NFL15 Cherry Picks W11: Bad Blood

19 Nov

Purple Cheese

“♫ Bad…BAD…blood…BLOOD, is takin’ you for a ride,
The only good thing about bad blood is lettin’ it slide (N.Sedaka ‘75)) ♫.”

Schedulers at NFL Central tabbed Week 17, the League’s closing act-in-regular, as rivalry weekend. Pick a team and there’s good chance you’ll guess their final foe:

The Chiefs? That’d be the silver & black, the Oakland Raiders.

The Falcons? It’s the Saints, of course, and so on & so forth. 11 will offer-up an appetizer plate of what may be the most heated rivalries in the game when the reeling Packers (0-3) bus-ride West (Wouldn’t that be a hoot?) to the land of lakes to face the Vikings, old AFL opponents Buffalo and New England square-off in Foxborough and the new brand of pigskin w/ premium on mobility and serious D will be on display in Seattle when 49ers come calling on regional rival Seahawks.

It’s rivalry that fires the sport furnace.

Celebrity is big (check out # of followers for Kim Kardashian on soc-media (had to Google her spelling)), but like “glory,” celebrità too is “fleeting (Patton ‘70).”

Rivalry has substance. It lasts. It’s what college cufflinks refuse to concede in their dinero-driven game of Conference musical chairs.

Players and coaches will come & go but teams and their familiar foes will, by & large, always be there with it’s raucous rivalry evident in times of feast or famine.

Family feuds, while constituting bread & butter of sport, do have their downside.

Besides the chucklehead-fan contingent (3.5%) present at every meet, piling-on, salting the wound of a rival who’s feeling the heat is another bad by-product.

......Ryan.10.23.11.wc.M.O'Leary.thmbYou won’t hear Bills’ Rex Ryan mouthing about Deflategate. Rex tends to play the clown but in truth is a savvy customer who knows full well the high caliber of competition he’s been facing in New England during his NFL tenure.

The same sensible tack can’t be said for Jim Kelly (“He (Brady) didn’t need to do it (Tell us something we didn’t know, Jimbo (See; 2H v Indy & SB49 (SEA))”) and Don ‘Get Me Some Ginkgo Biloba Fast’ Shula (“we didn’t deflate”). Ugh.

Other grudge matches thrive for a time but seem predicated more on cult of personality than franchise feud, i.e., NE v NYJ (Ryan to BUF) , Seahawks v 49ers (JH to UM) and KC / SD v Denver (aged Peyton).

Packers (6-3) @ Vikings (7-2)

Gander at that final slate and you’ll notice something…atypical (?): It’s the Vikes vs the Pack, not da’ Bears, 2d oldest rivalry in NFL annals (Cards v. Decatur Staleys (Bears) 1919). Purple People Eaters displaced Monsters of Midway as Green Bay’s biggest rival sometime in early 2000s. Packers would never stoop to concede such a state, being NFL blue-bloods they are, but ‘it is what it is,’ as the guys say in 2015.

....Zimmer.9.20.14.wc.MN-NG.thmHow so? Not because the Vikes have been hauling in NFL title trophies (1 (‘69)). Truth be told, Minnesota’s been nearly as bad as once great Lions (30s-50s) since their last Super appearance (SB11 (’77): OAK 32-14). But in head-to-heads, Norsemen were even-Steven with Green Bay, until Rodgers took the reins.

This rivalry won’t look too imposing to fans outside Upper Midwest. Pack’s been a formidable force since Wolf, Holmgren, Favre & White worked a renaissance in the Fox Valley while Minnesota seems the ultimate snake-bitten club.

.....McCarthy.wc.cca.8.11.7.TJ.Grant.thmDon’t know if it’s common cultural threads running through these two Northwest Territory terrains, making ‘similars distract’ or that one’s championship pedigree (GB) has, traditionally, had little effect in the usually competitive nature of their frothy head-to-heads, but the rivalry rocks with best of ‘em.

And it’ll get rockier as the pro football future in the Land of 10,000 Lakes looks brightest than it’s been since Brett Favre landed on the Minneapolis tarmac back in 2009.

Don’t be deceived by today’s cordiality between opposing players. You’d think they and families were all booked on Carnival Cruise lines. Rival fans share no such cute camaraderie. Despise is the word. The mutual dislike between GB and MIN faithful runs so deep it’s safe to say a loss by the hated rival can sing sweeter in their frostbitten ears than hearing news of their own team’s win. Major malice.

Bills (5-4) @ Patriots (9-0)

Given the lop-sided nature of this rivalry in recent years (pro-Pats), younger NFL fans likely see it as the natural order of things.

.....Belichick.8.28.09.wc.cca.K.Allison.thumbBut it was Buffalo, starting back in days of the AFL (1959-69), who were typical top-dogs in the grudge match, having won back-to-back championships (1964-65) with names like Saban, Kemp & Gilchrist, and then the Super Levy years (1987-97 (4 SBs)). Pats had some runs, an AFL title game (’66) and Fairbanks (70s) and Berry (80s) decades, but it never ended well (SB20 (Bears)).

