Posts Tagged ‘Adrian Peterson’

NFL Combine winners and losers

Monday, February 25th, 2013

The NFL offseason seems to last longer than any other sport, but it is packed with plenty of activity. All of the offseason activity centers around the NFL combine and the draft. The combine is now underway, with exams, tests, interviews, and all sorts of prodding and poking of future NFL players. After just a few days of drills, we are starting to see some movement on the draft boards. Here’s a quick update on who’s stock is going up before the draft:

Running Back – Knile Davis (Arkansas). Knile dominated the running back group at the combine. He ran the second fastest 40 yard dash, but he’s no little speedster. This running back has NFL size at 6 feet tall and a whopping 227 pounds (picture Adrian Peterson’s size with close to Chris Johnson’s speed). Injuries cut his collegiate career short, but he’s got to be awfully intriguing to a team that is looking for a running back.

Quarterback – Geno Smith (West Virginia). Geno pretty much crushed the other quarterbacks in the combine. His speed and athleticism have NFL executives optimistic that he will develop into the next RG3 or Russell Wilson. No one questions his passing ability, but the jury is still out on whether or not he can run an NFL offense. We’ll find out in the upcoming seasons, as Geno Smith is probably the first QB off the board, and almost certain to be drafted in the first round.

Wide receiver – While Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee) is widely recognized as the best receiver in the draft, Marquise Goodwin (Texas) is quickly becoming a household name. His football skills are legit, but it’s not just his football ability that has people buzzing. In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Marquise represented the track team in the long jump. He qualified for the finals, leading many to realize what a rare athlete he is. He ran a 4.27 40 yard dash, which puts him in rare air as the fastest of the combine, and one of the fastest 40 times ever recorded. In addition, he’s got great hands, and runs excellent routes. Now, a receiver who only caught 26 passes last year with Texas has vaulted up the board, and it is only a question of how high he will be drafted in the first round.

Linemen – The draft may be light with stud running backs and quarterbacks, but it is definitely heavy in linemen. The discussion starts and ends with Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M). Luke is widely projected to be the top overall pick in the draft. A dominating tackle who rates up there with Jake Long, Ryan Clady and other top NFL tackles. The combine is a great venue for small team players like Terron Armstead (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) to showcase their skills. While it is rare for linemen to run sub 5 second 40 yard dash times, Terron set a big man record at 4.71! He was in the top tier of all linemen for the measurables and probably just earned himself a few extra million dollars on his rookie contract.

Whichever team you root for, make sure to follow the draft April 25-27. Check in with us for new player jerseys, NFL draft hats, and other gear to update your collection.

Little Things and The Playoffs

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Little Things from the NFL’s 2009 Season:

88 players in the NFL had at least one carry of 25 yards or more, including New York Jets punter Steve Weatherford. Not among the 88: Philadelphia Eagles RB Brian Westbrook and Indianapolis Colts RB Joseph Addai.

Eight RB’s finished with at least 1250 rushing yards, including the St. Louis Rams Steven Jackson, who was 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards despite being on a 1-15 team.

Two Carolina Panthers RB’s, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart rushed for at least 1100 yards.

Jerome Harrison of the Cleveland Browns averaged 143 yards rushing in the four games in which he carried the ball more than 16 times, including 286 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15.

Adrian Peterson finished 5th in the league in rushing yards with 1383, despite only topping 100 yards in a game three times during the season.

Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans topped 2000 yards rushing on the year; he is only the 6th RB in NFL history to do so.

Johnson averaged 5.6 yards per rushing attempt on the season. Jamaal Charles averaged 5.9.

LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson both averaged 3.3 yards per attempt.

Reggie Wayne caught 100 passes on the year. 73 of them were for first downs.

The Top 21 players in the NFL in receiving yards include three tight ends: Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, and Jason Witten. All 21 had at least 11 receptions of 20 yards or more, except Wes Welker, who led the league in catches, 123, and was second in yards, 1348. He had eight plays for more than 20 yards.

The Blind Side book/movie subject Michael Oher, rookie RT for the Baltimore Ravens, had the fewest yards receiving in the NFL in 2009 with -8.

Oakland Raiders rookie WR Darius Heyward-Bey, 7th pick overall, played in 11 games, caught 9 passes for 124 yards and scored one TD.

San Francisco 49ers rookie WR Michael Crabtree, 10th pick overall, held out until after Week 5, then played in 11 games, caught 48 passes for 625 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Austin Collie, 4th round pick of the Colts, and Percy Harvin, 1st round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, led all rookie WR’s in receptions with 60. Harvin and New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks led rookies in receiving yards with 790.

