With the GI Joe Division finally deciding to make good on their mantra and Fight For Freedom Wherever’s the Trouble (“trouble” being wherever Cobra lurks), Commish declares Week 9 of the 2008 season Upset Week. Four of Five underdogs take home a win this week and as a result we have the unexpected, namely a murkier playoff picture now than we had entering the week. Let’s take a closer look at the playoff possibilities again. Last week Commish suggested that Los Pescas, the GBP, The Crackheeds, and the Rat Pack were all very likely to make the playoffs. And even though three of those four teams lost this week, those four teams still retain the top four spots in the standings and so Commish sees no reason to change those projections. Last week Commish also theorized that the Joes would send another team to the playoffs and Cobra also would send an additional team, making a total of four Cobra teams and just two Joe teams total. What this week’s results might change most is that balance, as it now seems entirely possible that the Joes could send three teams to match the three teams from Cobra. This new projection leaves the Cobra Kai in quite a lurch. Last week they were a projected playoff team, but now at 3-6 and with the tragic loss of would-be savior Kyle Orton Commish might have to reverse field here a little. Cobra Kai officially out? Not yet, but it’s become very close. Also, Little Buhr held the line, got a win, and now sits at 4-5, improving his chances. That said, Commish doesn’t like his future schedule in the last few weeks (he only won with 82 points as it was this week), and without Romo and Bush Commish still fears the worst for the 2008 Poo Fish. What might be most interesting is the dog-fight in the Joe Division to get to the playoffs. The Crackheeds have a nice cushion, but right behind are the hungry Birdmen, the steadily improving Defenders, and the enigmatic Canucks. With all that said, here’s the Commish’s latest playoff predictions:
Crackheeds (need just one more win, also starting to come together a bit)
GBP (Big Ben’s injury could be a set-back, but still need just one more win)
Rat Pack (Still have the talent, should right the ship and be a playoff team)
Los Pescaderos (Another team that’s one win away, will be interesting to watch the QB play of this squad; also they won’t win any points-based tie-breakers)
(Note: It is very possible, and dare Commish say likely that one of the above four teams takes a dive and doesn’t make it. Anyone care to wager?)
The next most likely, in order:
1)Birdmen (getting 10 more points a game courtesy of bad Charger’s defense alone)
2)Defenders (sassy team finding it’s stride; Rodgers is the key)
3)Canucks (Enigmatic team has four wins which keeps them in the hunt, but an average per game score which keeps them out)
4)Poo Fish (Injuries too much, tough schedule late)
Likely Out But maybe not:
Cobra Kai (a hell of a tough road but might just have the talent to do it; though they MUST secure a quarterback)
The Gang (Start thinking about that first pick)
Well this is the week that many Joe enthusiasts were waiting for, with the Joes finally pushing back and pushing back hard. This could symbolize the part of each GI Joe episode where the Cobra leadership shows their true colors and starts arguing with each other over who is right. With a 4-1 record for the Joes this week, they manage to close the season gap to a somewhat respectable 9-12 against Cobra. Week 10 marks the last week of hot and heavy all inter-division action and so this week’s game could make things very close…or put the final stamp on the season in terms of Cobra versus Joe.
This Week’s Games
LT’s Crackheeds 162.03 over The GBP 77.74
Player of the Game: Antonio Bryant 20.67 (Runner Up: McNabb – 27.56 points)
Wow. Just five weeks ago Commish was lamenting the world after dropping the worst performance in franchise history, not to mention the third worst stink-bomb of all time in MLOM. Fast Forward to this week, where Commish is beaming after four straight wins, to include especially this most recent win, an awe-inspiring blow-up and beat down all at once. While not the most points in a game in franchise history (nor good enough even to crack the mighty MLOM top ten – so close), this was the Crackheed’s biggest win ever, in terms of margin of victory, tipping the scales at 84.29 points, good enough for third biggest win of all-time in MLOM. And all without superstar Drew Brees! Also remarkable is the fact that every Heed player scored in double digits, even bong-face Santonio Holmes and I’m-Really-A- Has-Been Torry Holt. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that four players topped the 20 point mark, none more unlikely than player of the game Antonio Bryant. Now the Heeds are 6-3 and in prime position to possibly take the Joe Division and secure the all-important first-round bye. On the other side of the fence sits Jonny G who by all logic was the favorite in this game going in. Let down game? Possibly, though who could have predicted such a Crackheed’s blow-up in the absence of Brees. Despite a decent perfomance from about half his team, Jonny G did suffer another let down by the up and down Big Ben, and managed only 77 total points. Commish advice? Throw this game tape away and simply move on to next week. The GBP still sit at 6-3 and really just needs one more win to secure a playoff spot and focus on getting healthy for the playoffs. That said, Commish suspects there are two red eyes currently scouring the net for reports of a Big Ben shoulder MRI…
Fun Fact: With this win the Crackheeds move to 4-3 over the GBP. As mentioned above, this game is the third biggest Beat Down of all time, with a margin of victory of 84.29 points. Sadly for the GBP, this is not even their biggest loss, as they are also part of the second biggest Beat Down of all time, losing by 107.30 points to Fwats (back in the 1.21 Jigiwatt days) in week 13 of 2004.
