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Week 13 Judgements: Miami's coach, QB feeling heat, too

by | CBSSports.com Senior Writer

1. I'll tell you another head coach you can add to the endangered list: Miami's Tony Sparano. He has lost seven of his last eight at home, including five of six this season, and was serenaded by a chorus of boos when he left the field Sunday. Sparano was hired by Bill Parcells, but Parcells is leaving. So where's his security blanket? There isn't one. Uh-oh.

2. The more I see of Chad Henne the more I'm convinced Miami must find another quarterback. He makes too many mistakes and not enough big plays, and shame on Miami. It could've had Matt Ryan with the first pick of the 2008 draft but chose tackle Jake Long instead and waited until the second round to take its quarterback (Henne). There's a lesson there, and it's this: When the franchise quarterback is there, don't pass on him.

3. The next two weeks are huge for the Kansas City Chiefs, suddenly in charge of the AFC West. They play at San Diego and at St. Louis, and they can bury the defending champion Chargers next weekend. But if they don't, they better take care of business in St. Louis the following Sunday -- and that may be more difficult than it sounds. The resurgent Rams have won four of their last five at home, with the one loss to NFC leader Atlanta.

4. Now you know why the Eagles gave up on Donovan McNabb. He has at least one interception in each of his last 10 games, with a career-worst 15 interceptions through 12 starts. By contrast, the Eagles' Mike Vick and Kevin Kolb have six interceptions between them this season.

5. Congratulations, Jay Cutler. Sunday's win guarantees his first winning season since high school. I'm not sure if that says more about Cutler or offensive coordinator Mike Martz. All I know is that Martz has done something with Cutler that no one else could.

6. Next time someone wants to discuss the job that Eric Mangini is doing in Cleveland consider this: His 5-7 record is only one win short of Indianapolis, yet he's doing it with Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and Colt McCoy at quarterback. The Colts' Jim Caldwell is there with Peyton Manning, and don't tell me about the Colts' injuries. I know there have been a slew of them, but the same goes for Cleveland -- which, entering last weekend, played the league's toughest schedule, with eight of their 11 opponents tied or alone atop a division.

7. When the Giants made pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul their first-round draft pick, draftniks called him a "make-or-break" choice. Guess he just "made" it with four sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery the past two weeks. Pierre-Paul's emergence has keyed a resurgence in the Giants' defense, with Big Blue producing eight sacks and seven takeaways in its last two games, both victories. More performances like that, and you're looking at the NFC East champion.

8. I believe Brett Favre when he says he's not coming back ... only I'm talking about this season. Coach Leslie Frazier said he'll start him next weekend if Favre is healthy, but get serious: You just gained the lift you've been looking for all season, Leslie, so why make a change?

9. Make Dallas and Minnesota the two teams nobody wants to face now. They're a combined 5-1 since making coaching changes, with the only loss being Dallas' in a game it should've won. The Giants go to Minnesota next weekend, while the Philadelphia Eagles move on to Dallas. But the Eagles host the Vikings on Dec. 26 before following with the Cowboys on Jan. 2. Meaning? Meaning Dallas and Minnesota might determine the winner of the NFC East.

10. Sorry, but I don't get Baltimore's play-calling on that game-changing series late in the fourth quarter. First of all, why isn't Ray Rice more involved? Second, what were the Ravens doing throwing on second-and-5 with just over three minutes left? Even Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said he was expecting a run when Troy Polamalu blitzed, hitting quarterback Joe Flacco from behind. No wonder a disappointed Terrell Suggs said afterward, "We gave that to them." He's right. They did.

11. Tell me what, beside disappointing seasons, Tennessee and Arizona have in common. Never mind, I'll spare you the trouble: Neither scored a touchdown the past two weeks. In fact, the Titans haven't scored an offensive TD since Nov. 14, a streak of 14 straight quarters (including an OT) and 30 series without finding the end zone.

12. Detroit's Ndamukong Suh can expect to hear from the league office for that shot to the back of Jay Cutler's head. "That was an intent to hurt," CBS analyst Bill Cowher said. "There's no need for that in pro football." I'll second that. Suh is a lock for Rookie Defensive Player of the Year, but he's got to be smarter. He hammered Jake Delhomme in the preseason, too, drawing a $7,500 fine, but apparently he didn't learn. Maybe he will when he writes another check.

Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier needs to do the right thing for his red-hot team, and that's keep Brett Favre off the field. (AP)  
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier needs to do the right thing for his red-hot team, and that's keep Brett Favre off the field. (AP)  
13. Let's hear it for the Oakland Raiders. For the first time in eight seasons they won't lose 11 games. More important, they're 4-0 within the AFC West. Start the parade for Tom Cable.

