Week 10 Column

Where to begin this week? Guess I should start by talking about that Monday Night game and Michael Vick going insane on the Redskins defense. Wow… that game was over by the first quarter. I’m not going to lie, I hate just about every NFC East team and most of their fans but I was excited to watch this game purely for comedic purposes but that was just miserable. The Eagles are a fun team to watch when they’re on, though. DeSean Jackson is damn near impossible to cover and Vick has the arm to get the ball to him along with the legs to avoid pressure. Jeremy Maclin can become a similar threat very soon, too and he’s shown flashes of it already. On top of that, they have LeSean McCoy and Jerome Harrison in the backfield…the fact that Harrison is their change of pace back is scary alone. It’s a tough offense to stop with how much they can stretch the field. You can pretty much proclaim them as the best team in the NFL now.

Stop right there. Yes, they were incredible last night with Vick but let’s look at the defenses Vick has played against. Packers (13th), Lions (21st), Jaguars (28th), Colts (18th) and Redskins (last). So, a lot of middle of the road/bad defenses, and Green Bay won when they played them. I am going to wait until the Eagles start playing some tougher defenses before I start singing their praises.  However, they did beat a good Falcons team with Kevin Kolb at QB so maybe I’m being a little harsh on them. I don’t think they are the best team in the league, though. Maybe top 5. Wait until they have to play the Giants.

Who do I think are the best team in the league? As of right now, I’m saying the Patriots. I know I’m going to get flamed for that since they did lose to the Browns a couple weeks ago but they made a big statement against the Steelers. I loved how they took advantage of Pittsburgh’s offensive line by constantly sending Tully Banta-Cain and Jerrod Mayo in on blitzes and make Ben threw errant passes. Their offense also did well at taking advantage of some secondary problems the Steelers have. Pats kept using the short passes to Welker and Branch for most of the game and Rob Gronkowski kept getting open in the red zone and had 3 touchdowns. Not sure why Aaron Hernandez was held without a catch for the game, though. My point is, the Pats always seem to find weaknesses in their opponent and exploit it better than most teams do. Did the same thing against the Ravens and Chargers.

Moving down on the AFC East teams, I see people already writing the Jets off after barely beating the Lions and Browns. I’m not doing that yet because they are still winning these games despite their various flaws. Shonn Greene is finally being more productive on the ground, even if it’s a slow process and Santonio Holmes has given them a huge big play threat that Braylon Edwards was supposed to bring. Their defense has still done well enough to keep them in every game despite the sputtering offense. Mark Sanchez has shown a fair amount of regression in the last few weeks, though but he’s made plays when he needs to. Sometimes, that’s all you need. Just ask the 2008-2009 Pittsburgh Steelers.

In Miami, it’s time….THIGPEN TIME! I say that with a hint of sarcasm and seriousness because I don’t think Tyler Thigpen is a bad QB at all and I have some belief that the Dolphins aren’t done yet even with him at QB. Thigpen had a decent season in 2007 with the Chiefs after they switched to the spread offense and he could have similar success with the Dolphins if they do that. They have the receivers (Marshall, Hartline, Bess) to do that and they can use Ronnie Brown and Patrick Cobbs as receivers so it might work. Whether or not Henning will actually do this is doubtful, though. That and the spread offense succeeding in the NFL is unlikely. I’m just throwing something out there so my AFC East pick doesn’t look like a complete joke.

I think the Houston Texans might have the worst luck of any team in the league. They might also have the record for number of losses resulting from the last play. The Hail Mary loss yesterday just confirms my beliefs. Especially considering Glover Quinn did what you’re supposed to do in those situations, which is to knock the ball down and it right into Mike Thomas’ hands. On the flip side, the Jaguars now see themselves at 5-4 and have won a lot of games they could have lost. This game, the Colts game, the Bills game and the Broncos game all could have gone in the other direction and the Jags managed to prevail. I don’t think they will make the playoffs but I’m just throwing this out there; In 1996, the Jaguars BARELY made the playoffs and no one gave them a chance. They ended up going to the AFC championship game. I’m just sayin’. Also of note is that David Garrard went from playing some of the worst football of his career to some of the best in a matter of weeks.

So, am I finally sold on the Bears? Maybe. That was a much better performance from their offense against Minnesota on Sunday aside from the two Cutler interceptions so maybe I’ll lay off on them this week. Cutler’s doing a better job at avoiding the pressure his “offensive line” is causing and the three-step drops are working fine. He did a nice job of finding Olsen and Hester on quick passes which turned into big games. In short, I’m not on the bandwagon but I’ll stop hating on the Bears now.

Randy Moss sure made a hell of an impact this week. 1 catch 20 yards, only targeted three times. Granted, he was working with two QBs who were ineffective but I was expecting him to create more of an impact considering the Titans were coming off of the by week. He did stop teams from stacking the box against them, though and Chris Johnson definitely had a better day on the ground. That wasn’t enough for the Titans to win last year, though. I think it’s going to take Moss a couple weeks to gel into that offense but that’s kind of troublesome since it’s Week 10 now.

Time for my Weekly West thoughts. Seahawks have the best record among teams there and still get to play the Rams at home but they aren’t going anywhere if their red zone offense stays this bad. 49ers can only lose 2 more games to even have a shot so you can forget about them even if they did beat the Rams. I still think the Rams are the best team but facing Seattle and Arizona on the road could make or break them. Oh, and then there’s the Cardinals who have too many problems. AFC West…..I have no idea what to say, literally. I can’t make that many predictions out of this. The Chiefs defense found new ways to define the word “shitting the bed” against Denver this week. At least they know Matt Cassel can sort of lead a comeback now! Oh wait, it’s against Denver. A team that gave up 50+ points to the Raiders. But the Raiders aren’t that bad this year! What about the Chargers? Psh, they lost to the Raiders, they’re done! See what I mean, I can’t make any conclusions. I will say this, though. The Chargers are still the most talented team in that division even at 4-5. They always turn it on at this time of the year and I think they have the talent to win that division. Philip Rivers is making his case that he’s a top 5 QB in the NFL and he’s done it with receivers they are signing off the practice squad. Their defense is better than the three other teams. Now if they can only fix the special teams.