Fightin’ Birdmen 110.10 over the Rat Pack 90.92
Player of the Game: NY Jets Defense 24.00 points
The Birdman and Rat Pack rivarly (or Picasa vs. Flickr as it’s colloquially known), has become a favorite of the Commish’s. The series hasn’t gone the Rat Pack’s way lately, though, and this win it’s now four straight for the Birdmen. This week’s win is another Joe over Cobra upset victory, with the up and down Birdmen defeating one of the league’s best teams in the Pack. What’s even more impressive is that Birdman skipper Adman managed to coax 110 points and a win out of his Charger-less squad! Chalk it up to a couple of savvy wire moves, which traditionally are not the Birdman’s strength. On the flip side, Commish isn’t sure what’s wrong with the Pack these past few weeks. This once unbeatable-seeming team has now dropped two straight and has lost three of its last four. On the field it seems problems start with Steven Jackson and his lack of health (Commish Dx: Recurrent Vaginitis) and therefore performance. Lynch and Cutler played just fair, and when a receiver dependent team like the Pack has a little letdown in production from that position(Fitz and Jennings appearing suddenly ordinary this week), it can be let down city. Still, 90 points is nothing to scoff at and the Pack still retain the current scoring crown, which will serve them well for tie-breakers and of course prestige. They’ve only scored less than 90 once this season, and when a team is doing that, as far as Commish is concerned, they’re still playoff bound and still likely to do great things. (Unless they’re the 2008 Cobra Kai). For the Birdmen it appears they have rebounded nicely with two strong wins after an abrupt three game losing streak. This team is like many in the Joe Division, up one week and down the next, generally hard to predict. This week’s game, again Charger-Free, was the Birdmen’s third game over 100 points this season and third highest total. Hopefully for Adman they can build on it and keep it going down the stretch and secure a playoff spot.
Fun Fact: With this win the Birdmen move to 7-4 all time against the Rat Pack
Crazy Canucks 85.05 over Cobra Kai 78.58
Player of the Game: Kurt K-Dub Warner 29.45 points
Iwan finally got it right this week when he deployed K-dub into the game like a giant killer robot this week. (Of course, he really had no choice with “Del Homey” on bye.) After languishing on the bench last week (and taking home a nice Ronnie Brown Memorial Award Commish might add), K-dub activated and delivered the goods again (with nearly the same score – he had 29 points last week too), only this time actually in the game! The Canucks might be the most enigmatic team in MLOM this season; they are nearly .500, but have the second lowest points in the league. However, they’ve also topped 125 points twice. They STILL haven’t scored between 88 and 125 points all season, a 37 points no-man’s-land point range where most decent teams live each week. Take away the two big scoring games and Iwan’s average score per game is just 80.6 points – hey guess what, that’s not good. Still, the Canucks have four wins and are in position to make a run at the playoffs. This week Iwan certainly didn’t dominate but did just enough by leaning on old faithful, K-dub. His only other double digit player? Why it was new Canuck, Matt Forte who was it seems “Screaming For Vengeance” at Marc Fortier, master of his old team. Meanwhile on the other side former Canuck Roddy White laid an egg against HIS old team; possibly he was hungover from last week’s point explosion. Can anyone believe that the Cobra Kai team had FIVE players in double digits in this game, and still lost? Well, it happened. Sadly, only one of those got more than 12 points – it was Michael Turner with just 14. Alas, poor Fwats. Possibly his mind was elsewhere this week, possibly on fatherhood? His Cobra Kai Dojo now sits at 3-6 and has some serious work to do if they want to get into the playoffs. Problem is, time is running out. Simply put, he has to win out from here to get in. One loss and he could still get lucky. More than one loss? Well then we’ll see him next season.
Fun Fact: With this win the Canucks continue to slowly eat into Fwat’s former “lifetime undefeated” boast, getting their second win ever against Fwats. They are now 2-5 in recorded history. And for the record, to date, every time Fwats has beaten Iwan in a season, Iwan doesn’t win the Crown. However, if Fwat’s hasn’t beaten Iwan in a season? If that happens – Iwan wins the Crown. (Season 1 – No Fwats, Season 9 – Iwan finally beats Fwats).
