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Sunday, October 25, 2009



“Craving more fantasy football notes and numbers, get your weekly fix here.”-Thee Prodigy

Target Practice: Week Seven in the NFL

As we get deeper into the fantasy season, mistakes are magnified and each loss becomes monumental. There’s no room for error and every owner hoping to extend the fantasy season needs to be on top of the numbers as well as the injuries.

With week seven next on the slate, it’s too late into the season to be counting on luck, it’s time to start doing your homework. If you are hoping to set that winning lineup, then you have once again targeted the right place, because we have your weekly fix right here!

Who’s worried….
The signs are there and it appears his time could be coming now. The Bears tight end Greg Olsen still has yet to put up number one tight end numbers, but his time could be nearing closer than you think. Last Sunday Olsen caught five passes for 57 yards and a touchdown, ranking 5th in fantasy scoring for tight ends. The bigger number to pay attention looking ahead is the 11 passes thrown in his direction (ranked tops for TE’s in week six).

The Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has yet to set any fantasy scoring sheets on fire this season, but his dormant beginnings could be changing soon. In his last two starts Bowe has managed to snag 11 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown. The hidden value here is the 24 passes that have gone in his direction as well. Expect Bowe to only get better.

Despite the past two relatively quiet weeks for Giant’s receiver Steve Smith, fantasy owners should take comfort in knowing he’s still on Eli’s radar every Sunday. In his last two starts Smith has only seven receptions, but he was targeted 11 times; a slight drop from what he had seen. With Hixon a healthy return and the rookie Nicks emerging, Smith is still Eli’s go-to and should find an easier time this weekend to get open. Smith leads the NFL with 41 receptions and ranks in the top five in passing targets; don’t worry.

The Vikings and quarterback Brett Favre’s newest weapon this season appears to be their 3rd year receiver Sidney Rice. Over the past four weeks Rice has been seeing a steady diet of seven targets per game and when he’s been on the radar, he’s been productive. Over the same span he’s averaged 4.5 catches, 91-yards, and a half touchdown per game (that’s 12 fantasy points per game).

It’s a gradual and steady growth for the Bronco’s wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Week six was hardly a big week after going three straight with a touchdown. Marshall only caught five passes for 49 yards last Sunday, but over his last four starts he has had no fewer than six targets in each game while averaging eight over that stretch. The biggest key for the Bronco’s receiver is his level of efficiency; catching nearly 70 percent of the passes thrown his direction and averaging over nine fantasy points per game.

Keep your Eye on these gems…

On Monday night against the San Diego Chargers, the Bronco’s tight end Tony Scheffler had his 2009 coming out party. Scheffler caught six passes for over 100 yards and scored an important touchdown in the Monday night matchup. It was the tight end’s first big game this season and more importantly over the past two weeks, he has seen an increased activity in the Bronco’s passing game. In his last two starts Scheffler has seen 12 balls thrown his way and in that stretch he’s grabbed 10 of those throws. Keep your eye on Scheffler, it’s starting to look more and more like the Broncos will be getting him more involved in the vertical game.

Since his glory days as part of the “Greatest Show on Turf” the Jaguar’s wide receiver Torry Holt has not been as productive. Last season was his lowest totals for yards and receptions since his rookie season, but 2009 looks to be a different story. Holt is not lighting any fires at the moment, but he’s been very steady over the past couple of weeks. Holt has 12 receptions for 196 yards and has been targeted 21 times. He may not be considered a weekly must start or reliable fantasy starter, but ranking in the top 25 in both yards and receptions he’s worth watching.

Here is the breakdown for fantasy pass catchers (targets) this season;

Through Six weeks:

Top-30 Targeted Pass-catchers

Player Targt Recpt FPTS
Johnson, Andre WR HOU 66 36 78
Moss, Randy WR NE 58 38 71
Smith, Steve WR NYG 55 41 75
Burleson, Nate WR SEA 54 32 53
Houshmandzadeh, T.J. WR SEA 53 31 43
Ochocinco, Chad WR CIN 53 29 59
Ward, Hines WR PIT 52 41 67
Welker, Wes WR NE 52 36 54
Fitzgerald, Larry WR ARI 50 35 64
Holmes, Santonio WR PIT 49 28 48
Wayne, Reggie WR IND 48 32 68
Daniels, Owen TE HOU 47 32 58
Holt, Torry WR JAC 47 27 38
Smith, Steve WR CAR 47 21 26
Mason, Derrick WR BAL 46 26 53
Winslow, Kellen TE TB 46 29 51
Boldin, Anquan WR ARI 44 29 32
Clayton, Mark WR BAL 44 20 37
Gates, Antonio TE SD 44 29 52
Manningham, Mario WR NYG 44 24 61
Marshall, Brandon WR DEN 43 29 55
Rice, Ray RB BAL 43 33 93
Clark, Dallas TE IND 42 35 54
Sims-Walker, Mike WR JAC 42 28 55
White, Roddy WR ATL 42 27 61
Carlson, John TE SEA 41 24 38
Cooley, Chris TE WAS 41 27 40
Jackson, DeSean WR PHI 41 19 41
Johnson, Calvin WR DET 41 22 39
Royal, Eddie, WR DEN 41 18 13

[points based on traditional scoring]



Re-Writing History
By David Ortega

It was only six months ago that the main stream media were tweeting, posting, writing, and talking about how tired they already were with the whole Brett Favre saga; even fans unlike had had enough. It was becoming a joke; is he going to stay retired or unretire. Even a four letter network cut a promo ad poking fun at the whole offseason drama that ensued.

