Wednesday, January 26, 2011

KU: The Dirk Says...Know Your Role

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The clamoring has grown so loud that Thy Dirkness cannot even sleep at night. Friendly requests have evolved into impatient demands, and have transformed my mind from peaceful bliss into a Miles Davis song. The time feels write to right about some KU basketball.

It hadn't felt like College Basketball season until last night, when KU traveled to Boulder, Colorado, where the rich phonies were nice enough to break out the "Fuck you Kansas" chant as well as the "You Live In Kansas" signs. You stay classy, Colorado.

I'm not sure if it was the loss to Texas or the near-conclusion to the NFL season, but I was completely unable to embrace College Basketball until this week. Now I feel like busting out of my hibernation ala Jeff Withey last night, who still had his PJ's on with sleep creases all across his face. Can somebody get that man a 5-hour energy?

Well, that's the end of my comedy bit intro (which I practiced in front of the mirror this morning, only to see a toothless hobo staring back), so on to the meat of the article. I thought what better way to dive back into KU then a reprise of last year's article (commented on by the very hated Jason Whitlock, back pat) defining each and every player's role on the team (ranked in importance to the team's success), complete with a player comparison (indicated by *). Cue role play music....

Marcus Morris- Mar-Mo. I learned more about the Jayhawks in their loss to Texas than I did in their 18 victories preceding it. For starters, MarMo was poised to take over down the stretch. He demanded the ball and took it right to the rim when he got it. He is good enough to carry the Jayhawks to a National Championship this season.

Markieff Morris- Mo'Kieff. Of course, what's a star player without an identical twin? Mo'Kieff needs to amp up his role as an NHL-like enforcer. Let Marcus handle the pretty stuff, while Markieff does the dirty work. Don't allow easy baskets, intimidate anybody that shows good fundamentals, and most importantly, continue to lead the Big 12 in rebounding.

*Morrisi player comparison: Lopez Twins, Stanford (Stick with me here. Similar how Brooke {'Cus} focused on scoring while Robin {Kieff Dogg} focused on rebounding and defense. Only the Morrisi don't have pansy girl names.)

Tyrel Reed- Three-rel. I've noticed that we're beginning every game with a called set to get Tyrel an open 3 now. I'm cool with ThReed shooting every time he's open, even if that's 10-12-15 times a game. *Lee Humphrey, Florida Gators.

Tyshawn Taylor- Ty-Tay. Seems to have finally accepted his role on the team. He's not out there trying to do too much, but still pushes the envelope enough to pose a threat to the defense. Needs to improve his defense, along with the other KU guards, who are giving up too many easy layups right now. *Rajon Rondo (poor man's), Boston Celtics.

Thomas Robinson- T-Rob. A swat waiting to happen on both sides of the floor. TRob can cement KU's "rough team" status by steadying as the team's third low-post option. Not many teams can match that 1-2-3 punch down low, which means he could feast on white, backup centers nationwide. *Joey Dorsey, Memphis Tigers (specifically his dunk and staredown on Colehelm).

Josh Selby- 1-And-Dumb. My biggest fear heading into The Big Dance is Selby using the stage to showcase his skillz as a springboard into 1-and-done infamy. Interesting to note that Self wasn't playing Selby down the stretch last night against Colorado in one of his best games of the season. If he isn't shooting lights out, he's usually the worst player on the court. *J.R. Giddens, New Mexico Lobos.

Brady Morningstar- Cornbread. Morningstarch. WhiteShadowStar. StickyFingerz. Alright, that's enough. It's best for Bradayyy to play his defense and just not get noticed much. Although, he has been heating up lately. *Billy Hoyle, White Men Can't Jump.

Mario Little-Big Man. Clearly the laziest player and biggest disappointment on the team. However, could be an interesting X-factor come NCAA Tournament time. He's still behind right now (as always) but should be at his peak come March. *Generic Michigan St. forward, Michigan St.

Travis Releford- Bobbleheadeford. Hate that he got injured because I feel he's good enough to take on a bigger role. He might be a year away now, but still love his energy off the bench. *Richard Jefferson, Arizona Wildcats

Jeff ChenoWithey- Ol' Whitey Swats. Can't get over his on-court posture. Just imagine coaches yelling at him, "Hey, Jeff," only for him to respond 3 seconds later, Spicoli-style, "haha, what?" "Just continue swattin' shots and brickin' Alley-oops, Whitey." *Yao Ming, China (thought I was goin Chenowith there didn't ya?).

Elijah Johnson- Soul'jah Boy. Jah'Rule. Still waiting for Elijah to do something worthwhile. *Rodrick Stewart, Lithuania (can't wait for 'Jah to break his leg in the Final 4 this year).

Royce Woolridge- Royce Gracie. My only note on Woolridge reads, "Nice name. Nice airball." *Mugsy Bogues, Wake Forest.

Jordan Juenemann- J.J. Birden. Keep gopherin' balls for refs and playin' to the crowd while squeegeeing the floor. *Juwanna Mann, Charlotte Banshees.

Niko Roberts- The Slinky. Keep hanging out with KU roadies Sasha Kaun and his cyka. *Kyle Speed, Grand Canyon.


Dirk Noss

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NFL Championship Game Reactions

