Posted 10/19 by Michael Brown, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
My apologies, as I really don't have much of an idea of what went on in the
NFL this past weekend. You see, my genius friends decided to schedule a bachelor
party during a weekend in the fall. Normally, not such a bad idea as the drive
to Atlantic City is a mere two hours from where I live in North Jersey. Check
out of the hotel by 10, on the road and home to watch the games in plenty of
time. Of course, this bachelor party was held in Montreal - a somewhat more
After getting my Indian friend through customs at the border and several bathroom
breaks, food breaks, and an unexplained exit only to get back on the highway
after several seconds, we arrived back home late in the afternoon. This luckily
meant I had just enough time to get over to a christening for my girlfriend's
cousin's child. Thank goodness, or more precisely, God - for that.
So upon getting back to my house around 9:00 at night after having driven for
roughly 17 of a possible 12 hours, I settled in to watch some football. And
the Broncos/Raiders game promptly put me to sleep.
So all in all, if you see anything amiss or out of the ordinary this week,
feel free to call me on it. I have somewhat more idea of what happened this
weekend than Teddy Ruxpin, so if anything seems crazy it's probably because
On to the mailbag!
Courtesy of Renesauz: I've been looking forward to see how far up you bumped
the Eagles. I don't live or die by rankings, but was disappointed that you only
bumped them to 10, and even that was grudgingly. Then I noticed that you didn't
actually watch them play. Stat lines don't always tell the story. They are better
then you're giving them credit for, and anyone who saw that Cowboys game would
almost certainly have seen that. Now you'll probably watch them this week against
a dangerous Saints squad on the road immediately after an emotional win against
a divisional foe, and they'll likely struggle. They may even lose, giving you
EXACTLY the ammo to justify being high on the Saints and knocking the Eagles
back down. Very nicely done. It's completely biased and unfair, but nicely done.
I love that you're your own man and have bucked the trend on rankings. But if
Philly wins big in N.O. , will you still only bump them a spot or two? What
if they lose a tight game? Will you knock them down five spots since you weren't
sold on them to begin with?
Before I get to the response, this was perhaps the most well-thought-out
criticism of my rankings to this point. All very valid points and everything
else. The Eagles seem to have replaced the Seahawks as the team I'm most called
out for, and it's understandable what with them being in first place and everything.
Obviously, like I said I didn't see them play this week. All I know of the game
is the stat book and some highlights. The guy who viewed that game at work the
other day was actually fired, so I didn't even get to talk to him about it either!
But to address your questions: to turn the tables on you a bit, your question
includes the possibility that the Eagles would lose as if expecting a loss somehow
justifies losing. Lowering expectations for a team prior to a big road game
doesn't earn them points when they play well. The fact that you proposed a possible
loss, in a way, gives you EXACTLY the ammo to justify calling me biased and
unfair. If Philly had won against the Saints, I'd probably only move them up
a spot or two at most, true. And yes, since they lost I felt I could drop them
down several pegs. At this point in the season, beating a team ranked lower
than you won't move you up as much as losing to that team will move you down
(hope that made sense).
Another from Renesauz: How can Indy still be in the top five with no ability
to run the ball, and nearly losing at home to a pathetic Tennessee squad? Philly
is one play from being 5 - 0 (pick any of a half dozen plays in the last five
minutes of that game). Indy is one play from being 4 -1 with the one being a
stinker of epic proportions.
Again with the Eagles! :-) In all seriousness, I'm not a big fan of the
"could be 5-0" theory. I know I've been guilty of it at times, but
the fact of the matter is that those plays DID happen. I'll grant you that the
Colts haven't exactly played like a top-five team. Then again, not many teams
have played supremely well yet this year. In this case, I'll admit that it's
more a case of them being able to find a way to win than anything. Not to mention,
there's still a trace of my preseason expectations scattered throughout the
rankings. Most people don't still have the Giants in the top ten or the Saints
out of it, but until I see something that drastically changes my expected outlook
I'm not going to move someone up or down just because everyone else does it
or they beat a couple of teams they were supposed to.
From Joey Georges: I'm a huge Chargers fan. However, you've overrated their
performance. You can't question the quality of Jacksonville's wins while rating
the Chargers second and suggesting they should be #1. Jacksonville thoroughly
dominated the only credible team the Chargers have beaten, and their other two
wins aren't against the worst teams in the league. Until the Chargers show their
defensive prowess against a good offensive team, I don't think you can consider
them in the same class as the Bears. It's easy to get carried away with teams
that look great on national TV.
