Monday, March 9, 2015

"So what is a Twitch party like?"

Writing this blog post because I know I'm going to get this question often now that I've been to one.

Basically because of a happy accident of a number of Twitch partners skipping PAX South because it's in it's first year, a situation which will probably never happen again as PAX South gets bigger, Twitch decided to make it's normally partner-only PAX party into a "mixer" in which they decided to let Twitch fans with a PAX South badge in until the place filled to capacity.

I was one of the lucky few fans who got in line early enough to get in. In so doing, I got a once in a lifetime opportunity to see first-hand what most people only get to see on their Twitter and Instagram feeds.

Just to set the stage: The venue for this mixer was Pat O'Briens, the San Antonio branch of the famed New Orleans bar known for it's signature drink, "The Hurricane." On the lower level, there was the regular bar, and 2 separate rooms, one with dueling pianos and another with a rock band. The upper floor, which is where most of the action occurred, contained a dance room with a DJ, a Game room that had the "open" bar for people with wristbands, Karaoke, beer pong and pool tables, and a "media" room with the photo area and a lot of tables in the back. There was also a VIP Lounge on the upper level which was partners only.

The lower level was fairly dead when I arrived, so I headed upstairs. Briefly saw Angry Joe going down the other way and that was when it kinda hit me where I was, that I had basically crossed the divide between viewer and broadcaster, and I was in a completely different world now.

Before I go on, you've probably heard stories about parties in other entertainment media like music or movies, stuff about people doing lines of coke of a stripper's midsection or people having wild sex in a bar booth or on the dance floor. This wasn't that type of party. Everyone kept their clothes on and the hardest drug there was maybe marijuana (which neither Twitch nor Pat O'Briens provided, more than likely someone managed to sneak it in), and I say maybe because someone after the fact mentioned it, so take that with a grain of salt.

So if you're expecting this post to be filled with Studio 54 type stories, you're going to be sorely disappointed.

Anyway, so anyway, I was completely nervous walking into the party, as I am in any large crowd situation, so I checked out the downstairs rooms, got myself a drink, then went upstairs.

At the top of the stairs, I saw SuushiSam, went over to her, and introduced myself. She gave me a big hug and we talked for a bit. Sam is one of the kindest and welcoming people on earth. She was the first streamer to really give me advice and pointers on streaming stuff, so I'm glad I was able to say hi to her early on. It really put me at ease.

Anyway, I settled into the Karaoke room, where I ran into Ms_Vixen and Soma from Twitch, whom I had met the previous night while bar-hopping and basically caught up with them.

Saw Scarletr0se, said hi to her, she said hi back, but she was on her way to the bar, so I didn't hold her up for too long. I'd hung out with her earlier today for a Bioware signing, so I didn't want to bother her too much at the party.

Later I ran into IAmSp00n, who was surprisingly cool to me. We talked for a bit about stuff. He introduced me ForcefulFalcon, whom he was with for most of the evening. Katie's a sweetheart.

A bit later, I was talking in a group that included GoldGloveTV, who seems to be one of the few people in the Twitch community who is as big a sports fan as I am... unfortunately, he's a Seahawks fan. Still he was cool to hang out with.

I met MKTheWorst in the media room, then talked to Renaynay, Max, and their crew for a bit before heading out. (Yes, Renaynay did get 2 hetero guys to kiss again. That's pretty much a running gag at these parties.)

I wanted to get in on the Karaoke, but unfortunately the DJ didn't have the 3 songs I wanted to sing. Oh well.

In all honesty, if I had to sum up my Twitch party experience, it would be "Typical night at a college bar combined with a class reunion."

I'll explain.

Given that the average age of twitch partners are in the early to mid 20's it's really no surprise that most of the activity going on is what you'd find at a typical college bar in any given weekend. Drinking, dancing, games that involve drinking, conversing, and basically having a good time. In that sense Twitch broadcasters aren't that much different than the rest of us.