Ten QB’s threw for over 4000 yards this season. Seven of them are in the playoffs. Kurt Warner, the 8th playoff QB, threw for 3753 yards.

41 QB’s completed at least one pass of more than 45 yards. Kurt Warner did not.

155 players in the NFL caught a pass of at least 35 yards. Larry Fitzgerald did not.

14 QB’s threw at least 500 passes. Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler led them (and all other QB’s) in interceptions with 26. Peyton Manning was 2nd with 16. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers had the fewest at 7.

Jon Ryan, punter of the Seattle Seahawks, completed the longest pass by a non-QB, 42 yards. He finished the year with a 118.8 QB rating.

The Cleveland Browns won four games in a row after going 1-11 in their first twelve.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost five games in a row after winning five in a row.

The Denver Broncos won six in a row to start the year and lost four in a row to end the year to finish 8-8.

The Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints started the season 14-0 and 13-0, respectively. The Colts lost their last two and the Saints lost their last three.

The San Diego Chargers started the year 2-3 and then won their last 11.

The Tennessee Titans went 0-6 to start the year. They went 8-2 after that to finish 8-8.


Coaches are cleaning out their lockers today. So far Jim Zorn, who was for all intent and purposes relieved of his duties with the Washington Redskins somewhere around Week 6 or so, and the remainder of the Buffalo Bills coaching staff and have been told their services are no longer needed, wanted, or welcomed.

There is talk that Wade Phillips needs to win a playoff game to keep his job. Apparently an 11-5 season, the third playoff seed, a home playoff game, and a shutout to win the division in the season’s last game is not enough in Dallas to feel any sense of job security.

The expectations are different for Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers. In Houston, Gary Kubiak will retain his position after the organizations first winning season, going 9-7 and being a loss by either the Ravens or Jets on the season’s final day away from making the playoffs. Plus Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson led the league in yards at their respective positions.

The Carolina Panthers are keeping John Fox around… maybe? Because in Carolina, a winning season every other year is good enough. I think it is probably safe to say though that the John Fox-Jake Delhomme duo has reached its end. Delhomme threw for 8 TD’s and was picked off 18 times on the season, while backup Matt Moore started the last five games for the Panthers and threw for 8 TD’s and only 1 interception.

There are a lot of rumors flying around about Raheem Morris losing his job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay was horrible, but Morris is a first year coach brought in to turn around a terrible team. You have to give the guy more than a year or two to do his job – unless of course you have Bill Cowher, his chin, and his mustache on the radar.

Maybe one case where it makes sense to fire a first year coach is in Oakland, where ironically nothing makes sense. Tom Cable allegedly hit a co-worker. That behavior is generally frowned upon. And Al Davis is Al Davis, so he may bring in a shuffleboard buddy of his who won a fantasy football league last season to coach the team.


The Dallas Cowboys threw a donut at the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East. With a win, the Eagles would have had a first round bye and a home playoff game. With the loss, they’ll travel to Dallas and play the Cowboys again this weekend. Donovan McNabb to DeSean Jackson and Tony Romo to Miles Austin are two of the more dangerous big play QB to WR combos in the league.

And speaking dangerous QB to WR combos, Chad Ochocinco/Johnson would like me to mention his and Carson Palmer’s names right now, but if I’m playing the Cincinnati Bengals I’m more concerned about Cedric Benson. Maybe the New York Jets backed into a playoff spot and maybe they didn’t, but Mark Sanchez is in the post-season and will do a very nice job of handing the ball off until he is absolutely required to throw it. Thomas Jones, get ready to see nine guys in the box against Cincinnati this weekend. Jets fans can mail cards to the Colts and Bengals thanking them for mailing it in in Weeks 16 and 17.

Following Philly/Dallas and New York/Cincy, the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers will square off in the third rematch of a Week 17 game this weekend. The Packers rolled over the Cardinals who had nothing to play for and did most of the rolling over all by themselves. There are some health concerns for Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, Anquan Boldin, and Charles Woodson going into this game.

Baltimore travels to New England to play the Wes Welker-less Patriots. Welker tore up most of the _CL’s in his knee on Sunday. Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Ray Lewis and company will look to put to rest Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the Pats. Should that happen, the media will surely spark up the “Has Belichick lost it?” debate. For that reason alone, I’ll root for the Pats.

Brett Favre may or may not be on a tractor in Kiln, Mississippi this week. The Vikings can thank the Cowboys for beating the Eagles and getting them a first round bye. Favre loved Sidney Rice this season to the tune of 1312 yards and 8 TD’s. I don’t know what that tune sounds like, but it works for the Minnesota offense.

