Football, baseball, and the Meaning of Life....
:: In the voice of Paul Reiser: "That's what I'm saying!" The Buffalo Bills' combination of awesome offense and lousy defense finally added up to something other than overtime; instead, the Bills kept it close until the fourth quarter, when the Raiders finally blew them out. I've been pointing out the fact that the Bills' defensive deficiencies are going to cost them this season, and it's certainly coming to pass. Next offseason, the defensive side of the ball must be the first priority. There is talent on the young secondary, but like all young secondaries they really need for there to be an effective pass-rush, because these guys simply can't play man-to-man all day and not get burned. The Bills' pass-rush, though, is nearly nonexistent. They had one sack yesterday, and the combination of no pass-rush plus a young secondary means that the Bills are the only team in the NFL without an interception so far this year. So, they don't make turnovers, and they don't stop opponents....ouch. Drew Bledsoe tried to accept the blame for the defeat after the game, talking about his three interceptions, but as Butch told Sundance: "It's the fall that's gonna kill you!" (Still, it's nice to see the Bills' offensive line starting to come together. Despite giving up five sacks, Bledsoe generally had more time to make his passes -- until that fourth quarter, when the entire game ended up on his shoulders.)
:: The Steelers are 1-3. And the Steelers are my pick for AFC Champion. I'm not giving them up, yet. In the "Tortured rationale as opposed to acceptance of error" department, I shall now argue that the Steelers are actually more likely to get to the Super Bowl having started 1-3, because now they are virtually guaranteed to not have home-field-advantage in the playoffs. Insane, you think? Consider, though, that in the last ten NFL seasons, the AFC team with home-field-advantage has failed to advance to the Super Bowl eight times. Home-field is the kiss of AFC playoff death, and since the Steelers won't have it....they're going to the Super Bowl!!
:: In the NFC, I'm still sticking with the Eagles, even though they lost a close one to Jacksonville. I'm a bit worried, though, whenever a team's leading rusher is its quarterback -- but at least McNabb had 100 yards.
:: How on earth can the Rams be this bad?! There is an expansion team that has a better record than the Rams. Amazing.
:: All through the Buffalo-Oakland game, TV commentator Randy Cross kept insisting that the Raiders are the best team in the league right now. Maybe their offense is that good, but their defense looks a bit suspect to me. It'll be interesting to see what happens when they encounter the Chiefs' Priest Holmes and the power-game that the Chargers are running.
:: So, in baseball, we're down to the Twins and Angels. I'm pulling for the Twins -- a certain person I know will likely kill me if I don't -- but I won't be upset if the Angels win it, either. As for the National League, well....Lord, I hope the Giants can win. (But shouldn't Barry Bonds have a good postseason just once in his career? Amazing....)