Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

No movement at all for the top five, but the Broncos made a significant move into the top ten from number 13. The Vikings dropped four spots after a disappointing loss to the Bucs, while the Colts and Dolphins made major moves.

1. Atlanta Falcons (7-0) LW: 1

2. Houston Texans (6-1) LW: 2

3. Chicago Bears (6-1) LW: 3

4. New York Giants (6-2) LW: 4

5. San Francisco 49ers (6-2) LW: 5

6. Green Bay Packers (5-3) LW: 7

7. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) LW: 8

8. New England Patriots (5-3) LW: 9

9. Denver Broncos (4-3) LW: 13

10. Minnesota Vikings (5-3) LW: 6

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) LW: 14

12. Seattle Seahawks (4-4) LW: 12

13. Indianapolis Colts (4-3) LW: 20

14. Miami Dolphins (4-3) LW: 18

15. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) LW: 16

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dropping Links: Sunday, October 28, 2012

As you prepare for a full day of NFL action, the potentially final World Series game, and Hurricane Sandy, here are some links to keep you busy until it all begins.

- James Harden and some picks got traded to the Rockets last night for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and some other parts. The always obnoxious blowhard Kurt Helin weighs in, in a shockingly not that snobby take on the subject. |ProBasketballTalk|

- The World Series has unsurprisingly not been a great ratings success for FOX this year. |Awful Announcing|

- The former Bengals cheerleader who became a teacher and then was fired because she slept with her then-17-year-old student will be getting a reality show with the kid, who is now her boyfriend. God Bless America. |Warming Glow|

- This year's UFC video game, now being made by EA Sports, will feature female fighters. |Pastapadre|

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NFL Power Rankings: Week 8

Things were pretty static at the top of the Power Rankings, thanks to impressive victories by the Texans, Bears and Giants. There was a shakeup at the bottom, though, as the Browns finally climbed out of the number 32 hole.

1. Atlanta Falcons (6-0) LW: 1
The Dirty Birds were off this week but maintained their grip on the number one spot, thanks to being undefeated.

2. Houston Texans (6-1) LW: 2
Houston absolutely demolished the Ravens, widening the gap between the Texans and everyone else in the AFC.

3. Chicago Bears (5-1) LW: 3
It wasn’t pretty, but the Bears took down the Lions on Monday night, improving to 5-1 and staying at the No. 3 spot.

4. New York Giants (5-2) LW: 4
Another late game gem from Eli Manning avoided a loss to RGIII and the Redskins.

5. San Francisco 49ers (5-2) LW: 6
The Niners beat the Seahawks in a defensive struggle Thursday night in a newly-improved division battle.

6. Minnesota Vikings (5-2) LW: 7
The Vikings keep doing it even though most people are waiting for them to fall apart.

7. Green Bay Packers (4-3) LW: 8
Aaron Rodgers seems to have his swagger back, as all the hip kids say, and the Packers are back to their winning ways.

8. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) LW: 5
The Ravens continued their trend of looking either really great or really horrible Sunday, looking really, really horrible against the Texans.

9. New England Patriots (4-3) LW: 10
The Patriots edged out the Jets in an overtime battle, which probably says more about the Patriots’ struggles than the Jets’ productivity.

10. Arizona Cardinals (4-3) LW: 9
The Cards have lost three straight and are in danger of sliding out of the Top Ten.

Despite patches and updates, Madden 13 still disappoints

I’ll preface this by saying the gameplay is tremendous and the graphics are outstanding. This year’s Madden, plagued by a lack of features gamers have come to love and expect, has to be viewed as disappointing, though.

It started when EA Sports decided to remove franchise and superstar modes, as they were known, and replace them with the new, shiny “Connected Careers” mode, which integrates both into a sort of hybrid. On the surface, the mode looks great and has some really cool, in-depth features. Many did not like this.

You couldn’t just start up a season and go. You couldn’t do fantasy drafts. You couldn’t create teams anymore. You couldn’t even edit players.

In fairness, EA and Tiburon rushed to fix the issues. First, they implemented a patch for Online Connected Careers that would allow you to do a fantasy draft in your Coach mode, the closest resemblance to Franchise. But that update was still broken.

