This morning, we can see how a few more pieces fit into the 2015 NFL jigsaw puzzle. This wasn’t a particularly good weekend of pro football, and TVs across America must have clicked off with the three late-afternoon games being decided by 40, 27 and 26 points. (Average margin of victory on Sunday: 14.9 points.)
The NFL does this shit from time-to-time during the season. It's not that they schedule bad games later in the day, but they schedule just three or so games later in the day to where there isn't a lot of interest if a few of the games are blowouts.
But every week we find out a little more about where the year’s headed.
A larger sample size gives a better indication of what conclusions can be reached about the sample? You have to be kidding me this is true.
The Bengals are in fabulous shape in the AFC North. At 3-0 after a crushing 28-24 win at 0-3 Baltimore on Sunday, Cincinnati is set up nicely for the fifth playoff appearance in Andy Dalton’s five years. “I’m as comfortable playing this game as I’ve ever been,” Dalton said from Baltimore. A 121.0 passer rating would seem to back him up.
I pretend Peter is reading that first sentence in the voice of Tim Gunn and it makes my enjoyment of this passage increase two-fold. Peter has been really tough on Andy Dalton over the past few years. Dalton has been pretty good in the regular season, so the question arises when it comes to the playoffs. That's been the question for Dalton, if he can show up in the playoffs. Before Peter changes his narrative, he may want to consider what his narrative is first.
Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Drew Brees … and now Roethlisberger. That’s four marquee quarterbacks hurt before the calendar turns to October. You can be sure the Competition Committee will be pushing for more offseason drill work for offensive linemen; players are now restricted from all offseason contact by the 2011 labor agreement.
Oh sure, nothing gets done until the marquee quarterbacks start getting hurt. And also, I love how Jay Cutler is conveniently a "marquee" quarterback and not a shitty quarterback when it's important to place him in that category to prove a point. Cutler is marquee now. When he is no longer injured, then he will be a trash quarterback again.
The Patriots wake the echoes … of 2007. They’re already using the “U” word in New England. As in “undefeated.” New England went 16-0 in 2007, and advanced to a flawless-looking 3-0 Sunday against Jacksonville. More about that later, but as one of the ’07 team leaders, Rodney Harrison, opined Sunday night: “It’s 2007 all over again. Tom Brady’s playing like he’s 29, 30 years old.”
Man, Peter is jumping on the "Can the Patriots go undefeated" train pretty damn quick this year. Hey, it could very well happen, but it's not even Week 4 yet. How about not hammering readers over the head with this story this early?
Indianapolis is the most fortunate decent team in the league. AFC South standings: T-1. Indianapolis/Jacksonville/Houston/Tennessee (1-2). The Colts, their season on the brink, went from disaster to tied for the division lead exiting September in one afternoon. You wouldn’t think a 35-33 win at Tennessee would make a coach emotional after a game. But Chuck Pagano was.
The Colts were always going to be fine because they play in the AFC South. It's like the NFC South of the AFC, minus having more than one really good quarterback. It's just not a great division right now. The Colts will be fine partly for that reason. Also, Chuck Pagano deserves to keep his job. I'm Team Pagano.
There’s a reason you don’t have to worry about Peyton Manning’s health. The Denver defense is huge. “We just have ball hawks,” safety David Bruton said, a few minutes after making his third huge defensive play of the month, an athletic pick of Matthew Stafford to clinch the 24-12 win over Detroit. Stafford couldn’t breathe against the defensive pressure.
Eh, even if the Broncos defense is awesome I would still worry about the health of Peyton Manning. The Broncos defense is better than I gave it credit for a few weeks ago, but I still think it's good to worry about Peyton Manning's health. I haven't seen Brock Osweiler play yet, so I can't really comment on whether he is any good or not, but I imagine the Broncos don't necessarily want to find out while jockeying for a playoff spot.
The Raiders, usually out of it by now, will actually have a winning record as October dawns. The Raiders (2-1) play on the road next week—and they are actually favored to beat Chicago.
Jimmy Clausen, everyone! He's like Brandon Weeden, just without the skill set and ability to win an NFL game in a pinch.
