Welcome to Parity-Ville
After 8 full weeks of the 2008 season, Commish is noticing a few trends. MLOM is currently resembling a freakish Bell Curve in terms of wins and points. In the wins department, we have the GBP and Los Pescaceros with 6 wins each, and conversely the lowly Gang with just 2. Everyone else is stuck in the middle with 3-5 wins. That’s SEVEN teams within two games of each other, and that’s eight weeks into the season. Points-wise, we have the Rat Pack (928) and Cobra Kai (915) on a transcendent, Beatles circa Abbey Road level, the GBP (816) a step below (White Album, Revolver), and on the opposite end the Gang with a dismal 654 points. (Let’s just call them the Monkees.) In the middle are the other six teams, who range from 725 to 764 points. That’s SIX teams within 39 points of each other eight games into the season. Bottom line, a lot of stuff is still up for grabs. Or is it? See the next section.
Now is the time of year when the playoff picture starts to ever-so-slowly form. Here’s a couple of truths in the 6-team playoff format: Any team that reaches seven wins will get into the playoffs, so that is the magic number. A team or two with six wins will also get in, but they need to be a high scoring team to do so (exception was the 2006 season, when there were 6 teams with winning records, so no six-win teams got in). WIth that in mind, both the GBP and Los Pescaderos are just ONE win away from locking up a playoff spot more or less officially. (Think that’s easy? Well let’s take a quick look back at the 2007 season. Remember the 6-1 Mormon Defenders (who with a Hulk-like Tom Brady came on the first few weeks of the 2007 season like Sauron in battle at the beginning of Fellowship)? Well next thing Norm knew, some dirty bearded guy named Isildur was cutting off his ringed finger and boom, there went all his power. Norm’s poor Defenders dropped six straight didn’t make the playoffs. It’s a lesson that Jonny G and Gabe would be wise to observe. It can happen.) By the same logic, the upstart Crackheeds and the mighty Rat Pack are just TWO wins away from the playoffs. There are five games left. Commish would suggest that the GBP, Pescas, and Rat Pack are almost certain playoff guarantees at this point (remembering the 2007 Defenders of course). The Crackheeds, through a little more luck and the power of Brees, will probably snake one of those spots as well. (They and the Rat Pack need just 2 games of 5 to be wins to lock up a spot. The Pack have the talent, and the Heeds play in the Joe Division.) So by quick logic there are four playoff spots more or less locked up.
Which effectively leaves two spots open for the other six teams. The Gang? Commish says they’re cut since they’d have to win at least four of five to think about making it and five straight to guarantee a spot. (Plus they are terrible this year.) So that leaves just two spots for five teams barring something crazy happening (or the fact that Commish just jinxed his Heeds big time). Commish also still feels that the Joes, by virtue of all the intra-divisional games, will lock up at least two spots despite how bad they are relative to Cobra. So let’s say this. Look at the Joe Division: Assuming the Heeds slide in. That leaves the Birdmen, Defenders, and Canucks fighting for a lone spot. The GBP and Los Pescas and probably the Rat Pack are also in. So that leaves Cobra Kai and Brown trout duking it out for the final spot. Commish has a feeling that Cobra Kai are too strong to not make the playoffs, but at 3-4 they have to be careful. They have to win 3 of 5 to even think about it, and 4 of 5 to guarantee it. Can they get on that kind of roll? Commish says they can, but it won’t be easy. Two of their five remaining games are against the Rat Pack and the GBP. Injuries have probably killed the Poo Fish for the 2008 season, especially given the division they’re in, so let’s assume they’re done too. That means by earlier logic that Cobra Kai WILL in fact make the playoffs (if one assumes that four Cobra teams and two Joe teams make it). Final appraisal and BOLD prediction as of this week? IN: GBP, Los Pescas, Rat Pack, Heeds, Cobra Kai. LEFT BATTLING FOR ONE SPOT: Canucks, Defenders, Birdmen OUT: Gang, Trout. We’ll see how it plays out. Commish suspects that despite his logic above there remains a possibility that Cobra Kai might not get in, leaving three Joe teams and three Cobra teams to battle for the Crown. Regardless should be an interesting race. And nothing is certain of course. As of right now, NO ONE is in and anyone no matter how good they look right now, could still mathematically miss “the show”.