However, it also has the vibe of a class reunion to it. Outside of a cluster centered around San Francisco, most Twitch partners don't get to see each other much because they're scattered all across the country. So conventions and parties like this are the only chance these folks get to see each other and they try to cram as much interaction with each other as they can into the party, because the next time may not be for a while.

It's in that sense that while I was glad to be there and glad to meet everyone, I did feel personally like I was intruding on the partners' space and time and maybe I wasn't as maybe social as I should have been as a result. However, everyone did their best to make me feel welcome, and I had fun, and if I'm lucky enough to do this again, maybe I will be more intentional about conversing with people.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

1st year streamiversary

One year ago today, March 1, 2014, I decided to finally give in to the bug and get into this live streaming thing with a broadcast of Pokemon White. It was just me and a few friends from an IRC channel I frequented called “Avian Alliance.” We just chatted away and we had a good time. No mic, no face cam, just some hastily put together scenes to hold the broadcast together.

I knew what Twitch was, certainly. I had followed one or two live streams for a few years prior, thanks to a few live streamers that had crossed over from Channel Awesome, a review site I used to be a regular of. (Think “The Creatures,” but movie/tv/music/video game reviews instead of Minecraft videos.). And it always looked like fun. But two things have always stopped me, one being my own depresssion and two, I’d already tried an internet media career once and failed: I was a sports blogger for 2 years and had to give that up because I couldn’t make ends meet living off ad revenues, and I didn’t get the breaks that some of the other people I knew were getting.

But I couldn’t shake the bug. I’ve always been a video gamer in addition to being a sports fan, and I’ve always wanted to share my love of video games with others.

And in January of that year, I had decided to branch out from the regular streams I’d watched and see what else was out there. I checked the Twitch homepage and found this pink-haired gamer who called herself “ZombiUnicorn”, and after taking a glance askew at the name, I clicked through to her channel, watched the game she was playing, made a few funny comments, got to know a few folks in her chat, and had a grand old time. Unfortunately I’d caught the tail end of her broadcast and she decided to “raid”  (something I’d never heard of before, but I went along with it) named another streamer SuushiSam, again making a few funny comments, getting to know people in chat. Through a SuushiSam raid I found lolrenaynay, through Renaynay I found IAmSp00n and GassyMexican, through Sp00n I found Scarletr0se, and so on and so forth until I’ve met all the community members, mods, streamers and Twitch personnel I know now (At last count, I follow about 400 people on Twitch alone, of which about 30 are streaming at any given time). Through all that exposure to the wider community, it scratched the itch to get my own stream going.

And so I did, March 1, 2014, I officially threw my hat into the ring and became a Twitch streamer.

It’s not been an easy first year to say the least. I’ve changed my schedule more times than I can count. I’ve missed a number of streams because of illness, allergy or migraines. I even had a repetitive motion shoulder injury that cost me a week of streams. I’ve had to cut ties with a person I looked up to because he was in the Gamergate camp and he’s proceeded to commit career suicide in every way possible. I’ve had another person whom I looked up to block me because of reasons I still don’t fully understand. And I’ve had my heart broken.

Still, in spite of it all, I’ve been able to claw and scratch my way to a small community of followers and regular viewers. I started this out with no YouTube base, no E-Sports credentials, and no real expectations of getting an audience without either of those. Basically I was starting from scratch. That I have the amount followers I have and the regular viewers I have is a modest accomplishment, and I am thankful for those of you who have followed me on Twitch, and those who have viewed my streams.

But I think the thing I’ve gained the most from my first year is all the incredible people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made. To each and every one of you, thank you for making my first year of streaming the best year of my life.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My first official Youtube video

This is my First official Youtube video. produced and edited by me.

