Tag Archives: Chicago Bears

What We Learned From Week Five of the 2013 NFL Season

by J-Dub and Meehan

Yet another week has passed in the sportsgasm that is the NFL season, and that means it is time for us to tell you some things you need to know without the self-serving spin those assbags at ESPN will never give you. We know this because if you think you can get real football information from guys like Ron Jaworski and Chris Berman, you probably also don’t know that testing NFL players for human  growth hormone is a waste of time because they’ve already got a substance made in a lab somewhere in Eastern Europe that will turn punters into Rambo, it’s made from aborted Guatemalan fetuses, and there’s no test for it.

1) The Cleveland Browns May Have Been The Inspiration For The Movie “Major League.”

lou brown major league


Remember the scene in that movie when the manager calls the team together and tells them the owner is trying to tank the season? Remember the moment when Jake Taylor says “there’s only one thing left to do…win the whole fucking thing.” We really get that vibe off the Browns. Picture them sitting in the locker room reading a local paper which has them dead and buried, when Brian Hoyer stands up and does his best Jake Taylor impression. They’ve ripped off three straight wins since that trade.

This is what we think happened. At some point, Trent Richardson just started acting like too much of a bitch, demanded a trade, and then every media outlet in the country claimed that the Browns had sold their season. We mentioned that as well, but we said it in the sense that flushing the toilet is a GOOD thing. Well, just look at what is going on in Cleveland.

Those very same guys in that very same locker who got pissed at Trent Richardson were unified by the fact that everyone thought they were a bunch of nobodies and have done nothing since but to take that fact, wrap it barbed wire, and shove it up the collective ass of all those who had them dead and buried. If you doubt that, then ask yourself if it is a coincidence that the Browns have won every game since that the Richardson trade. While asking that, remind yourself that winning streak includes a brute-force win over a Bengals team that made the playoffs last year and who just took down the Patriots.

If you still don’t want to buy this, consider the fact Brian Hoyer (who has clearly seemed to be the leader in this resurgence) got injured at the beginning of this game and Brandon Wheeden stepped right in like he’d been getting first team reps all week. Face it, we’ve been telling you for week the Browns aren’t as bad as people think, and a big reason for that is they have a chip on their shoulder, an axe to grind, something to prove, or whatever other bullshit hack cliché you want. This team is going to be a real test for whoever lines up against them for the erst of this season.

Too bad that just like in Major League, this all ends after this season. Like we said in our Week 3 piece, the Browns are auditioning guys for draft day trades, because this team is obviously going to rebuild using the draft.

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Why The Chicago Bears Need To Fire Lovie Smith Now, and Why They Won’t

Lovie Smith: Giving Bears' fans heart attacks for nearly a decade.

Lovie Smith: Giving Bears’ fans heart attacks for nearly a decade.

Remember two months ago when the buzz was that the Chicago Bears were a Super Bowl caliber team?

Yeah, about that…

Another football season in Chicago starts out with high hopes, and yet another football season in Chicago looks to end with the Bears barely making the playoffs (and most likely only to see an early exit), or worse yet another Chicago January sees the Bears watching the play-offs from their living rooms.

This easily could be seen as a damning indictment of head coach Lovie Smith, and in many ways it is exactly that.  I’m not a Bears fan, but that doesn’t change the fact that I believe strongly it is time for Lovie Smith to be fired.  To be honest, because there’s more than football at stake here.  I’ll come back to that later.

To understand why, we first must look at the football options faced by general manager Phil Emery.  If there’s a guy in Chicago who should be getting called out, it’ s Lovie Smith.  He’s done the least with the most talent of any coach in this league not named Norv Turner, and yet his job never seems to be in danger.   From an “on the field” perspective, one can make an argument that a coach who didn’t have his head up his ass could have surely won one and possibly two Super Bowls with the Bears during the Lovie regime, but nobody ever seems to mention that…The Bears would have certainly won the Super Bowl against the Colts if Lovie Smith had pulled Rex Grossman off the field.  The Bears lost that game because Rex “Fuck It, I’m Goin’ Deep” couldn’t stop chucking picks; go look at Kyle Orton’s career touchdown-to-interception ratio. Even if Orton was a rookie at that time, there was no reason to stick with Rex after the third INT.

That’s just the first reason why Lovie Smith is the worst head coach in the NFL not named Norv Turner.  How bad is Lovie? Let me count the ways:

  • The aforementioned six words: Rex Grossman in the Super Bowl
  • Smith ran Ron Rivera (a great defensive coordinator) out of town
  • Smith brought Mike Martz (megalomanical offensive coordinator) to town

What makes Lovie so terrible as a head coach? After all, he was a respectable defensive coach, so what’s the difference? As a head coach, Lovie defines inflexible.  He took a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback in Jay Cutler and stuck him behind an offensive line that allows him to be a skull-fuck target for every third-string linebacker in the league.  He tooled an entire offense around the discredited bullshit spewing from Mike Martz. Worse yet, Smith has a management style like all the great dictators; he rules with the classic “iron fist” and gets rid of anybody who doesn’t like it.

That’s not Chicago, that’s North Korea.

But, just like North Korea, the people he gets rid of have talent, but when they don’t kiss Lovie’s ass, out they go.  If you doubt that, let’s play a game, shall we? Go back through the last few years of the Smith junta in Chicago and assign games to one of the following categories of what I like to call “Usual Lovie Smith Outcomes.”

  • Loss caused by another crucial turnover
  • Loss caused by quarterback being turned into a potted plant
  • Smith’s inability to manage the clock (raise your hand if you remember Smith on more than one occasion losing a challenge after calling a timeout, thereby burning two time-outs on one play)
  • Sticking with an inept game plan when it was clearly a guaranteed loser
  • Offense completely stagnates for any number of reasons
  • Offensive line play doomed any hope of victory

This bring us squarely to the part that for the life of me, I can’t understand.  It’s like Lovie Smith is Stupid Superman in Stupid World, but for some reason Stupid Kryptonite doesn’t kill Stupid Superman.  What the hell else does a guy have to do to get fired (feel free to insert another Norv Turner reference here)? Let’s go back to that Super Bowl loss against the Colts.  He should have been fired for letting his hatred of Kyle Orton keep him from getting a Super Bowl ring.  But that’s not even the biggest reason he should have been pounding the pavement the following Monday.  Thanks to Lovie Smith, Tony Dungy was legitimatized with a Super Bowl win, and now all of us are subjected to his bible-thumping, self-righteous assholery.

lovie smith newspaper idiot

After all that, let’s come back to the part I do understand all too well.  Even after years of such questionable judgement on Smith’s part, as it stands right now, general manager Phil Emery is faced with an all-or-nothing bet.  If he fires Smith, he has to eat the remaining year on his contract, not to mention doing the same for the deals on any departing assistants coaches.  Since Smith has a year left on his contract, he more than likely has to offer him a contract extension, most likely for two years beyond 2013.  There’s a couple of reasons why Emery would be compelled to do so.