The quarterback, Derek Carr, is a big reason. “Having a quarterback is everything,” said Charles Woodson from Cleveland.
Okay guys, apparently it's important to have a good quarterback in order to win NFL games. I'm still working to confirm this is true, so I don't want to speculate much more at this point. The best teams usually have really competent quarterbacks.
It’s early-bye time for New England. No team likes the Week 4 bye. This year, only the Patriots and Titans have it. Strange to have a bye before the leaves turn in Foxboro. “Rest, let your muscles chill and do what you have to do to be ready for next game,” Rob Gronkowski said Sunday. Taking stock of this team, you don’t want to make too much of the almost-too-easy win over the Jaguars,
Repeat after me, now it means Peter King will make a bit much of the Patriots' win over the Jaguars. He's not going to go overboard or anything though. He'll just start talking about the Patriots going undefeated when there are still 13 games in the regular season left to be played, plus three games in the postseason. Again, let's keep the reactions normal and not go overboard based on a 3-0 start.
That was a sick team eight years ago. The ’07 Patriots started with 24, 24 and 31-point wins, and didn’t have a game closer than 34-17 (Week 5, Cleveland) in the first half of the season. This year, New England handled Pittsburgh, which made it close in the second half. Ditto Buffalo, and then the Jaguars rout. It’s easy now to say Brady has never been better, but he was: in 2007. In the first three weeks then, the 30-year-old Brady completed 79.5% of his throws with a plus-nine TD-to-pick ratio and a rating of 141.8. This year, he’s completing 72.2%, with a plus-nine and a rating of 119.6. It’s like quibbling over whether driving a Mercedes or a BMW is a smoother ride, but Brady set his all-time standard in 2007.
Let's not make too much of a home victory over an 0-3 team, but Peter wants his readers to see the parallels between this Patriots team and one of the greatest NFL teams of all-time. Again, he's keeping the discussion in hand and not writing something overly-presumptuous.
New England is likely to be favored in all of its remaining games—save, perhaps, for the Week 12 Sunday-nighter at Denver.
And who even cares if the Broncos have Peyton Manning healthy or not with that Broncos defense?
Harrison told me over the summer that the league did Brady and the Patriots a huge favor with the long-running investigation into Brady’s honor—he’d be supremely motivated to stick it to the league this year, even more motivated than the hyper-focused player usually is. So far, Harrison’s been spot on.
I think a lot of people knew the Patriots were going to do a "Fuck You" tour of the NFL. But yes, so far after playing three teams that didn't make the playoffs last year Harrison has been spot-on.
And Brady still has one thing to accomplish that he hasn’t yet in his previous 16 pro seasons: winning ‘em all. Going 19-0. You’d be naïve to think he hasn’t thought of that—many times.
It's fantastic to read that Peter isn't making too much of this victory over the Jaguars. He compares this team to the 2007 Patriots, says the Patriots are favored to win the rest of their games, and mentions that Tom Brady wants to go perfect on the season. It's a very low-key affair.
Think of the environment the Bengals walked into Sunday: Ravens home opener, Ravens at 0-2 in desperate straits knowing a loss would put them three games out in the division after three games, and then the little thing about the Ravens and Bengals not liking each other. And then think of Dalton getting stripped in the fourth quarter, having it returned for a score, and, after being up 14-0, trailing 17-14 with seven minutes left, crowd going nuts.
I'm really enjoying Peter's somewhat 180 degree turn on Dalton. All Peter wrote about is how the playoffs are where Dalton will be judged, but then when Dalton has a good regular season Peter is all-in on Dalton having turned a corner.
First down, Bengals’ 20. Dalton drops. Green runs a seam route deep up the left side, bracketed by safeties Kendrick Lewis and Will Hill; the left corner, Jimmy Smith, was singled on the outside receiver. Dalton threw a perfect strike 36 yards in the air, between the two safeties, and Green won the race against them and Smith, who came over to try to help. Too late: 80-yard touchdown. But the Ravens came back to take another lead. And here came Dalton again, taking over at his 20 again. “We’re going to need every one of you here,” he said in the huddle. “I trust every one of you to make plays right now.”