While you could draft a franchise, you were limited to the “scouting” done by the computer in regard to your team. So when you went to choose a quarterback, even if you were the first pick, they weren’t all there and there was no way to find them. Even though Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers may have been available, you were limited to Brandon Weeden and Josh Freeman because that’s what your team’s scouts saw as a best fit for your team. In a way it makes sense to have those tasks delegated, but it’s also nice to be able to have control over your team.

Then EA again released a patch, this time the monster of all monsters, which was to fix all the remaining issues and put those features everyone expected back into the game. While it did take care of a lot of the things people had complained about, there is still room for improvement.

After editing rosters, it seemed some of the changes didn’t stick. Players whose numbers were changed went right back to their old numbers. Guys who had been edited suddenly shrank in size.

Again, this game is a lot of fun to play. The gameplay, aside from guys occasionally flopping around like spaghetti noodles thanks to the new Infinity engine, is crisp. The AI could use some improving but that’s to be expected. If you like just picking up a game and playing online against others, or just doing “Play Now” games, then it is superb. But if you’re in it for the General Manager-type aspects you’ve expected in the past, the frustrations will mount.

(Image via StickSkills.com)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

The Falcons were able to remain undefeated and atop the tonyblogs.net Power Rankings. The Bears and Giants were upward movers, while the Vikings and Packers slid up to the Top Ten.

1. Atlanta Falcons (6-0) LW: 2

2. Houston Texans (5-1) LW: 1

3. Chicago Bears (4-1) LW: 4

4. New York Giants (4-2) LW: 8

5. Baltimore Ravens (5-1) LW: 6

6. San Francisco 49ers (4-2) LW: 3

7. Minnesota Vikings (4-2) LW: 10

8. Green Bay Packers (3-3) LW: 11

9. Arizona Cardinals (4-2) LW: 5

10. New England Patriots (3-3) LW: 7

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dropping Links: Sunday, October 7, 2012

Straight to the links as the 1:00 contests are about to kick off.

- Curt Schilling thinks Bobby Valentine is "gutless" |Awful Announcing|

- Timothy Olyphant will guest star on The League this season |Warming Glow|

- A review of Out of the Park Baseball '13 |Hall of Very Good|

- The early reviews for NBA 2K13 are great |Pastapadre|
(I'll have my NBA 2K13 review up soon, but here's a teaser: it's amazing.)

- Tyson Chandler says Jeremy Lin wasn't experienced enough to run the show in New York |The Knicks Wall|

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

The Texans, Falcons and Cardinals hold steady at the top, while the Dolphins and Browns are still stuck in the basement in this week's NFL Power Rankings.

1. Houston Texans (4-0) LW: 1
The Texans dominated another game, defeating the Titans, and remaining at the top of the heap.

2. Atlanta Falcons (4-0) LW: 2
It was a scare for the Falcons, but a 99-yard drive won the game for the birds.

3. Arizona Cardinals (4-0) LW: 3
The Cardinals barely got by the Dolphins but remaining undefeated allows them to stay at number three.

4. San Francisco 49ers (3-1) LW: 5
The 49ers grounded the Jets (watch out, New York Post!) and slide back up one position.

5. Baltimore Ravens (3-1) LW: 6
A Thursday night win against the Browns moves the Ravens up one spot.

6. Green Bay Packers (2-2) LW: 7
The Packers almost got jobbed by the real referees this time, but managed a shootout victory against the Saints.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) LW: 8
The Eagles scratched out a win Sunday night against the Giants. Michael Vick was not the turnover prone QB we saw for the first three weeks, which is always good news for the Iggles.

8. New England Patriots (2-2) LW: 9
It looked like the Patriots were about to fall to 1-3 against the Bills, until Tom Brady and the Pats went into overdrive and demolished Buffalo in the second half.

9. New York Giants (2-2) LW: 4
A tough Sunday night loss to the Eagles drops the G-Men five spots.

10. San Diego Chargers (3-1) LW: 11
In a rarity, the Chargers are starting out on fire instead of climbing out of a hole.

11. Chicago Bears (3-1) LW: 12
The Bears took it to the Cowboys Monday night, capitalizing on Tony Romo's plethora of turnovers.