Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Blind Side

The other night, I decided that I would go get a rare glimpse into the life of the Ravens rookie right tackle, Michael Oher. I went to watch the movie "The Blind Side" so that I could see, as a fan, a different side of a player's life. And I was extremely glad that I decided to go watch this movie.

Oher had a tough life, as we were shown how he grew up in the ghetto in Memphis. We saw how his mother neglected him in order to go get her fix with crack. We saw the decision that he made to not follow in the footsteps of the other kids in the neighborhood.

Then we got to see how a family, the Touhy's, brought him in and raised him as their own child. It was a very heart-warming story, and one that I am glad to have seen. Before, I heard the quick story of how a white family adopted a young black man, but I wasn't quite expecting some of the troubles and tribulations that both the Touhy's and Micahel Oher had to go through.

Without giving any parts of the story away, I thought that I would just have to give my unprofessional movie review and suggest that people go watch this movie, regardless if you are a football fan or not. Either way, I am sure that you will enjoy it, especially if you are a Ravens fan, because there is a nice little moment at the end that makes you proud to have brought this young man into the Ravens' family.

Michael Oher, with NFL commisioner Roger Goodell, on the day that the Ravens drafted him with the 23rd overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft.

Fantasy Football Wrap-Up: Week 11

So as the season goes on, it becomes more and more evident how hard it is to be consistent at fantasy football. As I look at my leagues, this goes not only for me, but for everyone else in my leagues. Unfortunately for me, I went 1-3 in my four leagues this week, with my only win coming in my worst league.

So my team Big Heads Beer Belly was able to pull off my second straight win after loosing my first nine games. This was actually my second straight week where I scored the most points out of anyone else in the league. This week's final score was 128.2-117.64, knocking my opponent out of first place. I was led by Wes Welker and Sidney Rice, who each scored over 20 points, but I had solid performances by most of my other players to edge out Calvin Johnson's and Drew Brees's big days by my opponent. Even though I don't any chance of making the playoffs with my 2-9 record, I am still going to try to put a good team together so that no one in my league has an easy week.

Now for all the bad news of the week. First with my team Ray Rice-A-Roni, where I was barely edged out of a victory by a score of 124.94-116.86. The most disappointing thing about this loss is that I had the second highest total in the entire league, I just happened to be matched up against the team that scored the most. Calvin Johnson once again killed me by putting up 22.1 points for my opponent, as well as Vernon Davis putting up 16.8, DeSean Jackson and DeAngelo Williams each adding 15, and the rest of his team at least scoring seven. My team looked good as Ricky Williams put up 31.8, Aaron Rodgers put up 23, and Sidney Rice put up 20.9, but that's about all I had going for me. Needless to say, I came up just short to drop 7-4, which still makes be tied for second place somehow.

My other league that I still have a decent chance of getting into the playoffs in is with my team OherTheSteelers ToWinTheNorth. I had another close loss in the league, this time against the team that is in first place, so this was a tough pill to swallow. Matt Schaub let me with 24 points as Ryan Grant also added 19, but a trio of players putting up 18 (Tom Brady, Greg Jennings, Hines Ward) was just enough for my opponent to beat me by a final score of 93-85. This put me at 6-5 and tied in second place with three other teams, so the playoff picture is going to be tight up until the final snap of week 13.

And for my final team, Ed Reediculous, which is looking more and more as though I will miss the playoffs as I lost 139-112.5 to take me to 3-8, tied for last place. Tom Brady's 23.5, Laurence Maroney's 17, and a solid performance by many of my other players just wasn't enough as his entire team blew up, including Calvin Johnson's 22, Sidney Rice's 20, and many others that were able to score nearly 140 points for my opponent.

All in all, it wasn't a good week for my fantasy teams, but for two of them, I am in prime position to secure a playoff spot, giving me a chance to continue playing fantasy football for a little while longer.

Just Not Enough to Take Down the Undefeated Colts

The Baltimore Ravens had a hard fought game on Sunday afternoon against the AFC South leading Indianapolis Colts. The Colts came in as one of two remaining undefeated teams, joining only the New Orleans Saints. The Ravens knew that they were going to have to play extremely well to shut down Peyton Manning and his high powered offense, and for the most part, they did. The Ravens came up just short of pulling up a huge upset that would have drastically shaken up the AFC North.

