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Friday, 30 September 2011

The Pulling Linemen's Power Rankings: October

For the second month in a row, the
Packers and the Patriots top our power
A new month, a new set of power rankings from The Pulling Linemen. The biggest improvement in rank comes from the still undefeated Buffalo Bills, who rise an incredible 19 places to break into our top ten. Conversely, the biggest drop in the rankings goes to the hapless Kansas City Chiefs, who tumble all the way to last, joining the Green Bay Packers as the only two teams whose rankings were unanimous. Other big movers include the Oakland Raiders (from 26th to 11th), the Indianapolis Colts (from 20th to 30th), the Carolina Panthers (from 31st to 21st), and the St. Louis Rams (from 13th to 22nd), while only the Packers (1st), New England Patriots (2nd), and Tennessee Titans (18th), remain unchanged.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Dissecting the Defeat

And the crowd went wild

Drayton Florence might have said afterwards that the Bills locker room had expected a victory on Sunday, but that confidence must have waivered as the Patriots amassed a 21-0 lead mid-way through the 2nd quarter. But a tipped pass here and bad coverage there and it was 21-10 at the half.

Confidence restored, half time adjustments made and Buffalo pulled off a turnaround few could have seen coming.

It was a comeback build mainly on good offense, bad Patriot smarts and a piece of luck. Let’s go through it, starting where it all began:

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Pulling Linemen Predicts: Week 3 + Games of the Week

After a very successful week of picks last time out we once more have lots of consensus picks. We agree on all but 3 of the games.

As ever, we've each picked a game out of the schedule to shine a light on it and say how we think they will go. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties (how professional does that sound??) Gur was unable to put together his piece. He would have picked the NFC North showdown in Soldier Field between Chicago and Green Bay.

Friday, 23 September 2011

10 years of Tom Terrific

Game footage of Lewis (#57) hitting Bledsoe (#11)
10 years ago today Mo Lewis, Linebacker for the New York Jets, put a thunderous hit on New England Quarterback Drew Bledsoe as he was going out of bounds. Tom Brady described it as the hardest hit he’d ever heard. Bledsoe had to come out of the game. Enter #12.

Now, after 127 wins in 164 careers starts (Inc. playoffs), a 5.6 Touchdown percentage and a staggeringly low 2.2 interception percentage from Tom Brady, I’m here to say, simply, thank you Mo Lewis.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

TD's Linemen of the Week: Week 2

I meant to produce one of these every week, but rather forgot about it in the excitement of week 1 football. My week 1 Linemen of the week are as follows: Trent Williams (Washington), Davin Joseph (Tampa Bay), Josh Sitton, Chris Wells (Green Bay) and Nate Solder (New England).

There are some strict rules to these accolades. Firstly that I must have seen the entirety of their game for a player to be eligible. This does somewhat lower the pool of candidates but it’s the only way to truly assess a player. That way I am not influenced by other peoples opinion or highlight reels.

The second point is that it won’t always be who has been the best overall, but who played above expectations or showed the physicality and grittiness that I love in the bearded-beauties who protect everyone’s precious “skill” position players. There will always be 3 interior “maulers” (guards and centres) and 2 “dancing bears” (tackles).

So let’s get into week 2’s awards, including a “Must do better” slap on the wrist for an entire line.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Pulling Linemen Predicts: Week 2 + Games of the Week

The rule for week 2 is always to not over react to what we saw in week 1. But that's easier said than done. Mind you when the fixtures fall like this it's fairly simple. There are no divisional games this week (as part of the lock-out proofing that went on during the summer) and there are a lot of miss matches on the schedule this week, as shown by the fact that all but 4 games are consensus picks.

We're also giving you a brief preview of games we'll be keeping a careful eye on this week so let's get down to it.

Once again, we are not responsible for any gambling losses accrued by using our picks at a bookies. You'd be a moron to take us seriously anyway!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Forgotten Man

I find it interesting that Donnie Avery still doesn’t have a place to call home. The first wide receiver taken in the 2008 NFL draft was cut by the Rams on 53-man deadline day, but is yet to find work elsewhere. Since then, Donnie has had workouts with other teams, but is as yet unsigned. This got me thinking – why?

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Coverage? What Coverage?

Football is back and every team has now given us a bench mark of what to expect this season, from Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady shredding defenses to The Colts and Chiefs looking in real trouble. But one thing that has been ubiquitous throughout week 1 has been a terrible lack of defensive coverage.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Gur's Slice of Selfishness

Here at TPL, we’re committed to bring you coverage of all the NFL, not just the teams that we individually support.
Well, I’m taking a break from that for right now to talk purely about my Bucs (hence, ‘Slice of Selfishness’).