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  • I can't believe people are buying the injury reports on Jay Cutler surfacing the day after the pussiest (Brian Urlacher's words, not mine) performance we've seen in an NFL playoff game since LaDainian Tomlinson strapped on the Darth Vader suit and watched from the sideline while his QB limped around on a TORN ACL. A sprained MCL? Look, a sprain is the label given to non-injuries. Do you really think the Bears would release information saying he was any less injured than that? And to my knowledge, it is the Bears team doctors who are releasing the diagnosis. And how come I still haven't seen the play where the supposed injury took place? My next question is how are people surprised by this? Have they paid no attention to Cutler's history? Was the nation blind to what was so painfully obvious to me? Don't you love when a blog begins with so many questions, and yet, so few answers?
  • Here's an answer for ya: Jay Cutler is now the most hated player in the NFL (only Brett Favre could rival him and he retired, right?). Cutler almost blew up the phenomenon known as Twitter on Sunday as current and former NFL players couldn't wait to get their two cents in on how Sally a performance that was out of Cutler. And people were criticizing the players for lobbing up such insults from the comforts of their own home, but who would be more credible to critique his performance than current and former NFL players? In fact, the media are the ones that shouldn't be talking, most of whom have never played the game. Then they continue to flap their gums about how stupid Twitter is, another big misconception. This is exactly why Twitter rules. People of prestige giving their instant feedback on interesting topics surrounding the game? Sign me up.
  • So then I see that Maurice Jones-Drew was backtracking on what he said about Cutler (and I'm sure he wasn't the only one). Athletes apologizing for things they say are seriously lame. Just man up, own up to what you said, and move on. It's always the player's agent who is forcing the athlete's hand anyways because it's all about image. I say fuck image.
  • Well how about the team on the beneficial end of Jane Cutler's man-pon performance. Things played out perfectly for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. They won (in semi-embarrassing fashion) and are moving on to the Super Bowl. Already the focus of the national media has shifted from Aaron Rodgers to Ben Rapelisberger. With a week's worth of knob-slobbing, Rodgers played pretty poorly on Sunday. It's fair to say he was put on a pedestal. He won't face that kind of pressure in the Super Bowl. Oh, and also the fact that the Bears won't sniff the playoffs again with a skirt playing at quarterback.
  • Oh, was there another game played on Sunday? I didn't even get to the sensation that was Caleb Hanie, oh well. The AFC Championship was relatively uninteresting because the game lacked much drama. The thing that stood out most to me, though, was the Steelers decision to pass on 3rd and 6 with less than 2 minutes to play and the Jets out of timeouts. If they ran the ball, the Jets would've gotten the ball back inside their own 20 with about 1:10 left in the game in need of a touchdown. Let me just say that conventional wisdom tells you to run the ball in that situation and punt it away. It's a 40 second difference decision. The play call could've been for Big Ben to rollout and if anybody was open to throw it, and if not then to just take the sack to keep the clock moving. It just goes to show that the smartest move isn't always the best move or the right move. Sometimes it is necessary to go for the killshot ("it's a killshot").
  • I was pretty shocked to see the Green Bay Packers favored over the Pittsburgh Steelers for the Super Bowl. But Ike Taylor wasn't shocked. He claimed that everybody has wanted to see the Steelers lose since day one. In other words, nobody believed in them. I am so unbelievably tired of this cliche, that hearing it makes me want to puke. We can all thank the New England Patriots for this (who I will forever hate). Since their 2001 Super Bowl, nobody has ever believed in everybody. Just shutup.
  • My next point comes via my broseph. He brought up the point that R-Berger is always watching the game from the sideline instead of sitting on the bench, looking at game photos, or talking on the phone to his coaches. Coincidentally, Big Ben is the biggest "gamer" QB in the NFL, always intrusive with the flow of the game. I had never even considered this before, but it makes perfect sense. Why pretend like you're uninterested in what's happening in the game while there's zero chance that's the truth? Is it because Big Ben doesn't interfere with his coaches on the strategic side of the game, unlike Brady/Manning? Could this be the better approach? Remember, we could be talking about a QB who has already won more Super Bowls than Peyton, won as many Super Bowls as Brady, and could have won two since either of them won their last. As Mike Wilbon has consistently said, "If I had to pick a QB to win one game, I'm going with The Rapist Burger."
  • My concluding piece goes something like this....


His Dirkness

Saturday, January 22, 2011

NFL All-Conference Championship Team/Predictions

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I saw a toned down version of one of the awful ESPN morning shows today, so I thought I'd give all my minions the H.D. version (there's didn't even include individual defensive players, just overall defense). This is the all-star team from the four remaining teams in the NFL playoffs. Here goes....

OFFENSE

QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh- This was tough. BenBerger gets the nod over Aaron Rodgers because he has stared the moment in the face before, and hasn't blinked. I feel like Rodgers is a better QB at this point, but until I see him on that stage, I'm sticking with Ben's Big R-Berger. How many of you out there are ready to put R-Berger ahead of Brady in the all-time ranks if he equals his 3 Super Bowls this year?

RB: Shonn Greene, NY Jets- Talk about a crapshoot. It should be noted that none of these four teams are proud owners of one of the league's top running backs. The nod goes to Greene, who must only get paid in the postseason, because that's the only team I hear his name. This might actually develop into a future strategy in the NFL, saving a running back purely for the postseason so he has fresh legs.

FB: Tony Richardson, NY Jets- Didn't even look up the other team's fullbacks. Does anybody else notice that wherever team T-Rich plays for has an awesome running attack? Chiefs used to be #1 in the league, Adrian Peterson and the Vikings got a lot worse without him, and now the Jets have one of the top attacks in the league. T-Rich is my favorite player left in the playoffs.

WR: Greg Jennings, Green Bay- One of the most underrated players in the NFL specializes in YAC. Similar to my specialty on New Year's Eve parties.

WR: Santonio Holmes, NY Jets- Two of the best postseason catches of all time. 'Nuff said.

TE: Greg Olsen, Chicago- Never looked quite right with his flowing blonde locks.

LT: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, NY Jets- I'm partially biased because my cousin shares the same name.

LG: Chris Kemoeatu, Pittsburgh- Love how mismatched his first and last names are.

C: Nick Mangold, NY Jets- Maybe the best interior lineman in the NFL.

RG: Roberto Garza, Chicago- Going with him because I can remember him from my Madden days.

RT: Wayne Hunter, NY Jets- Gets it by default because I know the other 3 teams' representatives are all below average.

DEFENSE (Base 3-4 due to 3 of the 4 teams running it)

DE: Julius Peppers, Chicago- Big enough stud that I don't care how out of position he is in this 3-4 defense. Would make more sense at OLB, but I am a nonsensical man. Could be the Bears biggest hope come Sunday.

NT: Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh- Nobody has run on the Steelers defense for years. This man is the reason why. He's unblockable, immovable, and fat.

DE: Shaun Ellis, NY Jets- Was so dominant against the Patriots last week that he gets the nod over one of the few men on earth, Brett Keisel (pictured), who's beard could kick my beard's ass in a fight.

OLB: Clay Matthews, Green Bay- He's so unbelievably good that I was fooled into thinking his younger brother (LB at Oregon) was good, until I sat and watched him in the BCS National Championship Game. I would trade any Chief for this guy.

MLB: Lance Briggs, Chicago- I believe he to be superior to his overly-hyped but properly-rated teammate, Burrlacher. If Briggs is in the area, the ballcarrier is going down.

MLB: David Harris, NY Jets- Another one of the most underrated players in the NFL. He is the leader of the vaunted Jets defense, and doesn't get near the publicity that he should. Like him enough to earn a spot over Brian Urlacher (who I'm leaving off this list to personally motivate ala Uncle Tom Jackson).

OLB: James Harrison, Pittsburgh- I felt like a doubter the year he won his NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, even after his nifty Super Bowl INT return that year. Well, I no longer feel that way. I'm not even sure what changed. Isn't Harrison #1 on the list of potential steroid users though?

CB: Darrelle Revis, NY Jets- The only thing that has slowed Revis down was his holdout. I love watching great cornerbacks go to work, and Revis is maybe the finest I've ever seen. The Jets best chance on Sunday is to put the other 10 defenders on the other half of the field. Seriously.

CB: Tramon Williams, Green Bay- Going with the hotter of the tremendous tandem in Green Bay (he's so hot right now). Williams has made game-deciding plays in each of the Packers first two playoff games.

FS: Nick Collins, Green Bay- Collins is solid, but not spectacular. This could be a hole in my theory that good defense always have great safeties.

SS: Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh- Last week was not the best proof in point (and perhaps, evidence that he's not nearly 100%) for the player that I continually tout as the best player in the NFL.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

K: Robbie Gould, Chicago- Excellent bad weather kicker who has nailed clutch kicks in the past. Plus, he's secure enough in himself to go by the name Robbie.

