Playoffs? <i>Playoffs? </i>And other thoughts heading to Week 3
The New Orleans Saints need to win this weekend to avoid an unsettling fact about their chances to reach the playoffs.
Playoffs already a concern, plus other things to ponder entering Week 3:
• Any team that goes 0-3 has a 2.7 percent chance of making the playoffs. Last team to do it was the 1998 Buffalo Bills. I still think the Saints have the best chance of the 0-2 teams, but they face the 0-2 Chiefs who are just as desperate.
• The replacement officials are bad, but tell me something I don’t know like how this labor issue is going to be solved. Unless an owner like Bob Kraft or John Mara gets directly involved it may go on for a long time. One official told me the original offer was pretty close, but now I fear the NFL may pull more off the table than add to the package.
• So much for the lighter practices during the summer to keep players fresh. There are 181 players on injured reserve, the most since 2000.
• If you think the replacement officials have dragged the games into the four-hour mode, think again. So far in 32 games the average time of the games has been 3 hours and 13 minutes, up just 6 minutes from last year.
• Last week I talked about the outrageous number of pass-interference calls during Week 1 (30). That was more than all the pass-interference calls in the first week for 2010 and 2011 combined. Last week there were 15 PI calls, exactly half of the week before. It sounds like the replacement officials were told to make sure they were getting it right.
• The 1,556 points scored in all games are the most points for the first two weeks of a season ever. Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher told me the defenses not the offenses would struggle with the new practice schedules and it sure looks he was right. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told me the no-huddle tempo is effective and there's an openness by the coaches to let the young quarterbacks do what they have been doing in college.
• We all know CJ Spiller of the Buffalo Bills is on fire, but when you drill down it's more impressive when you look at the shotgun runs. In two games Spiller has 16 carries from the shotgun for 227 yards and three touchdowns. Cleveland better figure out how to contain the shotgun run game.
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