|NFL Power Rankings|
Detroit Lions (6-6)Jon Kitna's quote after the Vikes blew 'em out created a press room full of puzzled writers. "We don't have a lot of people left in our boat right now." Who, exactly, has bailed out? Writers? Fans? Teammates, God forbid? The playoffs are still there. All they have to do is beat the Cowboys, Chargers, Chiefs and Packers. Hmmm, guess the boat is kind of empty at that.
Houston Texans (5-7)I guess my question is kind of simplistic. How did the current QB, Sage Rosenfels, get his first name? An herb, a wise man, what? I call on any informed e-mailers to kindly send in your responses, and I don't need a whole bunch of smart aleck stuff from you wiseguys out there, either.
Carolina Panthers (5-7)The night before the victory over San Francisco, John Fox told his team to have fun out there, to pretend they were little kids again. Vince Testaverde thought it over. Let's see now, Roosevelt was getting ready to run against Alf Landon, the Depression was in its fifth year, Germany was about to seriously rearm, Babe Ruth was close to retirement. It was all very clear.
Baltimore Ravens (4-8)I said what I had to about Monday night, and now I'm looking at all-pro candidates, and I find a bunch -- LG Jason Brown, DT Haloti Ngata, FS Ed Reed. You know, there's still plenty of material here.
Oakland Raiders (4-8)Ta daaa, the debut of JaMarcus Russell. Two series of eight plays each. Score was 7-7 in the second quarter. Completed four of seven for 56 yards, no TD's. Botched one handoff, fumbled a snap, was late in the cadence, misfired two passes. The rumor is that later in the week his agent will ask to have his contract renegotiated upward.
Cincinnati Bengals (4-8)I have yet to see Carson Palmer as wildly inaccurate as he was against the Steelers. Got no help from his receivers ... or his arm.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-8)I heard, on the scoreboard show, that my man, Jared Allen, a returning Dr. Z all pro, had scored a touchdown against the Chargers. And right away I knew how he did it. Went up to the scorer's booth in the press box, grabbed the head statistician by the throat, and growled, "Put me down for one TD." OK, he caught a two-yard pass from Huard. Now admit it, which version did you like better?
New York Jets (3-9)The sweepers are just finishing up, the electrician is starting to turn off the lights, and someone hollers at me, "You done yet?" Getting it finished, pal. Wrapping it up. Great job by Laveranues Coles, gutting it out on a bad ankle. And what's more ... OK, OK, I'll be through in a minute.
St. Louis Rams (3-9)The strange up-and-down world of Gus Frerotte -- missed a wide-open Isaac Bruce for seven and then fumbled a fourth-and-one snap on the goal line two weeks ago. Dazzled the Falcons with 311 yards passing, two TD's and a 98.6 rating on Sunday. I'm not asking everyone to be consistent, but please, show a little mercy for people such as me who have to handicap these games.
Atlanta Falcons (3-9)Rams entered the fourth quarter, up, 21-3, but they are notorious for blowing leads, and back come the Falcons behind Chris Redman, who has replaced Joey Harrington. Two TDs make it 21-16, and now the Falcons have the ball again and they have a fourth-and-seven on the St.Louis nine with 2:19 to go. Do they go for the seven, or take the easy three? The word comes in. Punt. So Michael Koenen sends one up into the rafters of the Edward Jones Dome end zone, where the ball ricochets madly. "You know, you keep writing stupid stuff like that and people are just going to stop reading it," says one whose red head is filled with far more wisdom than my gray one. OK, already, they go for the first down and the pass is incomplete. But they have all their time outs left, plus the two-minute warning, and they get the ball back on their own 48 with 1:45 remaining. And Redman's first pass is intercepted. You know all those stories you read about the miracle comebacks of Joe Montana and John Elway, etc.? Well, this is the real world, the other side of the coin.
San Francisco 49ers (3-9)Trent Dilfer, Joey Harrington, Vinny Testaverde ... they lurk around the fringes of the NFL like the ghosts of Christmases past. Sometimes a candle flickers briefly. Most often it's like last Sunday, when Dilfer threw four picks. Forgive me, please, for a few moments, while I get myself together.
Miami Dolphins (0-12)Flash: Hot rumor is Ricky Williams will be traded in the off-season. The rumor was started by his agent. But who knows? Based on his six carries against the Steelers, someone might be interested.