Posts Tagged ‘Dallas Cowboys’

NFL playoffs about QBs, coaches — and Falcons have shot

Matt Ryan and Mike Smith will be looking to improve on their postseason resume in three weeks. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Matt Ryan and Mike Smith will be looking to improve on their postseason resume in three weeks. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

With few exceptions, Super Bowls are won by teams with a great quarterback and a great head coach. Or in the case of the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, a defense so great that it can overcome Trent Dilfer.

Results by Matt Ryan and the Mike Smith-coached Falcons this season suggest Atlanta is in a pretty good spot to go to the Super Bowl for only the second time in franchise history, and possibly win it. Ryan is having the best season of his career. Smith has kept his team focused and ascending over the past four weeks (exception: the Carolina game) and upgraded his staff with coordinators Mike Nolan (defense) and Dirk Koetter (offense).

What Ryan and Smith both lack is a playoff resume. Here are my rankings of the potential 15 quarterback-coach combinations in the playoff field (10 teams that have clinched, five that are in the hunt):

1. Tom Brady-Bill Belichick (New …

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Predictions: Georgia pulls upset, Tech goes down

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According to various websites that I looked through while doing research for this final week of investments — not counting those that kept asking for a credit card number, age verification and automatically opened 27 new windows (Close! Close! Dang it, close!) while my wife screamed down to the basement, “Are you still looking at point spreads!?” — I came across some interesting statistics.

The chances of winning Wednesday night’s $579 million Powerball drawing were approximately 1 in 176 million. That was still far more likely than the odds of having a meteor land on my house: 1 in 182,138,880,000,000. Or about double that for the same meteor landing on the ACC championship game and hitting somebody.

Is that a meteor falling on my house, or Georgia going to BCS title game?

Is that a meteor falling on me, or Dogs going to BCS?

Other odds I came across: 1 in 3 million chance of spotting a UFO; 1 in 11,500 of bowling 300 in a game; 1 in 649,740 of being dealt a royal flush; 1 in 20 million of being canonized; about even-money that one of those …

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Predictions: This time it’s all red — Dogs, Falcons win

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As we head down the stretch of this football season and attempt to answer the age-old question, “Who whines more: SEC football fans after losing a game or Republicans after losing an election?” — and this is why I always check under my car for suspicious wire before starting it — it’s time to check in on the remains of Gene Chizik.

Two years ago, Auburn won the national championship. Now the Tigers are 2-7 overall and 0-6 in the SEC.

The governors of Colorado and Washington.

The governors of Colorado and Washington.

Or, as Karl Rove would put it, they’re trending upward and on the verge of conquering the SEC West, the conference, the BCS, Ohio (don’t it make my red eyes blue?), Hawaii, Alaska, Manitoba, the dangling chads of Florida, the clogging anchors of Fox, the Western Hemisphere, the Eastern Bloc (Commies! We’ll hunt ‘em all down!), the Peoples Republic of Cheech and Chong (Colorado and Washington just legalized marijuana — so, yes, we have confirmation that Doritos has lobbyists) and even the educated, …

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Short takes: On Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, no turnovers

Falcons have followed the franchise mandate through eight games (all wins).

Falcons have followed franchise mandate through eight games (all wins). (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Here are my three short takes from the Falcons’ win over Dallas Sunday night:

1. Julio Jones is a difference maker: With every play he makes, the Falcons’ receiver buries concerns by some that the Falcons might have given up too much in trade for him before the draft two years ago. Jones finished with five catches covering 129 yards. That includes a 38-yard catch in the first quarter while he was being mugged by Morris Claiborne (who was called for pass interference) and a 48-yard gain in the fourth quarter when he lined up in the backfield, took a short pass and bolted past the likes of DeMarcus Ware. He also ran for eight yards on a reverse on third-and-1.

2. Matt Ryan shows toughness: Ryan was hit so hard on a blindside sack by Ware that it looked like he might have to come out for a few plays. He didn’t. He was sacked three times and leveled after several throws on a night when the …

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Falcons just keep winning — has anybody has noticed?

Linebacker Mike Peterson reacts after another defensive stop by the Falcons' defense against Dallas. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Linebacker Mike Peterson reacts after another defensive stop by the Falcons' defense against Dallas. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

OK. Now what?

They have played eight games and won eight games. They have won at home and on the road. In warm weather and cold. On Sundays and Monday, day and night. On national TV and probably when not too many were paying attention because, well, the Braves were still teasing us.

Are they great? I don’t know — what’s great? Halfway through the NFL season, the Falcons are the only team that hasn’t lost a game. So even if they’re just very good, isn’t every other team somewhere south of that?

One week after ending their history of horrors in Philadelphia, the Falcons knocked off Dallas 19-13 Sunday night. And the national analysis figures to focus on the decline of the Cowboys in 3 … 2 … 1 …

“I’m anxious to see what happens, to see if all the networks make it all about the Cowboys,” Tony Gonzalez said. “But that not our primary concern.”

