Watt Are You Talking About – Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals have been cruising so far this season as they brought their undefeated season into Monday Night. On one of the biggest stages of the week, the Bengals once again failed to rise to expectations. The talk of Andy Dalton failing to lead his team to a win when the stakes are high is only going to get louder from here after a borderline embarrassing effort against the Texans. For the Texans, this was a much needed victory after a season filled with injuries and quarterback changes. Unlike Dalton, Watt reveled in the limelight, proclaiming that his defense had made “the Red Rifle look like a Red Ryder BB Gun.” The well rehearsed jab was met with guffaws from the panel of former players and reporters on the field after the game but when told of the comments, Andy Dalton perhaps still sore from enduring the first loss of the season took umbrage with the good-natured jab. Dalton questioned Watt’s integrity, saying that he lost respect for one of the more beloved players in the league and worried about the children that looked up to him. I’m not sure if Dalton was taking issue with Watt’s gun reference or felt he was being bullied as a ginger and felt compelled to defend himself. Regardless of Dalton’s intentions, the only way we could take his comments is as a case of sour grapes.
Cam On It – Is there anyone else having more fun playing football than Cam Newton right now? The Panthers are one of only two teams that are 9-0 and despite losing his number one receiver to start the year (Kelvin Benjamin), Cam is enjoying one of his more productive seasons. Last week after scoring a touchdown, Cam gave a football to a young fan in the stands only to later find out that the child had recently lost his father to an illness and was there to enjoy the game and smile again. From tearing down visiting fan’s banners to tearing down defenses that foolishly try to stop him, this has been the year of Cam.
After destroying the Tennessee Titans this past Sunday and doing a celebratory dance in the end zone, some Titans defenders opted to prematurely end Cam’s routine which only heightened the quarterback’s excitement. After the game, Newton simply claimed that he is on the football field to perform and entertain and if you don’t like the dancing, you can stop him by keeping him from scoring. One scorned Titans fan decided to write an op-ed piece decrying Newton’s gyrations, claiming they were negatively influencing her young daughter. The fan wrote that she quickly diverted her daughter’s attention away from the dancing Cam and toward the scantily clad cheerleaders so her daughter’s innocence would remain intact. While Cam moves on to face Washington at home, let’s hope the Titans can play some better defense against the Jaguars this week so their fans won’t get easily offended.
Romo’s Return – When we last saw Tony Romo, the Cowboys had a three-headed running back attack and were eagerly awaiting Greg Hardy’s arrival from his suspension. Since Tony has been gone, two of those three-headed running backs are no longer playing (Randle and Dunbar), a new running back savior has come and gone (Christine Michael) and Greg Hardy is running amok everywhere but on the field. The Cowboys also traded for a new quarterback (Cassel) and released an old one (Weeden) during Romo’s absence. To say things have gone off track in Dallas would be a big understatement.
This week Tony Romo is back and he made an announcement via twitter with a rather awesome NSFW clip from the film Major League. Romo’s return brings order back to a locker room that was teetering on the brink of destruction as Dez Bryant and Greg Hardy did their best to wreak havoc from the inside out. Romo is now back and the season is saved in theory. Being 2-7 and in last place is quite a hole to fight out of but the Cowboys only chance is with a healthy Romo.
The Dude Abides
When Rob Ryan initially joined Sean Payton’s staff in New Orleans as a defensive coordinator the chances of these two personalities eventually clashing was a given. There were a few sideline dust-ups here and there but nothing too overt that would indicate that this marriage couldn’t work. It’s when the defense stopped working that things started to turn sour. While the Saints dismantled their once unstoppable offense, the defense simultaneously became a unit that made opposing offenses equally unstoppable. It made for some fun games but not a winning atmosphere. Once the Saints defense became more known for the phrase “The Big Easy” as the city they play in, a change was needed and long overdue. Rob had the same flair for the dramatic as his brother but turned out to be quite a few notches below when it came to building a defense. I would like to think Rob left the Saints facility with a white Russian in one hand and a bowling ball in the other. He’s going to be just fine as a position coach again, just not as a defensive coordinator any time soon.