With Lions shocking win at Lambeau, heck, the whole mind-blowing 2015 NFL season, it would be foolish to make brash prediction about the defending champs stomping the upstart Bills. And then Tom Brady is without his favorite target in Mr. Edelman (foot break). Suffice to write, Patriots should be favored.

49ers (3-6) @ Seahawks (4-5)

The western version of bad blood.

Would’ve preferred schedulers had pitted the granddaddy of grudge-matches West of the Mississippi, the Chiefs v. Raiders. Both have been showing some life of late. This Pacific Northwest duel, however, should fill the bill just fine.

.....Carroll.wc.12.29.13.M.Morris.thmThough under .500, Seattle is still a contender for finagling a playoff spot in a woeful NFC. It’s been a strange ride for the team that looked a template for title-hood, coming off a tough loss in SB49 where they were ahead, only to fall short in final moments by way of a play-call knuckleheads just won’t let go.

Defense is where it begins with ‘Hawks and their leader Kam Chancellor rolled the dice on a holdout that set things off on the wrong foot. Four Ls in the first six (including first two) and they’re now just starting to get it (mojo) back.

.....SF.Sourdough.Sam.2.4.09.M.Hayden.HI.thumbCarroll’s a coaching genius in division that’s been loaded. There’s Pete, Jeff Fisher, Bruce Arians and 1st-year man Jim Tomsula who replaced Jim Harbaugh (UM) and served as 49ers’ DL coach under three regimes (‘07), helping shape those tremendous teams earlier in this decade when San Fran made two NFCCs.

The season started nicely for the burgundy & gold, giving Vikes a thrashing in W1 (20-3) but went downhill from there, losing 5 straight (7 of 9) and seeing former star-in-the-making Colin Kaepernick getting benched for Blaine Gabbert.

On the upside, superstar linebacker NaVorro Bowman has made what looks to be a complete recovery from torn ACL suffered in 2014 NFCC and the guys pieced together a nifty win versus then 6-2 Falcons (17-16) heading into the bye.

Down in Denver But Not Out

While youth-minded media push hard to youth-enize the storied career of veteran Peyton Manning, hoping his latest injury-exit is the first step into retirement, 4y man Brock Osweiler has been handed the ball and will stand under center when Denver (7-2) visit’s Soldier Field to take on a rejuvenated Bears squad (4-5) on Sunday.

.....Osweiler.wc.9.29.13.J.Beall.thmWhat does Brock bring to the table? How ‘bout picks, but with “more feeling (The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (’66))?” That would be the smart-aleck take.

The smarter take: The 6’7″ Idahoan and former Sun Devil (pre-“fork”) will bring a Manning-esque poise-in-pocket to the field of play, likely put more horsepower behind his throws, if not as well timed (yet), and show a youthful vigor not seen since days of Tim Tebow. Whether “mania” is part of it, that’s doubtful, with the schedule and paid-like-a-Prince Peyton healing-in-the-wings.


Cherry Picks Week 11: Rise of the 2-7s

OAK (4-5) @ Lions (2-7): 11.22 CBS 1:00: DET wins
Colts (4-5) @ Atlanta (6-3): CBS 1:00: Falcons win
STL (4-5) @ Ravens (2-7): Fox 1:00: Baltimore wins
Tampa (4-5) @ Philly (4-5): Fox 1:00: Eagles win
Broncos (7-2) @ Chicago (4-5): CBS 1:00: Bears win
Jets (5-4) @ Houston (4-5): CBS 1:00: Texans win
Redskins (4-5) @ Carolina (9-0): Fox 1:00: Cats win
Cowboys (2-7) @ Miami (4-5): Fox 1:00: Dallas wins
Kansas City (4-5) @ SD (2-7): CBS 4:05: Bolts win
Pack (6-3) @ MIN (7-2): Fox 4:25 (GTW): GB wins
49ers (3-6) @ Seattle (4-5): Fox 4:25: Seahawks win
Cincy (8-1) @ AZ (7-2): NBC 8:30 (GTW2): Cards win
Buffalo (5-4) @ Patriots (9-0): ESPN 8:30: NE wins

Record: 45 – 53

...NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: Pack-Vikes, 11.14.11, wc.cca, M.Morbeck, Loadholt-Matthews; cheese-purple,, Siegal-Nilsson-Vybiral-Perusin, 12.20.09; R.Ryan, 12.23.11, M.O’Leary, wc; M.Zimmer, 9.20.14, MN-NG, wc; M.McCarthy, wc, 8.11.07, TJ.Grant; B.Belichick, wc, 8.28.09, K.Allison; P.Carroll, wc, 12.29.14, M.Morris; Sourdough-Sam, 2.4.09, HI, M.Hayden; cherries, B.Kua, wc, 6.1.08; NFL-symbol, wikiproject.
Posted: 11.19.15 @ 2:53pm; Copyright © 2015


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