First, NFL teams are very averse to having a “lame-duck” coach; the belief is that sort of uncertainty about a coach’s future interferes with hiring assistant coaches who would be skiddish about joining an unstable situation.

The classic case-in-point is the entire Mike Martz fiasco.  In 2010, just before Smith contract was extended, the Bears could not hire any less-desperate offensive coaches than Martz, and make no mistake, Martz was desparate to get another NFL job, namely because Martz is an asshole who was discredited years ago

Normally, when you hire somebody, you talk to their former employer.  When the Bears were looking for an offensive coordinator,  Charlie Armery heard about the Bears’ interest, and since he was Martz’s former boss in St. Louis, Armery was quick to disspell the notion that Jay Cutler may benefit from the “offensive master mind” that is Mike Martz.

“He’s a terrible…coach, and he would ruin that kid like he ruined Kurt Warner and drove him out of St. Louis. He’s the worst thing that could happen to any young quarterback,” Armery said.  He later went on to say that it would be an “absolute mistake” for Bears coach Lovie Smith to hire him.

Of course, this  guaranteed the Bears hiring Martz.  You really had to wonder about this move not only for that reason, but for the fact that Lovie Smith thinks his team “gets off the bus running,” and Martz has a reputation for being a coach who loves to fill the skies with footballs.  The blatant truth is that since his early success in St. Louis, Martz can only get hired to second-or-worse rate jobs (San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago), because in the years since working for the Rams, Martz has had exactly zero success, largely because he is an inflexible “smartest guy in the room” type asshole…just like Lovie Smith.

If the Armery’s words weren’t enough of a warning sign, Martz managed to incite a player revolt in Detroit when he refused to entertain changing his unbalanced, pass-happy, and largely unsuccessful approach.  That got him fired.

He managed to fall out of favor with 49ers management, including then-head coach Mike Singletary, because he refused even to entertain changing his unbalanced, pass-happy, and largely unsuccessful approach. That got him fired.

Not to mention, on more than one occasion he nearly got his quarterback killed in Chicago because of his refusal even to entertain changing his unbalanced, pass-happy, and largely unsuccessful approach.  That finally got him fired as well, but not after the damage was done.

Remember the 2011 game  against the Giants? You know, the one where Jay Cutler got sacked about a billion times before New York finally knocked him out of the game by scrambling his brain like a half-dozen truck stop eggs? Remember how Martz kept throwing the ball with a 78-year old Todd Collins at quarterback? Remember how that ended for Collins?  He too needed to be sponge-mopped off the field.  Martz got so many quarterbacks killed that night I was waiting for the Bears to thaw out Bob Avellini.  Again, Martz showed a Smith-like refusal to change his unbalanced, pass-happy, and largely unsuccessful approach, and he should have been fired that night.

To me, that was good enough reason to fire Smith as well, but Emery still has other problems to deal with. The other reason why Emery may extend Smith’s contract  is to avoid any “distraction,” the concern being that if you are waffling on whether to fire a coach, every outcome turns into a media-driven referendum on the coach’s future.

Of course, this is a costly and completely gutless way to handle the problem, especially in Smith’s case.  Emery reached out to this smug asshole to talk about such an arrangement earlier in the year, only to be rejected because Smith wanted wanted more than a two year extension.

Think about that for a minute. Smith is a guy who not only has never won a goddamn thing, but he’s blown at least one golden opportunity to do so.  Despite that, he has the balls to “big-time” his boss.  Better yet, Emery approached Smith when the Bears were 7-1 and being discussed for yet another potential Super Bowl run, but since then Chicago has dropped to 8-5 featuring a style of play that makes it all to conceivable they could drop out of the playoff picture entirely.

Here’s the big problem with extending Smith’s deal.  It won’t end the speculation about his future, because Lovie Smith is a horse-shit football coach. Even non-horse-shit coaches have to live through speculation about their futures; one of the reasons they get paid big-time cash is for handling that kind of pressure.

The last thing Phil Emery needs to do is marry himself to a multi-year reaffirmation of the same Smith mediocrity. If Lovie Smith thinks he deserves a big-time deal, then maybe he should win a big-time game…you know, something that involves a trophy and a parade.

If the Bears disappoint their fan base yet again, Emery will have carte blanche from that fanbase to put Smith in a raft and nudge him toward the sharks.  By then, even the most ardent Smith supporter will have absolutely no choice but to accept a vision which involves the Bears winning a Super Bowl doesn’t include Lovie Smith.

But after all that, Smith still won’t get fired. It begs the question why?

There’s two words to describe why…the “Rooney Rule,” the NFL’s woefully misguided version of “Affirmative Action.” Before you start sharpening your crayon to call me a racist, stop to consider what will happen once Phil Emery fires Lovie Smith.

First of all, there will be a league-mandated charade to make sure at least one black guy who won’t get the job gets his time wasted with a window-dressing interview.

Then, that blowhard piece of shit Jason Whitlock will compare Emery and the NFL to the Ku Klux Klan because that’s what he does. He will wrap himself in that “we don’t have enough black coaches” bullshit all while ignoring that the “Rooney Rule ” has done little more than get us a lot of coaches who suck and don’t get fired because of the ridiculous idea the the NFL needs quotas.

Chew on that for moment.  You hear the Whitlocks of the world bitching about numbers of minorities in the coaching ranks, yet you never hear them worried about how bad it looks to keep artificially pumping up bad coaches.  Better yet, you never hear their quota argument about other things. You never hear “we need more black punters.”

Sports are the last meritocracy in left the world, and we are trying to fuck that all up for the sake of feeling better about a bunch of shit that happened years before anybody alive today was ever born. And that’s all it is about…feeling like we did something when we did nothing. Fixing problems like this involves more than waving a social engineering “magic wand;” making sure guys get interviewed for jobs they won’t get solves nothing. Instead, you need to make sure they can get those jobs. The best way to do that is to make sure ALL the candidates interviewed are qualified, and the best way to do that is to establish a training program for prospective coaches. You haven’t seen the “Rooney Rule” crowd do that, now have you?

Instead of doing anything substantive, the “Rooney Rule” crowd bitches about the status quo, yet offers nothing in terms of real solutions. Absolutely nothing.

The bottom line: the NFL is full of terrible coaches regardless of color, which also happens to be the worst reason to keep them.

What We Learned From This Weekend in Football 11/19/2011

1) This Year, the Entire BCS Argument is Moot

Name a team outside of the SEC that can beat Alabama, LSU, or Arkansas…I’m waiting…

2) We Sort Of Forgot About Miami

University of Miami president Donna Shalala being presented a check by Nevin Shapiro.

