|NFL Power Rankings|
Minnesota Vikings (2-3)Walter Payton ran angry. So did Emmitt Smith. Adrian Peterson runs angry. And he also has a lightning change of direction and more speed than anyone chasing him has. This is a rare package the Vikes have here. I just hope they don't screw it up.
Chicago Bears (2-4)The great mystery that was never answered on any game report I saw -- how could a team that supposedly was impregnable against the run give up all those yards? I mean there were DBs out, but not enough front seven people to make them so vulnerable. If it would have been one of my tape specials, I could come up with some kind of answer, but unlike Night, I don't have a thousand eyes.
San Francisco 49ers (2-3)They have averaged 48.8 plays per game. This projects to 781 for the season. My friend and comrade, Nick Stamm, the miracle worker from Stats.Com, informs me that the record for fewest in a 16-game season is 843 by Detroit in 1992. Barry Sanders carried the ball 312 times that year (for 1,352 yards). Two other running backs, Troy Stradford and Ed Tillison, had, respectively, nine and four carries. And that's it for Detroit rushing stats that season. Weird, huh?
Oakland Raiders (2-3)Their vaunted ground machine was stopped by the Chargers. The ball was put into Daunte Culpepper's hands. Two picks, one fumble, six sacks. Next case.
Denver Broncos (2-3)I'm not kidding about this. Once I saw a Sumo tournament on TV. The 565-pound champion, Konishiki, got down in a four-point stance and exploded with a double arm thrust that knocked his man out of the ring. A pure football move. I called Al Davis. I asked him why not sign one or two of these guys to play the nose? I mean who'd ever run on you? He said two reasons not to -- 1) They don't have the stamina, since sumo bouts are over very quickly, and 2) You couldn't pay them enough. They make big money without getting the hell knocked out of them. But I think the Broncos, so anemic against the run, ought to seriously investigate this whole matter.
New Orleans Saints (1-4)I know, it was a wondrous thing, the way they came after the 'Hawks with that aggressive blitz package, but I must ask this: Where was it in last year's NFC Championship game against the Bears, when Rex Grossman was ready to topple and they called off the dogs and let him off the hook (wow, wotta mixed metaphor)?
Buffalo Bills (1-4)Brevity, thy name is bye week. Didn't want to drop you while you couldn't defend yourself, but I had to reward the Vikes and Saints, right?
Cincinnati Bengals (1-4)I picked them to beat the Jets. The worst thing about this sorry team is that I keep picking it. But I keep picking the Jets, too. Jimmy, who used to be Mailbag Monitor, says, "I love the Jets. They lose to physical teams, but beat non-physical ones, like the Bengals." Now I wish I'd picked New York. Why can't I think of stuff like that?
New York Jets (1-5)I don't want to join the heehaw chorus yelling for Chad Pennington's benching, but I'll say this about one of the finest people in the game. For his own well being, he has to sit for a while. There's too much pressure, too many people going after him, both on and off the field. Observe for a while, get his head straight, then come back. Right now it's slipping away. Now watch him have a career game against Cincy.
Atlanta Falcons (1-5)Yo, Alge Crumpler! You want to complain about the coaching? How about catching the freakin' ball when it's thrown to you? Two drops against the Giants. Some people counted three, but the third one was a bit wide.
Miami Dolphins (0-6)Right now the British sponsors of the Giants game in London are saying, "Now see here. How the deuce do we promote this game? They really haven't won yet, have they?" It's what they call, in the West End, a "major marketing problem."
St. Louis Rams (0-6)Typical game. One of their six picks sets up a 6-0 Ravens' lead. But then Baltimore fumbles on its own 11. The St. Louis series looks like this -- minus one on two plays, penalty, incomplete pass, 35-yard field goal wide left. Ravens ball on their own 25. And 75 yards later the score is 13-0 and another one goes up the spout. It's sad.