Monday, September 21, 2009

NFL Week 2

Just more of me being a closet sports writer....

Falcons 28, Panthers 20:
No real surprises here. Tony Gonzalez is definitely going to be an asset for the Falcons. Panthers looking like they've taken a step back from a year ago, which most people predicted would happen.

Vikings 27, Lions 13:
Favre looked really good, but consider the competition. Vikings are 2-0 but they haven't beaten anybody worth noticing.

Bengals 31, Packers 24:
Bad loss for the Packers. A team with playoff aspirations like Green Bay can't lose home games to the dysfunctional Bengals.

Texans 34, Titans 31:
Somewhat unexpected shootout. Have to start wondering if the Titans defense can play up to the level they were last year.

Raiders 13, Chiefs 10:
The numbers would have you wonder how the Raiders won this game, but they got it done. They kind of look like a team that's going to play 60 minutes and not give up anything easy.

Jets 16, Patriots 9:
Ok, so Mark Sanchez is better than I thought. Tom Brady hasn't really been himself yet. New England may have some cause for concern.

Saints 48, Eagles 22:
So the Saints seem to be getting all of the hype right now. Drew Brees does look like an MVP candidate right now, but let's not forget that they haven't made the playoffs the last two years.

Redskins 9, Rams 7:
Do we really have to acknowledge that this game happened. I guess, good for the Redskins for not taking a bad loss at home.

Cardinals 31, Jaguars 17:
Cardinals bounce back nicely after a disappointing opener. The NFC West looks more competitive this year so they'll need to be more consistent than they were last year.

Bills 33, Bucs 20:
Right now, I think the Bucs are one of the worst teams in the league. Their defense can't seem to do anything and Byron Leftwich is their quarterback. Long season for Tampa Bay.

49ers 23, Seahaws 10:
Surprise, Matt Hasselbeck gets hurt. 49ers are looking strong to start the season though.

Bears 17, Steelers 14:
Good win for the Bears. Jay Cutler bounced back nicely and got the job done. Kind of wondering about the Steelers after they barely get by a Titans team that lost at home to Houston this week. Not looking like a super bowl team at the moment.

Ravens 31, Chargers 26:
Chargers had a chance to win at the end, but the Ravens defense made plays when they needed to. Joe Flacco is looking very solid for them. They could be the best team in the AFC right now.

Broncos 27, Browns 6:
So the Broncos are now 2-0, against the Bengals and Browns. So far Cleveland looks like one of the worst teams in the league after not being very competitive at all in their first two games.

Giants 33, Cowboys 31:
This loss goes on Tony Romo. His 3 interceptions turned into points for the Giants. Watching this game, it looked like the Cowboys offense is most effective when they commit to the run. Romo isn't consistent enough yet to be the focal point of the offense.

Colts 27, Dolphins 23:
Dolphins lack of a vertical passing game cost them in this one as they couldn't move the ball down the field fast enough with the game on the line. I believe it also cost them the ability to get the ball into the end zone as they were forced to settle for field goals most of the night (4 made, 1 missed).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

NFL Week 1

Just some thoughts on what happened in Week 1, game by game.

Pittsburgh 13, Tennessee 10 (OT):
I watched this game, although on DVR. I got the impression that Pittsburgh played the better game, but wasn't necessarily overwhelming. Tennessee was getting pressure on Roethlisberger through most of the game, but couldn't keep it up for 4 quarters. Tennessee had their opportunities in this game and could have come out with a win had they capitalized.

Atlanta 19, Miami 7:
I didn't see this game, but the score is no surprise to me. Both of these teams were huge surprises last year with high expectations coming into this season. I kind of had the hunch that Atlanta would be the more likely of these two teams to live up to expectations.

Denver 12, Cincinnati 7:
The way Denver got this win seems a little bit fluky, but that's kind of how things work with the Bengals. I wouldn't be surprised if they finish with the worst record in the league this season. The Broncos didn't really show me anything that has me believing they'll be relevant this year.

Minnesota 34, Cleveland 20:
I did watch this game, and my impressions were that the 2nd half was about what I expected from the matchup. Brett Favre was essentially a game manager as Adrian Peterson really got going in the second half. Cleveland actually led in this game at halftime, but as I expected, the Vikings completely took over in the second half. My impressions of Brady Quinn are about the same as before, I don't think either he or Derek Anderson are the answer in Cleveland. When you have 2 quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks.

