Bus Stops: Patriots facing a test; Raiders facing a mess, more notes
Conversely, the Falcons look pretty good, yet people are still asking the question: When will they falter? No one's giving them the benefit of the doubt. That's history speaking, too.
So this is a barometer game for both franchises. If Atlanta wins, it validates them as a legit football team. If New England wins, they're still on top.
Personally, I'd bet on the Patriots pulling it together, but they'll have to overcome a defense that's changed too much. Man, could they use
Now, if New England loses at home, and starts 1-2, then that's a serious uphill battle. On NBC last night,
If New England loses to the Falcons, too, nobody will be sleeping, period. Then the fear creeps in. These guys are used to being on top. They may not know how to handle losing. It's uncharted territory.
So now you have a player who hasn't met his potential, and you have coaches who can't develop players. That's the Raiders organization for you.
Look at my old team, the Steelers. If you're a first-round pick on the Steelers, that team is going to find a way to coach and whip you into Pro Bowl form or they're going to die trying. Winning starts with the ownership, whose decision-making is crucial. Al Davis just doesn't work that way. Because of his philosophy and his reputation, he can't get good coaches to come there. And without coaches he can't develop his talent. JaMarcus Russell is just one of many examples of what happens in this system, and until Davis relinquishes control of that franchise, we're going to see the same thing.
Here's another thing I don't like about how Russell's being handled: Oakland cut
I just don't think Russell will get that fear, that jolt, until he sits. And
Another thing that impresses me is that this team is not fixated on getting the ball to
You have to like that the Saints have a respectable defense at this point, too. Bringing in a playmaker like
Long term, maybe they're not a Top 10 defense. But if this offense keeps this pace, it might not matter. Let's say the Saints allow 30 points a game. They can still win. Before you pick your Super Bowl winner ask yourself this: Can you name an offense that can keep pace with the Saints?
Maybe Tennessee should have put some of the millions of dollars it saved by letting Haynesworth go towards paying Schwartz like a head coach. They'd be better for it.
Ex-players think of the Hall in those terms: game changers. That's why I admire another guy in this class,
Another guy I like to get inducted is
And of course, I have to love
If anything, the NFL should be thanking this guy. What he does is good for the game. Maybe it brings more viewership. If you'd read in the paper last week that Chad was going to do the Lambeau Leap if he scores, wouldn't you at least have considered watching that game?
--Looking down the standings, I see a few 2-0 teams that won't make the playoffs. I wouldn't get excited about San Francisco just yet; even less about Denver. Having a weak division helps, but the Broncos are not even the class of the weak AFC West. That's still San Diego.
--How about an 0-2 team I like? Tennessee, easily. With their personnel, they'll turn this around. Maybe not against the Jets this week, but their schedule gets easier down the line.
--I caught some flack for trashing the Steelers' line and running backs