P: Brad Maynard, Chicago- Going with what you've done for me lately, and Maynard has the best net average and Inside the 20/Touchback ratio of all the punters left in the playoffs.

KR: Antonio Cromartie, NY Jets- Was a huge key to the game in both the Jets first two victories. Has anyone tackled him shy of the 40 yard line yet?

PR: Devin Hester, Chicago- Broke the mold of returners' prime lasting for only a few years with something of a renaissance year this season. Da Bears appear to have the edge in special teams across the board.

BREAKDOWN (# of players for each team):

New York Jets- 10
Chicago Bears- 7
Pittsburgh Steelers- 5
Green Bay Packers- 4

Interesting.....

PREDICTIONS:

Packers over Bears 24-14: Everyone is going after Aaron Rodgers' special spot after his performance last week. Lets not forget that it came against the overrated Atlanta Falcons. This will be the toughest game Rodgers has ever had to play in. It's very difficult to perform after getting the national slobjob all week prior to the game (Dick Vitale gushing over him as we speak). On top of that, it comes against a very good Bears defense that held the Packers to only 10 points just 3 weeks ago. So after that warning, why am I still going with the Packers to win this game convincingly? Because the Bears aren't that good. They are by far the worst of the four teams, and would have virtually no shot if the game weren't at home. Teams that get the breaks during the regular season oftentimes see their fortunes reversed in the postseason. Well, they got a virtual bye week with the Seattle Seahawks last week (they can perform at home, but are downright awful on the road), and now stare their fate right in the face. It will take a monster game out of Cutler or 5 gigantic breaks for the Bears to win this game. It is possible, but I ain't about to pick it. Does the fact that these two teams haven't met in the playoffs since 1941 take away from this rivalry? I say......yes.

Steelers over NY Jets 17-6: I've been on the Steelers bandwagon since they beat the Atlanta Falcons in week 1 when Big Ben was being punished by Lil' Ben. A light clicked, and I suddenly remembered that the reason they fell apart last year was because Troy Polamalu got hurt. People's logic behind picking the Jets in this one is because they have already beat future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, and they figure R-Berger is a notch below them in the totem pole (don't so much agree). But what haven't they faced yet in these playoffs? A good defense. The Jets aren't gonna be able to move the ball on Sunday. If the Steelers get any sort of early lead in this game, it ain't even gonna be close. The Steelers will shut their running game down to 2 yards a pop, and force Sanchez to beat them on 3rd downs, which he just isn't ready to do yet. Meanwhile, the Steelers will go after whoever Antonio Cromartie is guarding all day long, while Revis locks down the other option, because the Steelers have two equally dangerous threats at WR (I'd put Revis on Mike Wallace and make the Steelers grind away with short completions to Hiney's Ward). As long as the Steelers don't turn the ball over in this one, their defense will be enough.

His Dirkness

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NFL Playoff Thoughts

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  • Me and my buddy Rob Stache (cousin of University of Oregon kicker Rob Beard) were discussing the Jets-Patriots trash talk leading up to their game on Sunday, when I sent him the following text, "Seemed out of character for a Patriot to respond, makes me lean towards Jets." That was in reference to Wes Welker's foot-in-mouth rant that you so rarely hear from the Nazi-Patriots regime. That Patriots error was then answered by yet another Patriots error, when Bill Belichick overreacted to the situation by benching Welker for the first drive on Sunday. This was all the Jets needed to see to conclude that Belichick was bothered by the back-and-forth, and that not all the Patriots were on the same page (evidenced by Vince Wilfork speaking out after the game that he did not agree with the Welker benching). And just like that, the power had swung in the Jets favor. They beat the Patriots in a game that the Patriots had owned for the last decade, the week-long buildup to the game.
  • Since I started off the write-up with some gloating, I'll counter that with what I was very, very wrong about. I have openly bashed the New Yahk Jets all season long, and most recently hated on Rexy Ryan. This dislike stems from my natural distaste of the majority's belief and of arrogance. However, the Jets have proven me wrong time and time again this season, and I suppose it's time for me to give them their due. There is no dissension in that locker room, they know exactly who they are, and they're willing to go to war for their coach. I still think there's a strong possibility for them to crash and burn, but if they win a Super Bowl, who cares?
  • Sticking with the Jets and the Patriots game, Tom Brady sure did look bad. He has now lost his last 3 playoff games and is 4-5 in his last 9. The Golden Boy sure has come back down to earth. I feel like I have to ask this question: What comes of Tom Brady's career if he isn't on the beneficial end of the Tuck Rule call in the 2001 NFL playoffs, where he went on to win his first Super Bowl title? Brady is lauded for his confidence on the field, but would that be as present without all his success at the beginning of his career (it's the chicken and the egg!)?
  • Also, on the topic of Brady, I don't think it was a good thing to carry a streak of no INT's like he did into the playoffs. You could sense the streak coming to an end against the Jets, and when it did, he suddenly has to rebound from something he hadn't done in 91 days. He appeared to be very rattled afterwards (rare) and had terrible pocket presence throughout most of the game (even rarer). Hopefully, this game served as a warning to those of you who try to make the NFL (or sports in general) a black-and-white affair. There's so much that goes into the outcome of a game, that it's completely unpredictable, and oftentimes doesn't make sense. That's what makes it so great.
  • Alright, enough Jets-Patriots for now. On to Aaron Rodgers, who I would argue is the best player in the NFL right now, all accomplishments aside. Let me explain. If you just started watching the NFL this year, and had no prior knowledge of what has happened in the past, I believe you would conclude that Rodgers is the best player in the league. It might be his time.
  • One of the reasons the NFL Playoffs are so great is because completely unknown players can play the games of their lives at the right time and can transform into stars. The example from the 2010 playoffs is Packers CB Tramond Williams. He had the game sealing INT of Mike Vick on the Eagles final drive of the wildcard game. He followed that up by effectively ending the Packers-Falcons game with a pick-6 of Matty Ice (Yea, Matt! He's so clutch!) right before halftime. I, oftentimes, develop man-crushes on cornerbacks because of how difficult it is to play the position, and Williams is just the latest example. He has officially replaced Corey Webster, of the New Yahk Giants, as my FBO man-crush.
  • Big Ben's Big R-Berger's pass on 3rd and 19 at the end of the game against the Baltimore Ravens was one of the best passes I've ever seen. I don't understand how Ed Reed and the Ravens' defense could allow a receiver to get behind them in that situation.
  • Jay Cutler's pass on the goalline against the Seattle Seahawks was one of the worst passes I have ever seen, and if it would've been picked, and potentially returned for a TD, the outcome of that game could've been significantly altered.
  • It was great to see T.J. Houshmandzadeh blow that game by dropping the 4th down pass on the Ravens' final drive. Housh majorly annoyed me by overly-celebrating each and every catch against the Chiefs the week before. My revenge was had 6 days later when he completely gagged away the Ravens' final effort. Now go back to irrelevancy.
  • One thing that has stuck out to me in these playoffs is how the best team's pass rushers are stepping up. Clay Matthews, Terrell Suggs, and James Harrison were all dominating in their games. Two things to take away from this: 1. The Chiefs absoutely, positively, MUST resign Tamba Hali this offseason. 2. Hali must develop an edge where he can dominate entire games against good quality offenses for the Chiefs to win playoff games.

