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Sean Taylor Dies at 24

November 29, 2007

Washington DC; “You can’t be scared of death,” Redskins starting safety Sean Taylor told a D.C. radio station this September in his last known interview. “When that time comes, it comes.” That time has come for Taylor who died from injuries he sustained during an armed assault in his Miami area home early on the morning of November 27. He was 24 years old, had an 18 month old baby and was just beginning what had promised to be a brilliant NFL career. Taylor’s death, which is the subject of an ongoing and far-reaching homicide investigation by the Miami Dade police department has left his team-mates and family stricken with grief.

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Tampa Bay 31, Atlanta 7

November 23, 2007

The Falcons took a good old fashioned pasting from the Bucs, avoiding a shut out only by putting together an 82 yard drive and a touchdown pass from Atlanta QB Joey Harrington to wide receiver Adam Jennings with just over a minute left to play and practically the entire Falcons second string team on the field.

After 10 weeks of football Atlanta had ranked third in the league with a +8 turnover margin, but that rating came down considerably on Sunday as the Falcons went -2 on the day against Tampa Bay. That figure included one of the most bizarre series of the game in which there were three fumbles within a time span of 5 seconds, none of which resulted in a turnover.

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Carolina 17, Green Bay 31

November 22, 2007

This season is turning out to be a banner year for kickoff and punt returners. Already notable special teams athletes like Leon Washington (NY Jets) and Devin Hester (Bears) have helped make the leagues total number of kickoff returns for touchdowns this year on pace to beat by a wide margin the NFL record of 18 which was set in 1998. And in Green Bay this week the Packers decided to hop on the bandwagon. Midway through the first quarter with no score and facing 4th and 7 on the Packers 34 yard line, the Panthers had kicker John Kasay fake a 52 yard field goal, take a direct snap and punt away. That was the best thing that could have happened from the point of view of Green Bay’s Tramon Williams, a sparsely used cornerback in his second year out of Louisiana Tech who fielded the bouncing football at the 6 yard line. Williams proceeded to return it 94 yards for a touchdown, and the only resistance he met was when he bowled over Panthers punter Jason Baker who had been faking as the holder but probably should have been the one kicking the ball in the first place. Read more

The Weekly Buzz, NFL Week 11

November 21, 2007

Green Bay; In one moment, the season changed for Vikings ace running back Adrian Peterson. A tackle from Green Bay cornerback Al Harris that caught him down low left Peterson writhing on the ground with a torn ligament in his right knee. “That pain was horrible. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced pain where you don’t want anybody to touch you. Just be still for a few minutes until it calms down. That’s the kind of pain it was.” Peterson said. “Not really knowing what to expect because it was my knee. I was just praying, God please, don’t let it be anything serious.” The injury is a devastating one for Minnesota who depend on Peterson largely for their entire offense. Their quarterback situation has been very unstable with erratic performance by starting QB Tarvaris Jackson and Peterson has accounted for more than two thirds of the teams rushing yardage. The positive news is that the knee injury does not require surgery and is not season ending, but the Vikings will have to look for other avenues to score in the near future, including the upcoming game against the Raiders.

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Jumpin Jeremy Flies

November 19, 2007

“Jumpin” Jeremy Jehosefat has raised quite a sensation in the league. With the ability to effect a vertical lift of over 26 feet, he has singlehandedly changed the strategy used in modern day football. Newer techniques by Jeremy’s team the Idaho Strumpets include using hardwood flooring and bowling balls in an attempt to distract the defense, and using Jehosefat’s superior “hang time” to call in the Zamboni ice sweeper and clear the linebackers out before Jeremy comes back down. Other coaches in the league have denounced the Strumpets strategy as unfair and have started their own plans to introduce sinkholes with coal tar pitch into the playing field.

