With six games to go, I'm feeling pretty good about things.
Way back when in late August, or maybe it was early September, a buddy of mine from college, Esquire Toledo, and I wagered who would have the better season: LaDainian Tomlinson or his one-time handcuff, Michael Turner?
I took Turner. He took L.T.
The running back who took three of the following statistical categories would be deemed winner, and the loser would have to hand-deliver a bottle of at-least-12-year-old scotch to the victor.
- 100-yard games
- Rushing yards
- Total touchdowns
I figured this was the season L.T.'s body would give out on him. I figured without his trusty fullback, Lorenzo Neal, L.T. wouldn't get those 5-to-7 yard scampers he's accustomed to. I also figured L.T. would continue his evolution into Marshall Faulk, which meant less carries and more receptions.
As for Michael Turner, I figured the Falcons didn't pay him all that money not to use and abuse him. I figured the Falcons' offensive line had the foundation to be a good running team. And I figured new coach Mike Smith would use the Jacksonville model of run, baby, run, to exhaustion in Atlanta.
Really, I figured, wouldn't it be ironic if the grasshopper bested the sensai?
Eleven weeks into the season I'm figuring to be the owner of a bottle of 12-year-old Aberlour Speyside single malt scotch whisky. Either that or a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue, but I'll leave the decision to Esquire Toledo when he brings it to our Fort Lauderdale office.
Here's the breakdown through 11 weeks:
100-yard games | Rushing yards | Total touchdowns
Michael Turner: 4 100-yard games | 971 yards | 9 touchdowns
LaDainian Tomlinson: 2 100-yard games | 686 yards | 6 touchdowns
Here's Turner's remaining six games:
Nov 23 Carolina
Nov 30 @San Diego
Dec 7 @New Orleans
Dec 14 Tampa Bay
Dec 21 @Minnesota
Dec 28 St. Louis
Here's L.T.'s remaining six games:
Nov 23 Indianapolis
Nov 30 Atlanta
Dec 4 Oakland
Dec 14 @Kansas City
Dec 21 @Tampa Bay
Dec 28 Denver
Turner's are tougher, with only mouth-watering contests vs. New Orleans and St. Louis, but I like a told-ya-so game vs. San Diego and Minnesota could be without its big run-stuffing Williams duo by Dec. 21.
L.T. should thrive against Indianapolis, Oakland, Kansas City and Denver.
But I have a nearly 300-yard head start and two 100-yard rushing games. Plus, the Chargers look like rhymes-with-Mitt and have devolved into a pass-first team. Throw in a loss to Indy next week coupled with a Denver win vs. Oakland and the Chargers could be playing for the draft in two weeks, thereby hampering the need to truck out L.T. week in and out.
Yeah, I'm feeling pretty good about this, but not as good as I'll feel sippin' on some scotch in six weeks. Scotch, scotch, scotch...
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