... have much tocrow about. Running back Jamal Lewis (above) is rumbling along (three TDs onSunday) and taking the 8--2 team with him. (Fullback Ovie Mughelli: "Jamalis definitely hungry.") And as temperatures drop, Balmer's hard-smackin'defense (poll, below) is primed to keep putting a hurt on.
November 27, 2006
Carolina's SteveSmith (109 receiving yards per game) hauled in another TD pass on Sunday and,bucking preseason fears, is getting along swimmingly with fellow wideoutKeyshawn Johnson. USC's Steve Smith (right, the Trojans' top pass catcher) hadthe TD reception that put away rival Cal.
Dolphins big-playmonster (nine sacks, two interceptions this year) went 51 yards for his NFLrecord--tying (for a DE) seventh career TD in a Miami win. Corner AndréGoodman: "Amazing."
Czech scoringstar Jaromir (right) potted career goal number 600 in a Rangers win. (He's 16thall time). Coach Tom Renney to New York's Daily News: "We ride hisshoulders."
... have landed.Down went QB Donovan McNabb (above), taking the offense with him. (The defense?"We didn't tackle," said coach Andy Reid after a 31--13 loss toTennessee.) At 5--5 and losers of four of five, the Iggles, who haven't beatena playoff-bound AFC team in nine years, head to (uh-oh) Indianapolis.
Pacers guardStephen Jackson (right, sore wrist, awaiting trial for allegedly firing off agun, .342 field goal percentage) was yanked from starting lineup. Rams runningback Steven Jackson said, "I'm looking forward to it," before Sunday'sgame with Carolina--then he rushed for just 27 yards in a shutout loss.
Redskins safety,still without an interception, is a leader of the NFL's third-worst passingdefense. But here's what really hurts: He had his wisdom teeth out lastweek.
Rangers sentbig-hitting Russian defenseman Darius to the minors last month for being out ofshape; now he's back but can't crack the lineup. Coach Tom Renney: "He'sfighting for his life."
SI PLAYERS NFL POLL
Which team is the most painful and punishing to playagainst?
FAST FACTS Ouch! The Steelers and Troy Polamalu (aboveleft) host Ray Lewis's Ravens (above right) on Sunday.... The Patriots finishedfifth (6.3%).... Six of the top eight teams are from the AFC.... The Redskinshave been hit with the second-most penalty yards in the NFL.... The Steelerswere chosen by 51.2% of respondents in their--and the Ravens'--division, theAFC North.... The Colts (9--1) got just one vote.... Seven teams--the Bills,Browns, Cardinals, Jets, Rams, Texans and Vikings--were not mentioned.
[ Based on a survey of 361 NFL players ] • For anexpanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/players.