Thursday, December 18, 2008

Week Fifteen Observations

1. The Bears beat the Saints because their team is better suited to play on a sloppy field, in the wind, and in the cold. The Saints look like gods every game in the Superdome but they are bad enough outdoors that they can't beat mediocre teams like Chicago. Drew Brees has played at an extremely high level much of this year, but he does not bring that every game on the road. Thus, he is no longer an MVP candidate - though his skill is greater than any other quarterback right now.

2. Nothing the Bears are doing right now is particularly impressive. Kyle Orton has not gotten back to the level he exhibited before his injury.

3. Even on the best play of Cedric Benson's season, you could tell he does not belong in the NFL. He fell over untouched to end a 79 yard catch/run.

4. Steven Jackson, the second best running back in the world, is going to have a short and oft-injured career because of his violent style.

5. The great Favre/Rodgers debate has finally been settled: Chad Pennington is better than both.

6. For the season Torry Holt now has 651 yards receiving and three touchdowns; longtime running mate Isaac Bruce has 766 yards and six TDs for the Niners.

7. The Jets average 4.8 yards per carry, tied for tops in the league. But they rank 16th in attempts. Meanwhile, they rank 20th in yards per pass, yet are 15th in attempts. The Jets have had trouble establishing their identity all season. They have insisted on running a pass-heavy West Coast offense, though the numbers show this doesn't make sense for their team. On Sunday, they handed the ball off just once to the electric Leon Washington. That one carry was a 47 yard touchdown scamper. The Jets may sneak into the playoffs because of a creampuff schedule, but NYJ fans should not be happy with how this season has gone. The talent is in place for better results.

8. J.P. Losman is the poor man's J.T. O'Sullivan.

9. Dallas Clark has really been coming on strong - even before Thursday's fantastic performance against the Jags. People forget how much action Clark got the last couple years and how important he can be for that offense.

10. Indianapolis picked up kick returner extraordinaire (NOT) Najeh Davenport and immediately sent him back to return kickoffs. I have no idea why a team would look to Davenport to return kicks.

11. Chiefs rookie CB Brandon Flowers continues to emerge as a playmaker.

12. I've always liked Dennis Northcutt. He has made plays throughout his career.

13. Kerry Collins appears to be faltering. He is missing some of the throws he was making during the middle part of the season.

14. Arizona's two wins over teams with a .500 or better record: a week six overtime win over the Cowboys and a week two blowout of the Dolphins.

15. That Bernard Berrian punt return touchdown featured some of the worst special teams defense I've seen this year.

16. Carolina is leading the NFL in scoring over the last two months.

17. Lost in the controversy of the Santonio Holmes touchdown ruling was Pittsburgh's terrible clock management down the stretch. The Steelers spiked the ball on 1st and goal from the 4 with one timeout and 52 seconds left. Either a timeout or a play, even a running play, would have been better in this situation. This could have cost them big. I just don't get it; the NFL is a league of professional players and coaches but it seems only a couple teams know how to manage the clock late in a tight situation. It shouldn't be this hard.

18. I felt like the rain and field conditions were the reason the Raiders couldn't stop the Patriots. Their defensive backs were very slow reacting to pass patterns. Nobody was running super fast, but the offense knew where they were going while the defense had to guess and catch up. It gave the team with a competent offense, the Pats, a big advantage.

19. Before we get too excited about Tashard Choice, let's remember that Felix Jones was averaging 8.9 yards per carry in a similar role for Dallas.

20. John Carney, who was selected to the Pro Bowl this week, has not attempted a field goal over 50 yards this season. Jason Hanson missed just one field goal all season and went 8/8 from 50+ yards; John Kasay also missed just one and was perfect from 49 yards or less. Carney, who has gone 29/31, was a bogus selection for the Pro Bowl.

21. Ken Dorsey might just be the worst quarterback to set foot on an NFL field this season. That list looks something like this:

10. Damon Huard
9. J.P. Losman
8. Kevin Kolb
7. Brooks Bollinger
6. Rex Grossman
5. JaMarcus Russell
4. Andrew Walter
3. Brad Johnson
2. Brodie Croyle
1. Ken Dorsey

22. Monday night, Donovan McNabb was as hot as any quarterback we've seen this season. The Eagles are playing as well as any team right now, but we need to remember that McNabb has not been consistent, they have issues converting third and short, they mismanage the clock on a regular basis, they can't kick long field goals, they've turned the ball over 24 times this season (even turnover ratio), and their play-calling can't be trusted.

Offensive MVP of the Week: Andre Johnson, Houston
Defensive MVP of the Week: John Abraham, Atlanta
Breakout Player of the Week: Jason Craft, St. Louis
Head Coach of the Week: John Fox, Carolina
Assistant Coach of the Week: Mike Zimmer, Cincinnati Defensive Co-ordinator

Power Ratings:

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


Blogger TheGraveWolf said...

Hmmm... nothing about Tarvaris Jackson? Fluke? Leader?

Maybe I was just looking for a few things you didn't mention but this week's summation didn't seem nearly as thorough as the past few.

Any thoughts on Broncos?

4:38 PM  
Blogger Spencetron said...

I also love Dennis Northcut. While statistically Carney may not stack up you can't complain too much since the Giants are the league's best team. They did get the right choice with Jeff Feagles. Best punter ever...

10:28 PM  
Blogger GnightMoon said...

I didn't have anything original to say about Tarvaris. He played really well. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain that level of play, for this season and down the line.

The Broncos could have used Peyton Hillis in that game, though it wouldn't have been enough. The Broncos finally matched up against a coaching staff that didn't just aimlessly call plays, but adapted and shifted the offense to fit the situation.

12:48 AM  

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