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The Frozen Tundra – 2006 Preview 

Anyone else see that coming????

Any loyal fan worth their salt will always have a place in their heart where they think:  Why not?  Why not my team winning it all this year??  While that thinking is often tempered by various doses of reality, its still there.

My Steelers thought “why not” last year.  And won.

In front of my very own eyes, no less!  Must have been the lucky sock….

And now, as a new Frozen Tundra season approaches, I ask of my T.A. Starfires:  Why not?  Why not us this year?

Maybe it’s the name – maybe a shake-up is in order.  In tribute to the Super Bowl Champions, The T.A. Starfires shall be renamed:

The XLerators!

(This is where you go “oooh” and “ahhh”)

Stay tuned for the preseason power rankings….

 

 

 

 

See also:  2005 Preview    Week 1    Week 2    Week 3    Week 4    Week 5    Week 6

Week 7    Week 8    Week 9    Week10    Week11    Week 12    Week 13    Week 14

Playoffs:  Round1    Round2

The Frozen Tundra – 2005 Final Recap

Well, it's all over but the shouting (or in some cases blood-curdling screaming).  Who in the world told Buffalo that they were world-beaters?  And who told the Giants they could take a week off?!  And finally, why do the Vikings always put in the guy that I bench that week?!  Bloody savages!

Final scores:

Championship Game:  (2) The Yardbyrdz 108, (4) Da Raidaz 65

With a name like the Byrdz, you'd think of this team as an air-heavy squad.  But they get it done on the ground - with their running tandem of Alexander and Johnson actually being the difference in this game.

So, as I suggested, The Byrdz do indeed come from nowhere and steal the whole thing.  Congrats to them.  As for Da Raidaz, they get to spend their second off season in as many years thinking about what might have been....

As the title game began.....

As The Brydz rip it up on the ground....

As Da Raidaz again fall short of the Championship....      

 

3rd Place Game:  (1) Minot Cardinals 68, (3) Mossy Raiders 37

Again, playing for anything but the Championship might have been less than savory for these squads, but both were definitely capable of doing better.  Mossy looks like they did their best impression of DaBoys, for crying out loud (Quarterback of the future my @$$)!

5th Place Game:  (8) Dakota Cheddar 65, (6) Turkish Broncos 47

Aside from Chambers and Chicago's D, the TBs really finish flat dating back from Week 13.  All I can say is, watch for The Cheddar in 2006 (whether or not the Commish monkeys with the scoring mid-season)!  They'll be looking for a lot more than the Consolation Championship!

Yo, Joe!

7th Place Game:  (7) DaBoys 66, (5) M. Browns 53

Well, I suppose the sun shines on everyone eventually - Even DaBoys as not only does Dallas remember how to play, but Cincy forgets how at the same time.

Last, and certainly least....

The 2005 Frozen Tundra Toilet Bowl (Game 2):

The Champ RD2
Pos
Offense
Opp
Status
Fan Pts
QB
(Min - QB)
@Bal L, 30-23 16
WR
(NO - WR)
Det L, 13-12 3
WR
(Sea - WR)
Ind W, 28-13 1
WR
(Buf - WR)
@Cin W, 37-27 11
RB
(Was - RB)
NYG W, 35-20 17
RB
(Bal - RB)
Min W, 30-23 3
TE
(Ind - TE)
@Sea L, 28-13 2
K
(StL - K)
SF L, 24-20 12
DEF Miami   (Mia - DEF) Ten W, 24-10 19
Total                                       84

The Champ RD2 win 2 games to 0.

TAThe T.A. Starfires
Pos
Offense
Opp
Status
Fan Pts
QB
(Pit - QB)
@Cle W, 41-0 11
WR
(Pit - WR) P
@Cle W, 41-0 11
WR
(Sea - WR)
Ind W, 28-13 0
WR
(Pit - WR)
@Cle W, 41-0 -1
RB
(Pit - RB) P
@Cle W, 41-0 7
RB
(Min - RB)
@Bal L, 30-23 0
TE
(Pit - TE)
@Cle W, 41-0 1
K
(Pit - K)
@Min W, 41-0 10
DEF
(Pit - DEF)
@Min W, 41-0 33
Total 72

 

OK, even with the "don't have all your players from the same team" thing aside:  How do you beat up on someone 41-0 and only manage 72?!?!! And why couldn't Portis break - or pull - or sprain something??  Huh!!!??

Well, for what its worth, The Champ RD2 is your 2005 Toilet Bowl Champion and show that they are indeed the Best of the Worst (or is it the Worst of the Best??).

2005 Toilet Bowl Champ RD2 (left) sample their new hardware as The T.A. Starfires (right) are left beaten and scrounging for any crumb of dignity.

 

Playoff picks:  6-2.  Season Grand Total:  47-30-1

Final thoughts:

As we bid farewell to the 2005 season, a couple of thoughts.  One, Da Raidaz will not be denied every year they contend, so look for them to make some moves in '06.  The Cheddar should break through as well.  We can probably expect the same level of play from the rest of the top teams as well.

Two, teams that could have done better:  Turkish Broncos and M. Browns to name a couple were perhaps one playmaker away from joining the list of elites in Frozen Tundra.  DaBoys were tough to figure out this year, and were more products of good luck than anything twice in as many years (so in reality, the sun shone on them plenty this year).

Finally, The T.A. Starfires were products of bad decision-making for sure - but they were also products of bad luck (and timing) as well.  I have to believe the sun will shine on them (at least to some extent) in 2006.  That said, Champ RD2 finally figured out how to win (note that they would have beaten all but one playoff team this week) - so don't expect another 1-13 year from them.

That's it for this year!  See you in 2006!!!!

 

Playoff (Round 2) Preview:

Well, here we are - down to the final match-ups of the 2005 season (just flew by, didn't it?).  Let's get right to the games from Round 1:

Championship bracket

(4) Da Raidaz 99, (1) Minot Cardinals 55

Well, Indy's clinching home field turned out to be their - and Minot's undoing.  Da Raidaz finally get a monkey off their back and another shot at the league championship!

Minot before Round 1's playoff game....

and after....

(3) Mossy Raiders 52, (2) The Yardbyrdz 104

A rolling team may gather no Moss, but it also gathers no points as the "dark horse" gets doubled up by the hottest team in the league (I mean, one touchdown against Cleveland?!).

Consolation Bracket

(8) Dakota Cheddar 75, (5) M. Browns 52

The Cheddar were as "Cool-ey" as the other side of the pillow.  Cheese!  Glorious Cheese!!

(7) DaBoys 23, (6) Turkish Broncos 61

Anyone else smell the essence of rotting fish?  Must be The Tuna boiling over!  DaBoys once again show why they should NOT be in the playoffs.  So much for being dangerous!

Its one thing to have your QB finish with negative points, its quite another when your defense does it!

2005 Frozen Tundra Toilet Bowl (game 1)

I noticed that the "byes" for The Starfires and RD2 went away, so at first I thought I couldn't do my "Toilet Bowl" pick.  But, if you go into each team's roster, it still shows what they would have gotten had they played.  And, since everyone else plays two games, so shall it be here:

The Champ RD2
Pos
Offense
Opp
Status
Fan Pts
QB
(Min - QB)
Pit L, 18-3 -1
WR
(NO - WR)
Car L, 27-10 0
WR
(Sea - WR)
@Ten W, 28-24 7
WR
(Buf - WR)
Den L, 28-17 0
RB
(Mia - RB)
NYJ W, 24-20 2
RB
(Was - RB)
Dal W, 35-7 5
TE
(Ind - TE)
SD L, 26-17 8
K
(StL - K)
Phi L, 17-16 10
DEF
(Mia - DEF)
NYJ W, 24-20 21
Total 52

 

TAThe T.A. Starfires
Pos
Offense
Opp
Status
Fan Pts
QB
(Ari - QB)
@Hou L, 30-19 8
WR
(Pit - WR) P
@Min W, 18-3 0
WR
(Sea - WR)
@Ten W, 28-24 4
WR
(Pit - WR)
@Min W, 18-3 0
RB
(Pit - RB) P
@Min W, 18-3 0
RB
(Atl - RB)
@Chi L, 16-3 4
TE
(Pit - TE)
@Min W, 18-3 2
K
(Pit - K)
@Min W, 18-3 9
DEF
(Pit - DEF)
@Min W, 18-3 22
Total 49

 

Ouch!  What got into the Texans!?  I thought they wanted Reggie!  The Steelers manhandled Minnesota at Metrodome (I was there in person to witness the carnage).  But, sadly, it wasn't enough as The Champ RD2 actually scored enough to tie Mossy Raiders OR M. Browns had they been playing them.  They would have also beaten DaBoys (pause here to put on your best pretending-to-be- shocked expression). 

One other note:  I fixed last week's typo, where I called this the "battle for the 7th Place Title (boy, talk about your delusions of grandeur)," as this is really "The Battle for the 9th Place Title (ooh!  Ahhh!)."

So, as we move to Game 2 of the Toilet Bowl (and yes, I would have tracked a second game had The Starfires scored more than RD2), RD2 has the edge - needing to either win or tie against The Starfires or come within three points of them to win the 2-game total points tiebreaker.

