September 9, 2008

Injury pile ups

by Dan Bilicki In: Fantasy, Football, Picks

This might’ve been the most injury-filled NFL week I can remember. Never have so many key guys headed to the sidelines in pain. And, of course, it’s only magnified by seeing the league’s reigning MVP being lost for the season in the first quarter of the first game of the season. So, how about a roundup?

— First things first, if you couldn’t tell that Tom Brady’s knee was ripped to shreds after seeing it bend sideways like that, well you don’t know even the simplest things about human anatomy. Anyway, with Brady out for the season, the Patriots are doomed (more about that below) and, even though he’s on my Coney Island Whitefish fantasy team, I couldn’t be happier. If this wasn’t karma catching up to the Pats, I don’t know what would be.

— Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse for Seattle’s wide receiver core, the one guy who was healthy is now out for the rest of the season. Pretty soon the Seahawks are going to have to start calling up people from the CFL to start catching for them.

Marion Barber’s going to be just fine for Dallas. Even if he couldn’t go, the Cowboys might not have even lost a step with Felix Jones in the game. The rookie out of Arkansas did everything right, helping make Cowboy fans remember why they let Julius Jones — quite over-rated now that you think about it — away to Seattle’s crowded backfield.

— The Jaguars running game looked below average against the Titans and this is supposed to be one of the best backfield tandems around. Then, losing two starting offensive linemen (one for the season, the other for at least two months) one top of already missing Jason Collier is going to severely hurt this team’s chances of winning. They need to start to rethink some schemes and maybe go out and sign some bodies soon.

— As much as Tennesse fans will boo Vince Young and criticize his heart, he gives them the chance to win the Kerry Collins doesn’t. It’ll be a rough few weeks if his MRI comes back with something on it.

— Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse for Chiefs fans, they lose quarterback Brody Croyle.

— Ironically, the one guy that everyone expected to get injured, was fine. Shawne Merriman survived week one to play another day. All it took was a knee brace and he was able to play as.

So, who is THE team in the AFC now that the Patriots are doomed with Matt Cassel? Can you really pick the Colts, who looked awful against the Bears? How about the Jaguars, everyone’s darling that lost to rival Tennessee? What about the Titans? Although I wouldn’t be trusting them with Vince Young sidelined. The Chargers only real weakness was the Patriots in the playoffs, but they lost a close one to a Steve Smith-less Carolina. Who does that leave? I’ll say it right now…

The Pittsburgh Steelers will win the AFC.

Everyone pointed out going into the season that the Steelers’ principle concern would be their offensive line and their ability to keep Big Ben upright and be able to make holes for their runners. They went out and proved they were more than capable and did it against a team that people are touting as a playoff contender as well as being based around a brilliant, young defensive line. If that doesn’t prove the Steelers are for real, I don’t know what is. Throw in that this team knows how to win and are led by a QB that’s won it all already, well they can be scary.

What are some of my other quick thoughts on the Monday night doubleheader you ask? Tarvaris Jackson proved last night why the Vikings can’t be considered contenders … Aaron Rodgers isn’t accurate enough with his deep ball to really have teams scared. If he figures that out, Green Bay gets — maybe — Super Bowl scary … Many people hate it, but I love the aesthetic look of the baseball field dirt. I don’t like the potential it has to hurt players and mess up the game though and think it should be done away with … I like the stats at the bottom of the Monday Night Football display. It looks much better than last year’s huge oval dealie and it’s not blocking the view of the game like Fox’s display often does … The Raiders played exactly like they are: a young team too many mistakes all over the place but I do like the potential of their ground game … I have no idea how I forgot that the Broncos always own the Raiders. Picking Oakland is looking pretty inexcusable now … You may already know this, but ending a game past 1 a.m. EDT is not good for anyone. At least it was a blowout and people who tuned out didn’t miss much.

As for my picks this week… 8-7, which is pretty much where I expected to be (sadly).

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