|NFL Power Rankings|
San Francisco 49ers (6-8)Wow, did you see the magic Alex Smith pulled out of his hat to win the Seattle game. Where has that been? Can we expect much more of it? Legitimate questions from an old, and I mean old, Niners fan who goes back to the days of Lenny Eshmont and Wally Yonamine.
Washington Redskins (5-9)I guess you're aware of the fact that I'm hated by this club's ownership and fans. Thus, when I lifted them above four 6-8 teams, including Sunday's opponent, the Rams, in my rankings, it was seen in some quarters as a move designed to motivate St. Louis into uncontrolled rage and a desire to get even. I'll take a polygraph on it ... I was just saluting the Skins' fine victory over New Orleans, but if you'd like me to drop them way down, as a further inspirational move, I think it could be arranged.
St. Louis Rams (6-8)Got off to a 13-0 lead, used the run to milk the clock and made it stand up. Textbook football. The only downer was that it was against the, well, against the Raiders. OK, I dropped St. Looie a place, and maybe I shouldn't have, but the Redskins were performing deeds of valor on the same day.
Green Bay Packers (6-8)According to Favre, Ed Hochuli, the star struck referee, congratulated him on breaking Dan Marino's all time completion record during the Lions game. Now if I would have had access to Hochuli's head, I'd have planted this evil thought: "Congratulations, Brett, on needing only eight more picks to break George Blanda's all time interception record." But that's just evil old me.
Minnesota Vikings (6-8)My God, how often must we witness this scenario? Brad Johnson, 38-year-old QB. Naah, that's not old, the voices from the TV set keep telling us. He's as good as he ever was. Amazing. Then December arrives. Season has been going on for too many weeks. Thirty-eight-year-old QBs are feeling like 58. Enter high draft rookie Tarvaris Jackson at the end of the third quarter against the Jets. Wow, he actually runs around. And makes people miss. Players are inspired. New life. Johnson? Hmm, time to look at his contract and cap number. The hard world of the NFL moves on.
Carolina Panthers (6-8)Mike Wahle, shoulder. Mike Rucker, torn knee ligament. The NFL's most depressing team sinks deeper into the morass, joining the dregs of society on this sheet. Painful stuff. Can't go on.
Arizona Cardinals (4-10)Leinart vs. Cutler, and this was supposed to prove something or other last weekend. Leinart played against the Broncos defense, entirely different set of people, with totally different outlooks on life than the Cardinals defense, which Cutler faced. I'm being hopelessly square, of course. It's just that the language of hype, of promotion, gets me slightly nauseated.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-11)Bucs gets a two-spot hike for their valiant OT effort against the mighty Bears. What's that you say? Bears had clinched and were on cruise control. For heaven's sake, show some compassion for the poor creatures stirring at the bottom of the lagoon.
Cleveland Browns (4-10)One more word about the Dinkpoints system. Derek Anderson graded out at 85.8 for his losing performance against the Ravens. This is a higher rating than John Unitas compiled in his career, or Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, John Elway or a million other great QB' I could name. What got him his Dinkpoints? A whole basketful of six- and seven-yard hitches. Oh, and by the way, he had 11 third down situations and converted zero, which, of course, is not computed by the people who invented the Dinkpoints system. Don't get me started, OK? "You're started already," the Flaming Redhead points out. Yeah, right, let's move on and wind this thing up.
Houston Texans (4-10)Facing an angry Patriots eleven thirsting for blood, they opened the game by attempting a fake punt on their first possession. Safety Jason Simmons received the ball on a direct snap, found himself face up with an ugly mob, tipped his hat and said, "Sorry to disturb you. Just checking the gas meter." Things got worse from there, like 40-7 worse.
Detroit Lions (2-12)Michael Simon, a regular correspondent and a ferociously loyal Lions fan, wants to know why, year after year, Detroit suffers more and worse injuries than any other team. Eight of their preferred starters were missing against Green Bay Sunday. "Could somebody please do an investigation of their conditioning or their turf or nutrition or something?" poor Michael asks. I'll get on it, I swear. I'll ask Matt Millen at the next league meetings ... if he's still around.
Oakland Raiders (2-12)Official sources say that dead wood such as Randy Moss and Jerry Porter soon will be gone, leaving the receiving corps in the hands of young, energetic go-getters such as Doug Gabriel. Gabriel recently was re-signed after he had flunked out of the Patriots system, supposedly for his last-on, first-off practice field habits. I guess it's a relative matter, huh? And I wonder who his relative is.