The Bengals players were all possibly thinking, "But we aren't sure if we trust you to make plays right now. Wait, it's the regular season? Well then, we trust you. In that playoffs? We are still shaky on that."
In two drives during the last seven minutes, Dalton drove the Bengals 160 yards for two touchdowns … in a total of one minute and 58 seconds. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in what we’re doing,” Dalton said. “Once you’ve been in a system for a while and you know your receivers, you get a lot more confident, and that’s where I am with these guys right now.”
I will say this for Andy Dalton. He didn't have a lot to work with against the Colts last year in the playoffs and the way the Bengals have invested in offensive weapons for Dalton (Bernard, Hill, Eifert) will start to pay off for them once those players get more experience. So I haven't made excuses for Dalton in the past, but he didn't have a ton to work with in the playoffs last year and Jermaine Gresham wasn't exactly the most reliable of tight ends.
I’d like to see Dalton’s three October tests, all against pressure defenses (Kansas City at home, Seattle at home, at Buffalo), before saying anything definitive about him. But what I saw Sunday, I liked a lot.
It sounds like you are pretty high on him Peter. For good reason, but before the season you were hinting that you aren't even sure Dalton would make it through the whole season without A.J. McCarron replacing him.
Again: Dalton’s been a good regular-season quarterback (43-23-1, 107 touchdowns, 67 picks), and a maddening postseason one (0-4, one touchdown, six interceptions). Cincinnati won’t love him until that changes. But that can’t change in September, and what Dalton has done in September is all he can do. It’s been plenty good enough.
Excluding nationally televised games, Andy Dalton has usually done in September what he needs to do. Before any conclusions can be reached about Dalton, he would need to perform in the postseason before writers like Peter King get off his ass.
The city of Pittsburgh sighs.
The injury is a strain of the MCL and a bone bruise. But the ACL is intact. Roethlisberger thought the worst when he left the field, because of the pain. And the Steelers have to feel good that Tomlin banged the drum to get Vick in the building as the backup, because he’s played in the kind of games he’ll have to win beginning Thursday night—against Baltimore, in a rabid-rivalry game at home.
Yes, Mike Vick has played in these types of games. Has he played WELL in these games? That's the real question. Maybe he'll even prepare for the game for a little bit. Steelers fans shouldn't worry because Vick seems to pay attention and prepare for a few weeks, then gets bored with game preparation and starts committing turnovers. By the time Vick gets bored, Roethlisberger will hopefully be back from his injury.
Three questions for… Richie Incognito.
But first, a stat: Through three games, the former Dolphins guard—as mentioned above, Pro Football Focus’s top-rated guard in the NFL—has surrendered one quarterback disruption (either a quarterback sack, hit or pressure). The Dolphins’ starting guards have given up 26.
My sense is Incognito will enjoy that one.
Yeah, in your face Dolphins! That's what you get for getting rid of Richie Incognito after he bullied Jonathan Martin. Incognito got done wrong and now he's getting vengeance by playing well. This is a lesson to the Dolphins that if they don't let their players bully teammates then they will be punished for daring to have some semblance of a backbone.
Through three weeks, NFL teams have missed 14 of the newfangled extra points, after missing 26 in the previous four seasons combined. With the line of scrimmage for the PAT pushed back from the two- to the 15-yard line, it’s obviously not such a gimme anymore. And that’s good. When a play is 99.6% successful, the pertinent question is why they play should exist. I loved what happened Sunday night in the Detroit-Denver game, when Bronco Aqib Talib blocked a Lions extra point, and cornerback Chris Harris picked it up and ran it 52 yards toward the opposite end zone before being tackled by Detroit’s Eric Ebron. If Harris had made it all the way, Denver would have been awarded two points, and a 7-6 Bronco lead would have grown to 9-6. The change was made to add some excitement to a dull play, and while I wouldn’t call a 33-yard extra point kick “exciting,” it certainly makes the point or points after touchdown more interesting than before …
Yes, the extra point is more interesting now. How often is the extra point going to get blocked? Probably not very often, but I guess there is some excitement that could occur and that's a good thing. Peter's love of the new extra point rules is finally justified based solely on this one play.
