Posted 12/22 by Michael Brown, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
Return of the mailbag!
From a reader named John
You wrote: TB has a solid running game and good defense. Why in the world was
I so stubborn?" Um, you were stubborn because they lost to the 49ers and
Jets. And while I agree they are not a bad team, they'll probably get spanked
tomorrow and you'll be back in here saying, "See, I was right!"
John, for shame on you. How could you think they I would ever flip-flop on
a decision I had made. No, I'm very consistent from week to week. In all seriousness,
it's tough for me to truly believe in a team that I expect so little out of
in the preseason. Every year, there are teams that start off hot and you expect
them to cool off, but they don't. They just keep winning. Last year, that team
was actually my Chargers. It took me awhile to get on board, mostly because
I had resigned myself to another 5-11 season. This year, it was the Bucs, Bears
and Giants that took me by surprise. And the reason it takes me so long is that
for every team that maintains early-season success, there are several more (Washington,
Detroit, Buffalo) who fall apart entirely. I understand your point in that you're
actually defending my decision to not get on board with Tampa, but I honestly
feel at this point that they have more than proven that they are a solid team,
early season losses notwithstanding.
From a reader named Pat and Deb (I hope it's a husband/wife account, and
not the weirdest name I've ever seen)
are you crazy??!! Six turnovers in one game, a win by two
scores, and a solid quarterback who isn't making mistakes and you LOWER them
in your power rankings? Mark this down - the Vikes run the table, win the division,
and go on to the Super Bowl. It could happen (maybe, I hope).
Well, Pat/Deb, your running the table theory is now out the window. That's
a Michael Brown-esque prediction if I ever saw one! Bad job there. And hey,
I was a big fan of Minnesota coming into the season. I had them as a top-3 team
to open the year and was predicting them to get to the NFC Championship game
and lose. As the season wore on, I just couldn't see them mustering a run. Of
course, a string of games against very bad teams helped, as did a gift win over
the Giants that led people to think this team was legitimate. Even before last
week, I held to my assertion that they wouldn't come anywhere near the postseason,
and last week's loss was crushing to those hopes. An offseason of change could
help, but I just don't see much hope for this team - not now, or in the near
Any comments/questions/complaints/death threats should be e-mailed to me at
the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If selected, your e-mail will appear in this space next week.
Rk - Team Name - Record (Last week)
- Indianapolis Colts 13-1 (1)
I'm sorry, but I just got a real kick out of typing that "1"
in the loss column there.
- Denver Broncos 11-3 (2)
So it appears I jumped the gun a bit on the whole "Tatum Bell will
take over as featured back". I admit it, I was going out on a limb and
if I was right I'd look like a genius. That's all that was really.
- Cincinnati Bengals 11-3 (3)
Now what was it you guys were saying about how I had overrated the Bengals
- San Diego Chargers 9-5 (7)
Well on their way towards being only the second 11-5 team ever to not make
- Seattle Seahawks 12-2 (4)
They don't deserve a drop. But the San Diego win was too big to not bump
them up a whole lot. Also belief is that if you put Seattle in the AFC, they'd
be about a 9-5 team, 10-4 at best.
- Jacksonville Jaguars 10-4 (5)
Way to go out there and show em who's boss, fellas.
- Pittsburgh Steelers 9-5 (6)
Does anyone else have a problem with Hines Ward not making the Pro Bowl
over Rod Smith? Because I sure do.
- New York Giants 10-4 (8)
I don't know if NFL players make any extra money for each jersey of theirs
that is sold, but Barber just earned himself some real nice cash last week
if they do.
- Chicago Bears 10-4 (9)
You just know the Bears were dying for the opportunity to make that switch.
HC Lovie Smith was last seen singing, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
- Kansas City Chiefs 8-6 (12)
Shhhh, don't tell anyone yet but I'm making Larry Johnson the first overall
pick of my fantasy drafts next year if I get it.