Looking back, was it Favre making this a bigger decision than it really was or was it the networks, media, and sports personalities just trying to reinvent the wheel by making this whole "waffling story" a bigger deal than it needed to be. After all, when Vinny Testaverde retired and came back out of retirement (20 times) was there a circus surrounding his decision and questioning his motive?

Sure Vinny's decision or announcements were hardly "stop the presses", but why was it such a big deal for Brett Favre to change his mind and comeback? Why did so many blast him for considering and reconsidering, maybe, just maybe he knew just a little better what was best for Brett Favre.

So many of us can sit at home and play armchair quarterback or GM for that matter, weigh over the circumstances and draw our own conclusions from observation alone. But how much can we really know? How can you measure one man's heart and really know, what fuels his fire?

Maybe he knew what he was doing, just maybe he was right. In hindsight it's always easier to second guess, because let's face it even in the 12th hour it appeared Favre himself didn't even know what to do; to think if Vikings head coach Brad Childress had not made that one last reach out to the former three-time NFL MVP. If Chilly doesn't make the call, what would all of us be talking about today?

The simple fact is the call was made, Favre said yes and once again we could be looking at history being made. But the critics will tell you we have seen this all before and all too well. Last season with the Jets 8-3 start, there was talk of a post season run, and then like a fly hitting a wall; it all became just a bad dream. Could this just be another repeat or are we seeing something different?

Unlike last season, the Jets for Favre were like the next hot-girl right after a bad break-up with your longtime girlfriend. It's always nice to have someone, but it’s not always where you want to be and with whom you really want to be with; but it’ll do. For what it's worth Favre made the best of the situation, but like any turbulent relationship doomed from the start it did not end on the best of terms; but it had to end.

The Vikings weren't ever going to replace his first love (Packers), but like a long time close (girl) friend that has always been there with the shoulder to lean on, understanding, and with open arms to comfort this relationship when first conceived (last year) always made sense. In Minnesota Favre had strong ties that would make him feel welcome.

Even when Favre was teetering and unsure, rather than understand that at 39 years age the heart wants what the heart wants and that one has to consider can the body survive, the masses (analysts, bloggers, columnists) would rather crucify the guy for seeming to hold a franchise hostage and keeping the football world waiting. It may have seemed selfish to many, but when it comes right down to it, this was Brett's decision and with the support of his family there was only one person he needed to consider.

His decision to play his 19th NFL season did not come easy and it was quite apparent no one covering the story or having an opinion on the matter and every self-serving so-called football analyst and expert were not going to help make it easy.

From right out of the gate, the Favre-hating nation was quick to jump on his signs of rustiness and call out his perceived limitations. Again, pushing 40 years of age and coming off a season were the toll of 16 games had beat him down, how much longer could Favre really play. Was he even the shell of a player we had watched take a Packer team to the NFC championship in 2007?

The Vikings started strong in 2009 and needed very little help from Favre in the first couple of weeks (after two games; 265 yards passing and three touchdown passes). With Favre adding very little to the offense, why was he even in Minnesota? Was he doing anything more that the other two quarterbacks the Vikings had in reserve couldn't? And just like that there was the talk of a "schism." Is that even a word? Everyone and their mother had a take on this.

The so-called schism was being addressed on every air-wave, every talk show, and sure enough there it was on the four letter network being addressed like somekind of physical injury, Favre, Childress, and the Vikings would have to deal with and adjust to. The entire situation was being made out like the Vikings faced a divided locker room.

Why all the drama? Seriously, was Brett wrong to comeback? Was it really that hard to understand a man's love and deep passion for the game? Apparently Childress was confident of his decision and believed in Favre; so why the attention and why the uproar?

Little did anyone realize or see this coming, but the Vikings week three matchup with the 2-0 Niners would not only define Favre's reasoning for coming back, but it would mark the beginning of history being rewritten once again.

In dramatic fashion that only Favre can bring, the Viking's new team leader took his new team upon his back. Favre would not use his voice to lead the way, but the boy from Mississippi would lead with his actions.

In a battle of then unbeatens the two teams traded haymakers, back and forth throughout the game, it was one big timely play after another. First the Vikings struck late in the 3rd quarter and took the lead with a blistering 101-yard kickoff return by Percy Harvin. Then it was the Niners who struck back early in the 4th quarter with a Vernon Davis catch to lead 24-20.

As the clock continued to wind down, the moment had arrived. It was time for Favre to show the world what he was all about and how he loved the game; and loved to win. Calm, cool, and collected Favre took the field, kept plays alive with his feet, made needed throw after throw as he drove his team into position.

