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RJ’s 2010 NFL Picks – Week Eight

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I went 5-9 last week. That puts me at 53-51 for the season. For a comparison, check out the “experts” over at ESPN. Here are my picks for the NFL’s Week Eight:


Miami 3-3 at Cincinnati 2-4 1:00 PM [ Cincinnati by 2 ]

The Bengals have lost their last three games by a total of 13 points. The Dolphins are undefeated on the road.

-RJ’s Pick: Miami by 3


Jacksonville 3-4 at Dallas 1-5 1:00 PM [ Dallas by 6.5 ]

The Jaguars have allowed 72 points in their last two games, both losses. Jon Kitna will be starting at QB for the Cowboys in place of the injured Tony Romo.

-RJ’s Pick: Dallas by 12


Washington 4-3 at Detroit 1-5 1:00 PM [ Detroit by 2.5 ]

Expect a lot of scoring and a close game.

-RJ’s Pick: Detroit by 6


Buffalo 0-6 at Kansas City 4-2 1:00 PM [ Kansas City by 7.5 ]

Buffalo is the only winless team in the NFL. Kansas City is undefeated at home.

-RJ’s Pick: Kansas City by 13


Carolina 1-5 at Saint Louis 3-4 1:00 PM [ Saint Louis by 3 ]

Carolina’s offense is just terrible. The Rams are 3-1 at home.

-RJ’s Pick: Saint Louis by 7


Green Bay 4-3 at New York Jets 5-1 1:00 PM [ New York Jets by 6 ]

The Jets have won five in a row. The Packers are riddled with injuries.

-RJ’s Pick: New York Jets by 11


Denver 2-5 at San Francisco 1-6 1:00 PM [ San Francisco by 1 ]

This is a tough one to predict because both teams are so bad.

-RJ’s Pick: Denver by 4


Tennessee 5-2 at San Diego 2-5 4:05 PM [ San Diego by 3.5 ]

It’s worth repeating: The Chargers have the best offense and the best defense in terms of yards gained/yards allowed per game. It’s hard to believe they are 2-5. The Titans have scored the most points in the league.

-RJ’s Pick: San Diego by 1


Tampa Bay 4-2 at Arizona 3-3 4:15 PM [ Arizona by 3 ]

Neither team can score, but Tampa Bay has the superior defense.

-RJ’s Pick: Tampa Bay by 2


Minnesota 2-4 at New England 5-1 4:15 PM [ New England by 5 ]

No matter who starts at QB for the Vikings, the Patriots should win.

-RJ’s Pick: New England by 9


Seattle 4-2 at Oakland 3-4 4:15 PM [ Oakland by 2.5 ]

If the Raiders can run the ball, they’ll win. And if Seattle can stop the run, they’ll win.

-RJ’s Pick: Oakland by 8


Pittsburgh 5-1 at New Orleans 4-3 8:20 PM [ Pick ’em ]

Must-see Sunday Night Football.

-RJ’s Pick: New Orleans by 3



Houston 4-2 at Indianapolis 4-2 8:30 PM [ Indianapolis by 5.5 ]

Both teams have excellent offenses, but Houston’s defense is simply awful.

-RJ’s Pick: Indianapolis by 10


(Bye Week Teams: Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, New York Giants, Philadelphia, Baltimore)

If you’re interested, here is the full list of Danny Sheridan’s odds.

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About RJ

  • C2E

    In Galveston for extended birthday weekend, so difficult to post picks from iPad. We differ on five games! First, I’m taking the Texans ’cause I live in Houston and support the local teams. Difficult to beat Colts twice in same season…

    Give me the Redskins over the Lions, the 49ers over the Broncos, the Titans over the Chargers, the Steelers over the Saints and, as discussed before, the Texans over the Colts.

    Other than that, we agree!

  • RJ

    Thanks for posting, C2E!

  • STM

    Here’s a couple for you RJ. The top two teams in the world in an absolute lightning paced thriller. I know as a bloke who loves contact sport at the highest level that you’ll love ’em.