In which, I run away from zombies screaming like a little girl. And burp on a live broadcast *facepalm*

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Season-ending Blogpoll

Season-ending Blogpoll:

1 Florida 25
2 Ohio State 24
3 Michigan 23
4 LSU 22
5 Louisville 21
6 Arkansas 20
7 Auburn 19
8 West Virginia 18
9 Southern Cal 17
10 Notre Dame 16
11 Wisconsin 15
12 Rutgers 14
13 Tennessee 13
14 Boise State 12
15 Virginia Tech 11
16 Wake Forest 10
17 Oklahoma 9
18 Brigham Young 8
19 California 7
20 Boston College 6
21 Georgia 5
22 Georgia Tech 4
23 TCU 3
24 Texas A&M 2
25 Houston 1

Dropped Out:

That's right, I have one-loss Florida over undefeated Ohio State and one loss Michigan. Why? Because Florida's going to win the national championship game and extinguish all doubt about whether or not it belongs. Neither Michigan or Ohio State has faced a defense with all year with the overall team speed of Florida.

If Michigan and Florida in some alternate universe were forced to play it off, the Florida speed would have neutralized Mario Manningham and company, and the quick penetration would have made Mike Hart a non-factor.

Then consider what will happen come December 8th. Ted Ginn and Anthony Gonzalez will be blanketed. As for Troy Smith, he's actually facing a defense where all the linebackers have NFL speed, so there's not going to be any escape for him.

And that's before we break down the unusual Florida offense vs. teams that have never faced it before. Oh, and did we mention that Florida's offense is faster than either defense?

So yeah, my answer for the Michigan-Florida controversy and my pick for the national championship game in one package.

Which brings up the reason why the BCS only produces a good matchup once in a blue moon, it's all determined by arguments like the one above, argued by a select elite of voters, rather than actual game play.

Anyway, you may have noticed that Oklahoma is lower than where most people have them, and Texas and Nebraska are noticeably absent from my ballot. Well, the Big 12 was way down this year, which was apparent from their major non-conference matchups (Texas lost to Ohio State, Nebraska lost to USC, Oklahoma lost to Oregon (Which OU still had a chance to win after the replay idiocy and blew it.), Texas Tech lost to TCU, Colorado lost to Georgia and Arizona State, etc.)

And the Big 12 followed that up with less than spectacular conference games where everyone knocked off everyone else. In any conference not named the SEC, upsets make you look weak. The only thing that would have saved the perception of this conference was for either Texas, Nebraska or Oklahoma to emerge as dominant. Yes, OU won, but that loss to Texas and Dallas in retrospect makes OU look bad, especially after the second half of Texas's season.

If you want to see where everyone else voted here's the final poll.

More on my life later

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Week 4 Blogpoll Ballot

My Ballot:

1 Ohio State --
2 Auburn 1
3 Southern Cal 1
4 Georgia 2
5 Iowa 3
6 Louisiana State 4
7 Michigan 9
8 Florida 1
9 Louisville 2
10 Virginia Tech 2
11 West Virginia 2
12 Texas 2
13 Oregon 4
14 TCU 4
15 Alabama 1
16 Clemson 7
17 Florida State 12
18 Boise State 4
19 Michigan State 7
20 Tennessee 1
21 Penn State 5
22 Houston 3
23 South Carolina 3
24 Wisconsin 2
25 Arizona State 1

Dropped Out: Notre Dame (#7), Oklahoma (#15), Nebraska (#19), Pittsburgh (#24).

Flame away.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Officiating bad, teams were worse.

Perhaps the most famous blown call in sports in the last 25 years occured in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, back when Major League Baseball was a legit sport. The St. Louis Cardinals were up 1-0 in the bottom of the 9th against cross-state rival Kansas City. Cardinals' closer Todd Worrell was 3 outs away from closing out the Kansas City Royals for good and sewing up a World title for St. Louis. Things looked great for the Cardinals as Jorge Orta led off by weakly grounding to Jack Clark, who tossed it to Todd Worrell for the first out, or so everyone thought.

Umpire Don Denkinger, however, called Orta safe. Replays showed otherwise.

For Cardinals fans, this is where the story stops. The next thing you usually hear them say is that the Royals went on to win the World Series.

What Cardinals fan conveniently forgets is that Cardinals catcher Darrell Porter misplayed a pop-up foul ball that would have gotten Steve Balboni out. He also neglects to mention that Porter later had a passed ball that advanced Balboni and Jim Sundberg into scoring position. Also, Cardinals fan will probably conveniently forget that Porter also failed to tag Sundberg on the game winning run after Andy Van Slyke made a perfect throw to him.

