Friday, August 27, 2010
So in the interest of time management I'm going to preview Fridays games now and possibly by the time I'm finished so will have Thursdays games, allowing me to review them. Get it? Before we do though, two quick fingers up to the NFL: -- If, like me, you've found the video viewing experience on NFL.com to be nothing short of a hair-loss inducing nightmare then there is hope. Providing you're not that bothered about seeing Rich Eisens head in HD, you can now disable the Akamai Net sessions program that was previously required to watch almost all of the videos. Just got to your computers C drive (usually under the heading 'computer'), then find the folder Program Files. In this you will find another folder called common files. In this you will find another folder headed 'Akamai'. Open this and you should see a heavenly little red icon that says Uninstall. Double click and then relax, safe in the knowledge that you will now be able to watch videos without anywhere near as much hassle as before. Maybe if enough people stop running it NFL.com will get the f***ing hint. -- Second finger up to the NFL over the 18-game schedule. All along Roger Goodell - the crown prince of football evil - has been telling us that fans fully support the proposed schedule increase. Well, I'd like to firmly say f**k you Roger. Naturally the owners meeting has been widely reported across the interweb and everywhere you go you notice a surprising trend in the comments section; the ratio of fans against the 'Enhanced Season' compared to those in favour seems to be about 4:1. Most fans with a brain and a semblance of logic seemed to understand that this is nothing but an attempt to extract more cash from the TV networks, while doing little to actually 'enhance' the game. While they admit that pre-season games aren't exactly thrilling, they seem very understanding of the way it will effect both the players long term health and the reduced chances of fringe players to make the roster, coming to the conclusion that the 'enhanced season' is garbage (though not always quite as politely as that). I don't think fans are being given enough credit for their intelligence and I get the feeling that this could potentially blow up in Goodell's face, hopefully sooner rather than later. Enough of that though, let's take a look at Fridays games: -- Falcons @ Dolphins: The Falcons were supposed to give the Saints a run for their money in the NFC South this year. The Dolphins were supposed to be the upstarts challenging the big mouth Jets and the stoic old Patriots for the AFC East. So far, both teams have looked flat. Brandon Marshall hasn't raised the Dolphins as might be expected. He had a good game last week, but there are almost daily reports from the 'phins practices of drops and frustrations. Meanwhile the Falcons seem to be struggling to really get Michael Turner involved in their games. This could go either way to be honest. It could be two teams slopping it out in a puke fest of a football game, or it could see one team finally realise that once the pre-season is done then it's live time and so sending them into a scoring fury. I'll be getting my bucket I think. -- Redskins @ Jets: After coming up short (well short) against the Ravens, the Redskins will be looking to bounce back against a Jets teams that is still missing Monsieur Revis and that looked abject against the Panthers (hate 'em). Without Thomas Jones the Jets offense looks a little barren. Mark Sanchez is still struggling to find form and find receivers. The Redskins D may not have held up all that well against Baltimore, but they're still a tough unit and second year linebacker Brian Orakpo continues to improve in leaps and bounds, meaning a tough day in store for Sanchez. Donovan McNabb on the other hand has been producing good yards through the air, but like in Philadelphia seems to struggle in the Red zone still. The situation is not helped by the Redskins having the same problem as the Eagles; no run game. Despite their splash of off season acquisitions at the RB position, the Redskins have been unable to get things moving on the ground. The point is well proven when in sight of goal and with no apparent method of scoring other than trying to find Chris Cooley or Fred Davis, who are routinely finding themselves drawing heavy coverage. So this game comes down to offense. Which team can finally pull its O out of a slump and find some scores? Judging by the way they've both performed so far, both these teams are going to be looking back at the pre-season optimism and wondering where it all went wrong. -- Chargers @ Saints: Philip Rivers vs. Drew Brees. It's a battle that many have been looking forward to seeing and could prove to be one of the more interesting games of the pre-season. Certainly the Saints defense will be under the spotlight. Mid ranked last year, they've long been the weak link that's kept this team from the Super bowl prior to 2009. It might not be enough this year, as the Saints offense is unlikely to repeat the very gaudy numbers that it put up last season. The combination of Ryan Matthews on the ground and Rivers through the air will either leave Saints fans anxious about