengals have an invisible ceiling, unlimited potential. Unfortunately, they also have - Kryptonite: The Cincinnati Bengals.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs are a balanced ball club with a lot of the right pieces. They strung together 9 wins in a row before losing the last 2. Unfortunately, the lost a couple of key pass rushers in the last game, which could be their Kryptonite, but I think it's: Andy Reid's history of not quite making it to the Super Bow. I know this is a stretch, which is why right now KC is my front-runner to represent the AFC if they can get healthy.

As for the 18 teams tied at 5-6, their Kryptonite/playoff future is much easier to describe with a picture:

NFC Playoff Picture

Seattle Seahawks: Great defense, productive offense, enthusiastic coach, huge margins of victory, tremendous home field advantage - this team has it all. Kryptonite: P.E.D. use and suspension. Losing Browner could mean losing the Super Bowl.

New Orleans Saints: Wow - the Saints are home...with the temp set at 72 degrees...and no wind or real world elements. Kryptonite: playing on the road.

Detroit Lions: Another team I can't figure out. They were basically handed the NFC North and they've said no thank you as we approach the one-year anniversary of Coach Schwartz's historic Challenge 
Flag Incident. Kryptonite: Water seeking its own level. That means they play up or down to other team's levels which, if they make the playoffs, could be useful. Getting there is another story. Their other Kryptonite is Aaron Rodgers getting healthy.

Dallas Cowboys: Well, the 'Boys finally won an important game, now let's see if they can reproduce that in December when it really counts. Kryptonite: 5 weeks left in the season.

Carolina Panthers: This team looks amazing. They find ways to win close games, they play amazing defense, and they have a QB who is finally coming into his own. I don't see a glaring flaw in this team except...Kryptonite: playoff inexperience.

San Francisco Forty Niners: Their defense might be even better than last year, but their offense struggles at times and Colin Kaepernick appears to be going through a bit of a sophomore slump. Kryptonite: playing from behind, which is bound to happen come January. 

Happy Holidays everyone. May your Kryptonite be more subtle and less obtrusive than every team in the NFL.

Vinny and Marco

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