And now, on with the final picks!

Last week:  4-0 (Yes, perfect - thank you!  By the way, the Toilet Bowl pick doesn't count since it is an unofficial hypothetical, so don't bother pointing it out.)

Championship Game:  (4) Da Raidaz vs. (2) The Yardbyrdz

Wow!  No line on this one.  Fitting as it is pitting two of the hottest teams going right now.  At this late stage, its important to have players who are still playing for something (see Minot Cardinals).  In this case, Cincy won the AFC North, but still needs to win to get a first round bye.  Advantage Raidaz.  Meanwhile, The Brydz find themselves with most of their roster in meaningless games (uh oh!).  That said, could Seattle-Indy be a Super Bowl preview, with a "one-up" mental edge on the line?  If so, advantage Brydz....

Pick:  Da Raidaz

3rd Place Game:  (3) Mossy Raiders vs. (1) Minot Cardinals (+8)

With Dallas, KC, San Diego, and Giants with something still to play for, I would suggest Mossy Raiders be favored by more than eight.  That said, those who are just going "through the motions" on Minot's side are against easy opponents - while Mossy's non-factors go up against tougher teams.  Then again, The Jags might want to watch out for Houston....what?!  One question for Minot after losing a chance to repeat:  Will winning third place be the equivalent of kissing one's sister??

Pick:  Minot Cardinals plus the points

5th Place Game:  (8) Dakota Cheddar vs. (6) Turkish Broncos

Another no-line game?!  Man, I'm not getting any breaks at all here!

I gotta believe The Cheddar is going to make good on my prediction that they would emerge as a top team this year.  While they are stuck in the Consolation Final, they have a chance to join only one other team in winning their bracket.  And with Carolina playing the reeling Cowboys, they look to be in position to do just that.  One problem:  The TBs have Chi-town's defense against a Green Bay team that got absolutely destroyed by the 4-9 Ravens.

But I have a feeling The Pack are going to rebound and actually make Da Bears work for this one (it also just so happens that my second-favorite team needs them to win after they got beat by my favorite team).  Stranger and stranger....

Pick:  Dakota Cheddar

7th Place Game:  (7) DaBoys vs. (5) M. Browns (-16)

Dallas is playing Carolina.  The bulk of M. Brown's roster have:  Oakland, Houston, Jets, and Buffalo.  Enough said.

I find myself, despite DaBoys' lack of scoring, asking whether I should be safe and pick them to cover.  Then I ask myself, "Will they even score enough to match the point spread?!"

Pick:  M. Browns straight up.

BONUS PICK:  The 2005 Frozen Tundra Toilet Bowl (Game 2):

 

(10) The Champ RD2 vs. (9) The T.A. Starfires (+3)

 

The plus-3 on The Starfire's side is actually the points they are down after Game 1, while RD2 is technically favored for that same reason.  Again, if RD2 wins or ties (2-game record is considered first), they are the Toilet Bowl Champs.  Conversely, The Starfires must win AND have at least a four-point margin of victory.

 

Interestingly enough, RD2's roster is a mix of good teams not playing for anything, or average teams playing average teams.  The key is whether Brad Johnson can rebound after his dismal performance last week.  Meanwhile, The Starfires have the Steelers playing Cleveland.  Sounds good, but remember my advisory:  NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A DIVISION FOE!

 

Pick:  The Starfires to cover

 

 

Playoff (Round 1) Preview:

 

Do I know how to pick 'em or what?!?

 

I lost a potential total of 30-40 points this week (with the playoffs on the line no less)!  I forgot one of the cardinal sins of fantasy football:  Thou shalt not change thy mind at last minute.  Cases in point:

 

The only thing keeping me from falling on my own mouse pointer is the fact that it would not have mattered anyway with The Cheddar winning.  So again, no playoffs for The Starfires.  And worse yet, an even worse record than last year.

 

But hey, The Champ RD2 at least got the hang of this winning thing, eh?

 

Wow - the top three seemed to have heeded my advice and actually tried to lose and avoid the #1 seed (Minot should have tried harder).  How about this:  The Yardbyrds, who were once ranked ninth overall in my power rankings, is the #2 seed in the playoffs!

 

 

Week 14 picks:  2-3.  Season Final:  41-28-1.

 

Final power rankings:

I wanted to see how I fared picking the teams out of the gate.  So I include a hit/miss category using a +/- 3 slots' margin of error.

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Season Points Preseason rank Hit/Miss

Skinny

1

The Yardbyrdz

9-5

2

1110 8 Miss

Not too shabby for a team predicted to be battling it out between DaBoys and The Starfires for the last playoff spot.

2

Minot Cardinals

10-4

1

1108 1 Hit May not be so easy this time with Indy already  clinching home field....

3

Da Raidaz

9-5

3

996 2 Hit May have the best chance of pulling an upset

4

The Mossy Raiders

9-5

4

1071 5 Hit

Played dark horse role to the hilt this year - but likely will be playing for third place next week.

5

Dakota Cheddar

6-8

5

914 4 Hit

The Cheddar make huge strides vs. 2004 - and will likely be rewarded in the playoffs.

6

M. Browns

8-6

8

885 10 Miss

Who could have seen the Broncos doing so well this year?  Then again, who could have seen them almost losing to the Ravens last week?

7

Turkish Broncos

7-7

6

931 7 Hit

Losing two straight to the two lowest-scoring teams in the league is not the best way to finish up going into the playoffs.

8

The T.A. Starfires

TA

4-10

7

836 9 Hit

No Moore!  No Moore!!

Ironic:  The Starfires actually played better this year (59.7 PPG versus 50.9; 4 of their losses were by 10 points or less), yet still manage to have a worse record.

9

DaBoys

7-7

10

764 3 Miss Again, cashing in on being lucky vs. good as the wrong team gets into the postseason.

10

The Champ RD2

1-13

9

731 6 Miss

Daunte should have blown out his knee in Week 1.

 

2005 Playoff pairings - Week 15:

 

CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET (semifinals):

(1) Minot Cardinals vs. (4) Da Raidaz (-13)

 

There is a significant chance that Peyton and Co. will play only a portion of this week's game - even with their perfect season still intact.  Yeah, it'd be great to go 16-0, but is it worth falling short of the Super Bowl (like the 15-1 Steelers of 2004, or the 15-1 Vikings of 1998)?

 

Add to the fact that most of the remaining Minot roster are facing tougher opponents, while the opposite is true for Da Raidaz (note that Cincy still has a bye to play for), and it becomes hard to see how Minot pulls this one out.  Is revenge still a factor as well, considering last year's playoffs?

 

Pick:  Da Raidaz straight up

 


(2) The Yardbyrdz vs. (3) Mossy Raiders (-6)

 

This could actually play into Mossy's hands - with Brady's health a question mark.  However, with Mossy having their own QB issues, Indy clinching homefield, and Seattle playing for homefield against a weak Tennessee team, I see the Byrds, not Mossy Raiders, as the team rolling into the title game....

 

Pick:  The Yardbyrdz to cover

 

 

CONSOLATION BRACKET (semifinals):

(5) M. Browns vs. (8) Dakota Cheddar (-6)

 

A lot rides on how Denver, NYG, and Chicago respond after their respective loss/near-loss this past week.  Looking at the easy match-ups, I think Green Bay's Gado has a better chance at a big day, which should be all The Cheddar need....

 

Pick:  Dakota Cheddar straight up


(6) Turkish Broncos vs. (7) DaBoys (+6)

 

As undeserving as they may be, it is very tempting to take DaBoys in this one - considering the spirited win Dallas got over KC last week.  That said, is KC a contender or pretender - and will Washington lay down for their arch rival?  Meanwhile, TBs have matchups that could go either way.  The question is:  What will Favre be able to do against a Ravens team that held Denver to 12 points?  If I know DaBoys, they will choose now to overachieve and actually win the Consolation Title - as if rubbing it in the Starfire's face....

 

Pick:  Turkish Broncos straight up

 

BONUS PICK:  The 2005 Frozen Tundra Toilet Bowl:

 

(9) The T.A. Starfires vs. The Champ RD2 (10)

 

Did you notice that the bottom two teams are listed under Week 15 as having byes?  Weird.

 

It got me thinking - will the system actually show a tally for that week for those teams?  If it does, it would be interesting to see what would happen.  Thus, my idea for the "Toilet Bowl" or "The battle for the 9th Place Title."

 

With The Champ RD2 finally scoring points behind Brad Johnson, they could actually beat The Starfires - depending on whether Pittsburgh has found themselves in time to face the Vikings or whether Chicago was a fluke.  I'd have to go with the Steelers to take care of the Vikings on this one, tho.  Call this my "fantasy-fantasy pick."

 

Pick:  The T.A. Starfires

 

 

 

 

Week 14 Preview:

 

RD2 wins!!! RD2 wins!!!! RD2 wins!!! RD2 wins!!!! RD2 wins!!! RD2 wins!!!! RD2 wins!!! RD2 wins!!!! RD2 wins!!! RD2 wins!!!! RD2 wins!!! RD2 wins!!!! RD2 wins!!! RD2 wins!!!! RD2 wins!!! RD2 wins!!!! RD2 wins!!! RD2 wins!!!! RD2 wins!!! RD2 wins!!!! RD2 wins!!! RD2 wins!!!! RD2 wins!!! RD2 wins!!!! RD2 wins!!! RD2 wins!!!! 