The New Orleans Saints are also waiting around for somebody to play football against. Drew Brees and his band of guys who can run fast and catch the ball will not have won in nearly a month when they take the field next.

The Colts are planning a really intense bye week in Indy. Somewhere Jim Caldwell is sitting with no expression on his face. The San Diego Chargers are taking it easy in a sunnier place where Philip Rivers can frolic on the beach and wait around for somebody to fly west to play a game.


The Boston Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in OT at Fenway Park in the NHL’s 2010 Winter Classic. Check out all our Winter Classic gear in this week’s items of the week!

The Weekend: A Prequel

Friday, December 4th, 2009

It’s been an interesting week in the sports world. The boxing match we’ve eagerly awaited, Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr., finally looks set. The return of “The Answer” is no longer in question. And the best athlete at his position in the world made headlines for a vehicular incident…

Shame on you, Adrian Peterson, for driving 109 mph in a 55-mph zone.

What? You thought I was going somewhere else with that…

And now, a look ahead to a glorious weekend of sports.

Conference Championship Saturday

The only championship games in college football’s Football Bowl Subdivision* that actually make sense began Thursday with the Civil War and hit full stride Saturday.

*I wrote that out instead of typing its initials (FBS) purely for you to see how ridiculous-sounding that name is.

BCS berths are still at-large for many conferences. But that doesn’t mean these games will be close. Georgia Tech, Cincinnati and Texas are all expected to hoist trophies without a fight.

Meanwhile, the rest of college football looks ahead to the match-up fans and experts have anticipated all season…

Wisconsin vs. Hawaii.

What? That doesn’t excite you? Fine.

How about the first time we’ve seen the no. 1 and 2 ranked BCS teams match-up outside the BCS championship?

Florida vs. Alabama serves as a de facto semifinal (barring unforeseen computer calculations). The winner most certainly stakes its claim as the favorite to exit the Rose Bowl, January 7th, as champion.

Will Tim Tebow leave another footprint in his quest to be the greatest quarterback in college football history? Can RB Mark Ingram make his final case for the Heisman? Who wins the Urban Meyer and Nick Saban coaching battle? What measures will CBS take to protect against a potential Verne Lundquist head explosion after Tebow scores his second touchdown?

Some answers I can wait for. But others – or other – leave me giddy.

NFL Week 13

A number of match-ups this week have significant playoff implications…and here are my thoughts:

I’m interested to see how the banged-up Atlanta Falcons (sans Matt Ryan and Michael Turner) host an Eagles team missing two big-play weapons of their own (DeSean Jackson and Brian Westbrook).

Speaking of which…has anyone noticed how seemingly contagious concussions have become? It’s nearly reached Swine Flu status.

Will Chris Johnson’s prediction (from 0-6 to 10-6) hold against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts? The Tennessee Titans have run off five straight wins since inserting Vince Young. And CJ remains on pace to break a historic record (Eric Dickerson’s 2,105 single-season rush yards) as quietly as anyone…ever.

Houston Texans v. Jacksonville Jaguars. Ehh.

The Dallas Cowboys look to avenge an early season embarrassment against the current embarrassment that is the New York Giants. Winners of one of their previous six, this is the Giants last chance to resurrect their season. The players and teams hate each other – no really – they actually don’t like each other. And as a Cowboys fan, I hate the Giants. So it should be exciting. For me at least.

At 5-6, the Miami Dolphins are playing for their playoff lives against a suddenly-human New England Patriots. The Pats ‘cloak of invisibility’ is long gone – especially on the defensive side of the ball. So why is it still so hard for me to pick against them? They even go out-flexed this week…

…by the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals. Two forty-something quarterbacks may go head-to-head this week. (I realize Kurt Warner isn’t 40 yet, but you’ve heard of “dog years?” I propose for every concussion sustained, a year is added to your age in “NFL-years”…making Warner somewhere around 52).

Anyways, this is the week the Vikings go down. Why? Because they play a legit team. Consider this: the combined record of the nine teams they’ve defeated is 39-71. Pretty staggering. It’s not that I don’t think they are good. I just don’t think they are that good.

So there are some appetizers for your football platter this weekend. And remember, with the holidays coming up, if you fall in love with the player’s wear on the sidelines, you can always buy that stuff here – at FansEdge.

What? I still have to pay the bills.

The game of the year…and I was there.