With just 12 seconds left to play, it was time for magic. Favre scrambled out to his right to avoid the Niner pressure, as he avoided a potential tackler he stepped up the field, and then in a last wing and a prayer throw he let go a 32-yard laser that miraculously found its’ way to the back of the end-zone, into the hands of the newly signed wide receiver Greg Lewis.

Lewis’ grab completed a sensational game winning touchdown reception that not only elevated the Vikings to 3-0, but ended the talk of any kind of schism or divided locker room. The play was everything you would have expected from a younger, gunslinger, a Favre of yesterday, but this was today and history was being written all over.

In week four Favre would add another chapter to his legacy and make more history. When the Vikings defeated the Packers on Monday night, Favre became the only quarterback in the history of the NFL to defeat all 32 teams in the NFL.

Favre is playing inspired football now. Perhaps all the negative chatter prior to his arrival has motivated him? One thing appears to be certain, not only does Favre have plenty left in the tank, but many of the nay-sayers had it wrong.

Since week three Favre has played like a 30 year old. His numbers are rivaling the best in the league and over his past four starts he’s averaged 270 yards passing and thrown nine touchdowns with only two interceptions. While many try to explain Favre’s sudden resurrection an interesting comment made during the Vikings-Packers matchup in week four by commentator and football analyst Ron Jaworski.

Favre was a late arrival to camp this year, but by week four against the Packers he had put in the same length of time of a full training camp. At this point it would be a fair assessment to gauge his progress and level of play; needless to say Favre’s performance on Monday night was flawless (24 of 31 passing, 271 yards passing, and three touchdowns). Against his former team Favre was accurate; his passes had plenty of zip and velocity, while his spirals were tight and on the mark.

So what makes 2009 different from a year ago when Favre seemed to have collapsed in the second half of the season? At no point in 2008 was he this efficient and effective. His strong start last year could not disguise his gunslinging tendencies with eight interceptions in his first six starts. This season Favre has been much better throwing 12 touchdowns with only two interceptions and completing nearly 70 percent of his passes.

There’s no guarantee that Favre will hold up this season, but then again there seems to be no reason to believe that he will break down. The bicep injury that seemed to undermine his 2008 comeback hardly seems to be an issue in 2009. He’s throwing the ball as well as he ever has and if history repeats as it has often does, this season is sure reminiscent of 2007.

With all the negative criticism surrounding his return, there are still many just waiting for the moment that Favre will tank or resort to his normal tendencies. For those that still don’t believe, holding your breath is not recommended.

At 40 years of age now, Favre is defying the odds and every game he plays and every snap he takes he is rewriting the record books. On Sunday Favre will make his 276th consecutive start (an NFL record). His week seven matchup with the Steelers will present a huge test for Favre as he goes for his 176 career win (another NFL record).

When camp opened up back in the summer, many folks like the Vikings chances heading into the 2009 season. With Favre under center and slinging the rock this well the Viking have to like their chances. We may not have imagined it before, but how you have to think we could be watching something very special; you might even say we’re watching (Favre’s) history be re-written.

That’s my take.

Saturday, October 24, 2009



By William Queen for Football Reporters Online

This weeks fantasy sleeper is the Green Bay Packers defensive unit. Surprising? Well considering Matt Schuab is currently the leader in fantasy points; this is perfectly ordinary.

I tend to shy away from defense’s when looking for a fantasy sleeper, but I realized that 6 teams are on a bye week, there was practically no other option.

Currently the 6th ranked fantasy defense, the Packers are facing perhaps the easiest offense yet in the Cleveland Browns. The Browns, well, aren’t exactly clicking on offense this season. Only scoring a touchdown in 3 games this season, the Packers shouldn’t have any trouble stopping Cleveland’s offensive attack.

When your kick returner has scored more touchdowns off kicks than your running back has ran for, then you know your just not scoring enough points. A quarterback with only 2 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and leading the Browns to a 27.9% 3rd down conversion rate; there’s no need to go any further.

The Packers defense has forced 26 turnovers this season, 20 coming off interceptions, so look for them to take advantage of the Browns quarterbacking issues and put up an impressive fantasy performance.

The Weekly Waiver Wire Week7

The Weekly Waiver Wire
By David Ortega for Football Reporters Online

The Bye weeks continue in the NFL and the Waiver Wire just keeps getting busy. As the fantasy football season progresses, you weekly moves take on more importance; your studs are on the bye, your lineup is depleted and you need some serious help. Never fear because Wayne is always here to lend a helping hand, offer some good advice or just take up 10-15 minutes of your day with some senseless rants about a few guys he believes may have something to say this week!

So once again grab a cold one (better make it two) and tae a lot of notes, and just remember Wayne is working hard, so you don’t have to and because he’s got nothing better to do!

Week Seven

After spending the first five weeks of the season dormant, the Saints wide receiver Lance Moore has awaken from his slumber. Slowed by injuries, Moore has played very little in 2009 missing a few games and being limited, but on Sunday it was a different story. Finally looking healthy Moore resembled more of his 2008 self catching six passes for 78 yards, including a 12-yard score. With the Saints flying high and Brees getting the ball to everyone, Moore looked very good on Sunday and could be one of those options down the road with a big game here and there. He’s definitely going to figure into the Saints passing attack and if available needs to be on someone’s roster.