Mormon Defenders 92.68 over Los Pescaderos 87.08
Player of the Game: Chris Johnson 21.22
It’s only fitting that Light Blue Jesus (Chris Johnson) helped carry God’s chosen to victory this past week. Don’t look now but the Defenders are getting frisky as of late, with three wins in their last four games. This week, the corpse formerly known as Chad Ocho Cinco was reanimated and actually looked like the Chad Ocho Cinco of old. Rodgers continues to look like he’s the real deal, putting up 15 against aeven the Titan’s good defense. With players like MJD, Santana Moss, and Desean Jackson, the Defenders seem like a team than can lull you to sleep and then suddenly blow up. If they can sneak into the playoffs they might very well be able to surprise some people. On the flipside, Los Pescaderos have dropped two of their last three and are suddenly looking pretty beatable. With Barber carrying the load for the now-godawful (love it!) Cowboys (and getting more focused on and hence stuffed as a result), could Gabe consider benching the Barbarian? Also problematic is the lingering questions at quarterback. In Edwards and Garrard Gabe essentially has two QB’s who MIGHT play decent, but are more likely to be pretty damn mediocre. What Commish does like is the NYG connection on Los Pescas, with NYG Defense and Brandon Jacobs both being certifiable beasts. For that reason alone, it at least seems like Commish is in a sense rooting for Los Pescas each week, and that’s something right? ( Commish is pretty sure he wouldn’t want to tackle any charging NFL running back, but Brandon Jacobs more or less tops that list.) Of note all three “C. Johnson’s” who were on display had good games this week, with Megatron nabbing 15.77 points, Ocho Cinco getting 16.97 points, and of course Light Blue Jesus (Commish should have named his old Pathfinder this) rocking out with 21 total points to top them all. These two teams will meet again in three weeks.
Fun Fact: With this win the Defenders move to 4-5 all time against Los Pescaderos.
The Poo Fish 81.54 over The Gang 62.31
Player of the Game: Donald Driver 21.57 points
Well it seems the Poo Fish were the only “favored” team to win this week, and they alone prevented the Joes from sweeping the Cobras. (For the record, Commish looked it up, there has only been one inter-division sweep in a week in the history of MLOM. In week 10 of the 2006 season, the Decepticons swept the Autobots – a sad day for Prime et al.) Perhaps Little Buhr took Commish’s prediction of his not making the playoffs and made it proper bulletin board material. However, and Commish thinks this is more likely, perhaps he just took advantage of a sluggish Gang squad that can’t seem to score this year. The Poo Fish posted 81.58 points, which is nothing impressive however it does look better when one realizes that two of his players (Miller, McGahee) put up a big fat goose egg this week. Commish does give Little Buhr props for hanging in despite the absence of Romo and Bush. Unfortunately for Little Buhr, he can’t play the Gang every week, and three of his last four games are going to be tough (Canucks, Pescas, GBP, Rat Pack – in order). He’ll need to pull out two of those to have a prayer and if he can win three he’s almost assuredly a playoff team. Problem is Commish just doesn’t see it happening. On the other side, there is the poor Gang. With just 62 points to show, the Gang chalked up their second worst outing of the season and their sixth straight loss. Worse, the Gang have now put up four stink bombs this season, which might be a record (even the lowly 2007 Rat Pack only had three). The Gang only had three stink bombs in all other recorded seasons combined prior to this season! Alas, poor Papa Roston. On a bright note, he did snag potential stud Tim Hightower at the perfect time. Possible holdover? Time will tell. Here’s wishing the Gang better days ahead.
Fun Fact: With this win the Poo Fish improve to 7-2 all-time against Papa Roston. Fact is, the Buhr Brothers always seem to beat up on PPR, with a collective record of 14-4 against the Gang! Coming into this season, PPR was .500 or better against EVERY other team!
Player of the Week:
Kurt Warner 29.45 points; Final Stat Line: 23 of 34, 342 yards, 2 TDs, -2 yards rushing
Jon Fogerty sponsored Ronnie Brown Memorial Award:
Derek Mason, 22.57 points. Final Stat Line: 9 receptions, 136 yards, 1 receiving TD
“Put me in Coach, I’m ready to play…”
Game of the Week:
Mormon Defenders over Los Pescas; Huge win for the Defenders, who’s two “C. Johnson’s” trumped Gabe’s measly one.
Runner Up: Canucks over Cobra Kai
Team of the Week:
LT’s Crackheeds; Biggest Score of the Season, Four Game win streak, and took over the number one seed in the league. Huzzah!
Coach of the Week:
It would be easy for Commish to crown himself Coach of the Week here. All he did was upset Jonny G, milk the season’s best score out of his team, all without Brees, and not to mention four straight wins after dropping one of the worst stink bombs ever five weeks ago – way to rally a team! But, Commish doesn’t want to break his arm patting himself on the back (yet), so he will instead Crown the very worthy Adam Spragg the coach of the week. Spragg’s Charger-less Birdmen hit the waiver wire hard and well this week to scrounge up enough production to beat the mighty Rat Pack – a job well done. Kudos to our coach of the week!
Goat of the Week:
Brandon Marshall – 2.58 points
Not the worst score of the week but a sad display nevertheless. In a big must-win game, Marshall was only able to amass two measley catches, at home, against the lowly Fins. Poor Fwats. Brandon, come get your horns.
Power Rankings are on hold this week, plus they’re more or less discussed in a different way at the top.
Good luck to all teams this week!