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

I’ve been to Wrigley Field for opening day. I witnessed game six of the 2003 ALCS at Yankee Stadium. Fenway Park, you’re next on the list.

As a triumvirate – they are the Mecca’s of baseball.

But baseball season is over…almost. I’m ready for some football. And unlike baseball, there is only one Mecca in the NFL.

It’s name – Lambeau Field.

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers

I’ve been dying to cross this off my “bucket list.” I grew up in the Midwest – Des Moines, represent – and I spent four years at the University of Wisconsin. Still, no Lambeau visit.

Until last weekend.

A month ago I received a phone call from my father.

“Ariel, what are you doing November 1st?” he asked.

“Umm…I dunno,” I responded.

“Would you like to go see the Vikings and Packers at Lambeau?”


I mean…this was to be the most anticipated game of the year! Maybe even the decade! Brett Favre against his former team. A town’s once-beloved son returns home, only this time as the red-headed stepchild! Exclamation marks!

Thus began a month of anticipation, eagerness and excitement. Finally, it came. After a few short hours of not-so-clear-headed sleep (thanks a lot Halloween) a friend and I hit the road to meet my dad in Milwaukee for the trip to Green Bay.

A few hours later, we passed over the Fox River – and there it was – Lambeau Field.

We quickly found a parking spot (and dealt with some playful rousing by the locals towards my father, the Vikings fan) and walked towards the stadium. From the moment I stepped onto Oneida Street and viewed a casket and tombstone reading “R.I.P. Brett Favre” on the left and smelled the aroma of beer and brats on my right, I knew this wasn’t just any other Sunday.

As we approached the intersection of Oneida and Lombardi, I got my first up-close look at Lambeau Field. It’s no mystery what makes this place so special. I’ll best describe it as the “Wrigley Field of football.” One minute, you’re walking through a charming little neighborhood – the next, an imposing structure full of tradition and pageantry.

Tailgating intensified, music blasted and the crowds grew louder and larger. And I realized the tremendous time I was having people-watching. Little kids screamed “Minnesota sucks!” and “Go home Vikings!” Shirts proudly displayed messages like “Favre sucks” and “We 4-get you.” No. 4 Packers jerseys’ nameplates were replaced with “Brutus” “Judas” and “Benedict Arnold.” I knew I was in for a treat. But my favorite? This Jared Allen look-alike (excuse my finger). From the mullet to the headband to the hair fades – the resemblance was uncanny. The only thing missing were fatigue cargo pants…oh wait.

Let’s get back to football.

Kickoff approached, time to find our seats. And discover another great thing about Lambeau. We sat in second to last row of the end zone, literally, and they were great seats! Unlike the multi-million (or, sorry Jerry, billion) dollar stadiums of today – Lambeau truly is different. It’s a small, intimate enclosure, where even the worst seats are good seats. Perched on the slightly uncomfortable bleachers – while devouring some deliciously healthy cheese curds – I scanned the sea of green and yellow (and purple) and reviewed the wall of fame. Bart Starr. Reggie White. Ray Nitschke.

But, still, one name eludes this class.

Brett Favre.

There he was tossing the ball at midfield. Warming up like he did for 16 consecutive seasons, only this time, on the opposing side. And there he went, back through the tunnel to a loud chorus of boos.

But the biggest fan reaction came when Green Bay’s newest hero, Aaron Rodgers, was announced and emerged onto the field. The crowd let out a deafening roar that – for a moment – made you forget he’s only in his second year as a starter and hasn’t really accomplished anything. I had to ask myself, was this really a pro-Rodgers chant or an anti-Favre rally?

And then a football game broke out.

Amidst the constant booing on every early possession, Favre dominated the first half as he fit a number of tight spirals into even tighter openings. This led to one Packers fan commenting, “I had no idea how much fun it was to root against this guy!”

Meanwhile, Rodgers ran for his life. On every down. Talent on the Packers offensive line is painfully lacking, and Rodgers – six sacks Sunday – doesn’t help his cause by holding onto the ball too long. He is one of the most effective quarterbacks in the league when given time, but Rodgers must improve his pocket presence if he ever wants to be an elite quarterback.

By the second half though, momentum had shifted. Rodgers marched his team up and down the field and Favre threw several questionable passes into heavy traffic. The Packers climbed within a touchdown twice, but the exploits of Percy Harvin in the return game, Adrian Peterson in the run game and Favre were too much for the Packers to handle.

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers

And in the end, Favre did what he had so many times before – exit Lambeau Field, arms extended skyward, and a satisfying grin encompassing the entirety of his face. Unfortunately, the home crowd could not do the same.

