Obituaries: None this week
8 – You blew it!
Your wounded nemesis is coming to town. You know, the team that had gleefully beaten you 6 straight games, before you pulled out an unlikely victory Week 3 when your team was decimated by injuries? Their QB was out. Their best receiver was out. Their other receiver was beginning to look like he was becoming a distraction in their locker room because he’s unhappy with his contract. They lost to the freaking Cardinals last week, a team led by John Skelton. And not only did they lose to the Cardinals, Skelton went off for 315 yards and 3 TDs against them. That’s the same John Skelton, who when facing a real defense in San Francisco yesterday, had a passer rating of 10.5 and got benched for Richard Bartel. Fans and media types had been calling for the defensive coordinator’s head since Week 3, and began calling for the head coach’s as well. This was a team that for two consecutive weeks didn’t sniff the opposing QB. A team that struggled to stop the run all season, and a team that played some of the dumbest brand of football I’ve ever seen from a professional team.
You had a chance to put them out of their misery. And…
We didn’t even see the Eagles’ “A game” last night either. Far from it. We saw it against the Cowboys, but not last night. We did, however, see their “A effort,” but that’s not exactly the same. Vince Young wasn’t exactly what you would call “sharp.” He gift wrapped interceptions, and missed open receivers for the better part of the game, despite having all day to throw. What we did see last night should really be far more concerning to Giants fans, and that was their offensive and defensive lines getting completely dominated in the trenches. Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, and Jason Pierre-Paul were completely non-existent. Brandon Jacobs had literally nowhere to run, as the Giants simply couldn’t block the much faster Eagles D. Eli Manning, while somehow only being sacked 3 times, was roughed up all night, and had very little time to throw. The Eagles came in and punched the Giants in the mouth. They wanted that win more. And they got it.
It doesn’t get any easier. The Saints had their bye this week, and now the Giants have to go to New Orleans to face them. Then they come back home and have to play the Packers. Good luck with all that.
The Cowboys were at the mercy of Graham Gano’s right leg in overtime yesterday, and as 99% of Redskins fans knew he would, he missed. The Redskins only mustered 3 FGs in Miami a week ago. The week before that they scored 11 on the Niners, although 8 of those points were in garbage time. The week before that they were shut out by the Bills, a team that is otherwise giving up an average of over 28 points per game. Rex Grossman. Tashard Choice. Roy Helu. Jabar Gaffney. Donte Stallworth. Fred Davis. How do you give up 24 points to that mess, especially considering the Skins had a banged up OL?
After taking care of two lesser opponents (Seattle and Buffalo) the previous two weeks, the Cowboys played down to their competition yesterday. Next up are the Dolphins and Cardinals. Perhaps this game was a wake up call to the defense and specials teams units? It better be, because they were both really bad yesterday.
6 – Not as good as their record
The Lions still have holes galore, particularly on defense, and they showed yesterday. The Lions have given up 35 and 37 points the last two weeks. I would consider it a resounding success if they can hold the Packers to 35 or less when they come to town for Thanksgiving. And then again the following week in New Orleans.
By the way, the Lions and Cowboys are both competitive this year, so you won’t hear anyone bitching about both teams playing on Thanksgiving this year. Allow me to fill that void, as I’m among the people that complain about it every year. If you’re not a fan of the Lions or Cowboys, please raise your hand if you’d be disappointed if the NFL scheduled teams other than the Lions and Cowboys on Thanksgiving every year. At the very least, the NFL needs to make the Cowboys and Lions play on the road every other year, as it’s a major advantage playing at home on a short week, as former Cowboy Troy Aikman has mentioned on several occasions.
5 – Easy schedule ahead
Here’s what the Falcons have ahead of them: Vikings, @ Texans (w/Matt Leinart at QB), @ Panthers, Jaguars, @ Saints, Buccaneers. Working in the Falcons’ favor in the wildcard race is that they own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions. Expect the Falcons to overtake the Lions by this time next week.
4 – Jay Cutler’s thumb
In case you were unaware, Jay Cutler broke the thumb on his throwing hand yesterday, and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with Cutler this season. Somehow, he’s become one of the most underrated players in the league. When you talk about the Top 10 QBs in the game, rarely will Cutler’s name be included. I think he’s there. The Bears will miss him bigtime.
Still, I’ve learned never to doubt this team. They’re ugly, they have that atrocious field, they ball hawk, and they play tremendous special teams. They’ll continue to win. It doesn’t hurt that they have the following schedule upcoming: Raiders, Chiefs, Broncos, Seahawks, Packers, Vikings. Even without Cutler, they should cruise to at least 10 wins.
3 – How’d they get a bye this late?
Shouldn’t byes this late in the season go to teams that stunk the year before? Like the Panthers, or the Bills? Huge advantage. They get the reeling Giants this week at home. Enormous game that will help shape the outcome of the NFC.
2 – Best defense in the NFC
The Niners won the most lopsided 23-7 game in the history of football yesterday. Time of Possession was comical – The Niners controlled the ball for almost 3 quarters. They had the ball for 44:16. The Cardinals had it for 15:44. That’s just funny.
Awesome “Harbaugh Bowl” matchup on Thanksgiving against the Ravens. That’s must see football. The Niners actually remind me quite a bit of the Ravens in many ways.
1 – Still the best