Yesterday was not a good day for Bucs fans. And I'm going to explain just why it was that bad, in excruciating detail (it really hurt to stare at these stats and look at these plays again).

Rams Post-Mortem

Let me preface this by saying I did not expect the Rams to win. Nor do I expect the Rams to be better than 2-5 by the time the Cardinals come to visit in week 9. However, yesterday’s game vs the Eagles has given me some cause for concern, and has brought up some issues we know all too well from past seasons. In this piece I’ll give a quick overview of 3 things that worried me about last night’s performance from St Louis, and break down 2 of the TD plays that show the sublime and the ridiculous sides of the Rams performance.

Week 1 Quick Hits

Football’s back people! Here are a few quick hit impressions of Sunday’s games. Expect some slices of humble pie mixed in with a dollop of I-told-you-so.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Pulling Linemen Previews 2011: AFC South

We conclude our division-by-division previews with the AFC South. With Peyton Manning out for what looks to be at least most the season, 2011 will see an AFC South in flux.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Pulling Linemen Previews 2011: NFC North

Welcome to the home of the Champs.

Tonight The Green Bay Packers begin the defence of their latest title. I’m ridiculously excited for the return of competitive football after all of this lock-out nonsense in the summer.

This is a division that could surprise people. In my opinion the NFC North has a great chance to post the highest number of division wins this season and take that “Toughest division in the NFL” crown.
So without any extended pre-amble let’s get right down to it, starting with the champs.

Pulling Linemen Previews 2011 - AFC North

The AFC North really is a tale of two halves. At the top, the Ravens and Steelers battle it out every year for supremacy, and ultimately both end up in the playoffs; and at the bottom the Browns and Bengals were battling it out for top 10 picks in the 2011 draft (earning the 6th and 4th picks respectively). Are things set to change in 2011? Will the Steelers or Ravens fall back in to the pack? Can the Browns take that leap forward and challenge for the division title? Can the Bengals please stop wearing those disgusting uniforms? More after the jump.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Pulling Linemen's Power Rankings: September

With just over a day to go before the 2011 NFL season kicks off (how exciting is that?!), the time is ripe for The Pulling Linemen to reveal our first power rankings of the year. Remember, these rankings do not represent how well we think the teams will do over the course of the season; this is just how good or bad we think each team is the day before the season starts. Read, digest, enjoy, disagree, crown us football geniuses or write us death threats for slighting your favourite team, let us know your opinion in the comments below!

The Pulling Linemen Predicts: Week 1

Every week during the NFL season we here at The Pulling Linemen will be publishing our picks for the upcoming games. We strongly advise none of our millions of readers (there are millions of you right?) NOT to take these tips to the bookies unless you plan on being bankrupt by November.

We have 9 consensus picks for the opening week while Gur backing the Saints to ruin the party in Lambeau on Thursday night, Phil picks the Ravens to get that Steelers-monkey off their back and I am backing Cam Newton in his first NFL game even though I’m not quite sure why.

We’ll be keeping track of the totals during the season and the winner will be getting something befitting such an illustrious achievement. So probably a book voucher and a pat on the head.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Pulling Linemen Previews 2011: NFC East

For a long time now this division has been nick-named “The Beast”, and with good reason. Since the re-alignment of the divisions for the 2002 season the NFC East has sent just 1 representative to the playoffs only twice, and 2 times it has sent 3. It has taken up 41% of available NFC slots in that time frame. Staggering. It has however only won 1 Super Bowl in that period, that of the giant-killing Giants in 2007 (which will haunt me until the day I die).

As we enter 2011 the NFC East contains a favourite to take it all, 2 others who could make the playoffs if everything falls right, and then there's Washington.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Ndamukong Suh – Dirty or Dominant?

Suh is picked 2nd by Detroit in 2010

2nd overall pick in 2010. Defensive rookie of the year.  1st team All-Pro. 66 tackles, 10 sacks, 1 forced fumble and an interception. And now a dirty player. Or is he?

The majority of American sports media are in the process of crucifying Ndamukong Suh for what they call dirty play. Last season Suh got fined twice, once for a hit that was typical of his play with Nebraska on Jake Delhomme in the preseason and the second was by all accounts a terrible call for a “forearm blow to the head” of Jay Cutler, watch the clip and tell me if that’s illegal and worthy of a fine.

Some Things Are More Important Than Football...

Just about every non-football related story you hear about NFL players is bad. Be it criminal, drink/drug-related (PED or otherwise), or in the case of Reggie Bush, what relationship stage he is going through with Kim Kar-Krashian, or whoever, none of it shows NFL players in the kindest of lights. If, like me, you’re sick of hearing one problem after another and would prefer to know some of the good, generous and heroic things people in the NFL do with their personal time, then maybe some of the quick-hit stories below will be a pleasant relief!