|NFL Power Rankings|
San Diego Chargers (5-4)I shouldn't even have raised them after that sorry offensive showing against the Colts. I mean it wasn't exactly the Doomsday Defense that shut down their attack so completely in the second half. I'm giving them a break, though, because Antonio Cromartie's leaping one-handed interception was so pretty.
Detroit Lions (6-3)If you think their minus-18 yards rushing was anywhere near an NFL record, forget it. The mark came back in 1943, when sack yardage counted as yards lost rushing, and on the afternoon of Oct. 17, these same Lions rushed for minus 53 against the Chicago Cardinals. There are a lot of mysterious things about that game, and if there are any of you spry 90-year olds out there who were at the contest, please contact me with information. The Lions should have run better, since their top rookie was a popular collegiate All-American named Frankie Sinkwich. It was a Cards' home game, but it was played in Buffalo. And guess how badly the Lions were beaten. Come on, pick something wild. How about this? They actually won the game, 7-0.
Washington Redskins (5-4)What's happened to Joe Gibbs' game management? With about five minutes left the Skins led Philly, 22-20, and they were on the Eagles 7, first down, goal-to-go. A touchdown would put the game practically out of reach. But they called five running plays, with a penalty starting the count over again. The last one was with seven yards to go. Earlier, Jason Campbell had thrown three short TD passes in the red zone. So they kicked the field goal and went up by five, the Eagles got their TD and took the lead with 3:16 left. The Redskins could have gotten something going but they had used up all their time outs and couldn't punt the ball back to Philly if they were stopped. They had to go for it on fourth-and-13 and that was the old ballgame. Strange, weird stuff down there in the nation's cap. And it isn't even a presidential year.
Seattle Seahawks (5-4)If they plan to eventually give up on Shaun Alexander and plan to build a running game around Maurice Morris, they'd better think it through. Sure, they gave him the ball a million times against the poor 49ers on Monday night, and he clocked in with a 3.1 average, but there were just too many times I saw him hitting the wrong hole, making a cut that took him into the heart of the defense. Say what you want, but in the old days Alexander had a certain rhythm going with his O-line. That doesn't exist now.
Arizona Cardinals (4-5)They had lost their last three before they faced Detroit at home on Sunday. Three and a half minutes into the game the Lions' Kenoy Kennedy picked off a pass, ran it back 38 yards and Detroit scored three plays later. Fans started heading out to the parking lot to beat the traffic. An announcement came over the speaker. "Parking lot gates will be closed and locked. No one will be permitted to leave." "Why do you make up such crazy things about my city?" says The Flaming Redhead, who's from Phoenix. Can't really tell, honey. Too hot, too dry, too predictable. At least the Cards won the game.
Buffalo Bills (5-4)I know, you all think it's hopeless against the Patriots on Sunday. New England has won its last three in Buffalo, scoring 28 or more each time. And when the teams met in September, it was Pats, 38-7. All I can say in rebuttal is remember the Buffalo-Dallas game. Folks up there get feisty when constantly reminded how bad things are.
Denver Broncos (4-5)And Selvin Young, with his buck-nine against KC, is the newest pretty face to go over the century mark for the Broncs. Here's a good research project for you eighth grade students out there. See if the Broncos lead the league in different backs going over a hundred in the last 10 years. QBs don't count.
New Orleans Saints (4-5)Rams' defensive coordinator Jim Haslett blitzed 16 times out of the first 18 plays against the team he used to coach. He didn't call off the blitzers until St. Looie had a 34-7 lead in the fourth quarter. Sounds simple, I know, but there's a lot more to it. There's how you set up your package and who the guys are who are blitzing and how motivated they are. Even so, I much prefer seeing some aggression out there, rather than the old firm to which I keep referring, Layback and Catchitt.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)I'll bet if you would ask people, "Who would be your choice to break up a game at the end by going 57 yards with a screen pass?" you'd hear half a dozen different answers before Brian Westbrook's name came up. Oh, back here in the East we know how good he is, but on a national level, he is still not taken seriously enough.
Houston Texans (4-5)Deeply entrenched in the middle of our pack of nine 4-5ers, the Texies enjoyed their bye, while fortunes rose and fell and bodies crashed around them. This is the period in which I have decided to maintain the sanctity of the bye week, so they will hold their 20th position (I did have them 20th last week, didn't I?)