Around the NFL for 11/21/09

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nfl

Miami 24 Carolina 17

The Fish won without Ronnie Brown who is out for the year. Ricky Williams played both parts in leading the team to a critical win against the Panthers scoring 3 TDs. CR QB Delhomme was back to his normal production completing less than 50% of his passes and throwing as many TDs as picks.

Fish QB Henne did just enough to keep the ball moving to get the win.

Indy @ Baltimore

The Colts are playing well but Raven QB Flacco is more than capable of taking advantage of the injuries in the D backfield of the Colts. The Colts D has never been great at stopping the run and may end up struggling IF the Ravens can get their ground game going again. That depends on the health of both RBs Rice and McGahee. I would not be surprised if Baltimore will pull off the upset.

Atlanta @ NY Giants

Both of these teams need a win to stay in the NFC wild card race. The Falcons are in the worst shape being 4+ games behind the undefeated Saints. They have no chance to win the division and must win conference games to stay in the WC race. Right now they are tied with the Packers for the second WC spot. Both of their RBs are hurt but key reserve Norwood should be able to go. He and Snelling will share the running duties.

The Giants have injury problems of their own. QB Manning and RB Bradshaw both are hurting but will play. Manning has not been as effective since the injury to his foot. RB Jacobs seems to be a step slower than he was last year. There is no report of an injury but he is averaging only 4.1 per attempt which is much lower than his career average.

Manning’s problems have been as much the injury as his young inexperienced WRs. There have been a lot of drops which are drive killers. The O line has also failed to protect him and drive defenders to make room for the running game. As a unit they played much better last year.

The Giants D is still playing at a high level and they should win at home.

San Diego @ Denver

At one time Denver had a 3 game lead over the Chargers but after losing the last 3 games, they are now tied in the loss column. The Chargers need to beat the Broncos to clime out of 6th place in the second WC spot and into the division lead. They play KC and Cleveland in the next two games which should be 2 wins. The Chargers need to get their running game going because they need O balance. QB Rivers has done a lot with very little help. The D needs to put pressure on the Denver QB.

Denver isn’t sure if QB Orton will be able to play because of an ankle injury. If not, they will certainly lose with QB Simms at the helm.

This should be one of the best games of the week and I see the Chargers winning regardless of the Bronco QB.

NY Jets @ New England

Spygate II is always fun to watch. The Jets have fallen and they can’t get up. Pats win easily.

Philly @ Chicago

The Eagles need the win to stay in the 1st WC spot in the NFC. They were in the lead in the division until they lost to the Cowboys and the Chargers in the last two weeks. QB McNabb has fallen into bad habits as the O line has failed to protect him. He has also lost RB Westbrook for at least several weeks. That makes the Eagle O totally one dimensional.

The Bears have fallen out of the playoff picture for now. QB Cutler has been frustrated by the lack of playmakers he has to throw to. The running game with RB McCoy has struggled. The D has played well but can’t overcome the shut down of the D.

Even a loss to the Lions will not get Mangini fired.

There is a lot of chatter but Owner Lerner doesn’t have the stones to fire Mangini. He will let whoever he hires to oversee the team do it. The Lions win.

Nothing will come of the Cable ruckus.

Raider coach Cable will not be suspended for either his history of possible wife abuse nor the confrontation with Hansen.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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Tuesday Morning QB for 9/29/09

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football

College football

As I said last week, Mississippi was rated based on a 1 point win over Florida in 08. A lot of the ranking is based on the projection of QB Jevan Snead being a top player. So far he has been much less than advertised. He has great arm strength but that does not make a great QB. It really helps if you have some idea of where the pass is going. A completion rate under 50% is not good enough. He lacks decision making skills to be a top draft choice in 2010. We will see how he develops.

The Alabama defense is better than advertised. We saw the Arkansas offense run wild on Georgia but it was totally controlled by the Bama D line. Alabama is the team to beat in the SEC West. Given the struggles of the Florida O, the SEC Championship game should be better than last year.

Penn State’s loss to Iowa was not surprising. PS has been over rated along with most of the Big 10 for several years. But their loss hurt Ohio State badly. OSU’s chance to get back into the top 2 or 3 in the rankings depended on PS going undefeated then beating them in Not so Happy Valley. Now that PS has a loss and has dropped to 13 or 15 depending on the poll, OSU will not get much bump from beating PS. The only chance the Bucks have to get to the top 5 is to win out and hope a few top teams lose.

Cal was over rated as well. They should have been able to win at Oregon but got squashed by the Ducks. Cal will not challenge USC as many thought or hoped they would. Oregon’s wins over #6 Cal and #18 Utah makes the win by Boise State look a lot better.

Miami had worked itself up to 9th with wins over #18 Florida St. and #14 Georgia Tech. They were in a position to get a lock on the Coastal division with a win over Virginia Tech. They not only lost but were blown out 31-7. VTk is a team that will blow an opponent out when it gets a hot start but get crushed if they get off to a slow one.

#14 Cincinnati and #15 TCU both struggled to win over unranked but talented teams. Cincy is good despite losing a lot of defensive talent. TCU looked good in a 30-14 win over Virginia but was just able to beat a below average Clemson team. TCU has a rough road ahead including Air Force, BYU, and Utah. Cincy should get to the Big East championship game.

