Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts
Joe to Greg
Another week’s worth of games means another week’s worth of discussion. You and I both predicted that Adrian Peterson would come out on fire after the tragic events of his son but that never came to fruition. Denver actually got a little competition from Jacksonville and another undefeated team went down. Don’t forget that the NLCS and ALCS are going on as well. I’ll be honest, following the Patriots last-second touchdown over the Saints, I couldn’t go through another emotional roller coaster with the Red Sox in Game 2, Sunday Night. They went down 5-1 and after Max Scherzer recorded his 13th strikeout, I figured it was over. But then Scherzer didn’t come to the mound for the 8th inning and the rest is history.
Any big thoughts from the weekend’s games? And also any thoughts on the MLB Postseason thus far.
Greg to Joe
The baseball postseason has been something else. It seems like it is a normal for at least one starter per night to take a no-hitter into the 6th. It has been crazy. The Red Sox game was unreal. I was with Heather at home and we heard David Ortiz crush that ball. We looked up and saw Torii Hunter BARELY missed that ball. Had Torii caught that? The Red Sox might have been looking at a 3-0 deficit assuming Verlander pitches as well as he did in Game 5 of the ALDS. Then again, the Red Sox have been down 3-0 before and won a series so who knows. That will be a great series.
In the NLCS, the key is Hanley Ramirez. He is an absolute stud. He has finally returned to the hitter that made him the runner-up for MVP in 2009. He is a member of the 30-30 club, and he, not Yasiel Puig, was the key to the Dodgers turnaround. The Dodgers are 41-45, including postseason, when Hanley doesn’t start. If he is able to withstand the pain from a fractured rib and start the rest of the series, this series is going to 7 games.
In football, I didn’t watch a lot of the games because I was traveling a lot on Sunday. I know that the Ravens lost a very close game. The Patriots game stunned me. I saw the Saints take a 4 point lead and then we shut off the TV for dinner. I went on my phone to see the same score go final, but it hadn’t. I couldn’t believe it. Also, fantasy football is a crazy game. Random studs and duds each week, but we both got the call right about Terrance Williams. Played well with his touchdown grab.
Baseball thoughts or any interesting happenings in the NFL this week?
Joe to Greg
I didn’t even mention how close Hunter was to that ball. BARELY is an understatement. If the Sox had lost that game I would’ve called off any hope for a World Series this year. You aren’t winning 4 out of 5 games against the Tiger’s pitching staff when you’re in an 0-2 hole.
Between the two series; ALCS and NLCS, I think that the NLCS has a higher chance of going seven games. I agree that Hanley is the key and I’m expecting Kershaw to come back with a vengeance and earn a W with his expected slated start in Game 6 in St. Louis.
We both got some nice production out of Terrance Williams and I’m looking for that to continue as the Cowboys travel to Philadelphia this week for a divisional game. Some things to keep in mind for the Williams’ doubters: Miles Austin continues to drown himself in leg injuries which is evidence by his 0 receptions for 0 yards last week. Combine his ineffectiveness with the annual DeMarco Murray injury, there is a chance that Williams will see an increase in production. Murray injured his knee in Sunday nights game against the Redskins and is considered questionable for Philly as of 10/15. My baseball thoughts are more of a wait-and-see approach. As big of a supporter as I am for Boston, I enjoy watching great games more than anything and both series have had their fair share of excitement. I’m just looking for memorable moments so thank you, David Ortiz and thank you, Max Scherzer for your performances.
A quick note also, we are matched up against each other this week in ESPN. I’m already predicting a loss for myself because Drew Brees is on his bye but you never know till it’s over. I think our matchup could be a potential playoff matchup when that time comes around. I like both of our teams in this league, I feel I’m lacking a solid RB group though. My most consistent RB has been Danny Woodhead and I’ve only have him for three weeks.
