Blogs10 Things to Watch For in the NFL this Week
You know how short the NFL season is? This short: it'll be a quarter of the way done after this weekend. All the more reason to soak it up while you still can. Last week: Close games all around. Jags get their first win (and not to say I told you so, but, hey, I told you so), the three best teams in football are in the NFC East, and the Dolphins lumped up the Pats 38-13. At Gilette. Yikes, we better start there, even though the Pats have a bye.
- So what the hell does Belichek do now?
Is it time to call Daunte Culpepper yet? No? Oh, OK. Good, then. Not only did the Pats get beat, badly, by a division team at home, but they got beat with patented Belichek gimmick and gadget plays. The option? Pennington lining up as a wideout? Ronnie Brown throwing a lefty touchdown pass? If it's crazy enough to beat the Pats, it's crazy enough for the Pats to give it a go. Why not have Maroney line up at QB and use ageless Kevin Faulk as the RB?
Oh, because Moss would get the ball even less. Makes sense, I guess.
- How long will the man keep Brady Quinn down?
Not long. The man, in this case Cleveland Browns coach Romeo Crennel, insists on starting Derek Anderson over Quinn, despite the fact that the Browns' offense has looked like brown stuff the last few weeks. In the Ohio bowl against the Bengals, look for Quinn to either get some action or massive amounts of analyst-led-discussion.
- Are we seeing the renaissance of the Buffalo Bills?
Confession time: As a small child, barely old enough to eat half a dozen wings in a sitting, I rooted for the Bills. Jim Kelly was my favorite, as was Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, and Darryl Talley. We're watching a young Trent Edwards and Marshawn Lynch look like the battery of old, and the defense is stellar. They get the Jets and the Dolphins a few times, and they're going to mop the floor with St. Louis this week. That is, of course, unless Trent Green can save the Rams.
- So, will Trent Green save the Rams?
Um, not exactly. Poor guy. Before Kurt Warner became Kurt Warner in St. Louis, Trent Green was the starting quarterback there. Then he got hurt. Then the Rams won the Super Bowl. Then he bounced around in Miami and KC, Kurt went to the Giants, then the Cards, where he now starts, and Green replaced Marc Bulger as the starter for the Rams. Things really come full circle, huh? Thing is, it's nice he's back with his old team and all, but if he doesn't get time to throw, it could get ugly, and quickly.
- When will we start to take the 49ers seriously?
After this week. San Francisco travels to New Orleans to take on the Saints this weekend, in a division game and an early season test. Patrick Willis is an absolute stud at LB, and Mike Martz's offense looks like it works again. Plus, they can always ride Frank Gore into the 4th quarter. If they can pull the upset this week, look out for the Niners articles. They'll come in bunches.
- Who's better: Kerry Collins or Gus Frerotte?
No offense to either veteran, but this really not the question we thought we'd be asking in week four, is it? But, here we are (flips coin). I'll say Kerry Collins for now, until Frerotte proves me wrong. Now, which team is better? Easy, it's the Titans. The Vikings got a ton of pre-season attention to their defense before the season, but the Titans defense is definitely one of the best in the league right now. Keith Bullock is beastly. I just don't see how Minnesota can score enough points to win, unless Adrian Peterson runs for 200 yards a game, shortening his career by five years in the process.
- What's gotten into the Broncos?
No idea. Either Mike Shanahan is really the best football mind we have going today - and that's unlikely - or Jay Cutler came into the season with something to prove and Brandon Marshall is WAY better than people realize (Give it a month and wait for the TO-comparisons). Problem is they can't stop anyone - they gave up 32 last week to the Saints without Colston - and they'll probably either eventually fizzle, or score 40 a game. Either way, those alternate orange jerseys should be burned. If you're going to do it, do it right, helmet and all.
- How's Favre been?
Well, not good, not great, but not terrible, I guess. He's a little gimpy right now with a sore ankle, but I'd imagine he gets well against the Cards defense this weekend, because he's too good not to. Or is he? It may end up being too much to ask of him to learn a new offense in a month or so, and we might have to reduce our Fav-ri-an expectations. He's coasting on the benefit of the doubt - as one colleague mentioned, he never takes the kind of flack that Vince Young or Tavaris Jackson might get for throwing bad picks. Weird how that works, right?
- Who's the best team in the NFC East?
The Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles are the cream of the crop, and don't let anyone tell you different. If Dallas can beat up on Washington this week, they'll cement their #1 ranking. We'll have to see how the Plaxico suspension hurts the G-Men, who are (were?) rolling going into a bye week. He'll miss the Seattle game next Sunday, but Seattle doesn't have any receivers either, so I feel like it balances out. The Iggles get the Bears on Sunday. The over/under on Philly sacks is at 4.5. I'll take the over.
- Who's the next QB to lose his job?
Matt Schaub, we're looking at you.