Saturday, September 11, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions: the NFC

By Artistry

Take a good, hard look at the NFC, I dare you.  It's hideous.  This is a place where the Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, Lions, Bucs, Redskins, and Bears reside.  I'm not sure how Finesse orchestrated this division of labor (he covered the AFC yesterday), but you have to admire his, ahem, finesse.

What do all the children want to know about the NFC?  Do they even have any questions?  Believe it or not, a number of youngsters approached me at schul Thursday to say Good Yontif and, "Artistry, is Matt Moore just keeping the seat warm for Jimmy Clausen?"  I was as surprised as anyone.  These kids never cease to amaze me.  So let's get the new year and the new season started right.  The 10 most frequently asked questions about the National Football Conference, after the jump...

1.  When will the DC media stop talking about Fat Albert Haynesworth?

Enough Already
From the looks of things, roughly the same time they stop comparing Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, which is to say, roughly the same time there are fewer than 20,000 Steeler fans at Fedex Field whenever the 'Skins host Pittsburgh, which is to say, NEVER.  This may give away, yet again, the location of GTOG's super-secret headquarters, but please, Washington media, shut up already.  Steve Zaban, "Zabe," or whatever your name is, there are only so many times we need to hear that Albert Haynesworth is fat, overpaid, disinterested, and that it's a shame he's overshadowing the dawn of the Mike Shanahan/Donovan McNabb era.  Why do you think this is happening?  Here's a thought, "Zabe."  It's because you won't ever shut up about him.  Stan and Guy, we appreciate you.  We really do. 

2.  Will the offensive wizardry of Bears' offensive coordinator Mike Martz finally bring the best out of quarterback Jay Cutler?

Why the Face?
You mean like it did with John Kitna in Detroit and the Alex Smith/J.T. O'Sullivan double threat in San Francisco?  In fairness, Kitna did have pretty prolific seasons under Martz in 2006 and 2007, and Cutler is certainly a far greater talent than any of these guys.  But we're not talking about a loaded team in Chicago, by any means.  No one knows where to take Devin Hester, Devon Aroshashanahtiedmyshoe, Johnny Knox, Matt Forte, Greg Olsen, or Chester Taylor in fantasy drafts, because of a nagging feeling they could all suck and that they hate their quarterback as a human being.  You can count on 4,000 yards passing, about 20 Ints, and no one helping him up after he gets hit.

3.  Can anybody stop Green Bay?

Forget the preseason, which saw the Packers put up 110 points in the first three preseason games.  I'm still thinking about the playoff loss to Arizona last season when Aaron Rodgers hung 45 points on a semi-respectable Cardinals defense despite turning the ball over three times.  Greg Jennings should be back healthy, I'm really upset that I couldn't spend the $25 necessary to acquire Jermichael Finley in my auction draft, and scoring points should not be an issue for this team.

4.  How bad is the NFC West?

Last night I asked this question of 20-month-old Little Artistry.  We both spread our arms real wide and said, "Soooooooo bad."

5.  Is this the year Dallas finally puts it together?

No earthly idea.  Sorry.  They could go 7-9 or 12-4.  It's impossible to separate the hype from reality with this team.  I have, however, bought into the hype to some degree, because I drafted their kicker in multiple fantasy leagues based on the theory that they'll score a lot of points.  And I mean it when I tell you that all I know is their kicker's first name is David.

I think this is David.
6.  How hard is the fall back to earth for Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre?

I wrote down this question before watching Thursday night's game between the Vikings and Saints.  I can't say I wasn't surprised by Favre's performance.  His timing was off, as you'd expect with no training camp, no Sidney Rice, and no Percy Harvin, but at times he looked pretty damn good.  Like on Minnesota's single touchdown drive, when he threw a few downfield lasers.  And did you see those pictures of the bruises he suffered in the NFC championship game?  It can't be easy to come back from that kind of abuse at my his age.  There is clearly a reason why he's thrown for nearly 70,000 yards.  I don't know, we might be looking at a backlash against the Favre backlash. I never saw that one coming.

7.  How severe is the drop-off at quarterback for Arizona from Kurt Warner to Derek Andersen?

Sort of like going from the "Bachelor" to the "Bachelor Pad."  One day you're trying to find love for the right reasons, and the next you're making out in a hot tub with Tenley from Jake's season while she intermittently bursts into tears because she's been hurt before as Wes the Cowboy serenades you with "Love, it don't come easaaayyy."  That's 4 fewer wins in football terms.

Sing it, Wes.
8.  Will Eagle's quarterback Kevin Kolb win my fantasy league for me?

I'm going to go ahead and say yes.  A lot of my eggs are in the Kevin Kolb basket.  I am a little discouraged because my confidence in Kolb is founded strictly on hearsay and speculation that maybe we have another Aaron Rodgers-type situation here. 

9.  Is there anything stopping the Saints from winning at least 12 games? 

Nothing short of a Drew Brees injury.  They already took care of Minnesota, and the only real challenges left on the schedule are road games at Dallas, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Atlanta.  Shouldn't be a problem at least splitting those.  Oh, and they get the Steelers at home.  I shudder to think what Brees is going to do to Bryant McFadden, especially considering that there is a 75% chance Troy Polamalu will be in street clothes by week 8.  Those are actual Vegas odds.  New Orleans will cruise to the number 1 seed in the playoffs.

10.  How good was U.S. goalie Mike Richter in 1996 World Cup Finals against Canada?

What a Performance
Phenomenal.  Caught game 3 on NHL network the other night.  It's well worth watching again, particularly if you're ever faced with task of writing about the Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, Lions, Bucs, Redskins, and Bears.

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