It’s been quite the season for the San Francisco 49ers. After being preseason favorites to win the division, the 49ers started off 0-5. During the five game slide, they made the decision to fire the offensive coordinator in hopes of rejuvenating the stagnant offense. Even at 0-5, 49ers president/CEO Jed York insisted that this team would win the division. Thankfully, they play in the NFC West, where 7-9 or 8-8 could get you into the playoffs and even host a playoff game! So technically, even at 4-7, they are still alive and well in the division race.
This was supposed to be the year that Alex Smith took a huge step forward, and claimed the vacant “franchise QB” tag. He got hurt, and backup David Carr was so bad that recently signed third string QB, Troy Smith (yes, the one that led Ohio State to a BCS championship game), has taken the reigns in San Francisco. Troy’s competition is so light, that it looks like he will be the starter for the rest of the season.
Now, Frank Gore, the team’s best offensive weapon, broke his hip in the Monday Night Football game against the Arizona Cardinals. Sources are reporting that he is out for the season. The running game will turn over to Brian Westbrook, who we all remember from the Philadelphia Eagles. Unfortunately, Westbrook is well past his prime, and the 49ers badly need to win some games down the stretch to make a playoff run. Can Brian Westbrook still carry a team???
Through all of the controversy and bad luck, head coach Mike Singletary remains confident in his team. Every remaining game is a must win for them. I just wonder at this point if he is the only one who is still confident that the 49ers can win the division.
Itâs been an interesting week in the sports world. The boxing match weâve eagerly awaited, Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr., finally looks set. The return of âThe Answerâ is no longer in question. And the best athlete at his position in the world made headlines for a vehicular incidentâŚ
How about the first time weâve 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 â or other â leave me giddy.
NFL Week 13
A number of match-ups this week have significant playoff implicationsâŚand here are my thoughts:
Speaking of whichâŚhas anyone noticed how seemingly contagious concussions have become? Itâs nearly reached Swine Flu status.
Will Chris Johnsonâs 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 Dickersonâs 2,105 single-season rush yards) as quietly as anyoneâŚever.
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 â no really â 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 âcloak of invisibilityâ is long gone â 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 weekâŚ
âŚby the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals. Two forty-something quarterbacks may go head-to-head this week. (I realize Kurt Warner isnât 40 yet, but youâve heard of “dog years?” I propose for every concussion sustained, a year is added to your age in “NFL-years”âŚmaking 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 theyâve defeated is 39-71. Pretty staggering. Itâs not that I donât think they are good. I just donât 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 playerâs wear on the sidelines, you can always buy that stuff here â at FansEdge.
Here’s a post from one of our new copywriters. I’ve been promoted to President of Overseas Operations or (POO) as I now force my underlings to refer to me. This is Brent Widmark, and he’ll be thrilling you week in and week out with tales of Norse Heroes. Enjoy…
Quarterback problems are a common link between teams who are still searching for their first win. Chad Pennington may be lost for the season for the Miami Dolphins. Jake Delhomme is frustrating Steve Smith fantasy owners. And the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Kansas Chiefs are looking for stability at the QB spot. The Chiefs have the best chance at finding that as Matt Cassel continues to bounce back from injury. Also injured last week for the Chiefs was WR Dwayne Bowe. As Al Michaels would say, he had a hamstring. Brand new Chief Bobby Wade could be a sleeper fantasy WR option if Boweâs hamstring doesnât mend.
The NFL is a quarterback league. Top quarterbacks can take a team up a level by themselves. That is why the Chicago Bears were aggressive in trading for Jay Cutler. If the NFL is a quarterback league, then the NFL media is a âWhat did you do last week?â entity. In Chicago, after a week of Cutler bashing on the radio after his week 1 four-interception-performance against the Green Bay Packers, itâs been nothing but praise as the Bears have beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks to go 2-1. Quarterbacks like Cutler, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger prove to be invaluable every season.
Last season Pennington led the NFL in completion percentage at 67.4 percent. His injury is not great news for wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr, who needs the most accurate passer he can find. If he catches the touchdown pass that went in and out of his hands near the end of the week two against the Indianapolis Colts, the Dolphins may very well be sitting at 1-2 and still dreaming of being the 11-5 team they were in 2008 and not the 1-15 team they were in 2007. The Miami Dolphins will turn to former University of Michigan QB Chad Henne. Also lingering on the depth chart is rookie, Wildcat specialist and former West Virginia Mountaineer QB Pat White.
When the Dolphins drafted Ted Ginn, Jr in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft, fans, commentators, sports writers, hot dog vendors, and Brady Quinn were shocked that the team did not draft Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn. Quinn sat in the green room at the draft and sheepishly watched himself slip through the top 20 before being selected by the Cleveland Browns at number 22 overall. The Browns are now 0-3 and have thrown six interceptions on the season, the second most in the NFL, three by Quinn and three by his backup/quarterback controversy counterpart Derek Anderson.
