Thursday, October 31, 2013

Post NFL Week 8 Predictions

Predictions based on the results of Week 8

Remember how the best team in the NFC East is finally over .500?

It won’t last long.

The best team in the NFC East will have the worst record of any of the division leaders. Feel free to break out the “world’s tallest little person” jokes at any point.

The Cowboys will lose in the most heartbreaking (read: awesome) of fashions.

Trailing by 3 with 2:24 remaining, Detroit will go 0 yards on four plays and give the ball back to the Cowboys, who will kick a field goal.

Trailing by 6 with 1:02 remaining, Detroit will go 80 yards on six plays and score a touchdown with 12 seconds remaining.

Dez Bryant will spend the week telling everyone who will listen, so basically everyone, that he is not Calvin Johnson, he is Dez Bryant, who is better than Calvin Johnson.

ESPN will spend the week showing side-by-side stats that say Dez Bryant is better than Calvin Johnson.

Calvin Johnson will take 60 minutes out of his Sunday to definitively prove them both wrong.

Your brain will spin when you realize that the only undefeated team in the NFL will be the Kansas City Chiefs.

Your brain will stop spinning when you realize that the two teams with nary a victory between them will be the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Bucs.

The Giants will improve to 2-0 when their defense shuts out the opposing offense but their special teams gives up a touchdown.

New York’s defensive line, with six sacks ON THE SEASON coming into the game, will sack Philadelphia quarterbacks FOUR TIMES IN THE GAME.

The Eagles, with offensive guru Chip Kelly at the helm, will score zero points after scoring just three last week.

The last time a Chip Kelly coached offense scored in the single digits in back-to-back games was…never. It’s never happened before. Not once. Not at New Hampshire (1999-2006) or Oregon (2007-12). Not until now. Welcome to the NFL, Chip!

The NFL’s plan to get an NFL team in London will go great, as the 49ers will demolish the Jaguars. (Just don’t tell the Brits that they will be getting the Jaguars, not the 49ers.)

The AFC West will improve to 7-0 over the NFC East.

The Broncos will have as many wins against NFC East opponents than the NFC East leader will have altogether.

After the Packers take care of the Vikings, I think a legitimate question will be: hey Greg Jennings, how does Aaron Rodgers’ leadership taste?

MOMENT THAT GRINDED MY GEARS ENOUGH TO WRITE ABOUT IT (in letter form)
Dear Dez Bryant,

I know Calvin Johnson. Well, I don’t know him, but I know his work. But the point is, you sir, are no Calvin Johnson.

In your head-to-head matchup on Sunday, you had a very respectable game with three catches for 72 yours and two touchdowns. You might not have seen it while you were yelling at exhorting your teammates, but Johnson had a slightly-better-than-very-respectable-game, with 14 catches for 329 yards and a touchdown. In fact, it was his catch in traffic that led directly to Matthew Stafford’s one-yard plunge for the gamewinning touchdown with seconds left on the clock.

In fact, Johnson had almost half of Matthew Stafford’s 33 completions on the day (42.4 percent), despite facing constant double, triple and quadruple teams.

Much was made leading up to the game about how your numbers are better than Johnson’s when he was 50 games into his career (you had 242 catches for 3,440 yards and 33 TDs; he had 217 for 3,362 and 25 TDs).

But that doesn’t tell the whole story. You have had Tony Romo throwing to you for basically your entire career (with the occasional Jon Kitna here and there), as well as Jason Witten and Miles Austin, etc. to make sure defenses don’t key on you too much.

Here are the quarterbacks Calvin Johnson caught passes from over his first 3.1 years: Jon Kitna (hey, that guy again!), Dan Orlovsky, an out-of-shape Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton. Then he had Stafford as a rookie QB.

Here are the receivers Calvin Johnson played with over his first 3.1 years: Shaun McDonald, Roy Williams, Mike Furrey, Bryant Johnson and Dennis Northcutt. It’s a regular “who’s that” of NFL wide receivers.

The point being that if you had to play with those quarterbacks and those receivers, a) there would have been a LOT of yelling on the sidelines, and 2) you wouldn’t have near the numbers Johnson had. Because Johnson got those numbers despite a constant barrage of double, triple sometimes quadruple teams. Do opposing defenses key solely on you, sending two, three sometimes four defenders? Are you able to beat those double, triple sometimes quadruple teams on a regular basis? No, yes, no and no, and sometimes, no and no.

Talent-wise, perhaps one day you will be as good as Calvin Johnson is now. But that’s not enough to be the best. You also have to be professional. You have to practice as hard as you play. You were lucky enough to be on a team that, over your first three years, went 22-26. How do you think you would have reacted if your team went 9-39 over your first three years? Because that’s what Johnson’s Lions did. And you never heard a negative word from the guy. Whatever he was feeling, he kept it to himself.

Here’s another thing: do you know that this is the first time in your career that you’re leading the team in receptions? It’s true. Jason Witten has been the team leader in receptions the past three years. That’s how long it’s taken Romo to fully trust you as a receiver. It took Johnson all of one year before he became his team’s leading receiver, and he has yet to relinquish that mark. Not coincidentally, it also took Johnson all of one year before we started referring to him as possibly (later, definitely) the best receiver in the NFL today.

Dez, I think you’re a very talented wide receiver. Maybe even very good. But you’ll never be the best. That spot is reserved for the one we call Megatron.

Speaking of Calvin Johnson’s nickname, I thinking case you weren’t aware, in Transformers, Starscream was never Megatron’s equal but always wanted to be his better. That seems fairly self explanatory. Plus, you scream a lot. Also, you seem to think of yourself as a star. It really fits too perfectly. Maybe you really ARE Starscream…

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