What an eerie feeling for Packers fans. But for me, it was a day I’ll never forget.

Thanks dad.

NFL Week 7: A Review

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Another week is in the books as we rapidly approach the season’s halfway mark. Meanwhile, Michael Crabtree’s wondering where all the time went.
Let’s start with the shocker of the week…sorry Bears fans.

Chicago Bears v Cincinnati Bengals

Chicago Bears v. Cincinnati Bengals

I’ve been saying the Bears are overrated all along and the Bengals’ season start is no fluke but…WHOA! Before you could say “Al Afalava,” it was 31-0. Carson Palmer (Five TDs – four in the first half) played USC quarterback to the Bears’ directional school secondary all game. But (his words, not mine) Bears coach Lovie Smith claimed they, “gained some momentum with a field goal” to end the half. A 45-10 loss later, and Lovie was still waiting for old ‘mo to kick in. Speaking of “kicking in” – how about the CedBen show. Cedric Benson entered this game in hopes of demoralizing his former team. 37 carries and 189 yards sounds pretty demoralizing to me. Fortunately for Chicago’s defense, the offense was equally offensive. Matt Forte still can’t run. And Jay Cutler, fresh of a contract extension – how soon is too soon – threw three interceptions and was eventually removed from the game. Fortunately, maybe Chicago radio will get off the “Super Bowl-bound Bears” bandwagon. They may soon be hopping onto a different kind of wagon.

Let’s move on to the (pitifully) non-shockers of the week…

San Diego Chargers v. Kansas City Chiefs

Instead of talking about San Diego’s 37-7 laugher, let’s discuss what transpired following the game. Chiefs’ running back Larry Johnson, having managing a mere 49 yards on 16 carries against one of the league’s worst run defenses, was mad. So did he express his frustration to his teammates? No. Did he discuss his anger with his coaches? Nope. So he must have voiced his displeasure to the media following the game, right? Wrong again. Affectionately known as “Grandmama,” LJ went all new-technology on us and tweeted away. He threw repeated jabs at head coach Todd Hailey, saying he had no coaching credentials or, more eloquently, “Nuthn,” and used gay slurs on several occasions to boot. He should be safe though. No one pays any attention to Twitter .

Green Bay Packers v. Cleveland Browns and New York Jets v. Oakland Raiders

Why did I group these together? Do I really have to explain? The Packers and Jets beat the pathetic Browns and Raiders a combined 69-3. Aaron Rodgers (246 yards and three TDs) torched Cleveland’s secondary and Thomas Jones (121 yards and one TD) and Shonn Green (144 yards and two TDs after Leon Washington’s season-ending injury) ran around, over and through the Raiders. But I’d like to discuss the fates of two miserable quarterbacks. There are 32 NFL teams and 35 quarterbacks that qualify in the QB rating category. Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell and Cleveland’s Derek Anderson rank 34th and 35th, respectively. Seventeen other quarterbacks in the NFL have a higher rating than these two – combined! Anderson stole millions from his team after one, seemingly illogical, good season. Russell just simply stole millions from his team. And he doesn’t even seem to care how bad he is. But don’t expect any drastic changes in Oakland – not while Al Davis is still alive.

Indianapolis Colts v. St. Louis Rams

At least the Rams are trying. Unfortunately, when you face Peyton Manning, trying won’t cut it. Manning threw three more touchdowns (but snapped his consecutive 300-yards passing streak to begin a season – gasp!) as the Colts rolled 42-6. Manning leads the league in passer rating and surpassed another milestone – passing Warren Moon for fourth on the career completion list.

New England Patriots v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

God Save the Queen? More like God save the Buccaneers – who lost a home game 35-7 to New England…in England. Pats safety Brandon Meriweather returned Josh Johnson’s pass for six on the game’s fifth play and Tom Brady threw three touchdowns. New England has now won their last two games 94-7. Yes, that was against the winless Titans and still winless Bucs. But tell me you don’t fear Tom Brady right now…look me in the eyes…I thought so.