I think we all know why the scandal that gripped Hurricane football dropped off our collective radars. But now,for some reason, the University of Miami has decided to at least give the appearance of trying to do the right thing.

Despite qualifying with Saturday’s win over South Florida, Miami has made the decision to remove themselves from bowl consideration this season in response to the ongoing NCAA inquiry into the Nevin Shapiro allegations. The school has informed both the NCAA and the ACC of its decision.

“We understand and share the disappointment that our student-athletes, coaches, staff, supporters and fans are feeling but after lengthy discussions among University leaders, athletic administrators and outside counsel, it is a necessary step for our University. The University of Miami has not self-imposed any other penalties. “

Athletic Director Shawin Eichorst and head coach Al Golden addressed the decision briefly in a teleconference on Sunday afternoon. Eichorst informed Golden of the school’s decision early Sunday afternoon, and further meetings with the coaches and players followed.

Naturally, the fact that they were headed for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl had absolutely nothing to do with this decision.

3) Teams we can start the “Death Watch” on right now

San Diego Chargers

It’s not just the five straight losses, its they way they’ve lost them.  They have no offensive line. They are without Malcolm Floyd and Shawn Phillips. They rely entire too much on Philip Rivers since they have a marginal running game, and there is the matter of the Human Handicap, otherwise known as Norv Turner. Turner could screw up a grilled cheese sandwich, and the Chargers will never win as long as he is on their sideline.

Washington Redskins

Like the Chargers, it’s not just the six straight losses, it’s the way they’ve lost them.  Nobody defines “inconsistent quarterback” play like the Redskins; they got the “good” Rex Grossman against the Cowboys and still lost.  In fact, despite the sideline weakness present in Mike “I never won shit without a guy named Elway” Shanahan, you really can’t fault the offense.  While the Redskins defensive line has proven to be improved and often more physical than the offensive lines they’ve faced, the back seven gives up far too much on pass plays.

New York Jets

It’s official…I’m off the Mark Sanchez band-wagon. This guy sucks swamp-water. This guy saves his job once every six games or so. This guy has to go.

Look at the pattern. When the Jets were on a three-game skid last month, Sanchez led them to a win over then-winless Miami. This is just like 2009, when the  Jets came back from a 4-6 record to make the playoffs at 9-7.

Now, Jets fans are stuck hoping history repeats itself again. This time, the Jets are 5-5 after dropping their and a suddenly-remembers-they-are-supposed-t0-be-lousy Buffalo team is coming to town. But none of that accounts for the dirty Sanchez secret.

Sanchez has chucked pick-sixes in each of the last two games. He’s tossed three total this season.  He also has lost two fumbles that were returned for touchdowns and had an interception returned to the 1 by Dallas on opening night, and the Cowboys scored a touchdown two plays later. That’s 42 points the Jets have allowed, almost all because of Sanchez.

To be fair, the Jets offensive line isn’t helping matters.  They’ve reverted to their early-season ineptitude. They allowed four sacks on opening night 11 in the first four games.  Sanchez has been dropped eight times in the last two games.

4) Teams I Want To Like, But…

Chicago Bears

The Bears are the photo negative of the Chargers. The Bears have won five straight.  They don’t win pretty and they depend on the running game. But when do they get Jay Cutler back?

The Bears’ Achilles’ heel on defense is the deep pass. If you can set it up, you can  you can hurt the Bears on deep passes, something that will be a test for them when they play Oakland this week. But after that, the Bears get Kansas City, Denver and Seattle. In fact, after Oakland, they won’t face a team with a passing game to speak of until week 16 with the Packers.

Oakland Raiders

Carson Palmer and Michael Bush might just be what the Raiders needed.  Palmer has yet to be dominant, but he is efficient, doesn’t make mistakes, and gives the Raiders the ability to move the ball against anybody.   Michael Bush can be flat out dominant with his bruising running style.  Plus, all they have to do to make the playoffs is win the AFC West.  But can they do it?  They’ve already lost to the Broncos once.

5) …And in what promises to be an on-going saga…

That whole bit about the Raiders brings us to the ever-present Tim Tebow story. His heroics against the Jets only serve as another chapter in what I fear may be a story that won’t be ending for a while. You can say all you wan’t about how he is a “terrible” quarterback…don’t look now, but this guy is winning games, and with every win, he gets more fans. If Tebow isn’t careful, he’s going to be one of the biggest stars in the league because his appeal transcends football.  Watch it it happen if the Broncos make the play-offs.

Don’t scoff at that thought. Like I said about the Raiders, all that is required to do it is to win the AFC West, and the Tebow-led Broncos have already bested the Raiders. The Broncos would be in the “Teams I want to like, but…” category, but my “but” on the Broncos is more of a belief question.  Do I believe that Tebow’s winning ways are due to him, or due to the fact nobody in the NFL has seen an option offense in 40 years?

The Dubsism 2011 Pre-Season NFL Power Rankings

As we find ourselves on the verge of another NFL season, it is time for the degenerate gambler in me to preview the carnage. Let’s face it, the NFL is comprised of  three classes: Really Good, Mediocre, and Lousy.  This means NFL predictions are pretty easy to get reasonably correct. For example, the online sports book experts find it easy to predict the AFC East standings each year. As long as quarterback Tom Brady is playing for head coach Bill Belichick in New England, that will be your division favorite. Another point that should be obvious is that if you are reading this article and expecting anything more clever than a sports book expert, maybe you shouldn’t be gambling in the first place.

Having said that, here’s how we see these teams come January (playoff teams noted in green).

Rankings by Division

AFC East

The Patriots looked invincible last season until the New York Jets found their Achilles’ heel. Once you take away the Patriots running game, their offense suddenly can’t create plays. However, the Pats’ seem to have addressed that by solidifying the offensive line.  Otherwise, the Patriots needed to make two major changes;  they needed help in the defensive secondary, and they needed size in the running game. Danny Woodhead is a great story, but he’s a munchkin, and teams had him figured out by the playoffs. Brandon Meriwether is a fraud, and has been for a while. This is why the Patriots drafted defensive back Ras-I Dowling and running back Shane Vereen. When you stop to consider the Patriots’ past success at player scouting and development (don’t make me break out the Tom Brady cliché yet again), it is safe to assume that the Patriots solved their problems.

Q: Who knew this looked a future Hall-of-Famer? A: Bill Belichick.

But don’t sleep on the Jets.  The Jets get the second spot in the AFC East by default; the Bills and Dolphins are both in that “Lousy” category. The Jets season hinges on two things: the defense has to live up to expectations by being the dominant unit it should be, and Mark Sanchez has to not suck. Frankly, it is time for Sanchez to prove he is worthy of the star status he has been accorded. If he finally shows us he is the “San-chise,” the sky is the limit for the Jets. If not, expect another playoff loss.