- New England Patriots 9-5 (13)
OK so a few weeks after counting them out in the first round and saying
how they've had the quietest season ever for a returning champ, I'm suddenly
thinking that no one wants to play this team in the playoffs. Can you imagine
the anticipation of a Colts/Pats rematch on the turf? What. A. Game.
- Carolina Panthers 10-4 (14)
Hey, for once they didn't play down to their opponents. Perhaps it's a
sign of things to come.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-5 (11)
See! I was right!
- Dallas Cowboys 8-6 (10)
This ranking is admittedly based more so on where I think Dallas ends up
rather than where they are. Because where they're at ain't pretty.
- Miami Dolphins 7-7 (16)
Isn't it weird? Usually, when a guy has a true "breakout" season
it starts in Week 1. Chris Chambers went from being a potential cut next season
to one of the league's best receivers in the span of about three weeks.
- Atlanta Falcons 8-6 (15)
This is what pains me about losing my money league two weeks ago (thanks
to Carson and Chad, if I haven't mentioned that already). One of the guys
in the championship game starts Duckett - yes, T.J. Duckett - regularly! Arrrrggggggghhhhhhh!
- Washington Redskins 8-6 (18)
There's really no excuse for Washington to be so low while Dallas is four
spots higher. They have the same record, and the Redskins have beaten them
twice. I will wait for your e-mails patiently...
- Minnesota Vikings 8-6 (17)
Interesting how next year, the Vikings will be neither good NOR entertaining.
- Philadelphia Eagles 6-8 (19)
When little old ladies at the mall are complaining about the team, you
know things have hit rock bottom.
- Baltimore Ravens 5-9 (24)
I hate bumping them this much, but they have outplayed the teams below
them especially down the stretch.
- Cleveland Browns 5-9 (25)
It's actually quite remarkable what Crennel has done with an overwhelming
lack of talent.
- Saint Louis Rams 5-9 (20)
Remember when the Rams were fun to watch?
- Oakland Raiders 4-10 (21)
Remember when the Raiders were fun to watch?
- Detroit Lions 4-10 (22)
Remember when the Lions
well, OK the Lions haven't been fun to watch
for about 8 years now.
- Buffalo Bills 4-10 (23)
This is more based upon the effort I've seen from them lately than anything.
And the effort has been nonexistent.
- Green Bay Packers 3-11 (26)
There is no excuse for that performance. What, was Samkon Gado already
the heart and soul of the team or something?
- Tennessee Titans 4-10 (27)
Nothing to say here. Move along.
- Arizona Cardinals 4-10 (28)
Like sand in the hourglass, there goes another Cardinals season.
- New Orleans Saints 3-11 (29)
Don't look now, but Donte Stallworth has a decent opportunity for his first
career 1,000-yard season.
- New York Jets 3-11 (30)
Wayne Chrebet has finally decided to call it quits. This cannot go without
mentioning. While he was never a fantasy stud, the guy was an absolutely ridiculously
cool story. Coming out of Hofstra, never being given a chance, you know all
the clichés. Watching him play, he's one of my all-time favorite players
because of the way he went about his job.
- San Francisco 49ers 2-12 (31)
There's still hope to get Reggie, still hope to get Reggie, still hope
- Houston Texans 2-12 (32)
Uh, don't you guys want Reggie Bush?
Super Shufflers Of the Week (+)
- Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns (tie) +4
Baltimore bumps up mostly
because I can't ignore that big a win, and I can't ignore how bad the teams
around them have become. The Browns actually bump up based upon merit, and
could really close the season on a high note if they avoid double-digit losses.
- San Diego Chargers +3
After that performance, how could I not? That
win was at least as good as the Miami loss was bad, which pretty much cancels
each other out.
Plungers Of the Week (-)
- Dallas Cowboys -4
They're on the brink of a drop out of the top half,
seriously. This from a team that looked to be a playoff lock a few weeks ago.
- Several teams tied at -2.