By Tony McClean
Updated: September 20, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Every fall, during the early weeks of the NFL season and final weeks of the MLB season, we hear the age old argument of either whether baseball or football has more “parity” or “mediocrity”.
Baseball fans will tell you to look at the close races in four of the six divisional races this season. Add to the fact that since the 2000 Yankees repeated as world champs, six different teams (including three wild card squads) have won the World Series and the argument gets a bit louder.
As for football fans, they will also tell you to look at the NFL standings after two weeks as well. 10 teams (five in each conference) are 2-0 while 10 other teams are 0-2, with all the other 12 teams sitting at 1-1.
And in that same vein, just take a look at some of those 2-0 teams. The Lions won three games last year, Redskins five, Texans six, 49ers seven, while both the Packers and Steelers eight. They’re all perfect going into Week 3.
And three of them this week will confront other undefeated teams.
So who do you prefer?? NFL?? MLB?? Is it parity or mediocrity?? Welly, when you see the Browns get pimp slapped at home one week and then proceed to score “a half a hundred” on the Bengals seven days later, it makes you lean towards the NFL.
However, if you had told some die hard Yankee and Cub fans in May that they’d both would either lead their division or be within an eyelash of a postseason berth, they would have told you to have your head examined. But lo and behold, both teams are in that situation as we speak.
No matter what you think, the debate will continue to rage on and on………
History shows that 0-2 teams advance to the playoffs more often than people might think.
Since 1990, 18 teams have begun 0-2 and still qualified for the postseason.
The 0-2 Dallas Cowboys in 1993 won Super Bowl XXVIII, the 0-2 New England Patriots of 1996 played in Super Bowl XXXI, and in 2001, the 0-2 Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI.
Green Bay’s Brett Favre has thrown 417 career touchdown passes to a total of 42 different receivers. Which player has caught the most of Favre’s scoring passes?
A. Sterling Sharpe
B. Robert Brooks
C. Donald Driver
D. Antonio Freeman
(Answer comes at the end of this story).
LAST WEEK: 11-5 (20-12 overall)
Okay, we improved from the Opening Weekend. But I feel like a head coach who remembers the losses more than the wins. We already mentioned the Browns opening up a small can of whup ass (It would have been a bigger can if they didn’t allow 45), but I did not see Houston’s uprising in Charlotte. And apparently, neither did Mike Fox and the boys. We took a chance on the Giants (Yikes!!!!) and Chargers (Double Yikes!!!!!) and got burned. However, we did have the Boys from Motown, Seahawks, and the Broncos. Thanks for letting them see me sweat, fellas.
COLTS at TEXANS
The last team to beat the Horseheads looks to get a gauge on just how good they real are. Not only is this an early litmus test for the Texans, it’s a key division game. While both teams have offensive weapons, this game is going to come down to defense. Yes, Houston’s D has shown some improvement in their first two games, but Indy has a long, long memory. Especially since they remember how they let one get away the last time they were in Houston. Me thinks they won’t let it happen again.
49ERS at STEELERS
Early critics of the Black and Gold’s 2-0 start are saying that “they haven’t beaten anyone” yet. Maybe, but aren’t good teams supposed to slap bad teams that get in their way? This just may be a case of “Don’t hate the player, hate the schedule”. (Yeah, I just made that up). However, this inter conference battle at Heinz has the makings of being Sunday’s best game. Both teams like to run the ball, but early on Mike Tomlin is allowing Big Ben to throw the ball just a tad bit more this season. That will wind up being the difference in this close contest.
LIONS at EAGLES
With their undefeated start, John Kitna’s preseason statement (10 wins in 2007) is making Jimmy Rollins look like a punk. I must admit as impressive as the Boys from Motown have looked, Philly is a complete polar opposite. Whether you agree with McNabb’s statements or not (You know where I stand), at this point the Eagles again don’t scare anybody on offense. After Brian Westbrook, the cubbard is truly bare. Can they bounce back against a Detroit team that’s still trying to learn how to win on the road. My heart says yes, but my better judgment says no.
CHARGERS at PACKERS
That crying you hear in the background is Marty Schottenheimer. I’m imagining Marty looking at Sunday’s game at New England like Marlon Brando did over James Caan’s corpse in “The Godfather” yelling, “Look at what they’ve done to my boy(s)!!!!” As for the other side, the Packers are either riding off last year’s four-game winning streak at the end of 2006 or are catching teams at just the right time. Brett Favre has played in control and a young, aggressive defense is maturing very fast. I’m not sure where Green Bay falls, but I get the feeling we’ll learn more in the coming weeks. Until then, I’ll go with the home team in this one.
COWBOYS at BEARS
While watching Dallas dismantle Miami last Sunday, a buddy of mine called me from a sports bar uttering the words, “There’s nothing more obnoxious than a loud and slightly drunk Cowboy fan”. I must admit I agreed with him, but it took several times for me to really hear him due to the background noise of, you guessed it, loud and slightly drunk Cowboy fans. They have looked like an offensive juggernaut during the first two games, while the Bears have split their first two. The weekly battle of Good Rex vs. Bad Rex is becoming very tired for Chi-town fans who have yet to sneak over to Wrigley. They may wanna stay away from Soldier Field Sunday night.
TITANS at SAINTS
Last year at this time, the Saints were in the first chapter of their Cinderella season. Monday, they’ll be looking to save their season against V.Y. and the Titans. The last time Vince and Reggie Bush were on a competitive field, V.Y. took home the prize. While Vince has shown improvement from last season, Bush and his backfield mate Deuce McAllister have been put on lock down (A combined 76 rushing yards last Sunday and no touchdowns) through the first two games. As much as I’d hate to see New Orleans fall to 0-3, Tennessee is playing with a lot of confidence despite a close loss to Indy last week.
Cardinals over Ravens: Sorry, I’m still not impressed with Baltimore’s “offense”.
Vikings over Chiefs: Note to Reverend Herm: Your offense is as predictable (and less exciting) as an S.D. Jones wrestling match.
Patriots over Bills: Buffalo will keep it close, but New England will be watching bootleg copies of “Superbad” by the fourth quarter.
Jets over Dolphins: This may be like watching grass grow.
Rams over Bucs: Only because I don’t think Tampa will explode like last week.
Jags over Broncos: The close finishes come back to bite Denver in the butt Sunday.
Browns over Raiders: To the Romeo Crennel fan club, “STOP CALLING ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Seahawks over Bengals: Seattle won’t need to score 50 to win this one. (Bulletin: The Browns just scored again).
Panthers over Falcons: Keep the seat warm, Joey. Lord Byron will take over in about 2-3 weeks.
Redskins over Giants: Another division win for Grandpa Gibbs.
TRIVIA ANSWER: D.
Antonio Freeman, who played with the Pack from 1995 through 2001 and briefly in 2003, caught 57 TD passes from Brett Favre. Sterling Sharpe follows with 41, Donald Driver has 35, and Robert Brooks had 32.