A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
The NFL’s Good, Bad & Ugly: Week 2
NORTH CAROLINA — What another great week of football!! The horrible mistake by Ed Hochuli in the Chargers-Broncos game; the dud of a conest the Jets played against the Brady-less Pats; the great comebacks by the Panthers, Colts and Redskins and the wildly exciting Monday night game between the Eagles and Cowboys.
A lot of action, so let’s get to the good, bad and ugly.
Jason Campbell: What a difference a week makes for a player and team! Jim Zorn finally got smart and took the shackles off of Campbell and opened up the offense with passing plays deep down the field. Campbell look much more comfortable, poised and accurate in throwing for over 300 yards in the Redskins big home win against the Saints. The team could have folded after being down in the fourth quarter but rallied back to win on a big touchdown pass from Campbell. It’s only one week but it’s a start. If Zorn continues to let Campbell be Campbell — which means throwing the ball deep down the field — the team will have success and can be called the Redskins not the “dead-skins”.
Cowboys: Dallas is loaded on offense and showed it Monday night in their victory. Tony Romo turned the ball over, but still played well enough to lead the team to the victory. Although Terrell Owens had only three catches, he made them count with two touchdowns and is now second all-time in TD receptions passing Cris Carter and trailing only the legendary Jerry Rice. The defense gave up a lot of points and that should be an area of concern, but there are not too many teams that can score with Dallas, so they should win a lot of regular season games.
Eagles: Not too many teams look good in defeat but the Eagles are the exception. Like the “Boys”, the Eagles defense gave up too many big plays, but Donovan McNabb and the offense looked great! If they can sure up their defense and continue to score like they did Monday night, the Eagles will be a playoff contender and will have a legitimate chance to win the very competitive NFC Eastern Division.
Panthers: Once again, Carolina trailed late in a game and once again Jake Delhomme led them back to a comeback win. The Bears were dominant in the first have on defense and special teams, but the Panthers adjusted at halftime and came out in the second half and were more physical and focused. The Panthers have to be excited and confident as they travel to Minnesota with a 2-0 record and their best player (WR Steve Smith) joining the team for the game.
Raiders: Just when they look horrible, they find a team equally or worse. Yes, the “COMMITMENT TO MEDIOCRITY” team actually went on the road, played well and got a convincing win against the pathetic Kansas City Chiefs 23-8. The defense finally showed up, QB DeMarcus Russell played well and rookie RB Darren McFadden was great (rushing for 164 yards) in his second NFL game. All of this in the midst of rumors that head coach Lane Kiffin will be fired some time this week. Let’s hope the team doesn’t turn back into a pumpkin when they travel to Buffalo to take on the surprising 2-0 Bills.
Ed Hochuli: I don’t care what the NFL or the officials’ office says, or what the rule is, Ed Hochuli completely blew the call when he ruled the play dead. It cost the Chargers the game — period. People can say the Chargers had two chances to stop the Broncos after he blew the call, but the Broncos would not had two more chances if he didn’t blow the whistle. The Chargers recovered the ball and it should have been ruled a fumble and San Diego’s ball. The horrible call cost the Chargers the game and could cost them another division title. Instead of the Chargers being tied for first place with the Broncos and the Raiders, they find themselves two games behind and in the basement with the Chiefs. Even I can’t blame this one on Norv Turner.
Vikings: So much promise yet so many issues. The only offense they have is Adrian Peterson and the defense can stop the run but continues to struggle against the pass. How would you like to be Tavaris Jackson? He can complete 10 straight passes, throw for 4 touchdowns, run for another one and one bad pass or one interception and the “boo birds” come out in the stadium. It doesn’t get any easier for the Vikings as the surprising 2-0 Carolina Panthers with Steve Smith comes to town. As for Jackson, he’s already lost his job to veteran backup Gus Frerotte.
Browns: Two weeks, two losses. Not the way the Browns and their fans wanted to start the season. Cleveland has scored only 16 points in two games and struggled to score that much. The weird thing about the Browns is that the defense played decent last week against Pittsburgh and played okay in spurts against the Cowboys the first week, but the offense has been terrible. Coming into the season it was suppose to be the opposite. The Browns better right the ship quick because it doesn’t get easier this weekend on the road at Baltimore.
Seahawks: How do you lose at home to the 49ers in your home opener? The Seahawks don’t look like they are on the same page as a team. When the defense makes a play, the offense stalls and when the offense gets in sync, the defense falters. QB Matt Hasselback doesn’t look like the quarterback that led the team to a Super Bowl, the running game isn’t the same since they let Shaun Alexander go and the defense is not getting the same pressure they did last season. I know they are struggling to get healthy bodies at the receiver position, but the team is not playing with much passion which is odd considering they should be playing to get to the Super Bowl for Mike Holmgren since it’s his last season. I guess not. Maybe they will begin to “win one for Holmgren” this weekend at home against the pathetic Rams.
