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Commentary From the Edge - Week 7
Kevin Ratterree
October 17, 2006

Didn't we all feel shrewd when we filled our teams with Bengals at this years drafts.  Palmer was the 2nd or 3rd QB drafted in most cases, currently ranked 20th in my scoring system. 

Rudi Johnson was a top 10 pick in most drafts, currently the 14th ranked RB, but the 50th ranked player overall.  Okay, but his last two games have been el stinko. 

Chad Johnson was one of the first 3-4 WR's drafted, currently 36th ranked wideout, but off the radar in overall points.  Housh is the only one of the offensive stars meeting and exceeding expectations. Drafted around the 5th and 6th round, Housh missed the first two games, but still has almost twice the points of his pricier teammate, and has the look of a fantasy monster.  But filling your team with Bengals was not a great strategy as of this time, and while it might get better, those who fell in the tiger trap are feeling some pain right now.  I would like to tell you not to worry, but the schedule does not get any easier.  Yet another dose of humble pie for those of us that think we have it all figured out every August.  

I have been pimping Mark Clayton since before the drafts, and he finally came up with a big game.  Unfortunately it came on two fluke tipped passes that found their way into his hands and across the goal-line.  I'm still a Clayton believer, but don't let last weeks performance push you into starting him yet unless absolutely necessary.  He got lucky.  Of course, some guys are like that  Some guys have a habit of ending up at the right place at the right time, and he may be one of them.  But he was not the targeted receiver on either touchdown pass, so I am not about to say that he has "arrived".

Raise your hand if you predicted McNabb would be the number one ranked player in fantasy football after week 6.  (crickets chirping)  Raise your hand if you predicted he would even be the number one player at his position after week 6.  (more crickets)  Raise your hand if you thought Reggie Brown would be in the top 10 for receivers after week 6.  (if you aren't Reggie Brown, or Reggie Brown's mother, put your hand down I don't believe you).  Raise your hand if you thought Brian Westbrook would be the 2nd highest running back after week 6. (the author shamelessly raises his hand)  Even though they lost on the road last week, it is clear that this team is much more formidable than the football world gave them credit for before the start of the season.  All seems to be well with the massive weight of  Owens removed from the teams back.  And that's a feeling the Cowboys can only dream about for the next eleven weeks.

On a side note, I think the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl.  I don't know if I really believe that or not, but I just thought I'd get it on record just in case.  Having Owens watching the Eagles win the Super Bowl from his living room would be just priceless.  America just can't get enough of a feel good story.

I'm declaring a winner.  The correct choice for the first receiver to pick in this years draft was Torry Holt, but Steve Smith is making up ground fast.  On a per game basis, Smith is still the best.

Just in case you have any remaining doubt, let me put your mind at ease.  Jamal Lewis is toast.  Without butter. Ahman Green is running out of gas too.  Once again I will mention Noah Herron as a guy that could have a nice late season run.  Kind of a longshot, but what waiver wire player isn't at this point?

Newsflash: Feel free to insert Leinart into your starting lineup. I think he might just be ok.  Cool as a cucumber.

The college melee at Miami was further evidence that American football is inching closer and closer to the pugilism of soccer.

On a side note, we finally found out where Michael Irvin's loyalty line is drawn.  He resisted the temptation to defend "da U's" public display of thuggery.  Maybe he isn't the blindest homer of all time.  Let me mark that down.  Michael Irvin does not approve of helmet bashing and chest stomping.  Okay, so we have ruled out psychotic.  But delusional is still up for grabs.

My favorite media line of the week, and an ultra-rare moment of actual entertainment during the broadcast booth celebrity interview.  Charles Barkley commented on Terrell Owens, "........if I was his teammate I would hit him in the head with something."  Folks, it just doesn't get any better than that.  Mr. Barkley, would you like to be our next president?

Crazy as Hell Pick of the Week

As always with my life, I took a beautiful moment and turned it into a Three Stooges routine.  I had a strong feeling about the Cardinals v Bears, but had to throw in the 'Niners game as well at the last second and ended up 1-1 for the week.  Overall the record is 4-3.  But you have to admit the Cardinals pick was sweet.  I'll take my genius hat in Barry Bonds' size please.  The exact situation I predicted for the Monday night game came to pass.  The betting crowd pushed the line up from an opening spread of 10 points to 13 points before the game.  And any time the books get lopsided on any spread, bad things usually happen to the masses.  It's kind of like love You can't explain it.  It just is.  Here's hoping you loved my seemingly insane advice for that game. 

This weeks pick might not seem so outlandish to those of you out there that are clear thinking and objective.  The Giants fresh off back to back victories including a road win over the Falcons last week visit the Cowboys. The 'Boys are an early 3 point favorite with a -115 tag.  So the early money is seemingly already coming in on the Cowboys.  I'm not sure if that trend will remain and push the line further, but it could move a point as Monday night games often do.  People that lose on Sundays try to get it back on Monday nights, and that usually equates to the favorite getting more action.  So if you are inclined to take the underdog in a Monday night game, you can usually get a better number the later you wait.  That may not necessarily be true in this game, but it might.

For this game, the bottom line for me is this, the Cowboys have yet to beat a good team, and until they do I am still not convinced that they themselves are a good team.  And I hate to burst the bubble of all the Cowboys fans, but the curse of T.O. is just too much to overcome.  The Giants seem to have ironed out some of their problems and are back on the path to righteousness.  The Cowboys, despite the home win over the Texans, are an inferior team at this point in time.  They just are.  I think the Cowboys certainly could win this game, but I don't think they will.  They are getting  the customary home team three point advantage of an otherwise heads up game. 