Oh, and even after all that, the Cardinals still could have won game 7 if John Tudor had displayed the form that made him a Cy Young runner-up in 1985. Instead, Tudor allowed 5 runs and 4 walks in 2 1/3 innings. The rest of the pitching staff wasn't any better, and the Cardinals bats didn't show up.

Yes, the Cardinals were the victims of a bad call. But to say that it determined the series is wrong. All the Cardinals had to do was get the last 3 outs of Game 6 after the bad call, or at least not choke in Game 7 and St. Louis is the World Champion.

Fast forward to Week 3 of the 2006 College Football Season, where the spirit of Don Denkinger is apparently alive and well in Eugene, Oregon and Auburn, Alabama.

With 1:12 left to go in the 4th Quarter and Oregon down 33-27 to Oklahoma, Oregon needed to recover an onside kick. Ball kicked, OU recovers. Except the officials, replay official included, rule that the ball belongs to Oregon, despite obvious evidence to the contrary.

Like Cardinals fans retelling the '85 series, the next thing you hear out of OU fan is that the call cost them the game as Oregon ended up winning 34-33.

Like Cardinals fans, they are leaving a few details out.

The Oklahoma defense is one of the most talented units in the nation, yet it allowed 501 yards total offense to Oregon, a team that had 379 total yards the previous week against Fresno State. 343 of the yards Oklahoma allowed were through the air, Fresno State only allowed the Ducks 240 yards passing.

Jonathan Stewart, Oregon's leading rusher, had 144 yards rushing on 6.3 yards/carry against Oklahoma. The entire Oregon team had 139 yards on 4.1 yards/carry against Fresno State.

Fresno State is probably a team Oklahoma could beat 9 times out of 10 on a neutral field and yet they had better defensive stats against the same Oregon team.

(Source for stats:; Oklahoma - Oregon Box Score; Oregon - Fresno State Box Score)

If Oklahoma had played up to it's ability level, Oregon isn't even in this ballgame with 1:12 left.

Like the Cardinals of 1985, the Sooners still had an opportunity to win despite the officials error. Garrett Hartley had a 44 yard field goal attempt on the last play of the game that would have won it. Unfortunately, like the Cardinals, OU's field goal protection choked. The kick was blocked.

A similar situation occured in the Auburn-LSU game where an apparent pass interference was waived off because the officials said the ball was tipped. Unfortunately, the replay showed that the contact was before the tip.

Still, LSU, for all the 309 yards it gained on offense, only put 3 points on the scoreboard. Had the Tigers finished a few more of these drives, the call isn't even an issue.

That's on the LSU Tigers, not the officials.

Also, LSU still had a chance to win, but JaMarcus Russell made a huge mistake by not trying to throw the ball in the end zone on the last play. The recievers hadn't made a catch-and-run touchdown all day. What made Russell think it was going to happen on the last play when all 11 Auburn defenders are in front of a guy trying to run into the end zone?

Yes, bad calls happen. Yes, teams get hosed. But most of the time, there's something your team could have done to prevent the call from being a game changer. And many times, your team will get a chance to undo the damage, if they take advantage of it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Weekend Preview "ZOMG, It's Separation Saturday 2006!" Edition

All times Central, Rankings courtesy the Blogpoll

(Damn this job hunting...)

There's usually one or two of these weekends in the college football season where a bunch of ranked teams play each other. ESPN's Chris Fowler, who has given us such college football cliches as "upset saturday" and "woodshed game", describes these weekends as "Separation Saturdays." So, thanks to Fowler's employer, the name has stuck.

Usually these weekends happen during conference play, mainly because the top teams load up on patsies during the non-conference, and then they get into conference play, where they have to play all the ranked teams they avoided.

This year, partly because of the 12th game, and partly because of the quirks of preseason expectations, we have a "Separation Saturday" in September. And 3 of those matchups involve Big 12 teams.

So, for our first weekend preview of the year, we got a triple game of the week.


