*It's hard to find negative things to say when your team just routed a divisional foe 28-3 on the road, but I'm going to try anyway. After all, the Pats aren't going to be playing the Bills in the playoffs now are they? So, in order for me to feel more comfortable about the Pats chances to continue building their dynasty, they are going to have to pass protect better. I don't know about you, but the next time Tom Brady has to appear on "jacked up" is going to be one time too many. The truth is, the Pats are 5-1 with Tom Brady still having a sub par year for him. If the O-line can give him more time, then maybe the passing game can catch up to the running game and the offense can truly be balanced. This week should be a good test against the Vikes. It's a tough atmosphere, but it's Monday night. The bigger the stage, the better Tom Brady always performs. Plus, since it's on the road, the spread should be nice. So when the Pats win, maybe you can celebrate and win some loots too. Always a good thing. The one thing I would be worried about is having to sit Richard Seymour due to an injury. It's even possible that Seymour may be out up to six weeks, but for now that's just a rumor so let's not get ahead of ourselves. However, it might be the worst possible matchup to have him missing. One of the best O-lines in football, and if the Pats can't get pressure on Brad Johnson, that building will get noisy. And the noisier the dome gets, the harder it's going to be for the offense to operate.
NFL News and Notes
*I can safely say I have seen 2 of the 3 longest kicks in history live on TV, and both could have gone further. And that's what bugs me. Matt Bryant kicked a 62 yard game winner this Sunday to put the Bucs over the Eagles, but the ball still could have gone probably another 4-6 yards! That brings me to ask the question: Why aren't these longer field goals ever attempted? I'm not dumb enough to think that just because Bryant made this one that all kickers can do it, or even that all these kicks will be made, but you gotta try! How many times has your team had a 60+ yard FG attempt but decided instead to bomb it into the endzone or try a multi-lateral play? Right, probably not a ton of times, but you get my point. We all hate on kickers the majority of the time, but the fact is, those long kicks are about as exciting as any other play the game has to offer. Seeing more of those attempted wouldn't be a bad thing. And who knows, maybe one day we could be sitting here talking about the first ever 70 yard field goal. It could be reality, if only Janikowski would lay off the sauce.
*It's times like this that I'm glad I have nothing but pure unabashed hatred for all things to do with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their season is sinking faster than Jerome Bettis in the kiddie pool, and it doesn't look like there's much they can do about it. Big Ben is dinged up yet again, and this time it actually happened on the football field, how rare. It wasn't a motorcycle or an appendix, it was an actual hit. So now what for the defending champs? Their main man on offense is funked up, as is Joey Porter on D, and Willie Parker is having much more trouble running the ball than any anticipated, averaging nearly a yard less per carry than last season. The good news, is that they get to play Oakland next week. The bad news, I'm not sure they will be able to beat the Raiders in Oakland! You heard me, the Steelers are shot. One for the thumb? Well I got an idea where they can put that thumb after they are sitting at 2-5 with no hope of a playoff spot.
*Apparently Dennis Green was more sure about who the Chicago Bears were than he was about who the winless Oakland Raiders were. But really, who didn't see this coming? After blowing a lead of epic proportions on Monday night, Denny Green and his boys promptly came out and got run by the team that at the time held the title of "Worst Team in the League". Well, not anymore. Move over Oakland, cuz Denny's boys apparently want to take a run at your throne. This season started in the desert with a new stadium, the hope of a new prodigy at QB, and again renewed confidence that the team could make a strong push for the playoffs. WRONG! The Cardinals are still who they have always been, LOSERS. And to make matters worse, the buzz around town is that they will make a strong push to pick up Pete Carroll from USC this off-season. HAHAHA Excuse me if I don't fall over laughing. I mean, ummm, sure that's a great strategy. Pick up a guy who has twice been run out of the league, simply because he's had great success in college. What's the matter? Steve Spurrier and Dennis Erickson aren't available? There's a reason franchises like this are always awful, and that's because they constantly make bad decisions. So, bring on Pete Carroll, and bring on another losing decade for the Arizona Cardinals.
*I'm not going to go as far as to say that the Monday night game lived up to all it's hype, but it was a good watch none the less. Despite the 500 interviews they made us watch with Tiki Barber looking like a fruit cocktail, or the zillion T.O vs Parcells segments that kept popping up, the game still provided some thrills. No story line was as good as Bill Parcells switching QBs halfway through the game though. I usually defend Parcells, not because we always agree, but because I respect him as a coach. But I have to disagree with him on this one. I don't get what Bledsoe did to be taken out of that game. Sure he moves about as well as "the actual statue of liberty" to quote Tony Kornheiser, but was this something the Cowboys just realized last night? They knew what they had in Bledsoe. He can't move, but if you give him time he can be one of the best passers in the league. But there in lies the problem. "IF" you give him time. I've always said, Drew Bledsoe is the perfect QB for the Cowboys. That is, the Cowboys of the early 90's that had the best offensive line in football history. That's the only line that could maybe come close to giving this guy enough time. But to hand the reigns over to Tony Romo halfway through a season defining Monday night game? Is there a more pressure spot to put a person in? And to make matters worse, Tuna had a chance to bring Drew back after Romo through a pick on his first attempt, but decided against it. To me, this is just a sign that Bill Parcells has had enough. He might not be throwing in the towel, but that move reeked of desperation. One thing is for sure. there's a certain wide receiver who might not take too kindly to any QB controversy that might keep him from getting his touchdowns. I can't remember his name right now, but I'm sure you know who he is. Hint: He dropped a critical 4th down pass last night.
My NFL Picks
Last Week: 4-1-1
Overall: 23-15-5 (.605)
*Another solid week in the books as I continue my climb further and further north of .500. The funny thing is, if I had done any sort of statistical research before doing my picks, I would have likely gone 4-0-1 for Sunday games. Turns out, after another loss this week, the San Diego Chargers are only 3-14 in their last 17 trips to Arrowhead Stadium. To quote Adam Sandler, that's information that could have been brought to my attention yesterday!
College Football Top 10
just missed: Boston College, Clemson, Boise St., Louisville, California
Games to Watch this Week
Tennessee @ South Carolina
Georgia vs Florida (in Jacksonville, Florida)
Oklahoma @ Missouri
Miami @ Georgia Tech
Next Week vs The Money Train (5-2)
*I don't have any delusions about my team. Matter of fact, the way they have screwed me time and time again this season, I would be surprised if I ended up making the playoffs. But, the good news is, I won. Had I lost this game, my season would have been over barring a remarkable run. Instead, now I'm right back in it, at least for another week. Just a little stat in case you plan on betting on my fantasy matchup this week: Open Back Door is 1-1 in games when they can get to .500. I'd really like to beat The Money Train, but no more than I'd want to beat anyone else I suppose. But then again, it's always nice to take down a fellow trash talker.