The key to beating the Cowboys is pressuring Bledsoe, and the Cowboys offensive line has made that game plan workable.  The Giants are fresh off a 7 sack performance against Mike Vick.  How do you think they will fare against Bledsoe?  A couple of sacks turned fumbles swing this game in favor of the Giants, and that's where my money goes.  My favorite bet to make is on an underdog that I think will win the game outright, so this game is right in my wheelhouse.  Another game that would fit the same mold to a lesser degree this week would be the Panthers at the Bengals.  But I'm not picking that game, I'm just casually mentioning it to pass the time.  I will wait it out and see if the line moves in my favor for the Monday nighter, but I like this game even with the 3 points.  And of course I will be playing the moneyline bet as well to a smaller degree.  My pick:  Dallas -3

Misery Index

10) Titans:  Remember the Titans?  They have spent the better part of the season rumblin' bumblin' stumblin' their way to the other end of this list, but find themselves on the verge of busting out of the index altogether.  Vince Young, the guy most thought would struggle as a raw rookie, has managed to keep it together and proved an instant improvement over Kerry Collins.  Okay, well maybe that isn't such a ringing endorsement, but since Young got his sea legs under him, this team no longer looks like Raiders East.  The one point loss to the Colts could have been written off as a fluke.  But the road win against the Redskins suggests otherwise.  They can indeed compete with a  good team and beat a crappy team.  The Titans held Portis to 58 yards, meanwhile Travis Henry seems to have found the fountain of youth.  Stopping the run on defense.  Running the ball on offense.  The classics never die.  Nice job Titans.  We hate to lose you, but another game like the last two and you will no longer fulfill our requirements in the Index.  Is Jeff Fisher some kind of genius?  Because if he guides this team to anything more than 4 wins I'm afraid we have to assume he is.

9) Cowboys:  Alright, you beat the Texans at home.  Bravo.  Owens got his 45 yards and 3 TD passes.  Everybody in big D got a giant pacifier stuffed in their mouths Sunday afternoon.  All is calm.  All is right.  Meltdown averted.  All quiet on the western front.  Then Parcells guarantees a victory Monday night against the Giants in his press conference.  No further motivation necessary for the Giants coaching staff this week.  Last week Parcells finally told the media that he didn't want to answer any questions about "the player" because he was "sick of it."  I suspect this guarantee is a ploy by Parcells to put the spotlight on himself this week and keep it off Owens.  Parcells had better hope he is right about winning this big NFC East contest, or the meltdown kicks right back into gear next Tuesday morning.

8) Cardinals:  They spent the better part of 4 quarters man-handling the mighty Bears in front of a stunned national audience that had bet heavily on the favorites.  And just when it looked like the tide was turning for this franchise of legendary loser status, the big choke.  Again.  For the second week in a row they blew a 2 touchdown lead at home.  Considering the thrashing they gave the Bears for 3 quarters, I almost didn't have the heart to keep them in this prison of misery they have become so accustomed to.  But until they play 60 minutes of football, seven days in the box. Some men, you just can't reach.

7) Bengals:  Coming off a bye week, after a loss, one might have expected a better performance, but this team got jacked up by a winless team with a rookie quarterback making his second start in the league, and suddenly find the rest of the division breathing down their necks.  Chad Johnson currently has more TV commercial spots than receptions.  I think I have pinpointed the problem.  C.J., lose that ridiculous mohawk.  If you are a winner and you act a fool, people let you slide.  But when a loser acts a fool...........well, let's just admit it, something is wrong, and I'm pretty damn sure it's the head stripe.  For the good of the team CJ, peel that caterpillar.

6) Chiefs:  After wins over NFL powerhouses the 49ers and the Cardinals, the Chiefs looked to be headed in the right direction.  In a stunning development the Chiefs actually lured some unfortunate fantasy ballers into picking up the Defense on waivers.  But in a  game on the road, against a similarly putrid team, the Chiefs stunk like the inside of a van full of Amish dudes in August, after a long hot day of barn raising.  They can't tackle.  They can't block.  And if you get too close to them, they sting the eyes and induce the gag effect.

5) Redskins:  All questions were answered about the 'Skins on Sunday.  Home game against the winless Titans.  Season in the balance.  They gacked like a New Years Eve rookie before the ball even falls.  And when you have a schedule like the Redskins have, you might want to take care of a team like the Titans at home.  Evidently the vaunted NFC East is down to a 3 team race.  Gibbs Redskins play like heap big squaws.  Up next?  Colts on road.  Me say Daniel Snyder cry like papoose for many sunrises.

4) 49ers:  The good news is that Alex Smith appears to be on track to becoming a legitimate NFL quarterback.  The bad news is the defense is on track to becoming a legitimate NCAA defense.  Even the ultra-conservative Schottenheimer did an "Air Coryell" impersonation on this group, and of that doesn't put you in your place nothing will.

3) Dolphins:  I smell dead fish.  Do you?  Well, maybe dead mammal to be technical, but no less stinky all the same.

2) Texans:  Wow, this team really is bad.  Kubiak's influence has not exactly had an immediate impact.  But when you trot out Ron Dayne as your starting running back, I think you are sending a message to your team and your opponents that you really aren't interested in winning.
1) Raiders:  Well, I do hope that was the last time the whole nation will be exposed to the ugliness that is the Raiders.  I know every team is supposed to have a prime time game during the season, but do the Raiders really qualify as an NFL team any more?  On the bright side, the Broncos were so inspired by the listless play of their opponents, they designated this game as a bonus bye week, and had a team pool to see who could keep their uniform the cleanest by the end of the game.  Despite the fact that the Broncos players were checking their email on their Blackberries in between plays, and making phone calls from their cell phones in the huddle, the Raiders could not mount a rally.  The good news is that those of you who had not yet seen the Raiders this year finally know that I have not been exaggerating.  This team is the personification of commitment to excrement.