Playing without Luke Kuechly (concussion), the Panthers bent on defense, giving Luke McCown-led New Orleans 380 total yards, but didn’t break at the end of a 27-22 win. One of the game’s rising-star corners, Josh Norman, plucked a McCown pass intended for Brandin Cooks out of the sky. “I saw a bone, and I went up and got it,” Norman said. A bone? “Yeah, a bone. The ball. God gave me wings to fly, and I went up and got it. All the guys on this defense can make plays. Do your job. Be in the defense. I’m doing some pretty good stuff. I think we all are.”
God gave Norman wings this year, but he apparently gave Norman a bad attitude and the ability to make mistakes over past seasons. Still, Norman is on a contract drive, so he should be rewarded for trying really hard this one year with a new contract where he wants to get paid like all the other overpaid Top-5 corners in the NFL get overpaid. He has earned the right to be overpaid.
Then Peter eulogizes Yogi Berra and apparently Peter was neighbors with Berra when Peter lived in Montclair. I'm sure that was a rough period of time for Yogi when Peter followed behind Berra when he walked around in public writing down all of his conversations. I wonder if Peter ever asked Berra if he considered Derek Jeter to be the greatest player in Peter's lifetime (but not really lifetime, because Peter only meant over whatever time span makes him seem less crazy)?
“I don’t care. It’s just a ball.”
—Tom Brady, asked how he felt about Danny Amendola—the receiver of Brady's 400th NFL touchdown Sunday in Foxboro—handing the ball to a fan in the end zone after making the historic catch.
Besides, the ball was probably slightly deflated anyway, and rather than Brady keep the ball and run the risk of the NFL finding out was underinflated by 0.3 PSI, it's better if a fan keeps the keep the ball. We wouldn't want Roger Goodell subpoenaing Brady's cell phone and a blood sample in order to prove he intentionally underinflated the football by a few tenths of a PSI. That would ruin the integrity of the game.
“I think there’s a little bit of karma coming back to him. Nelson Agholor hasn’t replaced Jeremy Maclin. Jeremy Maclin was a class-act guy. You can’t just replace people like they’re things, you know what I mean? Like they’re toys that you’re tired of playing with because you want something new. So I hope that he loses. I hope he loses every game.”
—Former Jets linebacker and current CBS NFL analyst Bart Scott, on Chip Kelly, to WFAN radio in New York.
Criticizing Bart Scott for these comments is a layup. And not just because Scott doesn't begin to realize how much stiches cost.
2. Jeremy Maclin left the Eagles to sign a free-agent contract last winter with Kansas City. In 2012, Maclin was the 28th-leading receiver in football, with 69 catches. In 2013, he missed the season with a torn ACL. In 2014, Maclin was the 13th-leading receiver in football, with 85 catches. He signed a five-year, $55-million contract with the Chiefs, which, at the time, was tied for the fourth-richest contract (per season) for a wide receiver in NFL history. Maybe letting Maclin walk for the fourth-richest receiver contract ever will be seen as a dumb decision in the long-term, though I doubt it. Smart teams let good players take exorbitant deals in free agency, and draft good players to replace them. I don’t know if this will work out; it’s obviously a gamble by the Chiefs to pay the money, and a gamble by Kelly to not meet Maclin’s demands. But I’d rather pay Agholor $2.3 million a year for the next four years (his rookie deal) than pay Maclin $11 million.
It's almost like Bart Scott, as an NFL analyst, is shitty at his job doing those things which involve actually analyzing a situation. Scott can't put aside his personal feelings and opinions and analyze a situation from a neutral point of view. Obviously CBS had to sign him to be one of their ridiculous vapid talking heads as soon as Scott retired. It's hard to find analysts who actually suck at analyzing.
3. Did Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome “replace people like they’re things” when he let Torrey Smith and Pernell McPhee walk in the off-season, as he does every year? Did John Elway treat tight end Julius Thomas “like a toy” for letting him go to Jacksonville for $9.2 million a year in free agency? Or Jerry Jones, with DeMarco Murray, when Murray got $8 million a year in Philadelphia? No. They made business decisions.