With the Panther’s return to doing what they do best, run the ball running back Jonathan Stewart will figure into this equation. Last week against the Buccaneers Stewart saw his fair share of carries with 17. He gained 110 yards on the ground and scored a rushing touchdown. With the inconsistent play from the passing game it's safe to expect the Panthers to run the ball. As long as Carolina is committed to the run, expect Stewart to have good value always with plenty of chances to score. Coming off the injury bug Stewart should be available and would be a good bye week fill-in.

The Raiders have had more than their share of offensive woes in this young season, but just last Sunday there was a ray of some hope. With injuries sidelining Darren McFadden, running back Justin Fargas has had opportunity this season. This past week Fargas earned 23 carries and totaled 98 yards. In one game Fargas doubled his carries for the season and with the Raiders in search of any kind of offense, expect head coach Tom Cable to start with Fargas. The former SC Trojan running back is not going to blow up, but he's a solid runner and a decent fill-in to cover a bye or injury.

When Fred Taylor went down, the Patriots turned to Sammy Morris, now that Morris is down they'll look to running back Laurence Maroney. In his first extended action of the season or the past decade (injured in 2008) or so Maroney jumped all over the chance and made the most of his time in the spotlight. As the team’s featured snowplowing machine this past Sunday Maroney touched the ball 19 times and totaled 133 yards of offense. With numbers like this the Patriots will more than likely stay with the hot hand and keep feeding the horse. With the schedule sitting right in the middle of the byes, Maroney becomes an appealing fill-in option with the Bucs up next.

“Wayne’s Word”

Enough with the running back theme, looking for a hot tip or just some helpful advice, either way Wayne has the latest insight for this week. Another worthy spot where you can find some good help is the tight end position and with this week’s hottest pickup Wayne offers you these words;

Over the past several weeks the Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe has quickly become quarterback Brett Favre’s most reliable target. Shiancoe is not being heavily targeted, but he’s not dropping many of Favre’s rockets. In the past three weeks the tight end has seen 11 passes thrown his direction and he’s managed to snag everyone; more importantly he’s making the most of his opportunities. Shiancoe has four touchdown receptions in his last three games and has five for the season. With Favre spreading the ball so well, expect him to keep looking for Shiancoe in the critical moments and in scoring position. As long as Shiancoe remains a favorite of Favre’s his numbers figure to improve. His fantasy scoring for the past three games is 7-points, 10-points, and 16-points.

Keep checking back for more football....

Earners and Bums (Studs & Duds) week 7

Earners and Bums
(Studs & Duds)
By David Ortega for Football Reporters Online

With six weeks of the 2009 fantasy football season complete, it’s time again for “The Collector” to take his weekly stroll along Fantasy Football Boulevard to see who is earning their keep and who needs a swift kick in the behind.

The Collector knows who your every week cash-cows (Brees, Brady, Peterson) are; they’re going to have their great weeks and those not so great weeks, but after checking the books and tallying the weekly balance sheets it’s time to once again see who this weeks Earners (Studs) are and who are the Bums (Duds)

The Earners (Studs)
(Note: Not your normal stars/check the wire. Min 16 fantasy points)

The Viking’s quarterback Brett Favre is quickly becoming a huge cash cow with 278 passing yards and three touchdowns (12 touchdowns in 2009) in week six. (29 fantasy points)

The Bronco’s quarterback Kyle Orton keeps the money coming in with 229 yards passing and two touchdowns in week six. (22 fantasy points)

The Panther’s second running back Jonathan Stewart brought home the bacon last Sunday with 17 carries for 110 yards rushing and a touchdown. (15 fantasy points)

The Patriot’s running back Laurence Maroney scored some big green on Sunday with 123 yards rushing and a 45-yard touchdown scamper. (19 fantasy points)

The Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice was the big man on campus last Sunday with a jail-break performance catching six passes for 176 yards receiving. (17 fantasy points)

The Giant’s rookie wide receiver Hakeem Nicks cashed in big last Sunday catching five passes for 114 yards with a touchdown. (17 fantasy points)

The Bronco’s tight end Tony Scheffler racked in big green this past Monday night catching six passes for 101 yards receiving and a touchdown. (16 fantasy points)

The Bums (Duds)
(Note: We expect more from these guys/be careful starting. Less than 5 fantasy points)

The Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck coming off a great week five was not-so-great last weekend completing only 10 passes and not throwing a touchdown. (zero fantasy points)

It’s not that so much is expected of the rookie Mark Sanchez, but no one should ever be this bad, 10 of 29 passing and five interceptions. (minus six fantasy points)

The Giant’s running back Brandon Jacobs disappears in Sunday’s ambush and brings home empty pockets with just 33 yards rushing. (3 fantasy points)

The Steeler’s former starting running back Willie Parker struggles in week six with just seven carries for 26 yards with a fumble. (zero fantasy points)