Sorry for the layoff minions,
His Dirkness

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kansas City Chiefs' Keys To Victory

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The time is here. The time is now. I've been so locked into this game that I dreamt about the game last night (only we were playing the Eagles. And the game started at the wrong time. But Jam Charles got stripped and the Eagles went up 7-0 early. It was more of a make-it-take-it game because they got the ball right back, and the Chiefs stuffed them on a 4th and 1. And then I woke up....).

This will be my first Chiefs playoff game since I was just a lil' tyke and attended the 1991 playoff clash between the Chiefs and dehhhh Raiidddaaassss. Chiefs won 13-7. For anyone who is interested, I will be out at Arrowhead tailgating from the get-go (7:30 AM). I will be wearing the O.G.'s jersey (Priest Holmes), sitting in the O.G.'s row (31 - don't think that's an accident), drinking the O.G.'s drank (Red Dog). It's questionable if Ray Lewis will be able to hear my taunts or not, but I will be letting them fly anyways (what happens when a fan within shouting range calls him a murderer repeatedly? Does he react? Are they off'd?).

Enough about me.....on to the game: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens, Sunday @ Noon.

How do the Chiefs win this game? Well.......

Take the Reins Off of Jamaal Charles- The first, and most obvious, key to the game. God Jam Charles needs to become a 5'11, 199 pound workhorse. Thomas Jones has toted the rock 15 times more than G.J. Charles this season, but Tommy Gunz has been rather ineffective these last 3 games and has probably worn down a bit, but that's ok. He's done exactly what we needed him to do. That being said, he shouldn't carry the ball more than 5 times tomorrow. NBA Jam Charles has heated up with 20 carries a total of 7 times in his career, and has gone on fire, with 25 carries, twice. Yardage totals when he carries the ball 20-24 times: 143, 102, 177, 173, and 116. Yardage totals for 25+ carries: 154 and 259. If Charles heats up (20+ carries), there's a good chance the Chiefs will win, and if he goes on fire (25+ carries), I guarantee the Chiefs will win.

Match Their Physicality- The Ravens excel in most of the areas that caused the Chiefs problems in last week's beatdown handed to them by the Raiders. The Ravens surpass the physicality of the Raiders and share the same devotion to the running game (although aren't as effective). The Ravens, surprisingly, can not match the Raiders ability to rush the passer though. There is one big difference between last week and this week though. Last week didn't matter, while this week matters more than any other game. And yes, I believe that can make all the difference in the world. Physicality is all about attitude. Young players, which the Chiefs' roster is filled with, are susceptible to a letdown when the stakes are lowered. With tomorrow's high stakes, emotions should be at an all time high. If the Chiefs can match the intensity of the most physical team in the league, they will win.

Dwayne Bowe Factor- I've already explained this once before at the beginning of the week. But, I'm gonna dive into it again, because I really believe it's the key to the game for the Chiefs offense. And this time I'm gonna get Ron Jaworski excited for it. D-Bowe can exploit the coverage of the Ravens' cornerbacks. The Ravens should have to throw extra help devoted exclusively to Bowe. This will lead to either 1-on-1 coverage on the opposite side (Chambers/Tucker/Moeaki), or one less defender thrown at the running game. I believe Charlie Weis's game plan will be completely based around what the Ravens do with that extra defender. There is a good chance that this defender will be Ed Reed, who might be able to handle all those responsibilities, which leads to the....

~~Key Matchup of the Game~~ Matt Cassel vs. Ed Reed- Reed is the best freelancing Safety in the NFL. He floats all over the field in anticipation of what the QB might do. This makes him very vulnerable to big plays if he guesses wrong, often caused by a QB's deceptive eye (which isn't Cassel's biggest strength). Reed leads the NFL in interceptions after playing in only 10 games this year (including an amazing 4 INT's in the last 6 quarters), while Cassel has avoided the big mistakes for most of the year (Raiders game aside). I believe whoever wins the big play battle between Cassel and Reed will win this game.

Whoever Scores First- With two ball control offenses squaring off, the first score of the game is hugemongous. Whoever gets that first score is able to play their type of game. Neither team is comfortable in playing from behind. If Baltimore gets ahead, they will drain the clock with an all day case of the runs (Hooters' hot wings), while Stringer Reed and Ray-von Barksdale will set out for blood (insert murder joke here). If the Chiefs get ahead, it'll be a steady dose of JamaAL Charles all day, setting up the Cassel-to-Bowe playaction. I won't say whoever scores first will win, but their odds will increase dramatically.

The Arrowhead Crowd- The one component of the game that you, the fan, can have a major effect on. This is our time. We carried the Chiefs to an opening game victory on Monday Night Football in what many of the national pundits called the loudest NFL game they had ever heard. I think we can be louder.  If you attend the game and have a voice left on Sunday night, then you didn't do all you could do. If you see somebody in your section who isn't yelling, it is your responsibility to get them to yell. We must all do our part in making sure the Chiefs break their 17-year curse. Remember, this is do or die, so leave it all on the field tomorrow.

With nothing else to say, as your Chiefs advisor, I strongly encourage you to watch these two videos before embarking out to Arrowhead Stadium tomorrow....

No one! And I mean.......NO ONE....comes in to our house.....and pushes us around!



Or do you prefer this speech? 1 inch at a time....



Chiefs 20, Ravens 10
Tomorrow is our day!
Oh yea.....now this is happening....The Chiefs official theme song!!!!



Lets party Kansas City!!!!!

Go CHIIIIIEEEFFFSSSSSSSSS,

His DirtyDirkChiefNastiness

2010 NFL Playoff Predictions

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Chiefs playoff preview extravaganza wrapping up later today, with the keys to victory for our CHIEFSSS!!!!

To get you caught up here's links to anything and everything you need to know this week:



Now for some playoff predictions, which I usually struggle mightily with.....

AFC-

Wildcard Round:
New York Jets over Indianapolis Colts 20-17
Kansas City Chiefs over Baltimore Ravens 20-10

Divisional Round:
New England Patriots over New York Jets 30-14
Pittsburgh Steelers over Kansas City Chiefs 13-7

AFC Championship:
Pittsburgh Steelers over New England Patriots 31-27


NFC-

Wildcard Round:
New Orleans Saints over Seattle Seahawks 24-21
Philadelphia Eagles over Green Bay Packers 28-14

Divisional Round:
New Orleans Saints over Atlanta Falcons 27-10
Philadelphia Eagles over Chicago Bears 23-13

NFC Championship:
Philadelphia Eagles over New Orleans Saints 30-20


Super Bowl:
Pittsburgh Steelers over Philadelphia Eagles 17-13

His Dirkness

Breaking Down The Baltimore Ravens

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Recap of the playoff preview extravaganza to date:

I have been keeping you up to date on the Kansas City Chiefs all year. If you've been reading me, then you know exactly how I feel on a wide variety of topics surrounding the team including the players and coaches, the team's strengths and weaknesses, and what went right/wrong in each of their wins and losses.