Carolina Panthers v. Buffalo Bills

Another installment of the NFL’s “pillow fight” featured Buffalo’s 20-9 victory over Carolina. Despite totaling just 167 yards Sunday, the Bills somehow won by double digits. How, you ask? Jake Delhomme’s league leading 11th, 12th and 13th interceptions didn’t hurt. Nor did a 4th quarter fumbled punt. Don’t worry Panthers fans; John Fox will “evaluate” the quarterback position this week. Wonder what his findings will determine. In related news, I have evaluated the TO experiment in Buffalo…and my findings are disturbing. Seven games, 18 catches, 242 yards, one touchdown – and seven drops. Not exactly Miles Austin-esque.
Atlanta Falcons v Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys v. Atlanta Falcons

Speaking of Miles Awesome…err…Austin, the former undrafted rookie from Monmouth didn’t match his 250 receiving yards in his starting debut, but I think another six catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns will do. His rapidly developing chemistry with fellow undrafted rookie Tony Romo showed in their 37-21 statement victory over the Falcons. Much maligned for most of the season, the Cowboys are tied in the loss column with the once super-New York Giants. Following another turnover-free Romo day, the emergence of Austin and the return of a Cowboys pass rush, led by a very wealthy DeMarcus Ware, that sacked Matt Ryan four times (after only twice all season previously) – the Cowboys may have finally found their swagger.

Philadelphia Eagles v. Washington Redskins

First off, enough with the Sherman Lewis bingo jokes. Yes, the newly-appointed Redskins offensive coordinator was calling out numbers at a senior home last week. But that’s like making fun of you grandfather. Not cool. Nor is what Daniel Snyder has done with this team. Jim Zorn still can’t coach. Jason Campbell still can’t lead. And the Redskins still can’t do anything right– including snapping the ball to the quarterback without throwing it off their own behind. Meanwhile, despite only three touches, DeSean Jackson led Philly in both rushing and receiving thanks to a 67-yard TD run and 57-yard TD pass. But four Redskins turnovers only resulted in a 27-17 Eagles victory, so who knows how different they really are from the team that lost to Oakland. We’ll find out next week when they welcome Eli Manning and…

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants

New York Giants v. Arizona Cardinals

…the New York Giants. Dare I say I’ve been right about them all season? After questioning their 5-0 record thanks to a cupcake schedule, (a factor almost every “expert” seemed to overlook) the Giants have lost two straight – and looked bad. As a Cowboys fan, I don’t know if there is any expression I enjoy more then Eli Manning’s “Oops…I did it again” look. But even Eli made Britney look good after throwing three interceptions in a 24-17 defeat. Arizona’s defense is making as many plays as their offense and the Cardinals have finally shaken off that Super Bowl hangover.

And now a three-part story on the exciting games of week 7.

San Francisco 49ers v. Houston Texans

With a 21-0 halftime lead, Houston seemingly had this one wrapped up. Enter Alex Smith. The former no. 1 overall pick replaced Shaun Hill and came within a possession of leading what was once “his team”, before falling 24-21. An interception on their last drive’s fourth down shouldn’t overshadow Smith’s three TD passes – all to Vernon Davis. Did it just take him this long to “get it”? We’ll find out this week after Mike Singletary tabbed him as the team’s starter. I can’t forget to mention Crabtree’s debut. Five catches for 56 yards – for those of you scoring at home.

New Orleans Saints v. Miami Dolphins

It was the sexy upset pick of the week. And with a 24-3 second quarter Miami lead, it seemed like John Q. Public had dominated Vegas once again (not that I would condone such a thing – stay in school kids). But then Ted Ginn Jr. forgot how to catch and Drew Brees remembered how to throw, and the Saints scored 22 unanswered in the fourth quarter to win 46-34. New Orleans, now the lone unbeaten in the NFC, has proven it can score on anybody. Let’s just say they may find themselves back in Miami soon and it won’t – or shouldn’t – be on the links or at the salsa bar.

Minnesota Vikings v. Pittsburgh Steelers

For the sake of time – and the fact that I’m over 1500 words – let’s skip to the game’s final seven minutes. Down 13-10, Brett Favre held the ball loosely – like he always does – and Steelers’ Brett Keisel stripped Favre and watched as LaMarr Woodley, and his convoy of blockers, rumbled 77 yards for a score. Percy Harvin then took the following kickoff up the sideline and broke a menacing Jeff Reed tackle attempt, mind you, for a touchdown. Still down 20-17 in the final minutes, and fresh off Adrian Peterson trucking over William Gay – you have to see it – Favre threw a simple screen pass to Chester Taylor. But Taylor let the ball slip through his hands and fall into Keyaron Fox’s lap. Eighty-two yards the other way later and Pittsburgh had knocked Minnesota from the ranks of the unbeaten, 27-17.

Thus concludes another riveting, and yet depressing for many, NFL week. Until next time…

NFL Week 6: The Review

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

NFL week six is in the books. We’ve officially reached the point where teams are who we thought they were – or are.

So what do you say…let’s say we get this party started right…Raider-style.

