Review and Preview : Week 13

football, news, week 13


Receive: to receive the kickoff at the beginning of the game and start on offense. (From Tuesday’s post.)

Defer: to receive the kickoff at the beginning of the second half of the game and start of defense. (From Tuesday’s post.)

Receiving team: the team that receives the kickoff. (From Tuesday’s post.)

Kicking team: the team that kicks the kickoff. (From Tuesday’s post.)

Coach’s challenge: when a coach throws a red flag to challenge the ruling on the field. A coach gets two challenges per game, three if he wins the first two, but loses a timeout if he loses the challenge. (From Wednesday’s post.)

Booth review: when the replay assistant in the booth signals down for the head official to take another look at a play to confirm or reverse the ruling on the field. (From Wednesday’s post.)

Going under the hood: when the head official goes under the hood of the camera to take another look at a play to confirm or reverse the ruling on the field. (From Wednesday’s post.)

Blitz: when multiple defensive players rush the quarterback in an attempt to sack him. (From Wednesday’s post.)

Sack: when a quarterback is tackled while still holding the ball prior to throwing a pass.  (From Wednesday’s post.)

Illegal Forward Pass: a forward pass that is thrown a) in front of the line of scrimmage, b) after a change of possession, or c) as the second forward pass on one play. (From Thursday’s post.)


Normal Girl Game of the Week

Panthers at Saints, SNF on NBC

There are about a hundred different ways I would overstate this matchup, but in the end, it’s comes down to this: first place in the NFC South is up for grabs, as is an all-important divisional win. The 9-3 Saints did not have an easy week. After coming off of a huge loss in Seattle they got home even later than normal for a Monday nighter due to cross country travel delays. The 9-3 Panthers, on the other hand, are coming off a win, and are looking to do what no one thought they would be able to do at the start of the season: take control of the NFC South. It should be a fantastic way to end the weekend.

Also on the Radar:

1. The last AFC wildcard spot is still very much up for grabs. Two teams are 6-6 (Dolphins and Ravens) and each division has a 5-7 team (Jets, Steelers, Titans, Chargers). A quick reaction might hand that spot to the defending Super Bowl champs, but that might be hasty. Their last “easy” game is this week against the Vikings. After that, they face the Lions, Patriots, and Bengals. Yikes.

2. The NFC East is still a mystery as well. It doesn’t look quite as bad as it once did, but all three teams at the top (Eagles, Cowboys, and, somehow, Giants) have a shot to win the division. They don’t play each other this week, but they do each face a formidable foe: the Eagles play the Lions, the Cowboys play the Bears, and the Giants play the Chargers. The Cowboys might have the best chance to win and take the division lead away from the Eagles should they lose against the Lions, and if the Giants lose against the Chargers in San Diego they are almost definitely out of playoff contention.

3. It pains me to say this…but the NFC North might be worse than the NFC East at this point. Don’t let the 40 points Detroit put up on a bedraggled Green Bay team fool you: no team in this division has their act together. With the Lions and Bears both facing decent competition from the NFC East, one would think this weekend might open the door for a Packers team playing a woeful Falcons group. However, that one may not have witnessed The Massacre on Turkey Day…by the Lions. Even if Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler both returned to add a spark to their prospective teams, it still feels like it would be too little too late. This division will be ugly undecided until the end.

Review and Preview : Week 11

football, news, week 11


On Monday we reviewed the unpredictable world that is the National Football League.

On Tuesday I became Chicken-A-Little-Less-Little and posted a video blog. (AH.)

On Wednesday we learned what having a winning season actually means.

On Thursday I sent a deluge of new resources your way from the updated Resources page (any favorites, ladies?).


Normal Girl Game of the Week

Broncos at Patriots, SNF on NBC

I know, I know. You can roll your eyes all you want at how cliche of a pick this is…but in 20 years, you’ll thank me. How many opportunities do you get to see two of the best quarterbacks in the history of football play each other? And how many more of these matchups will we get to savor before Manning retires? This is a rare and wonderful occurrence, which means I fully endorse turning off your phone, locking the front door, ordering a pizza, stocking the freezer with good ice cream, and hunkering down for the night to bask in the glory of another Manning vs. Brady battle. That’s what I’ll be doing!

Also on the Radar

1. Will the one loss of the Chiefs 2013 season turn into two this week against the Chargers? Survey says no, but then again, who knows. See: Week 11. Anything can happen. The Chiefs will need to avoid the pitfall of being too preoccupied with the Broncos rematch next week, and the Chargers could really use a divisional win to save their playoff hopes after losing three games in a row. This game, like every game, could easily go either way.