Well, now it's time for you to get up do date on the Chiefs' playoff opponent, the Baltimore Ravens...

Biggest Strength: Road experience. The Ravens have won 3 playoff games over the past two seasons, all of which came on the road. They lead the NFL with 6 road playoff victories since 2000. They went 5-3 on the road this season, including wins over the playoff bound New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers (sans Ben's Big Roethlisberger). The moment won't be anything this team can't handle.

Biggest Weakness: Offensive struggles down the stretch. The Ravens posted offensive outputs of 258 and 199 yards against Cleveland and Cincinnati, respectively, in the last two games of the season. In these two games, the Ravens leaned heavily on the running game, calling a total of 65 running plays to only 38 passing plays. If they come in with a similar strategy this weekend, it would almost ensure another tight game (see below).

Key Stat #1: The Ravens have forced 12 turnovers in their three playoff victories over the past two seasons. It's no secret that the Ravens go into playoff games with ambitions of running the ball and winning the turnover battle, which is always an effective strategy on the road. In their two playoff losses in that same span, their defense only forced two turnovers.

Key Stat #2: 12 of Baltimore's 16 games this season were decided by one score, including all four of their losses, which equates to a 8-4 record in those games. This means the Ravens weren't blown out all season long.

Key Stat #3: Baltimore didn't lose a game this season when scoring 22 or more points (7-0). The Ravens went 5-4 when scoring 21 or less.

Biggest Win: 30-24 over New Orleans on December 19th, 2010. Outgained the Saints 208-27 in rushing yards and won the turnover battle by 2. This is the way the Ravens prefer to play. The game ended via a tipped INT with under 2 minutes to play.

Worst Loss: 15-10 against Cincinnati on September 19th, 2010. For whatever reason, the Ravens struggled with the Cincinnati Bengals in both games this year (think Romeo has gotten a hold of those tapes?). The stats were even across the board except for the Ravens four turnovers. You think turnovers are a big factor in how this Ravens team plays?

Key Players - Defense:
  • Ray Lewis, MLB- My nominee for THE best NFL player of my lifetime. Yea, I said it. No, I don't think it has to be a quarterback. There has been a high turnover rate on the Ravens' defense throughout his career, but they have always remained an elite unit. Numerous defensive coordinators have come and gone from Marvin Lewis to Mike Nolan to Rex Ryan, and yet the drop-off hasn't been there. Lewis dropped a level about 3-4 years ago, but has plateaued since then, providing the necessary longevity to his career that when combined with his production earn him the right to sit atop my list.
  • Ed Reed, S- The news today is all about Reed's brother, who earlier today escaped from the cops only to jump into a river and never surface. So, he either escaped via river (very Ed Reed like) or died somehow. You have to wander what effect this will have on Reed for this game. Those questions aside, the freelancing Reed is the best ballhawking safety in the NFL.
  • Terrell Suggs, OLB- Surprisingly, the Ravens have only accumulated 27 sacks on the season, but Suggs has accounted for 11 of them. He is a speed rusher and will be moved around from side to side, so both Branden Albert and Barry Richardson will have to keep a watchful eye on him throughout the game. He likes to gawk.
  • Haloti Ngata, NT- He is a mountain of a man. Chiefs' center Casey Weigmann has struggled some with bigger nose tackles in the 3-4 defense, and Ngata might be the best in the business nowadays. He might singlehandedly force the Chiefs to avoid running straight up the gut, and instead focus more on the perimeter rushing game.
Offense:
  • "The Uni-Browmber" Joe Flacco, QB- Flacco's career playoff numbers look like this: 57-120, 47%, 660 yards, 1 TD, 6 INT. That's a mere 132 passing yards per game. Yes, some of those numbers came from his rookie year. Yes, he has since matured into a better QB. No, I am not scared of Joe Flacco.
  • Ray Rice, RB- Rice is a top-10 NFL running back. He's short but rather built, and uses that to his advantage to fight for extra yards in pileups. Despite rushing for 1,220 yards this season, he only eclipsed the century mark twice. He doesn't break a lot of big runs (although, he had an 83 yard touchdown run on the first play of the game against NE in last year's playoffs). He is also a very good receiver out of the backfield.
  • Anquan Boldin, WR- 'Quan had a big start to the season (27 catches in first 4 games), and I was under the impression that he was tearing it up all season long. However, his stats tell me a different story. He has totaled only 8 catches for 67 yards in his last four games. I'm not sure if he has been banged up, but he doesn't seem to be the weapon he was at the beginning of the season.
Special Teams:
  • Billy Cundiff, K- For some reason, his ESPN picture is in Chiefs get-up (don't recall this). Cundiff is 26-29 on the year, which is pretty solid. He lacks a big leg though, and is only 4-13 from 50+ yards in his career.
  • Jalen Parmalee, KR- Decent average per return, but hasn't broken a 40-yarder the entire season.
  • Lardarius Webb, PR- Subpar average per return, with three 20+ yard returns (same as Arenas), and no 40+ yard returns. Also has 2 fumbles on the season.
This concludes the look at the hated Baltimore Ravens. They're physical, they're tough, but they're not dominating. They like to run the ball and force turnovers. They have a solid front 7 on defense, but are weak at cornerback (which I didn't really get into). They won't be scared coming into Arrowhead on Sunday, but the Chiefs shouldn't be scared of them either. These are two evenly matched teams (with the game in Kansas City) and in all likelihood, the team that plays better on Sunday will move on in the playoffs. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the Chiefs' keys to victory, which should rock your world.

Go Chiefs,
His Dirkness

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ranking the Playoff Teams

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This is the follow up article to yesterday's Ranking of the Playoff Quarterbacks piece.

The criteria for today's rankings of the playoff teams are based on their chances to win the Super Bowl. This means that even if I have one team above another on this list, that doesn't necessarily mean that I'd pick that team to win that particular game. It just means they'd have a better chance at winning it all. Potential plays a great role in these rankings.

Take it with you......

1. Pittsburgh Steelers- Whaaa? Not the Patriots?!? Nope, no sir, unh-uh. While I acknowledge the advantage the Patriots hold on the offensive side of the ball, as well as the homefield advantage, I cannot go against the best defense in the league. Combine that with a 2-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, and a team that's peaking at the right time, and you have my Super Bowl XLV favorites. Remember, the only reason the Steelers missed the playoffs last year was because Troy Polamalu (the best player in the NFL) got hurt, at which point they fell apart. I'm sure in their minds, they are still the defending Super Bowl champs.

2. New England Patriots- I really believe the Super Bowl may be decided in the AFC Championship Game between the Steelers and Patriots (haven't we been there before?). New England has overachieved all season long, which is a testament to their coaching. They are not a great team. However, they have played great (there's a difference). Now, if they continue to play at that same level, then they will most likely win the Super Bowl, but it is very difficult to maintain that level throughout the NFL playoffs, when you get every team's best shot. This team does feel a lot more like the Patriots teams of old that won Super Bowls, as opposed to the Patriots teams of recent, who have dominated stat sheets, but come up short in the playoffs.

