|NFL Power Rankings|
Arizona Cardinals (6-8)The gong is sounding because we are now about to begin our parade of losers. Five in a row who kissed the canvas last weekend, nine out of the last 10. You what? You're dying to know about the Cards? Reached the Saints' 6-yard line. Third and three. Called for a reverse. Three blockers in front. Cornerback Mike McKenzie slices through and spills the thing for a loss. Field goal ensues. Potential for a three-point game dies at 31-24. Has this episode thrilled or amazed you? Please be good enough to fill out the questionnaire at the end of this form.
Detroit Lions (6-8)When you lose, 51-14, you eliminate all sentences that begin, "If only we had ... "
Chicago Bears (5-9)Pretty dismal bunch huh? Bears-Vikes Monday night reminded me of the Warriors vs. Washington Heights Dukes battles in the old Dyckman Oval. Except that our completion percentages were better.
Cincinnati Bengals (5-9)A big cheer went up among the Bengals when the Miami-Baltimore result was in. That meant that they weren't going to be the victims of the Dolphins' first victory of the season, which was the way yours truly and a lot of other shrewd handicappers would have picked it.
New York Jets (3-11)The Revenge of Spygate turned out to be just another logical approach to miserable weather conditions -- 30 running plays to 27 passes thrown by the Patriots. It kept the score down, defused everybody's leading tabloid angle, reduced the hysteria. Let's hear it for weather.
San Francisco 49ers (4-10)Gripped by the saga of Shaun Hill, I did a biographical search on him. Here's what the Niners' press book says: "Shaun loves to fish. When he lived in Minnesota as a member of the Vikings, Shaun caught a nine-pound walleye on his first try. He was able to lure the fish using a leech for bait, 40-feet deep. Also in his repertoire is a 48-inch musket." For shooting fish in a barrel, I presume.
Oakland Raiders (4-10)Here's the way my mind works. Shane Lechler's first punt, a 53-yarder, was returned 90 yards by the Bengals' T.J. Rushing, giving Shane a net of minus 37 yards. I immediately got out my calculator and chart and found that the one play had knocked his season's net average of an unheard of 42.6 down to 41.2. One play! You see why no punter ever has had a net of 40 yards? Does anyone else care about this but me -- and Lechler, of course.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-10)Roll the clock back to Oct. 21. They were sailing along on Moonlight Bay. They had just beaten the Raiders and were sitting in first place in the division. Then the winds whipped the Bay into a frenzy. Seven straight losses, and now they're wondering when the season will end. "So what's the point?" says a down to earth person nearby. It's deep, honey. It's symbolic, and reflective, too. Think it over and it'll come to you.
Baltimore Ravens (4-10)Brian Billick, you're my man, going for the field goal that threw the Miami contest into overtime, not trying to end it with a sixer, thus giving me one of my more colorful upsets of the season. Let me know if there's anything I can do for you.
St. Louis Rams (3-11)Insiders swear that Steven Jackson is the most feared runner in football. I'd have said Marion Barber, but Jackson's bigger. They also tell me to give a very close look to Oshio Atogwe as an ultimate sleeper for my all-pro free safety spot. OK, I'll check him carefully, but I've got my running back already picked-and so far it's a secret.
Miami Dolphins (1-13)Head coach Cam Cameron says, "There's a huge difference between 0-16 and 1-15." Well, I know because I was on a Columbia team that finished 1-8. Imagine what would have happened if we'd have been 0-9? I mean mass suicides up and down Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway, stretching all the way over to West End Ave.
Atlanta Falcons (3-11)As soon as I saw that statement from Chris Redman, supporting Bobby Petrino, who'd been his coach at Louisville, who'd rescued his career from oblivion, I got on the phone and dialed every one of my friends who I knew liked to make a wager. The QB had just come out in favor of a guy widely hated by the rest of the team. They will open the gates, I told my friends. It will be Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. They will take part in the feast. For God's sake, get your bet down before it goes off the board. Tampa Bay won, 37-3 and it's one of the few things in my life that I called right on the nose. "So why didn't you bet it yourself?" says The Flaming Redhead. Because it's illegal in New Jersey and I'm not going to fly out to Vegas and back, and as I've written many times, the downside potential is too great -- conflict of interest and all that. But I'll tell you, I've never been as tempted.