The Ravens defense was able to hold the Colts offense to only 17 points, which in most games would seem like enough to pull off a win. However, once again, the Ravens offense struggled to finish their drives, and were only able to amass five Billy Cundiff field goals for 15 points. Cundiff made five of his six field goal attempts in his Ravens debut, with his only miss seemingly being the could have been game winner. But before people start pointing fingers at Cundiff, we may need to look at a few other situations that could have given the Ravens this must needed win.

With 12:08 left in the fourth quarter, the Ravens got a first and goal on the one yard line, ran the ball three times, and did not get into the end zone. With the Ravens offensive line, and running backs such as Le'Ron McClain, Ray Rice, and Willis McGahee, there is no excuse for not getting seven points out of that drive.

The other play game later in the fourth quarter, with 2:49 seconds left. Joe Flacco dropped back to pass, and threw an interception to Gary Brackett on the Indianapolis 13 yard line, well within Cundiff's range to add three points and give the Ravens the lead. No excuse for throwing a pick. It was a great defensive play by Brackett, but as the leader of the offense, Flacco should have been more careful with the ball.

It was an extremely disappointing loss for the Ravens, especially since both the Steelers and the Bengals lost on Sunday. So instead of staying in the same third place position, the Ravens could have moved up to be tied with the Steelers, and only one game back of the Bengals. But since that didn't happen, the Ravens probably can't afford to lose another game, especially one to the Steelers. And they will get their first crack at Pittsburgh come Sunday night when the Steelers visit Baltimore.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Horseshoes are Back in Town

On Sunday afternoon, the former Baltimore football franchise comes back into town as the Colts take on the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. This is probably going to be the toughest game that the Ravens have played this season, which isn't a promising statement considering the Ravens have already lost four games. Not to mention, Peyton Manning owns the Ravens, with a record of 6-2. The last time the Colts lost to the Ravens was on December 2, 2001 when the Ravens won 39-27. Since then, it has been all Colts. The last meeting with these two teams came last year when the Colts destroyed the Ravens in Indianapolis by a final score of 31-3.

The Colts bring their undefeated 9-0 record into Baltimore after a last second come from behind victory over the Patriots on Sunday night. It may have been somewhat of a gift from Bill Belichick as he went for it on the now infamous fourth and two, and didn't get it, giving Peyton Manning a short field, which is never a good idea.

Honestly, I want the Ravens to win so badly, and I'll be there screaming at the top of my lungs in section 522, as if it is going to help the corners cover Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. But I do not have a good feeling about this game. Domonique Foxworth hasn't lived up to his contract, and Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb aren't shut-down corners. The only hope the Ravens have is that there is a strong pass rush, which may be even more unlikely now that Terrell Suggs is out for an extended period of time. Let's hope Paul Kruger can live up to his hype.

And the Ravens offense needs to show up. They only scored one offensive touchdown on the Browns! That's unacceptable. Period. Monday night should have been a 38-3 trampling, not a 16-0 slopfest. Ray Rice keeps doing his thing, but Joe Flacco has looked average at best lately. They need to take advantage of this banged up Colts defense and put some points on the board.

My prediction for this week (as I forgot to get online and put one up last week) is not going to please the masses around here. Peyton Manning is just too good. Even though I want the Ravens to pull off this upset, I feel that they will lose. And the final score I am guessing is 34-17, a game that Peyton Manning puts away in the early fourth quarter. Let's hope I'm wrong about this, but after watching the games that each one of these teams has just played, I do not see any other outcome.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Fantasy Football Teams: Wrap-up For Week 10

Believe it or not, if you have been paying attention to my fantasy football wrap-ups, I have finally won a game in my one league! Thanks to my friend Ian for putting together a dismal performance this week. It was actually quite impressive as I put up 111.46 points, bringing my wonderful team Big Heads Beer Belly to a respectable 1-9 record. I was led this week a host of players, including LaDainian Tomlinson's 21.6 points, Sidney Rice's 20.1 points, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh's 16.5 points, just to name a few. Peyton Manning's 28.54 and Jonathan Stewart's 20.2 just wasn't quite enough as my opponent only put up 80.84 points. That's enough excitement for a 1-9 team.

Now for my team Ray-Rice-A-Roni, the league where I was in first place. I was unfortunately bumped off of my high horse, as I lost 108.62-94.96. Sidney Rice and Aaron Rodgers combined for nearly 40 points, but it wasn't quite enough as Chris Johnson blew up with 35.2 points and Brandon Marshall added 26.3 to give my opponent a much-needed victory. I am still tied for first place, but with two other teams. We'll see if my line-up can show up for me this week.

