There was a great amount of anticipation this week with all the great games on tap. As the weeks come to pass, the cream has started to float to the top. Here is what I saw.
Ahem, Ahem. Just wanted to clear my throat before making a small point. I seem to remember someone resembling me saying three weeks ago that the Patriots streak would end in Pittsburgh. Well, it came to fruition this Sunday as the Steelers absolutely pasted the Patriots. Bellichick’s boys were only in this for about eight minutes, as they led early 3-0. After that, it was a complete onslaught as the Steelers went up 21-3 by the end of the first quarter and never looked back. The Patriots did everything their last 21 opponents have done against them. Now many people have said it would have turned out differently if the Patriots didn’t have so many injuries, but I simply don’t believe that. Pittsburgh was simply the better team on Sunday, and that’s it. The Patriots accomplished something no team has ever done, winning 18 straight regular season games, and that is to be commended. Keep in mind, one of the reasons the Patriots won the Super Bowl is they had 22 healthy starters going into that game, as they did throughout the entire playoffs. They never has anyone listed less than probable during the amazing run last year. Three stats about this game should stand out however: the Patriots had 4 yards rushing, were minus 4 in takeaways and held the ball on offense for only 17 minutes. Even if the first two stats weren’t true, you’re not going to win too many games with your offense on the field just over one quarter of the game. Congratulations to the Patriots for giving what was an amazing accomplishment that many people enjoyed watching.
As for next week and the bragging rights for the State of Pennsylvania, I don’t make any predictions. Until a team figures out a way to stop TO, Philly will not be stopped. I can hope, though.
A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss
In watching the Vikings for two weeks without Randy Moss at 100%, it is obvious that they are not the same team without him. Even if he doesn’t have the monster game, he can server as a decoy binding up coverage in the secondary. The Giants were able to absolutely destroy the Vikes at home on Sunday. Daunte looked uncomfortable in the pocket, and as unsure of himself as I have seen in recent years. If Moss cannot get healthy soon, they may want to look over their shoulders because Green Bay may very well come from behind like last year.
One other note about Moss, what is this crap about his streak of consecutive games? Either you can go or you can’t, but don’t give the fans this stuff about I’m going to start, be out their for a few plays and then put your street clothes on. Our fantasy lives are on the line here man! Not only that, but you are doing your team no good, you are only thinking of yourself. My advice, stay out, get healthy and come back to contribute and get your team to the playoffs. Who gives a damn about a streak if you are sitting home again in January?
Two tackles, and two punt returns for a total of nine yards. That’s all I have to say about that.
Just Plain Lousy Game of the Week
SF vs CHI: I almost gave the award to Bal/Phi, because of the absolutely torching display of offense that went on, until I fell asleep in the Sunday night game with about twelve minutes to go. The only exciting thing about this was two field goals in a row hit the crossbar and went through. I have to say, I have never seen that before in one game.
Speaking of things I’ve never seen before, what in the heck was Jeff Fisher doing when he sent in a play that featured a seven wide formation? I think even the referees were flipping through the rulebook to see if it was legal. What’s next, the wishbone? A double reverse HB option play? The play worked but wow.
Another thing I haven’t seen is 1095 yards of total offense between the Colts and Chiefs. Talk about a fantasy dream game. I think even the cheerleaders got some fantasy points this week.
Out to Pasture
Here is a team I think is done this season, that maybe under the radar: Tennessee. With McNair ailing, and with new competition from Jacksonville and Houston, the Titans may be finished. They will be competitive, but they have to win six of eight just to finish 9-7, which will not get a playoff spot in my estimation. With games still remaining in the division against Indy and the aforementioned teams, plus KC and Denver, they will need another Music City Miracle just to get a wild card spot. Time to start scouting next year, Jeff.
Showing only a little bias here, but I have to say the Steelers are a big one. Every commentator with a mic predicted Baltimore to run away with the division, with the Steelers finishing third. To be 6-1 at the midpoint with a two game lead is more than anyone could have expected.
Jacksonville and San Diego have to get honorable mention here, as they are contending for division titles when many thought they would contend for draft picks. Great coaching, Jack and Dom.
My definition of an MVP is someone who makes the entire team around them better, but saying that you are still going to question my choice. Tiki Barber. He has 1100 yards from scrimmage in seven games, seven touchdowns, ten plays of twenty plus yards and 46 first downs. The most important stat is no lost fumbles. His play is a big part of why the Giants are 5-2, and contending for the division if the Eagles slip up just a little bit. You may think I’m crazy with this choice, but you probably realized that already so get used to it.
This is an easy one. Seahawks, no question. I guess the pressure of being many people’s Super Bowl representative was too much for them to handle. They have a running back in Shaun Alexander on pace for 1900 yards from scrimmage and 20 combined TDs, and they still cannot find a way to close out games. The NFC West is still a total toss up, but I think the Seahawks will be on the losing end of that flip. At least we can revel in the fantasy stats.
Please oh please tell me the Dolphins are not going to give Spurrier another shot in the NFL. Wayne, please call Dan Snyder and ask him if this is a good idea. When he stops laughing he may give you the answer.
Pick up anyone you can on either the Colts or the Chiefs. It seems the fantasy points are endless on those teams.
Despite great efforts for parity, we have the same NFL we have seen for years. Five or six really good teams on each side, several really bad teams, and most that can’t figure out what they want to be from week to week.
On to next week…