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Sunday, 27 November 2011

Pulling Linemen Picks: Week 12

This week we're not going in-depth on a game or two and saying why it will be good. Instead we implore you, via any means necessary, to watch as much as you can of: Texans @ Jags, Bears @ Raiders and Steelers @ Chiefs. The reason is that Houston, Chicago and Kansas have all lost their Pro-Bowl (that's right folks, Matt Cassel made the 2010 Pro-Bowl) quarterbacks and in their place are the unkowns, the washed up and just perhaps the plain awful.
Caleb Hanie's number is twice that of Cutler's, so surely
he's twice as good at football...
With Jay Cutler sidelined due to thumb surgery on his throwing hand his back-up Caleb Hanie is thrust into the key position of a team on a roll. Chicago have won 5 in a row after Mike Martz finally learnt to ease up on the 7 step-drop, deep routes that were getting Cutler hammered in the backfield. With the emphasis on the red-hot Matt Forte and their ever tough defense Chicago don't really need to change anything now Hanie's in. And in his one appearance for the Bears Hanie put in a good performance in a high pressure situation against Green Bay in last year's NFC Championship Game. He should be ok, but you really never know. The Raiders defense is a tough nut to crack on the ground and Forte could find the going tough as they stack the box and try to force the game into Hanie's hands. If that happens then watch out!
This is the 4th picture that comes up when you google
image search Matt Leinart. him with a helmet on
throwing a football? 37th...


In Houston things were going great, even with Andre Johnson sidelined and Mario Williams out both sides of the ball were clicking and with the Colts no longer posing their usual road block the Texans were on their way to their first division crown. Then quarterback Matt Schaub did something bad with Liz Frank, or something along those lines. Anyway, he's injured. And now look who's back, South Carolina's favourite party boy Matt Leinart. Much hyped out of college Matt Leinart's career never really took off. Some say he never got a fair shot in Arizona, what with some dude called Kurt Warner there too, before he got the boot in favour of Derek Anderson (ouch). Leinart does have the talent to perform, and a good platform with the league's best running attack. But rumour has it that he turned down the chance to take the starters role up in Seattle this year, in favour of back-up duty in Houston. If that's true then it's a huge red flag, this guy clearly doesn't have the desire that most in the NFL do to be the best he can be. Even if that isn't true the handful of stats Leinart has put up don't warm the heart: 57.1 completion percentage, 14 TD's, 20 INT's and just 6.5 yards per attempt. The Jags defense is playing really well right now and if it can slow Arian Foster and Ben Tate then Leinart will have to put some points up... And he's not been great at that in the NFL.
If Tyler Palko thought monday night was rough then
he's in for a shock this week as the Steel Curtain comes
to town.
For those of you who didn't see the start of what i'm sure will be a highly successful forgettable career on monday night, Tyler Palko stinks. And guess what, he stunk vs. the worst pass defense in the league. This week however he faces Dick LeBeau and his motley crew of hard-hitting, zone-blitzing animals. This isn't going to be one for the faint hearted. But what might be even better viewing than that will be if Kyle Orton, claimed off of waivers this week, it thrown into the fire. Orton is, on a good day, an average QB. But thrown into an offense where he doesn't even know the blitz pick up calls? T-rouble.

So don't watch Tom Brady or Cam Newton. Don't settle down and watch the safe and secure play of Matt Ryan. We all love watching people fall over on youtube, or situational comedies where characters get in way over their heads, THIS IS BOTH!!!


Toby Durant
Phil Gaskin
Gur Samuel
Packers @ Lions
Packers
Lions
Packers
Dolphins @ Cowboys
Cowboys
Cowboys
Cowboys
49ers @ Ravens
Ravens
Ravens
49ers
Vikings @ Falcons
Falcons
Falcons
Falcons
Panthers @ Colts
Panthers
Panthers
Panthers
Bills @ Jets
Jets
Jets
Jets
Bucs @ Titans
Titans
Titans
Bucs
Redskins @ Seahawks
Seahawks
Seahawks
Seahawks
Broncos @ Chargers
Broncos
Chargers
Broncos
Browns @ Bengals
Bengals
Bengals
Bengals
Texans @ Jaguars
Texans
Texans
Texans
Cardinals @ Rams
Cardinals
Rams
Cardinals
Bears @ Raiders
Raiders
Raiders
Bears
Patriots @ Eagles
Patriots
Patriots
Patriots
Steelers @ Chiefs
Steelers
Steelers
Steelers
Giants @ Saints
Saints
Saints
Saints




Last Week:
10-4
11-3
9-5
Overall:
96-51
99-48
89-58

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Roundtable: Who Can Stop The Packers?