Indianapolis 14, Jacksonville 12:
Historically the Colts are a high scoring offensive team, but the Jaguars certainly aren't. This matchup usually is close as it's an intense rivalry, so I don't think Colts fans have a great deal to worry about, yet. Even if I don't believe Jacksonville is a playoff contender, this is one of those games that the Colts just have to find a way to win.

New Orleans 45, Detroit 27:
This score is about what you would expect from this game. The Saints have one of the best offenses in the league, and the Lions have one of the worst defenses. The Saints are one of those teams that we really don't know what we're going to get from them this year, and the Lions aren't a great measuring stick so we will continue to wait and see on them.

Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21:
The most encouraging thing about this game for Dallas is the fact that Tony Romo threw for 353 yards, and didn't appear to miss T.O. in the offense at all. Although, he did it against Tampa Bay who appears to be rebuilding this season. Dallas is another team that we will have to wait and see on.

Philadelphia 38, Carolina 10:
The biggest impression I got from this game is that Jake Delhomme is no longer a reliable quarterback at the NFL level. Between this game and their playoff loss against the Cardinals last year, he looks like he doesn't have much left in the tank, if anything. Good start for the Eagles, who come into this season with high expectations after last year's playoff run.

Baltimore 38, Kansas City 24:
I don't have a lot to say about this game besides the fact that Joe Flacco is for real. Kansas City kept this closer than I would have expected so we'll see if they turn into one of those teams that gives you everything you can handle, even if they don't have the talent to match up.

NY Jets 24, Houston 7:
This is the one that surprised me the most. The Texans have been hyped up as the team that potentially be a playoff dark horse in the AFC. On Sunday, they didn't look like it at all. Mark Sanchez showed a lot more than I expected from him, maybe that's why he's starting already instead of Kellen Clemens.

NY Giants 23, Washington 17:
Watching this game, I felt like the Giants were in control, but not really dominating. Not sure if they brought their A game. I didn't buy into Jason Campbell before this game and nothing about his performance made me change my mind.

San Francisco 20, Arizona 16:
Good win for San Francisco, bad loss for Arizona. The Cardinals needed to come out strong in their opener to establish themselves as legit, instead of the one year wonder that many people think they are. The season is not over for them by any stretch, but they have a long way to get back to where they were last year.

Seattle 28, St. Louis 0:
Nice way for the Seahawks to start the season, although against the lowly Rams. Some expect them to bounce back after a disappointing season last year and this game is a good sign of that possibility.

Green Bay 21, Chicago 15:
The worst thing about this game for the Bears was losing Brian Urlacher for the season. Jay Cutler's performance wasn't very encouraging either. Don't know that there is too much to read into on the Green Bay side. Many have picked them as a dark horse team to win the NFC North, although I am of the opinion that the Vikings are a little better.

New England 25, Buffalo 24:
The Patriots are probably just relieved that they came out on top in this one. To be down 11 at home to a team like Buffalo that few people have high expectations of is a bit of a disappointing performance. Sometimes the Patriots will do that though, and then come out with a big statement game so we'll have to wait and see what they do against the Jets.

San Diego 24, Oakland 20:
The Raiders showed me a lot more than I was expecting of them, but it still wasn't enough to get the job done. The biggest impression I had watching this game was that the Raiders passing game needs to improve significantly before they can expect to play with the top teams. For 3-1/2 quarters, San Diego's offense struggled to get going, but really came alive with 2 touchdowns in the last 5 minutes of the game. The Chargers have been a slow starting team the last few years, so for them to come out of this with a win is encouraging even if it was against an opponent most believe they should handle. Over the last 2 seasons, this is the type of game the Chargers would have lost early in the season.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Might Be Narcissistic

I don't know if I am or not, but I think a lot of my posts on Facebook might be evidence of that. Shoot, having this blog might be evidence of that. Work is about as busy as I've ever been since I got the job. We are in the process of developing a new product for adult language courses and while development for that is going on, I'm basically on my own to maintain our existing system. Under normal circumstances, I would be assigned around 10 bugs to work on but at the moment I have 25 - far more than I have ever had. This last week was a really busy one as we were working extra long hours trying to get our existing system integrated with one of our schools. The documentation they gave us could be described as poor quality at best as they sent us a few different documents that seemed to be telling us different things. As a result, I worked past 7 both Thursday and Friday last week and on Sunday. Kinda interfered with a few things that I wanted to do, but I guess if I've been at a job for over a year and really only had it interfere with my personal life 3 times, that's probably nothing to really complain about.

