Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sports With The StatMan #41: Show Notes

There is nothing better than a lot to talk about and there was enough football for two shows. Take a listen to last week's show by clicking here.

00:00-06:00 Open: NFL Wild Card Weekend: Packers-Cards OT thriller and the possible end of McNabb’s run with the Eagles
06:00-09:00 – Ravens-Patriots surprise
09:00-14:00 – Jets-Bengals not as surprising
14:00-20:00 – Cowboys explode on the Eagles
20:00-25:00 – Hockey: The Great Outdoors, Islanders Play Well But Lose Ground
25:00-38:00 – NFL Wild Card Weekend: Positional Ranking Results, More Jets-Bengals
38:00-40:00 – Cardinals let the Packers off the mat, but still win
40:00-45:00 – Next Week’s NFL Playoff Schedule and Preview
45:00-49:00 – NFL: Around the League, Final Top Performers Records
49:00-56:00 – StatMan’s 1st Annual All-Surprise and All-Disappointment Teams, Final Pick Results
56:00-63:00 – NHL Recap: Rangers sweep Bruins, Atlantic Division Winning, DP Is Back
63:00-67:00 – Close: Upcoming Schedule, Next Week’s Show Preview

Main Points
00:00-06:00 Open: NFL Wild Card Weekend: Packers-Cards OT thriller and the possible end of McNabb’s run with the Eagles
The Packers-Cards game ended during the opening minutes of the program and we did a quick breakdown of Karlos Dansby’s game-winning fumble return for a touchdown after Aaron Rodgers fumbled at his own 17-yard-line. Where on Earth did Early Doucet come from? There were over 1,000 yards of offense in the highest-scoring playoff game in NFL history. What were the odds that a game with that much offense was settled on a defensive touchdown.

Is this weekend’s loss by the Eagles to the Cowboys going to spell the end for Donovan McNabb in an Eagles uniform? He spent 11 years as the front man for the Eagles. He took them to a Super Bowl and several NFC Championship Games, but he could not win the big one. Is this a time to change and hand the team over to Kevin Kolb? Michael Vick is still technically under contract, so he might figure in to the Eagles’ plans as well.

Divisional Championship Weekend culminates in the Jets playing at San Diego on Sunday. The last time the Jets won a playoff game was against those Chargers in San Diego in 2005.

06:00-09:00 - Ravens-Patriots surprise
Normally, Wild Card Weekend is easier to figure out the winners, but this was a surprising weekend. The Ravens defeating the Patriots was more surprising than the Jets win at Cincinnati. I thought New England would have the easiest time of any playoff team this weekend against Baltimore.

This game was decided early, as Baltimore was up big before you knew it. Ray Rice scored from the first play from scrimmage and that was the first time the Ravens scored first since Super Bowl XXXV against the Giants. New England is not a team to turn the ball over, but there was Tom Brady, fumbling early and throwing three interceptions. The first home loss for the Patriots this year comes at the worst possible time, a 33-14 Wild Card loss to Baltimore. The sure things in Brady and the Patriots at Gillette were not so sure at all.

09:00-14:00 – Jets-Bengals not as surprising
The Jets win was no surprise. Last week, the Bengals were not at their best, but 37-0 is 37-0. Shonn Greene was better than Thomas Jones and Dustin Keller was fantastic. Mark Sanchez did not overdo it. Brian Schottenheimer did his best coaching job of his career. And, Carson Palmer, oh, how the mighty have fallen. He was on the verge of becoming an elite quarterback, but has still not been the same since his knee injury against Pittsburgh four years ago. The Bengals have not been the same this year since they lost their deep threat, Chris Henry, to tragedy.

The younger USC quarterback did a better job of managing the offense. Sanchez did not turn the ball over. Chad “Ocho-No-Show” only had two catches for 28 yards, as Darrelle Revis took one ball away and shut #85 down. The Jets have made the most of their late-season gifts from Indianapolis and Cincinnati. But, who cares how they got in? They are in the tournament and they are one of the six teams from the AFC that made it. All the Jets need to care about is surviving and advancing, and that is exactly what they did. The Jets are the only local team still alive, as the Patriots and Eagles both lost.

14:00-20:00 – Cowboys explode on the Eagles
The Eagles got crushed by the Cowboys. Dallas put the nail in the coffin with Felix Jones’s 73-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Dallas exploded for 27 points in the second quarter to get to that point. But, the Eagles counterattacked quickly when Dallas went up, 7-0, by Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin connecting on a 76-yard touchdown. What happened after that was awful.

Tony Romo has had his problems in December and the bad snap in the playoffs against Seattle at home a few years ago. This time, he was not spectacular, but no picks and a couple of touchdowns. He managed the game and the Cowboys ran the ball extremely well on the Eagles defense, which left something to be desired. You wonder what kind of change the Eagles are going to have.