Oakland Raiders v. Philadelphia Eagles

“We went out and threw a fight on somebody and said, ‘Enough. Let’s play,'” said Raider coach Tom Cable after the game. And if you’re headed into a fight, who better to lead you than Tom Cable? Allegedly. JaMarcus Russell set season highs for completions (17) and passing yards (224) as the Raiders somehow defeated the mighty McNabb’s 13-9. Reverting back to form of year’s past, Philadelphia ran the ball just 14 times. Eagles coach Andy Reid has an extra day this week to let his visible disgust subdue. Fortunately for Eagles fans, next stop is the nation’s capital.

Washington Redskins v. Kansas City Chiefs

In what may best be described as an “offensive pillow-fight,” the Chiefs recorded their first win of the season, beating a pathetic Redskins team 14-6. Don’t let the score fool you – there were no touchdowns in this one. Washington converted just 2-14 third down conversions and held the ball for 23 minutes. Jason Campbell was benched in the second half. Jim Zorn was stripped of his play-calling duties. And Dan Snyder paid one million dollars for an up-and-coming hot dog vendor. I’ll let you decide which of those are true and which is false. Congratulations, Ryan Succop. The Chiefs kicker – and NFL Draft 2009 “Mr. Irrelevant” – went 4/4 and was apparently the only player who didn’t “Suck-op.”

Tennessee Titans v. New England Patriots

Speaking of sucking…have you seen the Titans? I know they’ve been hit hard by injuries…but 59-0? They gave up five touchdowns…in the SECOND QUARTER! Jeff Fisher should have walked off the field at halftime and never come back: “Okay guys…I’ve had enough. But keep at it…see you tomorrow.” Alas, he stayed – long enough to watch Brian Hoyer sneak in for the Patriots eighth touchdown of the day. Warren Moon – at the ripe old age of 52 – would have looked better in those Oiler jerseys then the Kerry Collins/Vince Young duo. Two completions…negative seven yards. That’s not a misprint. Oh…and Tom Brady threw for 380 yards and six touchdowns.

Houston Texans v. Cincinnati Bengals

Trivia time: Who leads the NFL in passing touchdowns?

It’s not Drew Brees. And it ain’t Peyton Manning. The answer is Matt Schaub. The Texans rode Schaub’s arm and a stout defensive front to a 28-17 victory. After a run of exciting finishes, the Bengals and NFL rushing leader Cedric Benson (another great trivia question) were held to just 46 yards on the ground. Making matters worse, Cincinnati also lost NFL sack leader, Antwan Odom, (yet another amazing trivia question) for the season. Time will tell if the Bengals can regroup and challenge for the division – or if it’s time to kiss the baby.

New York Giants v. New Orleans Saints

From a baby to a grown man – Eli Manning spent many a football Sunday at the Superdome – but never as a player. And he might want to keep it that way. In Manning’s hometown return, the other quarterback, Drew Brees, spoiled the party. Brees (369 yards and four touchdowns) and the Saints offense scored at will against what many considered the league’s no. 1 defense, winning 48-27. New York gave up 34 first-half points – matching the total they had given up in the first half of their first five games combined. The previously undefeated Giants benefited from a relatively soft schedule, and while they are still among the NFC’s upper echelon, don’t be surprised if they start to falter.

Minnesota Vikings v. Baltimore Ravens

Here’s your Brett Favre alert. The Vikings quarterback hit Sidney Rice on a 58-yard bomb on their final possession to set up Ryan Longwell‘s game-winning field goal. But don’t forget the Ravens came right back and positioned themselves for a 44-yard field goal – until Steven Hauschka missed it. Or the fact that they allowed Baltimore and Ray Rice to score 21 points in the fourth quarter, turning a blowout into a ballgame. The Vikings are 6-0. They’ve got the best rusher in the league, Adrian Peterson, and the best pass rusher in the league, Jared Allen, but they could very easily be 4-2. Looking forward to seeing how this – and by this, I mean Brett Favre – plays out.

Pittsburgh Steelers v. Cleveland Browns

When discussing the bottom-feeders of the NFL, let’s not sleep on the Cleveland Browns. Now 1-5, after a 27-14 defeat to the Steelers, the Browns remain incapable of doing anything right. Derek Anderson played like a Pro Bowler compared to last week, completing a whopping nine passes for 122 yards. He was just slightly overshadowed by Ben Roethlisberger’s 417 passing yards. I would like to personally apologize to Josh Cribbs. He deserves better. After returning a 98-yard kickoff to the house and rushing for 45 yards some team has to get him out of Cleveland – don’t they? And the Browns aren’t willing to pay the man! Pay the man his money! Unbelievable! I don’t know who I feel worse for – Cribbs or Cleveland fans?

