Maybe I've got the story of the week wrong. In this space, I always try to look at the aspect of the weekend's games that fascinates me the most, and the thing that really hit me the other day when looking over the 13 games on tap was this:
I still like that storyline a lot, but the events of the past few days have caused me to look at the other side of the game too. After
And they'll be catching the Vikings at the right time. It's likely that struggling journeyman
LeBeau against Favre is a little too good to ignore. LeBeau, 71, the 51-year NFL player, assistant, head coach, coordinator. Favre, 40, the most veteran NFL starting player at any position. Both seem too old for this. Both also seem to be near the peak of their games. LeBeau's coming off orchestrating one of the great defensive seasons ever by a team. Favre's mostly been playing it safe with the Vikings, but lately has come out of his cocoon to win games with deep balls. It's very early, obviously, but Favre has never completed 70 percent of his throws in a season, as he's doing now, and his 12-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio is rare for him.
"They compare very favorably with all the great offenses I've seen over the years,'' LeBeau said after practice Thursday. "Arguably, they've got the best running back in football, and the most dangerous one. Brett's certainly the most experienced quarterback, and he's playing so well. He can play any way he's ever played -- fast, dictating the tempo, or regular. And his hard count at the line is so good.
"Their lowest point total is 27 six weeks in, so that tells us a lot about their offensive consistency. What I've seen on tape in a team that can score explosively, or they can button it up and pound you with two backs in the running game.''
The added threat is first-round pick
The Steelers aren't as dominant as they were on defense a year ago. That's due to a couple of things. One: injuries. They missed freelancing safety
"Isn't this the kind of game where you hope the offense will play clockball?'' I said to LeBeau. "Where
He laughed. "As a defensive coordinator, I think that ought to be the game plan every week.''
I like the Steelers, narrowly, because I think Roethlisberger can make more plays against the Vikings secondary than Favre will make. Whatever happens, it's this weekend's must-see game.
The Sanchize needs to turn into The Player. Sanchez goes to Oakland on Sunday with a trimmed-down game plan and the first real questions about whether he'll make it through the season as a 16-game starter. First three games: 59 percent passing, four touchdowns, two picks. Last three games: 45 percent passing, one touchdown, eight picks. Sanchez is certainly still