I'll call it 'Parody'
Bottom-Feeding Teams Are Embarrassing
Do wins by Tennessee, Detroit and Tampa Bay show there is parity in the league, such that bottom-rung teams can compete with the rest of the league? Or does it indicate that Washington, Buffalo and Cincinnati aren't as good as we thought they were? Or it is just Any Given Sunday, and some really horrible teams got lucky, albeit all at once?
I'll say: A little from Column B; a lot from Column C.
The Bills had a great first play against New England that gave them a fighting chance in Week 1. Later they were able to beat Miami, which has turned out to be no difficult task, and Minnesota at home. Looks like their "surprising" 2-2 start is reverting to a more expected 4-8 finish.
And maybe the Bengals, despite an emotional win here and there, think a whole lot more of themselves. Who dat gonna beat dem Bengals? The Bucs. Please.
And Washington is, well, the inconsistent Daniel Snyder-owned Redskins we've all come to know and not depend on.
Meanwhile, Tampa, Tennessee and Detroit really do stink to high heaven.
Tennessee, at least, is intriguing, if only because they gave Indianapolis a run in Week 5 before knocking off the Who-Are-We-This-Week? Redskins. I'm not buying what they selling ... yet. I wouldn't hold my baby blue breath, though.
At least Oakland didn't disappoint. You can only assume the game appeared close because Denver was utterly disinterested and was just trying to get through this extra bye week with no catastrophes.
And then there's Dennis Green and Herman Edwards. Man, what a pair! No wonder Marty Schottenheimer is still considered a genius.
Here's how things played out:
Sunday, Oct. 15
Buffalo (2-3) at Detroit (0-5), 1 p.m.
Prediction: Bills, 31-17.
Result: Lions, 20-17.
As hard as it is to win 16 games in an NFL season, it seems equally as hard to lose all 16 games. There are so many bad teams, the worst of them still have several great opportunities to avoid stark futility. Detroit, a team with a slew of injuries on both front lines, out-sacked, out-rushed and simply out-played what should have been a high quality opponent. Seems like it was just a few weeks ago, people were talking about Buffalo's defense. The scary thing is: Detroit is now only one game worse than Buffalo.
Carolina (3-2) at Baltimore (4-1), 1 p.m.
Prediction: Ravens, 13-10.
Result: Panthers, 23-21.
This really kills me. Forget Edwards and Green. In response to his inept star free-agent quarterback throwing several horrible passes followed by an interception and a sack that knocked him out of the game, allowing his backup and displaced starter to come in an throw three touchdowns and nearly leading the team to a big win over an excellent defense, offensive "guru" Brian Billick fires his "good friend," offensive coordinator Jim Fassel, who was most likely the least of this consistently underperforming offense's problems. "I have an obligation to this organization to do what I think is in the best interests of this team, regardless of how difficult those decisions are," Billick said after firing Fassel. Who is he going to blame next time?
Cincinnati (3-1) at Tampa Bay (0-4), 1 p.m.
Prediction: Bengals, 38-16.
Result: Buccaneers, 14-13.
I have concrete evidence that Bruce Gradkowski is not The Next Tom Brady. There's no way Tom Brady gets that roughing the quarterback call that kept Tampa's game-winning drive alive. Brady has taken harder hits from his sisters than Gradkowski took on that play. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay defensive tackle Anthony McFarland said, "We've got to start somewhere, and we start with this." And now he can start somewhere else. It's really not that Tampa played so well as that Cincy played so poorly. The Bengals don't deal well with adversity -- except the self-induced kind.
Houston (1-3) at Dallas (2-2), 1 p.m.
Prediction: Cowboys, 38-10.
Result: Cowboys, 34-6.
Ya, Terrell Owens had a great game. Five catches for 45 yards. Just so happens three of those receptions were for touchdowns as Houston collapsed as they so predictably must. The talking heads were singing the praises of Drew Bledsoe, too. He certainly has looked great against Houston and Tennessee. Quite an accomplishment. This was a defensive win, in case they chose not to notice. One more comment to the Texans front office: Nice draft pick.
N.Y. Giants (2-2) at Atlanta (3-1), 1 p.m.
Prediction: Giants, 26-23.
Result: Giants, 27-14.
