On Thursday, just before he was selected as the number 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans, Wilson Sporting Goods announced that it had signed University of South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney to be the new face of Wilson Football.
Clowney joins Tom Brady on Wilson’s football advisory board,
WR DeAndre Hopkins out of Clemson is now a Houston Texan after being selected 27th in the 2013 Draft.
This is what most people have demanded and expected for the Texans. Another receiver to help distract and keep defenses honest for big WR Andre Johnson. If you’re a fantasy football player, watch Johnson do well yet again this year, barring any injuries. Good on Houston.
The NFL playoffs always come down to quarterback matchups. Let’s look at these guys head-to-head. Let’s look at Tom Brady vs. Matt Schaub, AKA, New England vs. Houston.
- Brady: Waterslides
- Schaub: Male pattern baldness
- Advantage: Brady
- Brady: Three Super Bowl rings
- Schaub: Missed last year’s playoffs with a case of ringworm
- Advantage: Brady
Historic antecedent to his team:
- Brady: Irish guys tossing around a pig bladder and punching each other.
- Schaub: Houston Oilers
- Advantage: Schaub
- Brady: Married to supermodel Gisele
- Schaub: Deathly allergic to Brazil nuts
- Advantage: Brady
- Brady: Never plays because he’s in the Super Bowl
- Schaub: Won MVP in 2009
- Advantage: Brady
Post-NFL career plans:
- Brady: Congressman
- Schaub: Founder of his own discount brokerage, Charles Schaub.
- Advantage: Brady
Tom Brady takes it 5-1, while Matt Schaub pulls a hamstring just participating in this matchup.
Texans at Patriots: Champions Of The Past
In the last seven seasons:
Detroit Red Wings: lost in quarter-finals, lost in Conference Finals, won Stanley Cup, lost Stanley Cup Finals, lost Conference semi-finals, lost Conference semi-finals, lost in quarter-finals.
San Antonio Spurs: lost in semi-finals, won NBA Finals, lost in Western Conference finals, lost in first round, lost in semi-finals, lost in first round, lost in Western Conference Finals
New York Yankees: lost in ALDS, lost in ALDS, missed playoffs, won World Series, lost in ALCS, lost in ALDS, lost in ALCS
New England Patriots: lost in divisional round, lost in Conference championship round, lost in Super Bowl, lost in Wild Card round, lost in divisional round, lost in Super Bowl
In a sample of 28 seasons across the four teams which you would consider to be most consistent over the past decade or less, the teams have combined to win just three championships. None for New England.
We can talk helmet catch, or the Manningham encore that prevented two more Super Bowls for Brady and Belichick, but what about a wild card round loss to the Ravens where the game was essentially over after one quarter, or the more inexplicable loss to the Jets in the season after that?
At some point, we cross a threshold with these teams where it’s hard to manage between reputation and actual results. The Patriots are great every year — they’ve almost unbeatable in the second half of the season. Their defense isn’t exactly a brick wall, but the offense can turn it on almost at will, as we saw against Buffalo and San Francisco this year.
Brady is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league but even being half a step slower — with a lesser defense than the championship years — means the margin of error between a playoff exit and a Super Bowl has gotten much thinner.
We don’t expect the Texans to put up much of a challenge, as they were unimpressive in victory last week, doing as little as you could in winning to convince anyone that they were once 11-1. Also, we’ve already seen the Patriots methodically tear down this Houston team just several weeks ago, and that was without the injured Rob Gronkowski.
The talent should win out this week, but assuming that the Patriots are the best team in the AFC or in the league might be too simple of a conclusion and one that merits less and less support as the years between championships go by.
It just might not matter this week.
Patriots win 21-16.
What does everybody think?
Winners and Losers: Wild Card Round edition
So, that wasn’t the most memorable weekend of football, was it? Still, we’ve got several interesting match-ups set up for next week, and who will ever forget Ray Lewis’s final pre-game dance in Baltimore?