14. I guess this means that next Halloween Nate Burleson won't be going as Nostradamus.

15. So the NFLPA notifies players to prepare for a lockout. Someone tell me why this is news. If the NFLPA told them not to prepare, it's a story. This is nothing more than the players union telling its members what they already know.

Five things I like

1. Josh McDaniels' embrace of Todd Haley after another Denver loss. There's a lot about McDaniels I don't like, but he handled what could have been an uncomfortable postgame handshake with class.

2. Green Bay on third-and-1. The Packers were six-of-six one week after they couldn't convert much of anything short.

3. Oakland on both sides of the ball. The numbers don't lie. The Raiders absolutely obliterated the Chargers, outrushing them a whopping 251 yards to 21. You want to know why the Chargers are in deep kimchi in the AFC West? Start here.

4. Adrian Peterson on a bad ankle. There were questions whether it would prevent him from playing, but it didn't. It didn't prevent him from scoring three times, either.

5. Browns starting rookie Joe Haden at cornerback over Eric Wright. Haden, who made it four consecutive games with an interception, deserves it. So, for that matter, does the underachieving Wright.

Five things I don't

1. Defensive tackle Pat Sims' jumping offsides on fourth-and-2 at the Bengals' 7-yard line with 34 seconds left. With the Saints down by three, it figured they would try a game-tying field goal. With their offense on the field, it also figured they would try to draw someone offsides ... and Sims was that someone. "My fault," Sims said. "All my fault. I made a mistake." No kidding. It cost Cincinnati another defeat.

2. Kansas City tackle Barry Richardson's sideline tirade after getting pulled following a false-start penalty -- a meltdown that included a push of Chiefs special-teams coach Steve Hoffman. I don't give a rip if Richardson was embarrassed, frustrated, humiliated or what. You absolutely, positively don't push your own coach. Next stop, Barry: the principal's office.

3. Detroit's play-calling. It's fourth-and-1 at the Chicago 41, you're up by three, it's early in the fourth quarter and you have a third-string quarterback on the field. So what do you do? The Lions had Drew Stanton throw, and someone please explain. They averaged five yards on the ground, yet relied on Stanton for a yard. Why? Better ask the Lions. This might explain why they've lost 19 consecutive divisional ballgames.

4. The next four games for the Chicago Bears. They play, in order, New England at home; at Minnesota; the New York Jets at home and at Green Bay. Do the math: The four are a combined 31-15.

5. The accuracy of Peyton Manning. He has more interceptions the past three weeks (11) than in four of his pro seasons and more in a three-week stretch than at any time of his NFL career.

And one that's hard to believe

The Baltimore-Pittsburgh game is one of the best series in the NFL, and not just because these two teams always seem to be there at the finish line, but because they're so competitive. I don't mean with everyone else. I mean with each other. Of the last six games between them, five have been decided by three points. And the sixth? It was by four. "That's why we believe that's the number one rivalry in football," said Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin. "It's a humbling thing to be a part of."

Just asking but ...

  Does Monday's winner of the Jets-Pats game become the Super Bowl favorite?

  Which throwback uniforms are worse -- Tampa Bay or Green Bay?

  What's wrong with Peyton Manning?

  Do you bench Brett Favre?

  Does it really matter what Derek Anderson has to say anymore?

Significant numbers

0 -- Jake Delhomme turnovers, the first time in over a year his sheet has been clean

2 -- Offensive TDs for San Diego the past two weeks

4 -- Blocks this season of Miami kicks, two punts and two field goals

4 -- Touchdowns the past three weeks off Peyton Manning interceptions

5 -- Consecutive weeks without an Aaron Rodgers interception, the best Green Bay streak since Bart Starr in 1966

6 -- Chad Henne interceptions in the fourth quarter this season

14 -- Point differential in Cleveland's last four games

0-5 -- Tampa Bay vs. opponents with winning records

6-0 -- Chiefs at home

My top five

1. New England
2. Atlanta
3. N.Y. Jets
4. Pittsburgh
5. New Orleans

My bottom five

32. Carolina
31. Cincinnati
30. Detroit
29. Denver
28. Buffalo

Next weekend's three best games

New England at Chicago ... Time to Bear Down again.

Miami at N.Y. Jets ... Dolphins save their best for the road.

Philadelphia at Dallas ... Suddenly, Cowboys are a factor.


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