I think that Colts/Bengals game confirms my views about Carson Palmer and the Bengals this season. Palmer threw three awful picks and the Bengals got themselves in too big of a hole to comeback. It’s been them beating themselves for the entire year. Nothing less nothing more. On another note, I am loving this Browns team and their offense. Still think Colt McCoy will crash down to earth sooner or later but for right now, he’s outperforming my expectations and it looks like Cleveland has their QB…..for now.

 

Best Team Performance: Eagles


59 points….42 in the first half. Hard to argue with those numbers. When a team has the game won by the first quarter, then you know it’s domination.

Runners up: Broncos, Jaguars, Patroits

Top 5 Offensive Players of the Week (warning it’s heavy on QB’s)

1. Mike Vick 20/28 333 yards 4 TD, 8 car 80 yards 2 TD


I may not be the world’s biggest Vick fan but it’s hard not to recognize a performance like this. 6 TD’s all by himself…pretty remarkable.

2. David Garrard 24/31 342 yards 2 TD


Complete 180 from how he was playing early in the year and his arm looks a lot more stronger and accurate than I remember it being. That Hail Mary did a lot of help to get him here, too.

3. Tom Brady 30/43 350 yards 3 TD


All of that against a very tough Pittsburgh defense. Brady and the Pats offense completely picked them apart. You have to think that Brady’s very high in the MVP running for this season.

4. Mike Wallace 8 rec 136 yards 2 TD


Who needs Santonio Holmes, eh? Wallace leads the league in yards per catch now and he had a phenomenal game even if it was in a losing effort.

5. Matt Cassel 33/53 492 yards 4 TD


Cassel did what he could to lead a comeback after his team was in a huge hole and usually a performance like this is enough to win a game. Unfortunately, not when your defense gives up 40+ points.

Honorable Mentions:  Calvin Johnson, Troy Smith, Josh Freeman, Fred Jackson, Kyle Orton, Dwayne Bowe, Matt Hasselbeck, Rob Gronkowski, Mike Thomas, Chris Johnson, Anthony Fasano, Jay Cutler, Mark Sanchez.

Defensive Player of the Week: Aaron Curry 7 tackles, 2 sacks, forced fumble


Hard to pick one this week but Curry was the one who seemed to stand out the most among others.

Honorable Mentions: Patrick Willis, Kelvin Hayden, Chris Clemons

Worst Team Performance: Redskins

I really hope this guy had his original sign taken away because this is seriously the worst "trash talking" sign I've ever seen.

I know they started to look better in the second half but when you give up 28 points in the first quarter and 59 points in a game, then it’s kind of a given that you get this spot. I will say that McNabb is doing a decent job of making use of an offense with hardly any weapons. His contract wasn’t as monstrous as I thought it was, either. Still doesn’t excuse them from that awful performance and getting embarrassed on national TV last night. DC is very upset right now and I think this proves it.

Worst Player(s) of the Week: Nick Folk, Jeff Reed and David Beuhelr


Okay, special teams but I wanted to say something. How did all but one of these guys manage to keep their jobs by today? Reed got cut and replaced with Shaun Suisham after consecutively missing <35 yarders. Folk missed three kicks and two of them could have been game winners. Beuhler’s been terrible all year and missed an extra point and a couple easy kicks on Sunday. I’m surprised JJ hasn’t pulled the plug on him like he did on Phillips. These clowns make me appreciate having John Kasay on my team.

Surprise of the Week: Cowboys beating Giants in New York


I fully expected the Giants to steamroll the Cowboys in this game but it was quite the opposite. Guess firing Wade lit a fire under their asses or something because they looked a lot more competitive out there. Still think a lot of Jason Garrett’s playcalling is kind of bogus though. He constantly went for the big play (Kitna’s had 13 completions for over 300 yards that says it all) and it kept working. Not to mention the DEVASTATING SCREEN PASS TO FELIX JONES went for a 70 yard touchdown. That and Dez Bryant is an absolute monster. I’m going to chalk this one up to the Giants looking unprepared and thinking they could beat Dallas easily but Garrett was out there to make a statement. Film session with Tom Coughlin isn’t going to be pretty.

Game of the Week: Ravens-Falcons


Was going to give it to the Texans/Jags but I haven’t gotten a chance to talk about this one yet. What an ending this one had. I think it’s safe to say that the Falcons are nearly incapable of losing at home this year no matter what. Both teams struggled pretty bad in the first half though but I loved how the Ravens rallied towards the end and the Falcons had that last minute drive. Definitely a great finish to a great game.

Runners up: Jets-Browns, Texans-Jaguars

Worst Game of the Week: Eagles-Redskins


Aside from the Eagles offense being fun to watch, I don’t see what’s so awesome about a game being done in the first quarter.

Idiot of the Week: Shaun Hill


I feel bad because he was coming off an injury but how do you throw the ball out of bounds on a play that’s going to tie the game for your team? The Lions have the next worst luck next to the Texans. Or maybe they do have the worst luck since they’re the ones with an 0-16 record in their history. Congrats to the Bills on their first win!

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