2. Far be it from me to put an NFC East matchup on the radar…but this is actually a necessary game to put on the radar. Cowboys at Giants is a classic rivalry game, but more than that, this one could go a long way in deciding who wins the division should it all come down to divisional wins and losses. Dallas has the upper hand right now – 3-0 in-division as compared to the Giants’ 1-2.

3. The Lions will need to fend off the Bucs to regain control of the NFC North on Sunday. It might not seem like a tall order, but the Bucs are coming off of a 2-game winning streak after an 8-game losing streak. They have some momentum going. With the Packers at least having a shot at getting back in the race as they play at home against Vikings, the Lions could really use this win. (And, as a Packers fan, I’ll be the first to say that we could really use this loss. Go Bucs!)

Review and Preview : Week 10

football, news, week 10


Audible: Calling an audible is what happens when someone, usually the quarterback, changes the play at the line of scrimmage. (From Tuesday’s post.)

Head Coach’s Headset: The head coach is usually talking to coordinators who are up in the box (a press box up high in the stadium). He is engaged in a constant conversation with his staff in order to collectively create the most effective game plan possible. (From Wednesday’s post.)

Live Helmets: One player from each team is allowed to have a live radio in his helmet through which he receives play calls from a coach – usually a coordinator or position coach. The “live” helmets are designated by a green dot sticker on the back of the helmet. The lines of communication aren’t always open – during the 40-second play clock, the coaches have 25-seconds to communicate with the player wearing the live helmet. It automatically shuts off in the last 15-seconds. (From Wednesday’s post.)

Most Likely To Score a Touchdown:  There is no one position amongst the offensive “skill” players – wide receivers, running backs, tight ends – that is more likely to score a touchdown than any other. It is completely dependent on the team, the players, and the style of offense they play. (From Wednesday’s post.)

FootballSimplified App: An app that teaches the basics of football in just a few sentences. It’s a quick, informative tutorial that will help tremendously as you dive further into the basics and beyond. The app covers understanding offense and defense, but also covers offensive play calling, a defensive coverage, and kicking formations. (From Thursday’s post.)


Don’t forget to register for the upcoming Understanding Football class on November 26th on the Influence Network! There are only 50 spots, so be sure to get yours before they sell out!


Normal Girl Game of the Week

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos, SNF on NBC

As aforementioned, this was an easy pick for game of the week – and more than that, it’s the game of the year so far this season. The undefeated Chiefs face the Broncos at home in a battle of the best in the AFC, who also happen to occupy the same division, the AFC West. Barring an unfathomable collapse, one of these teams will win the division and the other will get the top wildcard spot. These divisional games will go a long way in deciding who gets which spot. They will also be the biggest test for the perfect Chiefs thus far.

Also on the Radar:

1. The Panthers proved that they are the real deal last week against the 49ers. They’ll get another chance to prove their legitimacy this week as they face the Patriots coming off a bye. Interestingly enough, however, Bill Belichick has an 8-6 record when coming off a bye. It’s not a bad record, but it’s also not an indication that the Patriots have a better chance of winning this week coming off a bye than they do any other week. In fact, that win percentage (.571) suggests less of a chance to win than their usual win percentage under Belichick (.720).

2. As per above, the Niners were handed a tough loss at home by the Panthers last week. And this week, to get back on track, they face an even greater challenge: trying to best the Saints in New Orleans. That is one Everest-sized tall order.

3. This week’s weird-but-true fact: The Jets only win in odd weeks this season. Literally. They won in Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9, and lost in Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, and just had their bye in Week 10. This week, Week 11, they play the Bills in Buffalo,  a road location that usually proves troublesome for the Jets.  Which is more powerful: the 2013 odd week streak, or the bone-chilling reality that is Buffalo in November? We shall see.

Review and Preview : Week 9

football, news, week 9


Down: Once the offense starts their drive, they have four chances, called “downs,” to move the ball 10 yards from where they started (this place is called “the line of scrimmage”). Each play is then calculated by what chance (down) the offense is on and how many yards they have left until they reach 10 yards total. (From Tuesday’s post.)

Down and Distance: The calculation of what down it is and how far the offense has left to go (1st and 10, 2nd and 2, etc). (From Tuesday’s post.)

Line of Scrimmage: The imaginary starting line extending from the ball to both sidelines. (From Tuesday’s post.)

Punt: To kick the ball away to the other team to start a new drive. (From Tuesday’s post.)

The Holder: The guy who takes the snap and holds the ball in place for the kicker. (From Wednesday’s post.)

Actual Field Goal Distance: The distance at the current line of scrimmage + 17-yards. The extra yardage accounts for where the holder holds the ball for the attempt (7-yards behind the line) and where the goal post is located (at the back of the end zone, which is 10-yards deep). (From Wednesday’s post.)