Atlanta proves once again that they're good at beating inferior teams, but a legitimate defense will beat them most every time. By the way, I have no problem with the "late" hit on Michael Vick by Antonio Pierce. If Pierce had slowed up and Vick cut down the sideline a la Kordell Stewart, the chowderheaded chatterheads would be complaining that Pierce blew it. This whole "protecting the quarterback" thing is not only grossly unevenly applied, but it's blatantly hypocritical in a situation like this. If they don't want anyone to hit a quarterback, he shouldn't be running helter skelter all over the field. Tiki Barber may be the most underrated player of the decade. If he retires after this season, as he today indicated he might, it will be a big loss for the NFL. By the way, Barber is already leading the league in rushing, and New York has already had its bye week. That's pretty impressive.
Philadelphia (4-1) at New Orleans (4-1), 1 p.m.
Prediction: Saints, 28-24.
Result: Saints, 27-24.
Drew Brees hit 10 different receivers. The game was very much like I expected, right down to the final score. I think the missing injured Philly players may have been the difference. That and those ridiculous huck-`em-up passes by Donovan McNabb. I don't understand throwing virtual Hail Marys into double coverage in the middle of the first and second quarter. It's a good time for New Orleans to have their bye. They need to put these first six games in perspective because they have a pretty tough schedule coming up, and they need to maintain their composure, unlike Cincinnati. Sean Peyton is off to quite a start, and this will be his challenge.
Seattle (3-1) at St. Louis (4-1), 1 p.m.
Prediction: Seahawks, 28-17.
Result: Seahawks, 30-28.
Few teams can pull out those last-minute wins against quality opponents consistently. St. Louis found that out the hard way, coming back late, only to let a very important game slip away. I don't want to hear it about the illegal motion penalty and there not being a 10-second runoff. I find it hard to believe a head coach and former offensive coordinator doesn't know the rules. It's irrelevant anyway. It's like the Tuck Rule "controversy." Ignorance of the rules is not a reason to dispute the call. If Seattle can survive games like this without several key players, they'll be in decent shape come the playoffs.
Tennessee (0-5) at Washington (2-3), 1 p.m.
Prediction: Redskins, 28-7.
Result: Titans, 25-22.
Outside of Travis Henry's career-high 178 yards, this game was wholly unremarkable. Looks like those D-line injuries really affected Washington. Please note: Like Detroit and Buffalo, Tennessee is now only one game worse than Washington, and the Redskins are all but officially out of the playoffs.
Kansas City (2-2) at Pittsburgh (1-3), 4:15 p.m.
Prediction: Steelers, 21-17.
Result: Steelers, 45-7.
I read that Edwards isn't worried. Clearly, he's delusional. Take away Larry Johnson's longest run of the game (8 yards) and K.C. totaled 30 yards rushing. I'm not buying that Ben Roethlisberger is suddenly resurrected after a lousy month's worth of games. He's pretty good against ineffective defenses, and he's only at his best when Pittsburgh can run (219 yards against Kansas City).
Miami (1-4) at N.Y. Jets (2-3), 4:15 p.m.
Prediction: Jets, 20-14.
Result: Jets, 20-17.
This game was unwatchable. I can't even tell you what happened, because I was numb. I think Nick Saban will stick with Joey Harrington when Daunte Culpepper is "healthy." With an amazingly easy schedule coming up, New York might end up having a decent season. Miami? Not.
San Diego (3-1) at San Francisco (2-3), 4:15 p.m.
Prediction: Chargers, 34-3.
Result: Chargers, 48-19.
Oakland (0-4) at Denver (3-1), 8:15 p.m.
Prediction: Broncos, 48-0.
Result: Broncos, 13-3.
Like I said earlier, Denver appeared disinterested in this game. Much as I am now. At least Art Shell didn't embarrass himself the way Dennis Green did. Not the sameway, anyway.
Monday, Oct. 16
Chicago (5-0) at Arizona (1-4), 8:30 p.m.
Prediction: Bears, 33-10.
Result: Bears, 24-23.
In response to his team blowing a 20-point lead, Dennis Green fired his offensive coordinator saying Arizona isn't scoring enough points. [infinite blank stare] Arizona is 17th in the league in scoring. (Jim Fassel's offense was 18th.) That's wicked bad news for 14 other offensive coordinators. If they score 23 on Chicago can you imagine what will happen if they score less against Oakland?
Open Date: Cleveland (1-4), Green Bay (1-4), Indianapolis (5-0), Jacksonville (3-2), Minnesota (3-2), New England (4-1)
Last week: 9 - 4.
My four losses came by a total of 9 points, three by previously winless teams, and those by a total of 7 points. No, I'm not saying how many games I won by 3 points or less. The good news is: The Patriots are back in action this week, and we can all look forward to family, friends and nachos.
Season: 58 - 29.
That's 66.7 percent (up 0.5 percent). Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to fire my offensive coordinator.