South Florida lost star QB Grothe but freshman QB Daniels played really well in the win over #18 Florida St. FSU continues to consistently inconsistent.

Georgia Tech regained some credibility with a win over #22 North Carolina. GT is another team that has to get ahead early to win. When they get the blocking to get their speed runners outside, they can score in bunches. But to win consistently, QB Josh Nesbitt is going to have to prove he can pass to keep the D from stacking up against the run.

#23 Michigan had to score 15 in the 4th quarter to beat a bad Indiana team. #24 Washington got its 15 minutes of fame from the upset of USC and lost to Stanford. The let down from a single big effort was just too much to overcome. Washington is not nearly as good as they looked against USC but not as bad as they looked last week on the road. It is a very young team that will get better this year and be tough next.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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What did we learn from weekend 2 in football?

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football

In the Pros

Carolina and Delhomme are both very over rated. “DelInt” threw 4 picks against the Eagles. All the experts picked the Panthers to win but as I predicted here on Friday, the Panthers are paper tigers. The Eagles went to Panther land and kicked butt. The Eagles are now in trouble due to an injury to McNabb. He was hit by 2 players in the endzone AFTER he was down. I will have more to say about that tomorrow.

A couple of other teams showed they may be road warriors. The Jets upset the Texans on the road. It was a nice win led by rookie Sanchez passes. He was 18-31 272 yards 1 TD and 1 pick. Nice start for the rook.

The Jaguars look better than anyone thought. They went into Indy and should have won the game. They ended up losing 14-12. Clearly there is something wrong with the Colts and it has nothing to do with the D not having S Bob Sanders.

The 49ers were road warriors going into Arizona and getting the win. The win was led by the D. Arizona is going to have to improve on the O line to win consistently.

The Bronco D played better than expected at Cincinnati. They held Benson to 76 yard rushing and Palmer without a TD. They also got 2 picks. The Bengal receivers had caught the Dropsy Flew on Friday and had not recovered. The Bengal O line is one thing holding them back.

The Chiefs played the Ravens tough. The Chief D scored 1 TD and set up the second.

I told you so.

As predicted, the Bears went to GB and gave the Packers all they wanted and more. A single bone head play beat the Bears.

It took the Vikes the first series in the second half to finish the Browns. Quinn started and didn’t look too bad. The Browns O line is horrible particularly the right side. Several penalties on St. Clair and others slowed the O. They cannot win if they kick field goals inside the 10. Farve did just enough let the Vikes sneak by the Browns 34-20. The lack of ball control by the O let a great effort by the Browns D go to waste.

The Redskins came close to beating the Giants. The lack of catches will make Manning’s life miserable this year. The WRs will cause more picks than he will. Now the Giant problems at WR got worse with the ankle injury to Nicks. Initial reports say he will be out 2 to 4 weeks.

The Dolphins played pretty well but the Falcons are really good. A tougher schedule and not being able to sneak up on teams will result in a worse record for the fish. Pennington is going to have to stop throwing picks.

Drew Brees threw 6 TDs in the opener for the Saints. Of course it was against the Lions. Matt Stafford had a tough day but helped the Lions to 27 points. That was 3 weeks of scoring for last year’s team.

Bonehead play of the day

Leading by 2 points in the second half, the long snapper Patrick Mannelly did a direct snap to the up man to fake a punt and go for the first down. That might not have been a bad move if the Bears had been deep in the Packer end of the field. But the Bears were inside their own 35 and it was 4th and 11. The Pack took over and kicked a field goal to take the lead and never looked back. A lesser coach would throw the 12 year vet under the team bus but Smith probably will not.

The Paul Brown “I’d rather be lucky than good” award

The Broncos used a tip drill on the Bengals by throwing the longest pass play in the final minute of the game in NFL history. With the ball on the 13, the pass was tipped by a Bengal and it was caught by Brandon Stokley who ran it in for a TD.

College Football

#3 USC is still USC and #8 Ohio State is the same as well. The OSU D played very well until the game was on the line then folded and let USC march the ball down for the winning TD.

#5 Oklahoma State was too busy reading their clippings from a nice road win to prepare for their game Saturday. They are not the real deal. Houston passed the OSU D into the ground.

#16 TCU had a nice win at Virginia. # 7 Penn State held Syracuse scoreless until the 2nd string was in for the 4th quarter.

#18 Notre Dame will probably move up two spots after a close loss to Michigan. The Michigan D has come around faster than I though. ND is as usual over rated.

Three different radio hosts picked #19 North Carolina as a sure thing to cover the spread against UConn. I went the other way and picked UConn to win. They came close and only a holding penalty in their own endzone prevented OT and gave the game via safety to NC.

Best analysis of the weekend

Deion Sanders on the NFL channel had the best piece of analysis when he said that the Panthers are in danger of losing their locker room due to the management granting Delhomme a new deal with 20 mil guaranteed right after he intercepted them out of the playoffs and despite the fact his current deal wasn’t up. They snubbed DL Julius Peppers who deserved the deal to give it to DelInt. Sanders is exactly right and it was a comment that only an ex-player would know to make.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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