Jets: Let’s see, no Tom Brady at quarterback for the Patriots, RB Lawrence Maroney was also hurt during the game, the Jets have Brett Favre at quarterback and it’s New York’s home opener and they still lose? Why? Because Eric Mangini pulled a “Bill Belichick” by sticking with a game plan no matter what. It didn’t work in the Super Bowl for B.B. and it didn’t work for Mangini. The Jets were too conservative on both sides of the ball and it cost them the game and could come back to haunt them. They better open up the offense and attack on defense as they travel to San Diego to face an angry Chargers team Monday night.
Rams: ST. LOUIS IS HORRIBLE AND WILL BE 0-3 AFTER THIS WEEKEND! ENOUGH SAID.
Chiefs: Let the Herman Edwards-to-be-fired talk begin. The only reason why I don’t think they are the worst team in the league is because they don’t have a quarterback and despite that, they played the Patriots tough in week 1. Other than that……
Lions: No matter who the Lions bring in on the field, as a coach or general manager, the results are the same — losers! Only the Lions can manage to accomplish a great comeback from down 21 points only to get blown out in the game. John Kitna needs to get glasses so he can see the Lion jerseys because he must have thought the Green Bay defenders were Lion receivers. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lions lose at San Francisco this weekend despite all the fire power on offense.
Bengals: The Bengals are pathetic. There offense, which was suppose to carry the load once again this year is struggling led by Carson Palmer and the defense — well, it’s the same — bad! Ocho Cinco is doubly hurt (his ego and physically) and there’s internal bickering and like Herman Edwards, the fire Marvin Lewis watch is on. Look for the “Bungles” to be 0-3 after this weekend because they travel to “Gotham City” to face the Super Bowl Champion Giants.
Falcons: Not so fast Falcon fans. Matt Ryan has a long way to go before you can forget about Michael Vick. How about winning enough games to get to the playoffs before you discredit Vick and praise Ryan. As good as Ryan looked against the Lions (a bad team), Michael Turner was the reason they won the game with 220 yards rushing last week. You see what he did against a real NFL defense — nothing! The rookie should look pretty good this week at home as the struggling Chiefs come to town.
Extra point: This week, Jeff Fisher made Kerry “journeymen” Collins the starter until he loses a game after Vince Young gets back. Way to back up your franchise quarterback Jeff. We shouldn’t be surprised coming out of that franchise. Bud Adams treated Earl Campbell wrong after retirement, they dumped Warren Moon, Eddie George and of course Steve McNair. Vince Young has issues personally and that should be the most important thing in his life and Tennessee, their fans and players should stand by him. From what I read, see and hear, that’s not the case. I guess Kerry Collins has won a ton of playoff games and Vince Young hasn’t right? NOT!
Week 3 games to watch:
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia: This is a battle of a high powered defense versus a high powered offense. The Steelers continue their dominant ways on defense against Houston and Cleveland, while the Eagles have scored 75 points in two games. Ben Rothlesburger has a bad shoulder and the Eagles know it so look for lots of pressure from Jim Johnson and the Eagles defense. Willie Parker must run effectively and the Steelers offensive line must protect Big Ben in order to get a road victory in the city of brotherly love for the Steelers.
New Orleans at Denver: This should be a high scoring game at Mile High. Drew Brees should be familiar with the Denver defense since he was the quarterback for the Chargers but somehow I think the last team with the ball will score and win the game. The Saints need Reggie Bush to make big plays and the Broncos need Jay Cutler to find Eddie Royal and company to get in the end zone. This should be an exciting game.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis: This is a must win game for Jacksonville. At 0-2, losing will put them out of contention for a division playoff and almost assure them a seat on the sidelines come playoff time. The Jags O-line is banged up which is a relief for the Colts who can’t stop the run. Peyton Manning found his magic last weekend as he rallied the team back for a late win against the Vikings in Minnesota and he will need to be on top of his game against a very physical Jaguars defense. Jacksonville will need to score early, run the football successfully and be physical to win in Indy.
Carolina at Minnesota: I pick this game because it’s a must win for Minnesota and a game the Panthers should win on the road. The Panthers are clearly the more balanced team but the Vikings are the team with all the accolades coming into the season. The Vikings must get off to a quick start offensively so they can put pressure on the Panthers offense in particular the passing game. The Panthers will find it tough to run against the Vikings but must try to run to take some pressure off quarterback Jake Delhomme and returning starter Steve Smith.
Dallas at Green Bay: This could be the game of the week. The high-flying, high powered Cowboys come into Lambeau field against the equally high scoring Packers. Both Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers have looked great so far this season and some would say Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league the way he has played. The key in my opinion in this game is which defense can make enough big plays during the game to get the win. I think it will be a high scoring affair that will be as exciting as the Monday night game between the Eagles and Cowboys. The winner in my opinion can stake claim to being the best team in the NFC.
My top 15 teams after week 1:
1. Giants 2. Cowboys 3. Packers 4. Steelers 5. Patriots 6. Panthers 7. Titans 8. Bills 9. Broncos 10. Eagles 11. Colts 12. Bears 13. Saints 14. Cardinals 15. Chargers
Until next week, enjoy the games and may your team win!