If the Browns need to seek inspiration for turning their season around, they need only to look a little north toâŚ Detroit? Yep, to the now 1-2 Detroit Lions. Before he was drafted number one overall, former Georgia Bulldog, Matthew Stafford publically welcomed the challenge of trying to turn the Detroit Lions around. He beat out Daunte Culpepper in training camp to earn the starting quarterback spot and the privilege of chucking it up to phenom WR Calvin Johnson. Stafford led them to a win over the Washington Redskins in week 3, their first win since December 23, 2007. After throwing five picks in the first two games, Stafford threw zero on Sunday and connected with Bryant Johnson for his second touchdown of the year. The Lions will now hope that RB Kevin Smithâs shoulder injury is nothing serious as they try to double their win total from the last 22 months next week against division rival Chicago Bears.
After losing to the Detroit Lions last week and barely squeaking out a 9-7 win against the winless St. Louis Rams in week two, the chair under Washington Redskin coach Jim Zorn may be beginning to feel a little warm. No costume Clinton Portis can conjure can hide the way the âSkins have played this year, but reason to celebrate is right around the corner as the next three opponents for Jason Campbell, LaRon Landry and company are a combine 0-9 right now. A 4-2 start to the season is Washingtonâs for the taking.
The only other 0-2 team, besides the Lions, to win in week 3 was the Jacksonville Jaguars, who got 119 yards and 3 TDâs from RB Maurice Jones-Drew. No coach looks better on the sidelines than Jack Del Rio and few coaches walked off the field happier than he did on Sunday. The Jags and QB David Garrard will face two 0-3 teams in the next three weeks and should have a good chance at finding themselves with a .500 record or better after week six. A Jags win may have helped Florida Gator fans forget Tim Tebowâs exit from Saturdayâs game. Actually, no. The flags in Florida are still at half-mast and counselors are available on the University of Florida campus to help students cope with the fact that Tebow may miss the Gatorâs next game in two weeks.
Itâs a QB league and the New York Jets look like they have found a franchise QB in former USC Trojan Mark Sanchez. Sanchez comes from a brotherhood of USC QBâs that includes Cincinnati BengalCarson Palmer, Arizona CardinalMatt Leinart, Kansas City Chief Matt Cassel, and John David Booty, who was bumped to the Minnesota Viking practice squad when Brett Favre unretired, swooped in and stole his roster spot and his number. Sanchez and Head Coach Rex Ryan, son of famed defensive wizard Buddy Ryan, have the J-E-T-S off to an undefeated first three weeks of the year after knocking off the Houston Texans on the road and the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans at home.
For several reasons, Sean Salisbury is not mentioned in the above list of former USC QBâs. No, there will not be a picture.
And speaking of 4, as we call him where I am from, Brett Favre version 2009 was Brett Favre version 1997 for at least one play on Sunday, throwing a 32 yard TD pass with two seconds left in the game to beat the San Francisco 49ers. On the receiving end was former Philadelphia Eagle WR Greg Lewis, who was signed by the Minnesota Vikings just before the season began. The Vikings remain undefeated, helped by a Frank Gore sprained ankle early in the game. Rookie, and former Alabama Crimson Tide RB, Glen Coffee took Goreâs place and rushed for 54 yards on 25 carries against the stout Minnesota Viking defensive line led by Pat Williams, Kevin Williams, and Jared Allen. The Vikings will try to improve to âFavre and Oâ against the Packers on Monday night. Favre might look across the way at Greg Jennings and Donald Driver and wish he was back in Green Bay. Or he might turn around and see Adrian Peterson and feel really good about being old in Minnesota, in the dome, where it is warm in December.
Looking to week four, New York Jets shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis has a huge challenge in front of him as he goes against Drew Breesâ high flying New Orleans Saints offense. Isaac Bruce will face his former team when the Rams and 49ers square off. Terrell Owens will try to start a new streak of consecutive games with a catch when Buffalo goes to Miami. TOâs record setting streak of 185 consecutive games with a catch was snapped on Sunday. Brett Favre will square off against the Green Bay Packers for the first time since leaving the team for retirement, before coming back and signing with the Jets, retiring, and then coming back again this year with the Vikings. Hopefully for the Vikings his muscle memory does not kick in when he sees a wide open green and gold clad Nick Barnett. That game is on Monday night and is expect to attract an enormous audience. If the Vikings lose, nobody in Minnesota or Wisconsin will be happy on Tuesday. I wonder what kind of questions the media will serve up to Aaron Rodgers all weekâŚ