The Seahawk’s wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh was almost M.I.A. on Sunday finishing with just four catches for 34 yards receiving. (3 fantasy points)

The Bill’s wide receiver Terrell Owens was a non-factor and disappointment on Sunday finishing the day with only three catches for 13 yards. (one fantasy point)

The Jet’s tight end Dustin Keller could not connect with his quarterback much on a Windy Sunday in the Meadowlands; he finished with two catches and 16 yards. (one fantasy point)

By David Ortega

Check back for more weekly “Earners and Bums”

FRO's NFL Performance Rankings week 6

FRO's NFL Performance Rankings week 6
By Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer At-Large

While there are many power rankings out there based as much on hype, expectations, and too often, unrealized and inaccurate projections, at Football Reporters Online, we prefer to rank NFL teams on what's actually happened, taking into account only how teams have performed on the field and who they’ve played. At F.R.O., you won’t find yet another power ranking that doesn’t tell you much. Instead, here are the F.R.O. NFL Performance Rankings:

Week 6:


#1 NEW ORLEANS 5-0 -- Week 6: Beat NY Giants, 48-27
Drew Brees toyed with the Giants’ top-ranked pass defense, looking like he was having a simple game of catch in the backyard with Marques Colston and Lance Moore. With Brees leading the way, the Saints lead the league with a very impressive 38.4 points and 430.0 total yards per game.

#2 INDIANAPOLIS 5-0 +1 Week 6: Bye
The Giants’ loss is the Colts’ gain, as they enjoy their Week 6 bye moving up one, to number 2. The latest of Peyton Manning’s five straight 300-yard games to start the season, has the Colts rolling since a comeback win in Miami. And, the Colts are not just about Manning and the offense. Indianapolis ranks second, allowing just 14.2 points per game.

#3 DENVER 6-0 +1 Week 6: Won at San Diego, 34-23
The Broncos weren’t legit after the fluke win in Cincinnati. They weren’t for real after beating up on Cleveland and Oakland. Well, no one is saying that anymore after home wins over New England and Dallas, and wining in San Diego on Monday Night Football. So far, Josh McDaniels has proved a lot of people wrong doing it his way, with his system, without Jay Cutler, and with Kyle Orton, who is 27-12 as a starter. Denver is allowing a league-low 11.0 points per game.

#4 MINNESOTA 6-0 +1 Week 6: Beat Baltimore, 33-31
Minnesota could easily have two home losses already in their first three home games, but as they did against the 49ers, the Vikings pulled one out late against the Ravens to remain as one of only four unbeatens left. It’s going to be difficult to keep the record unblemished with a pair of tough roads tests coming up in Pittsburgh followed by Brett Favre’s homecoming to Lambeau.

#5 NY GIANTS 5-1 -3 Week 6: Lost at New Orleans, 48-27
New York’s ride against the bottom feeders of the NFL ended with an abrupt wake-up call. The Giants still rank first in overall defense and against the pass, but they looked just the opposite in New Orleans. They still luck out however, maintaining a two-game lead in the NFC East, thanks to the Eagles stubbing their toe in Oakland.


#6 ATLANTA 4-1 +1 Week 6: Beat Chicago, 21-14
The Falcons look nearly unbeatable at home even though the Bears played them tough. So far, only one bad effort, at New England. Otherwise, Atlanta has looked sharp on both sides of the ball with a stout defense, and a nice run/pass balance offensively.

#7 PITTSBURGH 4-2 +3 Week 6: Won at Detroit, 28-20
After letting a couple of games get away late in Chicago and Cincinnati, the defending champs have righted the ship with three solid wins in a row.

#8 NEW ENGLAND 4-2 +4 Week 6: Beat Tennessee, 59-0
59-0?!? 45-0 at halftime?!? A records five TD passes for Brady in the second quarter?!? 619 yards of offense?!? And, all in the snow, no less? It looks like Brady has answered the questions of what might have been wrong with him after losses to the Jets and Broncos. The Titans are awful, but the Pats look like they’re finally playing up to their high pre-season expectations.

#9 CINCINNATI 4-2 -3 Week 6: Lost to Houston, 28-17
After five games going down to the wire including three wins in the final 22 seconds, there was no comeback this time, as Houston’s Matt Schaub lit the Bengals up for 4 TD’s and 392 yards. Not a huge surprise since Houston’s offense is dangerous. The area of concern is that Cincinnati’s offense was supposed to be equally dangerous, but couldn’t keep up. And now, Antwan Odom, with the second most sacks (8) in the league, is out for the year with a hurt Achilles tendon.

#10 ARIZONA 3-2 +5 Week 6: Won at Seattle, 27-3
The Cardinals move up by five spots for the second straight week. After a slow start, Kurt Warner has regained his old form, and no one in the league stops the run better than Arizona’s defense which has surrendered just 59.6 rushing yards per game.

#11 CHICAGO 3-2 -2 Week 6: Lost at Atlanta, 21-14
The Bears have played pretty well overall, sandwiching their three wins in between a couple of tough losses on Sunday Night Football in Green Bay and Atlanta.

