Saturday, October 6, 2007

Redskins vs. Lions


What they want to do:

On offense Washington will want to play ball possession football using the Clinton Portis-Ladell Betts tandem that has accounted for 309 yards and three touchdowns through the team's first few games. Being able to control the ball, and the clock, effectively will keep Detroit's horrid defense (382 yards per game - 28th in the league) on the field, keep their top-ranked passing game (313 yards per game) on the sidelines, while simultaneously taking pressure of of second-year quarterback Jason Campbell.

Defensively, the Redskins need to put pressure on Lion’s quarterback Jon Kitna. Kitna has played well in the Detroit's pass-happy offense so far this year, throwing for eight touchdowns and 1,227 yards through the team's first four games. However he has also thrown four interceptions, been sacked nineteen times and fumbled five times – three of which have been lost. The sack numbers indicate defenses have been able to get to Kitna and his gunslinger mentality means he will make bad passes when pressured. If the Redskins can force turnovers from Kitna (who has personally turned it over seven times already this year) they have a better chance of stymieing Detroit's offense and picking up the win.

How to beat them:

The Lions will want to turn this game into a shootout, it’s where they’ve been most comfortable this season; additionally, the Redskins quarterback, Jason Campbell, has been solid but at this point really isn't the type of guy you'd want passing the ball forty times trying to lead your team to a 41-38 victory. A shootout is even more appealing this week as one of Washington's best deep threats, Santana Moss, suffered a strained groin muscle in Week 3 and is unlikely to play Sunday (and would be seriously limited if he does).

Key Matchup: Washington’s Offensive Line vs. Detroit’s Front Four
Injuries to starter’s Randy Thomas (RG) and Jon Jansen (RT) have left the right side of the Redskins line severely decimated and although the Lions total defense is poor, the team is fourth in the league in sacks. For the Redskins to effectively control the ball and keep the pressure off of Campbell, the patchwork right side of the line is going to have to hold throughout the game.


Antwaan Randle El
On of the most athletic players in the NFL, Randel El is a big-play threat receiving, rushing and returning punts punts and can even throw pretty well if the Redskins want to throw in a trick play. A big play from Randle El could change the course of the game, both on the scoreboard and momentum-wise. The odds that Randle El will be able to make a game-breaking play increase dramatically if the Redskins can effectively control the ball and wear out the Lions defense.

Ladell Betts

While Portis is running as well as ever (4.7 YPC), Betts has thus far been unable to replicate last seasons success, rushing for only 2.7 yards per carry. The Redskins will be looking to run the ball and control the clock all game and to do it as effectively as they want to they'll need both their running backs to have solid days.


What they want to do:

Pass, pass, pass. The Lion’s are currently leading the league in passing yardage, throwing the ball over forty times a game, starter Jon Kitna has completed better than 71% of his passes and as a result the Lions are sitting on a 3-1 record and the fourth most points in the NFL. The past success, added to Kitna's gunslinger attitude and the immense talent the team posses at wide receiver means the Lions will be looking to pass all day yet again. The Redskins corners (Shawn Springs, Carlos Rogers and Fred Smoot) are all solid and the corps has good depth, however none is the kind of shutdown corner you'd like to have against a passing offense as potent as Detroit's. For Kitna this means there are no matchups to exploit per se and no defenders to avoid. Thus as long as Kitna can take what the defense gives him and avoiding getting tunnel vision on any particular one of his receivers the offense should be efficient enough to move down the field.

Defensively, the Lions will have to bend but not break – at least not too often. Based on the Redskins personnel it would be logical to try and make second year quarterback Jason Campbell throw as much as possible and not let the Redskins run the ball with Portis and Betts. However in the Lions case their pass defense has been terrible (30th in the league) whereas their run defense has been mediocre (17th in the NFL). The Lions will give up points, make no mistake about it – they're average thirty points against thus far in the season and have give up thirty-six or more in all but one of their games. And don't try to blame it on tough opposition – the teams racking up points against the Lions were Philadelphia (56), Chicago (37) and Oakland (36). The key for the Lions on defense is going to be to make a crucial stand or two and avoid giving up the big play.

How to beat them: Antwaan Randle El vs. Fernando Bryant and Stanley Wilson.

