Are you ready for some football?

Are you ready for some football?
November 18, 2010, 11:50 am
Share This Post

By Michael Felger

Short and sweet this week, folks. Pats-Colts. Brady-Manning. And some real misguided hate from the Randy Moss crowd. Another day, another dollar for yours truly.

Hey, Mike,You're right on the Colts having the Pats number. They have won five of six after losing six in a row. But can we be honest in some of our analysis? I don't think it's much of a coincidence that of those first six wins, four were in Foxboro. And of the last five Colts wins, four were in Indy. In case you just started watching football, home field is huge and especially for these two teams. The Pats' home record since 2007 with Tom Brady at QB is 22-1. I imagine Mannings record is similar. So, "nuts and bolts," the Pats should win this game at HOME against a team they are on equal footing with.GeorgeWoburn
&12288;
I wish I shared your optimism -- and your math is wrong (of their last five wins over the Pats, the Colts won twice in Foxboro and three times in Indy). Overall, I agree with you that the Pats should win this game. But Manning scares me. And I don't care who he's throwing to and where they're playing.
&12288;
If you look at the last six games, how much did home field really factor? I can only think of one game -- the 2006 AFC title game. I think it's safe to say you wouldn't have had a 38-34 final in January in Foxboro and that the Pats chances' of not running out of gas would have been better. But, remember, the Colts hosted that game because they won the regular-season matchup IN FOXBORO that year (both teams finished 12-4). They were the better team. They were also the better team in 2005, when they blew the Patriots out, 40-21, IN FOXBORO.
&12288;
In 2007, the Pats were the better team, and they proved it when they won IN INDIANAPOLIS. They weren't quite the same in 2008 with Matt Cassel, and that showed in their regular-season loss at Lucas Oil Stadium. The eventual AFC champion Colts were also the better team in 2009, when they beat the Pats in Indy and went on to the Super Bowl.
&12288;
You see, George, one of the great things about this rivalry is that the better team almost always wins. And the conditions have only been a factor in the playoff games, when the Pats were aided by snow and muck in 2003 and 2004 and the Colts took advantage of the sweltering dome in 2006.
&12288;
Now, I don't know if the Colts are the better team at this time with all their injuries. Something tells me they're not. But I still have the ultimate respect for what Manning has done against the Pats recently -- and since this isn't a playoff game (where Manning is far more sketchy), I have a hard time overlooking him. Until the Pats prove the scales have tipped back in their favor in this rivalry, then I'll remain skeptical.

All I know is that, based on history, this will be a great game. They almost always are. And, again if history is to be a guide, the winner on Sunday will be the team that advances further in the playoffs. It may even determine home field whenif they meet again in January.
&12288;
If we're lucky, this will just be the appetizer to the main event.
&12288;