  1. New England Patriots
  2. New York Jets
  3. Miami Dolphins
  4. Buffalo Bills

AFC North

The Ravens defense used to be radioactive to offenses, but like all radioactive elements, eventually they pass their half-life and the decay becomes noticeable. This may not be the year that happens, but it is getting more likely with time. If the Ravens are going to make a move and snatch this division from the Steelers, that defense needs to stay healthy and give us one more season of nuclear-powered destruction. Anything short of that, and we may very well be seeing those damn Terrible Towels deep into the playoffs.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. Baltimore Ravens
  3. Cleveland Browns
  4. Cincinnati Bengals

AFC South

This division goes to the Texans by default. Tennessee has a new head coach, and I have no faith that Matt Hasselbeck is the cure to all that ailed the Titans. Jacksonville is just plain bad, and I can’t sell on the Colts fast enough. If you saw Indianapolis in the pre-season, you saw the lack of Peyton Manning is only one problem this team has. The offensive line couldn’t block a hat, the defense acts more like the express lane at the toll-booth, and head coach Jim Caldwell couldn’t find his balls with both hands. However, in all fairness, it’s not like the Texans have ever shown they know where their balls are either; they’ve never once showed they have what it takes to win.

  1. Houston Texans
  2. Tennessee Titans
  3. Indianapolis Colts
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars

AFC West

Here’s another default situation that just drives me nuts. Every year, I get sucked in by the Chargers, only to watch them underperform. I honestly wish I could say with confidence San Diego can’t win this division, but who else can? The Raiders didn’t lose a division game last year, but they also have a new head coach, question marks all over the roster, and the usual Raider drama. The Chiefs showed what they were in that seal-clubbing they took at the hands of the Ravens in the playoff last season, and they didn’t get better since then. Do I even need to mention the Denver Tebows?

  1. San Diego Chargers
  2. Oakland Raiders
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Denver Broncos

NFC East

We could call this division the NFC Over-Rated. I swear to god, the next person who refers to the Eagles as “dream team” will get kicked in the neck (I say this as a lifelong Eagles fan). They have some serious issues on the offensive line, and I will give you even money Michael Vick proves to be a bust on that big contract he just got. Don’t forget he got the crap beaten out of him last season and lost five games due to injury, plus he got progressively worse as the season went on. Not to mention he is age-wise already north of 30, and I don’t know of too many athletes that aged like wine; running quarterbacks age like milk.

Then there’s the Cowboys. To buy this team, I need to do two things that make me nervous. First, I have to buy Tony Romo as a quarterback who can win a game that means something; that’s compounded by the fact he plays behind an offensive line that at times can look like five matadors in silver and blue. Secondly, I need to see head coach Jason Garrett take this team out of the gate as “the man;” last year I suspect he got a bump in performance out of that team just for not being fat Bob Newhart Wade Phillips.

As far as the Giants are concerned…well, let’s just say the difference between Tony Romo and Eli Manning is pure, uncut luck. Without one David Tyree catch against his helmet as the best possible time, we are likely dogging the drunken, non-misshapen-headed Manning as badly as we dog Romo now. Besides, that one catch lengthens the time before I will see Tom Coughlin standing by a freeway on-ramp holding a sign which says “will be an asshole for food.”

One of these quarterbacks is probably not a homosexual. The other is Eli Manning.

The only thing for sure about this division is that the Redskins will be a vortex of inter-galactic suckittude; the kind that generates such a gravitational pull it threatens to collapse under its own mass.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles
  2. New York Giants
  3. Dallas Cowboys
  4. Washington Redskins

NFC North

The Packers return better as defending champs not because they added tons of talent in the off-season; rather because they are entering with all the talent they lost due to injury. Let’s face it, the 2010 Packers were so beat up last year they looked like the battered women’s shelter by Mike Tyson’s house. If they can learn to slip that “I’m off my Lithium again” left-hook the NFL season can throw, the Packers will prove to be more than a Buster Douglas-type one-trick pony.

Meanwhile, three hours to the south lies the enigma known as the Chicago Bears. How can a team have so many ex-head coaches on its staff (Mike Martz, Rod Marinelli, and Mike Tice) and not know that a key to a successful offense is not letting the other team turn their quarterback into lawn mulch? It is easy to beat on Jay Cutler, but’s let’s be fair, he could sue his offensive line for non-support. If there’s a guy in Chicago who should be getting called out, it’ s Lovie Smith. He’s done the least with the most talent of nearly any coach in this league, and yet his job never seems to be in danger. One can make an argument that a coach who didn’t have his head up his ass could have won two Super Bowls with the Bears during the Lovie regime, but nobody ever seems to mention that…

If Wal-Mart made a cheap, Guatemalan-made version of the New York Jets, it might just be the Detroit Lions. Let’s look at the common components:

  • A team that will likely have a bone-shattering defense
  • A team designed around a “ball-control” offense
  • A team with a young quarterback who needs to prove he’s the real deal
This will be the first year of the post-Favre debacle in Minnesota; an era that will be marked by 6-win seasons and a continued failure to understand the value of the quarterback position and the talent required to make a winner.
  1. Green Bay Packers
  2. Chicago Bears
  3. Detroit Lions
  4. Minnesota Vikings

NFC South

The NFL Lockout really was a cover story so Drew Brees could hang out with Seal Team 6 and waste some bad guys.

The Saints may very well be the most complete offense in the NFC. Drew Brees and Sean Payton make the brainiest quarterback-coach combination since Joe Montana and Bill Walsh. Not only did the running game get better simply by the subtraction of Reggie StolenHeisman-KardashianReject,  the addition of running back Mark Ingram and “I’m gonna smash you in the mouth” center Olin Kreutz, makes for a physical ground game to go with the Brees and Company Flying Circus.

Every since draft day, we’ve known the Falcons think they are “that one piece away,” and they think that piece is wide receiver Julio Jones. Honestly, I would be more concerned about the impending breakdown of running back Michael Turner; in the past few seasons he’s touched more balls than the lady who does the lottery drawings.

  1. New Orleans Saints
  2. Atlanta Falcons
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  4. Carolina Panthers

NFC West

Welcome to the NFC 7-9 Division, or as I like to call it, the “Somebody’s got to win it” Division. Honestly, I loved all the belly aching that went on about how a team with a losing record shouldn’t be in the playoffs despite the fact the SeaHacks won under the architecture provided, and the people who bitched the loudest about the NFL playoff system are the same ones who beat on college football for not having a playoff. Plus, it was these very same people who bitched about my solution for the college playoff issue who stole the line form the “Poll and Bowl” crowd about this being about the “best teams, not just those who win a bad division.”

