Blogs10 Things to Watch For in the NFL this Week
Quick question: If you could have any quarterback in the NFL, who would you take?
Tom Brady is coming off, what, like half a dozen knee surgeries? Peyton Manning is, too, and he hasn't looked sharp all season. And he's 32.
Tony Romo's got a busted finger and zero playoff wins. Carson Palmer hasn't played in a month. Ben Roethlesberger looks awfully beat up.
Know who you would take, if you had the choice? Eli Manning.
After bringing the G Men back, again, in the 4th quarter against Pittsburgh last week, Manning has cemented his reputation as the most clutch QB in the league. I'll repeat this stat until I get blue in the face - only two QB's have ever thrown a touchdown to win a Super Bowl. Those QB's are Eli Manning, and Joe Montana. I will hear no more Eli Manning jokes. The man is on his way to the hall of fame, and I'm not kidding.
On to this week's games.
- How many sacks will the Giants have against Brad Johnson?
The experiment is over in Dallas, I think. There's no way this team can hang tough in the NFC East without its star QB for another few weeks. Washington is a tough, throwback team that can run up and down all day (and Jason Campbell STILL hasn't thrown a pick), The Iggles are, you know, lying in the weeds, and then there's the best team in football. The Giants D will destroy the 40-year old Johnson this Sunday.
- Are the Jets going to compete, at all?
I want to say no. There is no excuse for completely mailing it in against a Kansas City team last week that's already making vacation plans. Even more troubling, the Favrian style of throwing the ball really hard, into the wind, and hoping it doesn't get picked, just will not work. At all. Especially not against a hungry Bills team who's now 0-1 in their division, and will likely stomp out the Jets to avoid dropping to the bottom of the heap in the AFC East.
- Pats Colts mean anything to you?
Eh, not really. I'm not buying Matt Cassell, no matter what Peter King of SI.com says about his numbers compared with Brady's in his first season, because it's just not the same offense anymore. Kevin Faulk? I find him gimmicky. The defense still seems suspect. But the Colts, man, we've tried to figure them out for weeks. Last week was a must-win in Tennessee (and look how good that worked out), so what is this week? A must, must-win? A totally must-win? No one had Manning struggling this much this season, surgery or not.
- Lions and Bears. Oh my.
So, some members of the Lions are realizing that 0-16 might be a possibility. That's fun. They didn't sound too happy about it, but don't look for them to do anything but act as a sparring partner for the Bears offense, which is sort of explosive. Rookie running back Matt Forte is making prognosticators look like geniuses, and Kyle Orton, man. Kyle Orton is the real deal. Just typing that sentence has sent the universe towards a black hole. I'm sorry world, but he just keeps winning.
- Why does Miami and Denver feel like a throwback game?
Well, there's no Dan Marino or John Elway, but it does seem like both franchises have bright futures again. The Dolphins are the darkest horse ever in the AFC - they play well in their division, can hit you with the trickeration, but also line up and smash you in the mouth, and Chad Pennington is having a season that makes no sense to anyone see him throw a football in New York last year. And the Broncos, even though they aren't scoring 50 points a game anymore, are still exciting. The Chargers record leaves the door wide open for them to take the AFC West.
The Broncos next three games? At Cleveland, at Atlanta, home for Oakland.
- Who's going to win the Brown Bowl, part duex?
The Browns got beat, badly, by the Ravens in week 3, and even though Cleveland seems to be on the up and up (well, sort of), Baltimore is a tougher team than it's getting credit for. They're moderately deep at RB, and they have a sweet new receiver in Joe Flacco. Troy Smith seems to have the backing of some members of the locker room, which could work against Flacco's maturation, but the more Ray Lewis we see, the more scared we are to play them. Ravens Titans will be epic later this season.
You love it, I love, we all love it: It's the lightning round!
- Is this the week the Bengals get a win?
No way. A desperate Jacksonville team will destroy them.
- Kurt Warner against the Rams, anyone?
This is fun. The Rams are still an intriguing team, because they didn't, you know, quit, but the AZ offense is high-powered, and Boldin's back. Anquan, my fantasy team thanks you.
- Titans going to go down to the Pack?
Don't think so. Just hope the Titans and Giants get to play each other at some point, because their backs and the NY defense would be like two 400-pound pro wrestlers going at it for the heavyweight title.