Toby Durant:
All signs point to a repeat. But who has the best shot
at stopping the Packers?
Hello and welcome to our first roundtable in quite some time. Today’s topic of discussion is just who has the best chance of beating the currently undefeated Green Bay Packers.

When the defending Super Bowl champs next take to the field in anger it will be 361 days since they last lost a game when Aaron Rodgers played all 60 minutes. The advanced stats on Aaron Rodgers this year are incredible, putting him on a par with the record-breaking seasons of Peyton Manning in 2004 and Tom Brady’s 2007 and 2010 campaigns. He’s the clear MVP of this season. But how do you combat him and the rest of a stellar squad?

We’ll put forward the teams we each think have the best shot at pulling off a win against the Packers, not necessarily who we think will beat them first this season. So… Go!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Sack It Off - Rams Done Before Thanksgiving. Again.

The hardest thing about summing up the Rams at the moment is where to begin. At 0-5, things looked bleak, at 2-7 there was a glimmer of hope, but after defeat to the Seahawks the season is basically over before Thanksgiving. Again. Here are just a few of my musings brought on by Sunday’s game.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Week 11 picks & Game of the Week

Toby Durant's Game of the Week: Buffalo Bills (5-4) @ Miami Dolphins (2-7)


These are 2 teams heading in completely different directions. The Bills are falling back to earth HARD after a great start to the season. They've been completely overmatched in their last 2 games and badly beaten. Their offense is getting very predictable and what had been a fantastic offensive line has been decimated by injuries; the latest of which was to centre Eric Wood who had been playing at a pro-bowl level this year. The re-shuffling of the O-Line is a big concern to fantasy owners of Fred Jackson (like myself) and is beginning to make that $50million + deal for Ryan Fitzpatrick look a little pre-mature.
Eric Wood was on my pro-bowl ballot, but a
knee injury has shut him down for the year
As for the Dolphins, things are finally starting to click. The defense that many pundits expected to be one of the best has finally started playing like it can. Karlos Dansby has stepped up his game recently and is claiming he's the best linebacker in the NFL (keep shouting it and someone might believe you mate, but not us. Not by a long shot). Matt Moore is proving to be an effective QB and even more surprisingly they're actually getting some production out of Reggie Bush, for now.

After Thursday's defeat for the Jets, and with Cincy likely to drop a game or two over the next few weeks the play-off window isn't completely closed for Buffalo, but it's starting to look less and less likely. But if they can't fix their defense (27th vs. pass, 23rd vs run) soon then it will slam shut for another year. The turnovers they've bee thriving off of have dried up and that has really hurt them. I'm going for a Dolphins win, but only just.



Toby Durant
Phil Gaskin
Gur Samuel
Jets @ Broncos
Jets
Jets
Jets
Bengals @ Ravens
Ravens
Ravens
Bengals
Jaguars @ Browns
Jaguars
Browns
Jaguars
Panthers @ Lions
Lions
Lions
Lions
Bucs @ Packers
Packers
Packers
Packers
Bills @ Dolphins
Dolphins
Dolphins
Bills
Raiders @ Vikings
Raiders
Raiders
Raiders
Cowboys @ Redskins
Cowboys
Cowboys
Cowboys
Cardinals @ 49ers
49ers
49ers
49ers
Seahawks @ Rams
Rams
Rams
Seahawks
Titans @ Falcons
Falcons
Falcons
Falcons
Chargers @ Bears
Bears
Bears
Bears
Eagles @ Giants
Giants
Giants
Giants
Chiefs @ Patriots
Patriots
Patriots
Patriots




Last Week:
9-7
7-9
10-6
Overall:
86-47
88-35
80-53

Friday, 18 November 2011

Tebow, Sanchez and TNF: A lesson in Wins as a stat

Tim Tebow's magic legs came to life with just 5 minutes
left on Thursday night

Well folks, Tim Tebow “did it again”. For those brave souls like myself who sat through the worst game of the season that didn’t involve Cleveland we were rewarded with what NFL Network’s “professional” panel orgasmicly called “Tebow Time”.  To hear them talk it’s like no one had ever gone on a game winning drive before.

