Friday, November 21, 2008

Week Eleven Observations

1. Kris Jenkins, not Brett Favre, was the most important free agent acquisition made by the Jets. Jenkins is the best player on the team.

2. The Jets need to get the ball in Leon Washington's hands. He and Brett Favre are their dynamic offensive players.

3. The Cincy D came out with an awesome effort on Sunday. Guys were flying around the field going after the ball like heat-seeking missiles. Cincinnati is not a talented defensive team but they have stepped up the effort level the last two games and didn't lose either.

4. The Bengals didn't challenge a spot that probably would have been overruled as a touchdown, then had to settle for a field goal after starting inside the one yard line. Later in the game they elected to go for it on 4th and 16 from the 34 instead of punting or attempting a 51 yard field goal. These decisions likely cost them a win.

5. If the Broncos make the playoffs, Jay Cutler should get some MVP consideration. They would go something like 3-13 without him. Cutler has done an excellent job the last two weeks progressing through his reads and choosing the best option.

6. Denver was able to hold Atlanta to 3.3 yards per rush. Rookie linebackers Spencer Larsen and Wesley Woodyard were flying to the ball.

7. Like everyone else I was flabbergasted that Donovan McNabb didn't know NFL games could end in ties, but it probably didn't affect the game.

8. McNabb's poor starts have become one of the league's most consistent trends.

9. Ryan Grant had a big game against a stern Chicago rush defense. Running the ball and stopping the run will be the key for the Packers down the stretch. Their pass offense and defense are very good.

10. Kansas City played an even game against the Saints, but struggled in the red zone. That offense might need one more playmaker. Once again they were close.

11. Ted Ginn is starting to look like like the Ohio State Ted Ginn - good for one or two gamechanging plays each week.

12. Patrick Cobbs is a nice little playmaker for the Dolphins. They have one of the best sets of running backs in the league, though no one can match the Earth Wind & Fire Giants.

13. Oakland's 15 points against the Dolphins came courtesy of a field goal set up by a bogus pass interference penalty, a safety, a punt return, and a field goal set up by a brief flash of competence from JaMarcus Russell. This offense is easily the worst in the NFL. You have to wonder if they could move the ball against some of the better college defenses. Russell is just horrendous - at this point there is no doubt who is the worst starting quarterback in the league. It will be interesting to see who wins the battle of ills this weekend when the Oakland O confronts the Denver D.

14. Jeff Garcia has quietly picked up his play the last few weeks. He was in full-on playmaker mode on Sunday and played one of the best games of the season at the quarterback position.

15. Ahmad Bradshaw is electric when he gets the ball with a little space. He is a player that can take your breath away. I've watched this run about twenty times and I don't know if anyone else would have broken it. This one is another great example of his incredible, possibly unmatched explosive burst. He is just 22 years old and will be fresh when he eventually gets a starting job. Watch for him to be one of the top performers circa 2011.

16. Detroit's rush defense is so bad right now, it makes no sense to do anything but run it down their throats. It is very hard to win a game when you can't stop the run.

17. Detroit has found a little consistency on offense with the Culpepper/Smith/Johnson trio. Their offense is much better than that of the Raiders or Bengals but their D is the worst in the league.

18. Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald aren't just the league's top wide receiver tandem, they might just be the two best receivers in the game. Fitzgerald vacuums up footballs like no one else, and no one has been able to handle Boldin's toughness. Kurt Warner keeps putting up huge numbers but he is no MVP candidate in my eyes. With no running game and those receivers it's automatic for a competent QB to pass for 300+ a game.

19. Arizona's running and playcalling was very poor once again on Sunday. They are leaving points on the board because of these play calls and their lack of a decent running back.

20. Matt Hasselbeck, Kyle Orton, and Tony Romo may have played on Sunday, but they were not at full strength. It takes time AFTER getting fully healthy for a quarterback to get back to peak condition. Timing is such a critical element in the job and if it has to be just about perfect in order for a QB to succeed. Watch for these guys to look better next week and even better the next.

21. For whatever reason Tennessee came out flat for the first time on Sunday. Their lines did not play well in the first half, but dominated as the afternoon turned to evening.

22. Chris Johnson's speed continues to befuddle defenses. He makes runs that no one else is capable of. He is truly the difference maker for the Tennessee offense.

23. San Diego is +25 in point differential this season while Denver is -23, yet the Broncos hold a two-game lead in the division. The Chargers and Jaguars are the only teams with positive point differentials and losing records.

24. Tony Romo was not in top form, but he made about four plays that Brad Johnson wouldn't have made and that was the difference for Dallas. The threat of Romo made life a lot easier for Marion Barber who looked like a beast and won the game for the Cowboys.

25. The Cowboys reemerging as a Contender could be the most exciting storyline of the second half of the season. The drama of a red hot, vengeful Dallas team invading the Meadowlands for a January playoff game against the defending champs would be off the charts. I'm tempted to predict the 'Boys to win it all. That would be a little silly considering how well the Giants are playing but no one, NO ONE in the NFL has a higher ceiling than a healthy Dallas Cowboys team.

26. Jim Zorn is in the running for Coach of the Year, but I'm not so sure he deserves much credit. His in-game skills are what you would expect from a man who has never been a head coach or coordinator. They waste timeouts and don't manage the clock. Plays are not always called and run in an organized manner. His system is perfect for the Redskins and he has helped Jason Campbell mature into an above average starting quarterback.

27. The saddest part of Buffalo's collapse is Trent Edwards' decline has been inexplicable. He was playing so well early in the season and now his play is hurting the team.

Power Ratings:

1. New York Giants (2)
2. Tennessee (1)
3. Pittsburgh (3)
4. Baltimore (4)
5. Carolina (7)
6. Arizona (5)
7. Dallas (17)
8. Washington (6)
9. New York Jets (15)
10. Tampa Bay (11)
11. Atlanta (9)
12. New England (10)
13. Philadelphia (8)
14. Miami (12)
15. Green Bay (18)
16. Indianapolis (13)
17. Chicago (14)
18. Minnesota (16)
19. New Orleans (20)
20. San Diego (21)
21. Denver (24)
22. Buffalo (19)
23. Cleveland (25)
24. Houston (23)
25. Jacksonville (22)
26. Kansas City (26)
27. San Francisco (29)
28. Cincinnati (30)
29. Seattle (27)
30. St. Louis (28)
31. Oakland (31)
32. Detroit (32)


Blogger Nappy said...

It's inexplicable that you could rank san diego ahead of denver.

2:52 AM  
Blogger steeser said...

I don't care what the records say, nobody is worse than Oakland. Detroit is bad, but nowhere near as pathetic.

6:04 AM  
Blogger Champ said...

27. It wasn't clear before, it certainly is now: Broncos vs. Raiders rivalry is officially dead.

You can blame the incompetent Al Davis, you can blame the vindictive Mike Shanahan, but regardless...nobody in Denver could give a shit about them Raiders. It's sad really. What used to be one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports in gone.

Even the pathetic Chiefs are capable of splitting the series year-after-year with the Broncos.

I can't wait to throw peanuts at all those washed up Raiders fans, come this weekend at Mile High. You know...the one's wearing the Tim Brown, Jerry Rice or Jeff George jerseys! Accompanied by their white trash wives...wondering where they can find PBR on tap, and outraged by the fact they can't smoke cigarettes in their seat.

On second thought...I'm glad it's dead.

9:39 AM  

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