3. New Orleans Saints- Yes, I declare a team that will have to win 3 road games in order to advance to the Super Bowl the favorites in the NFC. I don't believe in either of the teams with bye weeks in the NFC (the exact opposite of the AFC). The Saints are the one team with Super Bowl experience (besides the Seahawks, but they don't count), which goes a long way in the NFL. They are banged up at the running back position, but since when has that been an issue for the Saints? In fact, it's best to feed a back (even if lesser skilled) with fresh legs this time of year (Shonn Greene last season). And don't forget that they are hypothetically the 5th team with a bye week in these playoffs, with their Seattle draw in the opening round.

4. Atlanta Falcons- No, I'm not fully sold on Matt Ryan's iciness. No, I don't believe the Falcons boast a Super Bowl quality defense (although John Abraham would be the reason they could). I think I got overly soured on the Falcons when Merrill Hoge started spouting off about how the only rushing attack better than the Chiefs was that of the Atlanta Falcons. I'm sorry but 1st > 12th, 164.2 > 118.2, and 4.7 > 3.8. All that said, I will be rooting for Tony G to experience some postseason success for the first time in his career. I should like these Falcons, but I just don't. The good news for the Falcons is that I said most of these same things about the New Orleans Saints last season, and things turned out alright for them.

5. Philadelphia Eagles- Has Michael Vick run out of magic? Or was he a little hampered by injuries that have since healed with his week off? If he returns to his midseason form, then the Eagles could become Super Bowl favorites. The problem is, I haven't seen it for a handful of weeks now. I don't think Vick will ever stay healthy for an entire season again if he continues to put his body in harm's way. However, DeSean Jackson (most explosive player in the NFL), Trent Cole (could be NFL's most underrated player), and Asante Samuel (NFL's best playoff CB) give the Eagles the necessary components to make a run. Remember the rules of Andy Reid though: His teams never lose following a bye week (last week was basically a bye week for the Eagles), and he's one of the worst in-game managers in the NFL (forgets that running the ball is an option, challenges are always an adventure, really needs to hire a 25 year old Madden player as a consultant).

6. Green Bay Packers- The Intercontinental Champion (Rodgers) is looking to join the big boys and become the Heavyweight Champion of the World (seriously, Rodgers must've been a huge WWF fan with all his belt signaling). The Packers are easy to figure out, but tough to solve. They can throw the ball around the schoolyard (extraordinarily good YAC!), play stout defense (surprisingly 2nd in the NFL in points allowed), and can't run the ball worth a lick (Hi, I'm John Kuhn). So in order for Rodgers to make the Shawn Michaels leap (besides Superkicking Marty Jannetty through a glass window-check out that mullet), he'll have to be near perfect (very possible).

7. Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens are all about intimidation. If you can get past their scary superficialities, and look deep down into their souls, then they can be beaten. But that's no easy task. They're strategy is to hit you in the mouth and make you beg for mercy in the 1st quarter. They want to make you think you can't run the ball on them, and gobble up turnovers when you believe that fact. They want you to feel that murder is a real possibility with them, but.....well, nevermind. The Ravens force more teams to fold than any other team in the NFL, but teams that have what it takes to stand up to them can defeat them. Also, Joe Flacco's unibrow is heinous.

8. Indianapolis Colts- The similarities between the Colts 2007 Super Bowl Championship team and this year's team are there: 3 seeds, improved run defense over the course of the season, and struggling through their worst regular seasons of the Peyton is God era. However, the similarities end there. Peyton isn't what he used to be. Dallas Clark isn't walking through those doors. Bob Sanders is in an old folks home somewhere. Jim Caldwell is as pointless as a circle. The Colts could beat the Patriots but could not, would not, beat the Steelers.

9. Chicago Bears- I've doubted da Bears throughout the entirety of the season, and I ain't about to quit now. Butt Ugly Jay Cutler is gonna try and do too much and most likely cost the Bears their first playoff game. Anybody remember how he blew the Broncos' playoff opportunities year after year? Man, I do. It was great. However, I am very impressed by the Bears defense, and would probably rank them 2nd behind the Steelers in that category. Also, playoff games in Chicago are always fun. I like the cold, the good fans, and the overwhelming sense of doom that runs throughout the stadium when anything bad happens.

10. New York Jets- Anybody else tired of Rex Ryan's schtick? We get it Rex, you think your team is great, and you can't wait to tell us all about it. I can't wait till your team encounters major adversity and starts to doubt the bullcorn you've been feeding them since you took over. I'm calling Sexy Rexy doesn't last two more years after this season. He might even get fired before then on account of podophilia (8 year olds, Dude). I also can't wait to see Sanchez blow it, L.T. sit out another playoff game, Santonio Holmes celebrate in the midst of an ass-kicking, Bill Callahan make his face like he's about to yawn, or Antonio Cromartie conceive another child during halftime of one of their games.

11. Kansas City Chiefs- Hate to put my beloved Chiefs this low on the list, but they would have to go through #7, #1, and #2 (most likely) just to even get there. I believe the Chiefs could be better than half of the teams in the NFC, but aren't fortunate enough to share the same path. It was very interesting hearing Trent Dilfer (ESPN's best TV guy) on The Sports Guy's podcast this week utter these surprising words, "I think the Chiefs could really give the Patriots some problems." I almost fell back in my chair at work (crashing into all the finest cheap vodkas we have to offer here at Kreitzer Liquors) when I heard that. His explanation centered around Romeo Crennel being able to control Brady. Now all I want is that opportunity to see if he could possibly be right. Dear 6 pound 8 ounce baby Jesus (I like to picture Jesus as an ice dancer, dressed in an all-white jumpsuit, and doing an interpretive dance of my life), please let this happen.

12. Seattle Seahawks- It will be interesting to see if the Seahawks can ride their homefield momentum wave enough to even draw close to the New Orleans Saints. I'm secretly very excited for this game just because of how much this Seabags team has been mocked nationally throughout the week. Aside from that, I would create a rule that says a team must win atleast 9 games to represent your division in the playoffs. In addition, a team would have to win 10 games in order to host a playoff game. This would end the silly charade of a team like Seattle hosting a playoff game in the future, and would create more purpose for late season games that would be lacking meaning without this rule. Win-win.

Go Chiefs!

His Dirkness

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ranking the Playoff Quarterbacks

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It's playoff week! I'll be hitting you every day of this week with some NFL knowledge (as proven by yesterday's writing, written after I wrote this intro, which I'm gonna keep), whether it be strictly Chiefs related or league-wide (or as Sam Elliott might tell ya....WORLDWIDE!).

Today I'm gonna rank all of the starting quarterbacks lucky enough to still be around for the playoffs. Tomorrow I plan on ranking the teams in order of chances of winning the Super Bowl. Then after that, it should be all CHIEFS!!!

Here goes.....

