Randy Moss leaving Minnesota was the most important move of the offseason, and many people thought the impact would immediately felt on both teams. It was, but I think that impact is starting to reverse itself a bit. Regardless of his production and immediate attention he draws from any defense, his effect on the Raiders was going to be limited with the questionable decision making of Kerry Collins. It is hard to deny what they could have done when paired with another offseason acquisition in Lamont Jordan from the Jets, and the other speedster Jerry Porter. I said earlier this year they would give good teams fits this year. They are 13th in the league in scoring, however the two staples of Raider football continue to do them in: penalties and turnovers.
On the other side of the coin, the Vikings were pre-season Super Bowl favorites and flopped at the beginning of the season. The offense was in complete disarray, almost as if they were lining up with ten players instead of eleven. Then Culpepper blows out his knee and in comes Brad Johnson, who I believe backed up Fran Tarkenton in his first stint with the Vikes. Quietly since Johnson stepped in he has efficiently won four straight, and is one game out of the wild card as it stands right now. If the group of wide receivers continues to step up and help Johnson and the defense keeps playing well, they may make some noise around playoff time. See, all they needed was a little TLC on Lake Minnetonka (ok, that’s old news now, but I had to throw it in).
The Colts continued their winning ways on Monday by completely dismantling the Steelers in the RCA dome. The Steelers kept it close in the first half, but it is obvious that these two teams are in different classes this year. They held the Steelers to 197 yards of offense, and exposed the rust of Ben Roethlisberger’s three game hiatus. Pittsburgh looked sloppy and slow running the ball, and Indy kept them out of sync all night long. They are going to win homefield advantage in a walk, with only two significant games on their schedule, a Byron Leftwich-less Jaguars team followed by hosting Seattle in Week 16. You may think I am crazy, but I think the Colts need to lose one or two before going to the playoffs. I do believe they are capable of going undefeated, however it is very difficult to keep a team on such a high level for every game for nineteen straight games. It would sure be a shame for them to have a bad outing when the games are one and done.
I’m not Lion
Dick Jauron takes over this week for Steve Mariucci, who was subsequently “dismissed” as the Lions head coach. I actually agreed with something John Madden said last night. He said if Dick Jauron had the answers to turn this team around, why didn’t those answers get communicated to Mariucci? I think Mr. Ford is being sold a bill of goods by Matt Millen, and he is certainly bying it. You have drafted a franchise quarterback five years ago, too bad they didn’t know that franchise was McDonalds. You have a bust in Charles Rogers who, even when healthy, can’t separate and catch the ball. Mike Williams looks slow and behind the curve. The offensive line is unable to put together a decent drive of run blocking and protection. The WB has more stars than the Lions defense. Is this Mariucci’s fault? In part, but not nearly is it the whole problem. Their talent evaluation needs some major overhaul, and that falls completely on Matt Millen. I guess the Ford family runs their team like they run their business. You just continue to do business like you have always done it, and when it falls apart, you wait for someone to bail you out and start over.
Just Plain Lousy Game of the Week: CAR vs. BUF – Spare a late TD by Carolina this was a total yawner. I hold Carolina in high regard, but Delhomme seems too easily rattled this year to take them the distance. That’s two subpar performances in a row, at the time of the year they can be least tolerated. What happened to the running game?
Who in the hell is Ryan Fitzpatrick anyway? The Texans certainly found out after blowing a ten point lead with forty seconds to go.
Is it possible that we could see the Bears and Seahawks in the NFC championship? It will probably never happen but they both are leading a charmed life. I think they have opposing kicker voodoo dolls on the sideline during important kicks.
Tom Brady finally looked like an average quarterback this week. Now he knows a little about what Brett Favre feels.
How did Byron Leftwich play even one down after breaking his ankle? If most of us jammed a finger we would be on the couch for a week.
Does Mike Shanahan have some secret decoder ring to get through to running backs? Ron Dayne looked like a pro-bowler against the Cowboys. I guess that can’t be the case, considering the whole Maurice Clarett fiasco.
Osi Umenyiora beat Walter Jones like a drum on several occasions on Sunday for two sacks and one forced fumble. I must wonder, however, how many times does Daryl Johnston have to say it before he feels he convinced everyone? I heard him say at least eight times that Seattle must have thought that Jones was going to win that matchup this week. Quietly, Umenyiora has ten sacks in eleven games.
Michael, Michael, Michael, when are you going to learn the phrase “That pipe is not mine” doesn’t fly anymore? Not like it ever did. Just ask Nate Newton.
The Giants had five false start penalties on one drive in the second quarter, two in a row on Frank Walker in punt formation. Somehow, I don’t think the visitors lockers were big enough to hide in from Tom Coughlin at halftime.
On to week thirteen….