Now for my embarrassing match up of the week. My team OherTheSteelers ToWinTheNorth, I got extremely blown out by a score of 113-51, but it wasn't my entire fault. I mean, what was I supposed to do when Kurt Warner, Adrian Peterson and Reggie Wayne all go for over 20 fantasy points each? But at the same time, my team really pissed the bed. Matt Forte gave me 16 points, and the Vikings defense added 10. Besides that, no one else broke double figures. But hey, let's look on the bright side; I'm tied for second place with a 6-4 record, but in a very tight league. It'll be interesting coming down the stretch in this one.

And for my final league with my team Ed Reediculous. I had a tough loss in this league, which may or may not have knocked me out of the playoff contention for good in this league, sending me to 3-7. I lost this match up by a score of 97-90. Tom Brady gave me 33, L.T. gave me 21, and T.J. 16, but it wasn't enough as Rodgers added 25 points, Frank Gore 18 points, and the 49ers defense 17 points for my opponent. It came down to the wire; I just didn't have enough fire power in the end.

So I still have hope in two of my leagues, as I sit toward the top of the standings, but I have all but been eliminated from the playoffs for good in my other two leagues. It'll be interesting to see how I fair in the coming weeks, but let's hope I can be updating this section of my blog until the end of the season.

All Eyes On Cundiff

As Matt Stover gets set for his triumphant return to Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium, all eyes will be on the Ravens newest addition, kicker Billy Cundiff. Cundiff is going to be this city's savior now that the Ravens have cut Steve Hauschka, or at least he better be.

After Hauschka hooked yet another field goal, and got an extra point blocked, he was cut last night, and today, he was replaced by Cundiff. Cundiff has kicked in five games this year for the Browns, going six-for-six on field goals and four-for-four on extra points. The most shocking thing about this is that I didn't even know the Browns had scored four touchdowns this year for him to make these extra points, but apparently, they have.

We'll see what happened Sunday, as Cundiff has one chance, and if he fails, who's the next guy up in this position?

Our savior, Billy Cundiff, shown above, making a game winning field goal as the Browns stomped the Bill earlier this season 6-3.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Win is a Win

So it may not have been very pretty last night, but the Baltimore Ravens pulled out a victory, sweeping the season series against the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens offense struggled throughout the night, as the Ravens defense was able to pitch a shut-out, their first shut-out since week 12 of the 2006 season, when they dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 27-0 victory.

The defense only allowed 160 total yards to the Brady Quinn driven Browns offense, forcing two turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Dawan Landry. The often invisible Chris Carr happened to be in the right place as the right time as he added the other pick. I was very impressed with the defense, but then again, it was the Browns, who are arguably the worst team in the NFL. We'll see what happens this upcoming week as Peyton Manning and the Colts visit M&T Bank Stadium.

The offense was quite worrisome, as we were only able to score one offensive touchdown, by none other than Ray Rice, who seems to be the lone bright spot on this Ravens offense lately. Joe Flacco shows some good plays throughout the last few games, but overall, has struggled the last three games. Flacco has not broken the 200 yard passing mark since week six against the Vikings.

And as for the special teams unit... I don't know how else to say this, except that Steve Hauschka is gone. He just misses too many kicks, and isn't even booting the ball on kickoffs. I would be surprised if he is kicking for the Ravens come Sunday.

So as the Ravens have improved to 5-4, they still have a long road ahead of them, which starts this week with the undefeated Colts. Let's hope that the defense can make Peyton Manning even resemble Brady Quinn, but I'm not betting on that one.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Fantasy Football Teams: Wrap-up for Week 9

So after starting this new segment, I actually had a decent week in fantasy this week... except for my forgotten team, which we will get to. But first, for the more positive teams this week.

As I told you last week, I was tied with a number of teams for first place with my team OherTheSteelers ToWinTheNorth. I was able to pull out another victory in this league to improve to 6-3 and remain tied with only one other team for first place. The final in the fantasy battle was 89-73, where I had a balanced attack with Matt Schaub scoring 16, and Ryan Grant and the Falcons defense both adding 15, easily overcoming Aaron Rodgers, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Cedric Benson, who scored 59 of my opponents 73 points this week.

