10 Things to Watch For in the NFL this Week

What a game last night between the Jets and Pats. Thankfully, I live in NYC, so I was able to catch it on local TV (with the NFL Network feed), but if I didn't live in the area, I wouldn't have been able to watch it, since there's still a problem getting the league's official network to air their games on cable networks. Small pockets of New England couldn't catch the game, either. And it's not just the conflict between the NFL Network and cable companies, it's the NFL in general. Why can't there be double-headers on both CBS and Fox every Sunday? Are infomercials really more profitable than, say, Broncos at Falcons? Seriously? Can we make more football available, more ad time for Bud Light and Miller Light? Yes, I think we can.

On to the...whatever this is.

  • Tony Romo's pinkie

No pressure or anything, but hey Tony? Can you get us to the Super Bowl? Seriously, we got you Roy Williams, and Clinton Portis won't play for the 'Skins on Sunday. Now's a good time to go on a run.

  • The Philadelphia Eagles play-calling

They're in Cincinnati this week, which may or may be playing loose with nothing to lose and everything to prove, but let's see if they can bounce back from the end of the game nonsense against the G-Men. ESPN's Bill Simmons has championed the idea of getting a 17-year old Madden consultant on staff for every NFL team, and I think it's a fantastic idea. There's no way you'd run the ball on 3rd and 2 and 4th and 1 in the situation that the Eagles did last Sunday night. You'd throw the ball out of the gun to a back slipping through the coverage, or hit a hitch route, or a crossing route. The kids that spend 10 hours a day poring over NFL playbooks seem to have a better idea over what works and what doesn't than the guys paid millions to know just that. Shotgun, trips right, man in motion left, Westbrook out of the backfield for a five yard gain. It would have worked nine out of ten times. 

  • The Detroit Lions death watch

Much has been written already about this team's chance to go winless, 0-16, this season. They'll have to upset somebody to prevent making history. You'll get your chance to watch the car crash on Thanksgiving - the Lions have had a stranglehold on one of the turkey day games since before I was born. This week, they're in Carolina. That should go well.

  • The weird decline of LT

Fantasy owners around the country have cursed him since opening night, because he hasn't put up great numbers, at all. So, what's the deal? Well, NFL RB's don't play very long, because they run full speed into guys who weigh 260 lbs to make a living. Is LT just out of gas? Probably not. Teams are likely just stuffing the run and making Phillip Rivers beat them. I'm just guessing, because there's never enough football on TV, and I haven't watched too many Charger games. But it seems to be the reason why he's struggling, right? He gets the Steelers defense this week. Let's see if he can pick it up.

  • The Saints road record

At 0-4, they'll have to pick up the slack if they want to make the playoffs. And very quietly, the Chiefs have been racking up moral victories left and right (like that matters), throwing the ball and scoring points. If Shockey has another shit fit, NO's dreams of an NFC title will go down the tubes. If they haven't already, with the Falcons and Panthers playing great football.

  • Ray Lewis vs. Brandon Jacobs

The immovable force versus the immovable object. Seismic waves will emanate out of New Jersey thing weekend.

  • Anquan Boldin's Unbreakability

Unquestionably, the craziest thing that's happened in a crazy season is Anquan Boldin breaking his face, getting enough metal inserted into his skull to probably make it hard to pass through a metal detector, and then returning to action, what, four weeks later?

  • How did the Raiders win a game?

And over the Jets? Seriously, how did this happen?

  • Can the Jaguars build and upset Tennessee?

I've learned to keep expectations low - see all the archived "10 Things to Watch For" where I've said such insane things like, "The 49ers are a contender" -  but this one will not be a blowout. And the Jags could squeak it out in the end.

  • Who's the pick Monday night?

Bills at home. Western NY loves their home team.

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