Felger, You DB!&12288;I know I have heard you lament in the past that you cant rip guys like A-Rod and Manning as perpetual chokers and losers anymore because they have managed to win a championship (God forbid if Moss ever wins one). Well, Mike, Id hate to see you lose two of your favorite whipping boys on what I believe is a technicality. I think you're far too quick to absolve these regular-season All-Stars of their repeated postseason failures, especially after only one fluke championship. Given the fact that the Colts are coming to town this weekend, I figured I would provide you with a pretty simple stat that illustrates not only the frequency of Manning's postseason failures, but the rapidity in which the oxygen is cut off from his massive head when the tournament rolls around. &12288;Now, anyone who has frequented this space knows the tried and true Felger mantra: "Stats are for losers." This holds especially true when it comes to Peyton Manning's postseason record. &12288;Manning is 9-9 in 18 playoff games covering 10 different postseasons.&12288;Out of those ten trips to the postseason, Manning ("the eighth-greatest NFL player of all time"), has been one-and-done SIX TIMES! 1999 Colts 13-3 - lost at home to Tennessee (after a first round bye)2000 Colts 10-6 - lost at Miami2002 Colts 10-6 - lost at New York2005 Colts 14-2 - lost at home to Pittsburgh (after a first-round bye)2007 Colts 13-3 - lost at home to San Diego (after a first-round bye)2008 Colts 12-4 - lost at San Diego. So Manning has led teams with a combined regular-season record of 72-24 (a winning percentage of .750) into the playoffs and has not a single win to show for it. Those numbers scream for a Tracheotomy. &12288;To contrast, Dan Marino (No. 25 on the Peter King-Starbucks all-time NFL rankings), a guy who I feel gets his career and achievements discounted unfairly because he never won a title, also had ten trips to the postseason during his career. His record is 8-10, a game less than Manning, yet his teams were only one-and-done three times and never during what was considered his prime. BTW, Tom Brady (22nd according to Mr. Coffee) is 14-4 in the playoffs. And in seven trips to the tournament he's only been one-and-done once (the Baltimore game last year). &12288;So please continue to rip Manning as the career choker that he is, because as you can see above it is most assuredly fact, not opinion. (You get this trademarked yet?)&12288;MikeAttleboro
&12288;
You know what the Manning defenders would say, Mikey. Give Manning Brady's coach, or Brady's defense, and he wouldnt have bowed out early so often. And you have to admit, there is some truth to that.
&12288;
But, in the final analysis, I agree with you. I take Brady over Manning, and the reason is the postseason. Brady has simply had fewer clunkers. The aggregate numbers are stunningly close. Each has played 18 playoff games. And in those games Brady has thrown 28 touchdowns versus 15 interceptions with a 62.0 completion percentage and an 85.5 QB rating. Manning has also thrown 28 touchdowns in those games, with a few more interceptions, 19, a nearly identical completion percentage, 62.9, and a slightly higher QB rating, 87.6.
&12288;
The difference is in the individual performances. Manning's aggregate numbers are boosted by some prolific individual games (five touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 rating versus Denver in 2004; four more touchdowns and a 145.7 rating against Denver in 2005; three touchdowns and a 123.6 rating against the Jets last year). Unfortunately for him, he's also had some epic fails (two picks and a 31.2 rating vs. the Jets in 2002; the two clunkers in New England in 2003-04; the two interceptions against San Diego at home in 2007).
&12288;
In other words, Brady's highs haven't been as high, but his lows haven't been nearly as low. He's played steadier in more big games than Manning. And that, my friends, is a fact, not an opinion (trademark pending).
&12288;
&12288;
Felger,&12288;Is Sebastian Vollmer a Pro Bowl caliber player? A measuring stick for a lineman is not hearing his name mentioned during a game. He doesn't get called for holding. He doesn't false start and I never hear announcers commenting on how he gets beat around the edge. The only player I can remember getting by him was Cameron Wake. How would you rate his play? Nobody ever talks about him!!KenWhitman
&12288;
Terrific point. We barely mention him. We certainly notice Matt Light a lot more, although, to be fair, he's facing far better pass-rushers on the left side. But both were great last week in Pittsburgh. That was about as good as it gets.

&12288;
Felger,&12288;Was there a better moment in Sunday's win over Pittsburgh than Brady taunting Steelers' fans with that spike? It's so rare for ANY Patriot to make a mockery of the opposition like that, so I enjoyed it to its fullest. I honestly consider that tauntspike to be a top five "Patriots moment" in the last few years.Andrew Leominster

And it was fitting because I think it came in the best Patriots win of any kind since 2007. (The AFC title game versus San Diego? Week 17 at the Giants? Week 13 in Baltimore? Take your pick)
&12288;
&12288;
Felger,&12288;Why is it you always fail to use the actual facts to back your own BS? Whats most sickening and annoying is how pathetic you are trying to convince everyone you know what you're talking about.You might want to publicly correct some statements you have made this week so youre not misleading your audience. Your career could be over soon if those brain-dead Beantown fans ever decide to actually smarten up and turn the channel instead of sitting in your little circle (expletive) every week.Fact check this week regarding your BS: 1. Brady did NOT put a clinic on against the best defense in the NFL, as you and the media want to make everyone believe. The Steelers are ranked 26th in the league vs. the pass and every QB this season had great success passing against this Steeler secondary2. When you claim how great this "young" Patriots defense is becoming, it seems you always fail to mention them being the 30th-ranked defense in NFL!! The Dolphins and Jets from their own division are both younger teams and the Patriots are the sixth-oldest team in the NFL.3. As for your diehard hatred for Moss, and putting the attitude thing aside and addressing what he brings to the field, enough of the how Patriots offense and Brady are better without him. What QB or team in history from any era wouldnt be extremely improved with a wide receiver that caught 50 TD passes in 52 games and drew traffic from the middle of the field? Even a "Dink n Dunker" like Brady, who's not very accurate as a downfield passer, can throw to wide-open receivers like Welker all day long to move the chains.LeeWarwick RI
&12288;
1. If that wasn't a clinic, then I shudder to think what one would look like.

2. Come on, Lee. The Pats defense is extremely young. The overall age of the team is skewed by the offense -- Brady, Fred Taylor, Alge Crumpler and some of the guys on the offensive line.