Let's not forget that Bart Scott left the Ravens so that he could pursue a big free agent contract with the Jets. I don't think he thought that Newsome just replaced him without a second thought, but it was a business decision. This is why not every pro athlete that is loquacious should end up working in the media after his career is over. Talking and talking to where you say something smart are two different things.
It's hard to agree with Peter, but I do agree with him here. Comments like this from Bart Scott is why I don't ever watch NFL pregame shows. I don't need that type of stupidity in my life. I like football, not listening to idiots who think they know what they are talking about discussing football.
The Award Section
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Devonta Freeman, running back, Atlanta. The 2014 fourth-round pick from Florida State is supposed to be a complementary back, not a feature back.
I don't know why Freeman was supposed to be a complementary back. I guess it was his height that was the issue or something. I don't know if he was selected just to be a complementary back or anything of the like.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Josh Norman, cornerback, Carolina. Channeling his inner Odell Beckham Jr., with the Panthers protecting a 27-22 lead over the Saints with 80 seconds left, Norman, a rising-star cornerback,
Peter has mentioned Josh Norman three times in this column and each time he linked the story about Norman being a rising star where he labels Norman "a rising star" with the link. It just so happens to be a MMQB story and it's annoying. We get it. You want us to read the story. You don't have to link the same story over and over and over again.
Just a beautiful play, at the precise time his team had to have it. It was the difference between the Panthers being 3-0 and tied for the AFC South lead,
Yep Peter, the Panthers play in the NFC South, not the AFC South. Though even if their record were 2-1 then that would still be in the lead in the AFC South.
Norman added five tackles. He’s turning into one of the best cornerbacks in the league.
Norman is more motivated than he has ever been because he is a free agent after the season and he wants to get paid. He wants to get paid, so he's motivated. Therefore I hope the Panthers don't back up a Brinks truck and pay him. He's never put together a full season of great cornerback play, but wants to be paid like a Top-5 corner.
The first nine Chicago drives at Seattle ended in punts.
The first nine New England drives against Jacksonville ended in scores.
It's almost like one team started Jimmy Clausen at quarterback against a really good defense and the other team started Tom Brady at quarterback against a not really good defense.
Yes Peter, we get it. You like the new extra point rule and will do anything in your power to point out other people like it too and think it's the greatest NFL innovation since anonymous sources in the league office that lie to you and give you false information which you report as true, then later apologize for. The new rule is okay. You can lay off giving testimonials and having others give testimonials to the greatness of this new rule.I do love the extra point rule...it's creating havoc— trey wingo (@wingoz) September 27, 2015
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Police erected 40 miles of barriers in the city, and 818 tons of concrete barriers. The New York Post quoted a law enforcement source as saying security for the visit was like “a POTUS [visit] on steroids.” POTUS, as in President of the United States.
I’ve lived in Manhattan for only four years, but the prep for his visit was superb—like none I’ve seen. Nothing bad was happening to this Pope.
I like how a law enforcement "source" said the visit was like "a POTUS on steroids." Why did this source have to be anonymous or even a source? It can't be said out loud that the Pope's visit has an insane amount of security? Like this is some secret and they want to bait a person trying to kill the Pope into testing the security? Would this source really get in trouble for describing the amount of security around the Pope?
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think this is what I liked about Week 3:
Probably nothing, since it was a boring week of football and all.
a. Tom Brady, joining the 400 touchdown club. I’ll take a bet right now that he hits 500.
I think that is bet that a lot of people would take. It's Week 4 of the NFL season and Brady has averaged 32.5 touchdowns per season since he came back from his knee injury. So if Brady gets 25 more touchdowns this season (which he is on pace to obliterate), then he will only have to play about 2.5 seasons to get to 500 touchdowns. Barring a huge, career-ending injury I do think he will get to 500 touchdowns.
f. Lone Niner bright spot: the 37-yard punt return by Aussie Jarryd Hayne.
The media loves themselves some Jarryd Hayne. He's from Australia and has never played in the NFL before. Do you know this story? If you don't then you either (a) don't like the NFL, (b) are illiterate and can't read or (c) don't have a Twitter account or don't follow any NFL media members on Twitter or (d) are lying.