Onto the winners and losers of the wild card round:
The Green Bay Packers as contenders: The defense figured out a way to bottle up Adrian Peterson in their third game against the superhuman running back in the last six week and Aaron Rodgers was efficient in spreading the ball around (completions to 10 different receivers). Experience counts in the playoffs, and even though it was against an inferior opponent, the Packers reminded everyone why even with an uneven regular season, they’re still going to be a tough out in these playoffs. I can’t wait for Green Bay-San Francisco next week.
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady: Anything can happen in the playoffs, but I imagine the two quarterbacks were texting each other throughout the weekend marveling at the level of competition that the AFC teams displayed. We’re still on track for an AFC Championship Game showdown between these two in Denver.
Arian Foster: Most rushing yards by a running back in his first three career playoff games in NFL history. By the way: undrafted.
Christian Ponder: Nothing like a bad performance from your back-up QB to enhance your own value by default. Although I think the Vikings would be wise to explore the free agent and trade market for a quarterback this off-season.
Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks in general: The numbers weren’t spectacular for Wilson, and there was no 50 point performance from the offense this time around. But down 14-0 on the road in the first quarter, all the questions came back: were these Seahawks just a great team at home? Is this team capable of playing from behind? Wilson answered that with two key drives in the first half to get the game back to a manageable 14-10 deficit. Also, even though he had a key fumble, Lynch was spectacular on the day (137 yards, and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter). The Seahawks defense also tightened up after the early deficit. That was an impressive win, by Seattle. They struggled early in a hostile environment, made mistakes throughout, and still walked out with a double digit win. It’s the type of win that will have people debating all week long whether they might just be able to go into Atlanta and give themselves a great chance at the upset.
Ray Lewis: A great final home game send-off for the future Hall-Of-Famer. Oh, and he got a shoutout from Kobe Bryant’s brand new Twitter account.
The Cincinnati Bengals franchise playoff drought: Saddest stat I read all week was that the Bengals had not won a playoff game since 1990, and since that time, every team in the league has won a post-season game (Browns? Yes. Jaguars? Yes, shouts to Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell. And the list goes on). Marvin Lewis is now winless in four playoff games and, Andy Dalton, what exactly is his ceiling? Joe Flacco? Matt Schaub? I suppose that’s not entirely bad, since both those guys are still playing next week.
Joe Webb: If you follow the Vikings, or just football in general, you’ve heard whispers about Joe Webb and his freakish athletic ability, pretty best summed up by this video of him jumping over 7 dummies at the NFL combine. But on Sunday, pressed into action, he showed that there’s still a lot to go for him to be a competent quarterback.
The end of great regular season narratives: Time to tuck away #CHUCKSTRONG, and wonderful seasons from Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Adrian Peterson. But they’ll be remembered.
Football fans with Jets fatigue: Just when we thoughts Jets drama was behind us for at least a few weeks, we had to read all about Rex Ryan’s curious tattoo this week. The Jets aren’t just insufferable, they’re inescapable.
The Redskins: So, Washington fans, this is precisely why the Nationals took so much precaution with Stephen Strasburg by leaving him off the post-season roster, right? It was painful seeing Robert Griffin III out there on one leg, I mean, your knee isn’t suppose to bend this way, is it? With much chatter about whether Dr. James Andrews actually allowed Griffin to return to a game in December when he suffered his initial knee injury, coach Shanahan went ahead and risked further damage to his franchise, the investment that made the Redskins a topic of conversation again in football this year. We’re crossing sports for comparisons, but this reminds me of when the Blazers allowed Brandon Roy to return, and while that alone might not have cause the injuries that eventually forced him to retire (he’s since returned, but is on the injured list again), it does show what the long-term repercussions are when you don’t safeguard your best assets. Let’s just hope that we’ll see the same RG3 again next year. Also, Dan Snyder, let’s improve the field conditions just a little bit can we?
Who were your winners and losers?
Bengals at Texans: Momentum and other things
The regular season in football is a tricky exercise in momentum. Here stand the Houston Texans. They’re 12-4. They’re division winners. And yet, they feel like the biggest losers coming into the tournament.