With Santana Moss hurt and unlikely to play Randle El becomes Washington’s only reliable deep threat. If the Lion's corners can contain him in the deep game the field is going to get a lot smaller and Washington is going to have a hard time picking up first downs and keeping control of the ball.

Wildcard: Calvin Johnson

The Georgia Tech rookie is the most naturally gifted of a very talented Lion’s receiving corps and may already be the best receiver on the team. If Johnson's back feels well enough to let him play on Sunday it will change the whole dynamic of the game.

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Crank that Redskin Boy

Yeah, you know how we do. GO SKINS! If you have a better site with this song feel free to post.

And just for old times sake, a little Eastern Motors up in the house, where your job is your credit.
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The MSM and dumb Red Sox fans are just straight ignorant

The headline of the lead article on is "Move over Papi; Manny's walk off sinks Angels" and the lead graph of the WaPost article states, "The Fenway Park crowd realized it was not going to get its towering, game-winning homer from David Ortiz, whose shoulders slumped with everyone else's in the old stadium when the catcher stuck his glove out for the intentional walk. But it could settle for one from Manny Ramirez."
The reason these statements grind my gears is because Manny Ramirez is the BEST HITTER on that team! You don't settle for Manny. Big Papi is a fat DH that only hits long balls in the tiny ballpark that is Fenway. His swing, in my opinion, has noticable exploitable holes. Yes, Ortiz does have some heroics on his resume, but Manny has been a dominant hitter in this league for over a decade. It should surprise no one that Manny is still the King of that team and provides massive protection for David Ortiz. Without Manny in that lineup, Ortiz falters because he doesn't have the complete game that would allow him to carry the load, like a Barry Bonds or an Albert Pujols. A perfect example of a big left-handed slugger without a more experienced, powerful contact hitter behind him is Ryan Howard in Philly. Yes they will put up stats because they can use their size to hit the ball out of the park, but they can't impact the game in any other capacity. Hence the reason Philly is down 0-2 and the Sox are up 2-0.
I know they were trying to get the righty righty matchup last night, but nobody should be surprised that Manny is the enforcer on that team. Manny did what Manny does and I'm glad yall got a reminder of how great a hitter he really is.

P.S. Dbacks and Rocks sweep

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Put a Halo around that Sox

Here's what we know about Game 2 between these two teams. Kelvim Escobar has been pretty good this year. He doesn't have a great track record generally speaking, as this was his break out year and could be an aberration, nor does he have dominant stuff once it comes to the playoffs. But he certainly is the most passionate Angel starter and that will help him in this game.
Dice-k on the other hand, has also been erratic and no one can really guarantee whether he will be the dominant force he is capable of, or if he does his best Matt Clement impression. Dice-k can be a little bit silly if he has his command but if he can't establish his change up or breaking ball early in the game it's going to be a long night for the Red Sox underworld.
So those guys are pretty much a wash in terms of deciding this game. The aspect of the game that you really need to pay attention to, and the key to the Angels getting the series back to 1-1, will be Chone Figgins and Orlando Cabrera. These guys at the top of the order have to get on base and they have to bring their speed into play. This Angel team does not rely on the long ball to get things done, they need to be taking the extra base whenever possible and sticking it to any defensive liabilities the Red Sox have. I do think the Angels will pull this one out. Vlad can win a game by himself and, as long as he's got some runners on base, he can put up some nasty numbers against Matsuzaka.

Angels 6, Sox 3

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sleeping at the foothills of the Rockies

Alright, well I guess I was sleeping a little bit on the Rockies. I think my bias stems from the Todd Helton days of old when he was a fantasy freak, pumped up by steroids and the thin air of their Mile High Ballpark. So, while I’m not totally convinced, I will throw them a little praise. Well done clowns.
However, I did say that the opening game would be low scoring (it was). I did say that Holliday is the best hitter in the National League (he is). And I did say that the Phillies had to win with Hamels on the mound or they would be sunk (and they are). The 10-5 thrashing in Game 2 on Thursday was the dagger. The Phils crafty lefty Jamie Moyer may be able to steal one, but I don't see it happening. Look for a sweep and a rested bullpen waiting for the Arizona Diamondbacks after they are finished with the Cubs.
That brings us to the game of the night. I am probably the only Diamondbacks fan on the east coast, but I've been with them since the beginning. Definitely went silly after they won in 2001 and am glad to see my boys back in a position of strength. The two pitchers tonight, Davis and Lily are almost identical players. Hired as quality pitchers used to eat innings, these lefties performed remarkably well during the regular season and know how to pitch. They don't have dominating stuff, so runs will be scored, but the game will hang in the balance until the cubs bullpen blows it yet again.

