Madden Ratings: Week 8 analysis, Week 9 predictions

I consider myself a rather jaded sports fan. I mean, it takes quite a lot to make me smile. Though, I did rather enjoy the last Super Bowl for some odd reason. I mean I really, really enjoyed that game. Maybe it was the cold weather or something.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself glued to LeBron's return to Cleveland. And really, I've spent about zero seconds on a regular season NBA game that didn't involve the Los Angeles Lakers. But damn it, I didn't blow off the NFL Network game and Florida State vs. Louisville to catch the opening of LeBron's return.

Just about everything about that night was perfect. The crowd was simply amazing. They played the "nWo" theme for the New York Knicks' intro (which would have actually made me cheer for the Knicks). And the Cavs uniforms were pretty dope, too. It was a picture perfect night for Cleveland. Right down to the loss because, well, it's (expletive) Cleveland. Did you really expect them to win this game? You're so cute.

I guess that's Cleveland in a nutshell: Get super close to it almost being perfect, only to have it pulled away from you. (I think this was actually an episode of "Happy Endings" if I'm not mistaken.)

You need no bigger proof than the treatment of Johnny Manziel by the Browns. The most high-profile quarterback from the 2014 NFL Draft class is the only dude not starting for his team.

Even Zach (expletive) Mettenberger has received a chance to start for his ball club. Manziel has toiled on the bench, and the only thing coach Mike Pettine has said is that he can sense Manziel is frustrated; although, he said nothing about Johnny Football's midi-chlorian count. Thank you for the update, Qui-Gon Pettine. But how about we get Johnny Football into the game?

To be honest, I love what the Browns have done this year. Truly amazing to have a winning record in that division with some nice signature wins. But do you think this team is going to go to the Super Bowl this year? Not with Denver, New England and San Diego in the mix. Oh, and the Colts, too.

(Which for the record, how much must Browns fans truly hate John Elway? If he doesn't force the Colts to trade him to the Broncos, Baltimore probably holds on to the team. And then the Browns don't become the Ravens. So the Browns never lose to the Broncos in the 1980s, get a few Super Bowl appearances, which leads to a new stadium. Let's say the Browns do eventually hire Bill Belichick, who remains with the club in the late 1990s. The Browns build a defense like the early Ravens, the only difference is Belichick makes the team select Tom Brady in 1999. So the past 20 years is really just the Ravens in Cleveland as the Browns, but instead of all the curtain-jerker QBs out there, you have Brady as the quarterback. So I can understand if nobody in Cleveland is fond of Elway.)

And (expletive), what was the point of all of this? Oh yeah, start Johnny Football. Cleveland needs this. No, I would say the world needs this. All right, time to move on.

Moving on up

Well, I mean if you throw six touchdown passes and over 500 yards in a game you're probably going to get a ratings boost. So don't seem so shocked that Ben Roethlisberger is now up three points to a 93 OVR. He also brings along Martavis Bryant who is up five points to 72. Bryant was one of the biggest movers and shakers of the week.

Brady continues to move up, too. He's up two to 95 OVR. He's apparently more accurate now, as he's up three points in that category. Rob Gronkowski is up two points to 98 OVR. He's almost a 99, fools! I'm pretty excited about that. I guess in my convoluted scheme, Gronk is a member of the Browns, too. Stupid Elway.

Jeremy Maclin has been one of the surprises for many who enjoy fantasy football (geeks!). He's up three points to 89 OVR. He's going to break through to a 90 soon.

Moving on down

Oh noes, Richard Sherman is no longer a 99. He's down a point to 98 OVR. Only J.J. Watt is a 99 OVR. Oh wait, your buddy Peyton Manning is a 99, too. Well, I guess I underestimated the Manning fan boys last week. You kids were out in full force. Misguided, of course, but out there in full force nonetheless.

Doug Martin is now an 81 OVR after he dropped three points. I blame the play calling. It's like the kid who can use the Seahawks and still get smoked. You can have the best players in the world, but if your coach isn't making the right calls, well, it's not going to work out.

Cam Newton is down two points to 89 OVR? Guys, we know how much Cam cares about his Madden rating. How could you do this to him?

Six bold predictions for Sunday


EA Sports

6. Inspired by the "Hell in a Cell" main event on Sunday, Romo decides to do the whole, jump-off-the-stretcher-to-continue-to-play thing this week. But it's not enough as the Birds prevail in this one. That's right, the Cardinals at 7-1. It would be fun if this comes down to Jason Garrett not icing a kicker and losing. I'll just go ahead and predict that.

5. The Ravens and Steelers actually score more than 20 points. No, I'm totally serious. Actually, while every game seems like it has ended in a 13-10 final as Dave Dameshek likes to say, the teams have scored at least 32 points in their last four meetings. So maybe it's under 24 this time because they are due.

4. The St. Louis running back you don't start on your fantasy team will have the game of his life against the 49ers. It just always works out this way.

3. The Raiders and Seahawks game is going to be more fun than it should be. And yes, that's what it has come down to. We just want the Raiders to be competitive and we would consider that a win. The Raiders are going to be in a good spot if they land the first overall pick in the draft. They would be able to command a huge ransom for Marcus Mariota.

2. The Bengals will beat the Jaguars because every time I predict an upset for the Jaguars I end up chagrined. So at least if I'm going to be wrong, I can enjoy it this time.

1. And now the big game. Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. Did you know Manning is undefeated against Brady when Matthew McConaughey makes a bad movie? (That's science.) So that basically means this game comes down to whether "Interstellar" is a good movie or not. Or will this game determine if "Interstellar" is good or not? Whoa, talk about your "chicken or the egg" scenario. Well, that's certainly left me dazed and confused as to what to predict. And I have to pick something because I would hate to fail to launch. I'm just going to come out and say "Interstellar" is going to be pretty good.

You can follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank. Gamer tag: KickedBoar591 *

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