That was until the SeaHacks knocked out the Saints. Then it all stopped. It really doesn’t matter, because one of these teams will be in the playoffs whether you like it or not.

  1. St. Louis Rams
  2. Arizona Cardinals
  3. San Francisco 49ers
  4. Seattle Seahawks

Overall Rankings

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Green Bay Packers
  3. Philadelphia Eagles
  4. Pittsburgh Steelers
  5. New York Jets
  6. New Orleans Saints
  7. San Diego Chargers
  8. Atlanta Falcons
  9. Baltimore Ravens
  10. New York Giants
  11. Houston Texans
  12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  13. Dallas Cowboys
  14. Chicago Bears
  15. Miami Dolphins
  16. St. Louis Rams
  17. Tennessee Titans
  18. Detroit Lions
  19. Indianapolis Colts
  20. Arizona Cardinals
  21. Oakland Raiders
  22. Cleveland Browns
  23. Kansas City Chiefs
  24. Jacksonville Jaguars
  25. Seattle Seahawks
  26. Minnesota Vikings
  27. San Francisco 49’ers
  28. Buffalo Bills
  29. Denver Broncos
  30. Cincinnati Bengals
  31. Washington Redskins
  32. Carolina Panthers

Signs We Are Near The End Of Civilization: The PGA Goes All “Super Bowl Shuffle” On Us

If you don’t remember (I’m not sure how anybody over the age of 35 would forget), back in 1985 the soon-to-be Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears produced what I consider to be the vanguard in ultra-cheestastic sports/music videos when the foist the “Super Bowl Shuffle” on the world.  Sure the Dodgers had the decidedly more homoerotic “Baseball Boogie,” but the Bears clearly set the bar…until now.

The PGA, an organization known for its whimsy and playful sense of humor (read that as “the Catholic Church of sports”) seems to have taken a step toward actual humanity with its new video featuring four of the rising young stars on the tour in a “boy band” style video. “Golf Boys” features Ricky Fowler, Bubba Watson, Ben Crane, and Hunter Mahan getting their spoof on.

Can you imagine what an old-timer like Arnold Palmer thinks of this? He may just have spit his “Arnold Palmer” across the room.

Famous Sports Rivalries In Which I Hate Both Sides

The sporting world is full of rivalries which engender so much passion there are clear battle lines drawn between the camps. But what happens to those of us who may feel animus toward both sides? Here’s a list of several such examples that make the collective colon here at Dubsism slam shut like a steel bear trap.

12 ) Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox

It is almost impossible to find two teams that exemplify their shit-hole of a city more. Where better to put the two retarded little brothers of baseball who while steeped in history have accounted for one championship in 90 years than in one of the largest cities in the world that matters the least to anybody?

11) LeBron James vs. the City of Cleveland

Sometimes, you really have to wonder if we have completely succeeded in this country in growing a generation of complete morons we’ve put on pedestals. Nobody in the world would have blamed LeBron James for leaving Cleveland; nobody wants to be in Cleveland.  It’s little more than a “Mini-Me” to Chicago; a rust-belt, blue-collar city that nobody wants to be in; Cleveland’s population has been dropping steadily for 80 years. All he had to do was not be a douche-bag about it.  It really leaves you in a situation where you can’t figure out who is dumber, LeBron for screwing up a move millions of Clevelanders have made themselves or those same Clevelanders for managing collectively to sound like a bitter ex-wife.

10) Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Hate is actually too strong a term for this. The problem is the “Rhett Butler” approach is too weak, but it is closer to accurate.  Let’s face it;  I don’t really give a damn. I spent big chunks of my childhood in Southern California, which isn’t exactly where you develop strong feelings about Canadian hockey teams, and even though I loved the old-school Los Angeles Kings (seriously, we are talking about the pre-Gretzky Kings with the purple and gold uniforms that clothed an NHL retirement home; the Kings of my childhood featured such past-their-prime legends like Butch Goring and Marcel Dionne), you couldn’t watch the 12-team NHL of the 1970’s without knowing these two teams hated each other.  All I cared about in those days is that both of these teams arrived at the L.A. Forum with a boatload of Canadians who weren’t past their prime and put as ass-whipping on the Kings.  Even to this day, all I can say is “screw both of them; Canada sucks.”

9) Manchester United vs. Manchester City

For those of you not familiar with the English Premier League, picture this rivalry with the Red Devils of Manchester United as the New York Yankees with Manchester City as the old Brooklyn Dodgers. You perhaps didn’t really like the Dodgers, but they made a perfect underdog foil to those goddamn Yankees. But then the Dodgers went Hollywood, started winning and blew their lovability in the process, much like the Los Angeles Dodgers. 15 years ago, Man City was lovable in their feebleness, but then new ownership pumped that team full of money, and now they are every bit as douche-tastic as their cross-town rivals.

8 ) Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins

As a Philadelphia Eagle fan, this one is really a no-brainer. There’s an old saying that culture in an organization comes from the top down, and Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder are a marvelous reflection of that. While we here at Dubsism have postulated that Al Davis makes the Oakland Raiders the “North Korea of the NFL,” Jones and Snyder are both in line to ascend to the NFL’s “Crazy Old Man Owner” throne. Thankfully, their leadership (or lack thereof) has made these two franchises combine for a grand total of three playoff wins in the past 15 years.

7) Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns

Our Proposed Logo for the "Red River Rivalry"

The way these two preen over that silly Saturday in October…well, it really is sad to think either of these two believe anybody gives a shit about them or their “make-believe” rivalry.  It’s really sad that a couple of goofy-ass schools like Nebraska and Colorado are the ones who figured out the Big 12 is a repository for football nobody cares about.

6) Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears

This is much like the “love triangle” situation outline in the 1980 J. Geils’ Band hit “Love Stinks.” The Vikings think the Packers are their main rival, The Packers think the Bears are their main rival, and neither the Packers or the Bears even know who the Vikings are.

5) Arsenal vs. Chelsea

More from the English Premier League, so I will make another baseball reference…Earlier I compared Manchester United to the Yankees. Continuing on this theme, Arsenal would be the Red Sox and Chelsea would be the Mets, only if the Mets didn’t suck. They are two of the biggest clubs in the league, and they can buy pretty much any player they want. Whenever these two get together, it is an exercise in dysfunction that somehow manages to be successful, like a photo negative of the Dallas Cowboys.

4) Auburn vs. Alabama

When these two compete in the annual “Iron Bowl,” they are battling for the bragging right for the entire state of Alabama. This is like two bums fighting over the least piss-stained raincoat at Goodwill. Do you know what the best thing that ever came out of the state of Alabama was? An empty bus.  Alabama is just a collection of bimbos whose boyfriends still think Bear Bryant is alive, and Auburn thinks it is a real university.

