The early games today were truly horrible. The Colts won by 36, the Pats won by 28, the Chargers won by 30, and the Packers won by 28. Apart from a superb Vikings-Steelers game, I have never seen a worse slate of games. Here’s a quick rundown.
San Francisco 21, Houston 24- This one was most intriguing part of this game was Mike Singletary’s choice to pull Shaun Hill in favor of Alex Smith who lead San Francisco back into the game with a little help from Vernon Davis (3 TDs). I was pretty much on with the prediction of Houston being better on the day and San Francisco struggling out of the gate. I am not entirely sure what to think about either of these teams. Houston looks good at times and then is a letdown and San Francisco just comes out flat sometimes. Both teams are somewhere in the middle of the league; they are capable of beating just about anyone but cannot do it consistently enough to really be considered a serious contender.
Indianapolis 42, St. Louis 6– Manning didn’t go over 300 yards, but a lot of that had to do with his defense forcing turnovers and giving him short fields. About what everyone expected as far as score except maybe a little low even?
New England 35, Tampa Bay 7 in London– See above as far as score. The odds makers could not have set this line high enough.
San Diego 37, Kansas City 7– Underachieving only applies when playing a team resembling an NFL team. The Chargers are undeniably underachievers, but calling Kansas City an NFL team of substance is a stretch.
Green Bay 31, Cleveland 3– Ever notice how Cleveland has disease problems? Last year they struggled with staph infections, this year they struggled with Swine Flu, and the entire team just looked sick on Sunday. Here is a good toss up for a typical Browns game: Which will be the larger total Derek Anderson incompletions or Browns points? I think that is a pretty fair line and ESPN should use that on Streak for the Cash.
Minnesota 17, Pittsburgh 27- In a complete reversal of last week’s game, the Vikings managed to play themselves out of this game despite outplaying Pittsburgh for much of the second half. The Woodley fumble recovery was easily the big momentum swing in this game. Leading up to that play, Minnesota had driven 73 yards and was on Pittsburgh’s doorstep, including a 3rd and forever conversion. It was the kind of conversion that can break a team and it looked like that drive was going to break Pittsburgh. However, it went from Minnesota pounding the ball down the field and bearing down on a 17-13 lead. Next thing you know it is 20-10 Pittsburgh. Even Percy Harvin’s kick return could not restore the momentum of that drive. I say that without the Woodley fumble, the Fox pick never happens and Minnesota goes on to win that game, but a big play swung the game and got a W for the Steelers.
New York Jets 38, Oakland 0– JaMarcus got pulled and by some miraculous occurrence, this was a surprise. We all knew he was bad, but no one thought he would really get pulled. He was the little (or enormous overpaid bust) engine that could. We all thought that somehow he would hold onto that job until his arms fell off, but maybe it just wasn’t so.
Buffalo 20, Carolina 9– Not much to say here except Carolina muffed a punt with the score 17-9 and it completely killed their chances. Really nothing to say about this game, I was happier when it was over.
Atlanta 21, Dallas 37– Dallas came off its bye and actually looked impressive against Atlanta. Tony Romo played very well, but I, and many others, maintain that if they built their team around a real trademark running game, not only the team, but Tony Romo would be better. Atlanta just got pushed around, exactly like they did against New England. Do not pick Atlanta against talented teams who are bigger and stronger than they are.
New Orleans 46, Miami 34- Easily the thriller of the weekend, Miami went up 24-3 and could not have played better in doing so. They were possessing the ball, pressuring Brees and keeping the explosive Saints under wraps. Then with a goal-line punch right before halftime, it was like someone used the defibrillator and brought life back to the Saints. The second half was all Saints and the score showed as they outscored the Fins 36-10 in the second half. The Saints are scary and I officially have no problems listing them above the Colts. Not a fantastic defense, but just scary enough to be decent and an offense to match any in the league. The Saints are for real.
Chicago 10, Cincinnati 45– Do not anger Cedric Benson, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. Benson gashed a really pathetic looking Bears team for 190 yards on the ground as Carson Palmer put up a svelte 233 on 20-24 passing. This game was frankly unwatchable if you were not a Cincinnati fan. It was 31-0 at the half and over well before that. Bears fans everywhere shielded their eyes as Cutler threw 3 picks and only managed to get the ball to Matt Forte 10 times. Cincinnati was just clearly the better team, but I do not think anyone expected them to be this much better. A truly embarrassing defeat for the Bears.
Arizona 24, New York Giants 17– I did not watch this game since the ALCS was on (more on that later this week), but in the bit I did catch, all I saw was Kurt Warner slicing the Giants secondary up, especially in the middle with Larry Fitzgerald. It appears the Giants are a bit overrated so far this year after getting blown out in New Orleans and beaten in primetime at home by what was thought to be a fairly mediocre Arizona team. The Giants have not been getting pressure on the better teams so far this year and until they start to do so, they cannot be considered among the league’s elite. Arizona is still enigmatic but not really in the same way as they were last year,
Washington v Philadelphia on Monday Night Football
This is going to be a blowout. The Redskins will not muster 14 points and the Eagles will be on a mission to prove that the Oakland loss was a fluke. Watch out Redskins fans, this one could get ugly fast. Expect a Todd Collins sighting even though none of this has really been Jason Campbell’s fault. What a sad state the formerly proud Redskins are in.