Winning teams that won't make playoffs; losing teams that will
Top-of-the-head hunches as we stare down Week 4...
• If I were forced to pick three teams that have winning records after three weeks but will still miss the playoffs, I'd go with:
• If I were forced to pick three teams that have losing records after three weeks but will still make the playoffs, I'd go with:
• There's a side of me that keeps hoping
But seriously, here's all you need to know about the Millen reign of error in Detroit:
In the seven-plus years he was in charge of the Lions (115 games), Detroit went 31-84 (.270), with no playoff trips, no winning seasons, and six double-digit loss records.
The rest of the Lions division over that same 115-game span, from 2001 to now?
-- Green Bay was 68-47 (.591), with five playoff trips, five winning seasons and just one double-digit loss records.
-- Chicago was 61-54 (.530), with three playoff trips, three winning seasons and two double-digit loss records.
-- Minnesota was 52-63 (.452), with one playoff trip, two winning seasons and three double-digit loss records.
-- For one year, in 2001, Tampa Bay and Millen's Lions were both in the NFC Central. The Bucs went 9-7 that season and made the playoffs.
All told, Detroit's divisional opponents during the Millen regime combined to make 10 playoff trips (going 6-10 in the postseason), with 11 winning seasons and six double-digit loss records. The Lions matched that last number all by themselves, and were a whopping 21 games worse than the Vikings, the next-worst division team, during that 115-game span.
So, yes, Matt, it was time to go.
• The four teams from the states of Ohio and Missouri have combined to go 0-12 this season, which accounts for more than one-fourth (25.5 percent) of the 47 losses that have occurred in 2008.
But something's gotta give this week because the Browns are at the Bengals, and barring a tie (wouldn't that be something?), somebody's going home a winner. As for the Chiefs and Rams, they don't play this year, so theoretically, they could both go 0-16. With another month or so of losing in Kansas City and St. Louis, I reserve the right to drop the theoretical element of that premise.
• You get the feeling the NFL might very well believe Ravens running back
In other words, what goes on at the bottom of the pile in the NFL, stays at the bottom of the pile in the NFL.
• So much for the notion Pittsburgh has corrected its problems on the offensive line, which was the mantra when I visited Steelers camp in Latrobe, Pa., this summer. After that eight-sack beating that quarterback
At that pace he would finish with 64 sacks this season. Roethlisberger was sacked 46 times in 2006, and 47 more last year, the highest two-year total in franchise history
• Anybody in Dallas still complaining about the Cowboys taking a complementary back like
• I covered the 2002 NFL draft from the Lions' team headquarters in suburban Detroit, and well remember the
So it was a bit ironic to see the Saints, Harrington's fourth NFL team, release him on Wednesday, the same day the Lions finally put Millen out of his misery.
• Don't know how
With New York on a bye, Burress misses just next week's very winnable game against Seattle, and there's no position that the Giants are deeper at than receiver. They haven't even been able to get rookie
• I already like one move the Lions have made in the post-Millen era: elevating assistant general manager
I believe 98.7 percent of the rest of the league's players would have balked at
• Life is always good in the NFL when you're three games into the season and still unbeaten, but some teams will invariably handle early success better than others. I don't have any concerns about the Titans keeping their perspective at 3-0 after talking with Tennessee defensive coordinator
"Maybe if you don't expect to win, maybe it's that way, where you're on a cloud,'' Schwartz said. "But we have a real veteran team now. We've transformed this team. A couple years ago we were the youngest team in the NFL. I just don't know if there's as much euphoria about being 3-0 when guys expect to win.
"We have a real level-headed bunch of guys, and they're not going to get real high if they win or real low if they lose. By Wednesday, whether we won or lost the last game, it's gone. It was like we were 0-3 at practice [Wednesday]. We've been doing this long enough to realize 3-0 isn't a guarantee of anything. All it means is you got off to a good start. We're not reveling in anything.''