3) Duke vs. North Carolina

What can we say about Duke that we haven’t said before? No matter their record, no matter their talent, no matter anything, Duke sucks.  As much as we have beat on Mike Krzyzewski for being a pompous ass-hat, North Carolina’s Roy Williams is in the same league, and not just figuratively. My favorite was last spring when Williams compared having a losing ACC record to the earthquake in Haiti.

“Our massage therapist told me, ‘You know, coach, what happened in Haiti is a catastrophe. What you’re having is a disappointment,’ ” said Williams. “I told her that depends on what chair you’re sitting in. It does feel like a catastrophe to me, because it is my life.”

I’m not sure what the state of North Carolina did to deserve such a pair of pure, uncut assholes, but better them than the rest of us.

2) Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

The Yankees – Red Sox rivalry is one of the oldest, most famous and fiercest rivalries in North American professional sports.  For over 100 years, Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees of the American League have been intense rivals.  For nearly as long, fans of both teams have thoroughly annoyed the living shit out of the rest of us.

The rivalry is sometimes so polarizing that it is often a heated subject, like religion or politics, in the Northeastern United States.  In fact, since ESPN is also based in the Northeastern US, they believe the Yankees and the Red Sox are the only two teams in Major League Baseball, judging by their broadcast schedule.

1) Michigan Wolverines vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

College football gives us the twelve greatest Saturdays of the year, and it also give us the two greatest evils in sports. Ohio State and Michigan both represent all that is wrong with college football, and every evil that it contains.  Recent events have shown that Jim Tressel, a.k.a. Cheatypants McSweatervest is a disingenuous, lying prick, and the Michigan fan base just hasn’t come to terms with the fact they are not an elite program anymore. I can only hope and pray that the NCAA grows the balls to make an example out of Ohio State, but they likely won’t, and I hope it takes Michigan at least three more head coaches before they figure out that “elite” programs don’t get man-handled by Purdue.

Why You Shouldn’t Cheer For…Jay Cutler

You shouldn’t cheer for the Chicago Bears anyway; we’ve documented that quite well over the past few weeks. However, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler exudes such a rare combination of smarminess and suckitude that no self-respecting fan should support him or the Bears, who also believe they are better than they are.  Colin Cowherd made mention of this fact on Friday on his radio show. But this isn’t about how the Bears, should they win, would be the worst Super Bowl team ever.  Rather this is about why you should want to see Cutler peeling bits of frozen Soldier Field dirt out of his facemask.  After all, the resounding majority of you would not be Facebook friends with him.

1) Even Referees Don’t Like Him

Referees are supposed to be completely impartial, which is how you know that backhand bitch slap was perfectly accidental (wink, nudge…)  It’s not like NFL officials have had to listen Cutler whine every time he gets picked off, throws an incompletion, or gets stapled to the turf, which by our count combined  happens about 70 times a game.

2) Cutler is a Massive Crybaby

Refer back to Reason #1.  Cutler routinely breaks out his crying towel for more than just officials. Just look a the sullen pout he pulls off during a post loss press conference; the one after the game against Washington when he made the Redskins’ DeAngelo Hall the all-time Bears’ leading receiver was my favorite example.

3) “Disambiguation”

This is the big word Wikipedia uses for when a search term returns multiple topics. Google “Jay Cutler” and a lot of the hits you are going to get refer to the overly-bronzed side of beef shown above. It seems that as well as being a pick-throwing whiner, Jay Cutler is also a former Mr. Olympia who is clearly over-compensating for being the namesake of such a monumental tool.

4) The Kyle Orton Connection

It has been a long-established tenet here at Dubsism that Kyle Orton is the Greatest Athlete in the History of Ever. However, thanks to the trade between the Broncos and the Bears, Orton’s name is forever linked with Cutler’s. As far as quarterback play in concerned, this may be the classic example of a guy who isn’t flashy, but doesn’t make mistakes versus a guy who has that sexy big arm coaches fall in love with, but ultimately will get you killed through his complete cement-headed uncoachability.

5) He Hasn’t Destroyed Lovie Smith’s Career Nearly Fast Enough

I completely can’t figure this one out; it’s like Lovie Smith is Superman in Stupid World, but for some reason Stupid Kryptonite doesn’t kill Stupid Superman.  What the hell else does a guy have to do to get fired? If it weren’t for his hatred of Kyle Orton, he’d have a Super Bowl ring by now.  If he would have benched that shithead Rex Grossman in favor of Orton in the Super Bowl against the Colts, we wouldn’t be subjected to Tony Dungy’s bible-thumping assholery now.  I wonder if he and Mike Shanahan get together and fondle themselves over pictures of “Sexy Rexy?”

The fact this Bears team has reached an NFC Championship team means offensive coordinator Mike Martz has been “legitimitized” for at least one more NFL job after the fraud that is the Bears’ offense is exposed and he gets the firing he so richly deserves. To that end, you would have thought trading for the fully-automated, hydraulically-powered interception machine known as Jay Cutler would have been the end of the Smith regime, but even accidental success is a savior.

6) If Wal-Mart Sold a Shitty, Guatemalan-Made Tom Brady…Cutler Would Be It

We all know what buying a knock-off is like. It offers all the promise, yet none of the price. Of course, the packaging hasn’t even made its way to the dumpster yet by the time you’ve discovered you just flushed your cash down the crapper.  Who the hell buys Jay Cutler as a “GQ” guy like Tom Brady? Frankly, I can’t decide which screams “alternative lifestyle” more…the overly-coiffed fashion model look or the oiled-up bodybuilder? Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

7) Jay Cutler Really Is the Most Interesting Douche In The World

8 ) His Incredibly Annoying Survivability

Cutler has made a living playing behind offensive lines that look more like the row of turnstiles in a subway station. Yet, he keeps coming back. Let’ s be honest, how he didn’t get yanked during that pick-fest against the Redskins is beyond me.

I mean, Tony Romo at least had the common decency to suffer a season-ending injury, and Lord knows the Giants gave Cutler every chance to do the same. But, no, Cutler couldn’t do the honorable thing; rather he has subjected us all to a season of barely competent quarterback play.

God help us all if the Bears beat the Packers on Sunday, because that would only serve to further the illusion that Jay Cutler and this band of frauds known as the Chicago Bears are a legitimate championship-caliber football team.

Why You Shouldn’t Cheer For…The Chicago Bears

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one answers the question as to why you shouldn’t cheer for the Chicago Bears by saying “this guy” 500 times.

Nobody should be shocked that a shirtless hump in a rubber hat is the same kind of schmuck who thinks it’s cool to scream during the National Anthem. Nobody should be shocked this is the kind of troglodyte that thinks Brian Urlacher is the greatest linebacker ever.  Certainly nobody should be shocked after the Bears ultimately lose, this is the kind of hump who drinks 43 Budweisers, then calls the sports-talk radio station slurring some nonsense about “bring back Ditka.”  This guy personifies why Chicago is one of the worst cities in America.