My team Ed Reediculous was able to pull out a victory as well to improve my record to 3-6, hanging on to any slim hopes of this team making the playoffs. This was a rather convincing victory as I won with a final score of 89.5-59. Tom Brady put up 23.5 for me, Laurence Maroney and the Falcons defense each put up 14, and John Carney, my kicker, even added 12 for me to easily overcome Phillip Rivers and his 23 points, as only Andre Johnson was able to reach double figures with 10 for my opponent.

Now for my best team, Ray Rice-A-Roni, where I now sit in first place by myself with a 7-2 record as I was able to defeat my opponent 95.14-85.73, a match-up that came down to Monday night as I took on the team that was tied with me going in. I had to give my thanks this week to Aaron Rodgers, as he put up 24.24, the Steelers defense, as they put up 21, and Ryan Grant, who put up 15.6. My opponent has a balanced attack with Joseph Addai putting up 23.2, Peyton Manning putting up 15.92, and Broncos defense putting up 13. However, it wasn't enough, as I pulled it out. Things are looking good for me in this league.

However, things are not looking good for me in this next league, where my team Big Heads Beer Belly fell to 0-9, pretty much making sure that I finish in last. Once again, it wasn't really close, as I lost 88.12-72.12. I guess it's a sign when my defense, the Steelers, put up the most points with 21. Matt Schaub did have 12.32, and Matt Forte added 10.7, but no one else really gave much of an effort as Aaron Rodgers' 22.92 along with Steve Breaston's 15.1 led a large of enough charge to put me away for my ninth straight loss.

However, I did go 3-1 on the weekend, putting up decent points in every league, but not really blowing anyone out of the water. But as long as I did enough to get by, I am satisfied with my teams this week. We'll see what next week brings to me.

Some Teams Just Want It More...

It's taken me a few days to even want to relive the embarrassing performance put on by the Ravens this past Sunday against the Bengals. Baltimore now faces an uphill battle the rest of the season that will test every aspect of the team.

Once again, the Ravens defense let Cedric Benson run for over 100 yards, seemingly destroying the reputation that it is hard to run on the Ravens. One cause for this may have been that Haloti Ngata did not suit up, despite any positive thoughts I was allowing myself to believe going into the game.

After a few early scores by the Bengals, the Ravens defense did tighten up, not allowing any second half points, but overall, it wasn't their most impressive performance. The receivers were somewhat contained, but because of sub-par efforts on both sides of the ball, the Bengals dominated the time of possession battle by twice as much, 40 minutes to 20 minutes.

And I have no idea what our new, high-powered offense was doing on Sunday. The Ravens offense was averaging 28 points a game coming in and they were only able to put up one touchdown on Sunday. Without Ray Rice and his 135 yards of total offense and one touchdown, our offense would have been non-existent. And for the first time in his short career, Joe Flacco looked, how can I put it nicely, god-awfully terrible.

But hey, the Ravens may be down, but they are most certainly not out. This upcoming week, the Ravens play the cure-all Cleveland Browns, and man, do they need it. The Ravens need to regroup and get back on the winning track, as they have a tough schedule down the stretch.

Ray Rice and Cedric Benson both have good offensive days, both accumulating over 100 yards.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Big Game Against the Bengals

The Ravens travel to Cincinnati this upcoming Sunday to take on the Bengals, which is going to be an extremely intriguing game. The Bengals are coming off of a bye week, so they have had two weeks to prepare for the Ravens. And you know they were very interested in that Ravens beat down of the Broncos last week. Fans are going to be tuned in to see who learned more from the first meeting between these two teams when they took on one another on October 11, a game in which the Bengals took 17-14. I expect a similar type of game this week.

If I am John Harbaugh, I am worried that Carson Palmer is going to do what Kyle Orton didn't: throw the ball down field. And a lot. The Bengals are going to force the secondary to stop their talented receivers. Chad Ochocinco has had an extremely productive season, and they have a few other capable receivers with the likes of Chris Henry, Andre Caldwell, and Laveranues Coles.

In order for the Ravens' secondary to perform well, they will need to rely on the pass rush up front. And this could be a big problem this week, as Haloti Ngata is nursing his injured ankle. If he can't go, the likes of Justin Bannan and Kelly Gregg are going to have to fill his role, with help from the rest of the defensive line. However, Ravens defensive coordinator feels good about Ngata's chances to play, saying, "I think Haloti will do what he has to, to play." This is great news for Baltimore. If the Ravens defense can play like they did against the Broncos, they should be able to pull out another victory. The Ravens need to shut down Cedric Benson just as they with the Broncos running attack, as well as containing the receivers.