It’s Aaron: A charitable initiative created by Aaron Rodgers and David Gruber that highlights amazing organizations and amazing kids. (From Thursday’s post.)

Also, don’t forget to sign up for your spot in the Understanding Football class over at the Influence Network on November 26th!


Normal Girl Game of the Week

Broncos at Chargers, Sunday at 4:25pm EST

There are a bunch of worthy candidates for game of the week in Week 10, but I really like this AFC West battle. The Chargers, once again, lost a game they could/should have won in overtime against the Redskins last week. The Broncos are coming off a bye, have an interim head coach (Jack Del Rio, current OC and former Jaguars head coach), and are getting ready for the game of the year next weekend against the Chiefs. The Chargers need this win to stay alive in the playoff hunt. The Broncos need this win to know they can function without John Fox at the helm. Plus: Peyton Manning vs. Phillip Rivers when BOTH are having unreal seasons?! Get ready for an offensive showdown for the ages.

Also on the Radar:

1. I’m really looking forward to Cowboys at Saints on Sunday night, and I’m not 100% sure why. It just seems like it’s going to be a good one – plus, it is Rob Ryan’s first game coaching against his former team, the Cowboys, so that always adds a layer of intrigue. The Cowboys barely won last week against Minnesota, and the mighty Saints fell to the We-Only-Win-In-Odd-Numbered-Weeks Jets, so both will be looking to make statement wins to bounce back this week.

2. Can the Packers hold it together without Aaron Rodgers? And without all of the other artists Formerly Known as Starters? Just to take inventory, here are some of the more notable players who were on the roster last year at this time who will not be on the field this Sunday: Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Brian Bulaga, Jermichael Finley, Randall Cobb, DuJuan Harris, Donald Driver, Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett, T.J. Lang, and probably a laundry list of others that I can’t remember because it’s basically the entire team. If you turn the speakers on your computer up you can probably hear me sobbing in the background.

3. The Mess in Miami goes primetime on Monday Night. Against the Bucs. This has the potential to be one long, ugly night in Florida.

Review and Preview : Week 8

football, news, week 8



On Monday we went through our weekly roundup.

On Tuesday we reviewed the first half of the season in the AFC.

On Wednesday we repeated the process, but for the NFC.

On Thursday we remembered all of the things we’ve learned but may have forgotten.


Normal Girl Game of the Week

Bears at Packers, MNF on ESPN

Not only is this game a classic rivalry game, but it’s also the only Week 9 matchup that features two teams with winning records. (Seriously. Week 9’s lame factor is a little on the high side.) The Bears will be facing the Pack at home without key starters on offense and defense (Cutler and Briggs, respectively), so it might be a bit of a lopsided affair – however, it’s not like the Packers are coming in with fresh starters, either. This should be a decent Monday Nighter.

Also on the Radar:

1. Two competitive divisional matchups that used to favor the other team: Falcons at Panthers and Colts at Texans. It would be a surprise if the previous (recent) underdogs – Carolina and Indy – didn’t come away with wins.

2. Speaking of competitive divisional matchups: Ravens at Browns is not the sure win for Baltimore that it once was. The Browns have a real chance to win this one.

3. Can the Chiefs stay unbeaten? They play the Bills in Buffalo this week. I would be surprised if this turns out to be an easy win for KC, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if they do come away with a win to reach 9-0.

Review and Preview : Week 7

football, news, week 7


On Monday: We reviewed all of the injury-laden activity from Week 7.

On Tuesday: We talked about the controversial call that decided the Jets vs. Patriots game on Sunday afternoon.

On Wednesday: We answered three of your questions about real games.

On Thursday: We broke down the question you didn’t even know you had: the difference between vs. and at.


Normal Girl Game of the Week

Let’s call a spade a spade. Week 8 looks a little sparse as far as wow-factor goes. There isn’t really a marquee matchup, so I’ll vote for the game I have the most vested interest in: Green Bay at Minnesota, or the Greg Jennings reunion game.

Also on the Radar

1. This week we’ll all get to play the guessing game Who’s Under Center? because there are so many quarterbacks either benched or sitting out injured. For all we know, Brett Favre really will be out there on Sunday.

2. The Giants play the Eagles in Philadelphia on Sunday. The Giants would love another win, especially in-division, and the Eagles would love to break their 9-game losing streak at home. Surprisingly, seeing as how neither of these teams have looked anywhere close to good so far this season, there is lot at stake in this NFC East in this matchup.

3. One would think that the Broncos will easily bounce back from the loss at Indy last week in this week’s home game against the Redskins, but it’ll be an interesting game to keep an eye on all the same.