 

This week reminded us how precarious our season hopes can sometimes be.  How a game - even a season - can be won or lost on not only a key play, but also on a key injury.

 

In my case, the pain (pun intended) is doubled.  One, my Steelers lost a must-win game at home against Cincy.  Had they won, they'd not only be back in the driver's seat for their division title, but be within a game of a first-round bye.  Instead, they are on the outside looking in for the #6 seed - thanks in part to Big Ben's thumb injury.

 

Two, my Starfire's key running back, Minnesota's Mewelde Moore, injured his ankle out of the gate.  So Moore out, Bennett in.  Bennett winds up gaining the yards and points that probably would have gone to Moore, and the Starfires.  Alas, it was not to be.  Moore - and The Starfires - get a doughnut for his position, as yet another winnable game - and likely the playoffs - slip through their hands.

 

The Starfires...and their namesake...deserved so much more this year....

 

Again, DaBoys with the playoff berth at the expense of the Starfires - and having only 27 more points than RD2 on the year?!?  I would mention a mathematical chance for them to earn the #1 Consolation seed if they, M. Browns, and Turkish Broncos all finish 7-7 based on season points, but my calculator doesn't go that high!  That said, I know I wouldn't want to be first to play them - they tend to get scary come playoff time.

 

I suppose it could be worse - I could be an Eagles fan....OOOOH!!!! Low blow!  Low Blow!

 

Oh, and in cased you missed it - The Champ RD2 joins the rest of the field in knowing what its like to win a game!  Congrats to them.  Also, it should be noted that, due to their score, they avoid setting a new 13-game record of lowest points scored.  The T.A. Starfires still hang on to that dubious mark (too bad Hines Ward couldn't hold on to a would-be touchdown grab - which by the way would have at least ensured a tie with Mossy Raiders).

 

Too bad a season can't be built on would-haves and should-haves.

 

Finally, due to RD2's win over the TBs - which I honestly looked past (this time, an honest apology to The Champ RD2), We have three confirmed entrants in the Championship Bracket this week!  Only one spot remaining as we approach the regular season finale!

 

Week 14 playoff picture:

 

If the season ended today (* = confirmed entrants in their respective bracket, + = clinched playoff berth)....

 

CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET (semifinals):

(1) Minot Cardinals* vs. (4) The Yardbyrdz+
(2) Mossy Raiders* vs. (3) Da Raidaz*

 

CONSOLATION BRACKET (semifinals):

(5) Turkish Broncos+ vs. (8) Dakota Cheddar
(6) M. Browns+ vs. (7) DaBoys*

Week 13 picks:  4-1.  Season Total:  39-25-1.

 

Power rankings:

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Skinny

1

Minot Cardinals

9-4

1

May not be so easy this time with Indy so close to clinching home field....

2

The Yardbyrdz

8-5

2

Could be poised to steal the whole thing

3

Da Raidaz

9-4

4

High scorer in week 13...not counting Seattle's going ballistic on Philly (can't the refs simply call it and spare everyone watching?!)

4

The Mossy Raiders

9-4

3

Gets a lucky break (or is it a lucky sprain?) against the Starfires

5

Dakota Cheddar

5-8

7

As was the case last year, despite the losses, The Cheddar are playing tougher than some of the teams still in contention for the Championship bracket.  The top-four teams can thank the commish for those mid-season changes that really screwed the Cheddar (could be 8-5, 7-6 right now)!

6

Turkish Broncos

7-6

5

TBs loss to RD2 likely keeps them out of the Championship playoffs!

7

The T.A. Starfires

TA

4-9

8

Moore was less this time around....but the Starfires are better than their record indicates (see Green Bay Packers).

8

M. Browns

7-6

6

The under-achieving Broncos have played M. Browns out of the Championship playoff picture.

9

The Champ RD2

1-12

10

Break out the Champagne!

10

DaBoys

6-7

9

Playoffs?!?!  PLAYoffs?!?!

 

Week 14 picks:

 

Minot Cardinals vs. The T.A. Starfires (+5)

 

After a heart-breaking loss to Mossy Raiders, The Starfires try to at least finish strong against the best team in the league (just like last year).  The T.A. Starfires have performed a notch or two better than 2004, yet have the same record (4-9) to show for it.  A win gives them a better record at least than last year, but will probably not give them a playoff berth (unless Dakota Cheddar sits all their players this week).  

 

But the best hope for a Starfire win would have been if Peyton and Co. could know whether they have something to play for come game time.  Alas, their game is first up, so expect another Colts win.  However, it should be noted that Minot's PPG is considerably lower than last year (78.9 to last year's 91.2).  Of course, The Starfires have only scored higher than that once this year.

 

Hell with it!  Hope springs eternal!  I'm going for my upset special!!!!  Why I don't know....

 

Pick:  The T.A. Starfires plus the points.  <-- Upset Special!!!!

 

 

Dakota Cheddar vs. Da Raidaz (-9)

 

The bulk of The Cheddar's roster are set up in potential "gotcha" games.  After a big win last week, Manning Lite and Plax should have an easier time against hapless Philly - but not easy enough to counter Da Raidaz's lineup:  Cincy against Cleveland, Indy against Jacksonville.

 

The big question is, will The Cheddar score enough points to hold off The T.A. Starfires should they win their game?  Dakota Cheddar are already up 79 points on The Starfires heading into the final week.  For the Cheddar to miss the playoffs again, they would have to lose while the Starfires win - and score 80 fewer points than The Starfires.

 

Considering that the lowest The Cheddar have scored in a game this year is 46 (Week 2), that would mean The Starfires would have to score at least 126 this week (the most they have EVER scored is 81 in week 10), becoming only the second team in Frozen Tundra history to score over 120!  Minot Cardinals scored 128 in Week 4 in a win against, ironically enough, Dakota Cheddar, but Dakota Cheddar still managed to stay within 80 points (they scored 52 that week).  Think The Cheddar would consider resting their players to make the battle for the final playoff spot more interesting???  Well, it was worth asking....

 

Pick:  Da Raidaz minus the points

 

 

DaBoys vs. Turkish Broncos (-12)

 

Would have loved having a rematch against DaBoys - who again do just enough to allow themselves to back into the playoffs.  Frustrating to say the least.

 

Well, even with the TBs having lost to RD2, DaBoys' 39.4 PPG average over the last five games is not going to get it done - here OR in the playoffs.  Dallas faces a reinvigorated KC team while Green Bay and Denver see a much easier row to hoe.  I just hope that, for my Steelers' sake, Dallas can pull a "DaBoys" and do "just enough" to win....

 

Oh my God - I'm rooting for the Cowboys!!  The apocalypse should be next....

 

Pick:  Turkish Broncos straight up

 

 

Mossy Raiders vs. The Yardbyrdz (-9)

 

Mossy Raiders, one week removed from surviving a squeaker against The Starfires, now face a Yardbyrdz squad who look to get into the Championship Bracket - after starting the season 3-5 (basically the Vikings of the Frozen Tundra)!!!!

 

Even if Mossy Raiders beat The Yardbyrdz - winners of five straight (longest winning streak this year), the Byrdz are all but ensured the #4 seed in the Championship bracket by virtue of their season total (1026 after 13 weeks - same as Minot).  As scary as this team is, Mossy could consider "resting" some players and stay out of the hunt for the #1 seed.

 

With Seattle and NE getting to beat up on San Fran and Buffalo again, I look for another big scoring day for the Byrdz....but Mossy Raiders counter rather nicely with Oakland vs. Jets and Indy vs. Jags.  Throw in Tomlinson and Chad Johnson and you could see an upset.  But again, does Mossy Raiders really want that?

 

Pick:  The Yardbyrdz straight up

 

 

The Champ RD2 vs. M. Browns (+3)

 

How cool is it for RD2 to be favored (first time since Week 1)???  I think its awesome!

 

There's some potential here for RD2 - with Miami coming off a late charge against Buffalo, and Rad Brad Johnson on a hot streak.  Sadly, I think Plummer and Co. rebound against their embarrassing loss to KC....

 

Pick:  M. Browns plus the points.

 

 

Week 13 Preview:

 

Sorry about the mix-up in last week's power rankings.  I had two teams listed at #4 - which may have seemed to be my intention, but was not.  The order WAS correct - just not the numbering.  I also had a playoff picture typo where I listed RD2's record as 0-12.  I jumped the gun, so I apologize to....oh who are we kidding?!

 

Well, I think I have to start coming to grips that Pittsburgh has been knocked down a peg - from being a great team to being just a good team.  Great teams don't go for it a 4th and 4 when a field goal would bring you to within two touchdowns.  The saddest part:  A loss to Cincy this week would not only all but give the Bengals the AFC North, but would leave the Steelers on the outside looking in for a wild card!  This from a team who are a Maddox screw-up or two away from being 9-2!!  Geez!!