Big 12/Texas Game of the week #1
#17 Nebraska at #2 USC
7:00 PM ABC
(All Big 12 Markets)

This game is a lot more complex than it appears at first glance. Mainly because aside from the numbers attached to the two teams, we don't know what to make of their results so far. Yes, Nebraska is 2-0 and they are rated 11th in passing defense and 5th in total offense, but that was against Division I-AA Nicholls State, and middle-of-the-WAC Louisiana Tech. Neither of these teams is on USC's level of talent.

Conversely, it could also be argued that USC played a weak and overrated Arkansas team, who isn't on Nebraska's level of talent.

Still, Nebraska hasn't beaten a Top 10 team on the road since before most of the current Cornhuskers were even thinking about a college football scholarship (1997 at Washington). Plus, the game is in Los Angeles. Even though we're talking SoCal sports fans and not hardcore SEC fans, a road game is a road game, and in a close game like this one is shaping up to be, home field makes a difference.

Key Matchup
Emmanuel Moody vs Nebraska's front 7
Everyone wants to talk about the recievers, but Moody, who steps in the slot vacated by Reggie Bush and LenDale White, needs to give USC at least 5 yard/carry on first and second down to keep the defense honest. Adam Carriker, Jay Moore, Bo Ruud, and company are a nightmare matchup for a lot of teams.

Key player for USC
John David Booty
Hard to believe, but Booty is making only his second collegiate start, and he hasn't seen a defense as fast as Nebraska's yet.

Key player for Nebraska
Marlon Lucky
Lucky him, he gets to carry the offensive load for his whole team. If he doesn't have at least 100 yards, Nebraska is sunk.

Tale of the Tape

USC offense vs. Nebraska defensePush
Can Nebraska get enough pressure on Booty and shut down the run? Maybe for a while.
Nebraska offense vs. USC defenseUSCNow here's the million dollar question. Will Nebraska be able to run their offense effectively? Probably not. The defense is where the experience is on this team, and their DBs and LBs are faster than Nebraska's RBs and WRs.
Special TeamsPushNeither unit stands out here.
Pete Carroll's has 1 1/2 national championships in the past 3 years, and his team played for the title last year. Bill Callahan is still an unproven commodity in the collegiate ranks.
IntangiblesUSCUSC's players, even if they haven't played, have seen nothing but winning for the past 33 games. Also, USC's the home team, and Nebraska is 1-10 against top 25 competition the last 8 years.

Big 12/Texas Game of the week #2
#18 Oklahoma at #16 Oregon
Saturday, 2:30 PM, ABC
(The only Big 12 market area not carrying this game will be KPOB in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, who will be carrying the Miami-Louisville game instead. Everyone else will get this game.)

Oklahoma has gotten off to a rocky start, and Oregon is feeling confident after beating Fresno State. However, OU has won the last 2 meetings against the Ducks.

Key Matchup
Oregon backs vs Oklahoma run defense
Both UAB and Washington were able to run frequently on this team, though neither of them had the talent to sustain a running attack against a team like Oklahoma.

Key player for Oregon
Dennis Dixon
Oklahoma had trouble with another mobile quarterback, Isaiah Stanback, last week, which bodes well for Dixon's chances this week.

Key player for Oklahoma
Malcolm Kelly
OU's big play threat must play well enough to get that 8th man out of the box and into the secondary.

Tale of the Tape

Oregon offense vs. Oklahoma defenseOregon
OU did not do well against Stanback and Louis Rankin. Now they face another mobile quarterback in Dennis Dixon and another star running back in Jonathan Stewart
Oklahoma offense vs. Oregon defenseOklahoma
Kelly will have a breakout game against this secondary if Paul Thompson can find him.
Special TeamsPush
Dead even.
Bob Stoops has one national title and 2 championship game appearances.
Oklahoma is the road team, and Autzen Stadium is a rough road game. Plus, the Sooners have been plagued by turnovers and inconsistencies.