1. Tom Brady, New England- This wasn't as easy a selection as you might think. If not for his monstrous season this year, I maybe could've justified sliding Brady to #2. This season, Brady broke his own record of best TD/INT ratio of all time. But he didn't just beat it, he CRUSHED it. His first year with Moss and Welker in 2007 netted 50 TD/8 INT (6.25 TD/INT). This year, with some newly sprouted locks of love (I should've seen it coming!), he went off for 36 TD/4 INT. That's a 9.0 TD/INT ratio, BY FAR the best ever. But, since he orchestrated what may have been the best postseason game of all time (vs. Jax: 26-28, 262 yards, 3 TD), Brady has put together three straight mediocre-at-best playoff games, including his worst playoff performance ever against Baltimore last year. It would be interesting to hear the feedback if the Patriots were to get upset again this season. It would greatly damage one of the few perceived absolute truths in the NFL.

2. Drew Brees, New Orleans- Really wanted to put Brees at #1 because he may be only a season away from disrupting the ongoing Brady/Manning greatness debates. Brees threw a lot of picks this year (2nd most in the NFL), but he still has my trust after the Saints run last season. With little else to say about The Mole, check out this video....




3. Ben's Big Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh- The forgotten one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. He never, ever gets mentioned in the same company as Brady, Manning, Brees, or even Rodgers (with the exception of Mike Wilbon who constantly praises R-Berger). People brush aside his 2 Super Bowl victories because the Steelers are a good running team with a good defense. I'm sorry, how, exactly, was Tom Brady winning his Super Bowls in New England? Were they with, perhaps, the greatest defensive mind in NFL history? He is still 5 years younger than Brady in the chase to see who will end their career with more.
 
4. Michael Vick, Philadelphia- You may have noticed in my recent Chiefs article talking about Matt Cassel (#3) that I listed Vick as a "maybe" if given the option of taking him over Cassel. The reason why he's so high on this list, and low on that list, is because of health concerns. I don't think Vick will ever be able to stay healthy for an entire season, which is a huge factor for a franchise QB. However, for one game, he remains incredibly dangerous. Plus, there is the chance that this is just Mike Vick's year and nobody's gonna stop him.
 
5. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis- This may seem low for one of the best quarterbacks of all time, but to be honest, I debated putting him even lower. He has definitely taken a step back this season, which could be attributed to the injuries on offense, but I don't think it all is. If that's the case, then reports of Peyton's longevity may be greatly overstated. Also, I just don't see Peyton as an elite playoff quarterback in the NFL. I think this happens a lot to smart players who are fully aware of what's at stake in these games. You don't want a player, especially a QB, out there overthinking the situation. You want someone who is just seeing and reacting, an ignorance-is-bliss type of player. Ironically, Peyton's best quality (his awareness) is sort of his downfall in the playoffs.
 
6. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay- The end of the elite QB's in the NFL as far as I am concerned (with the addition of Phlip Rivers). Rodgers has played only one playoff game in his career, and threw for 423 yards and 4 TD on the way to putting up 45 points, none of which was enough. It was a Rodgers' fumble returned for a touchdown in overtime that sent the Pack home. He'll need to put up similar numbers this year for the Packers to succeed, because they have very little running game to speak of. I wouldn't put it past him though. He has the most to gain of any other playoff QB this season.
 
7. Matt Ryan, Atlanta- I get that ESPN really wanted me to believe in Matty Ice and his trusty baseball cap. Look, they said, he is the clutchest quarterback in the NFL! He got lucky that there was no offensive pass interference call on the Ravens in that comeback. But, he staged a nice comeback against the 49ers, they're good right? Look, he may be good, but before we slobknob Mr. Ice's iciness lets see him do it in a big time game. They were setting him up to fail with all that praise, and the Falcons should feel relieved that he may have gotten it out of his system against the Saints, instead of saving it for the playoffs.
 
8. Joe Flacco, Baltimore- As much as I wanted to put Cassel ahead of Flacco (because I do believe he is better), I can't do it with Flacco's playoff experience advantage. Despite Flacco's 3-2 career playoff record, he has yet to really play well in a playoff game. He has yet to throw for 200 yards in any of those starts. He went 9-23 in a win at Miami. He threw 3 picks against the Steelers. He went a whopping 4-10, 34 yards, 1 INT, against New England last year. Then he came back with 2 INT's against Indianapolis. His best playoff game to date: 11-22 for 161 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT against Tennessee in his rookie season. After losing this weekend, he will have the same postseason winning % as Rex Grossman.
 
9. Matt Cassel, Red n' Yellow- You might wander where Icy Matt's head is at after coming off what was truly a horrendous performance (although not all his fault) on Sunday, after avoiding it all season. He was never the same after getting slammed to the turf by John Henderson, which was flagged for a late hit. My only question, is why don't teams commit those acts more often? It's a mere 15 yards, while the effects on the quarterback can last the entire game. Don't be surprised to see more of the same from the salty Balty defense this weekend. I can't wait to see how Cassel responds in his first playoff game of his career, and to see just how much he learned from #1 on this list. He will need to come up huge on Sunday if the Chiefs are able to prevail, but can cement his name in Chiefs lore with a victory.
 
10. Jay Cutler, Chicago- However much I abhor Jay Cutler (and believe me, I abhor much), I will say that he could succeed more in the playoffs than in the regular season. Everybody tends to get a little conservative come playoff time, and sometimes gunslingers are able to take advantage of this (think Kurt Warner). It's a certain fearlessness that factors into it. Cutler is extremely dumb on the field (while, ironically, very smart off of it), which can serve as a good thing in a one game setting (not good for long-term effectiveness). It's the opposite of what I argued for Peyton Manning at #5.
 
11. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets- The Sanchize really didn't improve like Jets fans had hoped for this season, despite the upgraded WR corps. In fact, I honestly believe the Jets would be a much more dangerous team if they threw the cagey Mark Brunell out there. Then, maybe the Sanchize could just be moved to WR....
 




12. Default Quarterback, Seattle- Whether it's The Bearded Clam or The Bald Hawk, the Seahawks will, undoubtedly, trot the worst quarterback on to the field this weekend. It was awesome to see how Seattle's crowd totally won that game for the team on Sunday night, and was very reminiscent of the Monday Night game at Arrowhead earlier this year. The Seahawks' fans are on the top tier along with the Chiefs, Packers, Bears, and Dolphins fan bases.
 
Go Chiefs,
His Dirkness

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ravens Better Matchup Than Jets

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His Dirkness figured this week would be filled with discussions of playoff past, the present playoff situation, and what may await the Chiefs in their playoff future. To the contrary, all I have really heard people talk about is Charlie Weis' backstabbing ass. Yes, he was a distraction on Sunday. No, he won't be nearly as big a one next Sunday. The only relevant question I'd like to hear on the situation is if he should've been canned before the playoff game. As much as I would have considered that option, too much time has passed, making it impossible to do so now. So we're stuck with his fat ass for these next 4 games (eh...see what I did there?). But, I don't wanna hear anymore about it this week. We have bigger and better things to focus on. You won't hear another peep from me on the situation.