 

Well, SOME good came out of it - as (for once) The T.A. Starfires took advantage of a low-scoring affair from their opponent (M. Browns).  The Starfires lose had they played ANY other team this past week (yes, even RD2!).

 

Oh, and can you believe it - I was ONE COIN FLIP away from going 5-0 in picks this week!

 

Week 13 Playoff Picture:

 

If the season ended today....

 

CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET (semifinals):

(1) Minot Cardinals vs. (4) The Yardbyrdz
(2) Mossy Raiders vs. (3) Da Raidaz

 

CONSOLATION BRACKET (semifinals):

(5) Turkish Broncos vs. (8) Dakota Cheddar
(6) M. Browns vs. (7) DaBoys

Week 12 picks:  4-1.  Season Total:  35-24-1.

 

Power rankings:

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Skinny

1

Minot Cardinals

8-4

1

Look to be peaking at the just the right time (great, just like last year)....

2

The Yardbyrdz

7-5

2

These guys will likely own the tie-break with most teams by season's end....nice to have in tight playoff seeding races.

3

The Mossy Raiders

8-4

5

Impressive win over game Cheddar squad....

4

Da Raidaz

8-4

7

Looking back to form....

5

Turkish Broncos

7-5

3

...followed by a big loss against Da Raidaz!

6

M. Browns

7-5

4

Lost to the Starfires?!?!  Wh-wh-WHAT??  Well, it could have been worse - you COULD have been playing RD2 this week....

7

Dakota Cheddar

5-7

6

Can see The T.A. Starfire's headlights in the rearview mirror....

8

The T.A. Starfires

TA

4-8

8

Skol - Vikings "D" !!

9

Da Boys

6-6

9

As was the case last year, earlier win against The Starfires looms large late....

10

The Champ RD2

0-12

10

And they even scored more points than DaBoys - what do you have to do!?!?

 

Week 13 Picks:

 

Mossy Raiders vs. The T.A. Starfires (+21)

 

The T.A. Starfires have already surpassed last year's season total - most of which due to a hot Steelers start, combined with mixing up the roster late - as they try to sneak into the playoffs.  Unfortunately, like last year, they finish off against the toughest teams in the league.  They passed their first test against M. Browns, but it only gets harder against Mossy Raiders.  Mossy Raiders crushed the Starfires earlier this season, but that was during a Steelers bye - so we should see a closer finish in the rematch....

 

Pick:  The T.A. Starfires to cover.

 

Minot Cardinals vs. Dakota Cheddar (+4)

 

This looks to be a close one - with Manning Lite facing Dallas and Atlanta facing Carolina.  That said, I see a grind-it-out affair with the Giants-Cowboys tilt, while a shootout in Carolina looks to be in the works.  Dakota Cheddar's 4-point win over The Starfires in week 9 (via a dropped would-be Vick touchdown pass) is big-time saving The Cheddar's playoff hopes....

 

Pick:  Minot Cardinals straight up.

 

DaBoys vs. Da Raidaz (-19)

 

DaBoys may be in the same boat as The Cheddar this week (see last pick notes).  With Palmer and Indy's D leading the way, Da Raidaz should pick up enough points (I just hope it doesn't come down to their needing a Feely field goal)....

 

Pick:  Da Raidaz straight up.

 

The Champ RD2 vs. Turkish Broncos (-23)

 

This is a match-up of the banged-up QBs.  Bulger is out and McNair is questionable as we go to press.  The question is:  Who will miss their QB more?  I have to say RD2 - as The Rams face a suspect Washington squad.  That said, they have Jurevicius and Miami's D playing Buffalo, while Green Bay looks to play the Bears tough.  I smell a potential upset (even if RD2 has had only two games where the margin of defeat was less than a touchdown)....

 

Pick:  The Champ RD2 to cover.

 

M. Browns vs. The Yardbyrdz (-14)

 

Denver and Chicago face game KC and GB squads, not to mention Cincy having to face the Steel Curtain at Heinz.  Meanwhile, the Byrdz get lowly Philly, San Fran, and Houston.  I think, for the first time in weeks, I'll take the under....

 

Pick:  The Yardbyrdz minus the points.

 

 

Week 12 Preview:

 

WHY haven't they cut Maddox yet????

 

Well, if we've learned nothing else this season, its DON'T UNDERESTIMATE division foes!  That's why I had my Starfires diversify this past week.  Too bad The Yardbyrdz figured out how to score in bunches.

 

So, no more dreams of a winning season for The T.A. Starfires.  Oh!  and no more spoiler-for-everyone:  We have some playoff entries this week!

 

Week 12 Playoff Picture:

Week 11 picks:  2-3.  Season Total:  31-23-1.

 

Power rankings:

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Skinny

1

Minot Cardinals

7-4

2

Welcome back!  How good must you be to move up to #1 after a loss (or is it how bad must everyone else be)?!

2

The Yardbyrdz

6-5

4

These birds found a way to fly - and run....

3

Turkish Broncos

7-4

5

Big late win against Minot Cards....

4

M. Browns

7-4

1

Got a hold of some nasty cheese...

5

The Mossy Raiders

7-4

3

Lucky they were playing DaBoys....

6

Dakota Cheddar

5-6

6

Redemption...and timely redemption at that...against M. Browns.

7

Da Raidaz

7-4

7

A little RD2 always cures what ails you....

8

The T.A. Starfires

TA

3-8

9

Finally turning away from all-Steelers should = wins, but is it too little too late?

9

Da Boys

6-5

8

I warned everyone about these guys being dangerous, but HOW are they above .500 with 618 points on the year!?!?!

10

The Champ RD2

0-11

10

Time to start thinking about a fire sale...

 

Week 12 Picks:

 

M. Browns vs. The T.A. Starfires (+18)

 

Another rematch - and another "why couldn't this game have been last week" - for the Starfires.  And, like when they faced Dakota Cheddar after one of their low-scoring games, they will likely get an M. Browns squad ready to "run it up" on them.  And with the Steelers facing Manning and Co. on the road, there's simply no punch left in these Starfires.  With their playoff hopes on life support, expect the T.A.'s to try to scrounge for points, albeit coming up short once again....

 

Pick:  The T.A. Starfires to cover

 

DaBoys vs. Minot Cardinals (-7) 

 

It's hard to judge these Thanksgiving-day games; especially in a season like this one.  Denver has quietly come on as a team to beat in the AFC, and should give Dallas all it can handle.  Meanwhile, Alanta's D should feast on Detroit - which, along with Peyton picking apart Pittsburgh's secondary, should be enough against the underachieving DaBoys....

 

Pick:  Minot Cardinals straight up

 

Turkish Broncos vs. Da Raidaz (-4)

 

This seems like an easy pick with Cincy "smelling blood in the water" as they swap roles with the Steelers this week with a chance to reclaim sole possession of first place in their division.  But I have lived and died (actually, its more like died and died again) with the saying "NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A DIVISION FOE!"  While its tough to think that the Bengals will do that, they could do exactly that - rationalizing that they don't have a Tommy Maddox on their squad.  It could come down to defense (and Carolina and Chicago look to have two of the NFC's best).  All in all, these two teams are as closely matched as possible.  So here, let me flip a coin; heads, TBs, tails, Da Raidaz...

 

Pick:  Turkish Broncos plus the points.

 

Mossy Raiders vs. Dakota Cheddar (+8)

 

Manning Lite and Plax came up big against the wounded Eagles, but don't expect the same against healthy Seahawks at home.  Of course, that plays against Mossy Raiders since they have the Giant's D.  That, however, might be countered if there's a shootout this Thanksgiving.  And, since I need Cheddar to lose...

 

Pick:  Mossy Raiders straight up

 

The Champ RD2 vs. The Yardbyrdz (-10)

 

The Rams draw an easy week with Houston.   But I still think Johnson and Alexander get plenty of points on the ground.  That said, NFC West teams have been know to lay an egg when least expected, so an upset, combined with the law of averages (can RD2 REALLY go winless?!?), is not out of the question....

 

Pick:  The Yardbyrdz straight up.

 

 

Week 11 Preview:

 

I have just about thrown up my hands trying to figure out where this season is going to go!  How do the Vikings win with only 3 offensive points??  How'd the Steelers get to the point where they cringe at having to take Batch out?  How did Tice not see that sideline hit coming?!?!

 

Well, if The Starfires cannot make the playoffs (even with Randle El doubling as Quarterback), they at least play spoiler for one week.  Their win against RD2 prevent anyone from clinching a spot...for now.

 

Week 11 Playoff Picture:

 

Week 10 picks:  4-1.  Season Total:  29-20-1.

 

Power rankings:

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Skinny

1

M. Browns

7-3

2

And to think we picked these guys to finish dead last....

2

Minot Cardinals

7-3

3

Just about back to where they started

3

The Mossy Raiders

6-4

1

Somebody got a little "snake"-bitten

4

The Yardbyrdz

5-5

7

What was that about saving last week's points for this week?

5

Turkish Broncos

6-4

8

What was that about not be able to play a real team???!

6

Dakota Cheddar

4-6

4

The home stretch only gets harder....

7

Da Raidaz

6-4

5

Guess they needed more Chunky Soup....

