How Sports Helped a Nation Heal
Anywhere you go, there are people that believe that sports are taken too seriously in America – and for the most part I agree. Fans getting beat up because they root for a rival, property being destroyed and looted following a win or loss, and other similar incidents represent the bad in sports. But let us never forget how sports helped us as a nation heal after 9/11. When the terrorist attacks hit NYC and Washington DC, along with the failed plot in Pennsylvania, our nation as a whole was in shock, from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Nobody knew what was going to happen next, what the attacks meant for our national security, or what effect it would have on our daily lives. We walked like zombies from day to day, our lives completely turned upside down. But then sports came back, and fan or not, it was perhaps one of the most symbolic moments in our nation’s history. When baseball and football returned to action, it was the first indicator that things had a chance to get back to normal. It didn’t matter what team you rooted for, you just wanted to see the Yankees, Mets, Jets and Giants play ball again.
This past week, both Major League Baseball and the National Football League set special time aside to remember the brave heroes and blameless victims that lost their lives on September 11, 2001. The 10 year anniversary of the attacks made me remember exactly what it felt like to see sports return to the forefront back in 2001, and the warm feeling it gave me. Instead of turning on the TV, scared to hear what might/did happen in the wake of the attacks, I got to turn my TV on and watch something that took my mind off of everything else. It showed me just how important sports can be, even if they are taken far too seriously from time to time.
The Opening Drive
Matchup of the Week
Our best matchup of Week 2 is the game between the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints. Chicago was impressive last week, keeping Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons out of the endzone, but they will be tested yet again against the Saints. Drew Brees played well last week, despite falling short to the Green Bay Packers. Let’s take a look at the tale of the tape to see how these two teams match up.
All Sports Talk‘s Game of the Week
|Chicago Bears||New Orleans Saints|
|88 (17th)||289 (11th)||81 (20th)||396 (3rd)|
Opp Rushing Yds/Game
Opp Passing Yds/Game
Opp Rushing Yds/Game
Opp Passing Yds/Game
|110 (22nd)||276 (21st)||103 (19th)||296 (24th)|
Recipe of the Week
This week’s recipe comes to us courtesy of Steve from the Chi. Serve this up on game day as your favorite NFL Teams take the field. Pay attention to the recipe though. It does involve some overnight soaking of the beans and a few hours on actual game day to sit in a crock pot. This isn’t one of Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals, but I assure you it will be well worth the wait.
For the Fantasy Football Freaks
For those of you who just plain don’t know what to do with your fantasy lineups, let us make the tough decisions for you. Don’t blame us if any of these don’t go as predicted however. Just remember that you were lost until you made your way to us and a lot can be said for confidence, even if it misplaced at times
Fantasy Matchups We Love
- Matt Schaub vs. Miami Dolphins – The Fins gave up over 500 Yards to Brady and the New England Patriots, who I know are one of the premier offenses in the NFL. But in terms of passing numbers, Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans get at is as well as any other team in football. You were probably going to start him anyways, but just in case you had other options you were mulling, you might want to plug old Shobby Shobb in there.
- Peyton Hillis vs. Indianapolis Colts – The Colts gave up over 150 yards on the ground last week and rank in the bottom 5 in terms of rush defense. Hillis is an excellent choice at running back this week and if Kerry Collins plays like he did last week, the Cleveland Browns offense should have plenty of red zone opportunities.
- Santana Moss vs. Arizona Cardinals – The Cards made Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers look like an All-Pro out there. Not saying that they won’t mix it up a little more against the Washington Redskins, but we should expect to see Santana Moss streaking down the field much like Steve Smith did last week.
Fantasy Matchups we Despise
- Big Ben vs. Seattle Seahawks – Sure we don’t expect Ben to have as many turnovers as he did last week, but the Seahawks D isn’t made up of a bunch of slouches either. They only allowed 124 yards through the air last week so even if the Pittsburgh Steelers double that number on Sunday, it still isn’t a very good performance. Might want to see what’s laying on the waiver wire or your bench for this game.
- Shonn Greene vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – At first glance this doesn’t seem like much to take notice of, but think again. The Jets were hardly able to rush against the Cowboys last week, and they face a team that gave up less than 50 yards total on the ground to the Tennessee Titans. If you have other options at a flex position, you might be well advised to use them.
- Reggie Wayne vs. Cleveland Browns – The Indianapolis Colts‘ offense looks morbid right now, and the Cleveland Browns actually boast a fairly staunch pass defense. With nobody to get him the ball, Wayne, who is usually a must-play every week might need to see some time on the pine if you want to win your fantasy football matchup this week.