It's not just that the Chargers have impressed me on national television.
And yes, they haven't dominated against anyone who is any good outside of Pittsburgh.
But I'm one of those people who believe that all NFL teams are capable of beating
all the other NFL teams. And the fact that San Diego has gone out and basically
looked like they can do whatever they want has impressed the hell out of me.
I'm also not a huge fan of the Byron Leftwich/Fred Taylor/WR combination offensively.
It's OK, but doesn't strike me as anything to worry too much about. I don't
deny that the team has looked good for the most part, but a lot of my decision
has to do with personal preference as well as results on the field. That's not
to mention, while the quality of Jacksonville's wins might be just as impressive,
the Chargers also don't have a brutal loss against a horrid Washington squad
as the Jags do. That counts for as much of a drop-off as anything else.
Another from Joey: It is almost comical the blame that you and the local
media have heaped upon Marty Schottenheimer for the Baltimore loss. I think
it's reasonable to play conservatively when your opponent hasn't come close
to scoring. I recall no similar criticism of Andy Reid when he went conservative
against the Giants (a good offensive team, unlike the Ravens). Anyway, I enjoy
your column despite the crazy biases you are at least honest enough to point
I've been a Marty backer for the most part. I really wanted him to come
aboard when he was booted out of Washington, and I think he's the perfect guy
to take a team from the dregs of the league up to respectability. I'm just not
sold that he's the guy to take them from respectability to the elite. Against
the Jets in the playoffs two years ago, I thought he got way too conservative
with a rookie kicker lining up for a potential game-winning kick. It wasn't
second-guessing; it was first-guessing. This year against Baltimore, I couldn't
for the life of me understand why he'd shut down the offense when the lead wasn't
yet out of hand. It was his job to get conservative and protect the ball once
the game is out of reach. The fact is, until that last desperation drive of
the game, Rivers had thrown just four second half passes. They weren't playing
the Raiders or Titans; this was the Ravens, and any team with Steve McNair is
capable of overcoming a small deficit. What you call smart, I call overly cautious.
Like I said, I'm not one of those people who jumps all over Marty for the "Martyball"
approach, as he actually hasn't been as conservative during his time in San
Diego as some have suggested. I'd just like to see a little more killer instinct
when you're playing against a quality opponent, and you have the chance to knock
Week 6 games I watched
- Oak @ Den (bits n' pieces)
- Chi @ Arz
Disagree with anything you see here? Feel free to send all questions/comments/complaints/death
threats (not real ones please) to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rk Team Name Record (Prv.)
- Chicago Bears 6-0 (1)
Some have questioned the Bears this week because of looking terrible against
Arizona. I choose instead to look at the fact that they somehow always find
a way to get the job done.
- San Diego Chargers 4-1 (2)
I personally thought it was brilliant of Marty Schottenheimer to rest Michael
Turner and let LaDainian Tomlinson absorb all of the punishment. This team
is gonna need their meal ticket down the stretch.
- Indianapolis Colts 5-0 (3)
Get Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison now, or live to regret it for the rest
of the season.
- Denver Broncos 4-1 (4)
So I'm not going to complain about an 83-yard performance that includes a
yes I am because it was the Raiders and anything less
than 220 rushing and 3 TDs is subpar. Look it up, it's in the Bible.
- Seattle Seahawks 4-1 (6)
So I know I'm not the only one who's concerned that the Alexander is more
serious than they're letting on, right?
- New York Giants 3-2 (9)
Wait, before you e-mail me. Yes I know I keep overrating them, and they're
horrible, and they stink, and everyone is better than them. That said, they're
3-2 in the midst of a brutally tough schedule, and beat the only team that's
ahead of them in the division.
- Jacksonville Jaguars 3-2 (11)
Congratulations. Everyone and their mother lost this weekend, so an unprecedented
4-spot jump without even playing is in order.
- New England Patriots 4-1 (12)
Same goes for you guys.
- Carolina Panthers 4-2 (13)
Is it me, or have the Panthers played the same exact game the last four weeks
in a row?
- Baltimore Ravens 4-2 (8)
Why do they not get dropped as much as the Bengals and Falcons? Because their
loss was against just as quality an opponent, they played better in defeat,
and they've got a win over the #2 Chargers on the resume.