8

Da Boys

6-4

6

Only The Champ RD2 have a lower season points total right now....

9

The T.A. Starfires

TA

3-7

9

Sometimes, two QBs are better than one!

10

The Champ RD2

0-10

10

Too bad there's no "next year's first pick" incentive

 

Week 11 Picks:

The Yardbyrdz vs. The T.A. Starfires (+20)

With two of the hottest fantasy RBs going today, plus a QB-less Steeler team going against aways-plays-them-tough-regardless-of-record Baltimore, The Yardbyrdz should continue to make a late-season Championship playoff push.  Maybe the Starfires should hope for Randle El to take the snaps this week...

Pick:  The T.A. Starfires to cover

 

Turkish Broncos vs. Minot Cardinals (-2)

This promises to be a shootout - considering most of the position players involved face what should be point-rich match-ups.  That said I can't help but wonder if Minnesota will do to Favre with they did to Manning Lite (Eli).  Although the snap answer should be no (note how Brett did against a supposedly superior Atlanta team), I think that they may do it enough for the Cards to steal one.....

Pick:  Minot Cardinals straight up

 

The Champ RD2 vs. Da Raidaz (-16)

Da Raidaz get RD2 at just the right time.  Even with Cincy back in action, they have another test with the Colts.  That said, Palmer and Co. should get enough points to take care of RD2.  And, if that's not enough, any turnovers STILL mean points for Raidaz's D.  To their credit, RD2 does have point potential this week with Seattle and Miami facing weak teams and, depending on what Minnesota does, could be geared for a major upset....

Pick:  The Champ RD2 to cover

 

Mossy Raiders (-14) vs. DaBoys

Looking at the match-ups, it looks that it favors DaBoys.  But is Oakland due for a bust-out game?  Mossy Raiders may have Santana Moss, but Randy Moss could make the difference here....

Pick:  Mossy Raiders straight up

 

M. Browns (-4) vs. Dakota Cheddar

This should be an easy pick, considering how M. Browns have risen in the ranks.  But consider:  M. Browns' last two wins were by four points or less.  Meanwhile, Dakota Cheddar's last two wins were by six points or less.  While I think Cheddar's picking up Delhomme is a solid move, I think Plummer and Co. will roll against the Jets....

Pick:  M. Browns straight up.

 

 

Week 10 Preview:

 

With 5 weeks to go in the season, its time to start looking at the playoff picture.  I don't remember seeing the top four this tightly packed this late!  And despite the slew of 6-3 teams, NO ONE has clinched a playoff spot yet!  Finally, despite being winless, The Champ RD2 have not been eliminated yet!

 

Week 10 Playoff Picture:

The tough-luck award continues to reside with The T.A. Starfires - who ONCE AGAIN lose a tight one late.  Vick could have had one more TD pass, putting The Starfires over The Cheddar - but the ball was dropped in the end zone!  Arrrrgh!!

 

So much for my "upset special!"

 

Week 9 picks:  2-3.  Season Total:  25-19-1.

 

Power rankings (NOTE:  As it appears obvious that the score rule change has damaged the true season marks beyond repair, I will update the Power Rankings with what is currently shown on the standings)....

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Skinny

1

The Mossy Raiders

6-3

1

Clearly showed they still belong....

2

M. Browns

6-3

2

Winning a tight one late is huge as we move into the home stretch....

3

Minot Cardinals

6-3

4

Playing RD2 is like having a bye week.

4

Dakota Cheddar

4-5

5

Sometimes, its better to be lucky than good!

5

Da Raidaz

6-3

3

Can't spell Victory without T.O.....

6

Da Boys

6-3

6

Fell hard against a weak team (bye weeks hurt, don't they?)

7

The Yardbyrdz

4-5

8

Timely win keeps them in the chase - but should have saved some of those points for next time.

8

Turkish Broncos

5-4

7

Not so easy against a real team, huh?

9

The T.A. Starfires

TA

2-7

9

The Green Bay Packers of the Frozen Tundra!

10

The Champ RD2

0-9

10

Game against Starfires perhaps their last chance for a win.

 

Week 10 Picks:

 

The Champ RD2 vs. The T.A. Starfires (-9)

 

This is the second meeting between these two teams.  In Week 1, it appeared that the win by the Starfires signaled them as a potential threat in the league.  It was no surprise to find that was not the case.  What WAS a surprise was RD2 continuing to be "0-fer."  I did say at the start, that "as the Vikings go, so do RD2."  Too bad this match-up wasn't last week.  Brad Johnson has been argued as being better for the Vikings, and has been a sleeper fantasy pick, but The Starfires have too many playmakers against weak teams.  Even with a depleted Steeler squad at a division foe, I think this will break the bad-luck streak for the T.A.'s....

 

Pick:  The T.A. Starfires straight up.

 

Da Raidaz vs. Minot Cardinals (+14)

 

McNabb showed this past Sunday that he is not quite the same - with or without T.O.  Meanwhile, Minot seems to have the better match-ups; the possible exception being on Defense.  That, however, may not be enough....

 

Pick:  Minot Cardinals to cover

 

Mossy Raiders vs. Turkish Broncos (+26)

 

The TBs have not been too impressive over the past several weeks - but they catch Mossy Raiders against some unsavory match-ups (Collins and Jordan vs. Denver, Moss vs. Tampa).  A lot rides on who the TBs put in for the bye-week Titans....

 

Pick:  Mossy Raiders straight up (please change pick to TBs to cover should they put bye-week players in)

 

M. Browns vs. Da Boys (-2)

 

Could be a tight one.  Depends on how Philly responds after last week.  I think they'll be up for a Monday Night showdown against rival Dallas.  Assuming M. Browns pick up a good defense in place of idle Cincy, I think this keeps them right up there at the top of the standings....

 

Pick:  M. Browns straight up (please change to Da Boys straight up if M. Browns does not add a defense).

 

The Yardbyrdz vs. Dakota Cheddar (+2)

 

Alexander came up huge for the Byrdz last week.  I don't see that happening twice in a row.  Also expect Eli and Plax, and the Skins to continue to roll.  And, also noting that The Yardbyrdz got their big scoring game last week, I think the wrong team is favored....

 

Pick:  Dakota Cheddar plus the points.

 

 

Week 9 Preview:

 

Stranger and stranger.  Looking ahead to the playoff schedule (why I'M looking at that is anyone's guess), I noted that it is only a four-team format:  With the top four teams playing in the championship bracket while the bottom four are placed in a separate consolation bracket.  I don't know about you, but it doesn't inspire me as much trying to claw for a playoff spot knowing I could not finish higher than #5.  Kind of like the BCS (or is that simply BS?).

 

If the commish wanted to change something in mid-stream, it should have been the playoff setup!

 

Week 8 picks:  3-2.  Season total:  23-16-1.

 

Power rankings

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Skinny

1

The Mossy Raiders

6-2

2

How the mighty have fallen....but still, the team to beat right now

2

M. Browns

5-3

3

Weaving some Mile-High Magic!

3

Da Raidaz

5-3

1

T.O.??  More like B.O....

4

Minot Cardinals

5-3

5

Cards flying high after big win against Mossy Raiders.

5

Dakota Cheddar

5-3

4

Talk about timing!  The Cheddar would have lost had they played ANY other team than RD2!!!!

6

Da Boys

5-3

6

Keeping pace with the big dawgs....of course playing the bottom two teams across the last three weeks helps.

7

Turkish Broncos

4-4

7

Another solid game - albeit against another weak team.

8

The Yardbyrdz

3-5

8

These byrdz are grounded....

9

The T.A. Starfires

TA

2-6

9

....but The Starfires broke their fall!

10

The Champ RD2

0-8

10

Grounded??  Try buried!

 

Week 9 Picks:

 

Dakota Cheddar (-1) vs. The T.A. Starfires

 

Now WHY couldn't this match-up have come last week??  To their  benefit, The Starfires have Pittsburgh facing a one-win Packers squad.  Again, should equal mucho puntos (of course, we thought the same for last night - NEVER underestimate a division foe)!  Alas, as was the case last week, The T.A.'s opponent have the bulk of their roster facing an even easier road (Eli and Plax against San Fran, Jax Defense vs. Houston, SD vs. Jets).  Plus, with The Steelers having to go on the road, we may see another close game (not to mention low-scoring).  But SF DID knock of TB last week - do they have it in them again?  With the law of averages in effect (after 6 weeks of losing, they HAVE to be due), I will go against my better judgment and make this my upset special....

 

Pick:  The T.A. Starfires straight up.  <-- UPSET SPECIAL!!!!

 

 

The Champ RD2 vs. Minot Cardinals (-13)

 

You'd think that losing Culpepper would be a blessing for RD2, and Mark Brunell SHOULD be an upgrade.  That may be true (even with Washington being shut down last week), but Minot is simply too stacked up against easy teams....

 

Pick:  Minot Cardinals straight up

 

Mossy Raiders (-9) vs. Da Raidaz

 

This is quite possibly the match-up of the year (too bad some luster was taken off due to both teams losing last week).  I think Philly takes their frustrations out on a suddenly reeling Redskins squad, but with Oakland and the Giants, I think this one goes down to the wire in a toss-up, so I'll take the over....

