Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Week 16: Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen....

The once mighty and undefeated New Orleans Saints have now lost two in a row. They lost 20-17 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have only won 3 games all season. I mean, really--how does this happen? This is--obviously--not a good way to end the season.

Payton's also formerly mighty, undefeated Colts are no longer mighty. Or at least undefeated. They lost to the Jets 29-15. The Colts end their NFL Record regular season win streak at 23. Payton Manning sat on the sideline for the second half of the game (meaning that they figured they were going to lose anyway so why "waste" their star player. Kind of a cop out if you ask me!) I guess lots of coaches who’s teams have clinched playoff spots and 1st round byes rest their players the last game or two of the season so Payton hasn’t lost his starting job. I still think it's kind of a cop out.

The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Chicago Bears on Monday night in overtime. All Day Adrian Peterson had 2 TDs and Brett Favre threw for 2 TDs but Chicago QB Jay Cutler threw for 4 TDs and kicker Robbie Gould hit 3 field goals in the game. The Vikings were hoping to end the season well and possibly take the top seed of the NFC conference away from the New Orleans Saints but after this loss there is no way they can do that.

Note: the number 1 seed in the conference secures home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Home field is incredibly important in the sport of football and all teams would rather play in their home sand box than in the other guy's.

The San Diego Chargers beat the Tennessee Titans knocking the Titans out of playoff contention. The Chargers have a win streak of 10 games going in to the final week of the season, they haven’t lost since week six. Titan's RB Chris Johnson rushed for 142 yards--he needs 128 yards to be the 6th player in NFL history to rush for 2000 yards.

The Houston Texans beat the Miami Dolphins, knocking the Dolphins out of playoff contention and keeping their own hope of making the playoffs alive. There are two playoff spots left in the AFC conference and 5 teams fighting for those two spots.

The Carolina Panthers crushed the New York Giants 41-9 knocking the Giants out of playoff contention with the devastating loss. The NFC conference playoff picture is locked.

The New England Patriots stomped the Jacksonville Jaguars. With this win New England has won the AFC East division and secured a playoff spot. With the loss, Jacksonville is no longer in contention for the playoffs. Tom Brady threw 4 TDs, 3 of which went to Randy Moss.

The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Kansas City Chiefs. With the win the Bengals have won the AFC North division and secured themselves a spot in the playoffs.

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens 23-20. The Steelers and the Ravens both have a record of 8-7 and will be fighting for the last two playoff spots in the final week of the season.

Here is the playoff picture so far:

NFC Conference:
New Orleans Saints
Minnesota Vikings
Philadelphia Eagles
Arizona Cardinals

Green Bay Packers (wildcard)
Dallas Cowboys (wildcard)

Note: The Eagles and Cowboys play each other in week 17. If Dallas wins they will win the division, if the Eagles win they win the division. Remember that this is important because the division winners get to play at home in the first week of the playoffs.

AFC Conference:
Indianapolis Colts
San Diego Chargers
New England Patriots
Cincinnati Bengals

For the AFC, the Wildcard spots are up in the air still. The following teams have a record of 8-7 and are fighting for the two remaining playoff spots in the AFC Conference:

New York Jets
Baltimore Ravens
Pittsburgh Steelers
Houston Texans
Denver Broncos

It’s going to be an exciting week 17 for these five teams. These will be the games to watch next Sunday (games with playoff implications):

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots @ Houston Texans
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Baltimore Ravens @ Oakland Raiders
Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets

Enjoy! And Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let's catch up!!!

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!
I am happy to report that we are finally feeling better!! Only took a month or so. Jeez. I hope everyone is feeling festive and happy this holiday season...Let's figure out what the heck is going on on the field, shall we? We shall.
Week 15:
The Colts beat the Jaguars on Thursday night. They extended their NFL-record winning streak in the regular season to 23 games and became the third 14-0 team in league history, joining the 1972 Dolphins and the 2007 Patriots.

The Cowboys beat the Saints on Saturday night, ending the Saints hopes for an undefeated season. Poor Drew Brees. They kinda got their butts kicked. The Saints are still at the top of the NFC conference but need to keep winning to make sure they stay there.

History was made when the Browns played the Chiefs, a game that nobody cared about until they saw Browns RB Jerome Harrison rush for the third highest yards in NFL history. Harrison ran for 286 yards and 3 TDs. Also, Browns kick returner, Joshua Cribbs returned two kickoffs for TDs giving him 8 for his career, an NFL record.

The Tennessee Titans beat the Miami Dolphins in overtime making their record 7-7. The Titans have gone 7-1 after starting the season 0-6 (only game they have lost is to the undefeated Colts). Titans RB Chris Johnson ran for over 100 yards again. He needs 270 yards in two games to be the 6th player in NFL history to rush for over 2000 yards.

The Houston Texans beat the St Louis Rams. Texans All Pro WR Andre Johnson had 9 catches for 196 yards and a TD (a big game!)

The Oakland Raiders beat the Denver Broncos on a last minute touchdown pass by Jamarcus Russell who was in because the Raiders' other two QBs left the game with injuries.

The San Diego Chargers beat the Cincinnati Bengals on a big game from QB Phillip Rivers. Rivers is quietly making a case for himself as MVP of the league. The Chargers have won 9 straight games and are the second seed in the AFC behind the Colts.

The Baltimore Ravens crushed the Chicago Bears intercepting Chicago QB Gay Butler (Jay Cutler) three times. Cutler leads the league in interceptions with 25. He signed a $60 million contract extension in the middle of this season after Chicago traded for him in the offseason.

The Philadelphia Eagles beat the San Francisco 49ers crushing any hopes the Niners had of making the playoffs. Eagles fans pelted Niners fans with snow balls in the stands during the loss. Yikes. Eagles fans are often heralded as the least classy fans in the league. Maybe they're just bitter because it's so freakin cold.

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Green Bay Packers 37-36 behind Big Ben Roethlisburger's 503 passing yards. The Steelers won with 0.0 seconds on the clock when Roethlisburger threw a TD to Mike Wallace to win the game. The was a lot more to this game so if you would like to read a full summary you can go to Yahoo Sports for a recap.

The Minnesota Vikings were embarrassed by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday night losing 26-7. Vikings Coach Brad Childress and Brett Favre had a heated argument on the sidelines during the game leading to the question on everybody’s minds: Who actually leads the Vikings, Brad Childress or Brett Favre? Inquiring minds want to know!

The New York Giants beat the Washington Redskins on Monday night keeping them in the hunt for a playoff wildcard spot. They need the Cowboys, Eagles and Packers to start losing for them to have a chance.

It's good to be back! Stay tuned for this weekend's game preview and have a great holiday everyone!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A short break!

Hello my loyal bloggettes,
Just stopping for a sec to let you all know that our household has been ravaged by one sickness after another and all of my usual duties have gone straight out the window! From stomach flu to pink eye to things unmentionable here, we haven't really left the couch other than to go to the doctors office from time to time. So, needless to say, Chick 101 has taken the week off and will be back (hopefully!!!) in full force next week! Until then, if you need football news (even though it's in MAN speak. yuck.), try
Thanks to everyone and "see" you next week!
Chick 101

Monday, December 7, 2009

Here ComeThe Defensive Linemen: The Paparazzi

So here we are...the Defense! We've learned all about the offense (if you missed any, click on the new links in the right hand column) and now we're ready to move on.

So we have to talk about Tom Brady again for a sec (bummer, i know) in order to truly understand the defensive line. Let's say that our QB Tom is a huge celebrity. Someone like, well, like Tom Brady. Or we can go with Robert Pattinson if you'd like. I'm sure he'd love that. Anyway, we've got our Golden Boy Tom in the center of the action--say he's trying to go get a latte on Robertson Blvd and get a little shopping done. Easy for a normal person. For Robert/Tom, not so much! First we have to equip him with a slew of bodyguards (except this time much bigger and beefier than Kevin Costner) who are his Offensive line (we remember this from our Offense discussion). They are his protectors--big burly guys who foam at the mouth. When the ball is snapped, Tom backs up and his offensive linemen (the ones right in front of him) basically form a protective semi-circle around him (also called the POCKET) to protect him from the big bad defensive linemen on the other side.

Strangely, in this case, the defensive linemen act offensively (in that they are headed straight for the QB and anyone else who tries to go through the "gaps" between them) and the offensive linemen act defensively (in that they are trying to protect, or defend, the QB at all costs). Are we getting it?

Don't worry too much about their individual jobs but here's a little rundown just for fun. The guy in the very middle is the NOSE TACKLE and no, he does not tackle noses. He basically shoves against the center on the other side until someone does something more exciting down field. On either side of him are the DEFENSIVE TACKLES. Their job is to close the "gaps" in the line (see illustration) and make sure no one with the ball gets through. They are known as the "run stoppers." Now, we know that the running backs RUN with the ball, so basically, the tackles are there to stop them. Out on the ends of the line are the DEFENSIVE ENDS. Makes sense, right? Their main job is to attack the QB and put him flat on his face. They are the meanest paparazzi with an agenda. They want Tom to go down. The ends are known as the "pass rushers" meaning that they "rush" (run towards) the guy who passes (throws) the ball.

Now, I don't know about you, but I get really confused by the term "pass." If I ask you to please pass me the sweet potatoes, I don't chuck the stuff at your face from across the room. I hand it to you. In football, "pass" means to throw and "hand off" means to pass. It's all very confusing. I digress.

But that's basically the gist of the defensive line. They want to stop any and all progress towards them and would absolutely love to smash the QB into the ground. If someone does manage to get by them, they have the DEFENSIVE LINEBACKERS to deal with...which we will be covering next!
Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Week 12: What Happened?

