Wednesday, October 24, 2007

NFL 2007 Week 7: NFC Edition

NFC EAST: It didn’t take the Cowboys long to lick their wounds after the Patriots loss, and they came back strong against the Vikings. The defense kept Minnesota’s offense, what there is of it, off the field and the offense was able to withstand the tough Vikings defense. They started slowly, as they have tended toward this season, but got into rhythm by the end. After their bye, they have three straight division games and, by the end of it, the divisional picture should be clear. Right now, Dallas is the overwhelming favorite, but they’ve been known to fall like a rodeo cowboy off Bodacious. The only other team in reasonable contention with the right now is the Giants, whose “resurgence” is a magic show. Their defense looks great; Osi Umenyiora looks unstoppable, but look what teams they’ve played during this five game win streak. Washington and Philadelphia are in a competitive division that’s always tough, but Washington is really bad and the Philly contest was one of the worst bowling shoes of a game as I’ve seen in a long time. The Eagles’ wretched play had little to do with New York. Otherwise, it’s the Jets (1-6), the Falcons (1-6) and the 49ers (2-4). Pretty impressive, and this week they get the 0-7 Dolphins. Watch their overrating soar even further. The Eagles loss was a surprise and put a nice cap on what was otherwise another poor and inconsistent performance from both of these teams. There is no excuse for allowing Chicago to stay in that game, but they kept getting close enough for field goals and Philly couldn’t capitalize on anything. The Redskins, well, they still suck. After such a huge game from Chris Cooley two weeks ago, they limit his receptions to one and leave it to Clinton Portis and his 18 carries for 43 yards to carry them. They won…barely…but they looked very bad and are not getting better. It’s time to cut bait on Clinton Portis, he’ll never be what he was in Denver and it’s time to get somebody young in there if they insist on staying with a passer like Jason Campbell.

NFC NORTH: Because Green Bay was on bye this week, they didn’t get the opportunity to add to their loss total. They are going to fall apart pretty badly after this week, which is going to cause Favre to come back for another season. How long will the Packers allow their organization to fall apart over the vanity of one man? Favre has looked foolish against the Broncos in the past, and will this coming week again when he enters Denver on Monday in front of Tony Kornheiser and everybody. It’s hard for me to believe that the Lions are 4-2 now, but I guess their wins haven’t come against anybody decent and the division is so bad that they look better than they are (much like the Giants). I question what has changed in Detroit, though, to put them at least one level above a joke. Calvin Johnson is good, but can’t be changing the team that much. Kitna’s weekly spiritual journey through football only makes them look silly. Maybe whoever was paying Matt Millen to sabotage the team stopped sending in the checks. This seems the most likely scenario. The Eagles should be ashamed of themselves for allowing Chicago back in the pantry. The disappointment that is Cedric Benson and the second-rate play of Brian Griese (better than the fourth-rate play of “Train” Rex Grossman though, I guess) should eliminate them from all competition but, like last year’s magical season, they squeak through any way they can. Some would call that fighting spirit. I call it dumb luck. The Vikings really need to rethink who they have at offensive coordinator. Tavarius Jackson is terrible, completing only six passes the entire game. He can run, sure, but if that’s all he can do, they might as well run the wishbone (which I honestly hope somebody pulls out someday). Everything they’ve done on offense has come at the hands of Adrian Peterson who, even in a bad loss to the Cowboys, looked excellent at times. Why is he only running fifteen times a game? They may be afraid of injuries, but he’s hamstrung anyway by not being able to develop a rhythm. If they don’t trade Chester Taylor after this year while he still has a little trade value, they’re crazy.

NFC SOUTH: I would be so happy if Carolina upset the Colts this week, though it won’t happen. If the Colts had the rush defense of last year, DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams would run all over them, but they have a far superior squad this year, at least in that respect. David Carr and Vinnie Testeverde are not the two quarterbacks you want against an undefeated Indy team, but that’s what they’ve got. Barring a complete breakdown or a plane crash on their way to Carolina, I don’t see much hope for them here. Jeff Garcia may not have thrown an interception yet this season, but his fumbling issues killed their team this week. The Bucs defense allowed them only one touchdown in the red zone, but that was enough to take the win. Garcia led the down the field multiple times, throwing 45 times along the way (they have absolutely no rushing attack), but also sabotaged them at key moments. It’s cute that the Saints have now won two games in a row, but last week’s game wasn’t exactly pretty. Brees seems to be stepping back into his normal self, while Bush sucks as bad as ever. They have a lot of problems that need to be overcome, but they’re starting to look like the average team they looked like before the season. The Falcons should be happy with themselves. They may not be able to win a game, or even look like a professional football team, but at least now they can say they have an identity: the worst in the division. I know they were coveting the Saints’ position, but now they don’t have to worry, it’s all theirs. Honestly, I think I would pick the Dolphins or the Rams over the Falcons in a game, though they actually have a win. With the end of the Leftwich experiment, though, at least they can be certain who their quarterback is.

NFC WEST: I can no longer say that the NFC West is the worst division in the league this year. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a really bad group, but the AFC East really takes the cake, with the Patriots obnoxious dominance accentuating their rivals’ atrocities. After the debacle against New Orleans last week, Seattle rebounded with a vengeance against St. Louis, slapping them around like they were playing an old Seahawks team. It wasn’t like they even had a great game. 289 total yards and 4/14 on third down are not exactly things to write home about, but their entire team was able to put together 33 points, a fairly impressive number for a failing team. Arizona made a great try at coming back against Washington, but fell short, which is something they’ve gotten used to. They got everything they could out of Kurt Warner and Tim Rattay, how much can they really ask from one washed-up quarterback and another washout. Without the injury problems, they could conceivably be in first place going into their bye this week, but now they’re just nursing their injuries and hoping for a stroke of luck. Fortunately for both of these teams, luck comes partially in the form of the rest of their division. I didn’t thing San Francisco was going to be the powerhouse everyone predicted, but I sure didn’t expect a complete breakdown. At least Alex Smith is back, or is that actually a good thing? I guess nothing can hurt any more at this point. In St. Louis, Stephen Jackson will finally return, but there doesn’t seem to be much that can save their season at this point. If they win out, they’ll be on the verge of the playoffs, but fat chance of that. There no telling if Jackson can overcome his struggles at the beginning of the year, but at least coming off the injury gives him a fresh chance to try. It’s inconceivable that the Rams’ offense could only muster six points against the Seahawks’ defense, but they played just that badly. I see their losing ways starting to ebb in the coming weeks with a lot of games against marginal opponents, but they’re going to need a miracle to get over the problems with their piecemeal offensive line. Maybe they should call John Kitna to see if he has any special prayers for this occasion.