Tuesday, October 19, 2004

NFL Darts

Since my beloved Washington Redskins are currently enjoying their bye week, I thought I’d just post some thoughts about what’s going on around the league.

JERRY RICE TO SEATTLE. It was weird to see Rice leave San Francisco. But, in Oakland, he was still in the Bay Area with a glamour franchise. Now, he’ll be up in Seattle….where he won’t be able to wear his customary #80 jersey, since it has been retired in honor of Steve Largent. This is one of those sad deals in sports when it is obvious that a great athlete’s career is coming to a close. Not to say that Rice still can’t play or can’t offer anything to the Seahawks, but that his great career won’t end as gracefully as it could have.

DAUNTE CULPEPPER GOING OFF. Yeah, he’s on pace for 58 touchdown passes this year. Unreal!! Sure, that’s one of those exaggerated stats….but the season is over 25% over for the Vikings. Minnesota has scored 150 points already, only the Colts and Chargers [who’ve played one more game] have scored more. But, the defense has given up 125 points…meaning Minnesota is winning by an average of 5 points per game. Two running backs are hurt and a third is on suspension. THAT’S why Culpepper is having to put up those numbers….and may continue to do so.

THE WINLESS MIAMI DOLPHINS. Ya know, there are good teams with bad records. There are bad teams with good records. Then there are just horrible teams with horrible records. This Dolphin team isn’t “horrible”. They have one of the toughest defenses in the NFL. I mean, despite the record, they really haven’t been picked apart…losing each game by an average of 8 points. But, that offense is freakin’ bad. How bad? Well, bad enough that not even that defense can save them. Miami averages 9 points a game. NINE. The Colts average 32 points, best in the NFL. The next closest “bad offense” is the Redskins who average 14 points per game. So, can they win a game? Sure. In today’s NFL, anyone can beat anyone else. On November 7, they host the Cardinals. Three weeks later, they are in San Francisco. The week after, they host Buffalo. Winnable games. But, they also play at Seattle, Jets, Denver and Baltimore and host the Rams, Patriots and Browns. A 1-15 season is not out of the question.

GOOD TEAMS GONE BAD. Man, there are a lot of teams that had promise that are completely faltering. The Chiefs [1-4] just can’t catch a break. The Titans [2-4] have already lost to the Jags, Colts and Texans…all AFC South rivals….at home in Nashville. The Bengals [1-4] are back to being the Bungles. Carolina [1-4] and Tampa Bay [1-5] are the last two NFC Champions. Green Bay’s [2-4] defense is horrible and is 0-3 at home. Chicago [1-4] has won their lone game there against them. The Joe Gibbs’ era in Washington [2-4] has gotten off to an offensively rocky start. Who amongst these teams can bounce back and be a playoff contender?? Well, the Packers have always done well in the 2nd half of the season….and play in a division with teams that have issues. I’d pick them.

BAD TEAMS GONE GOOD. Yep, Atlanta [5-1] has turned it around. Jacksonville [4-2] are the kings of winning close games. Pittsburgh [5-1] started a rookie QB in Week 3 and haven’t lost since. The Giants [4-1] have seen a rebirth of Kurt Warner and a focused Tiki Barber along with a opportunistic defense. Who can keep this up?? Atlanta can!! They play a last place schedule, and the combined record of their division rivals is 4-13.

WHO’S THE MVP? Right now, I’d pick Culpepper because he’s putting up the numbers and his team has a stellar record. But, Donovan McNabb has led his team to a dominating start.

WHO’S THE TOP ROOKIE?? Easy. Big Ben Rothlesberger.

WHO’S THE BEST NFC TEAM?? The Philadelphia Eagles. My preseason pick has done nothing to dissuade me from keeping them as my favorite. The defense has played great, the offense is stellar, and they’ve won all 5 games by double digits.

WHO’S THE BEST AFC TEAM?? Indianapolis Colts. I know, the Patriots are still undefeated and they did beat the Colts….but the Colts should have easily beaten them. Since that game, the Colts have rolled. New England still hasn’t lost…but they haven’t looked as good as the Colts. But, Indy’s defense needs to get a little better.

ANY SURPRISES ON THE HORIZON?? Look for Green Bay to really keep an eye of Drew Brees this season. They’ll go after him after the season to be Favre’s replacement….If JP Losman gets back healthy, look for him to take Drew Bledsoe’s job in Buffalo…..If the Bengals are thinking about saving their season, they may look at replacing Carson Palmer with John Kitna to see if he can kickstart the team…..Look for a Rich Gannon retirement press conference before the Super Bowl

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