Dbacks 8, Cubs 6

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

First Round of the MLB playoffs

It's go time clowns. The regular season is over, and while I'd like to take the time to gloat over the demise and total destruction of the Mets, we have too much to cover and too little time to do it.
The final day and a half of the season left us with some very interesting match-ups that I think, contrary to what those cloned pundits say, is going to be ugly lopsided and a complete clusterf**k. There could be some good baseball played in there and the cream will rise to the top, but we need to weed through the pretenders and get to the legitimate squads that deserve to be crowned.
The first round of the playoffs will tell us a lot. I guarantee that while the fans are still feeling out the playoff teams, they are doing the same thing. So the teams that will get out of this first round will be the ones that are hungry, play sound fundamental baseball and more importantly have their superstars step up.

Wednesday Oct. 3
Rockies vs. Phillies

The Rocks are coming of a very emotional win, and both teams are coming off very emotional Sept. so expect this game to be relatively low scoring. I know they are both offensive giants and they will be playing in Phillies Tupperware container of a ballpark, but they are going up against the aces of the staff and will be tentative against a team that they don't normally play against.
Cole Hamels is the best pitcher left in the National League Playoffs and his change up is straight nasty. Not to mention, the Phillies have to win every single time he is on the mound to be successful and they know this. Relying on Jamie Moyer and whatever scrub they can round up will spell defeat and will catch up to them later on, but this first game will be dominated by the Philadelphia Sillies.
Jeff Francis got wrecked the last time he took the mound against this squad to the tune of 8 runs in 3.1 innings and still has too many problems with his control to be able to work around the raw power that is Ryan Howard. If you want to see a guy who has as much impact on the game because of his mere presence in the lineup, look no farther than Howard.
The Phillies have the best pitcher and even though they will face the best hitter (Holliday), he only bats .301 against left handed pitchers.

Phils 6, Rocks 2

Angels vs. Red Sox

I think I should tell the readers off the bat that I despise the Red Sox. Well probably more the fans than the team, but they are still a bunch of self-righteous whiners that can't handle their own inferiority.
With that being said, Josh Beckett is still more a part of the Marlin culture of winning that the Red Sox culture of choking and he is having a phenomenal season. By far, he this was his career year and if he can harness the intensity that he had in the 2003 playoffs the Red Sox will have a guaranteed "W" every third start.
I really like how the Angels take care of the baseball. They play great defense, especially outfield defense which is extremely underrated, and they run the bases better than anyone, which is also underrated. But it's those things that win close ball games and this series will be the best. I'm going to watch every game of this series because it is by far the best baseball you will see this fall.
Sox win the first game after a dominated pitching performance by Beckett and the Angels hope they can get Vlad healthy and ready to go before it's too late. Oh and that Sox bullpen is very shaky and they definitely need someone to step up and get the ball to the 9th or they will also be in trouble.

Sox 4, Angels 2

Cubs vs. Diamondbacks

The Cubs are definitely an exciting team and after watching Alfonso Soriano for a year in Washington they definitely have a player that is hungry, willing and capable of winning the game in so many different ways.
The D-backs, my boys, haven't been in this situation in a while and while they don't have an offense to speak of, they just straight win ballgames. They will scratch you to death with speed and desire, not to mention Brandon Webb has a silly sinker.
Both these teams have very similar styles of play so the determining factor will be the manager. Lou is a pro and he's got that team's head in the right spot. The Cubs should pull out the series but this game is all about the baby back ribs.
Carlos Zambrano is crazy, and when I say crazy I mean bordering on psychotic on the hill. He is going to flip out before the 4th inning and that metal collapse will happen even sooner if the umpire is unfavorable or the Dbacks put up some early runs. Brandon Webb is completely the opposite, and his stoic front which boarders on comatose will prevail. He'll keep Soriano off the base paths and the rest of the cubs will remain baffled at the dozen of groundballs he induces.

Dbacks 7, Cubs 3

That is your first day clowns. Like I said, we are still feeling out these teams and it should at least prove to be an eclectic playoffs.

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