Despite the NFL’s great desire for parity, it seems the league at week seven is top heavy to some degree. Keep in mind that parity is not the same as mediocrity which is why you have really strong teams every year. Let’s examine why the good teams are good and why the others aren’t.
The division leaders (whom we will use as the top teams) are a combined 41-10. Of those eight three are in the top five in least points allowed, three are in the top ten in turnover ratio, four are in the top ten in time of possession on offense and four are in the top ten on special teams. Many of these teams are winning because they play well in every aspect and minimize mistakes while capitalizing on those of their opponents. This is no great secret, but much of this success comes from coaching. Talent only takes you so far, making the best use of that talent for all fifty three players is what takes talent to championships.
Here are my observations from the week:
Not so Hotlanta
What in the heck got in to Kansas City this week? Did they suddenly wake up out of the bad dream that is their season and decide it was time to play? I seem to remember Atlanta having the top run defense in the league before going into Arrowhead on Sunday. It’s one thing to allow a 100+ yd game to Priest, and 4 TDs is certainly not out of the scope of imagination, but to allow Blaylock to rush for nearly 100 yards and another 4TDs? If that wasn’t enough for Atlanta, their lone end zone visit in the 56-10 rout was on a 75-yard punt return by Allen Rossum. Michael Vick had one of his signature performances, completing a third of his passes and being picked off twice by a soft Kansas City defense. This exposed a chink in the Atlanta armor, by allowing Vick to beat the Chiefs with his arm which Vick has proved he cannot yet do. One game does not change a season for either of these teams, but it seems that neither team’s record reflects their true nature yet.
Dolphins Aren’t Fish
Speaking of teams going in opposite directions, congratulations to Miami for ending the o-fer and beating up on the Rams on Sunday. The Rams went back to the pass, pass, and pass some more and oh yeah maybe we ought to run once against the Dolphins, but their defense came up short allowing 31 points and failing to generate any turnovers against the inept Miami offense. It’s amazing how much easier it is to win when you aren’t turning the ball over. Miami’s season worth of frustration was taken out when Tony Bua absolutely leveled Bryce Fisher on a punt return. That hit was probably heard by the Bucs in Tampa Bay. Unlike the above game, the Rams are not as good as their record, and the Dolphins are. It’s a four horse race to the number one pick for next year’s draft, between Buffalo, Miami, San Francisco and Chicago.
You have to love the Miller commercials with the referees, they are absolutely classic. Obviously they changed ad agencies after the dreadful presidential campaign commercials we saw earlier in the year. Since there are commercials about every sixty seconds during the game nowadays, these are ones I actually enjoy. The latest one is great, with the referee huddle about the guy delivering beer to the bar. My favorite is the camping one, “Chicks dig music man!” Just hilarious.
The Jags are definitely the new cardiac kids of the NFL. They have won five games this season, all in the fourth quarter, and they have four of those wins in the last 45 seconds. Here’s some news for all the teams matched up against them: don’t let them hang around to the fourth quarter or Leftwich will put you out. The Colts made some mental mistakes this week, which is uncharacteristic of a Dungy coached team. Reggie Wayne even went after Peyton Manning expressing some frustration in the fourth quarter. I don’t think he has much to complain about, since RW has dropped several catchable balls in the past few weeks, and maybe Peyton has lost just a bit of confidence in him.
I have to admit, Deion has come to play as of late, picking off two of Drew “The Statue” Bledsoe, returning one for a touchdown. There is no question he will make an impact, and a valuable one at that. However he simply doesn’t have the game breaking speed or game changing skills to take them to the Super Bowl. Beating the crap out of a 1-5 team is not really a banner week.
Just Plain Lousy Game of the Week:
None. I thought about giving the award to the Min/Ten game, but McNair got injured and I can’t say it was terrible just because Dante didn’t throw for 400 yards and 5 TDs. Every game had something to offer besides no-doz.
I heard a rumor that Jerry Rice asked Steve Largent to un-retire his number instead of Largent offering it to him as the media reported. I hope this isn’t true, because I will lose a great respect for you, Jerry. We all know you are number 80, and you always will be regardless of what number is on your back. Hopefully I have this one wrong.
If you have a roster spot, Derrick Blaylock is probably worth a look, in case Priest’s injury is not as minor as the Chiefs are reporting. Besides, Larry Johnson will see a carry when hell freezes over.
I have no idea why I am 3-4 in one league this year and 6-1 in the other drafting nearly the same from exactly the same spot in both leagues. Playoffs, baby all I can hope for is to make a run to the playoffs.
I also have no idea how the Broncos went to Paul Brown Stadium last night and got their asses handed to them. They seemed to forget they had a game this week and were game planning for Mike Vick at Invesco next week. Can you say trap game?
Enough for now, on to next week…