Thursday, November 17, 2011

Al Davis Would Have Loved These Raiders

It's too bad Al Davis isn't around to see the present day Oakland Raiders (5-4). He would have loved the way his team is playing football right now; with an emphasis on speed and big plays. Davis, who passed away on October 8, always coveted players who could stretch the field and make impact plays. The Raiders have emerged as an explosive passing team and quarterback Carson Palmer is the main reason why.

Palmer, who was acquired from Cincinnati for a first- and second-round draft pick, has taken advantage of the Raiders speedy skill players. In the two and half games he's played for Oakland this season, Palmer has completed 18 passes of 20 yards or more. That's two more 20-plus yard plays than the Raiders had in six weeks with Jason Campbell. After studying the Raiders games, it was clear that Campbell, who broke his collar bone in week 6 against the Cleveland Browns, is better at throwing intermediate passes than deeper routes. Palmer on the other hand is almost the opposite. Palmer's intermediate throws are reckless at times, while his deep passes are more accurate.

Of Palmer's 18 passes of 20-plus yards, eight of them have gone for 30 yards or more, five have gone for 40 yards or longer and two have gone for 50-plus yards. The Raiders are currently ranked second in the league, behind only the Houston Texans, for the most yards per pass completion with 13.1.

Palmer, meanwhile, is averaging more than 315 yards passing per game and the average distance of his five touchdowns has been 33 yards (TD passes: 58, 18, 40, 26, 33 yards). The news gets better for Palmer as the Minnesota Vikings are next on the schedule for the Raiders. The Vikings rank 30th against the pass currently, allowing 272 yards per game. The Vikings have also given up 18 passing touchdowns this season, which ranks them second to last in the league.

Oakland's new found big play pass offense should bode well for their playoff push. Add a healthy Darren McFadden (foot) and Jacoby Ford (ankle) to the offensive mix and the Palmer-led Raiders should be considered the favorites in the AFC West division.

Fantasy football impact: Palmer is a very good option at quarterback this week and going forward, especially if you own the injured Matt Schaub, Matt Cassel or Michael Vick. The other player I really like going forward is rookie WR Denarius Moore. Moore has had two nice games with Palmer at helm, including a 5 catch, 123 yard and 2 TD performance last week. Look for the duo to get even better as the season winds down.   

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NFL Week 10: Tuesday Takeaways

We are now ten weeks into the NFL season and I'm getting carpel tunnel trying to keep up with all of the records that being broken (or on pace to be broken). Meanwhile, why didn't you bet the New England Patriots Sunday night? And LaDainian Tomlinson (pictured) did something in that game that deserves noting. It's all covered in The Source's Tuesday Takeaways.

1) I've written about this before, but watching Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald succeed without QB Kevin Kolb should be concerning for Arizona. On Sunday, Fitzgerald had a huge game, catching 7 passes for 146 yards and 2 TDs, all from back-up QB John Skelton. The Skelton to Fitzgerald connection has proven to be quite reliable, at least more than Kolb to Fitzgerald. In seven games with Skelton at QB (5 in 2010, 2 in 2011), Fitzgerald has 42 catches for 598 yards and 4 TDs. In the seven games with Kolb throwing to him, Fitzgerald has 34 catches for 603 and 2 TDs. The Cardinals paid a lofty price to land Kolb so benching him probably isn't in the plans. However, if the Cardinals keep losing with Kolb (1-6) and winning with Skelton (4-3), expect the pressure on Kolb to rise like the Arizona heat.

2) Another topic I write about often (as does everyone else) is Packers QB Aaron Rodgers' assault on the NFL record books. The Green Bay QB is the top passer in the NFL, and the the numbers aren't even close. Rodgers added another 4 TD passes on Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings, giving him 28 TDs on the season. Rodgers also is closing in on an NFL record for most consecutive games with at least two TD passes. Currently, Rodgers is on a nine game streak with at least two TD passes. The NFL record is 13 consecutive games held by Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Add it to the list of records Rodgers will likely break this season.

3) Speaking of touchdown streaks, Saints QB Drew Brees continued his march towards an NFL record on Sunday. Brees' second quarter TD pass to Jimmy Graham against the Atlanta Falcons ran his streak to 37 consecutive games with a TD pass. Brees moved ahead of Brett Favre on that list, but he still trails Johnny Unitas, who threw a TD pass in 47 straight games.

4) Another streak worth noting is the Vikings inability to win a division game. Minnesota's 45-7 loss on Monday night to the Green Bay Packers was their ninth straight NFC North loss dating back to last year. The nine straight division losses is a franchise record for the Vikings, who have two more games to try and break the streak (@Detroit 12/8 and vs. Chicago 1/1). Sidenote: The Vikings are two seasons removed from going 5-1 against NFC North teams (finished 12-4 in 2009). 

5) When oddsmakers installed the New York Jets as one-point favorites on Sunday night against the New England Patriots, we all should have run to place our bets on the Pats. The Patriots, losers of two straight games (Steelers and Giants) heading into that Jets game, never lose three games in a row. From 2002-2011, the Patriots have played 147 games without enduring a three-game losing streak. That streak will continue after the Pats defeated the Jets 37-16. While that streak sounds impressive, it's still a (very, very) long way from breaking a record. From 1980-1999, the San Francisco 49ers went 287 games without a three-game losing streak.

6) Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson's 60-yard performance on Sunday night against the New England Patriots didn't warrant a second-look, but he did accomplish an impressive feat in the process. Tomlinson moved ahead of Detroit Lions great Barry Sanders on the all-time yards from scrimmage list. Tomlinson now has 18, 206 yards from scrimmage in his career, which is 16 yards more than Sanders (18,190). Tomlinson now trails Jerry Rice (23,540), Emmitt Smith (21,579), Walter Payton (21,264) and Marshall Faulk (19,154).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Did a Green Bay Restaurant Put Glass in Adrian Peterson's Food?

This is clearly speculative at this point (Twitter speculation nonetheless), but did someone at a Green Bay restaurant (or maybe Appleton or some other hillbilly Wisconsin village) try and sabotage Adrian Peterson's food?

Minnesota Vikings safety Jamarca Sanford (@sanford33) tweeted:

Wow I just talk to @VShiancoe and @AdrianPeterson did have glass in his dinner from last night

I'm not sure this happened, or if it was on purpose. But the idea of it certainly ranks pretty low on the scale of crappy things to do to a person. My guess is this story doesn't end here.

The Vikings are in Green Bay to play the rival Packers on Monday night.

Rex Ryan to Patriots Fan: "Shut the Fuck Up"

If you watch New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan on the sidelines during a game, you notice one thing very quickly, the guy likes to swear (a lot). I'm not a lip reader, but he drops the F-bomb more times than Eddie Murphy and NWA combined.

According to Mike Freeman from, the NFL is looking into an incident in which Ryan told a New England fan to "Shut the fuck up." (Warning: video contains explicit language.)

Ryan has a history of reacting to heckling fans. In February 2010, he was fined $50,000 for an obscene gesture.

Bill Belichick to NY Jets Defense: Suck My Dick!

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belihick is about as boring as its comes when addressing the media. But when the media isn't around (at least he didn't think they were), he's quite animated apparently.

According to the New York Post, As Belichick left the MetLife Stadium field Sunday night after his Patriots beat the New York Jets 37-16, he put his arm around his son, Stephen (pictured), and said:

“Thirty-seven points on the best defense in the league, suck my dick."

The Post reports Belichick was asked about his comment during a Monday morning interview on WFAN. He said, "Any conversations I had privately I'll keep private."