With the GBP knocking off the Gang in the annual “Elder Statesmen Bowl”, Cobra creeps ahead one game, escalating their winning record to 11-5. They also retain the top 5 scoring spots, with nary a Joe breaking into the top half, a fact which continues to both confuse and frighten the Commish. Week 9 is another round of pure inter-divisional battles, so expect more fireworks this week akin to the Battle for Springfield. The Joes really need to make a statement here or else suffer eternally under the mighty boot of the Cobra legions for the season. Week 9 and Week 10 feature all inter-division action with the last three weeks only having one inter-division game a pop. The magic number to “win” the inter-division battle is always 15, so if Cobra takes just 4 more games of the remaining 13, then they’ve officially dominated the Joes for the season. Does it matter in the end? Commish says not really, since the Crown winner will almost assuredly be a Joe if the overwhelming trends are to be continued.
Lee Evans versus the Poo Fish
In Commish’s favorite recurring segment (strangely more enamoring to me than the Holmes/Bush trade analysis), we once again analyze Lee Evans versus the Brown Trout receiving core:
Lee Evans – 85.80 points to date (good enough for 9th highest scoring WR in MLOM)
and now the Poo Fish top 3:
Chris Chambers – 56.28 points (35th for WRs)
Braylon Edwards -54.73 points (37th for WRs)
Donald Driver – 49.00 points (41st for WRs)
Of note, the self-proclaimed WR guru Justin Buhr has no wideouts in the top 30! Even the Crackheeds hellacious WR corps can boast that!
This Week’s Games:
LT’s Crackheeds 95.07 over Crazy Canucks 88.83
Player of the Game: Drew Brees, 34.74 points
Well it’s officially autumn now which can mean only one thing. The “leaves” are turning yellow and falling. Yes, some people might use a rake, but the Heeds prefer to use a broom when sweeping up the (maple) leaves, something they did (“all too easy”) this season. And poor Iwan is left to lament playing Jake Delhomme over K-Dub in this game. Did he forget what sort of psychological edge that might give his Canucks over the long time K-Dub afficionado Crackheeds? Did he not realize that K-Dub’s wife punishes all that go against K-dub, her army haircut and lazer eyes delivering the wrath of the Lord? Whatever the reason, the Defending champs must be slipping. Incidentally, how many MLOM Crowns has K-dub been a part of anyway? At least three and possibly four by Commish’s count. Perhaps Brees took it personal that he wasn’t held over by the Canucks while “lazy routes” Moss was instead. Whatever, either way, two of five Crackheeds wins so far this season have come at the expense of the Canucks. The Heeds now ride a 3-game win streak, tied for hottest in the league. Sadly for them, they go up against the other hottest team this week, the GBP. And they do it without Brees. Well, it was fun while it lasted.
Perhaps the most bizarre subplot was how Dominic Rhodes inexplicably outperformed Reggie Wayne. What were the odds of that? Also amusing (in retrospect only) was the fact that Brees managed to lose 26 yards on a rushing play on that bizarre time-killing intentional safety at the end of the game. Did the London crowd get to him? Did he think he was back-passing to his goalie? Commish remains confused. Next up for the Canucks is mortal enemy Cobra Kai – who’s “Lifetime Undefeated” boast must have caused nightmares for years until the Canucks finally broke the mold last season. Should be a good time.
Fun Fact: The Heeds move to 8-6 all-time (regular season) against the Canucks. This series has been a sweep for four years running. In 2007 the Heeds swept the Canucks. In 2005 and 2006, the Canucks swept the Heeds.
