NFL14 Cherry Picks W15: Sizing-Up

12 Dec

Measuring the Material

It’s the most…wonderful time…of the year.” That it is, Andy Williams, that it is.

At churches and temples, holy folk never see so many familiar and new faces.

For family and friends it’s time to re-acquaint, while party-goers get acquainted.

And for merchants and merchandisers, the holidays rain down “shiny new pennies” from heaven.

Let’s face it, in today’s American consumerocracy, this season is, for most, largely about one thing and one thing only, gifting: giving and getting, seemingly in bushel-baskets.

The buying is fast & furious from early November right up to the big day, Christmas. If you’re fortunate enough to have some disposable income to spend and invigorate the economy, the challenges can prove numerous and nerve-racking. Giving, and getting, aren’t as easy as you’d think.

1) What to buy your loved ones that’s new and pleasing;

2) Where to get your kids favorite, hard-to-find toys, and then finding a parking spot when you finally track one down; and

3) Sizing up. The clothing buy can be a vexing one with blends and variations in maker quality. The more info the maker provides the less risk we buyers assume and why free-shipping is a deal-clincher when purchasing by mail.

.............tailor.VEB.Erfurt.Schmidt.1955.wc.thumb

Much easier to size-up is the NFL’s State of Contendership at week 15.

In the NFC, seven teams are in contention for at least a wild-card spot with two of those ultimately joining the post-season on Divisional crown invites. That’s not alot, in part because the South will have only one playoff entrant, a champion at no better than 8-8.

Cardinals (10-3) are currently the #1 seed but appear on shaky ground with QB Palmer out and fill-in Stanton gamely seeking his grass-legs underneath. That puts Green Bay (10-3) as National favorite, especially with a remaining slate that looks favorable (@ BUF, @ TB, DET) compared to Arizona’s gloomy gauntlet (@ STL, SEA, @ SF).

Staunch road wins like Seattle’s last Sunday in Philadelphia is what’s missing from GB’s 2014 performance plate. McCarthy & Company will put on a good face if they happen to draw ‘Hawks in the PS, revenge and all (W1 (L)), but no one can relish idea of taking on Pete Carroll’s crew in January, not even at Lambeau. In Pack’s favor would be Wilson’s short resume on playoff roadies (1-1). His Badger bloodline could help.

All at 9-4, Dallas, Philly & Detroit have flexed their muscles in 2014 but look iffy of late. Lions would get the nod on balance-of-talent but, like Cowboys, have a history of late-season fade to overcome, not helped by a closer at Lambeau.

And defending champ Seattle looks to be peaking at the right time (9-4) with successive road wins over top talent (SF / PHI), a success that’ll be tested as they hit the airways for two of their final three (@ SF / AZ / @ STL). A week 1 rematch in Green Bay seems imminent.

......NFL.wikiproject.6kb

In the AFC it’s much the same, as two perennial powers stand out, Denver (10-3) and New England (10-3), with three, 2nd-tier aspirants trying to move up in class (SD / IND / CIN) and two hoping to recapture some past glory (PIT / BAL).

Colts (9-4) can improve on last year‘s playoff shootout (Chiefs 45-44) and then shellacking at Foxborough (22-43); Cincy leads the North by a tie (8-4-1) as Dalton rounds into form but defense gives up killer quarters (25-4Q v PIT), while Chargers search for the verve they showed in ‘14 PS (1-1) and that run game.

Steelers (‘09 & 11) and Ravens (‘13) still have pieces remaining from Super days, most notably at quarterback (Ben / Joe) and coach, but must find consistency.

Kansas City (7-6) is the Conference’s biggest bummer in 2014 but, like Texans and Dolphins, still hold some hope.

Curious Quotes

ESPN (Disney) has taken on a rougher edge, a casual crudeness in recent years, designed to appeal (?) to the younger audience and last Sunday’s pre-game chatter fit the form.

What the show was titled I did not take note, but pre-game analysis was the focus. The standard two-host format was in place because one just won’t do, while former players Ron Jaworski and Tom Waddle fielded the questions.

For some time now I’ve sought a complete, on-line listing of ESPN personalities but have come up empty. As such, I couldn’t identify the male host who posed the awkward query, but it went something like this:

Paraphrased: ‘Was Bruce Arians (Cardinals head coach) “lying” when he said (QB sub) Stanton could take them to the Super Bowl?’ Ouch. And the guy was serious.

That’d be like asking Major League Baseball, was it “lying” in 1905 when it dubbed their new championship match between fledgling American and senior circuit National, the World Series, or would Joe Namath have been a liar if his bold Super Bowl III prediction of defeating the favored Colts not come to pass?

Only today would those posers require answers: no, and no. In the case of MLB, you might call it, appreciable hyperbole, with Joe and Bruce, plain optimism.

How low can ESPN producers go? Earth’s innards seem the limit.

.........cherries.Hispalois.Spain.wc.cc.thumb

Cherry Picks Week 15: Testing Mettle

Cards (10-3) @ STL (6-7): 12-11 NFLN 8:25 EST: AZ wins
Packers (10-3) @ Buffalo (7-6): 12-14 Fox 1:00: GB wins
Bengals (8-4-1) @ CLE (7-6): CBS 1:00 (GOTW): CIN wins
Texans (7-6) @ Indianapolis (9-4): CBS 1:00: Colts win
Dolphins (7-6) @ New England (10-3): CBS 1:00: NE wins
Steelers (8-5) @ Atlanta (5-8): CBS 1:00: Falcons win
Broncos (10-3) @ San Diego (8-5): CBS 4:05: Bolts win
Vikings (6-7) @ Detroit (9-4): Fox 4:25: Lions win
49ers (7-6) @ Seattle (9-4): Fox 4:25: Seahawks win
Cowboys (9-4) @ Philly (9-4): 8:30 NBC: Eagles win
Saints (5-8) @ CHI (5-8): 12-15 ESPN 8:30: Bears win

Record: 72 – 42 – 1

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: tailoring, Erfurt.Wolcka.Wehse, GFA, 1956, wc.cca; tailoring, VEB.Erfurt.Schmidt, GFA, 1955, wc.cca; NFL wikiproject; cherries, Hispalois, Spain, 7.2.12, wc.cca.
Posted: 12.11.14 @ 8:29; edit 11:59pm EST

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