|NFL Power Rankings|
Houston Texans (3-5)Unsung player. Well, I'll sing about him. I named him my MVP of the Jacksonville game. Wideout Kevin Walter. Coming through admirably, with Andre Johnson hurt. Twenty five catches for 334 yards in his last three games.
Chicago Bears (3-5)The Lions did everything they could to kick the ball away from Devin Hester, which included sending two bloop kickoffs out of bounds, thus providing instant field position on the 40. "I'll kick it into Lake Michigan first," said Rod Marinelli. The image stayed with Hester. He said it reminded him of the guys out in the Bay in San Francisco, waiting for home runs to be hit into the water. Terrific ideas here for some kind of commercial or other.
Buffalo Bills (3-4)Wideout Lee Evans was one of those guys who wasn't exactly thrilled that rookie Trent Edwards had replaced Jay Losman at QB. So what happens? Edwards hurts his wrist against the Jets, Losman comes in and promptly hits Evans on an 85-yarder for the game's only touchdown. It's a very player-friendly thing, this NFL football. Just make your wishes known and there's no telling what could happen.
New Orleans Saints (3-4)David Patten, five catches, 100 yards against the 49ers, two 100-yard games out of the last three. Who would ever have thought it? Given up on by the Giants, Browns, Patriots, Redskins. Could get downfield but there always seemed to be something wrong ... hurt or something. Another heart-warming story in the great, wide tableau of modern professional football.
Minnesota Vikings (2-5)Stop the presses! Adrian Peterson has just been named official starter at running back. Stay tuned for our next important announcement from the club, which will concern the matter of October about to end.
Oakland Raiders (2-5)Two games in a row now that a safetyman has turned out the lights with a late interception. First Jarrad Page of the Chiefs, then Chris Hope of the Titans. Let's see, what else? Mike Williams drops a big fourth-down pass, the team runs up 14 penalties. The usual.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-5)All of a sudden Chad Johnson's routines aren't amusing anybody anymore. He's the first name you hear mentioned when they talk about cleaning house. But just look at the way those players who create distractions have been rewarded. T.O. is in Dallas, the NFC's prime contender. Randy Moss is in New England. Somewhere along the line the NFL's rewards system has gotten skewed, which is jut fine with Chad.
San Francisco 49ers (2-5)I don't want to jump off a horse that's limping, but if they ever give Frank Gore a chance to get his ankle well, I think you'll see the emergence of a real gamer, Michael Robinson. Hard to bring down, plays with great flair and intelligence and also likes to lay the wood to people when he's on special teams.
New York Jets (1-7)My mother told me always to try to find the good in things. David Harris, 17 tackles against the Bills. Huh? How does someone tally 17? Well, first you make friends with the guy in the booth who's keeping the stats ... no, just kidding. You play in a defense with which you're familiar, the 3-4, which this rookie first rounder played in at Michigan in 2005. He replaces Jonathan Vilma, who's out with a knee. Where's he been all year? Oh, here and there, in and out, minding his own business ... you know.
Atlanta Falcons (1-6)We have entered a dark realm of teams I don't like to write about ... check that, about whom I don't like to write. San Francisco arrives this weekend. It'll be Atlanta's best chance to post win No. 2. And the quality of this observation fully matches the quality of the Falcons' record.
Miami Dolphins (0-8)Is this a real quarterback controversy, or even a story or just something dreamed up by somebody with nothing better to do? John Beck, second-round draft choice. Ready to have a go at starting? Ready to become part of everyday conversation? Wouldn't it be funny if seven or eight years from now, when he's played in his third straight Pro Bowl, someone reminds me how smugly arrogant I was at one time?
St. Louis Rams (0-8)Guard Richie Incognito, just back from an injury to help a battered offensive line, is now hurt again. I want you to thank me, please, for not coming up with some cheap, smirky play on words involving this player's God-given name.