I have a couple of things to bring up for the new week. One being the return of Peyton Manning to Indianapolis. There are multiple reasons I’m interested in this game. 1) I’m looking forward to just the general reception of Manning coming back to Lucas Oil Stadium. 2) How Andrew Luck will fair coming off a below-average performance Monday night against the San Diego Chargers. 3) The first REAL test for the Broncos Offense (Baltimore: 17th*, New York: 24th, Oakland: 13th, Philadelphia: 32nd, Dallas: 30th, and Jacksonville: 22nd). That is the rankings of yards allowed per game for each respective team’s defense. Clearly the Broncos haven’t met much resistance. I marked Baltimore with * because it was the first game of the season. It would be a much different game if the two teams were to play again now; although I believe the Broncos would still prevail. I also like the Pittsburgh-Baltimore rivalry game this week. I always love watching arguably one of the best rivalries in football in action.
Any thoughts on the NFL for Week 7?
Greg to Joe
The Red Sox have been horrendous. Lets be honest. And they STILL are up 2-1. I can’t explain that. The truly only explanation is that’s how baseball is.
The Cardinals are a win away from being in the World Series and rightfully so. They are the best run organization in baseball. Period. They have so much talent at the major league level and they have the farm system to keep up the level of Major League level excellence. I just can’t wait to watch the Cardinals dominate baseball for the years to come.
I don’t think that Terrance Williams is going to be the biggest beneficiary from the DeMarco Murray injury. That has to be Joseph Randle. The Cowboys face defenses that are sub-par against the run and could easily dominate those teams on the ground. Brian Waters has made all the difference for the offensive line. Randle with benefit, assuming Murray is even out.
I can’t make a good lineup in the ESPN league so don’t even worry about it.
This upcoming week is Steelers’ week. That is honestly the only thing I care about. I only want to Ravens to go into Pittsburgh and dominate the Steelers. I doubt this happens, but it is honestly the only game I care about. The Luck-Manning game should be fun to watch. I think that we will get another one next year because the Colts and Broncos will win their divisions easily. I think Peyton gets the better of Luck this time around. If Luck can find a way to lead the Colts to victory with a monster game, his shot at winning MVP just went up. Manning can start off as hot as he wants; if he can’t finish, he won’t win MVP.
My bold prediction for this week has to be New England loses this weekend unless Gronk finally comes back. And even then, I still think the Jets handle the Patriots at home.
Bold predictions for this week, and you still have a Sox World Series title even though they can’t hit in this ALCS? I still feel good about the Cards even after the loss today.
Joe to Greg
I wouldn’t go as far as to say they have been horrendous. They rightfully lost Game 1 and stole Game 2 with the help of Scherzer being pulled an inning too soon and Big Papi’s heroics. They edged out a 1-0 win in Game 3, and straight up lost in Game 4 last night because Jake Peavy just didn’t have his stuff. The first three games were all decided by one run each so sure their bats are cold, but they still managed 12 hits last night to. Just a side note on last nights game…Dustin Pedroia talked after the game about a botched grounder he could’ve turned into a double play but ended up becoming a fielder’s choice. At the time the Tigers had just scored one run, if Pedroia turns two on that play, there was already an out in the inning and they get out relatively unscathed. Instead of one run, it turned into five…I’d say that makes a big difference in the game. Detroit has dominated the pitching as expected and Boston’s lineup can’t produce runs other than Big Papi. No need to be concerned on my end, it’s a best of three now.
I don’t have many bold predictions for the week, I think now I’m expecting both the ALCS and the NLCS to go to seven games. I really hope the Ravens can win but I feel like regardless of their records, each year the Ravens and Steelers play two tough hard-nosed games. Best of luck.
Greg to Joe
Joe… I understand you a Red Sox fan, but when I made my claim, they were up 2 games to 1 and have been the worse team over the course of the series. Game 4 was decided by that Pedroia error, but the Tigers added more runs later so I still they they would have won. However, there should have been no outs on that fielder’s choice anyway because Stephen Drew was not even in the same area code as 2nd base when he got the out there.