Can't say a whole lot has happened in my personal life since Suzanne's visit for 4th of July weekend. A lot of ultimate frisbee and bike rides up Provo Canyon. I did find out some exciting news recently that we are going to get an In-N-Out Burger here in Orem. I knew they had plans in place to build one in Draper and had sites picked out in American Fork and West Valley City, but somehow all I ever heard about Orem was that they were looking at different locations. But as it turns out, they've had the location for the Orem store picked out since March and actually started construction earlier this month. Progress of the construction seems to be going rather quickly as they've already got the frame of the store up. Yay for In-N-Out coming into Utah. If every McDonald's was replaced with In-N-Out Burger, the world would be a better place.

Then there's my world of video games. Lately, I've been playing NCAA Football a lot and I still seem to play NBA 2k9 a lot too, even though basketball season has been over for 2 months now. Not sure why but I really like playing with the Orlando Magic. Maybe because I like to shoot 3-pointers and dunk a lot, both of which they are good for. I bought the new Madden, but I'm not exactly overwhelmed by it. I guess I'm just more interested in college football than pro. I've played some Rock Band and Guitar Hero recently with the new downloads they've had, but I spend nowhere near the same amount of time with those as I did, say a year ago.

SPORTS SECTION, Stop Reading Here If You Don't Care:

Football season is finally close to starting. It seems like a lot of so-called "experts" are picking BYU to finish 3rd in the Mountain West this year like they did last year. I'm a little more optimistic than that though. They have the TCU and Utah games at home this year so that could go a long way in determining how well they do this year. I believe they will win at least one of those two games. I don't have a lot of faith in them beating Oklahoma unfortunately. The game is going to be in Dallas so it's basically going to be like a home game for Oklahoma. Pretty much the only way BYU wins that game is if there is something really wrong with Oklahoma's passing game that day because BYU unfortunately doesn't have the athletes on defense to compete with Oklahoma's offense - not many teams do. Florida is easily the favorite to win the national championship as they won it last year and returned a significant number of players. The only team I really see having a shot to beat them though is Texas, who probably should have had a shot last since they did beat Oklahoma by 10 on a neutral field. USC will be good as they always are, like probably top 10 good, but since they are starting a freshman at QB, I think there is a good chance this year for Oregon or Cal to take the Pac-10 title away. Penn State might have a shot to go undefeated and play in the national championship game as their schedule is pretty easy. One thing I don't understand is that there seems to be a growing number of people that see this as a huge breakout year for Notre Dame. Let's not forget that they lost a home game to Syracuse last year. No doubt they should be better, but I see them being more like an 8-4 type of team than the 11-1 or 12-0 that people like Lou Holtz are saying. But Notre Dame usually is overrated so we probably shouldn't be too surprised.