    Saturday night in Hong Kong, specially for the Aussie and Kiwi expats, and the New Zealanders doing the Haka before kick-off … a Maori war challenge they do to scare the living shit out of their opponents before every game.

    It’s the off-season down here so I’ve also decided this summer to watch as many American football games as possible, as the picks of the rounds are on cable sport here now.

    Which is why I’ve been reading your stuff, but it’s taking me a while to get my head around some of the more subtle – if that’s the right word – nuances of the American game. I’ve found it exciting but you also need lots of time and it’s a real learning curve for someone who didn’t grow up watching it with more than an occasional passing interest (we always watch the Superbowl).

    I hope you’ll be able to enlighten me on some of those nuances on the threads when I’m left scratching my head.


  • RJ

    Pretty exciting stuff, STM. Although I have to say the team name “All Blacks” strikes me as both racially insensitive and factually untrue. Perhaps “No African-Americans Whatsoever” would be more PC as well as more accurate…

    [I kid, of course.]

    FWIW, I found the Haka to be about as intimidating as a Village People concert.

    I’m glad you’ll be following along this NFL football season. Any questions, feel free to ask. 🙂

  • STM


    I think it’s what people don’t know about the Haka that’s the scary bit. Once they’ve hacked you to death, they’re going to cook you in the hungi, an earth oven, and eat you. That’s what they’re letting you know.

    I have played against New Zealanders … they really do look at you like they’re going to slit your throat and put you on the barbecue, and they do bash the shit out of you on the field.

    Then afterwards, they just buy you lots of beer and give you a steak sandwich. Good people when you’re not getting smashed.

    Cheers mate. That’d be good if I can pick your brain on some of the NFL games.

    We had a debate on radio here the other day about the cheeseheads.

    It’s about the colour of the helmets, right? Someone else thought it was because cheese was made in the area. Not sure about that. Green Bay doesn’t look that rural to me.

  • RJ

    Final Scores:

    MIAMI 22, BENGALS 14 – RJ 1-0 [1-0 ATS]

    JACKSONVILLE 35, DALLAS 17 – RJ 1-1 [1-1 ATS]

    LIONS 37, REDSKINS 25 – RJ 2-1 [2-1 ATS]

    KC 13, BILLS 10 (in OT) – RJ 3-1 [2-2 ATS]

    Rams 20, Carolina 10 – RJ 4-1 [3-2 ATS]

  • RJ

    Green Bay is a relatively small city, population just above 100,000.

    Green Bay Packers fans are called “cheeseheads” because the state of Wisconsin is known for producing cheese.

  • STM

    So I was wrong … nothing to do with the cheese-coloured helmets 🙂

  • RJ

    Final Scores:

    PACKERS 9, JETS 0(!) – RJ 4-2 [3-3 ATS]

    SF 24, DENVER 16 – RJ 4-3 [3-4 ATS]

  • RJ


    SD 33, TENNESSEE 25 – RJ 5-3 [3-5 ATS]

    TB 38, ARIZONA 35 – RJ 6-3 [4-5 ATS]

    NE 28, VIKINGS 18 – RJ 7-3 [5-5 ATS]

  • RJ


    OAKLAND 33, SEATTLE 3 – RJ 8-3 [6-5 ATS]

  • RJ


    Being called a “cheesehead” is something Packers fans prefer to being called “fudge-packers” …

  • RJ

    Tampa Bay 4-2 at Arizona 3-3 4:15 PM [ Arizona by 3 ]

    Neither team can score


  • STM

    RJ: “prefer to being called “fudge-packers” …”

    Yeah, I’d be with ’em on that.

    I have recorded the Steelers game to watch tonight, it being 1.30pm Monday afternoon here.

  • zingzing

    i hate the packers, especially after last week’s game. but why are they called the packers?

  • STM

    Isn’t Green Bay a town on the Great Lakes, a shipping cargo hub?? Maybe that’s the reason … packing cargo for transport to other parts of the US and Canada, and possibly unpacking it as well?