Email Question of the Week
This week’s email question comes to us courtesy of Sam from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He asks:
If you had to pick one player to build an NFL franchise around, who would it be and why?
Well Sam, our number one requirement would be that they were young and talented. Franchises aren’t built in a day, a month or a year, but over a few seasons. For that reason, we would rule out anyone who might not be hitting their prime a couple years from now. Secondly, I would take a quarterback. Sure lots of successful teams rely heavily on the run, but that doesn’t mean that the QB position is any less valuable. Lastly they need to stay healthy. Players like Matt Stafford of the Detroit Lions have a lot of talent, but are injury prone – not a good thing to build a franchise around. That leaves us with probably four major candidates: Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Freeman, Sam Bradford (I can’t include Cam Newton just yet until I see him play an entire season). Out of those four, Aaron Rodgers is probably the ideal pick, although he is pushing the age limit of what we want. You could really take any of the names I listed, although my personal choice would be Matt Ryan. Aside from Rodgers, he is the most polished of the bunch and is only getting better.
This Week in Science
If you have nightmares about a bird uprising, you might want to skip this section. Apparently, wild parrots and cockatoos are learning to speak thanks to help from domesticated pets that either escaped or were set free. http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/Parrots-and-other-wild-birds-able-to-talk.htm. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the entire world’s population of birds learn to speak. Carwashes will increase in demand, while convertible sales will plummet.
For all the Jurassic Park fans out there, you will find this interesting. Scientists in Alberta, Canada unearthed some hardened amber recently that contained what appears to be an intermediary between hair and feathers. Scientists claim that, to date, it yields the most complete story of feather evolution ever seen. Maybe Dr. Alan Grant was right. The dinosaurs did just turn into birds. If you want, you can read the whole article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14933298
Start of the 2nd Half
Poll of the Week
Our poll of the week is inspired by a couple of very rare performances last week. Tom Brady of GQ Magazine and the New England Patriots threw for over 500 yards on Monday Night, a number only a handful of NFL QB’s have ever accomplished. On Sunday, Big Ben (I call him that because I have no idea how to spell his last name) and the Pittsburgh Steelers turned the ball over an astounding seven times in a single game. Now I want to know which of these rare feats you think will happen again first. Will someone (doesn’t have to be Brady) throw for 500 yards before someone (doesn’t have to be the Steelers) turns it over 7 times? It could be this year or in 20 years but I want to hear what you think.
Bizarro Game of the Week
If you ever needed a reason to get NFL Sunday Ticket from DirecTV, it’s this week’s matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts. This game would be unwatchable even with a healthy Peyton Manning in the game, but with Kerry Collins calling the signals for the horseshoes, this is a game you must avoid. Head out to your closest sports bar and make sure they have another matchup on the TV if this is the only game your cable network gives you.
Video of the Week
This week’s video is brought to you by Cory of Phoenix, AZ who also runs Jock Jerseys, an official partner site of All Sports Talk and a great source for NFL Jerseys and Apparel. Based on the video below, it is unclear exactly how much the NFL uniforms will change once Nike takes over, but if it’s anything like we have seen in college recently, hang on to your hats.
The 2 Minute Drill
Fun NFL Fact
- There are 1,208 NFL Players who have only appeared in one single game.
Watch out for the San Diego Chargers as they roll into Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots. The Bolts are -7 point underdogs on the road against New England, but their offense is much better than the Miami Dolphins and the fins were able to make a game of it. This is time for the Chargers to prove that they belong in Super Bowl discussions and no better way to prove it then on the road against the Pats.
Buy or Sell
- Buy or Sell – The Oakland Raiders will make the playoffs this year: Fact- the San Diego Chargers will win the division, but there will be enough room in the wildcard for the Raiders to slide in.
- Buy or Sell – Aaron Rodgers as the best quarterback in the NFL right now: I’m going to have to sell this one. I know that he is most definitely in the top 3, but nobody makes it look as easy as Tom Brady does. Rodgers has more playmaking ability, but I would take Brady every day of the week.
- Buy or Sell – The Washington Redskins winning the NFC East: I’m going to have to sell this one, but not because I think they are a bad team, but because of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are a dominant force in the NFC East and it is their division to lose.
Just some closing notes, don’t forget to check out the completely revamped NFL section on our site. We have updated it with a complete list of NFL Teams, a page with division and conference standings, and links to team profiles for all 32 NFL teams. Included in these profiles are some basic facts about the team, current team schedules & records, latest headlines & video highlights, fan images, and team statistical leaders.
Also, make sure you check out our latest NFL Power Rankings and weekly picks from our expert crew.