NFL is starting soon too thankfully, although with my new calling I'll have to be staying at church later than I'm used to so a lot of games for me will be on DVR. One crazy thing I see happening is it seems like entire divisions have either gotten better or worse. Most notably, the NFC North is almost certainly better as Brett Favre and Jay Cutler have entered the picture. Also, I could see the Packers being a lot better than last year as Aaron Rodgers will probably be more capable as a leader after having a year under his belt. You also have to believe the Lions will be better than the 0-16 they were last year as up is the only way they have to go. The NFC South is the division I see having the biggest drop off. Carolina and Atlanta were both surprise teams last year, and I see both of them taking a step back. Carolina more than Atlanta though as they haven't made significant improvements. Tampa Bay is likely to take a huge step back as their quarterback situation looks like a mess and they had what I thought was an unnecessary coaching change. I think New Orleans will probably be about as good as they were last year, but this year it might be good enough to win the division. I see the NFC East being the strongest division like they usually are but I'm not necessarily buying the hype. I think the Giants will struggle replacing Plaxico Burress as their leading receiver, as we saw their offense struggle late in the year after the gunshot incident. Maybe not as much as right after the incident happened, but you just can't replace a guy with his skills. The same goes for the Cowboys and T.O. The Eagles seem to be the media darlings in that division, but I could definitely see the unfortunate loss of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson hurting their defense and forcing them to win more shootouts this year. Then there's the Redskins. I still don't buy Jason Campbell as a pro qb, he probably won't ever be much more than a game manager his entire career. Albert Haynesworth is a great addition to the defense if he stays healthy, but as we saw last year, that's a big IF. In the AFC East, I pretty much expect the Patriots to retake control of that division. I think the Dolphins overachieved a little last year going 11-5 and they'll come back to the pack some. The Jets are replacing Brett Favre with rookie Mark Sanchez so I don't really expect much of anything from them. The Bills offense will probably be better with T.O., but they are still nowhere near being in the same class as the Patriots. With Jay Cutler out of Denver, the Chargers look like a virtual lock to win the AFC West. The only way they don't win it is if they beat themselves. AFC South could be interesting as the Titans proved to be better than we thought last year, but between the loss of Albert Haynesworth and their poor playoff performance against the Baltimore Ravens, I kind of see them coming back to the pack a little and the Colts probably come out on top with Peyton Manning not coming back from knee surgery at the beginning of the season this time around. The Texans are a team that several people in the media think could be a surprise this year, although I kind of think they might still be a year away from breaking out. Last of all, there's the NFC North. Pittsburgh looks like a favorite to win that division again, unfortunately. Baltimore will probably be good again, but more like borderline playoff team than division contender. Cincinnati and Cleveland will probably both be bad again like we expect. To sum it all up, I think the Packers will make the biggest jump this year. I also see Seattle, Buffalo, and San Francisco being better too. I see the biggest drop off coming from Tampa Bay or the Jets, with the Dolphins being in that group too. I see the AFC likely coming down to the Colts, Patriots, Steelers, or possibly the Chargers although I think Norv Turner may be the reason they fall just short of contender status. The NFC is basically wide open. There are about 8 teams that could be considered contenders for the conference but also be borderline playoff teams (Giants, Eagles, Cowboys, Vikings, Bears, Panthers, Falcons, Cardinals). Take your pick, I can't decide from that group.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Post #1

Ya, I couldn't think of a more clever name for my first post so... whatever. Today is the 4th of July and like the last 3 I'm spending it in Orem, UT. My sister Suzanne is here for the weekend so I'm happy to have her around. She's been here since Thursday afternoon and we've had a fun, busy weekend since. Thursday was kind of the lazy night since all we did was go out to Sizzler for dinner. The steak was good but I'm debating whether the shrimp I had led to my lack of sleep that night. Friday's activities included tennis and my brother Doug's weekly movie night. I think it's safe to say that none of us are tennis players, because I was arguably the best one out of the 4 of us. For me to be the best at anything athletic in a group doesn't say much for the group. Friday night we had pizza from Papa John's for dinner. My sister Christine did something that had me wondering. She didn't eat the crust from the pizza, but she ate the breadsticks that we got. Maybe this is just my opinion, but don't the breadsticks from Papa John's taste exactly like the crust? For our movie night, we watched The Italian Job (in HD on Doug's projector). I think that was about the 5th time I've seen that movie. For me to watch a movie that many times says a lot. This morning Suzanne and Christine were in Sandy hanging out at Christine's boyfriend's parents' house (that's a lot of apostrophes). I figured they wouldn't be back for a while so I went ahead and played ultimate frisbee like I do most Saturdays. I had a few good catches, but some terrible throws. I don't know what it was but this morning it just seemed hard for me to run too. This afternoon we went to Timpanogos Caves. That was pretty cool so I recommend it to anybody that hasn't been. I took some pictures which I plan to upload to Facebook later ( I was told that the caves would be cold, but after the long hike to get there I was actually not cold at all once we were inside. Hiking has become more of a hobby for me recently as it's great exercise and Utah has a lot of nice places to go. We had a BBQ in the evening with burgers and dogs and then went down to Provo to see the fireworks. I actually fell asleep as we were driving back to Orem since it took us an hour. Thankfully Doug's truck has a TV monitor in it so we watched a few Simpsons episodes on the way back. Now I'm back for the night and I just finished doing the dinner dishes since I was too lazy to help at dinner time. So that's how I spent my 4th of July.