Fightin’ Birdmen 135.81 over the Mormon Defenders 109.70
Player of the Game: Dallas Clark 21.77 points
In another rehash of a week 1 match-up similar to the Heeds and Canucks, the Birdmen and the Defenders went toe to toe once again as well. Things went nicely for the Birdmen. They blew up (9th time in team history), got a division win (sweeping the Defenders for the season), and snapped a mean 3-game losing streak in the process. Rivers is looking more and more to be a fantasy playa’, and LDT returned to his expected form. Throw in the usual rock-star performance from SUPERSTAR RECEIVER LEE EVANS and an unexpected bonus of Dallas Clark icing the cake on Monday night, and everything is all right, at least for this week, in Birdville. Even the Defenders can’t be too disappointed. With Brady-lite Aaron Rodgers on bye the Defenders still managed to throw up a respectable 109 points, making three straight 100+ point games for the Latter Day Champions. The pressure will be on however, for both of these teams next week, as the Birdmen go Charger-less agains the mighty (and probably angry) Rat Pack, while the Defenders buckle down for a showdown with the gritty Pescaderoes. Also, Commish requests that Gabe trade Megatron to the Defenders so that Norm can have three “C. Johnson’s” in his lineup all at once: Megatron, Ocho Cinco, and of course Light Blue Jesus, as he’s known in Tennessee.
Fun Fact: The Birdmen move to 7-3 in the series. The Bidmen haven’t scored this many points since Week 6 of the 2006 season, when the walloped the Canucks 145 to 93.
Cobra Kai 129.64 over The Poo Fish 57.83
Player of the Game: Roddy White 26.83 points
Just two weeks ago these two duked it out and the Poo Fish were victorious putting up a very similar winning number of 129.86 points. This week, well things changed. Perhaps the biggest story in this game is just how narrowly Little Buhr avoided a monumental stink bomb. In came down to Monday night, with Rob Bironas putting up 13 points, saving the day and making him the top Poo Fish scorer of the week to boot. The only other Poo Fisher in double digits was Jeff Garcia with a measley 11. It looks like injuries are finally catching up with Little Buhr. Romo is out, Bush is out, Chambers is banged up, Colston isn’t quite back, and so on. Commish hates to say it, but it looks like the sun might be setting on the 2008 Poo Fish season. And yes, Little Buhr, you can use that as bulletin board material if you like. Free of charge.
Meanwhile in the Cobra Kai Dojo it looks like all hands are ready to embrace the newest Kai member, “Rowdy” Roddy White who bought the love of his new teammates with a sweet 2 TD performance. Possibly he was just starved for attention after riding the Canadian pine all season. Either way, it doesn’t matter. His entrance is reminiscent of the rejuvenation provided by up and coming karate superstar Mike Barnes in Karate Kid, part 3. Like Barnes, Rowdy Roddy has the ‘tude and the talent, and it won’t be long before he’s telling opponents to “make a wish” while telling those same opponents’ girlfriends, “And you – you can dream about me”, before dropping 20 points on their ass.
Fun Fact: With this win Fwats takes the lead in the series, moving his record to 7-6 all-time against Little Buhr. The vicotry margin of 71.81points, though impressive, is not enough to crack the top 10 beat downs of all time. The current 10th place biggest beat down is at 73.20 points (Los Pescaderos over the Gang, week 8, 2005). However, both of these teams are one and two on this list, with Little Buhr’s epic Beat Down of Gabe in Week 12 of 2005 (margin of victory: 108.57 points) standing as the greatest regular season victory of all time in MLOM.
Los Pescaderos 119.10 over the Rat Pack 101.56
Player of the Game: NYG Defense – 23 points
Commish was about to ask Gabe whether or not he prefers to buy or lease his E-rons. Then Commish realized it was a stupid question, because it’s clear Gabe prefers to own. Yes, for the second time in three weeks the mighty Rat Pack are toppled by the possibly less talented but mentally tougher Los Pescaderos. And while it’s true that several key Rat Packers were on bye this week, and Stephen Jackson sat out the game with some sort of vaginitis, MLOM remains the kind of league where teams can either put up or shut up. With this win Gabe retains his Cobra Commander title and once again stays on top of the difficult Cobra division. He is also now officially one win away from locking up a coveted playoff berth and beginning to plan for the second season. Interestingly, this marks only the second time all season that Los Pescas have topped the 100 point mark, yet they still have six wins. Poor Fwats must be rolling in his grave at that stat. Interestingly the Rat Pack suffer this loss with two negative scorers, Edgerrin James and San Francisco defense. Otherwise they put up a pretty decent game. This game was their sixth over the 100 point mark, but it was also their first 100+ point loss. Sadly, despite their impressive season thus far, the Rat Pack are only 2-3 in the division, which could lead to a tougher road down the line in terms of tie breakers and bye weeks.
