Friday afternoon quarterback

September 25, 2009 | Keith Melchior

There were quite a few surprises last week in the NFL.

Who would have thought the Miami Dolphins would have the ball for 45 minutes and score 23 points? The Colts needed all but 1 quarter’s worth of time to score 27 and put the game away in the last few minutes.

The Bears upset the Steelers.  Big Ben couldn’t pull one out of his hat this time. I was certain the Bears would go 0-2 after this game. They rallied around the defensive effort and pulled out the win.Now the Steelers face the Bungles in Cincinnati. Will there be a bounty on Hines Ward for his cheap shot last season? Ward was quoted as saying he’d pay the fines for illegal blocks, but he never intends to end someone’s career by doing it.  He is the most hated player in the league from the fans’ perspective, but the kind of guy you’d want on your team.

There is a lot of talk about the NFL’s “power rankings” since the Ravens have been chosen as high as #1 by different sports outlets and publications. Power rankings mean nothing in the NFL and aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. This is not college football, where those rankings can either make or break a team that could be eligible for the BCS.  What’s next on the NFL rankings list, strength of schedule? And to think, some of those sports geeks actually get paid to come up with that crap.

Here’s another pet peeve of mine; statistics and how people actually believe in them. San Diego put up almost 500 yards of offense against the Ravens, but they couldn’t put up more points to win the game. Statistics mean absolutely nothing in the game of football. The Ravens had 500 yards of offense against KC 2 weeks ago and found themselves tied in the 4th quarter because of 3 big plays by KC, the blocked punt, interception returned for the TD and Croyles’ 50 yard pass to set up another score. So, stats don’t always dictate the way the game was really played out. If you want to drown in them and over-analyze everything, go right ahead.  The only statistics that matter are the ones that show up in the win column.

This is Baltimore versus Cleveland weekend as both the Ravens and Orioles are tag teaming against the Browns and Indians. The Orioles are riding a 7 game losing streak heading to Jacobs Field as they are trying to avoid the dreaded 100 loss season. The Browns are trying to avoid starting the season 0-3. When you base the breakdown of the game on “statistics”, Brady Quinn is the 28th ranked QB in the NFL and the Browns I believe are 30th in total offense.  Based on these beliefs, there’s no reason to think the Ravens will lose to the lowly Browns, which is why the oddsmakers list them as a 13 point favorite. But, the Ravens have had a history of playing down to their competition and it always seems like games against the Browns are close and hard fought. With the ever dangerous Josh Cribbs returning kicks and punts, the Ravens special teams have to be on their toes. I’m going out on a limb and saying Ravens 27 Browns 6.

So, who scores more on Sunday, the Orioles or the Browns? 

New England was thoroughly upset by the Jets last weekend. Tom Brady looked way off on many pass attempts. The Jets took advantage of Wes Welker’s absence and took Randy Moss out of the game. Since the Ravens play in Foxboro next weekend, I’m sure hoping Greg Mattison and the defense look at those films over and over again to see how the Jets disrupted Brady. If Atlanta beats the Patriots in Foxboro this weekend, look out Beantown.

San Francisco is 2-0?  WHAT???  After beating division rivals Arizona and Seattle they already have the upper hand in the weak NFC West. And they drafted Michael who?

The Saints are currently the highest scoring team in the NFL, and looking like the 1998 Minnesota Vikings. Drew Brees has tossed 9 TD passes in 2 games and the Saints rang up 44 on the Eagle defense last week. Kevin Kolb didn’t embarrass himself filling in for the injured Donovan McNabb. Now that Mike Vick is cleared to play, it’ll be interesting to see how he is received by the fans when he steps on the field. I didn’t notice , but did PETA do their planned protests outside stadiums during the 2 preseason games he was allowed to play?

After 2 weeks in the NFl season, here are some of my choices for the most pathetic teams … St Louis Rams …it may be time to draft a new QB,  Mark Bulger can’t get the job done anymore and they’ve lost Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt,  Kansas City Chiefs…They lost to the Raiders at home because they couldn’t score. Goes to show what a fluke the 24 points they scored against the Ravens in week 1 turned out to be. Matt Cassell will prove to be money wasted. Larry Johnson used to be able to carry them on his back, but his value is way way down,  Washington Redskins..first they sign Albert Haynesworth to an astronomical contract, then they sue season ticket holders, and in week 2 they can’t find the end zone against the lowly Rams. They will go 0-6 in their division and Jim Zorn will be canned.  Detroit Lions…Losers of their last 18+ regular season games says enough, but I think they just may upset the Redskins this weekend.    Jacksonville Jaguars…I was in Jacksonville to witness the Jags 6-3 win over the Ravens in 1999. All-Tel Stadium was packed. Sadly over the last 9 years, canvas is filling as many seats as human fannies. They can’t sell out to lift the blackout policy, they look terrible on both sides of the ball and  Jack Del Rio will soon be unemployed.  Carolina Panthers… Jake Delhomme looked terrible last season and promised a resurgence. That resurgence may come when Delhomme is benched for his poor performance after 2 games. John Fox is another coach on the hot seat. Tennessee Titans…They had the best record in the AFC last season and didn’t advance to the championship game. They began this season with an OT loss to Pittsburgh, then get into a 1st half shootout at home against the Texans, only to falter and score 7 points in the 2nd half. Now they get the Jets, who are coming off that huge win against the Patriots. Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson torched the Titans secondary and the Jets’ Mark Sanchez hopes to do the same thing.

My picks this weekend……. Ravens, Jets, Giants, Packers, Eagles,  Atlanta, Minnesota, Houston,  Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, San Diego, Denver, Pittsburgh, Indy, Dallas