Wolves Bury Groundhogs

November 19, 2007

The groundhogs stayed underground yesterday to avoid being swallowed by the wolves who come in to the season needing a lot of meat after a long cold winter in Yellowstone. Second year cubs Frankie and Johnny led the charge for the wolves, both had lost a lot of fur in their recent “tussle in the timbers” last April when drought forced the entire pack to look for drinking holes outside their usual territory. The ‘hogs face some tough opponents this season and are likely to try and burrow their way under the competition rather than take them head on. Chalk up a big season opener for the wolves.

Pittsburgh (7-2) at New York Jets (1-8)

November 17, 2007

Pittsburgh Steelers Defense
1st Ranked against the Run
1st Ranked against the Pass
Pittsburgh Steelers Offense
2nd Ranked in Rushing
18th Ranked in Passing

New York Jets Defense
32nd Ranked against the Run
24th Ranked against the Pass
New York Jets Offense
22nd Ranked in Rushing
22nd Ranked in Passing

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is the best in the NFL hands down. They have allowed fewer rushing yards, fewer passing yards and fewer points per game than any other team in the league. That kind of performance will be difficult for the Jets to overcome, but at least NY quarterback Kellen Clemens has shown some positive energy since coming in to replace the beleaguered Chad Pennington. Clemens, the Jets second-round draft pick in 2006, completed 23 of 42 for 226 yards and a touchdown, and rushed 7 times for 48 yards in an overtime loss to the Redskins two weeks ago.

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NY Giants ( 6-3) at Detroit (6-3)

November 17, 2007

New York Giants Defense
9th Ranked against the Run
9th Ranked against the Pass
New York Giants Offense
6th Ranked in Rushing
20th Ranked in Passing

Detroit Lions Defense
8th Ranked against the Run
30th Ranked against the Pass
Detroit Lions Offense
29th Ranked in Rushing
9th Ranked in Passing

The Giants are a classic NFL formula; a strong running team with a couple of good receivers who can help out on third and long, and a solid defense which has traditionally been the hallmark of championship teams. The Lions are the quasi newer age football team, focused on passing and outscoring their opponents as the primary strategy and rushing to fill in the gaps, but they have also developed a solid rushing defense this year. Thus you would expect New Yorks running game to be balanced by the Lions defensive line, and the Lions powerful passing offense to be controlled by the Giants 9th ranked pass defense.

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Cleveland (5-4) at Baltimore (4-5)

November 17, 2007

Cleveland Browns Defense
28th Ranked against the Run
31st Ranked against the Pass
Cleveland Browns Offense
18th Ranked in Rushing
10th Ranked in Passing

Baltimore Ravens Defense
2nd Ranked against the Run
12th Ranked against the Pass
Baltimore Ravens Offense
19th Ranked in Rushing
21st Ranked in Passing

You may look at the defensive stats and assume that Cleveland is just going to lay down and live up to their ranking by giving up 29 points as their previous opponents have averaged over nine games. But things are not always as they seem when viewed on paper, and the Browns rivalry against the Ravens is a very different animal. The Ravens after all used to be the Browns before they abandoned the Ohio valley for the Baltimore beltway. And on the other side of the ledger, two of the brightest stars on the Browns roster (quarterback Derek Anderson and running back Jamal Lewis) are outcasts from the Ravens squad.

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Dallas 31, NY Giants 20

November 15, 2007

Sundays important divisional matchup at the Meadowlands left the Giants still searching for that definitive statement of their status as a contender. A victory against the visiting Dallas team would have put the Giants in a tie for first place in the NFC East with a record against divisional opponents that matched the Cowboys. Defeating Dallas would also would have gone a long way towards answering criticism that the Giants schedule through 9 weeks this season has been too soft to allow them to swagger over their 6-2 record; going into the Dallas game the Giants had collected 4 of their 6 wins against teams with a combined record of 5-27, including a slim 13-10 defeat of the winless Dolphins in which Giants QB Eli Manning passed for a scant 49 yards and no touchdowns.

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