Friday, October 2, 2009

8 In The Box- AFC

1. Like 2 ships passing in the night, the unbeaten, resurgent Jets met the winless, colossally disappointing Titans in Week 3. The game continued to show us that 2009 is not, in fact, 2008. The Jets won 24-17 thanks in large part to a miserable 15 of 37 outing from Kerry Collins, and are now unbeaten and have earned genius status for Rex Ryan. I'm still not sold on the Jets though. They seem to have a lot of that smoke and mirrors quality that the Dolphins had last year, and that's not a good thing. To wit, the Titans gained 25% more yards in this game than the Jets did, but lost because they turned it over 4 times. Beating a team with 4 turnovers doesn't make you a good team, it makes the other team a team that is beating itself. This week the Jets face the Saints in the Superdome, and I think Rex gets knocked in his gleaming white overbite

2. The really surprising thing about the Ravens isn't necessarily that they are 3-0, but that they've been doing it with offense. They've scored over 30 points in each of their 3 wins. In fairness, 2 of those wins were against the Chiefs and the Browns, but still, it's a bit of an identity shift for this team. A lot of people are calling this the best team in the league. I'm holding off on that. I'm looking at that 421 passing yards they gave up in the Week 2 win over the Chargers and I feel not so good about that. Their next 3 games include trips to Foxboro and Minneapolis, and a home game against resurgent Bengals team, so I'll wait and see how those go before getting too excited over this team.

3. So OK smart guy, you are thinking, if you don't like the Jets and you aren't sold on the Ravens, who does catch your fancy? Or are you just here to poo poo everything? Well, actually there is a team I like, and it's the Indianapolis Colts. They went to Glendale to face the defending NFC Champs on Monday Night Football, and just blew their doors off. Peyton Manning looks like he's 100% healthy again, and the offense looks like it's been opened up a little now that Dungy is not the head coach anymore. I love Donald Brown as a compliment to Joseph Addai, even to the point where I think I like Addai better as a complement to Brown, and Pierre Garcon is a huge improvement over the deteriorated Marvin Harrison that we had seen the past couple of years. Then figure in that the defense has looked great against the pass and completely shut down a potent Cardinal offense, and this team has my vote as best in the AFC right now.

4. And your final 3-0 team in the AFC is the Denver Broncos. But they are kind of 3-0 in the way a college football team is 3-0 by opening the season against Grambling and 2 Sun Belt teams. They've beaten the Browns, Raiders, and opened with a win against the Bengals (that looks a little better with age now). One noteworthy thing is how good the defense has been under new DC Mike Nolan, after being so awful last year. The Broncos have given up only 16 points all season. Their first real test of the year comes this week when the Cowboys come to Mile High.

5. What you see above, is probably not a very productive discussion. Here's some reasons why.

a. There's 3 quarterbacks in this picture, and JaMarcus Russell is the best one.

b. Tom Cable could interrupt and start punching people at any time.

c. Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye are worried JaMarcus Russell will eat them.

6. The defending Super Bowl Champs are 1-2 after a loss to the Bengals. They can't run the ball and thus could not hold on to the 20-9 lead they started the 4th quarter with. It's far from time to push the panic button on the Steelers though. I'll say that even if they lose their tough Week 4 matchup against the Chargers to fall to 1-3. After the Chargers game, they've got back to back games against the Lions and Browns, so it won't take them long to get back to .500, they've also still got games left against the Chiefs and Raiders, another one against the Browns, one against the Dolphins, and a home rematch against the Bengals. Long story short, this team is going to win at least 8 games this year, probably 9 or 10, and probably will be back in the playoffs. Meanwhile, there is 0 chance of him winning the MVP award, but you've got a hard time convincing me there is any one player more vital to his team being functional than Carson Palmer.

7. The Panic Police had their dogs and battering rams out in Foxboro last week, oh yes they did. The Patriots responded by calmly squeezing the life out of the Atlanta Falcons 26-10, looking more like the 2001-2004 vintage Patriots than the 2007 juggernaut. The Patriots found balance in their offense and got 100+ yards out of Fred Taylor, while holding Michael Turner to just 56 yards on 15 carries. This team is battling, and they're 2-1, but they have achieved a difficult level of all around mediocrity in the first quarter of the season, ranking in the middle of the pack in Y/A on both offense and defense against the run and the pass. The season can still go either way for them.

8. No Olympics...City Doomed.

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