Time Out for Sports Talk: Black Cats and Broken Mirrors be Damned!
Todd: Happy Friday the 13th to all our readers except the paraskevidekatriaphobics, to whom I say Happy Saturday the 14th so they won’t spend the entire day in bed.
Also kudos to my co-blogger Mike and his family for hosting last week’s Patriots viewing party, which featured plenty of good company, good refreshments and enough good plays from the hometown team to keep us all happy.
Although Stephen Gostkowski’s perfect pitching wedge-like onside kick didn’t directly result in any points, I enjoyed seeing the Pats go for the jugular early right after scoring a touchdown on their opening drive. And as the fates would have it, Kirk Cousins gave the ball back to the Pats the very next play following Julian Edelman’s fumble. LeGarrette Blount touchdown run made it 14-0 in the first quarter and the Pats coasted and remained unbeaten, despite scoring a season-low 27 points.
But the injuries are starting to pile up and the Pats’ depth is being tested, especially on the offensive line. Nate Solder is already done for the year, and now depending on the severity of Sebastian Vollmer’s head injury, New England may have to play the rest of the season without both of its two starting tackles.
When Vollmer was forced to leave last Sunday’s game, center Bryan Stork (having just come off injured reserve from his own head injury), had to move over to right tackle where he hadn’t played extensively since high school, while Cameron Fleming had to shift over to Tom Brady’s blind side and play left tackle for the first time in his life.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually looking forward to the return of tackle Marcus Cannon from his toe ailment. From what I’ve seen of him on the field, he’s only an average lineman at best. But right now, Cannon’s presence is better than making the offensive line rotate positions on every play as if they were a volleyball team.
But with all the O-line struggles, it was even more heartbreaking to see Dion Lewis’ season come to abrupt end after he tore his ACL on a non-contact play in the third quarter. I knew Lewis provided Brady with a great safety valve coming out of the backfield, but it wasn’t until after the game when I read that Dion was responsible for over 20 percent of the Pats’ offensive yardage that I realized just how important he was to this offense. He will be missed, but we’ll need to wait and see just how much.
Quick check around the NFL – Gang Green Jets versus Gang Red Bills? No thanks. That was a hideous sight last night, and the uniforms were obnoxious too. Sorry we’re only going to see more of those monochromatic uniforms.
Looks like the Colts’ karma continues. So reportedly Andrew Luck was playing the last few weeks with cracked ribs yet never appeared on the team’s injury report, which is a serious league violation that’ll likely be ignored by the league because it doesn’t involve the Patriots. But now during Indy’s bye week, when the Colts aren’t obligated to disclose injuries, we all find out that Luck lacerated a kidney and tore an abdominal muscle in last week’s upset win against the Broncos, and will probably miss at least a month. Instant karma’s gonna get you, isn’t it, Colts?
Speaking of those previously unbeaten Broncos, two old friends played key roles in saddling Denver with their first loss. Darius Butler came up with the key interception of Peyton Manning, who tossed a wounded duck late in the fourth quarter. Then Aqib Talib sealed the deal with accidental Moe Howard eye-poking moment, giving Indy a first down and allowing them to run out the clock. Still not sure if I’m glad the Broncos lost that game prior to their showdown with the Pats in two weeks.
Before looking a fortnight ahead, the Pats have to revisit another part of their history with those Giant killers from the Meadowlands. If Brady and Bill Belichick are the league’s top QB/Head Coach duo, what does that make Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin, who have beaten the Pats three straight times (including two Super Bowls-ugh), and are the only NFC team to defeat Brady at least three times?
The G-Men are also responsible for busting New England’s 18-game winning streak heading into SB XLII and for snapping the Pats’ 20-game home regular season winning streak in 2011 with a loss I personally witnessed…thanks a lot, Jake Ballard!
But history aside, this year’s Giants are a different bunch struggling to keep afloat in the NFC East. Chandler Jones has more sacks (9.5) this season than the entire Giants defense (9). In his second game back, can Jason Pierre-Paul and his giant oven mitt have an impact on the Pats’ patchwork O-line? I think this game will be a struggle for the Pats, but perhaps a good sign is that their last win against New York came at the Meadowlands back in 2007: Patriots 26, Giants 23.
Week 10 picks (1-2 last week, 15-9 season): Got to love the NFL – even picking games straight up has become difficult. This week let’s try the Rams over the Bears, Broncos over the Chiefs and Seahawks over the Cardinals.
Mike: Yes, we did have a good time this weekend, though I must say I was socializing so much, I kept forgetting to pay attention to the game!
But, it was another satisfying win for the Pats, as they continue to roll on to 16-0, and I don't see that changing this week as they look to avenge to fluke Super Bowl losses over the Eli and the New Jersey Giants (I don't care what they try and call themselves, they play in New Jersey, ergo, they are from New Jersey).
The NFC East is just a pathetic division, and the Giants are in first simply because someone has to be. Unlike Todd, I actually don't think this will be a struggle for the Patriots. I think they continue on their roll here with a 32-13 win.
Week 10 picks (1-2 last week, 12-12 season):I'll go with the Panthers over the Titans, the Eagles over the Dolphins and Dallas over Tampa Bay.
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