Really? One week it looks like a team might be that special team, and then, wham, they lose.
Just when we're ready to put the NFC East champ into the Super Bowl -- why bother with the playoffs, right? -- three of the four teams lose last week.
So who is good?
The Tennessee Titans are the only remaining unbeaten team, but I can tell you they won't go undefeated in the AFC South. They have two games with the Colts, one on the road at Jacksonville and another at Houston.
They're not that good.
Nobody is any good.
Yet. Somebody will emerge soon. It's usually in November when that happens.
---The Atlanta Falcons won't back down to anybody. They are a definitely a feisty bunch.
Nobody embodies that more than right guard Harvey Dahl.
The man is a madman on the field. Dahl will hold his blocks until the last possible second, sometimes even pushing past the whistle. That infuriates the opposition, leading to post-play scuffles.
Watch the Falcons play and you'll usually see Dahl in the middle things. He's the modern Conrad Dobler.
" He's nasty," Falcons center Todd McClure said. "That's the one thing that impressed the coaches. He stays after them. He gets them frustrated."
I asked McClure if Dahl's a crazy man off the field.
"He's kind of laid back and flips the switch when he gets on the field," McClure said. "He
came here last year and worked his butt off. That's why he's the way he is."
Dahl is a terrific run blocker already and once he learns the tricks of pass protection he very well could end up in Hawaii in a couple of years. Not bad for a guy who was cut as a non-drafted rookie by Dallas in 2005 and also let go by San Francisco the next year before joining the Falcons as a practice-squad player last year.
Dahl will make sure it's a mean one.
---I hate squib kicks by teams late in games. Just kick the damn ball out of the end zone. Or cover one that doesn't. The Bears blew a game last week with the squib. Stupid.
---Wonder if there were any stories in the New York papers this week touting Eli Manning as being better than his brother? Didn't think so after Monday night. The fact that somebody is even thinking that is ludicrous. Eli is getting better. But he's no Peyton.
---The Steelers are publicly questioning the $5,000 fine levied at Hines Ward for a hit that wasn't penalized in the Oct. 5 game with Jacksonville. It was his second $5,000 fine of the season. Ward pushes the envelope when he plays. That's a fact. Some players on opposing teams think he's a cheap-shot artist. Maybe the league is just keeping a closer eye on him. The play he was fined for in the Jaguars game was on the first play of the game. He took a shot at Jaguars linebacker Mike Peterson. Jacksonville defensive end Paul Spicer blasted Ward after the play and got a personal foul. I thought the Jaguars were going after him because of things he did in the two games between the teams last season. But I asked Ward after the game what happened, and he smiled? "They thought I hit their guy," he said, the smile widening. I guess he did. And the league caught him.
---So Arthur Blank is all for Mike Vick returning to the NFL when he's released from prison? But he doesn't want him on his team. You think? The Falcons finally have a quarterback who can make all the throws from the pocket in rookie Matt Ryan. Why would they want that run-around, don't-see-the-field Vick back? Not only that, there is a feel-good thing going on in Atlanta. Who wants the bad times to come back through the front door? I do think Vick, if he can play, should play somewhere. Not in Atlanta.
---I love it when a player doesn't get what he wants -- see Tony Gonzalez -- and they run to the media and bitch publicly. Hey, Tony, you aren't what you think you are anymore. You signed a contract a few years back, so the Chiefs can force you to honor it. It's that simple. Deal with it. Your team isn't any good, but that's part of the process of playing in the NFL. It's not all rosy. And shut your mouth. It will be interesting to see how he's received in the locker room this week after openly campaigning to leave those very teammates behind.
---I like the deal that Colts made to get defensive tackle John McCargo. He's underachieved since being a first-round pick by the Bills in 2006, but he has the tools to be a starter in Indianapolis. The Colts are thin at defensive tackle, with the retirement of Quinn Pitcock and the release of Ed Johnson (for off-field issues). When the Colts won the Super Bowl two years ago, they were helped by an in-season pickup of defensive tackle Booger McFarland. McCargo didn't start a game in Buffalo, but sometimes a change of scenery can be good for a young player. The guess he is that it will be.
----It's chic right now to say the Dallas Cowboys are crumbling before our eyes. That's simply not true. But it can be if Tony Romo's broken pinkie doesn't heal up in the four-week timetable the Cowboys have put out there. The Cowboys can't win for the long term with Brad Johnson playing quarterback. As long as Romo is on the field, all will be well with the Cowboys. If not, they're done. It's that simple.
---Last January, when the four first-time coaches were hired, there were a lot of people questioning those moves. They shouldn't. They've all done good jobs so far, the best being turning in by Mike Smith, who has the Falcons at 4-2. But Tony Sparano in Miami, Jim Zorn in Washington and John Harbaugh are all doing good jobs. Their success could open things up for more first-time coaches next January, men like Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive backs coach Raheem Morris, Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley.