Oh, we’re half way there

Chris Duprau

Yes, that’s right, we’re halfway through the season as some teams are flying high and others are living on a prayer. It’s been one heck of an exciting first half with more twists and turns than my stomach after a meal at the pit. Now just like one of those clip shows from TV, lets go back, review the highs and the lows and try and figure out exactly what’s going to happen between now and Super Bowl XXXIX.

No player has been better or more exciting to watch this year then Big Ben Roethlisberger. The rookie quarterback is playing better then just about every veteran QB in the league. Nothing can stop this kid. To top it all off, he’s got a little bit of spunk in him, not cockiness but confidence. With the way he’s throwing the ball and the way the entire Steeler team, heck the entire city of Pittsburgh, has gotten behind this kid, look for a deep push into the post-season.

Oh those San Diego Super Chargers. What a pleasant surprise this team has been. Many football pundits (myself not included) thought that they would be easily the worst team in the league. Instead, Drew Brees has woken up from his year-plus long coma to come out throwing touchdowns like he’s back at Purdue. Marty Schottenheimer, who has often been an under-rated coach (mostly due to the fact he’s choked in the postseason more often then the Buffalo Bills) has this team believing in itself. The key to the team has been tight end Antonio Gates who hardly played football in college, instead playing basketball at Kent State. He has all but solidified himself as one of the top tight ends in the league. The Chargers look good and with many team playing inconsistent football in the AFC West, they may just sneak up and snag the division at the end of the season.

By far the most frustrating team to watch this year has been the New York Football Giants. This team is as bi-polar as they come, and have caused me to probably lose two to three years off of my life. They go to Minnesota, dominate the Vikings then go home and, after jumping out to a 14-0 lead on the Bears, give up 28 straight points and lose 28-21. Who does that? That’s like the United States beating the Soviets in the Cold War and then getting over run by Cuba. I just can’t take it anymore! Kurt Warner’s honeymoon is over and now the wife is starting to realize that the guy she married isn’t the stud he was on the cruise. Eli is going to see some playing time this week and if he plays well expect Kurt to have a nice spot on the bench.

I looked up the word genius in the dictionary the other day, you know what I found? A picture of Bill Belichick in his sweatshirt on the sideline. This guy is unbelievable. Lets just look at the way he won the game last week in St. Louis, a game many thought the Pats would lose. He had Troy Brown playing DB in dime coverages, and he played well. He had Linebacker Mike Vrabel playing tight end and catching a 20 yrd TD pass. Finally, he had kicker Adam (the Boston God) Vinatieri throw a TD pass to Troy Brown on a fake field goal. Punch the ticket now, the Pats will be in the AFC championship game.

Finally, lets say farewell to players and coaches who have already lost their job or are going to at the end of the season. Dave Wannstedt became the first coaching casualty by resigning (yeah right the guy was fired) from the Dolphins this week. Personally I think he’s the smartest guy around. Who the heck would want to coach the Dolphins? Adios to Travis Henry. I now know why you were so intent on keeping your starting job, you knew once “What you talkin bout” Willis McGahee got in there he wouldn’t be leaving. See you Mark Brunell. It’s odd I thought I said goodbye to him last year, but I guess Joe Gibbs had a senile flashback and thought that you were better then Patrick Ramsey. Well unfortunately for the both of you, you’re not. Buenos tarde to Vinny Testaverde. The Tuna gave you a shot in there for Dallas, and actually you’ve played well, but Drew Henson is right behind you and you’ll be backing him up by week 13. Finally so long to Jim Haslett. If you don’t get fired at the end of this year then the Saints owner is spending too much time at Marti Gras. You’re team has been the most underachieving team in football for the past four years yet somehow you’ve stuck around. Well the gravy train has run out, it’s now somebody else’s turn to underachieve with the Saints.

Ok, lets get to the picks. Sorry for there being no article last week, but Big Dupes had computer difficulties. (There’s a reason I failed out of computer engineering) I’ve been sliding a bit lately but now stand at 12.5 – 5.5 – 1. Do not worry though, this week is a bounce back week, so grab a pen and paper and mark these picks down, because as Kenny Banya would say to Jerry on Seinfeld, “They’re gold Jerry! Gold!”

Big Blue is coming off an embarrassing, immasculating and just plain horrible lost to “Da Bears.” Tom Coughlin is probably running practice this week like he’s the drill instructor in Full Metal Jacket. Now I know Strahan is done for the season and Kurt Warner is returning to the Kurt Warner of ’02-’03, but the Giants always seem to respond with their backs against the wall and I feel they will this week too.

Seattle, after winning two in a row, plays St. Louis is St. Louis. Remember it was the Rams whose fourth quarter aerial comeback started the Seahawks slide. I look for Seattle to run Shaun Alexander until his legs fall off, and for Seattle as a team to play with some fire and beat the Rams soundly. (If they squeak by I’m still counting it as a win.)

Finally the pick of the week goes to Atlanta who is giving 3.5 to Tampa. Now I’ll admit Tampa looked good last week, but I think any offense can look good against the Chiefs. Vick seems to finally be getting the crazy West Coast Offense and there was even a Peerless Price sighting recently (no I’m not kidding he actually caught a touchdown pass). Vick should scamper for about 65 and throw for 215 leading the Falcons to a comfortable victory.

Only eight more weeks till the playoffs and my guess is the thrills, spills, chills and dollar bills I spend at the bar will keep on going. The NFL its “fantastic.”