Get ready for the Paparazzi...otherwise known as the Defensive Line! Until then, let's go over what happened during week 12...
Morning Games:
So I’m starting to sound like a broken record because Payton Manning and his Colts won again and remain undefeated. The Colts were down 20-7 going into the half, they came out and scored 28 points in the second half and held the Texans to only 7 points. Final score--Colts 35 Texans 27. Payton had a decent game but threw 2 early interceptions before he was able to get into a rhythm and start dissecting the Texans defense. Texans QB Matt Schaub also threw 2 interceptions, one of which was run back by the Colts Defense for a TD. The Colts have already secured a playoff spot but want to continue this undefeated streak. They will have a tough time this Sunday as they are playing the red hot Tennessee Titans. The Colts beat the Titans early this year but the Titans are playing much better football these days with QB Vince Young at the helm. The Texans are now 5-6 and need to win the next 5 games to have a chance at the playoffs.

What to say to a dude:
"For the colts to go undefeated, I think the hardest game to win is the one coming up on Sunday against the Titans. The Titans are a completely different team than the one the colts saw in week 5."
Afternoon Games:
It can be argued that there is no team hotter right now in the NFL than the Tennessee Titans. After losing 6 games in a row they have now won 5 in a row, this last victory against the Cardinals came at the last play of the game. Arizona led in the 4th quarter 17-13. Titans QB Vince Young orchestrated a 12 play 99 yard drive and won the game with a pass to rookie WR Kenny Britt in the back of the endzone as time expired. This game was an interesting matchup of QBs as Matt Leinart started for the Cardinals in place of injured QB Kurt Warner. This was the first meeting between QBs Vince Young and Matt Leinart since they played each other in January 2006 for the BCS Championship (college football championship) Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns beat Leinart and USC in what was one of the best College football games ever. Titans RB Chris Johnson had another big game with 154 yards and a TD. He is still leading the league in rushing yards and is still on pace to break 2000 yards rushing (remember only 5 people have ever done this). Johnson has now done something this season that only 2 other RBs have ever done, he has rushed for at least 125 yards in sixth straight games(the only other RBs to do that are Earl Campbell in 1980 and Erik Dickerson in 1984). We are really looking forward to the Titans next game against Indianapolis. Will Tennessee be the first team to beat the Colts this season?

What to say to a dude:
"Tennessee is the only team in history to start the season 0-6 and then win their next five games."
Sunday Night:
This was a hard fought game just as we predicted. We didn’t predict that Big Ben Roethlisburger would not be starting at QB for the Steelers. Instead the Steelers started second year QB Dennis Dixon who has not seen much action since College. Dixon played very well, throwing one TD and running for another. The one mistake he made was in overtime when he threw an interception which cost the Steelers the game. Both defenses played well in this game, it just came down to the single mistake that Dixon made. It was another good primetime game between division rivals that both needed a win. The Ravens and Steelers are now tied in the AFC North division at 6-5 and trying to catch up to the division leading Bengals who are at 8-3.

What to say to a dude:
"I'm looking forward to these two teams meeting again in week 16 (second to last game of the season) It could be the deciding factor in whether either of these teams make the playoffs."
Monday Night:
The Saints are the REAL DEAL! Everybody was questioning the Saints going into this game saying they aren’t as good as their record shows. The smashing of the Patriots proved that the Saints are most definitely as good as their record shows. The Saints stay undefeated and exploited every weakness of the New England defense. The Patriots started off looking good and led 7-3 after the first quarter. Then the Saints scored 21 points in the second quarter to the Patriots 3. The Patriots got the game to 24-17 but could not get any closer. The Saints ended up winning the game 38-17. Patriots QB Tom Brady did not throw a TD this game but threw 2 interceptions. On the other side QB Drew Brees threw for 300+ yards and 5 TDs….5 TDs to 5 different players! The Saints offense looked almost perfect. They confused the Patriots defense on more than one occasion and had two WR who had over 100 yards receiving. The Saints could be the front runners in the NFC but the Vikings are only a half a game behind them. The Patriots are still at the top of their division but they have a lot of question marks after this ugly primetime performance.

What to say to a dude:
"The Saints have the best chance of going undefeated this season as they only play two teams with winning records in last five games. The toughest will be against Dallas Cowboys on a Saturday night primetime game (12/19/09)"

Other news around the league:
--After being cut by the KC Chiefs for tweeting homophobic messages, Larry Johnson was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals and he rushed for over 100 yards last Sunday against the Cleveland Browns

--Brett Favre could be playing the best football of his career. He has 24 TDs and only 3 interceptions this season. In seasons past Favre has thrown 3 interceptions or more in just one game.

--SF TE Vernon Davis, said to be the fastest TE in the league, is tied for the league lead in TDs with 9. The other two players are elite WRs Reggie Wayne and Larry Fitzgerald.
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