3. Amazing that an individual talent like Moss could be removed from the equation and the team could actually get better. I know it's hard to wrap your head around that concept, but that's what's happened. And who could have predicted that? Oh, wait . . .
&12288;
&12288;
Felger,&12288;I don't know whether you are a tall man or a short man, but one thing for sure you are truly a little man. Do you understand that you are just an announcer? I watched you, in anger call Randy Moss a TURD! I understand your little mind, as a white guy. It makes guys like you angry when a black guy speaks his mind, with maybe a little attitude behind it. There is nothing that Randy has done that was worthy of you calling him a TURD. Well, let's end it like this. You are a TURD. I hope I made my POINT!Peter Medford

And . . .
&12288;
A guy like you is so predictable. Guys like you are a joke. White guys like you are dangerous. You use your mouth as a weapon. Your mind is small. You think your so bright that you can say anything you like. Personally, I think your a fool. A silly fool. When you called Randy Moss a turd, you showed the world what type of person you are.EddieFoxboro
&12288;
Maybe the same guy. Either way, it's the same point.
&12288;
Anyone who plays the race card with me on the Moss issue just doesn't pay attention to my commentary in general -- which is fine, by the way. But anyone who has listened to me for five minutes would attest that I haven't exactly gone easy on Brett Favre. Or Doug Flutie. Or Jacoby Ellsbury. Or Peter Chiarelli. Or Dennis Wideman. Or anyone on the Bruins, for that matter. I'm an equal opportunity ripper. I don't care if Moss was purple with pick polka dots. He's more trouble than he's worth. I said it four years ago, I said it four months ago and I'm saying it today. Peddling him out of town was the final stroke in Belichick getting his team back.

&12288;
Felger,For all the complaints about Chiarelli's passiveness, give some credit to him for not going after Kovalchuk. I'm a New Jersey fan, and this guy is the Randy Moss of the NHL. People have become so enamored and amazed by the occasional snipe or highlight reel goal that they've forgotten about the true meaning of team. Kovalchuk's skill set has simply been oversold, just like Moss' has. His hands aren't as good as advertised, he makes a ton of stupid plays, he doesn't play any defense -- he's simply overrated. He has an extremely low hockey IQ and is so frustrating to watch play. Lamoriello made a poor decision to give him such a long-term deal because in hockey, "cap hell" actually exists. He has gotten away from the way he used to build teams in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and it has shown.Kovalchuk has been a loser his whole career. He's been to the playoffs twice in his career. Once with Atlanta as a No. 3 seed, where they were swept by the Rangers, and in 2010 with the Devils as a No. 2 seed, where they were upset by Philadelphia in five games. He's won a grand total of one game in the playoffs over his "great career." With the exception of 2010, he's been a minus player every single year of his career, even the year he made the playoffs with Atlanta.Kovalchuk having an 'A' on his jersey as an alternate captain is just as fraudulent as Randy Moss being one of the Patriots captains. An utter joke and a disgrace. Gotta keep the superstar happy and feed his ego so he doesn't pout and shut it down. It makes me sick to my stomach.It's almost a shame that the Bruins didn't get him because it doesn't give you the chance to rip him like you've ripped Randy so much over the past three years.JP

In other words, Kovalchuk is a TURD! And I would have been more than happy to refer to him as such had he landed in Boston. Call it a missed opportunity. I'm sure there will be others.
&12288;
The only problem is that I wanted the Bruins to get that turd last year. And I wouldn't have had a problem with them signing him to a long-term deal on the spot. I was calling for them to go get him from the first week of the season. Shows what little I knew about the player at the time.
&12288;
I'm also reluctant to give the Bruins credit for not being aggressive. It's not like New Jersey gave up the farm in that trade. The real mistake was the contract. But, anyway, you're right. The B's are much better off without him.
&12288;

Hey, Felger, I have been trying to figure out why you have been spot on with almost all of your predictions on the Pats, but also with the Celts and Bruins. It came to me that the reason is you are unclouded by the blind loyalty that most of us, even the knowledgeable ones like myself, suffer from. You are able to take the heart, the most compromising organ in the body, totally out of the equation. Example: You were able to look past that absolute debacle of a game against Cleveland and not even include it in the discussion as to how the Pats would play this game against the Steelers. I, on the other hand, could not get that stinker out of my nose enough to see any way to beat Pittsburgh. I think by not being a native New Englander you can be much more objective than the rest of us. I applaud you for speaking your mind and putting your opinions out there with no apologies. That is why you and Mazz are the best sports show to listen to.Steve Chester, NH
&12288;
Thanks, mom . . . er, "Steve." See you next Thursday for some turkey.
&12288;
Felger's Patriots-Colts game column will appear on Monday. His report card posts on Tuesday. E-mail him HERE and read the mailbag on Thursdays. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.