While I have thought and written it is very tough to sweep a team a divisional rival in the regular season and beat that team again in the playoffs, the records say otherwise. This is the 20th opportunity since 1970 that a team could take all three games in the same season, but the Cowboys were the 13th team to do so.

McNabb has always come up small in the big games. My lasting memory of McNabb is having the ball with a few minutes left in the Super Bowl against New England and not being able to get it done. McNabb and the Eagles could not solve those Tony Dungy-molded defenses in Tampa Bay when it counted. But, after 11 years, I still think McNabb has taken the Eagles farther than they would have gotten if they drafted Ricky Williams instead.

20:00-25:00 – Hockey: The Great Outdoors, Islanders Play Well But Lose Ground
Great game at Fenway Park to close out the outdoor portion of the Boston hockey schedule, as Boston University held off a late charge by Boston College, 3-2. It was a great atmosphere, a fantastic event, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The hard-core fans were out and braved the cold.

Where will the NHL Winter Classic be next year? Minnesota is a possibility in the first year of Target Field in a game that could match up the North Stars and the Wild, but the smart money is on New York with a Capitals-Rangers game to give Alex Ovechkin the Crosby-level of New Year’s exposure.

Last week’s Sports Column talks about the future of the NHL Winter Classic.

The Islanders have played better, but their stock has fallen in the Atlantic Division because the Rangers and Flyers have played so much better.

25:00-38:00 – NFL Wild Card Weekend: Positional Ranking Results, More Jets-Bengals
Rushing offense and defense ruled the day, as the top-ranked teams in those categories all won their Wild Card games. The top three quarterbacks and kickers all lost. The two top-ranked coaches (Belichick, Reid) lost. Receivers were a mixed bag. Check the “Sports With The StatMan: Fantasy Football Edition – Wild Card Weekend” blog for those picks.

Want proof we play in the golden era of passing? 7 of the 10 quarterback that threw for 4,000 yards qualified for the playoffs.

Cincinnati was ready for the Jets’ version of the Wildcat offense, as Brad Smith did not have any of the success he had in Week 17. The Jets did have players and coaches with experience of playing in Cincinnati once a year (Alan Faneca, Braylon Edwards, Rex Ryan). Coach Marvin Lewis challenged twice in the first quarter and lost both challenges. That really killed the Bengals, especially when, on replay, the plays did not look like they would be overturned. Also contributing to the Bengals demise was Shayne Graham’s two missed field goals.

The Jets have won four in a row on the road and the possibility is still alive for one more final farewell at Giants Stadium. But, the unthinkable has to happen: the bottom two seeds have to upset the top two seeds in the AFC. If you were to pick two areas of football to excel in this time of year, it would be running the ball and defense and these are the areas the Jets and Ravens are at their best. Weather would only play a part in one possible matchup for the rest of the playoffs and that would be if the Jets host the Ravens at Giants Stadium in two weeks.

38:00-40:00 – Cardinals let the Packers off the mat, but still win
Both Sunday games started similar with one team dominating early and putting some points on the board. In Baltimore’s case, the Ravens did not let the Patriots off the mat. In Arizona’s case, the Cardinals let the Packers come back into the game.

The Cardinals were up 14-0 very quickly, 17-0 after one quarter, and 24-10 at the half. Green Bay worked hard to come back with two TDs in the 3rd quarter and three more TDs in the 4th quarter to force overtime.

40:00-45:00 – Next Week’s NFL Playoff Schedule and Preview
DAL @ MIN – Dallas is looking hot and they go up against Minnesota next weekend, who got well against the Giants. Romo is playing well and Dallas is running the ball well. Minnesota defends well against the run, but not so much against the pass. Romo might be able to find his receivers down the field.

ARZ @ NO – The Saints host the Cardinals next weekend. Can you see a similar game? The Saints can throw it like no one else, but the Cardinals can counterpunch. The Saints defense was great early in the season, but not since Week 11, and they have lost three straight.

BAL @ IND – Baltimore’s biggest strength, running the ball, goes up against Indianapolis’s weak spot, defending the run. Anything can happen if Baltimore can run the ball on Indy.

NYJ @ SDG – The Chargers are the hottest team in the league with an 11-game winning streak. For the Jets, Darrelle Revis cannot cover everyone. The Chargers have to exploit mismatches with Antonio Gates and get the ball to the secondary receivers, which is something Cincinnati could not do this week. Gates has the big size advantage on the defensive backs and the linebackers are not quick enough and David Harris and Bart Scott are both banged up.

Check out the Sports With The StatMan: Fantasy Football Edition – Divisional Championship Weekend blog that will be out on Saturday for my picks and rankings.