    Dunno. You guys should know this. I’m 10,000 miles away, down in the South Pacific.

  • The Indian Packing Company, which canned meat, paid for the team’s original jerseys [cost: $500] in 1919 and provided the company’s athletic field for the team to use.

  • zingzing

    all defense so far, stm, which is pretty surprising, given how good both these teams are on offense… then again, they’re both good at defense as well. i hate them both. pittsburg has a rapist at quarterback and the saints somehow* beat the vikings in the last nfc championship game (plus one of my friends lives in new orleans and she mocks me endlessly about it).

    *the vikings coughed up the ball a good 5 or 6 times and still took it to overtime, but the overtime rules in the nfl are fucking dumb.

    sigh… this season has sucked so far. the vikings have been in nearly every game with 2 minutes left to go, but have only won 2 out of 7. it’s like all of last year’s good luck is coming back to haunt us. and the refs have given away at least 2 games on us, including the one at the fudge-packers. we should have had a td, but had to settle for a fg after a bad call, plus gb should have had a td called back. we should have won that game by 11 points, if all things were fair, but we lost by 8. such is life, and you can’t get those back.

    luckily, no one really wants to take over in the nfc north and we’ve got a rather light schedule for the last 8 weeks. we may be able to pull out a playoff spot with a lot of luck and a good run, which may give us the momentum we need to get through some playoff games.

    that is, if favre doesn’t have a broken jaw (hard to read defenses if you can’t shout them into revealing their plans). it sucks that peterson has been so solid (not dropping the ball all the time), if not his usual, flashy self in a season when favre has been so gimpy and we’re not getting any sacks on defense.

    that said, we’re getting rice back soon, and with two tall receivers (the other being moss,) a solid running game and a stout o-line, we might get our swagger back. the defense is fine. the offense is out of sorts, but there’s a lot of the season left.

    and in the time that took, the steelers/saints game is livening up. two good teams going at it.

  • zingzing

    well, there you go on the packers’ name. they’re my team’s natural enemy. i’ve never thought to ask why they are named how they are. figured it’d be something stupid. idiots. 🙂

  • zingzing

    oop, my math is off on that gb-mn score. they were handed 4 points, we were docked 4 points, and we would have just run the clock down, kicked a fg and won if all were fair. but it’s not. nothing’s fair this season.

  • STM

    Thanks boys. That explains a bit 🙂

    I am trying to be very open-minded this year about the NFL and to make an effort to “get” it. What I’ve disliked about it in the past is that it’s a lot slower than the two rugby codes, but I’ve realised it’s a bit like a game of chess on steroids, with everyone setting up for plays to grind out yards, and then you get some explosive bursts of action.

    I can easily understand those explosive bursts of action and guys breaking the defensive line, and the touch-down plays (anyone can), but I’m now making a real effort to get my head around the rest of it … as the explosive bits obviously don’t exist in a vacuum.

    I have played one solitary game of American football, BTW. There was a league here in the 80s, and I got conscripted one night when I was drunk because they were short of players for the next week. I didn’t have a clue what was going on so I just ran around smashing into people.

    I also found it difficult playing football in a helmet, especially since the strap was busted on mine and wouldn’t do up.

    That year I also got conned into playing the first of my only two games of Australian Rules football, which is mainly played in the southern and western states – so not in my neck of the woods.

    There really aren’t any rules, which is good fun, but sleeveless shirts are not my go. People who play and watch it also seem to think there are no other oval-ball contact sports being played on this planet, which is annoying.

