1. Seattle gets drilled by the New York Giants, San Diego is surprised by Miami, and I'm wondering if the NFL doesn't need to rethink its scheduling. Here's why: Both games were 10 a.m. starts on the West Coast, and that's a huge disadvantage to the visiting teams. It's much easier to go east to west without suffering the consequences than it is to reverse that path, so make the games 4:05 p.m. starts in the east. Let me put it this way: How would you like the Giants or Patriots or, I dunno, Dallas playing at 10 a.m. local time? Of course, you wouldn't. It's tough enough to win on the road, without having to do it in the morning. When western teams (and I include Arizona) play 1 p.m. games in the east this season they're 0-5, and that doesn't include the Cards' loss to the Jets after staying east for a week. So cut them some slack. Move the games back.
2. Maybe San Diego should can the pregame pep talk and serve coffee instead. The Chargers don't get started until the second half, trailing at some point in every first half this season. The Miami game was typical. They wake up in the third quarter, but too late. San Diego has been outscored 86-58 in the first half; in the second, it holds a 90-43 advantage. Hold the decaf, please.
3. The Chargers should try that Wildcat formation ... only with Darren Sproles taking the snap. I'm sorry, but star running back LaDainian Tomlinson just isn’t right. In three of his past four games he averaged under 3 yards per carry, and his offensive line can't help because it isn't as good as it was a year ago. So try something different to shake things up, Norv.
4. This is why I tout Eli Manning: Over his last nine games he has 16 touchdown passes, three interceptions and one Super Bowl victory. And that, San Diego, is why the Giants wanted him.
5. I thought Chad Pennington wasn't supposed to have the arm strength to be a decent quarterback. Yeah, sure. There is no quality in a quarterback more overrated than arm strength, and Pennington reminded us why. All he has done the past two weeks is complete 39 of 49 passes for 454 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and two victories. The best part of all that is he knocked off the two teams that played in the AFC title game last season (San Diego and New England).
6. Here's an idea: Decide the NFC West winner with a game of rock-paper-scissors.
7. I'll tell you why the NFC East should be wary of Washington, and it's not because the Redskins still haven't committed a turnover on offense. Nope, it's because they just completed their first-half run of the division, with every game on the road. Meaning? Meaning their next three NFC East games will be at Washington.
8. And that, Buffalo, is why you should be grateful management didn't grant J.P. Losman his wish.
9. Let me go on the record now: Chicago wins the NFC North.
10. One of the best -- and most unlikely -- free-agent pickups was Carolina's acquisition of Muhsin Muhammad. I thought the guy was toast. But at 35, he's the second receiver Carolina sought to take the heat off Steve Smith. Muhammad scored again Sunday, marking the second successive week he found the end zone.
11. My Own Worst Enemy airs next week, with Houston's Sage Rosenfels in the starring role. Earth to Sage: Next time, slide. That's why they introduced the rule ... to protect quarterbacks like you from taking stupid and unnecessary risks.
12. I've seen enough of Dallas to know that if the Cowboys don't get their pass defense straightened out, there will be no Jerry Jones Super Bowl. There are holes the size of Terrell Owens' ego in there, with Cincinnati the latest to exploit them. The problem: Dallas doesn't force turnovers. The two they had Sunday tied their season total, with the Cowboys producing their first interception of the season. Remarkable. All that money tied up in the secondary, and one interception.
13. If I were Detroit's Roy Williams, I'd throw up my hands in disgust, too. The only reason the Lions aren't the worst team in football is because God invented the Rams. But look at the bright side, Roy: Only 12 more weeks before you get to go to Dallas.
|Week 5: Keeping up with Brett, Chad and Aaron|
|Brett Favre (BYE)||--||--||--||--||--|
14. Geez, would somebody in Cincinnati put Chris Perry in touch with Tiki Barber? Tiki learned how to stop fumbling, and Perry better, too, otherwise the next thing he might lose is a job.
15. This is not how the Farewell Tour for Mike Holmgren is supposed to go. His Seahawks defense leaks like the Titanic. "Poor, poor tackling," is how defensive end Patrick Kerney assessed the club's latest loss. No kidding. The Seahawks couldn't cover or rush the passer, either, and if you think that's trouble, you're right. They won't send off Holmgren with a fifth consecutive division title unless they figure out how to play defense.
Just asking, but ...
• Which team impressed you more: Atlanta or Miami?
• Wouldn't you like to know what Keith Bulluck said to
• Should Bill Belichick thank Miami for that direct-snap brainstorm?
• How come more people aren't talking about Atlanta's John Abraham?
• What happened to Jacksonville's running game?
Five things I like
1. The Mannings at the starting line: Eli and Peyton completed 16 of their first 17 passes, with Eli hitting his first seven.
3. Jim Zorn's guts. He goes for it on fourth-and-1 at the Philadelphia 38 with a six-point lead and two-and-a-half minutes to go. Clinton Portis makes it, allowing Washington to close out Philadelphia by holding the ball the final 7:18.
4. Randy Moss' return to the deep passing game. Those 111 yards and that 66-yard TD should get the attention of San Diego defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell.
5. Ben Roethlisberger's resilience. I swear, the guy takes more hits than Cindy Margolis' website, but somehow he hangs in there -- with no feat more astounding than that first-down pass to Hines Ward with two-and-a-half minutes left. Tell me this guy doesn't welcome the bye.
Five things I don't
1. Anything about the Lions. Coach Rod Marinelli said the Lions' practice last week was their best since he has been involved with the club. Terrific. So what happens when their practices stink?
3. Seattle in the Eastern Time Zone. The Seahawks are 0-2 there this season, outscored 78-16 by the Giants and Bills.
4. Kansas City's encore to their upset of Denver in Week 4. "I didn't see that coming," Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. Man, oh, man, do the Chiefs need a quarterback. Bill Kenney, where are you?
5. Stupid penalties by Jacksonville and Pittsburgh. I counted four personal fouls by the Jags in the first half. Then the Steelers answer in the fourth quarter, including a bonehead taunting penalty against Nate Washington. How about a little restraint, guys?
Numbers, numbers, numbers
132 -- Roddy White receiving yards in the first half
0 -- Roddy White receiving yards in the second half
2 -- New York Giants takeaways this season
3 -- Sage Rosenfels turnovers in the last four minutes
8 -- Kansas City first downs
204 -- Washington's rushing yards against the league's No. 1 ranked rushing defense
334 -- Kyle Orton passing yards
27-28 -- Philadelphia's record since Super Bowl XXXIX.
300-49 -- Pittsburgh's advantage on Jacksonville in first-half yardage
Next week's three best games
1. Carolina at Tampa Bay -- It's time for the Bucs to defend their division title.
2. New England at San Diego -- It's Survivor: San Diego, with the Bolts heading toward the critical list.
3. Baltimore at Indianapolis -- Colts better not fall behind these guys.
My top five
1. N.Y. Giants
My bottom five
32. St. Louis
29. Kansas City