We'll see come Sunday. I'm going to add another new twist to this here blog, and that is my weekly prediction of the Ravens game, and maybe a few other games here and there. So this week, I'm taking the Ravens to put on a good performance, beating the Bengals 24-13. We'll see what I know come Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Some People Just Aren't Team Players

If it's not Terrell Owens on the 49ers, it's Terrell Owens on the Eagles, or the Cowboys, or even on the Bills. But what do you know? Now it's Roy Williams on the Cowboys. Even though I really can't stand the Cowboys, for once, I have to be on Tony Romo's side. Williams is complaining that Romo can't throw the football correctly to him. But it seems to me that someone else on his team, Miles Austin, is doing just fine with Romo throwing him the ball.

Williams still thinks that he is the number one receiver, which on a depth chart, he might be. But since Williams has been in Dallas, he has played 16 games, only catching 33 balls for 447 yards and three touchdowns. This season, Miles Austin has 26 receptions, 563 yards, and six touchdowns. Now who would you consider the number one wide receiver? I just wish people like Williams, and Owens for that matter, would just keep their mouths shut and not express their insecurities to everyone when maybe, just maybe, someone else is a little bit better than you. Or at least realize that you are playing a team game, and be happy for your team, especially when they are winning.

Be Thankful We Live In Baltimore

There are a lot of pathetic teams in the NFL this season, and a few front offices around the league are actually starting to admit it. Let's be thankful that we either live in Baltimore, or that you route for the Ravens. The two teams that have been in the news this week are the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Browns.

As for the Redskins, none other than Daniel Snyder, the owner, spoke out to apologize for the team's performance this season. Snyder is an extremely wealthy individual who rarely speaks out about how the Redskins are playing and how he spends his money. However, at a charity event on Tuesday, Snyder spoke out about the embarrassing play of his team. Snyder's words were, "It hurts. It really hurts. We are really trying very, very hard, everyone at Redskins park, the coaches, the players. The organization's quite frankly held together well, and I think we've got an opportunity the rest of the season to hopefully get it going. But to date, we've let everyone down, including ourselves, and we know that and we're just apologetic. We've blown some games that we obviously should have won." He was also asked about other issues this season, such as banning signs and other forms or protest inside his stadium this season, which he declined to comment on. Personally, I do not think that this man knows much about football, and it is evident in his exorbitant spending on his players, which obviously isn't working out for the Redskins. They have lost to some pathetic teams this season, giving the Lions, the Panthers, and the Chiefs their first wins in quite some time, as well as barely edging out the Rams and the Buccaneers. And as for their upcoming schedule, I do not see them winning many, if any, of their remaining games. They do play at the Raiders, but that isn't a guarantee by any stretch of the imagination.

And now for the Cleveland Browns, who may even be worse than the Redskins. In this case, the Browns owner, Randy Lerner, met with two die-hard Browns fans who are attempting to have a protest at the Ravens @ Browns Monday Night Football game on November 16. Fans Mike Randall and Tony Schafer met with Lerner for two hours on Tuesday. The protest that they are trying to hold is to make sure that no Browns' fans enter the stadium until after kickoff on the Monday night game to show the nation that the fans aren't happy with the Browns' futility. After the meeting, Randall said that it went well and that Lerner was receptive to his ideas and that Lerner is "doing everything he can to improve the Browns" and "he wants it to happen- now". Well, then he is going to have to do a lot- now. The Browns are terrible. Awful. They just had George Kokinis removed as general manager, who head coach Eric Mangini handpicked to hold that position. How is it Kokinis' fault when he was been there for less than a year? And from what I have heard, Kokinis is a great NFL mind. He came from the Ravens, so I'm sure he has a good track record. But hey, who am I to say that it isn't his fault, with two futile quarterbacks in Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson. Since the new Cleveland Browns have been around since 1999, they have only made the playoffs one time and just continue to be basement dwellers year in and year out. What a terrible time to be living in Cleveland. Not only is their football team appalling, but the other night, in the World Series, their last two opening day starters took on one another in Game 5 as C.C. Sabathia took on Cliff Lee, and it seems as though LeBron James may or may not come back to play for the Cavaliers.