It is a great story, don't get me wrong. I've read it and heard it quite a bit.
h. You can’t stop Joseph Randle. You can only hope … aww, you know the rest.
You can only hope he doesn't steal men's underwear and cologne from a department store?
2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 3:
a. That mangy-looking ShopVac vacuuming the field in the Ed Jones Dome after the turf caught on fire.
Yes, there should be a nicer looking ShopVac available in order to vacuum the field, you know, for all the times that the turf catches fire and all.
Look Peter, the Rams are already packing up their shit to move to Los Angeles. The nice ShopVac is in a box somewhere, so they had to go with the uglier one. Sorry it offends your senses, but it's all they had when the other was packed up.
i. Whatever rehab plan Baltimore rookie receiver Breshad Perriman is on. Sixty-one days ago, he tweaked his knee in practice, a tweaking so seemingly minor that John Harbaugh said after practice that day—I was there—about Perriman’s availability: “It could be as early as tomorrow, or a couple of days at the most.” Perriman is practicing. There’s that.
Clearly, the only conclusion that can be drawn by this is that Breshad Perriman is a pussy. Either that or he just doesn't want to play. I know it is frustrating for fans to not see Perriman on the field, but John Harbaugh isn't a doctor and it obviously was more than just a minor tweak or else Perriman would be on the field already. Maybe he should find some of that deer antler spray in Ray Lewis's old locker.
k. St. Louis tight end Lance Kendricks, with an inexplicable drop, open behind the defense, for what should have been the go-ahead touchdown late in the first half against the Steelers.
An inexplicable drop. I bet the Steelers didn't even double-cover Kendricks when he lined up wide to the left. That's inexplicable too. You ALWAYS double-cover a tight end when he is split out wide. It's an Easterbrookian rule.
3. I think if I were Todd Bowles, I’d be worried about Darrelle Revis. He’s 30 now. He suffered a strained groin last week, and left Sunday’s game against the Eagles with some hamstring injury. Revis said post-game he was fine, and maybe he is. But this is the cornerstone of the New York secondary, obviously, and if we’re not even to the end of September and he’s got an iffy groin and hamstring, that’s troubling.
I'm sure Revis will miss a good portion of this season, come back and play well next season, and then stage a holdout for more money. So Todd Bowles probably should worry more about the eventual holdout than anything else.
4. I think if I were the 49ers, I’d be extremely concerned with Colin Kaepernick. His TD-to-Interception ratio in the past 10 games is 8-to-9, and he’s had one 300-yard passing game in that time. “I was 100% responsible,” he said about the embarrassing loss to Arizona on Sunday. Well, 80% maybe. But Kaepernick was awful.
I wouldn't worry about the guy that Ron Jaworski thinks could be the greatest quarterback in NFL history. He will be absolutely fine. The 49ers have simplified the offense or him (though they do have downfield passes in their system which they couldn't do with Alex Smith as the quarterback because he refuses to throw downfield) and everything will be fine. I don't know if I'm being sarcastic or not. Maybe a little bit, but Kaepernick is playing in a new offensive system. Give him some more time.
5. I think the NFL had better have a good explanation (Ed Hochuli, too) for Cam Newton’s postgame claim Sunday concerning a borderline late hit on him. Newton wanted a personal foul called on the hit but it wasn’t flagged, and he said after the game: “The response I got [from Hochuli] was, ‘Cam, you’re not old enough to get that call.’ I didn’t think you had to have seniority to get a personal foul or anything like that.” I’m sure Hochuli will say (assuming he agrees that this is what he said) that he was joking. But it’s not something to joke about. The league’s got to get on this one this morning.
Shocking no one, the NFL was basically like, "Nah, Newton was lying about that. We believe our official over Newton."
Maybe Newton was lying, but I think it's funny this is all over a late hit that really wasn't a late hit if you ask me. It was very borderline, but clearly if you saw the video then you saw Newton's face after Hochuli said something to him. Maybe instead of saying he wasn't old enough to get the call, he said that Newton is not an entertainer and icon. Perhaps that's the reason for Newton's shocked face.