Big 12/Texas Game of the week #3
#23 Texas Tech at #21 TCU
Saturday, 4:30 PM, OLN

TCU is a tough team for anyone in any year, as Oklahoma found out last year. They recruit the Dallas-Fort Worth area well, their ball control offense keeps opponents' high powered offenses off the field, and their defense is tough to prepare for if you're not in their conference. Last time they played (in Lubbock) TCU jumped out to a lead before the Raiders roared back.

Combine that with Texas Tech's tendency under Mike Leach to play lousy on the road, and it's a bad situation for the Red Raiders.

Key Matchup
Joel Filani vs Marvin White/Eric Buchanan
Whichever one draws inside reciever Joel Filani is likely to have their hands full.

Key player for TCU
Aaron Brown
Brown has been the leading rusher in both TCU victories so far. If TCU is to control the clock, it's up to Brown to have a 100 yard day

Key player for Texas Tech
Alex Trlica
True, Trlica hit the OT game winner last week. That obscured the fact that he missed both of his kicks in regulation. Trlica can not have another game like that.

Tale of the Tape

TCU offense vs. Texas Tech defenseTCU
This is Texas Tech's first game against a run-first offense, and they've always had trouble stopping the run.
Texas Tech offense vs. TCU defenseTexas Tech
Even though the Horned Frogs roll 5 DBs in their base formation, Texas Tech has speed enough at all four wideouts to burn rovers.
Special Teams
Bears repeating: Trlica missed both regulation FG attempts against UTEP
I would give Mike Leach the edge here, except he usually has trouble with tough roadies.
IntangiblesTexas Tech
Yes, technically TCU is the home team here, but the Metroplex is home to many Red Raider alumni with cash, and they tend to pack the stadium when Tech plays any of the DFW area schools, effectively neutralizing any home field advantage.

Big XII Games

Kansas at Toledo
Friday, 7:00 PM, ESPN
Teams who take games against MAC opponents for granted usually do so at their own peril. Let's hope Kansas takes this game seriously.

Iowa State at #13 Iowa
Saturday, 11:00 AM, ESPN
Iowa State should be encouraged that Syracuse took them to OT and the fact that they beat Drew Tate and company last year. Unfortunately that game was at home, and the Cyclones must travel to Iowa City this year.

Marshall at Kansas State
Saturday, 11:30 AM, FSN Southwest/Midwest/Rocky Mtn.
Last year, Kansas State needed a miracle to beat Marshall. This year? K-State is better overall, and they have a new coach and attitude

Texas at Rice
Saturday, 5:00 PM, ESPN2
Mack Brown and company get to take out their frustrations on Ex-Longhorn Major Applewhite, Rice's offensive coordinator.

Arizona State at Colorado
Saturday, 6:00 PM, TBS
A team in turmoil vs. A team that lost to Montana State and Colorado State. Take the Sun Devils.

Missouri at New Mexico
Saturday, 7:00 PM, Regional TV coverage
Rocky Long's unusual 3-3-5 Stack is tough to prepare for if you don't face it often, plus New Mexico beat Missouri in Columbia last year, and that was when Missouri had Brad Smith.

Army vs. Texas A&M
at Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Saturday, 8:00 PM, ESPN2

San Antonio is a military town, but all of Fort Sam Houston could show up to cheer on the Cadets and it wouldn't matter. Texas A&M should win this easily.

Baylor vs. Washington St.
at Qwest Field, Seattle
Saturday, 4:00 PM

This will be a tough neutral site game for the Bears as they, like Nebraska, have to cross 2 time zones to face a Pacific team.

Florida Atlantic at Oklahoma St.
Saturday, 6:00 PM
None of these games are going to tell us much, yet. OSU's first real test comes next week against Houston.

Other Texas Teams

Grambling at Houston
Saturday, 6:00 PM
Grambling may win the halftime, but Kevin Kolb and the Cougars will win the game easy.

North Texas at Tulsa
Saturday, 6:00 PM
Tulsa takes an easy home win against North Texas.

Sam Houston St. at SMU
Saturday, 7:00
SMU will probably win, but it will be close.