On the other side, the Bengals have temporarily (the permanency comes if they can keep outperforming our expectations next season) displaced the order of things in the AFC North. Their Week 16 matchup at Pittsburgh was a pseudo play-in game. If the Bengals won, they were in. Many would have expected the more experienced Steelers to make another late season run, and become the team that no one wanted to play in the post-season.
Instead, the Bengals inched past their division rival by a field goal, and became the team no one really thought would actually end up in the post-season.
And here they are, two consecutive playoff appearances for this franchise, which is no small feat. Miss you, Carson Palmer. Or maybe not.
Andy Dalton is not exciting, but he does enough. The defense is not glamorous, but they do have one of the strongest past rushes in the league. A.J. Green, maybe already the best wideout in football. This is a rematch of last year’s wild card match-up, the Bengals remain a house money team in the playoffs, they are a work in progress for which playoff experience will only help for their core group.
As for the Texans. They’re learning how tough expectations can be in the NFL. A year ago, they finally made the playoffs for the first time since the franchise returned to Houston. They were so banged up that T.J. Yates was their starting quarterback. They were also house money. It was a season worth celebrating.
This season, they seemed to have made the leap. But a late season swoon and unimpressive showings against Green Bay and New England during the regular season have left much to be desired from this team.
I suppose much of what you expect from this game depends on just how much you believe in momentum, and all those other fancy narratives.
I still think the Texans are the better team, and they rebound on Sunday.
What does everybody else think?
This is great. Houston Texan Andre Johnson’s receipts for $19K he spent on Xmas gifts for kids in Child Protective Services.
That is the best receipt ever.
Move over, Leon Lett! You’re off the hook, Phil Luckett! Because the biggest bonehead Thanksgiving move now belongs to Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz, who threw a challenge flag on a controversial Houston touchdown. Only he forgot that all scoring plays are automatically reviewed, so his challenge was illegal, and the Lions were penalized 15 yards. Oh, and the play was ineligible for review, so the touchdown stood.
Schwartz will now be best known for this game and last year’s handshake dust-up with Jim Harbaugh. That confrontation happened after a Detroit touchdown where Harbaugh threw the red flag, and was also penalized. Schwartz laughed and yelled, "Know the rules!", then Harbaugh “accidentally” slapped Schwartz hard on the back after the game. Jim Schwartz forgot the rules at the worst possible time, and Detroit has lost their tenth straight Thanksgiving game.
timeline of Arian Foster activities this year
- goes vegan
- trolls press
- averaging 118 offensive yards per game (for you non-football heads, that’s a lot)
- also has at least one touchdown in every game so far. also also bows and says “namaste” after scoring touchdowns
very strong tweeting ability as exemplified above
- recently spotted on cover of espn magazine with a unicorn
- dude loves kale
- meets up and sends gifts to random fans he meets on twitter
- recently spotted on cover of espn magazine with a gotdamn unicorn
I might have to start liking football.
at first i did not believe…
"Trust me when I say that I’ll be back better than ever next year; but in the meantime, I want to thank my teammates, coaches, and you fans for all the amazing love and support.
Oh, and WE are STILL winning THIS year’s Super Bowl.”
Winners and Losers - Week 2 Sunday edition
I heard it was a beautiful day outside today. I wouldn’t know, was busy watching football all day. I always thought Week 2 was one of the easiest weeks to gamble on games, so I’m really glad I didn’t test that theory by taking Oakland and Baltimore on a parlay.
More referee controversy, and coaching controversy, and kicking controversy, and player controversy, just all kinds of controversy.
Let’s take a look at some teams who are now 2-0, and those that are in the vaunted 0-2 hole, amongst other things.
The Giants - After scouring my deep vocabulary of words, I’ve settled on calling Tom Couglin’s team: predictably unpredictable. Not sure if anyone was surprised that the Giants fell behind early against Tampa Bay this afternoon, nor was anyone surprised that they came out with a victory. This is so Eli Manning: he throws for 510 yards and 3 touchdowns (shouts to his two dynamic receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, who combined for 21 catchs, 378 yards and 2 touchdowns) but also threw 3 interceptions and ended with a QB rating of just 89.5. There’s just something about the other Manning that lacks appeal, even with two Super Bowl rings to his name. But that’s the nature of the whole Giants team. They’re so underwhelming for stretches, but always find a way to be there when it counts. At one point, it was possible that they would fall to 0-2 and be two games back of every team in their division. But here they are, tied with the Cowboys and Redskins and just a game back of the Eagles after week two. It could’ve been dire for the Giants had they lost, it’s always on the verge of being dire for these Giants, but they always find a way.