 

Pick:  Da Raidaz plus the points.

 

 

M. Browns vs. Turkish Broncos (-1)

 

I think the TBs will gather some points off their defense alone - and point potential is there with Tennessee facing Cleveland.  But I also think M. Browns are on a roll - and should continue doing so this week....

 

Pick:  M. Browns straight up.

 

The Yardbyrdz (-14) vs. Da Boys

 

Yardbyrdz having the Detroit defense in against Minnesota should prove helpful.  The key is whether also catching Da Boys in a bye week will make the difference.....

 

Pick:  Da Boys to cover

 

 

 

Week 8 Preview:

 

Does anyone else have to stop and wonder why the league is changing the rules mid-stream??  The Starfires' fate in week 7 would not have changed - but we WERE within 10 points until the change.  I also note that suddenly Dakota Cheddar has a losing record versus being 4-3.  I can only hope that doesn't make a difference come playoff seedings....

 

You'll forgive me if I don't go back and change my season pick or PR standings (unless I get an express order from the comish....).  NOTE:  It has recently been reported that the changes in standings, past games, etc. were unintentional.

 

Week 7 picks:  3-2.  Season total:  20-14-1.

 

Power rankings

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Skinny

1

Da Raidaz

5-2

2

Continuing to roll against quality teams (Starfires excluded)

2

The Mossy Raiders

6-1

1

Nearly handed RD2 their first win.

3

M. Browns

4-3

3

Hung tough against the Cards....

4

Dakota Cheddar

4-3

6

The biggest victim of the sudden scoring changes!

5

Minot Cardinals (The Team formerly known as Rapid Delivery)

4-3

7

Will they go back to being called Rapid Delivery now?

6

Da Boys

4-3

4

As the 'boys go, so do Da Boys....

7

Turkish Broncos

3-4

8

Just good enough to beat the Starfires - for whatever that's worth....

8

The Yardbyrdz

3-4

5

Fallen off a bit lately

9

The T.A. Starfires

TA

2-5

9

Just a couple of big plays away from being respectable....

10

The Champ RD2

0-7

10

Not even the scoring changes helped these guys!

 

Week 8 Picks:

 

Da Boys (-2) vs. The T.A. Starfires

 

Last week, Dallas had a letdown; meanwhile, The Steelers had a solid game - although it still wasn't enough for a win.  Expect another strong game against the Ravens - but, unfortunately for the Starfires, Dallas should rebound soundly against Denny's Cards....

 

Pick:  Da Boys minus the points.

 

Mossy Raiders (-13) vs. Minot Cardinals

 

This shapes up to be a potential upset (assuming the Jags are indeed for real).  Alas, the Cards from NoDak are depending on the Cards from Arizona to have at least a decent game against the Cowboys.  I just don't think that's going to happen....

 

Pick:  Mossy Raiders straight up.

 

M. Browns vs. Da Raidaz (-27)

 

This is about as head-to-head as you can get.  A big piece of the puzzle will be how the Bengals-Packers game will go.  Despite being spanked by the Steelers, I think Cincy is more than a match for The Pack....

 

Pick:  Da Raidaz straight up.

 

The Yardbyrdz (-8) vs. Turkish Broncos

 

This match-up will see points at a premium.  Phi/Den will either be a shootout or a low-scoring yawner.  Either way, this one comes down to who is healthy - and stays healthy this week.  And with three of the Yard's players questionable....

 

Pick:  Turkish Broncos to cover.

 

The Champ RD2 vs. Dakota Cheddar (-23)

 

Two key questions here:  One, is Culpepper truly back in form, or will he fall apart again against a good team in Carolina?  Two, will Plax be ready to go for The Cheddar?  I think the latter is more likely, but RD2 could be in a position to get their first win following their near miss against Mossy Raiders....naw!

 

Pick:  Dakota Cheddar straight up (please change to RD2 to cover is Plax is out)

 

 

Week 7 Preview:

 

Somebody do me a favor:  Call Tommy Maddox and tell him that State Farm called offering his old job back.

 

Oh!  And somebody tell Daunte Culpepper that the season started about a month and a half ago.

 

Well, a little better with the picks this week (wish I could say the same for my team).

 

Week 6 picks:  3-2.  Season Total:  17-12-1

 

Power rankings

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Skinny

1

The Mossy Raiders

5-1

1

Remember that I said "For a brief moment..."

2

Da Raidaz

4-2

3

Pretty bold sitting two starters w/o replacements and STILL win (oh wait, it was against the Starfires - never mind)

3

M. Browns

4-2

2

See Mossy Raiders' Skinny....

4

Da Boys

4-2

5

Timely game against RD2

5

The Yardbyrdz

3-3

6

This IS a dangerous team!

6

Dakota Cheddar

3-3

7

Back in the hunt after scrappy win over TBs

7

Minot Cardinals (The Team formerly known as Rapid Delivery)

3-3

4

Is the name change an attempt to hide the fact they are underachieving?

8

Turkish Broncos

2-4

8

They'd be lower, but compared to the Starfires and RD2s, that wouldn't be fair.

9

The T.A. Starfires

TA

2-4

9

Continuing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!

10

The Champ RD2

0-6

10

If only we could play these guys every week!

 

Week 7 picks:

 

Turkish Broncos (-15) vs. The T.A. Starfires

 

In the last two weeks, despite a persistent losing skid, The Starfires have lost by less than ten points each.  And, for whatever reason, their opponents have played down to their level.  Will this week be a hat trick (note Favre's history of struggling in the Metrodome) - and will the Starfires be able to capitalize this time?  Conventional wisdoms says no - but I have a hunch Pittsburgh will go into Cincy totally peaked about last week - as we see a brief return to the Days of the Bungles.  Of course it could be less of a hunch and more a case of desperation/wishful thinking....

 

Pick:  The T.A. Starfires to cover

 

Minot Cardinals (-7) vs. M. Browns

 

What?!  M. Browns not favored?  Must be a typo....  Actually, its tempting to pick M. Browns considering what Indy nearly did on Monday Night - then they remembered who they are.  And, sorry M. Browns, but Cincy's D is facing Ben Ben - not Tommy "Jammed Gun" Maddox.....

 

Pick:  Minot Cardinals straight up.

 

The Yardbyrdz vs. Da Raidaz (-24)

 

The Yardbyrdz have yet to pick a QB, explaining the big point spread.  Hasselback is slated as their backup with Brady on a bye, but with the prospect of facing a hot Dallas team, I think a 24-point margin of victory is still possible.  Not likely, but possible....

 

Pick:  The Yardbyrdz to cover.

 

Dakota Cheddar (-9) vs. Da Boys

 

The Cheddar is a fashionable pick - considering their close win over TBs.  But Da Boys have Dallas up against Seattle, while Eli and Plax will have their hands full against Denver....

 

Pick:  Da Boys to cover

 

The Champ RD2 vs. Mossy Raiders (-12)

 

If it hasn't been bad enough for RD2, now they must face the top team in the league.  Mossy Raiders let me down the last time I took them picking the under.  I don't think I'll be let down again....

 

Pick:  Mossy Raiders minus the points

 

Week 6 Preview:

 

Did anyone get the number of that truck that hit me....?!

 

Give me the "hindsight award" for a few reasons:  One, for allowing Rapid Delivery to get their hands on Jurevicius - SO HE COULD MAKE THE DIFFERENCE AGAINST MY STARFIRES (yeah, I'm a little bitter).  Two, for not accepting the fact that M. Browns are for real (of COURSE they were going to cover the spread).  Three, for not going with my gut and take the upset special:  Cheddar over Da Raidaz.

 

Can you believe it - M. Browns are playing for sole possession of FIRST PLACE this week!!!!

 

Week 5 picks:  1-4.    Season:  14-10-1

 

Power rankings

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Skinny

1

The Mossy Raiders

4-1

1

For a brief moment, these guys look beatable....

2

M. Browns

4-1

4

For a brief moment, these guys look unbeatable....

3

Da Raidaz

3-2

2

Being upset at the hands of the Cheddar denies Da Raidaz a return to #1....

4

Rapid Delivery

3-2

3

Their matchup against the lowly Starfires should have NEVER been that close!

5

Da Boys

3-2

5

Right in the middle of things with win over TBs

6

The Yardbyrdz

2-3

8

This looks to be a dangerous team

7

Dakota Cheddar

2-3

9

ONE more win to match last season's total (Bulger and co. did their best "Greatest show on Turf" routine last week)!

8

Turkish Broncos

2-3

6

...and now starting to move back down....

9

The T.A. Starfires

TA

2-3

7

To the cellar with you, you All-Steelers, towel-waving freaks!

10

The Champ RD2

0-5

10

The last team with a "0" in their record (too bad its in the "W" column)!

 

Week 6 picks:

 

Da Raidaz (-17) vs. The T.A. Starfires

 

The Starfires are clearly on the skids (where's Champ RD2 when you REALLY need them).  After starting 2-0, they have lost three straight (sound familiar?).  While Pittsburgh should have a much easier time this Sunday against the Jags (even if Big Ben can't go), Cincy should have it even easier against the Titans.  Expect the Starfire Slide to continue....