Why You Shouldn’t Cheer For…The Chicago Bears

1) Lovie Smith is the Dumbest Coach Who For Some Reason Never Gets Fired

Let’s be honest..the only reason Smith isn’t the dumbest head coach in the NFL is because Jim Caldwell still has a job.  How dumb is Lovie? Let me count the ways:

  • Smith ran Ron Rivera out of town
  • Smith brought Mike Martz to town
  • Six words: Rex Grossman in the Super Bowl

Lovie defines inflexible. He sticks with a bonehead like Jay Cutler, he sticks with an asshole like Mike Martz, and he gets rid of anybody who doesn’t like it. That’s not Chicago, that’s North Korea. Just like North Korea, the people he gets rid of have talents, but they are’t kissing Lovie’s ass, so out they go. Not to mention, how many Bears games would feature the following lines in the next’s morning’s newspaper, all of which can be attributed to Smith’s idiocy/arrogance:

  • Another loss caused by another crucial Jay Cutler interception
  • Smith can’t manage the clock, losing a challenge after calling a timeout, thereby burning two on just one play
  • An inept and stubborn gameplan from Mike Martz
  • Offense again couldn’t establish the run
  • Offensive line can’t pick up an outside blitz

2) Mike Martz is an Asshole Who Should Have Been Discredited Years Ago

Normally, when you hire a guy, you talk to his former employer.  When the Bears were looking for an offensive coordinator, Charlie Armery, got wind of the Bears’ interest. Being Martz’s former boss in St. Louis, Armery was quick to disspell the notion that Jay Cutler may benefit from the “offensive master mind” that is Mike Martz.

“He’s a terrible…coach, and he would ruin that kid like he ruined Kurt Warner and drove him out of St. Louis. He’s the worst thing that could happen to any young quarterback,” Armery said. He later went on to say that it would be an “absolute mistake” for Bears coach Lovie Smith to hire him.

Of course, this almost guaranteed the Bears hiring Martz, which they inexplicably did. You really had to wonder about this move not only for that, but for the fact that Lovie Smith thinks his team “gets off the bus running,” and Martz has a reputation for being  a coach who loves to fill the skies with footballs? The blatant truth is that since his early success in St. Louis, Martz can only get hired to second-or-worse rate jobs (San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago), because in the years since working for the Rams, Martz has had exactly zero success, largely because he is an inflexible “smartest guy in the room” type asshole.

He managed to incite a player revolt in Detroit when he refused even to entertain changing his unbalanced offense, pass-happy, and largely unsuccessful approach. That got him fired. He managed to fall out of favor with 49ers management, including then-head coach Mike Singletary, because he refused even to entertain changing his unbalanced, pass-happy, and largely unsuccessful approach. That got him fired. And on more than one occasion, he nearly got his quarterback killed in Chicago because of his refusal even to entertain changing his unbalanced, pass-happy, and largely unsuccessful approach.

Remember the game against the Giants this past season…the one where Jay Cutler got sacked about a billion times before New York finally knocked him out of the game? Remember how Martz kept throwing the ball with a 78-year old Todd Collins at quarterback? Remember how that ended for Collins (he too needed to be peeled off the field).  Martz got so many quarterbacks killed that night I was waiting for the Bears to thaw out Bob Avellini. Again he showed refusal to change his unbalanced, pass-happy, and largely unsuccessful approach, and he should have been fired that night.

3) George Halas Was a Miserly Prick

People love to speak glowingly of Halas as he was one of the founding fathers of the NFL. I understand that as a businessman, he started with hardly a pot to piss in.   I get the early years were tough; the Bears lost $71.63 in their first year.  However, by the time Halas retired in 1968, he and the Chicago Bears franchise were both  worth multiple millions of dollars.

Halas: So cheap he actually lived in that hat.

Despite his success, Halas was  ruthless, dictatorial, vindictive, and phenomenally tight-fisted.  He could squeeze a penny so hard he could make Abe Lincoln fart.   As a rookie, George Blanda was signed by the Chicago Bears for $600 in 1949, an amount owner George Halas demanded back when he made the team.  Blanda would eventually end up as a record setting quarterback, place-kicker, and Hall-of-Famer, yet Halas saw fit to use him as a linebacker. It would not be until 1953 that Blanda would emerge as the Bears’ top signal caller, but an injury the following year effectively ended his first-string status. For the next four years, he was used mostly in a kicking capacity. Later commenting on his testy relationship with Halas, Blanda noted “he was too cheap to even buy me a kicking shoe.”  Blanda later reflected that by the 1950s the pro game had moved beyond Halas, which explains why of Halas’ seven NFL Championships, only one came after 1947.

4) Jay Cutler Is a Douchebag

The Proof: There’s a Facebook group to that effect, and if it’s on Facebook, it has to be true.  Face it, Jay Cutler has quickly become the NFL’s favorite whipping boy, and there’s one person to blame: Jay Fucking Cutler. I will be the first to admit, at first I thought the kid had brass ones, but that was based solely on his performance in college when he led Vanderbilt into overtime on the road against the at-the-time seemingly invincible Florida Gators. The problem is Cutler later proved himself to be a spoiled, rich-bitch-kid, prep school quarterback who emits that “I am the shit” persona heavily salted with his own special flavor of douchebaggery.  To summarize Cutler would be to say he is the sort of guy who believes Albert Einstein couldn’t have been all that great because he never threw for 4,000 yards.

The NFL Playoffs – The Definitive Dubsism Oddsmaker’s View

1) New England Patriots

Why They Can Win:

If you ever needed proof the Patriots are a dynasty like the Steelers of the 70’s and 49ers of the 80’s, the fact that I get violent nausea just mentioning Tom Brady or Bill Belichick should tel the tale. In comparison, just mentioning the New York Yankess cranks me another notch toward fatal rectal cancer. What really drives me nuts is this may be the most impressive season of all in this current run.  They made a star out of that munchkin Danny Woodhead. They traded (speaking of cancer) Randy Moss.  They can’t run the ball and their defense couldn’t stop a Pop Warner team, yet somehow they are 14-2 record. I just can’t see this team losing right now.

Why They Can’t Win:

Either Tom Brady will finally have an episode of Cutler Syndrome, or the defense will prove to be the Achilles’ heel it looks to be.

Odds of Winning: 2 to 1

2) Pittsburgh Steelers

Why They Can Win:

The “Big Ben” episode from the beginning of the season seems to be ancient history, and this team is very quietly playing like the elite team they are, even if they are on the “Rodney Dangerfield” list for not getting any respect.

Why They Can’t Win:

This team can win without Ben Roethlisberger. This team can win without a lot of people; Troy Polamalu isn’t one of them. The strength of this team is its defense, and Polamalu is the backbone of the entire unti. Without him, the Steelers become the Aluminumers.