Fun Fact: Gabe continues to own Eron, moving to 9-3 in the series and now winning six straight.
The GBP 103.86 over the Gang 89.75
Player of the Game: Brian Westbrook – 34.72 points
Kudos to Jonny G who has quietly surface as one of the best teams of MLOM. Los Pescaderos, the Rat Pack, and even Cobra Kai take all the press, but it’s Jonny G’s week in, week out, workman-like wins that have him nearly at the top of the league. Sure it’s no impossible feat this season to beat the struggling Gang, but a win is a win, and six wins in eight weeks is nothing to scoff at. If Westbrook and Big Ben can stay healthy, then this team could do some damage going forward. The Gang on the other hand, continue to struggle. They’ve put up decent if not spectacular numbers for the past four weeks, geting over 89 points each time. Unfortunately, they’ve nothing to show for it except four losses (all their opponents have put up 100+ in that same time farme) and are now working on an ugly five game losing streak. Luckily, they’ve got three of five games left in the Joe Division where they might grab a few wins and save a little face. This is a team that has never won less than five games in a season. Jonny G, on the other hand, is looking good in the scheduling department. He gets a Brees-less Crackheeds this week followed by this same Gang again in two weeks before closing out with three tougher games in the Cobra division. Odds are, he’s 8-2 in two weeks and looking to take a top seed into the playoffs.
Fun Fact: Jonny G moves to 4-4 all-time against PPR.
Player of the Week:
Brian Westbrook, 34.72 points Final Stat Line: 167 rush yards, 2 Rush TDs, 6 receptions, 42 yards
The Jon Fogerty Sponsored Ronnie Brown Memorial Award
Kurt Warner, 29.81 points (Anquan Boldin was a close second, but K-Dub’s performance would have lifted the Canucks to victory)
“Put me in coach, I’m ready to play…”
Game of the Week:
Crackheeds over Canucks (Always a classic, this was the true Monday Night Madness game of the week with the winning Heeds getting a huge boost towards making a playoff run)
Team of the Week:
Fightin Birdmen. Their best performance since their 2006 Title team, and the franchise’s ninth official “Blow Up”.
Coach of the Week:
Jonny G. Has quietly brought his team through bye weeks, injuries, and old players to amass a 6-2 record and stay right in the hunt in the uber-competitive Cobra Division.
Goat of the Week:
Edgerrin James: -1.58 points; Final Stat Line: 17 yards rushing, 1 fumble lost. Yikes, your playing for the division lead, Edge. You gotta bring more than that. Come get your horns.
1)Los Pescaderos (6-2, 4th in points) – Stays on top at all costs. Most impressive is his 4-1 record record in the Cobra Division.
2)Rat Pack (5-3, 1st in points) – Super talented team has lingering concerns about winning big games. 2-3 Division Record is holding this team back.
3)The GBP (6-2, 3rd in points) – Portis/Westbrook backfield is deadly. League’s hottest team with 3 straight wins. 3-1 division record is also impressive. If Big Ben stabilizes, look out.
4)Cobra Kai (3-4, 2nd in points) – Roddy White only makes this team better. Point machine will dominate any tie-breakers when it matters.
5)LT’s Crackheeds (5-3, 9th in points) – Somewhat lucky to be this high, but wins are wins. Brees and All-Day will push this team into the postseason despite lack of WRs.
6)Fightin’ Birdmen (4-4, 7th in points) – That the Charger’s Defense is a mess is good news for the Birdmen; It keeps Rivers and company shooting all day long.
7)Mormon Defenders (3-5, 6th in points) – Team has talent, but too inconsistent to scare anybody other than every third week or so. That won’t get it done.
8)Crazy Canucks (3-5, 8th in points) – Loaded in the QB, WR department. RB and the rest a huge question mark. Will need help to make the playoffs.
9)The Poo Fish (3-5, 5th in points) – Without Romo and Bush, and with WR corps seriously underproducing, this team is in big trouble.
10)The Gang (2-6, 10th in points) – Time to play spoiler if and when they can.
Good luck to all teams this week!