10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:
c. Jeter and Harbaugh, at the Big House. Cool sight before BYU-Michigan.
Yeah, super cool. Derek Jeter, the greatest player of Peter's generation.*
*Meaning over the last 25 years, which still isn't true.
f. Mike Trout doesn’t just hit home runs.
Yep, we know that Peter. You must have missed the last three seasons of arguments over the American League MVP award. Trout's defense was an integral part of this debate, but way to be three years late with your observations.
h. Having said that, I do hate the one-game wild-card playoff. It’s unfair for teams that have played 162 games to make the playoffs, and poof, it can be gone with one lousy inning.
I have always been against the one-game Wild Card playoff. I think it should be a three-game series. All of a sudden though, with no explanation, I think I don't hate the one-game Wild Card playoff anymore. It's like a flip switched somehow and my opinion changed after reading these two sentences that Peter wrote.
k. Can the three teams from the National League Central—as of Friday morning, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Chicago were 1-2-3 in major-league baseball in wins—just play a World Series round robin this year? Such a shame that, most likely, the Cubs and Pirates will meet in the play-in game, and three hours later, one of them will be out.
If the MLB playoffs still worked like they did before the Wild Card then one of these teams wouldn't even make the playoffs. Heck, if the MLB playoffs worked like they did before the second Wild Card then one of these teams wouldn't even be in the playoffs. So as much as I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate the one-game Wild Card playoff, in this case it at least gives one of these teams a chance to go further into the playoffs.
m. If you’re Joe Maddon, do you pitch Jake Arrieta at Pittsburgh in the play-in game? If you’re the Pirates, in line to play the third play-in game in three years, aren’t you tired of facing aces? Johnny Cueto and the Reds two years ago, Madison Bumgarner and the Giants last year, and probably Arrieta this year.
If you are the Pirates, don't you understand that if you are playing a one-game Wild Card playoff against another good team then you will probably face that other team's ace? If you are the Pirates, aren't you happy that you have Gerrit Cole? I don't get this comment. Most teams who are on the borderline of making the playoffs have an ace of some sort. In a one-game playoff, that's the guy who gets the start. Maybe the Pirates should try winning the division and avoiding the one-game Wild Card playoff.
o. Bryce Harper: 1.125 OPS. That is one insane number. No one in baseball is within 100 points of him.
Yeah, but his team isn't winning so he isn't as a valuable as a lesser player on a better team. How can Harper be valuable if he doesn't have better players around him than another player whose team made the playoffs does?
s. Beernerdness: So happy for the great people at Allagash Brewery in Portland, Maine. Allagash White, which is only the greatest beer of all time, won gold in the Belgian Witbier category this weekend at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. That’s my little pet beer category, and Allagash White’s the best I’ve had.
(Bengoodfella shakes head sadly) I like Belgian Witbier okay, but open your mind to other beers or talk about different beers in a MMQB. Every week Peter talks about how much he likes white beers and Witbiers. I'm not sure if I have ever heard of Peter liking a darker beer. It's not a big deal, but he's really not a beer nerd if he only talks about one kind of beer, is he?
u. I know some would say, “Keep politics out of this, Pope Francis. You’re not qualified to talk about global warming, and you have no idea what’s causing the discord in the Mideast and it’s easy for you to say everyone should take in refugees—just stick to religion.” I say: “Keep the pressure on, Pope. Keep talking about things that matter, especially global warming. Go get ‘em.”
Peter's opinion is that some might say the Pope doesn't have the knowledge to give his opinion on these matters, but Peter thinks because these issues matter then the Pope should continue giving his opinion. I wonder if Peter would agree with this if the Pope started spouting off about gun rights and issues that Peter doesn't agree with? I think I know the answer. But yeah, keep spouting off about subjects that matter, because Peter agrees with you on these issues. I bet Peter doesn't like it if the Pope starts espousing opinions like those of Kim Davis. They did meet after all.
The Adieu Haiku
Pagano can speak.
Wall broken down in Nashville.
Colts ran through that thing.
This Adieu Haiku is broken down and this is another awful one. I think Peter ran through his creative ideas for a haiku about two years ago. Make it stop.