NFL: Week Five Wrapup
Unlike last weekend, I watched the vast majority of games this week - and wow, what a week to do so. So many games came down to the wire, and as would be expected for this time in the season, we started to get a little clarity on what teams are looking like they are for real (for better or for worse).
The Titans, implausibly enough, seem very much to be for real. Sure, they have no receivers to speak of, but they have a strong, balanced running game, a quarterback who doesn't make mistakes, and a tenacious defense. (Yes, I'm channeling both Marv Albert and Jack Black with that one.) Dallas rebounded to look a lot more like the team we thought they are, though Cincinnati played strong again even though the results were yet another loss. Indeed, the Bungles are back - and now Cedric Benson is part of the team!
But it's worth pointing out one other team, and it's a team that has at least three die-hard supporters in this Pick 'Em. That team is the New York Giants, who looked frightfully good for a team with their best receiver (Plaxico Burress) on suspension. I'm not sure if the 'Jints' are hands down the best team in the league as Jeff "El Jeffe" Mester suggested to me, but they are damn good. (Of course, because I'm a jerk, I'll choose to illustrate it by showing Manning looking like a drunk doofus. I'm ... a jerk.)
Who are those other two Jints fans? One is Rob Doten, and the other is this week's winner Scott Schwartz. Before we get much further, props should go out to Scottie and his team, Cecil Snotz and Hanky. (No, I don't know what it means either. He usually names his teams after Judge Lance Ito.) Scott had informed me on Saturday night that the prior week, he'd gotten eight games right in the morning - and then whiffed on every game after that. Well this week, it took nine wins and a tiebreaker, but Scott pulled through. Way to go, Zcoot.
Now, back to the games.
Did you know that Eagles RB Brian Westbrook has a brother who plays for the Redskins? He's a defensive back, on the practice squad, and that's not altogether interesting. What IS interesting is that his name is Byron. Byron Westbrook, brother of Brian Westbrook.
Who would do that? What parent would want to have to yell for one of their kids and inevitably get it wrong, or have both of those kids ignore you because they think you're talking to the other one? Why? WHY?
So now that Miami has beaten both the Patriots and the Chargers, we have to at least take them somewhat seriously, right? That AFC East is looking brutally tough this year, with the Jets, Bills, Pats and even the Dolphins looking like actual threats.
The 49ers have gone back to looking pretty shoddy, though losing to the Patriots (even with Matt Cassel) is nothing to be ashamed of. But their schedule is brutal - they face the Giants and the Eagles next - and things are going to get worse before they get better. Don't be suprised if you hear the call for coach Mike Nolan's head, to be replaced by offensive coordinator Mike Martz, or possibly a reach to Mike Singletary, the linebackers coach. (Why are all of these guys named Mike?)
Look, I love my Niners, if that's not patently obvious, but they aren't there yet. They are better than they have been, and even this last Sunday you could see the offense really gelling. But the defense - though decent - can't make those stands to get off the field. And there isn't a defense in the world that can thrive when it's playing 65% of the plays. I hear rumors that the team is looking into trades for Roy Williams or Chad Ocho Cinco -- that's fine, as they need a receiver to pair against Isaac Bruce (who has really looked spry of late), but I'd pass (pun intended) on those guys if I could for anyone who could rush the passer.
I'm sure that Matt Schaub, like all other Texans, were pretty crushed by that loss against the Colts. But Schaub at least benefited in one way - he gets his job back. It's not totally clear what illness he came down with to give Sage Rosenfels the start on Sunday, but until Rosenfels cost the team the game with two horrendous plays, there was a bonafide QB controversy. Not so much right now.
That game featured one of the two more amazing catches of the weekend, this one by Reggie Wayne on the game winning TD. The other was by Marty Booker of the Bears, another one handed snag. With due respect to Booker, that's probably the last time I'll talk about those two guys together.
So, Larry Johnson has a few great games and the Chiefs knock off the Broncos. Then, LJ nets TWO yards in a blowout loss to the Panthers, in which DeAngelo Williams scores 3 TDs before halftime. I'm not really sure what my point is here, except that the Chiefs really do suck.
Alright, it's time to wrap up. We are getting close to Thursday night games but they aren't quite here yet. In the meantime, get those picks in and don't forget about the tiebreakers!