Like I said Baltimore, just be thankful that we live in Charm City. Yeah, the Orioles might be struggling a little bit, but they are turning things around (keep your fingers crossed), but hey, we have the RAVENS! Needless to say, just take a look down 95 at the Redskins and across the division at the Browns, and no matter what, you will always be having a better day here in Baltimore.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Fantasy Football Teams

Every Tuesday for now on, I am going to add a new weekly segment on how I faired in Fantasy Football. I'll give a quick update on how I have done thus far, and recap this past week's performance by my teams.

I am in four leagues right now, and I am all over the place with these teams. In no particular order, these are my team names along with my record and what place I am in:

• Ed Reediculous- 2-6, and in 12th place, out of 12 teams

• OherTheSteelers ToWinTheNorth- 5-3, tied for 1st place, but in 4th place because of point total, out of 10 teams

• Big Heads Beer Belly- 0-8, obviously in 10th place, out of 10 teams... pretty embarrassing, I know

• Ray Rice-A-Roni- 6-2, tied for 1st place, but in 2nd place because of point total, out of 10 teams

So like I said, I am either doing quite well, or I am embarrassing myself by putting my teams out there. Let's take a look at what just happened to me this past week.

Ed Reediculous was up all weekend until the Monday night game rolled around, where I had the Saints kicker John Carney left to play, but my opponent had a few players left, including Drew Brees, Pierre Thomas, and Jason Elam. Needless to say, Brees and Thomas decided to put up some decent numbers, giving my second straight defeat in this league with a final score of 79.5-62.5. LaDainian Tomlinson and LeSean McCoy both had decent days for me, scoring 17 and 15 respectably, but when Brees put up 24.5 and Thomas put up 19, I didn't have much of a chance with the rest of my team deciding to not show up.

OherTheSteelers ToWinTheNorth gave me a much better result as I was able to pull off a Monday night come from behind victory to secure a 90-85 victory as Marques Colston put up 14 points for me. This was my second straight victory in the league, which was helped out a lot by Matt Forte, who put up 24 points for me, which is his best fantasy week this season, and makes my first round pick of him look much better now. Forte's big day was enough to hold off my opponent's big day put in by Steven Jackson's 21, as well as Phillip Rivers and Matt Stover each adding 13.

Big Heads Beer Belly has been a disappointment for me all season long, and this week was no different. My team doesn't look bad on paper, but week in and week out, my players just do not show up for me. I was handed my 8th straight loss this week by a final score of 101.48-69.66. Most of my scoring came from two players, Tomlinson and Forte, who scored combined 41.7 of my team's points. It is getting a little ridiculous now. My opponent could have beaten me with just a few of his players, led my Chris Johnson who had a break out day with 35.9 points by himself. Vincent Jackson added 16.3 for him, and Miles Austin and Matt Stover also both added 13 points. It looks like the number one pick next year is mine for the taking.

But now for my best team, Ray Rice-A-Roni. I was able to put up solid numbers this week in this league thanks to solid contributions by every player on my team, led by Roddy White's 16.8, LeSean McCoy's 15.2, and Matt Ryan's 13.46. The final score that helped me break by two losing streak was 89.96-61.98. It was an easy victory against the last place team in this league, whose best contribution came from Percy Harvin's 14.6 and the Titans' defense 14. Besides these to point totals, he didn't have a whole lot of promise.

I hope the first installment of my fantasy football recap has been entertaining, and I hope to be able to have some better results in the future. Trust me; I hate to lose, so putting a few last place teams together is not making me very happy.

Saints Hang On Late Against the Falcons

What another great game for a Monday night. This season has been full of great Monday night matchups, and last night did not disappoint. Coming in, two high-powered offenses were ready to put up a lot of points, and scoring was not hard to come by in the Louisiana Superdome. The Saints' defense held off the last minute charge of Matt Ryan and the Falcons to win by a touchdown.

After the Saints won last night, they have solidified themselves as a top team both in the NFC and the NFL. Along with the Colts, the Saints are the only other unbeaten team in the NFL. And the Saints have beaten some pretty good teams, including the Falcons, the Eagles, and the Giants, as well as taking care of teams that they should have dominated. Drew Brees is a lock to make the Pro Bowl right now, and has got to be at the top of the league when it comes to the MVP discussion. He has so many weapons on offense this year, having completed multiple passes to eight different receivers, led by Marques Colston, on Monday against the Falcons. Even with Brees throwing for over 300 yards, the Saints rushing game also put on a dominant performance, rushing for 146 yards, led by Pierre Thomas. And with the offense being so great, it is hard to believe that the defense has been just as impressive, recording three interceptions and three sacks on Monday night, and looking dominant week in and week out.

