The Fifth Down

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“2 Minute Warning”

Topic: Fight for your right… a case for reviewable referee calls:

For those who didn’t see the Baltimore Ravens vs Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night, you definitely missed an action packed, suspense driven and high intensity NFL game. The ending was beautiful: with the Ravens down by 6 points, Baltimore’s QB Joe Flacco led a touchdown drive which put them up 21-20 with only a minute left on the clock, but the game was all but decided. Atlanta’s QB Matt Ryan, aka Matty Ice, calmly led an 80 yard touchdown campaign with WR Roddy White scoring on a beautiful 33 yard pass. With only 20 seconds left on the clock, Baltimore could not muster up another score and the Falcons won the game 26-20. As good as this may seem, there is one underlying problem: Atlanta’s game winning touchdown should not have counted; the wide receiver pushed the defender to the ground and became wide open for the score. Even though the referee fully saw what happened, an error in judgment resulted in a game winning score. Far too often in the NFL, games are decided not by hard working players who put their bodies on the line, but by black and white striped gentlemen equipped with a reckless whistle. Just last week for example, the Steelers were comfortably ahead of the Bengals: 27-7 in the fourth quarter. Due to two blatantly horrible referee calls, the Bengals came back and nearly won the game. On Friday, the league admitted the two blown calls in question were indeed erroneous, however a simple admission is not enough. True, the Steelers did manage to win, however had it gone the other way, the referees would have essentially helped the Bengals overcome a huge deficit and steal a victory. The NFL should implement an instant review of sorts for referee calls made in the last 5 minutes of the game. This would be beneficial to the game and to the referees as well. Think about it, how bad a ref must feel when his call or missed call negatively affected the outcomes of the game. Or as Chris Chase of Yahoo! Sports put it: “NFL seasons turn on plays like this. The difference between 13-3 and home-field advantage and 10-6 and missing the playoffs can be as little as a Roddy White shove.” Something to think about.

Game Winning Field Goal:

(Since the Iron Warrior is a bi-weekly print, tips will be provided for the upcoming week only.)

Top 3 Additions:

1) Jacob Tamme (TE, Indianapolis) 82% owned in Yahoo! Leagues: Replacing the injured Dallas Clark (out for the season), Tamme has been averaging 82 yards/game in his last 3 outings, resulting in 2 TDs and 24 receptions. No brainer here.

2) Jon Kitna (QB, Dallas) 17% owned in Yahoo! Leagues: After firing Cupcake Phillips, Kitna tore through the Giants’ offense with 327 yards and 3 TDs. The Cowboys are finally waking up, and with Romo potentially out for season, it’s time to ride the Kitna train.

3) LeGarrette Blount (RB, Cleveland) 73% owned in Yahoo! Leagues: Tampa Bay’s offense is clicking, and a huge reason for this is because of this man. Simply put, 120 yards and 2 TDs on Halloween against the Cardinals and that got him the starting role over Cadillac Williams. On Sunday, he racked up 90 yards and a TD against the Panthers. Get him while you still can.

Top 3 Starts:

1) NY Jets WRs Braylon Edwards/ Santonio Holmes against New Orlean’s Saints’ 32nd ranked pass defense.

2) Cincinnati RB Cedric Benson against the Bills’ 32nd ranked run defense.

3) San Diego WR Malcom Floyd against the Denver Broncos. The Chargers are ranked #1 in passing, and Philip Rivers is having a record year. Expect Malcom Floyd to play big.

Top 3 players to bench:

1) Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck: Forget it, the Saints are coming off a bye week with the #1 ranked pass defense. Although Hasselbeck has been playing good as of late, expect a subpar performance in the Seahawk’s passing game.

2) Oakland RB Darren McFadden: As good as D-Mac has been playing, the Steelers’ will take it out on the Raiders next Sunday. Their defense will definitely be fired up after giving up 39 points to the Patriots in Week 10.

3) Washington QB Donovan McNabb : The Titans defense will light it up in Week 11. Donovan will get sacked and hurried throughout the game, bench him and look elsewhere for QB options.

Post Game Press Conference:

(Current prediction success rate: 83.33%)

The 3 Lockdown Picks:

Green Bay Packers over Minnesota Vikings: 2010-2011 Favre vs. Green Bay: 0-2

Dallas Cowboys over Detroit Lions: The coaching change should have been done much earlier. Cowboys FTW.

Cleveland Browns over Jacksonville Jaguars: The Browns are for real this year, and their efforts will translate to a hard fought win over the Jaguars.

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