Odds of Winning: 3 to 1

3) Philadelphia Eagles

Why They Can Win:

Take a coin out of your pocket. This coin represents the streakiness of the Philadelphia Eagles. Flip the coin. Heads, Eagles win.  A month ago, I had this team as the best in the NFC,  but that complete lack of consistency drives me batshit crazy.

Why They Can’t Win:

Flip that coin Again. Shit, Tales.

Michael Vick is easily my favorite player to watch in the NFL; he is fucking electrifying to watch. Between him and Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, and LeSean McCoy, this may be the fastest offense I’ve ever seen.

Flip that coin again. Goddamnit, tales again.

Odds of Winning: 3 to 1

4) Baltimore Ravens

Why They Can Win:

If you know the difference between Target and WalMart, then you know the difference between the Steelers and the Ravens. The shopping carts are little cleaner and they roll a little straighter at Target, but you get better prices at WalMart. The Baltimore Ravens are WalMart, and nobody loves to save a buck more than a Hot-Pocket eating blogger.

Why They Can’t Win:

Three things stand in this team’s way: Joe Flacco’s consistency, the fact they didn’t win the AFC North; it will be difficult for them to win three tough games in a row, and that old guy that hands out the shopping carts at the door.

Odds of Winning: 5 to 1

5) New Orleans Saints

Why They Can Win:

As goes Drew Brees, so go the Saints. But this season, New Orleans has been the scene of a Robert Louis Stevenson novel, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Brees. Sometmes this season, it seems Drew drank the concoction and became this ham-fisted monster, tossing picks at a near Favrian clip. If Drew Brees doesn’t give away the football, the Saints are dangerous.

Why They Can’t Win:

The complete absence of a running game now that Pierre Thomas and Christopher Ivory are both out…and the fact there hasn’t been another hurricane so everybody will feel sorry for them.

Odds of Winning: 6 to 1

6) Green Bay Packers

Why They Can Win:

In short,  three reasons: Aaron Rodgers, who once he wins his first playoff game may just win three more, a superb vertical passing game, and a play-making ball-hawk defense.

Why They Can’t Win:

In what is clearly becoming a theme here, the Packers may be the purest example of the “can’t really run” team. It’s like everybody suddenly thought the “Dan Marino” model was the way to go. It’s like everybody forgot how many championships Marino won

Odds of Winning: 8 to 1

7) Atlanta Falcons

Why They Can Win:

Atlanta may be the most complete and balanced team in this tournament, and they easily could be rated much higher.  The most  recent loss to the Saints just seems like too much of a warning sign there’s a demon out there which will present itself during a play-off game.

Why They Can’t Win:

Matt Ryan is a heady quarterback who plays so intelligently, and while those comparisons to Peyton Manning very well may be accurate, Ryan has yet to show himself on that level in a big game. If he does, expect the Falcons to fold because Manning has always been a terrible “big game” quarterback; Manning’s only Super Bowl win comes from Lovie Smith’s refusal to get Rex Grossman off the field. Eventually, I think Ryan will prove to be a “big-game” quarterback, I’m just not sold this is the year.

Odds of Winning: 10 to 1

8 ) Chicago Bears

Why They Can Win:

To be honest, I don’t have a good answer for this. Granted, when Jay Cutler is on, he makes the Bears look like a legitimate contender. But he’s never been “on” for more than two games in a row. Plus, he is a colossal douchebag. Combined with the dumbest coach who never seems to be on the hot seat,  Lovie “Rex Grossman is my guy” Smith, I just can’t think of a single reason why the Bears should be taken seriously, except for Devin “Stop Kicking to Him” Hester.

Why They Can’t Win:

They are the worst 11-5 team I’ve ever seen – they define over-rated. Brian Urlacher is the face of this franchise, and he doesn’t just define over-rated, he is the Pope and Infallible Leader of the Church of Over-rated.  To Cutler’s credit, somehow he has managed to stay alive behind an offensive line comprised of Olin Kreutz and four turnstiles, but let’s not forget this: To all you people who think the Bears are for real and think the Seahawks don’t belong in the playoffs, remember the SeaHacks beat the Bears in October.

Odds of Winning: 12 to 1

9) New York Jets

Why They Can Win:

The Jets are still very bold and still have playmakers.  Rex Ryan is one those guys that makes anything possible.

Why They Can’t Win:

Because they have yet to back up all their trash-talk. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rex Ryan, but he needs to put up or shut up. If this team can get past either Pittsburgh and/or New England, they will win it all. But they have yet to show me they have the stones to make the move from good to great.

Odds of Winning: 15 to 1

10) Kansas City Chiefs

Why They Can Win:

There is an inviolable rule about play-off football: never count out a team that can a) run the ball and b) play defense. This is the recipe the Chefs used to get this far, and with Matt Cassel playing like a legitimate NFL quarterback, Kansas City can be that team that has a “puncher’s chance.”

Why They Can’t Win:

Out of their ten wins, the Chiefs beat one playoff team (Seattle). They won a division so bad the Oakland Raiders went 6-0 in divisional games and couldn’t make the playoffs; the Chiefs could only manage a 2-4 record in the AFC West. It is also those deficiencies that make me suspect of the Chiefs #1 ranked running game; they racked up a lot of stats against teams like Oakland, Denver, Houston, Buffalo, and San Francisco.

Odds of Winning: 20 to 1

11) Indianapolis Colts

Why They Can Win:

Because Peyton Manning is one of the greatest players in the history on the NFL, and he isn’t far enough past his prime to be discounted.

Why They Can’t Win:

Because Peyton Manning is all they have. The Colts can’t run the ball, and they can’t stop anybody. Factor in all the injuries this team has suffered, and it becomes clear the Dolts’ days are numbered. In many respects, this might be the worst team in the play-offs despite all the moaning about the Seahawks 7-9 record.  All the Colts can do is throw the ball; the Seahawks can run and have shows glimpses of the ability to play defense, albeit not often enough.

Odds of Winning: 25 to 1

12) Seattle Seahawks

Why They Can Win:

Everybody else’s plane could crash, there could be a plague of locusts, ther could be a massive outbreak of food poisoning from the people who do all the NFL food handling…you don’t know, it could happen.

Why They Can’t Win:

To put it in gambling terms, The SeaHacks are drawing to an inside straight three times over.  Well, the first draw isn’t that long; it is concievable Seattle could win their home game against the Saints. New Orleans is beat up, it depends on which quarterback shows up, Dr. Brees or Mr. Hyde;  and Qwest Field is notoriously rough on visiting teams. But Seattle knows how to lose, as they have done it nine times this year, and none of those were closer than 16 points.

Odds of Winning: 75 to 1


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