Keenum Was the Case That They Gave Me – Jeff Fisher wheeled and dealed at the quarterback position this past offseason as he is known to do. The man that gave up the chance to draft Robert Griffin, gave up on the chance to coach Sam Bradford through another injury-plagued season. Bradford of course, was sent packing to Philadelphia and Nick Foles headed Jeff Fisher’s way. After one above average season and one very mediocre one with the Eagles, Foles was able to parlay his trade into a new contract. Unfortunately for Fisher and the Rams, things have not quite worked out. Foles has been dreadful this year and despite the Rams rolling out one of the more impressive rookie running backs in recent memory, Foles has somehow gotten worse. Insert Case Keenum who will step in as the starter this week. Keenum has shown some flashes in limited action over the past two seasons with the Texans and will now be charged with turning the Rams around. The only thing that can stop Todd Gurley is his own quarterback situation.
1. New England Patriots (9-0), last week 1: They escaped from the Meadowlands with a victory but couldn’t escape the injury bug losing Edelman
2. Carolina Panthers (9-0), last week 4: I have resisted too long putting them higher in the rankings up to this point
3. Arizona Cardinals (7-2), last week 5: The Cards staked their claim on the NFC West with a big win over the Seahawks
4. Cincinnati Bengals (8-1), last week 2: A minor bump in the road or a sign of things to come? We’ll find out this week.
5. Denver Broncos (7-2), last week 3: It feels weird to say this but losing Peyton might not be all that bad
6. Green Bay Packers (6-3), last week 6: The Lions coming to town was supposed to be the cure of what was ailing this team. It only made things worse.
7. Minnesota Vikings (7-2), last week 7: The Vikings have a huge opportunity this week to get some distance between themselves and the Packers
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4), last week 9: The bye won’t bring Bell back but it will give Ben a much needed break
9. Buffalo Bills (5-4), last week 14: Rex won his Super Bowl and the Bills get themselves into playoff position
10. Atlanta Falcons (6-3), last week 11: Atlanta comes off a bye after dropping 3 of their last 4 and look to get back on track vs the Colts
11. New York Jets (5-4), last week 8: The hot start in New York is all but a distant memory
12. Seattle Seahawks (4-5), last week 12: The Seahawks fought back on the road against their division rivals but it wasn’t enough.
13. New York Giants (5-5), last week 16: They gave a valiant effort but came up just short of knocking off the Patriots….again.
14. St. Louis Rams (4-5), last week 10: The Rams got demolished at home and now will look to their backup quarterback to turn around the season
15. Indianapolis Colts (4-5), last week 13: Hasselbeck returns to the starting lineup to save the season for a second time
16. Oakland Raiders (4-5), last week 15: As soon as this team looked to be on the cusp of something special they turned into the Raiders
17. Chicago Bears (4-5), last week 19: The Zach Attack is in full affect for the Bears
18. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5), last week 17: Everyone wondered if Sanchez would be better than Bradford. Well now we get to see for better or worse.
19. Miami Dolphins (4-5), last week 20: Miami gets a big win over the Eagles and now welcomes Romo back this week
20. Kansas City Chiefs (4-5), last week 27: left for dead by yours truly, the Chiefs have found some fight and grit
21. Dallas Cowboys (2-7), last week 21: Romo is back after seven straight losses
22. Washington (4-5), last week 22: The Skins will have a much tougher AFC South opponent this week in the Panthers
23. Houston Texans (4-5), last week 28: Houston got a big win on Monday Night in Cinci and now get to play a banged up Jets team
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5), last week 26: You don’t have to be good to be lucky
25. New Orleans Saints (4-6), last week 18: It will be interesting to see if this team remembers how to play defense
26. San Diego Chargers (2-7), last week 23: this team needs another bye week to get healthy
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6), last week 29: The Jags are still a bad team but at least they are an exciting bad team
28. Baltimore Ravens (2-7), last week 24: The Ravens can’t catch a break with the refs or their own dumb plays
29. Tennessee Titans (2-7), last week 30: The ups and downs of a season with rookie quarterback is expected
30. San Francisco 49ers (3-6), last week 31: After celebrating their first win in the Gabbert era, the Niners come off a bye and head to Seattle
31. Cleveland Browns (2-8), last week 25: Finally, the Browns are relinquishing the starting job to Manziel
32. Detroit Lions (2-7), last week 32: The Lions showed they still had some roar in them with a big win in Green Bay