#12 SAN FRANCISCO 3-2 -5 Week 6: Bye
The Niners started strong, very nearly going 4-0 while barely losing in Minnesota. However, the 35-point home loss to the Falcons was a big red flag. We’ll find out soon if the bye week helps San Francisco regroup, as they resume with a couple of tough ones on the road, at Houston and at Indianapolis.

#13 PHILADELPHIA 3-2 -5 Week 6: Lost at Oakland, 13-9
Despite their winning record, the Eagles have a lot yet to prove, having beaten up badly on some of the league’s weaker teams (Carolina, Kansas City, and Tampa Bay), while losing to another one of those teams (Oakland) and getting crushed by the one good team they’ve played (New Orleans).


#14 BALTIMORE 3-3 -1 Week 6: Lost at Minnesota, 33-31
It’s been a strange season thus far for the Ravens. Usually known for their defense, they allowed a lot of yardage early on, starting undefeated by scoring over 30 points in each of their first three games. Since then, they’ve lost three games by a total of only 11 points, including the last two in the final couple of minutes by a combined five points.

#15 GREEN BAY 3-2 +3 Week 6: Beat Detroit, 26-0
The Packers can be good if they can keep Aaron Rodgers upright. Thus far, they’ve allowed a league-high 25 sacks, many of which were a huge factor in their only two losses this season (to Cincinnati and at Minnesota).

#16 DALLAS 3-2 -- Week 6: Bye
Despite three wins, the Cowboys actually looked their best in a loss to the Giants. Romo has been struggling with T.O. gone, and all three wins are against weak competition (Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Kansas City –- who Dallas needed, not T.O. but OT, to beat).

#17 NY JETS 3-3 -6 Week 6: Lost to Buffalo, 16-13 (OT)
The early season bloom has come off the rose for both Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan, who have recently looked like the rookies they are. The Jets’ results mirror the Ravens, only a little worse. After three impressive wins to start the season, everything has turned around with three straight losses, and two of those were against losing teams (Miami and Buffalo) within the division.

#18 HOUSTON 3-3 +3 Week 6: Won at Cincinnati, 28-17
Inconsistency, thy name is the Houston Texans. So far this year: Loss, Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Win. After a slow start, Matt Schaub and the Houston offense have found their rhythm. If the defense can now join them on a more regular basis, the Texans might get out of their pattern and actually string two or three wins together.

#19 JACKSONVILLE 3-3 +3 Week 6: Beat St. Louis, 23-20 (OT)
The Jags have been tough to figure out. They play the Colts tough on the road, then lay an egg at home against Arizona. They get a huge win in Houston and take care of the hapless Titans easily, but they get then get blown away in Seattle and need OT to beat the lowly Rams. So, far it’s all added up to .500, which is better than many preseason expectations.

#20 SAN DIEGO 2-3 -3 Week 6: Lost to Denver, 34-23
The Chargers defense and special teams have let them down. An average of 17.5 points per game allowed in their two wins, but 31, 38, and 34 points, for an average of 34.3 points allowed per game in three losses.

#21 MIAMI 2-3 -2 Week 6: Bye
Lose one Chad and start 0-3? No problem. Try another Chad, unleash the wildcat, win 2 straight, save the season, head into the bye week, and all’s fine again. Not so fast. Look who’s coming to town next: New Orleans. Expect a heavy dose of the wildcat aimed at keeping Brees off the field.


#22 SEATTLE 2-4 -2 Week 6: Lost to Arizona, 27-3
There’s no truth to the rumor of the Seahawks petitioning the league to play St. Louis and Jacksonville only. Seattle beat those two by a combined 69-0. Against others, they’ve been outscored 109-49.

#23 CAROLINA 2-3 -- Week 6: Won at Tampa Bay, 28-21
Competition makes all the difference in the NFL. Start 0-3 playing Philadelphia and traveling to Atlanta and Dallas? No problem, play Washington and Tampa Bay. They may not play like NFL-caliber teams, but the NFL still counts them as NFL wins.

#24 BUFFALO 2-4 +4 Week 6: Won at NY Jets, 16-13 (OT)
The Bills exposed Mark Sanchez, picking him five times. As bas as Buffalo has been at times (see the brutal Cleveland loss), they’re probably one late fumble in New England away from being 3-3 and 2-1 in the AFC East. T.O. has yet to be the factor the Bills hoped he would become for them.

#25 WASHINGTON 2-4 -1 Week 6: Lost to Kansas City, 14-6
How bad is the Redskins’ offense? Well, they became the first team to play six consecutive winless teams, and they are still only 2-4, with only a 2-point win over the Rams and a 3-point win over the Bucs. You must find a way to score points in the NFL, and as well Jim Zorn did that in the other Washington (as a quarterback in Seattle), he hasn’t figured out a way to get the Washington in D.C. to even come close to accomplishing the same yet.

#26 KANSAS CITY 1-5 +4 Week 6: Won at Washington, 14-6
The Chiefs finally got a win over… who else? The aforementioned Redskins. Although they’re one game worse than Oakland and lost to the Raiders at home, they get rated a notch higher since they have played better than Oakland overall during the first six weeks, and should have beat the Raiders after statistically dominating them.