Carolina Panthers v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In the latest installment of “games you shouldn’t subject yourself to” comes Carolina’s 28-21 victory against the still-winless Yuccaneers. They’re baaack! They even get to wear their retro orange jerseys this season. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 362 yards rushing and three touchdowns, overcoming Jake Delhomme’s two interceptions and 65 yards through the air. There’s not much else to say about a game like this. It’s too bad somebody has to win.

St. Louis Rams v. Jacksonville Jaguars

Another winless team? Really? A week in which Maurice Jones-Drew publicly called out his coaching staff, the Jaguars rode their little bowling ball to a 23-20 overtime victory. Jones-Drew ran for 133 yards and three scores. Now, 0-6, the Rams have lost 16 straight games dating back to last season. And there really isn’t cause for hope. Fortunately, Sam Bradford is healthy and ready to turn one lucky team around…

Green Bay Packers v. Detroit Lions

How did the Packers manage two bye weeks in a row? Oh…right…they played the Lions. Take a bad team like Detroit, sit their best player, Calvin Johnson, and their starting quarterback, Matthew Stafford, and what do you have? A team incapable of scoring. Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton threw three more interceptions than touchdowns (zero) and Aaron Rodgers excelled at leading his team into the red zone – and letting Mason Crosby kick field goals – as the Packers won 26-0. In more cheerful news, Donald Driver passed Sterling Sharpe for first place on Green Bay’s all-time receptions list. And, no, Brett Favre did not come through the tunnel to carry him across the field.

Arizona Cardinals v. Seattle Seahawks

Matt Hasselbeck’s health was widely considered the Seahawks measuring stick for success. That is until Kurt Warner and the Cardinals debunked that theory. Warner threw for nearly 300 yards, tying Dan Marino’s record as the fastest to 30,000 career passing yards, and Arizona won 27-3. Adding injury to insult – Seattle lost Pro Bowl lineback Lofa Tatupu for the season. Adding insult to injury – it’s raining in Seattle right now.

Buffalo Bills v. New York Jets

Just when you thought we were done with terrible teams…”it” won! Buffalo allowed over 300 rushing yards and still managed a 16-13 victory in overtime. I’m assuming Mark Sanchez’s five interceptions didn’t help. Maybe it’s time to hold off on the photo shoots? Following a 3-0 start this season, Jets coach Rex Ryan finds his team at .500. Over/Under on swear word usage in the locker room this week? 362. Meanwhile, despite losing Trent Edwards, replacing him with Harvard great Ryan Fitzpatrick and Terrell Owens remaining as existent as Dick Jauron’s head coaching job after the season, the Bills are somehow two games out of first place.

Chicago Bears v. Atlanta Falcons

Sunday night featured two potential NFC sleepers. But penalties and turnovers doomed Chicago from the start – and ultimately, their final drive –in a 21-14 losing effort. Jay Cutler, who, at the moment, cannot be considered the best quarterback in his own trade, threw another red zone interception, Matt Forte fumbled on the goal line and the offense committed three penalties on the game’s final drive. Whether it’s been the porous offensive line or the adjustment to a new quarterback, Forte is in the midst of a sophomore slump of epic proportions. And who knows if he’ll ever climb out. On the subject of sophomores, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan continues his impressive play and has his team just a game behind the marching Saints.

San Diego Chargers v. Denver Broncos

This was to be the game when the undefeated Broncos faced reality. In their previous meeting with San Diego, they were demoralized 52-21. They couldn’t win another big game – especially on the road. But the Broncos stomped all over those sentiments about as fast as you can say “Eddie Royal.” The second-year receiver returned a 93-yard kickoff and 71-yard punt return for scores. The 5’10 Royal pumped those legs so fast his Bronco throwback jersey was almost tolerable – almost. The Chargers’ Darren Sproles returned the favor with a punt return touchdown, but it wasn’t enough. The Broncos defense has turned back the clock, going all-Tom Jackson on opponents – having allowed just 10 points in the second half this season – and Kyle Orton keeps winning. Go figure. Kudos to Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator – and San Francisco 49ers vagabond – Mike Nolan. Apparently they didn’t get the message this team should finish with double-digit losses.

How can you not love the NFL? Unless you’re a fan of the Titans, Redskins, Rams, Rai…Scratch that. There are probably a lot of NFL-haters right now. Until week seven…