Monday, November 01, 2004

Behold the Mighty -- oh, they played the Cards. Never mind.

Just a week after an appallingly bad football effort that resulted in me re-dubbing Buffalo's NFL franchise the "Shitty Bills", the ShiBills went out against the Arizona Cardinals and put up a 38-14 win in which they dominated the whole way, with Willis McGahee picking up 100 yards on 30 carries, with Drew Bledsoe throwing zero interceptions and suffering zero sacks, with special teams providing both one score (on a kickoff return) and good field position, and the defense frustrating the hell out of the Cards' offense. This was the kind of game that makes you happy to be a fan of your team, until you remember that your team is still 2-5, and beat another 2-5 team from the sunny Southwest in a home game in bad weather.

Still, a win's a win, and it was nice that the ShiBills pulled off an actual commanding victory as opposed to yet another squeaker.

Next week, the NY Jets visit the ShiBills, in a matchup that will have the football gods watching a different game.

:: As the new month dawns, it's time to take stock of the season's current standings versus my predicted standings. My predictions appear in perentheses below:

AFC East: New England (New England)
AFC North: Pittsburgh (Cincinnati)
AFC South: Jacksonville (Tennessee)
AFC West: Denver (Denver)
Wild: NYJets, San Diego (Indianapolis, Baltimore)

NFC East: Philadelphia (Philadelphia)
NFC North: Minnesota (Minnesota)
NFC Souht: Atlanta (Carolina)
NFC West: St. Louis (Seattle)
Wild: NYGiants, Seattle (Dallas, Washington)

Currently, four of the eight teams I picked to win divisions are actually leading those divisions, with a fifth -- Seattle -- tied for its division lead, but in second by virtue of the various tiebreakers. (A similar situation will exist in the AFC East pending the outcome of tonight's game; if the NYJets win tonight, they would have an identical record with the StuPats but would technically be in second place because of the StuPats' better division record.) My AFC wildcard predictions are looking healthier than my NFC ones; the Colts and Ravens are both 4-3, while the Cowboys and Redskins are 3-4 and 2-5 respectively.

September in the NFL is "shakedown" month; October is when it starts becoming obvious who the really good teams are. November is when those really good teams start working to cement their divisions and jockey for playoff position, while the rest of the league either plays out the string, plays spoiler, or tries to get one of the two wildcard berths. (The ShiBills are clearly playing out the string and looking to be spoiler.)

From all this I deduce that I am an awesome predictor of football. Except for when I'm not -- like in 2003, when I thought the then-Bills (now the ShiBills) would make the playoffs. Whoops.

:: As a final point on this week's football action, it is my belief that the entire Pittsburgh Steelers organization should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Nobel Peace Prize, beatification by the Pope, and a free bucket of KFC Original Recipe chicken for every person in the organization. Such is the value of the service they provided yesterday in putting a beautiful, wonderful numeral "1" in the loss column of the New England Stupid Patriots. Heh, indeed!

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