Aloha, readers and readettes!
I think this was the craziest week so far this season. Beginning with the aftermath of the week 6 violent hits and the (in my opinion, knee-jerk reaction) strict implementation of new rules based on unnecessary hits, fans were treated to some huge upsets, some huge near upsets, and record setting days for Favre (consecutive starts), Stephen Jackson (all-time Rams leading rusher), and DeAngelo Hall (tied for most interceptions in a single game). Oh, and it was another bad week for Jay Cutler, who should now be used to it, while Aaron Rodgers finally got a win against his predecessor, and the Cowboys’ disappointing season has hit rock bottom.
Week 7 Standouts:
Kansas City Chiefs’ running game-With Jamaal Charles, Thomas Jones, and rookie Dexter McCluster, the Chiefs are finding all sorts of ways to move the ball on the ground. The three of them dominated the Jaguars’ defense. At 4-2, the Chiefs are well ahead in the miserable AFC West.
Ryan Fitzpatrick-Hey, they may be 0-6, but Ryan Fitzpatrick throw for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns in an exciting game against the superior Ravens’ defense. Against a top notch team, one of the worst offenses in the league showed a lot of fire, so there is potential for the future. You try to find silver linings wherever and whenever.
Oakland Raiders-I still think the Raiders are too inconsistent, but they put on one heck of a show on Sunday in the 59-14 smack down of the Broncos RB Darren McFadden had 4 touchdowns, both on the ground and in the air. They’re 2-0 right now in the division and in second place behind the Kansas City Chiefs.
NY Giants-The best teams finds ways to win. After an inconsistent first few weeks, the Giants have righted their ship and now are leading the NFC East at 5-2. In their 41-35 win over the Cowboys, the Giants showed their running game has drastically improved in Ahmad Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks is the go to receiver for Eli Manning, and the defense is stifling, even knocking out Tony Romo for 6-8 weeks.
Dez Bryant-Speaking of silver linings, at least the Dallas Cowboys can say first round draft pick is far from a bust so far, with two punt returns, including an 83 yard punt return against the Giants, and 3 receiving touchdowns so far this year. Bryant has proven to be a tough receiver to keep down, and with sure hands, speed, and strength, the core receiving unit for Dallas is cemented for years to come.
Cleveland Browns-So far, the upset of the year. Cleveland fans saw some magical things happen against the defending Super Bowl Champs, as the Browns knocked off the Saints 30-17.
Week 7 Stand-Don’ts:
Jay Cutler-Hmm…At least, he’s the undisputed starting QB, after seeing what Todd Collins can do. Cutler was sacked 4 more times, bringing his NFL leading total to 27. He also threw 4 interceptions, ALL TO THE SAME GUY, DEANGELO HALL, who returned one 92 yards for a TD. How did the Cowboys make this guy look like John Elway, when everyone else is treating him like Ryan Leaf?
Drew Brees-Madden Curse, anyone? Brees so far has thrown 10 interceptions total this season, one shy from the amount of picks he threw all last year. The Saints have to fight for every game this year, and while I’m sure the absence of Reggie Bush has hurt a bit, there are too many weapons for this team to use. They’re not terrible, but they need to improve soon, as the 5-1 Steelers are next.
Dallas Cowboys-The season was in a downfall before, but after the Cowboys lose at home to the Giants 41-35, the season grabbed a cyanide pill and swallowed it. Tony Romo breaks his collarbone and is out 6-8 weeks, depending on if surgery is needed. After leading 20-7, thanks to a Dez Bryant punt return and 3 turnovers, the Cowboys allowed the Giants to regroup and, despite the lack of penalties and turnovers, Dallas fell to 1-5, the season pretty much over. Even with Romo, the team was still 1-4, and without him, the offense will be worse. At least Dallas fans can hope for some respectability to end the season and a positive offseason with some drastic changes.
Denver Broncos-Mike Gollic made a very interesting point on Mike and Mike in the Morning (ESPN) the other day, that after going 6-0 last year to start the 2009 season, the Broncos have since been 4-13. That 13th loss came at the hands of the Raiders, a 59-14 rout. The Broncos were down 38-0 before the end of the first half. It was nothing short of pathetic; to not only let any team beat you like that, but to let it be a rival, especially a rival like the Raiders. The McDaniels era might have started with a bang, but if they don’t shape up, Coach McDaniels will have to spice up his resume` and start looking elsewhere. All that smash mouth football can only get you so far, but they are definitely underperforming right now.
Brett Favre-Next to Dallas, no one had a worse week than Favre. Not only did he actually admit to leaving voice mails for Jenn Sterger, the young woman who accused him of sexual harassment, he is also under NFL investigation for possibly sending her lewd photos; he loses to his former team Green Bay while throwing 3 more interceptions (bringing his total to 10, 3 more than his 2009 TOTAL); and he has 2 stress fractures in his ankle, threatening his record-setting consecutive starts. Things are not looking copasetic for the Wrangler spokesman.
Officials-I had some problems with 3 different games this week.
• First, the Kansas City Chiefs/Jacksonville Jaguars game. On two critical downs in the first half, Jacksonville was awarded two defensive pass interference calls against the Chiefs’ defense, when both times, it was clear that the Jaguars receiver pushed the defender down. Both penalties resulted in Jaguars points, and while Kansas City came back and pounded the Jags, it still is unclear to me what officially constitutes pass interference.
• My second beef comes in the Ravens OT win over the surprisingly good Bills. Bills’ tight end Shawn Nelson catches a pass and is tackled by several Ravens’ defensive players, one being Ray Lewis. Now Nelson is not on the ground, but it’s clear he’s not going anywhere, and usually, in plays like this, the ref blows the whistle, and the play is dead. Instead, the play is still allowed to continue, and Lewis manages to strip the ball away, giving Baltimore the turnover and eventually the win. Again, why was this play so special that it was still live, when most stuffed plays are always blown dead? I guess they didn’t want to make the same mistake Ed Hochuli did 2 years ago in the Chargers-Broncos debacle.
• Finally, the big officiating error of the week, maybe the month, comes from the Pittsburgh-Miami game. Big Ben runs into the endzone, but fumbles. After a huge dogpile ensues, a Dolphins player emerges with the ball…and the refs give it back to the Steelers, because the officials need clear evidence that a Dolphins player did claim the ball and not just grabbing it at the end. While that seems logical, my big beef is I have never seen a dogpile for a fumble end like that. It seems like always, the player who emerges with the ball, that’s the team who takes it. I’m all for undisputed evidence, but there are so many scrambles for live balls, why shouldn’t they all end like they did yesterday in Miami?
Week 8 Predictions:
Well…I stumbled, to say the least. I went down to 7-7 for Week 7. Talk about being way off on some of these games, particular the scores. Oh well, we move on to Week 8.
Denver-24, San Francisco-14
Carolina-13, St. Louis-27
Buffalo-9, Kansas City-19
Green Bay-10, NY Jets-16
Tennessee-31, San Diego-17
Minnesota-18, New England-34
Tampa Bay-20, Arizona-10
Pittsburgh-33, New Orleans-27