By Tony McClean
Updated: September 27, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Ct. – And then there were five. Through three weeks, the Cowboys, Patriots, Colts, Packers, and Steelers are all perfect. With our first week of byes (already??) coming up this Sunday, there could be some separation.
While the Cheeseheads, Pats, and Steelers hit the road, the other two teams will host conference foes. So which undefeated team has been the most impressive? If you go by offense, Dallas and New England are head and shoulders above everyone.
In fact, the early scoring binges by both teams are making history. The Cowboys (116 points) and Patriots (114) have scored the second and fifth most points in that time span since 1970, respectively (the 2000 St. Louis Rams, with 119 points, hold the top spot in the three-week category).
I’m not sure what the record is after four games, but with Dallas hosting St. Louis Sunday and New England set to visit Cincy on Monday night, that record is could definitely be in jeopardy.
It’s safe to say that the pinball type numbers they’ve been putting are about to be increased by a decent margin. But will both teams be able to keep up that pace for the entire season? Stay tuned.
When the Packers travel to Minnesota and the Steelers to Arizona this Sunday, both clubs will seek to start the season at 4-0 after each began last season at 1-3.
With wins, the teams would become the eighth and ninth clubs in the past five years to start a season 4-0 after beginning 1-3 or 0-4 the previous season.
Six of those seven teams qualified for the playoffs. Ironically, the lone team of that group to miss out on the playoffs was the 2003 Vikings.
Who was the last running back to lead the Minnesota Vikings in receptions?
A. Chuck Foreman
B. Rickey Young
C. Ted Brown
D. Darrin Nelson
(Answer comes at the end of this column).
LAST WEEK: 10-6 (30-18 overall)
Again, we’ll take another double digit win week. We took a chance on the Boys from Motown and the Dancing Romeos on the road and got burned. I can’t prove it, but I think I saw Donovan McNabb licking his tongue at me in the third quarter. It didn’t take long for Lane Kiffin to learn the law of the land, did it?? We also tried to warn you about the Broncos living dangerously (more on that later) and the Bengals “alleged” defense. For those of you who didn’t listen, naughty, naughty.
PACKERS at VIKINGS
Back in the day, the Metrodome was Brett Favre’s personal nightmare. However, No. 4 seems to have beaten off the dome demons as of late.
The Pack has won in three of its last four visits to Minnesota with Favre producing big days. In fact, he’s thrown 10 touchdown passes in those four games while averaging 305 yards. Even the Green Bay defense has stepped up early on with 11 sacks. Considering the offensive problems the Purple Gang had last week in K.C., this looks like a no-brainer.
BUCS at PANTHERS
Three games in and so far Chucky has played only one of his 37 quarterbacks on the roster. Jeff Garcia has yet to throw a pick and last week, the defense had a Super Bowl flashback as they limited St. Louis to 4.0 yards per offensive play. However, they must face a Carolina bunch that has won seven of the past eight meetings. The Panthers rallied late (helped by a serious meltdown by DeAngelo Hall) to steal on at Atlanta. Jake Delhomme’s status is still up in the air, but even with David Carr under center, the Cats should pull this out.
BRONCOS at COLTS
Last week while the Colts were going 3-0 for the fourth time in the past five years, Denver got a severe jolt of reality as the Jags literally ran the Broncos outta town. As we previously told you, I wasn’t impressed with Denver’s 2-0 start and last week’s home loss did nothing to change my opinion that much. When they met last year at Invesco, Indy won a 34-31 shootout behind a Adam Vinatieri late field goal. Since this ones at the dome, I think the only kicking he’ll be doing is for several and frequent extra points.
STEELERS at CARDINALS
Arizona skipper Ken Whisenhunt gets to say hello his ex-mates before he tries to beat their brains out in the desert. The Black & Gold put on their best performance of the early season last week against the Niners, while Arizona has shown they can lose close games under any coach as they fell to the Ravens on a late field goal. The fact that Kurt Warner was thrown in last week may speak volumes about Matt Leinhart’s “progress” from last year. It’s kinda hard to believe that there are still some folks out there that think he’s better than Vince Young.
EAGLES at GIANTS
That sigh of relief you hear in the background is NBC’s Dick Ebersol thanking his lucky stars that he didn’t have a dueling 0-3 match up for Sunday. Either way, this NFC East battle was looking to be interesting. Despite wearing uniforms that would make Ray Charles wince, the Eagles became the latest team to put 50 points on the board in their dismissal of the Lions. Big Blue countered with 21 unanswered second-half points in a hard-fought win at D.C. against the Skins. Considering the start Dallas is off to, the loser of this game will be in deep doo-doo at the end of the night. Just a hunch, I think Philly can find a way to win this.
PATRIOTS at BENGALS
Here’s a thought: If the season ended today (Yikes!! We’d all have to watch the Bionic Woman!!), Randy Moss would be my MVP. What?? Not Tom “He’s Just My Baby’s Daddy” Brady? Absolutely. All the talk last season was that No. 12 didn’t have any quality receivers and they still got to the AFC title game. Well despite the all the naysayers, Moss has been his old electric self on and off the field. What’s even scarier, New England boasts the NFL’s No. 1 offense and defense. Does Cincy even have a chance? Sure. But just remember, Custer was a three-point favorite against the Indians.
Lions over Bears: Remember Chi-town fans, it’s BRIAN Griese, not BOB. Like we said a few weeks ago to the Jets, be careful what you wish for.
Browns over Ravens: Do you think Jamal Lewis will be a bit stoked for this one???
Cowboys over Rams: Hey, Reggie!!! Tony Romo is approaching Dandy Don status. However, I think Meredith can handle a snap for his kicker.
49ers over Seahawks: San Fran bounces back after last week’s whuppin’ at Pitt.
Chargers over Chiefs: If Norv can’t beat K.C., the Spanos family should fire GM A.J. Smith immediately.
Jets over Bills: Patriots conspiracy question of the week: Why hasn’t Vince Wilfork been fined for his blatantly dirty hit on J.P. Losman’s knee? I’m just asking.
Texans over Falcons: Houston showed last week that they may be a legit contender.
Dolphins over Raiders: This game is so bad that a loyal BASN reader had to remind me that they were playing (Thanks, Mr. Nash!!!!!).
Byes: Jacksonville, New Orleans, Tennessee, Washington.
TRIVIA ANSWER: D. In 1983, Darrin Nelson caught 51 passes to lead the Vikings that season. The team record for the most receptions in a season by a running back is Rickey Young’s 88 catches in 1978.