No. Winning is. …

Continue reading Falcons just keep winning — has anybody has noticed? »

Predictions: Smelly, incompetent, soft Bullldogs win again

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According to legend, and also Wikipedia, my two favorite sources when I have other things to do, the expression, “Eureka!” dates to the Greek scholar Archimedes, who noticed that when he stepped into a bathtub the water level rose and he exclaimed, “Eureka!” because, I dunno, “Wow,” just didn’t sound scholarly. Archimedes then continued this research into volume by seeing what would happen if he sat in a hot tub with five co-eds from Palermo State, but that didn’t work out so good, he lost his grant and now can be found teaching sociology at junior college in Poughkeepsie.

So last week, Georgia punched Florida in the mouth, and I’m certain I heard Mark Richt exclaim, “Eureka! No more Mr. Nice Guy!” See, because I’m sure the Bulldogs played tough because they were angry at being called “soft” by teammate Shawn Williams.

So coddling days are over. This week Richt called in appropriate inspirational speakers to address his players:

"Bring me the broomstick of Nick Saban!"

"Bring me the broomstick of Nick Saban!"

Oz: …

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Weekend Predictions: Bulldogs, Jackets rise from dead

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Before getting to this week’s expected resurrection, I felt the need to do some research on raising the dead. See, a year ago, Georgia lost its first two games of the season and was declared kaputski, only to win its next 10 games, thereby saving the season, the head coach and all hope for those who embrace the idea of bringing a corpse back to life, particularly in an election year. (”How much for that Lincoln or FDR on the top shelf? Can I at least get a discount on Andrew Jackson with a Kroger Plus Card?)

So here we are again, with the Bulldogs having flat-lined in South Carolina. This prompted some research on what it would take to raise the dead. (Street term: black magic, potions or campaign speeches). This is what I found on SpellsOfMagic.com. (Back off. I’m a journalist.):

This is a job for Dr. Frankstein (pronounced: franken-STEEN).

It's a job for Dr. Frankenstein (pronounced: franken-SHTEEN).

This spell will raise the dead and make them immortal . Don’t use this spell no matter what resion[sic]. There is consequences. …

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Countdown: Vandy’s she-QB, ESPN’s ‘power,’ creepy bobble

Here's Jerry and I walking out of Schwab's.

Here's Jerry and I walking out of Schwab's.

So I was a young bat with stars in my beady eyes, sitting at the soda counter next to Lana Turner (tramp) at Schwab’s Pharmacy on Sunset when this guy named Jerry approaches me and asks, “How much would a 12 percent tip be on cheeseburger and a plasma float?” And right away I responded, “$1.27.” Soon after, Jerry said he would help cast me in a new TV show, and there was even a chance I could become the show’s star because all I had to do was beat out a green frog who for some reason had a thing for a pig, and even in Hollywood, I’m thinking, “Really? A frog and a pig?” Alas, the unpredictable whims of  5-year-olds left me with a supporting role. But at least I’m here to say: It’s time to count down . . .

10. Goodbye to my mentor, my fingers

The Count has been overwhelmed (and somewhat amused) by the number of people who have sent “condolences” on email, Twitter and Facebook — I have yet to check messages via Ouija board — …

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Hello, Saints: NFL violence not same as premeditated assault

Gregg Williams admits, "It was a terrible mistake and we knew it was wrong when we were doing it." Too late. (AP photo)

Gregg Williams admits, "It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong when we were doing it." Too late. (AP photo)

During his NFL career, Doug Plank suffered multiple concussions — they didn’t really count them back then — five knee surgeries and a spinal concussion that left his left leg partially numb in retirement. He might have played longer than eight seasons, but, as he said, “I made 100 tackles per season. That’s like 800 train wrecks.”

This is what Doug Plank, one of the tougher men ever to play football, the guy for whom the Chicago Bears’ famous “46 defense” was named, thinks of the New Orleans Saints reportedly putting bounties on players.

“I can’t believe a coach, a team or an organization would stand behind that policy,” he said. “For a coach to even address something like that with players, like, ‘This is a person we can remove from the game,’ that puts you on pretty thin ice. If this is true, when you make a decision [on discipline], …

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Falcons beat another bad team, but can they beat good one?

Two touchdowns by Julio Jones (left) helped stake the Falcons to an early 42-0 lead over Tampa Bay. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Two touchdowns by Julio Jones (left) helped stake the Falcons to an early 42-0 lead over Tampa Bay. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

(UPDATED: 11:30 p.m. The New York Giants defeated Dallas, which means the Falcons will face the Giants next Sunday at 1 p.m.)

If there is one absolute this season about the Falcons, it’s that they know how to wipe their feet on the lampooned and downtrodden. They create excitement for punch-drunk fan bases dreaming of Andrew Luck. They can beat any team that has been considered as an emergency replacement by the Big East.

But can the Falcons win a playoff game and, you know, actually beat somebody good?

They beat Jacksonville. They beat Indianapolis. They beat Carolina twice. They didn’t beat Tampa Bay on Sunday so much as they dodged exploding parts and avoided hyperventilating from laughing. The Falcons led 42-0 after 23 minutes — aided by three turnovers — pulled most of their starters early and somewhat wobbled to the finish line (not that the …

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