2-0 teams (Philadelphia, Arizona, Houston, San Diego, San Francisco) - It really doesn’t matter how you get your wins in this league, stop me before I quote Al Davis. The most surprising of this group are the Cardinals, but full points for their win in New England. Ryan Williams, don’t forget to send Stephen Gostkowski a Christmas card, or something. Just make sure it’s not bounty related. The ugliest of this bunch are the Eagles. Fun fact alert: they’re the first team ever to win their first two games of the season by a single point. Lots of turnovers, lots of mistakes, Desean Jackson and company threatening to lose their cool. Actually they did, punches were thrown but the refs forgot to keep the game in control. As for Houston and San Diego, the jury is still out based on the level of competition. San Francisco? Most complete team after week one, same after two weeks.
Antonio Garay - With a tribute to Junior Seau.
Reggie Bush - Do we need to reconsider the Mario Williams-Reggie Bush debate again before it’s all set and done? Remember all the talk of how Bush couldn’t be a feature back in this league? Not so sure if that’s still the case.
The refs, again - Hey, did you hear about the one about how the league had to pull a side judge from the Saints game today because he was a huge New Orleans fan? As in, there are photos of himself tailgating in Saints gear in the pre-season?
Andrew Luck - Win number one. Not as dramatic as Robert Griffin III’s in week one, but they all count just the same. Also, respect to Adam Vinatieri for still doing his thing at age 39. It’s good to have a reliable kicker in your back pocket for those late game drives. Sometimes it takes more then Luck. I can’t believe I just wrote that.
Greg Schiano - So on the last play of the game, the Buccaneers coach decided it was a good idea to have his team come after Eli Manning on a standard kneel down play, which earned a tongue lashing from Tom Coughlin in their post-game handshake. I’m all for the culture change and attitude that Schiano is bringing to Tampa Bay, but this is not the way you do things in the pros, or at any level of competition for that matter. His excuse that this is about sending a message to his team and the rest of the league that his guys will never stop trying until the game is officially over is just that: a poor excuse. You can preach and practice those values in many other ways, ones that don’t involved the possibility of unnecessary injury. Or embarrass your team in the process. Too late on that last one.
0-2 teams (New Orleans, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Kansas City, Oakland) - Most surprising of course are the Saints. Easiest thing is to say that the team misses Sean Payton. But I think it’s a simple fact that the defense has been terrible, which was masked by the record breaking offense last year, and the offense has not been sharp. Some of that has to fall on Drew Brees, who missed some time in preparing for the season due to his contract dispute. For Cleveland, Jacksonville, Tennessee and Kansas City: they are who we thought they were. Although I think Cleveland can be a competitive team coming down the stretch. As for Oakland? They remain as frustrating as ever.
A lot of survivor pools - Or as CBS Sports’ Will Brinson said: “And on the second week of the season, Belichick proclaimed there would be no more survivor leagues.”
Tim Tebow - 33 yards of total offense through two games. Strangest thing is, there will be some calls for him to start next week.
Wes Welker - Became the Patriots’ all-time franchise leader in receptions, on a day that he didn’t make the starting lineup. I think that contract dispute upset a few people in New England, the wrong people. I mean the wrong person. When Bill Belichick thinks you’re putting yourself above the team, he’ll go out of his way to put you in your place. Which makes me wonder whether we’re headed for a break-up between Gronkowski and the Pats, not this year, not next, but at some point.
Chris Johnson - He’s averaging 3.1 feet per carry this year.
The Cowboys - Same as what I wrote about the Giants above, except that the Cowboys always make things more dire than they need to be. Or maybe the simple truth is this: whether it’s the quarterback, the coaching or something else, this team just does not have the makeup of an elite team, and never will.