Now onto their batting and how the Tigers have dominated them, but the Red Sox have not done so to Detroit, but the Sox have still managed to keep this series tied. Lets look at some season averages. The Red Sox had a .44 BB/K, 20.5% K%, and .271 batting average (2nd in the MLB). The Tigers had a .49 BB/K, 16.4% K%, and .283 batting average (highest in the MLB). That batting average for Detroit is much high than what I would expect from them now because Miguel Cabrera is hurt and that batting average has about 130 games from Johnny Peralta at SS and 50 from Jose Iglesias. With Iglesias in the lineup, that batting average drops. I would expect them to have a lower batting average than they did in the regular season, but the Red Sox should be similar if they weren’t being dominated. Detroit, this series, has a .41 BB/K, 20.1 K%, and a .242 batting average. I would say that the Red Sox pitchers have done well, but I think a small dip in the numbers is expected because of the colder weather, and the reasons I stated above. Now the Red Sox… they have no excuse except they have been dominated. When I made my “The Red Sox have been horrendous this series” claim, they had a stellar batting average of… .133! That’s super duper if you’re a pitcher! Except, the Red Sox are all top notch hitters, not a lineup of pitchers. Now with Game 4, they were able to raise that to .186. Still below the Mendoza line (.200, for those who did not know). Now get this, the Red Sox have a BB/K of .21 this postseason. In other words, they have 53 strikeouts to 11 walks. That’s not good. They can’t get on base or put the ball in play to even get sacrifices. Those 53 strikeouts in 140 plate appearances give them a K% of 38%! That means about 3.42 batters strike out every time the Tigers pitchers go through the lineup! If you say those stats aren’t horrendous, that’s a your judgement call, but to me, they are. In Game 2, they got lucky to have all their offensive production come at the same time so Ortiz was up with 3 men on base instead of 1 or 2. Scherzer was laboring, he needed to be taken out, but I think Leyland mismanaged the relievers. That’s how they got their lucky Game 2 victory. Game 3 was just 1 of their 4 hits went out of the park and the Tigers 6 hits were just too scattered to put together a run.
I will give the Red Sox this… Their relievers, led by former Oriole great Koji Uehara, have been great (13.1 IP, 10 K, 9 H, 8 BB, and 0 ER) and pitchers good enough, but their offense has 110% been horrendous, in my opinion.
Greg Danchik and Joe Meola
Check out my Fantasy Corner article at BucStop.com!
My apologies for my brief absence away from the “Game of the Week” column. The column started in Week 3, which saw a game between the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons. Without recapping the game, the teams are heading in opposite directions. The Dolphins are 3-2 and tied for second place in the AFC East. While the Falcons have had a rough start, going 1-4 and taking on more injuries every week. Now why are we talking about Week 3? Well with Week 6 on the horizon, the big game of the week is….
Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos… Ok. Ok. I’m joking.
New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots
Case for the Saints: The Saints sit alone atop the NFC South and when I say “alone”, I mean ALONE:
Saints 5-0 (@ NE)
Panthers 1-3 (@ MIN)
Falcons 1-4 (much needed Bye)
Buccaneers 0-4 (vs. PHI)
Now that doesn’t mean that the Saints can ease up on the gas pedal now. They get a bye in Week 7 so coming in with momentum, and an unblemished record, means a lot. Following the Seattle loss to Indy this past weekend, the Saints are now in sole possession of the number one seed in the NFC. But before we get ahead of ourselves, how did they get there? Well it starts with the defense…through five games, they have forced 11 turnovers. Having a positive turnover margin means your creating more opportunities for your team rather than the other. Also, they have this player named Drew Brees, who would be competing with Peyton Manning for MVP so far if there was a competition. The Saints have also found their biggest threat in Jimmy Graham, the match-up nightmare tight end. Graham is in the ranked in the top 3 for receptions, touchdowns, and yards. He’s a tight end that is leading the league in receiving yards and he’s always a threat against whatever defense he plays.
Case for the Patriots: I made a contract with myself that prohibited me from talking about the Patriots’ season until they were healthy/improved. While they are in no way there yet, I must discuss some small matters in light of their upcoming game. Without criticizing too much, their offense needs to improve. Yes, I know Gronk is out/coming back soon, but there is enough talent there to make some noise. I think this game means more to the Patriots because all of a sudden, they have two teams right behind them in the division. Both the Jets and Dolphins are 3-2, while the Pats are 4-1. All three teams are in action this week, so the division lead is on the line. Tom Brady‘s 52 game streak with a touchdown pass was snapped last week so look for Brady to come out throwing after tough weather conditions last week. This game is more important for division implications and because of that, I think the Patriots will have enough to win. Remember, the Patriots defense is notorious for giving up yards, not points. They’re ranked second in the NFL, giving up 14 points per game
One Dud: In my first and only “Game of the Week” Column, I predicted that Stevan Ridley would continue to upset owners. While he’s hurt right now, don’t expect a big day from Julian Edelman. For those lucky enough to ride his production so far, Amendola has returned, Gronk is returning (EDIT: Doubtful for Sunday), and Kenbrell Thompkins gets more redzone and deep ball targets. Edelman was nice while he was getting targets, but its time to move on.