The following section is intended for sports fans so non-sports fans can quit reading here:

As far as sports news goes, I think it would probably be most appropriate to talk about the unfortunate death of Steve McNair. McNair spent most of his career as the quarterback for the Tennessee Titans. He played in a few pro bowls and led the Titans to their only Super Bowl appearance. McNair was always a guy who was well respected by his teammates, the media, other players throughout the league, and fans. My first memory of McNair was in 1995 when he was drafted by the Houston Oilers. I was living in Houston and my friends were excited for the possibility that he was going to turn the Oilers around. McNair went on to have a great career, even though the fans in Houston didn't really get to be a part of it after the Oilers moved to Tennessee in 1997. McNair was always a guy that I respected and wanted to see do well, even though he played for Bud Adams who is now the nemesis of football fans in Houston. During his entire career, I don't remember there ever being any incidents with teammates, coaches, the media, or off the field. He was basically everything you could hope for from a pro athlete. As of this moment, nobody really knows who shot him or what any possible motive might have been but whatever the circumstance, this is a gross crime and there is no justice in this lifetime for whoever did this.

After McNair, it's hard to go on with anything else, but I do have some opinions about other news in sports. The NBA offseason has already been busy with several big names moving. The trade I think will have the most impact at this moment is Richard Jefferson going to the Spurs for Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas and Fabricio Oberto. This deal is essentially a salary dump for the Bucks who are now tied to contracts that expire at the end of the upcoming season rather than Jefferson who's contract I believe runs until 2012. What this does is it gives the Spurs another guy on the perimeter than can score which will really help the Spurs since Manu Ginobili seems to be hurt more often these days so Jefferson can step in and give them the offense they need. Shaq was the biggest name that was moved, although it is questionable how much impact he can have at his age. He had a productive year with the Suns this year, although it wasn't good enough to get the Suns into the playoffs. The other big name that moved was Vince Carter. I don't have a particularly high opinion of Vince because he has in the past admitted that he basically quit on the Toronto Raptors before they traded him to New Jersey. I've also heard speculation that he's been a guy that doesn't get along with teammates very well. He's going to the Orlando Magic as essentially a replacement for Hedo Turkoglu, who the Magic are almost certainly lose to free agency. I don't like this deal for a couple of reasons. For one thing, I think the Magic had something really good going with the team they had and would have had a better chance of getting back to the Finals and possibly winning if they kept that team together. In sports, when your team has a window of opportunity for a championship, you do what it takes to keep that team together even if financially you have to be in the red for a few seasons. If you do win, the team does make a fair amount of money from the playoffs and if you show the organization is committed to winning, the fans will often stick with the team even during a rebuilding process. As far as I'm concerned, the Magic are risking their ability to be a title contender on a guy with questionable character, and hurting the depth of the team in the process, just to save some cash. In other news, the Lakers and Rockets aren't trading Ron Artest for Trevor Ariza, but it looks like they are going to be switching teams. For many, Artest is going to be one more reason not to like the Lakers, although I believe the Lakers come out better as long as Artest doesn't have any meltdowns. He was one of the reasons why the Rockets were able to push the Lakers to a 7 game series in the playoffs as a nuisance to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers other perimeter players. Ariza's biggest impact on the Lakers playoff run was most notable when they played the Denver Nuggets and he hit several 3 pointers and made big steals in games 1 and 3 of that series to help the Lakers win. Without question though, Artest is the better player. The biggest upside with Ariza probably going to the Rockets is the fact that he is much younger than Artest, which is probably good for the Rockets because they may be forced into a rebuilding mode soon with Yao's future possibly in doubt. I also believe the Artest move solidifies the Lakers position as the favorite to win it all next year.

In baseball news, there isn't much. I don't follow baseball that closely until the pennant races really start heating up. For now, I just want to say that it's a bunch of crap that Manny Ramirez got to play minor league games during his drug suspension. This is a terrible precedent as Manny was able to play live baseball for a minor league affiliate of his team. He should serve the full 50 games with no activity with any team that is affiliated with Major League Baseball in any sort of way. If he or the team decides he needs to go through the minors to get the timing back on his swing or anything like that, he can do that after the 50 games are served. As far as I'm concerned though, Manny basically served a 40 game suspension.