Week 7 of the NFL season is over and, boy was it bad! "Weak 7". But as they saying goes, you learn something new every day ... so what did we learn over the weekend?
NEW YORK-PHILLY: Next week, the New York Giants visit the Philadelphia Eagles at 1pm. That night, the New York Yankees will visit the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4 of the World Series. Cool.
BLOWOUT CITY: There were only 12 games on Sunday. Six of them were won by at least 28 points. How does this happen? Packers beat Browns, 31-3. Chargers beat Chiefs, 37-7. Colts beat Rams, 42-6. Patriots beat Buccaneers, 35-7. Jets beat Raiders, 38-0. Bengals beat Bears, 45-10. This just lends more to the argument that there are just soooo many bad teams out there. Those six losers scored a grand total of 33 points (around 5.5 ppg). Those six teams are a combined 7-34 on the season. Yikes.
GOOD TEAMS GONE BAD ... OR GOOD ... OR BAD: Not only are there some really bad teams this season, some of those mediocre teams look really bad one week and look outstanding the next. The Bears were 3-2 heading into Cincinnati last week and were blasted. The Chargers looked out of it last week, but then blow through the Chiefs. How about the Jets, who lost three in a row and then beat the Raiders 38-0? Yes, it's only the Raiders but the Eagles couldn't win in Oakland last week.
CHALLENGING PENALTIES: I went on a rampage last week about the NFL allowing coaches to throw challenge flags on pass interference calls. This week, I'm now open to allowing challenge flags on any penalty. The tripping call in the Vikings-Steelers game directly affected the outcome of that game. Instead of a Sidney Rice touchdown, a few plays later the Steelers recover a fumble and return it for a score. We can throw the red flag to fight over a few inches of field position, or a seemingly meaningless play during a game ... but you cannot use it to challenge a bad call that cost your team points. It is ridiculous to have this system and not use it to the best of its abilities.
WHERE DID MILES AUSTIN COME FROM? Miles Austin has been the NFL's best receiver over the last two weeks. Fantasy owners are stumbling over each other in order to nab him on their teams. Austin is perfect for the Dallas Cowboys. He's quiet, effective and makes plays. The touchdown he scored to beat the Chiefs two weeks ago was due to a great play by him breaking a tackle and scooting in the endzone. The fact that Terrell Owens isn't in Tony Romo's ear anymore has helped create some fluidity for the offense ... both in playcalling and execution.
SPEAKING OF THAT, IS DALLAS THE BEST TEAM IN THE NFC EAST?: Last week, the Cowboys had a bye but still gained a half a game on every team in the division (the Giants, Eagles and Skins all lost). This week, they showed us that they are a good team and beat the Atlanta Falcons rather handily. With the Giants loss (and the Eagles/Skins game ensuring another division foe will lose) and Dallas is atop the standings. Their two losses are to the Giants and undefeated Broncos. They have a great rushing attack and the passing game seems to have found a rhythm. The defense, at times, looks strong ... though they aren't the best tackling group. I still think they are the third best team in the division, but they are playing the best right now.
CEDRIC BENSON FOUND THE WIZARD OF OZ: I used to firmly believe that Cedric Benson lacked heart. My main line of thinking is the fact that he really didn't fight Thomas Jones for the starting gig in Chicago ... then slinked out of their Super Bowl appearance against the Colts. IT'S THE FREAKING SUPER BOWL! MAN UP AND PLAY! Some bad decisions and on the outside of the league for a while must have taught Benson how to focus on his job. Since the Bengals plucked him off the garbage heap, he's been one of the most productive running backs in the NFL.
SAINTS-DOLPHINS WAS GREAT: Sometimes it's good to not watch a game with a mind for fantasy football points or some gambling point of view. The Dolphins-Saints game on Sunday was an outstanding game just to watch. There were all kinds of exciting plays. There was the Wildcat Offense, the undefeated team trailing by 21 points early, Drew Brees' attack and a great atmosphere. Great game. Great game.
BRETT FAVRE DETRACTORS HAVE AMMO: While Brett Favre was gun slingin' and leading the Vikings to an undefeated mark on the season, those anti-Favre fans kept saying that down the road he'll lose a game for you. That happened yesterday. His late fumble was returned for a TD ... then an interception was returned for a TD. Yeah, Chester Taylor got his hands on it but that pass was thrown with too much fire on it that it was nearly impossible for him to pull it in.