Terrance Williams, WR Dallas Cowboys
Miles Austin is hurt and all of a sudden Williams is the #2 wide receiver for Tony Romo. Coming off a game against the Denver Broncos in which he tallied 4 receptions for 151 yards, and 1 score, he now faces the Washington Redskins. If you didn’t know already, Washington has given up 9 touchdowns through the air, good for tenth most in the NFL. Plus, Romo is coming off arguably one of the best games of his career, and he’s going to be looking to throw the ball.
Pick: New Orleans Saints 24 – New England Patriots 31
Record since Week 3: 3 – 0 (home team in CAPS)
3 – MIAMI over Atlanta (W)
4 – NEW ORLEANS over Miami (W)
5 – Denver over DALLAS (W)
6 – NEW ENGLAND over New Orleans
***Contact me if you have anything sports related or interesting you want to talk about. Maybe I’ll mention you in the Week 6 Spar***
Greg to Joe
The Broncos and Cowboys play a historic game, Tom Brady‘s passing touchdown streak comes to a halt in the pouring rain, and we have baseball games every day. It was a pretty awesome weekend in my opinion. I also want to point out that the Braves were ousted in the 1st round of the playoffs, just saying that I predicted it would be worse, but there would be no way they got past the Dodgers or whoever they faced in the NLDS.
Joe to Greg
I’ve had a brief hiatus from writing my “Game of the Week” Column. So as a note to myself and others, expect one this week regarding the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints. I loved this weekend in sports but I’m excited to answer your questions so lets jump right into it:
Greg to Joe
Love the Red Sox answer. The reason I think it is possible is Koji Uhehara had a historic season for a reliever, and gave up a home run to Jose Loboton… JOSE LOBOTON! Obviously, it was just one at bat, but could it get into his head? Maybe. The Patriots thing is interesting to me. I think they have a shot to stumble if when Gronk comes back, the offense isn’t on the same page for a couple games. We’ll see.
Joe to Greg
Well luckily I didn’t have to stay scared for long. The Red Sox showed their toughness last night after facing 9 different pitchers. My fantasy team in ESPN won again, making me 5-0 and feeling good. Speaking of which I just offered you a trade but in Yahoo, my miserable 2-3 season continues. I lost again after pulling the team back to .500 so I guess we’ll see where that takes me. I like the way that the Cardinals are playing and I’m expecting them to pull of the Game 5 win against the Pirates. The Tigers and A’s series is intense after the questionable home run call on a potential run-saving catch by the A’s Josh Reddick. Going into Game 5 I’m happy mainly because they are playing while the Red Sox rest and their starting rotation remains unblemished. With Verlander starting Game 5, who knows what other pitchers could pitch in that game a la Tampa Bay last night.
Greg to Joe
I doubt we get a trade done in that ESPN league. I’m not going to make a trade where I give up the two best players in a 4 player deal. I’ll look into a counter offer, but I doubt anything comes of it. Just ain’t happening. Red Sox were able to get that series win and will host whoever wins tomorrow night’s pitching duel of Sonny Gray and Justin Verlander. In my playoff predictions piece, I have Verlander getting roughed up in Game 5, and I think that is what happens. Look for the Athletics to go into Boston, and try to steal home field advantage in Game 1 of the ALCS.
Joe to Greg
I know Frank Gore isn’t better than Matt Forte but he’s definitely a better option than James Jones in my opinion. I’d take San Fran’s number #1 RB over one of three different WRs the Packers have, but that’s just my opinion. Jones is great but I feel like he’s more prone to a slow or unproductive day. Both are great players to have anyways, since they both have totaled somewhere between 60-65 fantasy points each in ESPN PPR leagues. Regardless I just like proposing trades and seeing where they go, you’re probably the fourth person I proposed something to this week. I think it’s interesting to see how people think of trades compared to my own thoughts.