#27 OAKLAND 2-4 +2 Week 6: Beat Philadelphia, 13-9
The Raiders can be respectable. They played San Diego tough, and should have beaten them. Although the Chiefs badly outplayed them, they somehow found a way to win. And, they shocked the Eagles at home, although the offense struggled again. But, when the Raiders are bad, they’re horrible. Prior to the win over Philly, they lost three straight games by 20, 26, and 37.

#28 CLEVELAND 1-5 -3 Week 6: Lost at Pittsburgh, 27-14
The Browns won by default in a 6-3 game in Buffalo in which their punter was the game’s MVP. Other than that, they’ve been pretty bad all around, although they’ve generally hung in most losses a little better than the next four teams…

#29 DETROIT 1-5 -3 Week 6: Lost at Green Bay, 26-0
The Lions have allowed a league-high 188 points while beating only the Redskins (which says more about the state of pro football in D.C. that it does about Detroit turning things around any time soon). The ineptitude in the Motor City has now reached 20 losses in 21 games, but hey, at least they can’t go 0-16 again, like last year.

#30 TENNESSEE 0-6 -3 Week 6: Lost at New England, 59-0
How can a team fall so far, so fast? From an NFL-best 13-3 last season to winless and a 59-0 utter embarrassment in the snow up in Foxborough. The Titans are now allowing league-highs 33 points and 405.7 yards per game and seem to have simply quit on head coach Jeff Fisher, who seems to have lost it, donning a Peyton Manning jersey for a charity fundraiser, saying he “just wanted to feel like to be a winner.” At this rate, he may not get the chance, as that stunt has backfired with Titans fans (even though they’re overreacting), and he could be let go before Tennessee can muster their first win. The only reason the Titans are not last (and they may yet end up there very soon), is that they were very competitive while losing three tough games to start the season, before the three horrific efforts that followed.

#31 ST.LOUS RAMS 0-6 +1 Week 6: Lost at Jacksonville, 23-20 (OT)
For the longest period this season, the Rams have been the NFL’s worst team overall, and easily the league’s most offensively challenged team, scoring just 54 points this year. But, they move out of the cellar this week for at least giving Jacksonville an overtime scare on Sunday, while Tampa Bay…

#32 TAMPA BAY 0-6 -1 Week 6: Lost to Carolina, 28-21
Can’t get out of its own way. The Bucs were more competitive against Carolina but they haven’t been in all of their other games aside from a close loss in Washington. Losing their past 10 games dating back to last season, the bumbling Bucs are in the midst of their longest losing streak since 1977, when they were in the middle of their NFL-record 26-game losing streak. Let’s hope Tampa at least gets a win or two before the current streak repeats itself like that.

FRO's FAVORITE FIVE Top Five NFL Moments - Week 6

Top Five NFL Moments - Week 6
by Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer-At Large, Football Reporters Online


If they weren’t so embarrassed as 14-point favorites losing to the lowly Raiders, the Philadelphia Eagles might consider protesting their loss in Oakland since the Raiders weren’t flagged for having 12 men… well, make that the usual 11 men… and one pigeon... on kickoff coverage in the fourth quarter. So, the Eagles not only lose one to bad team they should have beaten easily, but a fellow winged creature turns on them. You just can’t make it up. Really, you can’t. Here’s the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2msmYpNXic

All five of the Cincinnati Bengals’ games this season had gone down to the wire this season, and the Bengals had pulled four of them out of the fire, including three in the final 22 seconds, for wins. Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub made sure that wouldn’t happen again. Schaub passed the Texans from a 17-14 halftime deficit to a 28-17 lead with a pair of third quarter touchdowns, as the Houston defense then held on to win by the same score. Schaub finished a great day completing 28 of 40 passes for 392 yards, while throwing 4 touchdowns and just one interception.

He did it so well the first time, Eddie Royal provided an encore a quarter later. After a 93-yard kickoff return gave Denver a 7-3 first-quarter lead, Royal returned a punt 71 yards a quarter later, to put Denver up 17-10 in San Diego, making him the 11th player in NFL history and the first Bronco ever to return both a kickoff and punt for a touchdown in the same game. The Chargers would regain the lead, 20-17, on what else, a kick return –- a 77-yard punt return by Darren Sproles with 1:03 left in the half. But, Kyle Orton’s two second-half touchdowns keyed a 34-23 comeback win to keep the surprising Broncos undefeated at 6-0.


Last week, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck made the number 5 spot on this list for his great performance at home against Jacksonville. A week later, he’s on the list for helping the Arizona Cardinals defense make themselves feel at home in Seattle. After averaging 29.3 points per game at home (in three previous home games), Seattle was held to just three points in an easy 27-3 Arizona rout. The Cardinals held the Seahawks to just 7 first downs all game, while allowing only 128 total yards, including just 14 rushing yards on 11 carries, and 114 passing yards, and forcing two turnovers (a fumble and an interception). A week after directing a 41-0 win over the Jaguars, Hasselbeck was limited to just 10 of 29 for 112 yards.