  • zingzing

    “it’s a bit like a game of chess on steroids, with everyone setting up for plays to grind out yards, and then you get some explosive bursts of action.”

    yep. that’s one of the best things about it. you set up the running game, where if you can get more than 3 or 4 yards per carry, that’s enough to get you to a first down every time. if you can do that, you can get the passing game going, where, if enough defensive players are concentrated on blocking the run, you can get some open looks and take 10 or 15 or more yards per play.

    but then, the defense knows this, and will pass rush, meaning try to break around the outside of the line towards the qb, who is waiting for his wide receivers to get down field. then again, the qb, having recognized the pass rush or a blitz through a hard count can just audible a screen or play-action. mhmm. but the defense can fake and audible as well, trying to throw the qb off.

    the time at the line of scrimmage is key to the game, even if it’s not as exciting. you can watch players’ minds working off each other. when you have a great qb, he can call up 3 or 4 different plays, audible shit out and create on whatever he sees from the defense. of course, there’s someone on the defense, usually a linebacker, who’s doing the same exact thing, watching the qb and telling his people to switch shit up. and there’s a defensive end who’s really hungry to eat the qb’s shirt. and he’s got a mullet.

  • STM

    zing: “and he’s got a mullet.”

    Lol. That must be a prerequisite for hard-tackling lunatics everywhere, then.

    Gotta love it.

    I promise, by the time this football season is over, I will be able to talk this game with you.

    In English, though …

    Then I’ll expect you to watch the rugby league state of origin series down here, so you can talk sh.t back.

  • zingzing

    i do hope to one day gain an understanding of rugby. it just looks like chaos to me. i’ve watched a few games (including 3 or 4 live games in seattle when a friend of mine played), but i can’t wrap my head around it. i’ve found a way to watch american football online, and it does have a menu for rugby on there, but it must be off-season, or maybe they don’t play on sundays.

    i definitely get into the strategies of sports. baseball is all psychological (especially during an at bat, before a ball is put into play). soccer is most interesting to me when you can see a team breaking down a defense through trial and error. hockey is basically soccer on ice. basketball and tennis seem to me fairly similar, with one side moving an opponent just enough to be able to sneak something in or go for the sudden strike… they get you to where you’re committed to stopping one thing, then they go the other way. i suppose american football is that way as well. actually, i suppose that’s all sports, come to think of it.

    but rugby just seems like a riot with a goal. i’m sure there’s some strategy to it, but it looks like blunt force most of the time. and i don’t understand why certain things are fouls. and they also refuse to speak plain english. there’s a lingo barrier. which i’m sure is what you’re referring to above.

    american football is highly technical. each side of the ball (offense or defense) has a playbook that usually comes in a 5-inch binder, although some teams prefer more simple approaches. and each position carries a lot of different responsibilities and special qualities. it’s rare for players to switch positions, as they’ll have no idea what they’re doing outside of what they’re used to.

    at this point, i consider rugby to be a more brutish, strategy-free cousin of football. but for a game that’s been around as long as that, i’m sure strategies have been developed. i just can’t see them.

  • STM

    Zing: Have a look at the vid I posted above for RJ of highlights of the Australia v New Zealand Tri Nations rugby game played in Hong Kong on Saturday night.

    They are currently the world’s two top-ranked sides, and the third nation in the tournament, South Africa, who didn’t do that well this year, are the current World Champions (the World Cup is played every four years).

    Have a look at it – you can see the structure in the plays; Zing, you CAN’T compare this to an amateur game played in Seattle, and I know you’ll see the lack of chaos in it.

    At that kind of amateur level, it does look like complete chaos, usually because it is (I know, I’ve played it at that level), but the highlights above are from the very top tier of the game.

    Rugby league is different again, but in a way more like American football in the way it’s played for yards.

    They played the game in Hong Kong for all the expats up there; nice thought on the part of the powers that be.

  • STM

    And why am I so excited about this result? Because Australia have been rebuilding thjeir stocks with lots of young players, broke a 10-game losing streak against New Zealand on Saturday night … and the world cup is only a year out.

    Meanwhile, I’ve just noticed the lopside scoreline in the Steelers game.

  • zingzing

    it’s not that lopsided. it went down to the last 2 or 3 minutes. i’ll go look at that footage of the tri nations thing. (although the games i’ve watched other than the shit in seattle were tri nations games, i believe, or maybe world cup. australia was always involved, and, as far as i remember, always always lost.) (:P)

  • STM

    Zing: “always always lost.)”

    Nah. Couldn’t have been 🙂 Australia and South Africa are the only teams to have won two World Cups.

  • zingzing

    alright, so i watched it, and i must admit that i could see what they were trying to do better than what i remembered (although, it being all highlights, that means that the plays that didn’t go so well for the offense/possessors get neglected). and where was all the scrums? scrumming? is there a verb form? i guess there is.

    the basic fact is that forward progression in that game is built upon what looks to be a broken play in american football. the lateral pass is a desperation move to us. and who’s leading that thing? is it all hive mind? but i saw how the line spread out and back to create the forward motion, but i never could see how that developed, or how it looked on the other side. or why it would develop that way.

    this was a test match, which means what? it’s obviously not like a soccer friendly, as this is part of a tournament, yeah?

    also, loved the bit where the aussie player shoves the nz player in the face after one of the… touchdown-like things. what the fuck is that called? i forget. it’s been 5 years since i’ve seen a match whatsoever. anyway, the nz player takes umbrage, and one of his friends shoves the aussie player, but he just shrugs it off.

    still, i have to go for nz, just because i like their music better. on the other hand, they’re the heavy favorites, aren’t they? i hate the manchester uniteds of the world.

  • zingzing

    “Nah. Couldn’t have been :)”

    well, it was australia vs someone. hard to forget their sad, white faces in those yellow unis.

    also… wallabies? who named them? the tourist board?

  • STM

    They couldn’t call them the Kangaroos because the Aussie rugby league team had already snared that in about 1910, so they went for Wallabies.

    There are no friendlies like in soccer. This was a cup game, but a dead rubber as NZ had already won it and the tournament.

    “Touchdown” is called a try. You do actually have to ground it, and your momentum is allowed to carry you over if you get tackled before the tryline. The name comes from when the game first started back in the 1800s: if you got the ball down over the line, you got to have a “try” at kicking a goal.

    You are right in some ways about the chaos … attacking plays are aimed at exploiting the opposition’s disarray in defence.

    But that’s the same in American football, so not much difference there.

    I’m looking forward to watching that NFL game when I get home tonight; you reckon it came down to the last 10 minutes???


  • the basic fact is that forward progression in that game is built upon what looks to be a broken play in american football. the lateral pass is a desperation move to us.

    zing, the forward pass is illegal in rugby. Hence, forward progress is achieved either through running or kicking. You pass along the line until you find a gap (in the defensive line, not your opponent’s teeth, although the latter is generally easier to locate).

    one of the… touchdown-like things. what the fuck is that called? i forget.

    A try.

  • i have to go for nz, just because i like their music better.

    Flight of the Conchords?

  • STM

    The forward motion is similar to American football too, I suppose, but the ball is always in play even at the tackle. The forward motion comes from running the ball up, being tackled, and then “recycling” it … like that last try.

    Don’t tell me anymore about the Steelers/New Orleans game. I’d like some surprises when I watch it.

  • STM

    G’day Doc … nice to see you out of the woodwork. Where’s ya bin??

  • STM

    “Flight of the Conchords?”

    Considering it’s from across the ditch, it’s a a pretty good show that.

  • zingzing

    “I’m looking forward to watching that NFL game when I get home tonight; you reckon it came down to the last 10 minutes???”

    it could have gone either way much later than that, however, i didn’t see the last 2 minutes, so i dunno quite what happened. but it was a one-possession game until the final 2 minutes. and even a two-possession game is always a game. (as scoring 10-14 points within the space of a few minutes isn’t anywhere near impossible.)

    “zing, the forward pass is illegal in rugby.”

    i know. maybe for good reason. people get fucked up that way. see all the fines that have been passed out around the nfl these last few weeks. huge hits delivered to defenseless receivers over the middle. concussions and lost teeth everywhere. but damn if the forward pass isn’t what made american football football in america. it’s a dynamic part of the game.

    “Hence, forward progress is achieved either through running or kicking. You pass along the line until you find a gap (in the defensive line, not your opponent’s teeth, although the latter is generally easier to locate).”

    there was only one kick in the highlights and it looked like a field goal, with the other team yards away and charging as soon as the kicker starts moving. do kicks get less points than tries? trys? i believe i remember them kicking on the run as well… it’s not always a set play, is it? (maybe that’s aussie-rules…)

    either way, why was that a set play? some sort of foul? some other reason to stop play and allow them to kick? are there any specialized players who are better at kicking? or is everyone supposed to be adept at everything?

    also, i’d have liked to have seen a play that broke down or where the “defense” took the ball. but that’s not what highlights are for.

    i guess this tournament is over. when’s the next time a world-class rugby tournament comes around? i’ll pick a team and i’ll watch. does england ever get involved in this shit, or are they too snooty?

  • zingzing

    “Flight of the Conchords?”

    fuck no. actually, they’re pretty funny, but they’re comedy.

    nz has more great bands per capita than any other nation on the planet. flying nun and xpressway=pileup are two of the greatest indie labels of the 80s/90s. nz bands seemed to latch onto the velvet underground before anyone else and they exploited that sound on both ends, with flying nun stuff finding the gentle folk and artpop elements and xpressway going for the noise. of course, it goes beyond that, but nz had a music scene as big and vibrant as any american or british city, and more depth and longevity. they haven’t been as remarkable recently, but from the early 80s to the mid 90s, it was something to behold.

    basically, the nz music scene back then defied logic and demographics and statistics. it was just an artistic explosion. it’s like nearly everyone who tried to be a rock n roll star succeeded in being a great artist, if not a star.

  • STM

    zing: “but damn if the forward pass isn’t what made american football football in america. it’s a dynamic part of the game.”

    I agree, it is what’s made it different. but you achieve the same thing as the forward pass in rugby with the forward kick and the results are surprisingly similar. It’s a tactic used a lot in rugby league. However, you can’t take down the receiver in the air, for the very reasons you mention. Unless, of course, you are also genuionely competing for the ball and the clash comes that way. Otherwise, you have to wait until the reciever’s feet touch the ground before you slam them.

    It’s a tactic used a lot in rugby league (which as we’ve discussed, is a different game).

    However, in American football, it’s added a very different dynamic because the whole game now appears to be built around the forward pass (either getting the opportunity or denying it), which is probably why it looks like a game of chess on steroids.

  • STM

    I have a great ’80s album from NZ by a band called Straitjacket Fits … great version of Leonard Cohen’s So Long Marianne, and a few homegrown goodies too.

  • nice to see you out of the woodwork. Where’s ya bin??

    Oh, here and there. I’m doing an English degree online, which cuts down on my Blogcritics bullshitting time somewhat.

    Watched a bit of the 49ers-Broncos game at Wembley. Pretty good match, considering both teams are awful this season and also considering the Wembley turf, which they’ve been having terrible problems with: they’ve had to re-lay it about 12 times since the stadium opened a couple of years ago. Several dozen burly blokes in tight lycra pants crashing repeatedly down on it at high speed can’t have done it much good either.

  • zingzing

    “However, you can’t take down the receiver in the air, for the very reasons you mention. Unless, of course, you are also genuionely competing for the ball and the clash comes that way.”

    yep, and that’s where we get the “pass interference” call. you can’t touch a receiver in a way that puts him off the ball, you can only go for the ball yourself. of course, there’s also “offensive pass interference,” where the receiver puts the corner off the ball. it’s a ridiculously hard play to call.

    thing is, in american football, you can knock the shit out of the receiver as soon as he touches the ball, hoping to knock it out. it’s only when you get helmet-to-helmet contact that you run the risk of getting a fine. receivers who are willing to catch balls over the middle (where you have to be high to get the ball over the line and linebackers) are very brave men, because you run the chance of getting hit on both sides, as corners and safeties (both weak- and strong-side) are coming at you full-charge as soon as the qb releases the ball.

    and yes, the forward pass is always the threat. but putting too much emphasis on that, especially the deep pass, and maybe even a simple protection against the run/shallow pass, leaves you open for the run, and a good run can leave you open for a touchdown from anywhere on the field. see barry sanders. that man was an artist.

    watch the man. look at those knees turn, the head fakes, the legs flex the wrong way, the tackles broken, the flying defenders missing by miles. he’s a master. the shit he did to my vikings is unforgivable.

  • STM

    I’m liking Barry Sanders, zing … a lot. Great side-step and shimmy. He’s just ghosting into gaps that don’t even look like they’re there. Some of the defenders look like turnstiles.

    That’s the kind of stuff I like to see in American football.

    How come the Yanks were playing at Wembley, Doc? Exhibition game or something?

    Were you there mate, or did you watch it on the idiot box??

  • RJ

    Barry Sanders was indeed the greatest ever.


    I’m about to post the results of the Sunday Night game, so don’t read my next comment until you’ve watched it. 🙂

  • RJ

    Final Score:

    NO 20, Steelers 10 – RJ 9-3 [7-5 ATS]

  • zingzing

    “How come the Yanks were playing at Wembley, Doc? Exhibition game or something?”

    they’ve been doing a game a year in london for the past few seasons. it’s just a regular season game, and san francisco was also labeled the home team, which means they get one less game in san fran this year. it’s a strange thing, but they’re thinking about expanding the london games to two a season and then they’re thinking about having a team in london permanently. i don’t know if it’ll work or not…

  • There was a pro team in London for a while back in the heyday of the World League, or NFL Europe as it later became known: the Monarchs. They played their home games at the old Wembley Stadium.

    As I recall, the roster of the Monarchs and the other World League teams was largely comprised of Brett Favre-type has-beens, American ex-college players who hadn’t made the cut in the NFL and the occasional European sports star who fancied trying his hand at the game – usually as a kicker.

    That didn’t fly for long with the surprisingly savvy English public, who’d been used to watching the real McCoy on Channel 4 for a number of years, and they stopped going. The lack of a TV deal was a bit of a killer as well.

    I think a London expansion team might just work, although the geography would put them at one heck of a disadvantage, as would the fact that they’d be competing against Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham and a dozen or so other pro football and rugby teams based in the London area. Selling out Wembley (or the Emirates, or the Olympic stadium) once or twice a year is one thing, but week in, week out? I dunno.

    The team would for sure be popular with London’s large American expat community, but those folks tend to be somewhat impoverished. NFL ticket prices? Probably not a priority for most of their pockets.

  • STM

    Here you go zing, in answer to most of your questions, here’s a much better highlights package where you can see a bit more of the lead-up play. Ignore the NZ lunatics doing the Haka. It’s because they’re hungry and like barbecuing white fella.

    If you still can’t work out what’s going on, I can’t help ya. I suggest a brain transplant. It’s not that hard.

    The trick is the same for you as it is for me. In my quest to understand American football, I have to remember that it;s not rugby and the two can’t be compared. The opposite applies to you here.

    And no, zing, England aren’t too snooty to get involved … they’re one of the best teams in the world. They are playing the All Blacks in front of a huge sell-out crowd at Twickenham in London this weekend.

    I enjoyed the Steelers game, BTW, but it wasn’t the best NFL game I’ve seen. Sometimes the close ones in any of these sports can be good, and there wasn’t that much in it at the death. When I saw the scoreline on the web earlier, I thought it might have been getting a bit lopsided – but it finished at that score so it wasn’t.

    That’s a big loss for the Steelers, though, isn’t it, with their record this season??

    RJ, I might write a piece for you guys in the sports section in a few weeks about my quest to get my head around the nuances of American football. I actually do work as a sports journalist, but this is something else. I reckon the trick for me is to turn off the sound and translate it into English as I go. Rather than the game itself, it’s all the mad American terminology I can’t work out and which confuses me, because as soon as I think I know something, one of the commentators will use a different term and we;re back to square one with me scratching my head again.

    Cheers boys.

    It’s the Melbourne Cup horse race here today. Big day. No one in Australia (and probably half of New Zealand too) does any work from lunchtime on.

    I’ve got a few bucks on a superstar, but for very little return if he wins.

  • Rather than the game itself, it’s all the mad American terminology I can’t work out and which confuses me, because as soon as I think I know something, one of the commentators will use a different term and we’re back to square one with me scratching my head again.

    Stan, I’ve been here for a while now and from what I’ve gathered, some of the rules of the game are so nuanced and complex (and they change every season, just to keep things entertaining) that even the most rabid fans sometimes have difficulty understanding what just happened.

    The commentators actually deserve great credit, because they are for the most part extremely good at explaining confusing plays or rulings, and exactly why a player ran or threw in a particular direction or why an official made a particular decision.

  • STM

    Yeah, they do seem learned. One day I’ll get back over there Doc, and we can all go to the footy and watch the 49ers.

    These are my international sporting goals (STM’s bucket list):

    Go to London on one of the Spring rugby tours of Britain and Europe and watch England play Australia at Twickenham. Second prize would be Australia or England vs Ireland at Lansdowne Road, or a world cup final, anywhere, with Australia in it. Or all three.

    Watch an Australian Rules Football Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (just the once … that’ll be enough).

    Go to the US and watch a game of American football live from the stands … since it’s easier to get to the West Coast for me, the 49-ers at Candlestick Park, although I’ve heard it’s near impossible to get one-off tickets to an NFL game.

    Last day in a decider of an England-Australia Ashes cricket Test, either at Lord’s or the SCG. SCG I can do, Lord’s … not so much.

    Major League Baseball game in New York. Mets.

    Pommy soccer match in the English Premier League … say, Manchester United v Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge.

    Indian Premier League 20twenty cricket match … just the one game, and anywhere on the sub-continent.

    Rugby League match in the north of England, say Wigan v Bradford, at Wigan. Shades of George Orwell on the road to Wigan pier.

    D’ya reckon I’ve got all the bases covered there for me sports-fan to-do bucket list, Doc, or what?

    How good would it be.

    I’ve already ticked off a few others.

    Red Bull Air Race in Porto wasn’t bad, although I didn’t want to leave Portugal. I’d still like to move there. It’s the only place apart from Australia where I’d like to live.

  • STM

    Forgot one 🙂 Argentina join the Tri Nations rugby in 2012, when it becomes the Four-Nations. A Four-Nations rugby Test between Oz and Argentina in Buenos Aires is a most definite must-do. And not just for the footy …

  • I’ve heard it’s near impossible to get one-off tickets to an NFL game.

    Almost. My sister-in-law managed to get tickets for Oakland v. Miami for her husband’s 30th. Cost her a pretty penny though. And the Raiders struggle to sell out their home fixtures, so you can imagine what trying to get into a 49ers game would be like.

    Stan, I haven’t really thought about it, but two of mine would be watching the men’s or women’s singles final at Wimbledon (with a Brit in it – I know, ain’t never gonna happen) and going to a football match at the Maracaná in Rio de Janeiro.

  • RJ

    Final Score:

    Colts 30, Texas 17 – RJ 10-3 [8-5 ATS]

  • RJ

    Through 8 weeks:

    63-54 straight-up

    56-55-6 against the spread

  • RJ

    ESPN’s NFL “experts” in Week Eight:

    Allen 6-7
    Golic 6-7
    Hoge 7-6
    Jaworski 8-4
    Mortensen 7-6
    Schefter 6-7
    Schlereth 9-4
    Wickersham 7-6
    Accuscore 7-6
    Pick ’em 7-6

  • RJ

    ESPN’s NFL “experts” through 8 weeks:

    Allen 56-61
    Golic 68-49
    Hoge 62-55
    Jaworski 65-43
    Mortensen 73-44
    Schefter 62-55
    Schlereth 73-44
    Wickersham 62-55
    Accuscore 69-48
    Pick ’em 69-48