- Cincinnati Bengals 3-2 (5)
uh, what the hell?
- New Orleans Saints 5-1 (15)
What was more exciting to people from Louisiana, the Saints game or the news
that Britney Spears has lost almost all of the baby weight?
- Philadelphia Eagles 4-2 (10)
Hopefully this can put an end to the "we should be unbeaten" talk.
The fact is, whatever you "should" be, the reality is you "are"
4-2 with the only quality win against Dallas. And with a bevy of brutality
- Atlanta Falcons 3-2 (7)
Ho-hum, another overhyped, underperforming Falcons squad. I've seen this movie
- Dallas Cowboys 3-2 (14)
The drop in ranking has nothing to do with the performance last week, and
everything to do with the Saints win over Philadelphia. New Orleans > Philly
> Dallas, and no one else deserves to be dropped below the Boys.
- Pittsburgh Steelers 2-3 (16)
I know he says a lot of controversial things, but even I was shocked to hear
Joey Porter say he was going to "knock the herpes out of Michael Vick"
(Porter didn't actually say that. But doesn't it say something about Porter
that you all believed me?)
- Minnesota Vikings 3-2 (17)
I can't say anything bad here. They made it out of the bye week without any
over-the-top sex scandals, and for that they should be applauded.
- Saint Louis Rams 4-2 (18)
That loss was terrible. Not from a competitive standpoint, but from the standpoint
that this team is going to need to win at least two games they aren't supposed
to (because the Denver win was offset by the San Francisco loss). And coughing
up leads against divisional opponents with no time left in the game isn't
going to help things.
- Kansas City Chiefs 2-3 (19)
Who would've guessed that Damon Huard wouldn't excel when pressed into duty?
You don't ask Justin Timberlake to act or sound like a man, and you don't
ask Damon Huard to play QB - it's that simple.
- Washington Redskins 2-4 (20)
Has there been a bigger disappointment this season than the Skins?
- New York Jets 3-3 (21)
Just good enough to not be bad, but just bad enough to not be good.
- Buffalo Bills 2-4 (22)
If anyone knows of a way I could score December 3rd tickets to the Chargers/Bills
game in Buffalo cheaply, I'm all ears.
- Miami Dolphins 1-5 (23)
I picked this team to win the AFC East. Now I know what it feels like to be
one of those guys who thought that Kirstie Alley was hot in the 1980's.
- Arizona Cardinals 1-5 (24)
Say for a moment you somehow got a date with Mandy Moore. You go out to a
nice dinner, your jokes are working, and the two of you are having a great
time. You agree to go back to your place. And just as you get out of the car,
you are attacked and killed by a wolverine. And after you die, you go to heaven
and the only forms of entertainment are your choice of standup comedy or mud
wrestling, both featuring Rosie O'Donnell and Paula Poundstone. That's almost
as bad as the Cardinals on Monday night.
- San Francisco 49ers 2-4 (25)
Man, the Bay area has had a rough time these past couple of years. This must
be what it's like living with Nick and Aaron Carter.
- Green Bay Packers 1-4 (26)
Take a look at the remaining schedule and try telling me it's impossible for
the Packers to finish 8-8. And if they do, they might be about the worst .500
team in the history of the league.
- Tampa Bay Bucs 1-4 (27)
So someone told me that Bill Simmons over at ESPN stole my bit about Tony
Romo having a QB "name" and applied it to Bruce Gradkowski. I just
want to say, if the name Bruce Gradkowski doesn't scream "Superstar",
then I don't know what does.
- Houston Texans 1-4 (28)
Alright, everyone who isn't a Texans fan. I have a question for you. Can anyone
remember anything about any game they've played the entire season so far???
What an absolutely blasé year they're having!
- Detroit Lions 1-5 (29)
May I take this opportunity to remind you that a certain FBG staffer had Jon
Kitna, Kevin Jones, and Roy Williams top-10 at each of their respective positions
entering the year? What's that, I can't do that yet? OK then I won't.
- Cleveland Browns 1-4 (30)
I know he doesn't have a ton of weapons, and I know the offensive line stinks
is there just a teeny tiny chance that maybe Charlie Frye is miscast as a
franchise QB? Maybe?
- Tennessee Titans 1-5 (31)
So how come Vince Young doesn't look completely lost out there like everyone
- Oakland Raiders 0-5 (32)
To say this is as bad as it gets would be an understatement. Especially since
it can probably get worse knowing this team.