But let's not forget about the Falcons, who still have hopes of making the playoffs, most likely as a Wildcard team with the Saints making a run at an undefeated season. If the playoffs were to start today, the Falcons would be the first team left out, as they are currently in seventh place in the NFC. And after last night's performance against an impressive Saints team, the Falcons look as if they can play with the best teams in the league. I expect them to play well in the coming weeks, playing opponents such as the Redskins, the Panthers, the Buccaneers twice, the Jets, and the Bills. They also play the Giants, the Eagles, and the Saints again, but if they can pull off one big win as well as sweeping all of the sub-par teams, then the Falcons should be sitting pretty as the playoffs start. Matt Ryan, despite a less than memorable game last night, is still having a great season. Before last night's game, Ryan has 11 touchdowns to go with his six interceptions. This gap has now narrowed to 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions, but he still has a respectable quarterback rating of 82.4. The Falcons also have some great weapons on offense with Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez as Ryan's two favorite targets, combining for 10 receptions, 197 yards, and the only receiving touchdown against the Saints. And let's not forget about Michael Turner out of the backfield, who broke out with 151 yards in the ground, adding a touchdown himself. Turner showed a lot of burst and power last night, as exemplified by his one run where he broke a tackle from every player on the Saints defense, or so it seemed. Needless to say, the Falcons should not be counted out yet, but they do have some work to do in the coming weeks.

As the NFL reaches the halfway point, the upper echelon of teams is starting to separate themselves from the rest of the league. In the coming weeks, the playoff picture is going to become much clearer for a lot of teams. It remains to be seen who is going to step up and continue to play well, but Monday night showed two top candidates for the NFC Championship game.

Matt Ryan and Drew Brees look to lead their teams into the playoffs. Was last night's Monday night game a preview of the NFC Championship game?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Unbeaten Never More!

After a winless October, the Ravens were able to knock off one of the only remaining undefeated teams by crushing the Broncos yesterday afternoon. The Ravens took full advantage of the bye week, preparing masterfully to shut down the Broncos offense and taking full advantage of every offensive possession. Even the special teams showed great signs of life by scoring a lot of the Ravens 30 points.

Lardarius Webb took the opening kickoff of the second half 95 yards to the house to give the Ravens a 13-0 lead, and the Ravens never looked back. He has cemented himself as the kickoff return man, and should also be out there on punts. The Ravens coaching staff are still hopeful that Chris Carr can contribute on special teams, but I think that Carr should be an emergency back-up.

Steve Hauschka also had a great day, making all three of his field goal attempts as well as adding three extra points. This should take away any concerns that people have about Hauschka after he missed the field goal against the Vikings as time expired two weeks ago.

The Ravens defense only forced one fumble on the big hit that Ed Reed delivered to Knowshon Moreno, and they were only able to get two sacks on Kyle Orton, but as a defensive unit, they played very well. Terrell Suggs dropped an interception that he could have easily taken to the end zone, but his hands didn't quite cooperate with him. It was a great sign to see them shut down some extremely skilled receivers, holding Brandon Marshall to only four catches for 24 yards, and not allowing any Bronco to gain 50 yards rushing or receiving. This is a great sign as the Ravens get ready to play another talented offensive unit in the Bengals this upcoming Sunday.

The Ravens offense was impressive itself, as they scored a pair of touchdowns, one by Derrick Mason on a 20 yard pass from Joe Flacco and one by Ray Rice on a seven yard run. The Ravens' receiving core looked impressive as they are all starting to be trusted more and more by Flacco. Todd Heap grabbed three balls and reached a personal milestone as he now has 400 career receptions.

All in all, the Ravens looked impressive, putting them back on track to make a run at the playoffs. They are going to have to continue to play well as they have a lot of tough games coming up, including the Bengals, the Colts, the Packers, and two games against the Steelers. Let's all hope that they can do what they did this Sunday for the rest of the season.

Lardarius Webb returned the opening kickoff of the second half to give the Ravens a boost of momentum coming out of the locker room.