National Games of Note

Miami at Louisville
2:30 PM
Louisville's chance to prove they are a top-10 program. Miami's chance to prove that they're not yesterday's news
Michigan at Notre Dame
2:30 PM
Michigan's recievers are the fastest that Notre Dame has faced to date, and Michigan's defense is better than last year.
LSU at Auburn
2:30 PM
In effect, this is the SEC West championship game, barring a complete collapse by the winner.
Florida at Tennessee
7:00 PM
While not as important to it's division as both teams still have to play Georgia, it's an important game for both coaches. Urban Meyer is still unproven at Florida, and Phil Fulmer is almost 10 years removed from his lone national title and starting to feel the heat. Plus, Tennessee's 2 wins are against a severely overrated Cal team and a squeaker against Air Force(?)
Clemson at Florida State
6:45 PM
ESPNYep, it's the Bowden Bowl once again. Both teams desperately need a win after lackluster performances last week.


Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, Noon, CBS (KEYE 42)

Well, a few Texans fans thought I was crazy for giving their new offensive line an "F" grade in my preview. They quoted preseason stats, and tried their hardest to convince me how their O-line was better. They even questioned what reality I was living in. To them I say: Preseason stats don't matter, your pass protection collapsed last week against actual NFL blitz packages, and it's the reality where the Philadelphia Eagles got 5 sacks on David Carr last week and held the Texans to 70 yards rushing. Total.

The Texans now take on the Indianapolis Colts, who won last week against the New York Giants despite paltry rushing numbers

Key Matchup
Charles Spencer vs Dwight Freeney
After getting his rookie initiation against the Philadelpha Eagles and Jevon Kearse, he now faces one of the NFL's better defensive ends in Dwight Freeney.

Key player for Houston
Lewis Sanders
With Patrick Buchanon out with a foot injury, it's up to Sanders to step up and show he can play.

Key player for Indianapolis
Joseph Addai
Someone has to provide this team with a running game. Addai needs to justify his first round pick status. With the Texans giving up 4.3 yards/carry to Philly's tandem, this may be the game where Addai breaks out.

Tale of the Tape

Texans offense vs. Colts defenseColts
Offensive line still can't block well, now they are up against another good defense
Colts offense vs. Texans defenseColts
Donte Stallworth had 141 yards in an unfamiliar offense. Now the Texans face Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. Without
Special TeamsColts
Adam Vinatieri vs. Kris Brown. It doesn't get more obvious than that.
Tony Dungy has the experience factor on Gary Kubiak.
Houston doesn't really seem to believe it can win yet. Besides, it's not January yet.

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
7:00 PM, NBC (KXAN 36)

Let's get one thing straight, Cowboys fans, Drew Bledsoe is the starter for the season, and if you think for one minute Tony Romo is going to save this franchise, you should be suspended for 4 games under the NFL's substance abuse policy. Furthermore, the offensive line can't hold their blocks, which makes things worse for everyone. Either Parcells is going to have to shorten the drops, or he's going to have to start running more screens and draws to get teams out of blitzing every time.

To make matters worse, the Washington Redskins, a team which swept the Cowboys last year, comes to town.

Key Matchup
Dallas's O-Line vs Redskins' blitz
Gregg Williams is one of the best offensive coordinators out there, and he can give this Dallas line fits.

Key player for Dallas
Drew Bledsoe
If Bledsoe can stay upright and find his recievers, he can quiet the critics. That's a big "if"

Key player for Washington
Mark Brunell
Brunell is in a similar situation to Bledsoe in that Redskins fans will be calling for his head if he doesn't win this game.

Tale of the Tape

Cowboys offense vs. Redskins defenseRedskins
Cowboys rolled up 10 early points on the Jags, and couldn't cash in. It's hard to see them faring any better against the 'Skins.
Redskins offense vs. Cowboys defenseCowboys
Redskins offense coming off a lackluster performance against Minnesota.
Special TeamsCowboys
If only because Mike Vanderjagt is healthy and Mat McBriar can boom it.
Gibbs and Parcells are both legends.
Hard to tell who really has a mental edge here.

Monday:Weekend Wrap-Up