One more quick note before I explain my Ravens < Jets argument. The new playoff overtime rules are in effect, which I had totally forgotten about until just reminded on NFL Live. Under the new guidelines, an overtime game can only end on the first possession if that team scores a touchdown. If the receiving team kicks a field goal, then the team that began on defense has an opportunity to match that field goal (at which point they would kick off again and the next score would win), or could win the game outright with a touchdown. I'm really hoping one of these games goes into overtime and we get a chance to see this unfold. If it proves effective, I wouldn't be surprised to see the new rules adopted for all NFL games, which would be a step in the right direction in my eyes.

Now, on to why I think the Ravens are a better matchup for the Chiefs than the Jets. As I started doing my research on the Ravens (following the Chiefs loss), I noticed a few stats that degraded the Ravens in my mind. The funny part about this was that as I was developing these beliefs, I was watching the Titans hang around with the Colts, which would've switched our opponent back to the Jets. It was definitely a glass case of emotions. However, I still cheered on the Titans for the benefits that the 3 seed would have over the 4 seed (greater possibility of hosting the AFC Championship). But then I read this article, that so eloquently described why he believed the Ravens to be a more favorable opponent for the Chiefs than the Jets, that I became fully convinced.

The Chiefs offense has encountered their biggest struggles this season against two teams: The Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos (no, the Chargers game didn't count because we were starting a girl at QB). These two teams have one defining characteristic in common: Shutdown cornerback (Champ Bailey and Nnamdi Asomugha). When teams are able to shut down D-Bowe with one player, the Chiefs offense becomes very stagnant (yes, we threw for a lot of yards at Denver, but most of it came in garbage time where standard analysis is thrown out the window). With D-Bowe on lockdown, and such little else at the WR position, the rest of the defense can all key on the running game, thus stifling the Chiefs offense. If the opposing defense lacks a CB that can shutdown D-Bowe, this gives the other Chiefs receivers the opportunity to work against straight 1-on-1 coverage, which they are capable of beating. This forces the defense to decide whether to throw an extra defender to the passing game or the rushing game, which gives the Chiefs offense all the power in deciding how to attack them. This is the biggest component in deciphering the Chiefs success on offense this year.

So how does this analysis apply to the Chiefs opponent on Sunday? Well, the Ravens cornerbacks aren't exactly their strength. Neither Chris Carr or Josh Wilson have the ability to handle D-Bowe in 1-on-1 coverage. Who does have that ability? A Mr. Darrelle Revis, who plays for them New Yahk Jets.

But that's not the only reason the Chiefs offense might find it easier to operate on Sunday. Despite the Ravens' reputations on defense, they rank 27th in the NFL in sacks (only 27 on the year). The Jets rank 8th in the league with 40 on the season. That's good news for an offensive line coming off its worst outing of the year on Sunday against the Raiders (who, surprisingly, are tied for 2nd with 47 sacks).

The Ravens' run defense stats are also inferior to those of the Jets. While the difference is only 3rd for the Jets and 5th for the Ravens, a closer look shows a bigger difference than that. The Ravens have faced the third fewest rushing attempts this season, which skews their numbers just a bit. In other words, they rank lower in average yards per carry than they do in rushing yards allowed per game. This tells me it may be a bigger case of teams being afraid to run against the Ravens, instead of not actually being able to. This is very important, because if the #1 rushing team in the NFL can't run the ball on Sunday, they will lose.

One more factor in this debate between the Jets and Ravens before 100% of my attention shifts to the city that's home to one of the best TV shows of all time. The Chiefs defense was gashed with runs up the middle by the Oakland Raiders. This is yet another area where the Jets have been more successful than the Ravens this season. Jets are 4th in the league, while the Ravens are 14th in the NFL.

So, while I can't say I was any different with my preconceived notions about the Ravens being tougher than the New York Jets, my research has all pointed in the opposite direction. If those of you out there who majorly fear the Ravens have any other reasons why they should be feared, I would love to hear them. Maybe it's just a common sense vs. statistical analysis argument, which is one of the funner debates in sports. Way more so than the "is funner a word" debate.

Go Chiefs!

His Dirkness

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Chiefs-Raiders is VERY important

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Yes, the Chiefs have secured their birth in the playoffs by wrapping up the AFC West division after the happenings of last week. So why would this week matter? Well.......

  • With a win, the Chiefs would most likely tangle with the New Yahk Jets instead of the Baltimore Ravens. Although, I don't fear the Ravens as much as others I've talked to (don't buy Joe Flacco), I would still rather face the Jets, who are in some sort of late season swoon. That's the exact kinda team you'd like to face in the playoffs.
  • Momentum is the most important factor you can have on your side going into the playoffs. The NFL is all about peaking at the right time of the season. Any kind of loss, even given the circumstances, can be detrimental towards your playoff success.
  • You cannot lose the rhythm of the offense. Icy Matt & Co. may have had their best output of the season last week against the Titans. Combine that with another strong performance this week and the offense may be going into the playoffs the hottest it's been all season. You'll oftentimes see teams that rest their starters at the end of the regular season struggle on offense in the playoffs, especially early on in the game. That's something the Chiefs cannot afford. We'll call this the Colts Always Choke theory.
  • There is the possibility that if the Chiefs get the #3 seed that they could host the AFC Championship game. All it would take is for New England to get upset in the Divisional Round (very possible), and obviously for the Chiefs to win their first two playoff games. This was the Arizona Cardinals path to the Super Bowl when they went as a 9-7 team in 2008. This would be the ultimate game to attend in my opinion. The Super Bowl couldn't match the atmosphere of a home crowd with a trip to the big game on the line. I would give away my first (unborn) child to attend this potential game.
  • The Chiefs have a chance to finish undefeated at home for the 2010 season. It's almost as if there is an invincibility surrounding the team when you hear that stat, and nothing makes me prouder. It means the crowd is really doing their part for the team. Plus, it is something to fear. The Jets or the Ravens aren't gonna be afraid to come into Arrowhead and steal a win if the Raiders did just that.

So if anybody is thinking that we should maybe rest our starters for this final week of the season, I would reconsider for the previously mentioned rationales. I would play everybody as long as it took to wrap the game up. Sure, there is a chance that somebody gets hurt, which could hurt our playoff chances, but the Chiefs have been taking chances all season. Why stop now?

To remind you of the playoff possibilities, I'll repost what I wrote earlier this week....

If the Chiefs win: They will get the #3 seed in the AFC and would most likely host the New York Jets. Unless the Steelers lose and the Ravens win, at which point we would host the Steelers. That wouldn't be good, although we'd be facing a team fresh off a loss to the Browns, so when in Rome.
If the Chiefs lose: Would be the #4 seed unless the Colts lose to the Titans. But, if the Colts win, we would most likely host the Baltimore Ravens. Unless the Steelers lose and the Ravens win, and then we'd be back on the Jets. UNLESS the Jets lost too, at which point we'd draw the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Go CHIEEEEEFFFFFFSSSSSS!!!!

Take it with you,
His Dirkness
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