JC's Take: NFL Week 8 Review
Hello All! Welcome back for my review of the action from Week 8!
Team of the Week: New Orleans Saints
-The Saints went into Sunday night needing a win badly. It wasn't going to be an easy task, but they pulled it off at home against Pittsburgh. The defense stepped up huge, holding Pittsburgh to only 10 points. The offense still struggled a bit, but they did enough, especially late, to pull off a win. And this win as needed. A loss would have put the Saints at 4-4. It wouldn't have been impossible to overcome in the NFC, but more pressure would have been put on the Saints.
Game of the Week: Tampa Bay 38 Arizona 35
-No game really stuck out as being overly dramatic, so I just went with the one that was most high scoring. Tampa Bay again rallied in the fourth quarter to pull out a victory. Sure they blew a 17 point lead to cause the comeback, but they battled back in the end. The Bucs defense intercepted Arizona QB's 4 times. They returned 2 Max Hall picks for touchdowns, and they intercepted Derek Anderson twice. Anderson tried to force a pass to Larry Fitzgerald when they were already in field goal range, but it was picked off. Don't look now, but Tampa is 5-2 and right in the thick of things in the NFC.
Goat(s) of the Week: Mike Shanahan, Randy Moss & Brad Childress
-I had this spot all nice and reserved for Mike Shanahan. Why he benched Donovan McNabb late in the fourth quarter is head-scratching. Rex Grossman does not have a better understanding of the two minute offense. That's a load of BS. Shanahan's move is one that could divide a locker room. You go out and trade for a guy to be your QB, then you bench him with the game on the line? It's not like you have a capable veteran QB as a back-up, you have REX GROSSMAN!!! Quite a head scratcher.
-Like I said, this spot was reserved for Shanahan, but then new broke Monday of Randy Moss being waived by Minnesota. Randy Moss proved once again that he is the ultimate diva WR. He could have easily caught that pass after being held. Then in his post-game press conference, he goes and praises New England while not answering any questions. It's all "Me, Me, Me" with him. Vikings coach Brad Childress also gets put here because he apparently waived Moss without telling any higher ups in the organization. And now ESPN's Chris Mortensen says Childress has "lost the locker room." No surprise. The guy has gone from a decent coach to being absolutely clueless. I'm sure his time in Minnesota is up at year's end. What a mess.
Other Notes from Week 8:
-The Dolphins once again pulled one off on the road in Cincinnati. They're perfect on the road, but have yet to win a home game this year. Now we get to see if they can keep their perfect road record intact against a well-rested Baltimore Ravens team. Pretty soon, however, the Dolphins will need to convert more field goals into touchdowns. It cost them the Steelers game, and it could eventually cost them in the future.
-Like I've been saying for weeks, the Lions are a better team with Matt Stafford at QB. Stafford had 4 TDs in his return to the line-up, leading the Lions to a victory over the Redskins. Don't look now, but the Lions could surprise some people down the stretch. They'll need to establish a better run game, but they could win a few and POSSIBLY get into contention for a wild card spot in a down year in the NFC. Of course they still have to play all 4 AFC East teams, which will be tough. But never count out a young, scrappy team.
-Sure the Chiefs are 5-2, but you could almost say they got lucky against the Bills. Some of the offensive play-calling was questionable. Passing on 4th &1 against the 32nd ranked Bills rush defense? If they had established the run earlier in the game overtime would not have been necessary. They also got a gift interception from Ryan Fitzpatrick late in the 4th, and got lucky with Rian Lindell missing his 2nd attempt at a field goal in overtime.
-Man, did the Jets look awful on Sunday or what. Yeah it was windy in New York, but that's no excuse for putting a big 0 on the scoreboard. Good teams find ways to put points on the scoreboard, and the Jets didn't do it. I'm not saying the Jets aren't good, they are, but they need to find ways to put points on the board in games like these. They just got owned by the Packers D.
-Is that the win that turns around San Diego's season? I still don't think so, but it was impressive. Apparently a halftime speech by Norv Turner of all people motivated the Chargers to play the way they did in the second half. Now they again have another huge game this week against the Houston Texans. Win this one on the road then I'll be more convinced about another Chargers turn around, because the schedule gets easier after it.
-Once again, how bout them Raiders???? Holding Seattle to only 3 points and 162 total yards of offense. And now, for the first time in a few years, there is a HUGE AFC West Showdown in Oakland next week against Kansas City. If the Raiders win this one, there in contention and will have convinced me.
1. New England (6-1, #3 last week)- Their offense is still lacking an identity, but they're winning games. That's what the Patriots do. Never bet against Bellicheck & Brady.
2. Indianapolis Colts (5-2, #4)- They avenged their Week 1 loss to Houston. Peyton Manning wasn't missing a beat even without Dallas Clark and Austin Collie.