 

Pick:  Da Raidaz minus the points.  (please switch to The T.A. Starfires to cover if Roethlisberger can go).

 

The Yardbyrdz (-10) vs. Rapid Delivery

 

Unlike last year, RD appears to be mixing it up - this time looking at Seattle to get him past a dangerous YB squad (although he won't have Racker's leg to rely on this week).  While The Yardbyrdz have Brady and Galloway, they also have Taylor and Williamson going into tough games.  This one, like last week, should be a close one for RD....

 

Pick:  Rapid Delivery to cover...

 

Dakota Cheddar (-18) vs. Turkish Broncos

 

I sincerely doubt that St. Louis will duplicate their efforts against the undefeated Colts.  Of course, even when the TBs replace their bye-week players, considering they are facing the Pats, Steelers, and Detroit, The Cheddar may not need a repeat of last week....

 

Pick:  Dakota Cheddar straight up.

 

The Champ RD2 vs. Da Boys (-15)

 

Maybe The T.A. Starfires should keep that Thank You For Keeping Us out of Last Place Card - and address it to RD2....

 

Pick:  Da Boys straight up....

 

Mossy Raiders (+5) vs. M. Browns

 

Six weeks in and M. Browns have YET to be underdogs - despite their facing Mossy Raiders.  But give them credit - they are actually playing for first place this week!  Mossy Raiders let me down last week, so I'll respect the M. Browns this time and take the over....

 

Pick:  Mossy Raiders plus the points.

 

Week 5 Preview:

 

After four weeks, things seem to be starting to gell a little.  Rapid Delivery's high-scoring offense finally did just that in perhaps the most lop-sided victory in Frozen Tundra history!  That doesn't mean there aren't any more surprises - M. Browns, who have never come in as underdogs, have quietly made their way to the top of the standings.

 

Last week's picks:  3-1-1 (M. Browns, minus the points, tie with The Yardbyrdz).  Season:  13-6-1.

 

Power rankings

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Skinny

1

The Mossy Raiders

4-0-0

1

Talk about getting scary....

2

Da Raidaz

3-1-0

2

Solid win over legit team, can't wait for the showdown with Mossy Raiders

3

Rapid Delivery

2-2-0

4

120 points!  Too bad they couldn't do that every week....

4

M. Browns

3-1-0

5

Hope The T.A. Starfires kept their receipt on that "Thank You for keeping us out of Last Place" card....

5

Da Boys

2-2-0

3

Missed chance to make a statement.

6

Turkish Broncos

2-2-0

7

Starting to move up....

7

The T.A. Starfires

TA

2-2-0

6

Couldn't the bye have come when facing The Champ RD2??

8

The Yardbyrdz

1-3-0

8

Close one against suddenly up-start M. Browns....

9

Dakota Cheddar

1-3-0

9

Still enough season left to get on track....

10

The Champ RD2

0-4-0

10

At least you weren't playing The T.A. Starfires on their Steelers bye!

 

Week 5 Picks:

 

Rapid Delivery (-29) vs. The T.A. Starfires

 

Coming off an automatic loss via a Pittsburgh bye was bad enough - but now The Starfires have to face an RD team who has just appeared to hit their stride (of course).  And Peyton and Co. get to face lowly San Fran while the Steelers take on a SD team fresh off of beating the Patriots (of course).  But the rest of RD's squad won't have it as easy as they did last week....

 

Pick:  The T.A. Starfires to cover

 

Dakota Cheddar vs. Da Raidaz (-7)

 

Boy, it is tempting to root for the Cheddar - this could have the hints of a let-down for Da Raidaz (especially if Baltimore's D can find themselves against lowly Detroit).  Alas, Indy's D has an equally easy task against the 49ers - and that, plus the low point spread - is too much to pass up....

 

Pick:  Da Raidaz minus the points.

 

Da Boys vs. Turkish Broncos (-9)

 

A tough pick.  Between Dallas playing below expectations to Brett Favre leading a winless team.  This should be a "pick 'em...."

 

Pick:  Turkish Broncos straight up

 

Mossy Raiders (-4) vs. The Yardbyrdz

 

Until they show me otherwise, I have to take the points (especially when its less than a touch....

 

Pick:  Mossy Raiders minus the points

 

The Champ RD2 vs. M. Browns (-14)

 

Again, M. Browns are the favorite.  But I have a feeling that Washington will make things harder on Denver than expected.  Enough to give RD2 their first win?  Probably not....

 

Pick:  The Champ RD2 to cover

 

 

Week 4 Preview:  

 

Well, it was bound to happen, and it did!  My Starfires actually had a shot of going 3-0 heading into Pittsburgh's bye week.  Unfortunately, somebody reminded the Chiefs that they suck!

 

So, in a season of weirdness, it should give some of you hope that at least one team (mine) is returning to mediocrity.

 

Last week's picks (Even tho Champ RD2 only had one backup RB, it probably wouldn't have been enough): 2-3.  Season:  10-5.

 

Power rankings

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Skinny

1

The Mossy Raiders

3-0-0

2

It's no longer a two-horse race!

2

Da Raidaz

2-1-0

1

Short time on top

3

Da Boys

2-1-0

4

I told you to watch out for these guys....

4

Rapid Delivery

1-2-0

3

A losing record?!?  Definitely not typical “RD” style….

5

M. Browns

2-1-0

9

Wh-wh-What?!?

6

The T.A. Starfires

TA

2-1-0

5

Pittsburgh bye = return to .500 - and lower....

7

Turkish Broncos

1-2-0

7

About time!

8

The Yardbyrdz

1-2-0

10

Starting to show potential as a spoiler.

9

Dakota Cheddar

1-2-0

6

Ze stank-y cheeezzz.

10

The Champ RD2

0-3-0

8

Sorry, but being the only winless team makes you #10 by default!

 

Week 4 Picks:

 

Mossy Raiders (-30) vs. The T.A. Starfires

 

The Starfires nearly pulled off a 3-0 start before Pittsburgh’s bye, but came up short.  Doubly disappointing, as they knew that, even before the start of the season, that this week meant an automatic loss.  The Starfires have made themselves more capable of countering with the likes of Vick and Dunn, but against Mossy Raiders, it won’t even be close….

 

Pick:  Mossy Raiders minus the points (yes, minus the points)

 

Dakota Cheddar vs. Rapid Delivery (-6)

 

I still feel Dakota Cheddar has a shot of making a move in the standings.  Unfortunately, Peyton and Co. will start making moves of their own this week….

 

Pick:  Rapid Delivery straight up

 

DaBoys vs. Da Raidaz (-6)

 

This could be a close one.  Da Raidaz took a stumble last week, and they have a dangerous DaBoys squad next.  Although I won’t be so bold to take the points, I would be tempted to take Da Raidaz again….

 

Pick:  Da Raidaz straight up

 

The Champ RD2 vs. Turkish Broncos (-12)

 

The Turks had to wait three weeks for their first win.  With Culpepper facing another real team, it may be easy to say they won’t have to wait that long for their second.  Of course, Green Bay faces a real team in Carolina….

 

Pick:  The Champ RD2 to cover

 

M. Browns (-8) vs. The Yardbyrdz

 

M. Browns have been surprising to say the least – passing The T.A. Starfires late in the game last week in convincing fashion.  With what Denver did this past Monday, they are the fashionable pick.  But I would say it will be very close….

 

Pick:  The Yardbyrdz to cover

 

 

 

Week 3 Preview:

 

Well this is already shaping up to be quite the weird season.  Patriots losing??  Steelers 2-0??  Vikings 0-2??!?  M. Browns winning a game?!??!?!?  What!?!?!?

 

Last week’s picks:  4-1.  Season:  8-2

 

Power rankings

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Skinny

1

Da Raidaz

2-0-0

1

This is getting scary….

2

The Mossy Raiders

2-0-0

4

Could they be for real???

3

Rapid Delivery

1-1-0

2

Did just enough to win – not typical “RD” style….

4

Da Boys

1-1-0

3

A nice comeback just falls short….

5

The T.A. Starfires

TA

2-0-0

8

What injured knee?!?!

6

Dakota Cheddar

1-1-0

5

Tough loss to M. Browns!

7

Turkish Broncos

0-2-0

7

….or to Rapid Delivery.  But its time to post a win!

8

The Champ RD2

0-2-0

6

Calling Brad Johnson.  Calling Brad Johnson….

9

M. Browns

1-1-0

10

What?!?

10

The Yardbyrdz

0-2-0

9

The byrdz are now the bottom feeders

 

Week 3 Picks:

 

M. Browns (-12) vs. The T.A. Starfires

 

This time, M. Browns as the favorite makes sense.  Although The Starfires have had a hot start, it should be noted that Pittsburgh had an easy time of it versus the Titans and Texans.  That ends when they face a Patriots team that not only seem to have their number, but also are sure to be mad after losing last week…. so don’t expect a repeat of last Halloween….

 

Pick:  M. Browns straight up

 

 

DaBoys vs. Rapid Delivery (-8)

 

This is a tough one.  Manning and co. had a slow week, and Dallas is facing the 49ers.  That said I don’t see Peyton doing a “Culpepper” impression anytime soon.  This one goes down to the wire….

