The "10 Things To Watch for in the NFL This Weekend" is dying. It's not dead, but it is dying. If you're so desperately attached to it, feel free to plead for its existence in the comments, and maybe it'll be revived. Until then, we'll just focus on the major storylines of the week. Month and a half to go, so let's get to it...
The Domination of the New York Football Giants
I've been a Giants fan as long as I can remember, despite an early fascination with the K-gun offense and Jim Kelly, and there has never, ever been a Giants team that dominated the rest of the league like this. The '86 and '90 teams took the field before I was seven years old, so I can't factor in their dominant defense to the hypothetical "which team is better" discussion. This current Giants team looks like a wrecking ball in all facets of the game, though, relying less on just defense and more on, well, everything. Manning should/will go to the Pro Bowl, as should both Giants RB's, and their wideouts have stretched the field. How about their offensive line? They come into Arizona this weekend at 9-1 for a huge test this weekend with the cyborg that is Anquan Boldin and the Arizona Cardinals.
It's widely understood that until Tennessee loses, they're the best team in football. I'm calling bullshit on that, since the Titans aren't blowing anybody out, and the Giants are embarrassing people. They've only got one flukey loss to a Cleveland team that still had Derek Anderson at QB. How about last week's game with the Ravens at the Meadowlands? Baltimore had the #1 ranked run defense in the league, and the Giants ran for 207 yards on them. It didn't seem particularly difficult or anything. And sure, Tennessee can run, too, with the electric rookie RB Chris Johnson and his pudgier buddy, Lendale White; Kerry Collins is no liability either, and he's proven he can air it out when he has to, but let's not kid ourselves. The New York Giants are the best team in football, even if Tennessee goes undefeated the whole year, which will definitely not happen. No way. Like Vince McMahon would say, no chance in hell.
More Wildcat, Please
Way back in September, the Miami Dolphins debuted a gimmicky offense that looked like the option. QB Chad Pennington lined up at wideout, and both RB's lined up in the backfield, with one in the shotgun. Yeah, like this is going to work against the Pats and Bill Belichek, who's notorious for searching under every rock to make sure he's always prepared for whatever comes his way. Funny thing, though. It did work, and it worked well. The Dolphins scored four TD's out of it, one a touchdown pass from Brown. The game was in Foxboro. The final score was 38-13.
The rematch is on Sunday.
Seems like the Wildcat, or whatever you want to call it, is here to stay. Since the package's debuted (named for Darren McFadden's time in the Arkansas Razorback backfield), other teams have tried their hand at the quirky high-school spinoff, with varying degrees of success. It works for Miami because 1) Bill Parcells had enough balls to give it a shot, or at least, install people with enough balls to give it a shot, and 2) they've got to RB's who are some of the best in the league. The prevailing wisdom is that the option could never work in the NFL because linebackers are just too quick, and no running back/quarterback could consistently beat them to the outside. But that hasn't happened, and even though the Patriots are feeling like they have something to prove, unless they can find two more young linebackers, they may just not have the defensive firepower to do anything about it.
Strange that Belichek, who's known as an anything-goes coach, didn't think of this after losing Tom Brady. Remember, the Pats tried a fake double reverse on the first play of the Super Bowl last year. You don't think Belichek is pissed he didn't try Wes Welker at QB before handing the farm to Matt Cassell?