3. New York Giants (5-2, #6)- They move up by default because teams in front of them lost. They're probably the best team in the NFC, but they need to keep it up and not fade.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2, #2)- They faced a desperate Saints team Sunday night, and the more desperate team won. Lets see hoe Big Ben responds to his first poor outing.
5. Baltimore Ravens (5-2, #7)- Again they move up because other teams lost. Hopefully they fixed the holes the Bills exposed in their defense.
6. Atlanta Falcons (5-2, #8)- As long as they continue to play how they've played, they'll have a first round bye come playoff time.
7. Green Bay Packers (5-3, #11)- They won in New York and shutdown a good Jets offense. They look like they're back on track.
8. New York Jets (5-2, #1)- This may be a big drop, but #1 teams don't put up 0 points. There's never an excuse for that.
9. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2, #10)- They won ugly against Buffalo with some questionable play calling. They better play better if they want to win at Oakland Sunday.
10. New Orleans Saints (5-3, #13)- This should be the win that turns around their season. Hopefully they don't slip up anymore down the stretch.
11. Tennessee Titans (5-3, #5)- They have the bye week to recover from a crushing loss against the Chargers. But they may lose a step without Kenny Britt.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (4-3, #12)- Vick adds a different dimension to the offense. They should be better with him.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2, #18)- Another 4th quarter comeback. Now they have to prove they can beat a good team when they play Atlanta this week.
14. Miami Dolphins (4-3, #15)- They keep pace with the other playoff teams in the AFC with the win. But like I said earlier, they'll eventually need to convert more of those field goals into TDs.
15. Houston Texans (4-3, #9)- They couldn't repeat their Week 1 magic against Indy. Now they have to regroup and get ready for a motivated Chargers team.
16. Oakland Raiders (4-4, #20)- They're playing good football finally. This is the biggest game in years for Oakland with Kansas City coming to town.
17. St. Louis Rams (4-4, #19)- They're winning at home, which is what they need to do. If they can find ways to win on the road they'd be the favorite in the NFC West.
18. Chicago Bears (4-3, #17)- They had the bye week to re-establish their offense. And they get a Bills team that can be run on. They have to win here.
19. Washington Redskins (4-4, #14)- They have the bye week to smooth over the McNabb benching, and re-focus on winning to keep up in the playoff race.
20. Seattle Seahawks (4-3, #20)- They once again played bad on the road. Their running game got shut down, which just abolsutely shuts down their offense.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4, #25)- They just smoked a depleted Dallas team, and they salvaged their season in the progress.
22. San Diego Chargers (3-5, #26)- Inspiring home win against Tennessee, now they have to go out and win one on the road.
23. Cleveland Browns (2-5, #22)- Can they keep the momentum from beating the Saints two weeks ago? They could be spoilers down the stretch.
24. Detroit Lions (2-5, #28)- This team is dangerous. They could even be playoff contenders this year in a down year for the NFC.
25. Arizona Cardinals (3-4, #21)- They could have the worst QB situation in the league. It's that bad.
26. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5, #24)- The offense is just not clicking. Carson Palmer may be past his peak, but it's not an excuse to play this bad.
27. San Francisco 49ers (2-6, #31)- They may have found an answer, at least short term, with Troy Smith at QB.
28. Minnesota Vikings (2-5, #23)- Brad Childress has lost his team, and it's sad because they're good enough to be better than they are.
29. Denver Broncos (2-6, #28)- Apparently Josh McDaniels is still safe, but I just can't see why.
30. Carolina Panthers (1-6, #30)- They just can't get it going offensively, no matter who is at QB or RB.
31. Dallas Cowboys (1-6, #27)- I think they've packed in the season, which means they could be at the bottom of the rankings soon.
32. Buffalo Bills (0-7, #32)- Another heartbreaker. A win is coming, they're due.
Top 5 Coaches on the Hot Seat:
1. Brad Childress, Minnesota: He's lost the locker room, he's #1 because he may be fired mid-season.
2. Wade Phillips, Dallas: I doubt he gets fired mid-season, but he's defintely gone by years end.
3. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati: See a theme with the Top 3? All are under-achieving with good teams.
4. John Fox, Carolina: Lame duck coach, he won't be brought back.
5. Lovie Smith, Chicago: Sure they're 4-3, but their recent struggles are a concern.
3 Games I Want to See Next Week:
Tampa Bay vs Atlanta: Battle for sole possesion of first place in the NFC South
Miami vs Baltimore: Can the Dolphins continue their road success against a well-rested Ravens team?
Kansas City vs Oakland: Time for the Raiders to prove they belong
That's all for today. I'll be back tomorrow with an early preview of Wrestlemania 27!
Until next time,