This week's NFL observations:
Panthers 15 / Rams 0
I'm in denial right now. Lets move on.
49ers 20 / Seahawks 14
Ok I can't totally avoid my worst nightmare, namely the Ram's demise. Even though San Fran has given the Rams fits for the last couple of years I never thought I'd be calling the 49ers the better team just over halfway through the season. But sometimes the truth hurts (and I have the self-inflicted bite marks to prove it). Although I expected Seattle to take the division I really thought they could be challenged this season. I just figured Tory Holt and Mark Bulger would be leading the charge instead of Frank Gore and Alex Smith. Somebody shoot me. Please.
Bengals 31 / Saints 16
As good as Drew Brees is playing this year he had a couple of interceptions yesterday that absolutely killed the Saints. 510 yards is nice for fantasy points but when you throw the ball 52 times it's usually because your trying to come from behind. Meanwhile, Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer are back in sync and I'm wondering does that mean "Ocho Cinco" talks more or less now?
Cowboys 21 / Colts 14
I continue to be underwhelmed by the Colts. I would love to see them represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this year but it's games like this that just have me wondering if it's possible. Although I do agree with the idea that it's better to get a loss out of the way early rather than going late into the season undefeated. Grudgingly I have to accept that the Cowboy's Tony Romo is playing very well. Regardless of the "first year starter" tag, he's been one of the top QBs in the NFL for the past month and you have to wonder how many wins the Cowboys would have right now had Parcells started the season with him. To be fair though, I think Cowboy Nation and Jerry Jones in particular had to again see how pathetic Drew Bledsoe can be at times in order for everybody to mentally be ok with the switch. Now they're ready to stick with Romo even during his struggles. Even the Pro-Bledsoe camp (basically all the ESPN football analysts) can finally accept the limited ceiling Bledsoe has and believe in the potential of Romo. At any rate, I'm now going to need to stick my head in a toilet after giving this much thought to the plight of the Cowboys.
Chargers 35 / Broncos 27
Isn't it uncanny how many times the Chargers have first and goal inside the 10. Tomlinson's TD records the last few weeks are amazing, but the way most of these touchdowns are coming about is very similar to Shaun Alexander's numerous TDs last year for Seattle. San Diego is consistently giving him opportunities to score shorter TD runs. I'm still dumbfounded by the fact that Gates and other receivers don't have more longer TD catches. The Chargers simply march down the field and then give it to LT. It's nice to have that weapon in your arsenal. And how about Philip Rivers and his very veteran-like performance? If you had to name the AFC's best team right now, many including myself would give that label to the Chargers. On the other hand, the Broncos are a pretty good team also. With the right QB they would be definite Super Bowl contenders. Unfortunately for Denver fans, Plummer isn't that guy. It's a little late to try get Cutler involved now isn't it? To me that's signaling preparation for a Super Bowl run next year. It's the right move but it won't be made.
Patriots 35 / Packers 0
Don't count out the Patriots based on a couple of mid-season losses. They are primed for a stretch run. Also after noticing 49er coach Mike Nolan wore a suit this week I wondered what would it take to get Belichick in one of those? I'm thinking hypnosis, a bottle of Jack Daniels, and some form of blackmail.
Bears 10 / Jets 0
I can't remember a week where this many teams got shut out. This was a fairly ugly game offensively. I know the Jets are a tough team to play this year but the Bear's quality of offense play over the last month has sure quieted the Super Bowl media hype that was coming their way. That's probably a good thing for them in the long run. In my mind they are still the team to beat in the NFC.
Ravens 24 / Falcons 10
At some point I'm going to have to give some credit to this Baltimore team. They're 8-2 and are going to be a threat in the playoffs. They've got some tough games coming up but if they can play the way they have been they could contend for the # 1 seed. They effectively shut down Michael Vick and the rest of Atlanta's rushing game and their offense is no joke anymore. Maybe Jamal Lewis isn't as washed up as I thought.
Bills 24 /Texans 10
Lee Evans was awesome! An amazing 265 yards receiving! Two TDs of 80+ yards in the first quarter! I really like exclamation marks!! So anyway, J.P. Losman looked like the guy they hoped they were getting in the draft (340 yards, 3 TDs). I guess he managed to get hold of some Flutie Flakes for breakfast on Sunday. It's been a while since a Bills QB and receiver had the kind of game Losman and Evans had. Also Losman ought to have a little extra motivation the next time they play the Texans. Texan cornerback, Dunta Robinson said of Losman, "If that had been Peyton Manning you'd expect it. But it was J.P. Losman. That's embarrassing. I hope he doesn't feel too good because we just shot ourselves in the foot." ---Totally true, but bulletin board material all the same.
Dolphins 24 / Vikings 20
What the hell happened to Miami's running game?(Ronnie Brown 12 carries, 2 yards). I know the Vikings are pretty good defensively against the run but that's ridiculous. Now Miami is relying on Joey Harrington's arm? Thing is, Joey is actually playing pretty decent and the Dolphin defense is making some big plays. I'm sure they are ready for a late season run now that will tease us all into thinking they have a chance next year.
Steelers 24 / Browns 20
The Browns just can't catch a break. They play everyone tough but can't make the big plays when needed. Roethlisberger still looks shaky even with the win. Pittsburgh will take it. It's been that kinda year.
Titans 31 / Eagles 13
McNabb's injury really bites on several levels. For one thing, I like the guy. It's hard to hate someone who informs me that soup is healthy and tastes good. Also, how are the Eagles going to keep the Cowboys out of the playoffs with Jeff Garcia steering the ship? It's hard to imagine them finishing over .500 now. Maybe Brian Westbrook cay carry them for a while.
-- Hey nice game by the Titan's Travis Henry (143 yards rushing). He's quietly having another decent season. By the way, how does the Titan's Albert Haynesworth get suspended 5 games for stepping on another players head and yet the Patriot's Richard Seymour gets off with just a fine. I can't find any video of it and I don't remember any highlights being played so it probably wasn't as drastic as Haynesworth's stomp, but Seymour's comments indicate it was intentional and ultimately isn't that what Haynesworth was busted for?
Bucs 20 / Redskins 17
To be honest, I paid almost no attention to this game other than to check out how Jason Campbell did. And it appears he was not too shabby for a first start. Washington has to be somewhat optimistic about that. The Bucs on the other hand gave us the first sighting of Carnell "Cadillac" Williams in a while. I'm tempted to insert an automobile joke here but I'd hate myself afterward so I won't.
Cardinals 17 / Lions 10
Break out the bubbly. Edgerrin James almost had 100 yards (96) and he averaged over 4 yards a carry! That at least calls for another tooth to be capped in gold right?
Chiefs 17 / Raiders 13
Tell me you were surprised that Aaron Brooks threw that devastating and game ending interception in the endzone after an equally amazing pass that got them in position to score. Anyone? No? I was surfing the web to see if this type of thing is part of his personality. You know, does he alternate like this in all areas of his life? To his credit I found a website for an Aaronbrooks Family Foundation that promotes literacy, youth programs, and relief to hurricane Katrina victims. So kudos, Aaron, it just goes to show that even if you suck at your job, you don't always have to suck at life.