45:00-49:00 NFL: Around the League, Final Top Performers Records
Jim Mora was fired in Seattle after an 5-11 season and Pete Carroll is rumored to take over. Carroll seemed to want to coach college football when he was fired from New England and seemed to love his life at USC. Rumors are that there are NCAA investigations afoot at USC.
In Cleveland, Mike Holmgren is letting Eric Mangini have another go at it. Does he believe in Mangini?
What about a three-way deal of quarterbacks between Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington? Deals of that magnitude never get done and the Eagles would not need a quarterback in return for McNabb.
In Buffalo, coaching rumors are floating around. Brian Schottenheimer makes sense for the Bills, but there is a lot of work to do in Buffalo. Is Ryan Fitzpatrick the answer? Is Trent Edwards the answer? Terrell Owens will probably not be back.
Peyton Manning won his 4th Most Valuable Player Award.

Top Performers for the Regular Season:
300-yard passers (67-37, .644)
100-yard rushers (82-34, .707)
100-yard receivers (103-60, .632)

49:00-56:00 - StatMan’s 1st Annual All-Surprise and All-Disappointment Teams, Final Pick Results
StatMan’s 1st Annual All-Surprise Team
QB Matt Schaub HOU
RB Ray Rice BAL
RB Jamaal Charles KCY
WR Miles Austin DAL
WR Sidney Rice MIN
FLEX Steve Smith NYG
TE Brent Celek PHL
K Jay Feely NYJ
D/ST Saints NO

StatMan’s 1st Annual All-Disappointment Team
QB Carson Palmer CIN
RB Matt Forte CHI
RB LaDainian Tomlinson SDG
WR Dwayne Bowe KCY
WR Roy Williams DAL
FLEX Marshawn Lynch BUF
TE John Carlson SEA
K Shayne Graham CIN
D/ST Bears CHI

For the Pick Results in the regular season and the fantasy leaders in the regular season, see the Sports With The StatMan: Fantasy Football Edition – Wild Card Weekend blog.

56:00-63:00 – NHL Recap: Rangers sweep Bruins, Atlantic Division Winning, DP Is Back
The Bruins did not do well against the Rangers, losing 3-2 in Boston on Monday, and dropping a 3-1 decision in New York on Saturday.

The Rangers have played great lately. Michael Del Zotto got his first goal in 22 games on Saturday against Boston and Sean Avery has been very effective lately, especially against Dallas.

Every team in the Atlantic Division is winning. Philadelphia has now surpassed NHL .500 since Peter Laviolette took the reins (9-8-2). Last place in the Atlantic is in 10th place in the conference and the Islanders are only two points out of a playoff spot.

The Islanders lost another third-period lead, this time to Phoenix after the Isles went up 4-1, but the Islanders won in the sixth round of the shootout, 5-4. In that game, Phoenix were down a man for about 10 minutes because of some heady play by Dwayne Roloson. Ed Jovanovski was called for a major penalty towards the end of the first period and Phoenix coach Dave Tippett did not put a player in the box to start the second period. As the major penalty expired, there was no one to leave the box and you cannot bring a player off your bench to equalize the manpower on the ice. Roloson knew this and nullified two icings by playing the puck and kept the play moving.

Rick DiPietro is back to NHL action, losing on Friday to Dallas, 4-3. Martin Biron is the odd man out and will be traded soon. Detroit is only one point behind the Kings for 8th place in the Western Conference and they come to the Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night. The Devils play the Rangers in the only game this week between local teams.

Check out the Fantasy Hockey Edition blog for the statistical review of Week 14 and the preview of Week 15, including our Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em recommendations.

63:00-67:00 – Close: Upcoming Schedule, Next Week’s Show Preview
Next Week
Next Sunday night (January 17th), Sports With The StatMan (#42) breaks down the Divisional Championship round. The Jets-Chargers game will just be wrapping up as we go to air, but we will talk about all the games. In hockey, the Devils visit the Garden to take on the Rangers on Tuesday. Will the Bengie Molina signing by the Mets finally happen? We’ll talk about it all on Sports With The StatMan.

Upcoming Schedule
Saturday: Sports With The StatMan: Fantasy Football Edition – Divisional Weekend (blog)
Sunday morning: Sports With The StatMan: Fantasy Hockey Edition – Week 16 (blog)
Sunday, 8-9pm ET: Sports With The StatMan: No. 42 (live show)

* All blogs will be available on our “secondary” blog, which is called “Random Musings from the StatMan” ( You can listen to the show live at our show page ( or download the podcast, which is available 15 minutes after the show, either from the show page or from iTunes (search: Sports With The StatMan).

Here are the ways to follow along and get in touch with the show:
Show Page:
“Random Musings” blog:

Send your pro or fantasy questions or comments on the Show Page or the “Random Musings” blog, or you can send me a tweet. I’ll be sure to get back to you. Also, check the show page for times and schedules of our one-hour show and our Fantasy Football and Fantasy Hockey Editions.

No comments:

The Latest from MLB Trade Rumors

Total Pageviews