 

Pick:  Rapid Delivery straight up

 

 

Turkish Broncos vs. Da Raidaz (-17)

 

For Da Raidaz, it looks like another high-scoring affair.  Turkish Broncos have Dillon, but should not rely on him unless the Pats wear the Steeler D down.  The fact that the NFC North is weak all around makes this an easy pick – but the point spread???  Do I dare?????

 

Pick:  Da Raidaz, minus the points (why not?)

 

 

Mossy Raiders vs. Dakota Cheddar

 

Another tough pick (note there is no point spread).  I do note that Cheddar has yet to pick a backup defense (Baltimore has a bye), and that could be the difference….

 

Pick:  Mossy Raiders

 

 

The Champ RD2 versus The Yardbyrdz

 

Again, no point spread.  But the Champ RD2 has yet to bring in his backup RBs.  Brady and Culpepper could very well have dismal days against tough and/or inspired defenses – so I think it comes down to the WRs and who keeps who off the board….

 

Pick:  The Champ RD2 (assuming they play backup RBs)

 

 

 

Week 2 Preview:

 

Two things we know now that we didn’t know before week 1:  One, Dolphins can be more formidable than we think.  Two, The T.A. Starfires can not only win a game, but they can do so in dominating fashion.

 

Aside from Miami’s surprising start, we were pretty dead on with picks:  4-1.

 

Power rankings

 

Rank

Team Name

Record

last week 

Skinny

1

Da Raidaz

1-0-0

2

Revenge is Da Raidaz….

2

Rapid Delivery

0-1-0

1

A hiccup on the road to the title – or a sign of things to come?

3

Da Boys

1-0-0

3

Watch out for these guys….

4

The Mossy Raiders

1-0-0

5

High scorer in week1….

5

Dakota Cheddar

1-0-0

4

Two wins to go to match last year’s total!

6

The Champ RD2

0-1-0

6

There is NO WAY Culpepper has THAT bad a day twice in a row….

7

Turkish Broncos

0-1-0

7

No shame in losing to the Mossy Raiders….

8

The T.A. Starfires

TA

1-0-0

9

What sophomore slump?!?!

9

The Yardbyrdz

0-1-0

8

At least they were the highest scoring loser in week 1….

10

M. Browns

0-1-0

10

Get used to life on the bottom!

 

 

Week 2 picks:

 

The Yardbyrdz (-11) vs. The T.A. Starfires

 

If Big Ben (did someone say PERFECT QB rating??) and Parker’s performance in Week 1 were for real, this team could actually be trouble for the rest of the league.  I’m not ready to bet the house on it, though.  That said, Carolina’s defense and Big Ben’s second soft opponent in as many weeks makes this closer than two scores…

 

Pick:  T.A. Starfires to cover

 

Turkish Broncos vs. Rapid Delivery (-9)

 

Could Rapid Delivery go 0-2 to start the season?!??  The possibility is there, with Favre facing a weak Cleveland squad.  But remember that Brett also lost one of his favorite targets last week.  I think RD rebounds this week….

 

Pick:  Rapid Delivery straight up

 

The Champ RD2 vs. Da Raidaz (-5)

 

Champ RD2 only tallied 20 points with Culpepper last week, so it would seem reasonable that Daunte will breakout against the Bengals.  However, with McNabb still in the lineup despite his injury, along with the fact that the Bengals ARE the Bengals again (vs. The Bungles), I think this is a toss-up.

 

Pick:  Da Raidaz straight up.

 

Mossy Raiders (-14) vs. DaBoys

 

It’s hard to pick against the upset special from Week1 – but not when you’re dealing with a 14-point favorite (and Dallas playing Washington)….

 

Pick:  DaBoys to cover

 

M. Browns (-1) vs. Dakota Cheddar

 

Browns favored again??  Must be a typo….

 

Pick:  Dakota Cheddar straight up

 

 

The Frozen Tundra – 2005 Preview 

As the owner of the T.A. Starfires, I am entering this season with a heavy heart – as the namesake of my team, perhaps the greatest backyard/indy wrestler of all time, is presumed dead at 37 years of age; dying August 28, 2005 after the NAWA Xplosion show.  I hope you’ll join me in a “cyber” moment of silence for this icon of sports-entertainment-on-the-cheap.  A true “people’s champion!”  My team plays this season in his memory.

 …

But I digress.  As the owner of a losing team in 2004, I joined my fellow cellar-dwellers in the age-old mantra:  Wait till next year.

 Well, next year is here!

There are the usual suspects back for another run, and some new (?) faces.  Here are my season-opening power rankings of each team: 

Rank

Team Name

2004 Season Record 

2004 PPG

Key stats/notes

Skinny/Prediction

1

Rapid Delivery

11-1-1

91.2

Rapid Delivery is riding a 13-game winning streak since ’04 and won their regular season games by an average of 28.3 points

With Peyton Manning at the helm, Rapid Delivery can only beat themselves.  

Prediction:  Give them the championship now and save the rest of the field the trouble.

2

Da Raidaz

9-3-1

79.4

Aside from their loss to Rapid Delivery, Da Raidaz's 2004 losses were by 15 points or less.

This team probably has the best chance to topple Rapid Delivery.

Prediction:  If they don't stumble early, expect a rematch between #1 and #2 for the league championship

3

Da Boys

5-8-0

52.1

Beat The T.A. Starfires by one point in Week 1 last season, which helped burst The T.A. Starfire's playoff bubble.

Despite sneaking into the playoffs as a #8 seed, they did finish #5 overall in 2004.

Prediction:  DaBoys entered last year’s playoffs as a stepping stone.  They enter this year as a dangerous team – no matter where they are in the standings.

4

Dakota Cheddar

3-10-0

Not Available

Despite suffering two big losing streaks of 4 and 5 games respectively in 2004, they came back strong late.  Despite their record, they actually had a higher point total than three of the eight 2004 playoff teams - one being seeded as high as #4!!

The best 3-10 team of all time!

 

Prediction:  Watch the cheddar pick up were they left off and become a top-five team in 2005.

5

The Mossy Raiders

N/A

N/A

Kerry Collins having Randy Moss as a key target should = points.  Good mix of wide-outs.

Prediction:  See you in the playoffs, Mr. Dark Horse!

6

The Champ RD2

N/A

N/A

Besides Peyton, Daunte was the hot item in the draft – and Champ RD2 got him.  Having Lewis grinding it out on the ground doesn’t hurt either.

Prediction:  Points and playoff potential abound.  As the Vikings go, so will Champ RD2.

7

Turkish Broncos

N/A

N/A

Count on Favre and Dillon to provide most of the points – which may be all this team needs to win at times.

Prediction:  Could become a “top tier” player this year.  Should be a lock for a playoff spot.

8

The Yardbyrdz

N/A

N/A

Good news:  The Yardbyrdz got “the man,” Tom Brady.  Now for the bad news:  He’s relying on Arizona, Detroit, and Seattle to actually field a winner.

Prediction:  Should sneak into the playoffs, but one and done is all but certain.

9

The T.A. Starfires

TA

4-9-0

50.9

The T.A. Starfires had virtual control of their own destiny in the waning weeks of 2004, but suffered three straight losses to end the season - by an average margin of defeat of 32 points.

 

Finished with a total of only 662 points in 2004 (dead last in the league).

Although the Starfires mixed it up a bit, they still remain a mostly-Steelers team (some people never learn!).

 

Prediction:  With hints of a “sophomore slump” by “Big Ben” Roethlisberger, and no sign of a running game, The T.A. Starfires will likely spend this year as they did the last:  In the league cellar, watching the playoffs “from home.”

10

M. Browns

N/A

N/A

Besides Edmond James, and possibly Jake Plummer, no obvious point-producers here.

Prediction:  The T.A. Starfires will send M. Browns a “thank you card” for keeping them out of last place at year’s end.

 

And, finally, the Week 1 picks:

 

The Champ RD2 (-8) vs. The T.A. Starfires 

Champ RD2 has Culpepper, but the Starfires counter nicely with two of his favorite targets.  And even in a slump, Roethlisberger should get points against a weak Tennessee team. 

Pick:  Starfires to cover.

 

Da Raidaz (-1) vs. Rapid Delivery 

A rematch between the 2004 Championship participants – what are the odds??  This sets up as a nice “revenge” match for Da Raidaz – especially with Indy playing the scary Raven defense. 

Pick:  Da Raidaz, minus the points.

 

Mossy Raiders (+2) vs. Turkish Broncos 

Oakland and Indy have a tough challenge versus NE and Baltimore, while Green Bay and Denver should see an easier time against the Lions and Dolphins. 

Pick:  Turkish Broncos straight up.

 

M. Browns (-1) vs. Da Boys 

What?!  M. Browns are actually favored??  Enjoy…it may be for the last time. 

Pick:  Da Boys minus the points.

 

The Yardbyrdz vs. Dakota Cheddar (-9)

 St. Louis and Green Bay should cruise – which should be enough for The Cheddar….

 Pick:  Dakota Cheddar straight up.