the season ahead, or optimistic of a repeat. For the Saints it's very much about the run. As I've stated before on numerous occasions, the Saints scored a ton of points off play-action last year. This year their rushing attack promises to be less than stellar, leaving question marks as to how much respect it will receive. A solid outing here for the Saints backs would do wonders. This is also a Chargers D that is recovering from the loss of Antonio Cromartie, so is ripe for a kicking by Brees. -- Eagles @ Chiefs: The Eagles have looked pretty good so far. Not sensational, but good. Kolb is settling as the starting QB and starting to look at home. The Chiefs are.... well. Not good. With the changes in coordinators and a pretty solid draft under the belt, plus the pick up of Thomas Jones at RB, the Chiefs looked like they were set for a season that might just appease the fans a little. So far however it just hasn't come together for them. As we're in week 3 of the pre-season I'm anticipating seeing a little more from Mr. Jones and Mr. Charles in the Chiefs backfield. The Eagles conversely are looking for a plump piece of game to poach and the Chiefs just might be it. Brandon Graham has been moved up the depth chart ahead of Juqua Parker, which is surprising considering the season Parker had last year. I think the Eagles are either grossly under rating Parker or Brandon Graham is a hell of a lot better than we all imagined. Offensively the Eagles might be keen to unleash DeSean Jackson on a secondary that remains suspect. Right, results time: -- Rams @ Patriots: ............................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................................................. ............... 36 - 35. No, no, no, I mean 36 to the Rams. Yes. Rams 36, Patriots 35. Wait, let me just check again, make sure. Jesus. For a long time in this game, the Rams led comfortably. A rally that began in the end of the third quarter brought the status quo back, only for the Rams to upset the balance and come back with a TD and finally a last second field goal to win. The crazy thing is, Brady took home 18/22 for 273 yards and 3 TDs. Even Brian Hoyer came in and lobbed himself a score. Randy Moss; 3 catches for 74-yards and a TD. Rob Gronkowski; 3 receptions for 66 yards and 2 TDs. This must have been gutting, to do so well only to get wrecked at the last second by a field goal. Sam Bradford impressed for the Rams, finishing with 15/22 for 189-yards and 2 TDs. Thaddeus Lewis also played well with 11/14 for 120-yards and a TD. Tight End, Michael Hoomanawanui (I promise you, that's his real name) led the Rams receivers with 4 catches for 53-yards and 2 TDs. The only real defensive stand out for the game was Patriots Linebacker Jerod Mayo who finished with 8 tackles and 2 assists. -- Colts @ Packers: This one hasn't actually finished yet. Satisfyingly though the Colts are getting pounded into the floor and "The Painted One" has just fumbled the ball again.... and then sacked two plays later. I'm gonna have a ciggie then I'll be back in a bit to recap this one. Hahahaha! 24-59. Man the crowd in Lambeau were rewarded for their good turn out. Who says pre-season games are boring? Having exchanged TDs in the first quarter, the Colts tacked on a field goal and then a 2nd quarter TD to take the early lead. And from their it all unravelled. A TD from Rodgers to Finley, then a muffed Punt by the Colts was recovered by Packers FB Korey Hall in the endzone for another TD. Add another Rodgers TD pass and the Packers were pulling away at half time. A field goal followed in the third followed by another TD and the Colts were almost done, with Donald Brown providing scant relief with his 1-yard TD run. But the Packers weren't finished yet. Another TD pass by Matt Flynn, a rushing TD by Kregg Lumpkin, and then a 75-yard punt return for a TD by Jason Chery finished the job. Rodgers finished 21/29 for 195-yards and 3 TDs. Matt Flynn; 8/13 for 80-yards, 2TDs. On the Colts side Peyton Manning managed 15/26 for 214-yards and 2 TDs, 1 INT while Curtis Painter finished the game 6/11 for 97-yards and an INT. Manning had one fumble, Painter two. Defensively the Colts failed to produce a single sack but good showings from Antoine Bethea (8 tackles and an assist) & rookie LB Pat Angerer (7 tackles - 3 assists) at least provide some bright spot among the gloom. CB Tramon Williams led the Packers in tackles with 6 and there were some good showings from some rookies (which they wouldn't have otherwise had under the 18-game 'enhanced season'). Rookie LB Frank Zombo finished with 5 tackles, 4 assists, and a sack/forced fumble. The other sack came from rookie LB Cyril Obiozor. Rookie DBs Morgan Burnett and Sam Shields came up with the Packers two picks. Well, there you have it. The Colts are beatable. The Packers just get better by the week. And I'm off so I'll see you guys tomorrow to preview Saturdays games and recap all the Friday Night action. If you have any questions etc, you can leave a comment or drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org Any free publicity you'd like to swing my way would also be more than welcome. Till next time, Have a great day everyone.