Anyway, after what felt like a century of awful offense, of averaging 2.4 yards a carry the Jets defense tired a little and Tebow found a little crease here on a triple option and a big old hole there on a basic QB scramble before getting outside of the worst blitz of the season and scoring the winning TD. Well done to him. It was a game neither side offense deserved, or looked like they wanted, to win. But Timmy boy found a way through. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

TD's Week 10 musings


Around this time of year you normally have a good idea of who's good and who's bad. Which teams have been unlucky and which have a horseshoe up their backsides. But in 2011 the NFL continues to throw up strange results every week. Having seen a good few games this weekend here are the things that caught my eye from week 10:

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Pulling Linemen Predicts: Week 10 + Games of the Week

Toby Durant’s Game of the Week:  Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) @ Cincinnati Bengals (6-2)

Before the draft, when all the focus was on Cam Newton, I was convinced that Andy Dalton, given he was drafted into the right situation, would be the best quarterback of the 2011 class. When he was taken by Cincinnati in the 2nd round though, I was disappointed. I didn’t think starting week one was the best thing for him, or that the situation with Carson Palmer and all the youth around him would do him any favours.  So yea, I got the last bit wrong.
Andy Dalton won a lot with TCU, it's a habit he's
kept up in the NFL

Dalton, with fellow rookie the sensational wideout AJ Green, have not put up the flashy yards totals of Cam Newton and Steve Smith, but their efficient play has resulted more importantly in wins. The basis for Cincinnati’s success stems from their tough defense. The Bengals are holding teams to just 3.3 yards a carry against them and they’re knocking the ball loose too. Forcing 12 fumbles so far thi year, recovering 9 of them.
This tough, ball-hawking defense has given Dalton a great platform to work from, and while Ced Benson and the other running backs are hardly setting the world on fire they are fairly dependable. But now comes the first big test of Dalton’s young career.

In the next 4 weeks Dalton will face the Steelers twice and the Ravens. Ouch. But that’s going to be life in the AFC North and the Red Rifle needs to get used to it.
The last minute winner from Torrey Smith last week makes
this game a must win for Pittsburgh to keep pace

The Steelers are pissed. They’ve now been swept by their bitterest rival, a team they used to have tucked in their back pocket so you can be sure they’ll come out hard and fast against the Bengals. The defense will throw things at Dalton he’s never seen before, and pressure him like never before. I expect Troy Polamalu to be bought down into the box and force Dalton to make tricky decisions. It’s an unenviable job and could get ugly.

The Steelers offense will have Emmanuel Sanders back and the trio of he, Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown will need to have their A game if they are to pick apart the stellar Bengals defense and create some gaps in the box for Mendenhall to run.

I’m giving the edge here to Big Ben’s cool head and experience.  How Dalton fairs in these first AFC North tests will go a long way to determine his Offensive Rookie of the Year candidacy. Because at the moment he’s made a good case, but this is the big time now.


Toby Durant
Phil Gaskin
Gur Samuel
Raiders @ Chargers
Chargers
Chargers
Chargers
Saints @ Falcons
Falcons
Falcons
Saints
Cardinals @ Eagles
Eagles
Eagles
Eagles
Titans @ Panthers
Panthers
Panthers
Titans
Texans @ Bucs
Texans
Texans
Texans
Redskins @ Dolphins
Dolphins
Dolphins
Dolphins
Jaguars @ Colts
Colts
Colts
Jaguars
Broncos @ Chiefs
Broncos
Chiefs
Chiefs
Bills @ Cowboys
Cowboys
Cowboys
Bills
Rams @ Browns
Rams
Rams
Rams
Steelers @ Bengals
Steelers
Steelers
Steelers
Ravens @ Seahawks
Ravens
Ravens
Ravens
Giants  @ 49ers
49ers
Giants
49ers
Lions @ Bears
Bears
Lions
Bears
Patriots @ Jets
Jets
Patriots
Jets
Vikings @ Packers
Packers
Packers
Packers




Last Week:
10-4
7-7
6-8
Overall:
77-40
81-36
70-47