True, the New York Giants’ secondary was depleted by injuries, but New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees was very impressive, going 23 of 30 for 369 yards, 4 touchdowns and no turnovers in a 48-27 thrashing of the G-Men in the Big Easy. Brees did pretty much whatever he wanted to do against the Giants’ ineffective two-deep zone, leading New Orleans to 34 points and 315 yards by halftime against a New York unit that came to The Superdome ranked easily as the NFL’s top defense. After directing a game-opening 15-play touchdown drive, Brees completed all six of his passes on a 6-play, 80 yard touchdown drive on the Saints’ next possession, en route to a near-perfect 17 of 20 for 247 yards and 3 TD’s by halftime. Brees made it look effortless, like a kid quarterback playing touch football in the street, all day long.


Whether or not the Tennessee Titans, as it seems, have simply quit on the season, and whether the weather –- as in early season snow in October in Foxborough -- had a lot to do with it, New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady was about as good as any passer could be on Sunday. Check out THIS stat line: 29-34, 380, 6 TD, 0 INT, 152.8 passer rating. Now consider that Brady didn’t even play the final 25 minutes of the game. As close to flawless as his overall performance was, that’s not the reason alone that the Patriots’ superstar earned the top spot for the Week 6 Favorite Five. No, it was because of a different five –- as in establishing a new NFL record for touchdown passes in a single quarter. Yes, five times in the second quarter, in the snow, no less, Brady threw a pass that a Patriot receiver took to the end zone for a score: first, a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Randy Moss; back to Moss 57 seconds later on a 28-yard score; 2:39 after that, a 38-yard TD pass to running back Kevin Faulk; 4:27 later, a 30-yard strike to wide receiver Wes Welker; and finally, 1:41 later, a 5-yard touchdown toss, again, to Welker. A 35-0 quarter and a 45-0 Patriots halftime lead… wait, that’s worth repeating, since it now marks the biggest halftime lead in NFL history! … FORTY-FIVE TO NOTHING… AT HALFTIME! The game ended as a FIFTY-NINE TO NOTHING Patriots’ beatdown of the Titans. Amazing. This isn’t a college football mismatch on the schedule! THAT’S where you see 45-0 at the half and a 59-0 final (which tied the largest margin of victory since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970; the Los Angeles Rams beat the Atlanta Falcons by the same score in 1976 … You just NEVER see a blowout to this degree in the NFL. In fact, you have to go back to 1920, when a team like the Rochester Jeffersons beat a squad called Fort Porter 66-0 to have seen a whopping worse than this. Just incredible. Even more so since the Titans were 13-3 last year. From that, to 0-6 and a 59-0 loss. Wow. Here are some other impressive facts and figures on the Pats’ utter dominance… Brady’s 6 TD’s tied his own Patriots’ record… New England possessed the ball for 18 more minutes, an even 39 minutes to Tennessee’s 21… After a missed field goal on their first possession of the game, the Patriots scored on their next nine. They scored a touchdown followed by a field goal in the first quarter, and then scored touchdowns on all seven times they had the ball in the middle two quarters. In the fourth quarter, New England lost the ball on downs at the Tennessee 6 and on its last drive, at the Titans’ 41 after going a 4-yard rush and three kneel-downs by backup quarterback Brian Hoyer. So yes, it was 59-0, and it still could have been much worse… Now, here’s the real amazing thing about Brady’s performance (as if a 5-touchdown quarter wasn’t enough). Even in a game that was so lopsided, the Titans actually matched the Patriots in one of the most key statistical categories: each team rushed the ball for 193 yards (Tennessee on 36 rushes, New England on 30 carries); and the Titans had 6 rushing first downs to the Patriots’ 9. The difference though, which helped to account for a Patriots’ club record 619 total yards, was the in the passing game, led by Brady: New England had 21 passing first down to just one for Tennessee, while the Patriots outgained the Titans 426 to -7 (no, that’s not a typo with an extra character, that’s a MINUS 7 passing yards for Tennessee). Just one more number from this game that’s hard to believe.

“FRO’s Favorite Five” Frankie’s Favorite Fantasy Picks Week 7

“FRO’s Favorite Five”
Frankie’s Favorite Fantasy Picks
Week 7

By Frankie Underwood, Senior Fantasy Writer at www.footballreportersonline.com Email questions and comments to Frankie@footballreportersonline.com

Kansas City Chief’s QB Matt Cassel could put up enough numbers to cover for your regular starter during a bye week. Cassel is at home against a San Diego team that can not get pressure and is consistently in shoot out games. Just like last season Cassel started out cold but has gotten better on a weekly basis. Star WR Dwayne Bowe could be slowed down by Antonio Cromartie, but fellow receivers Mark Bradley and Bobby Wade have shown an ability to make clutch plays. The San Diego Chargers do not fare well against TEs so Sean Ryan should be useable last resort. If Cassel is not an option, Bills backup QB turned starter Ryan Fitzpatrick could show up, but try your best to find an alternative.

Unfortunately I could not find a real sleeper at RB this week. I guess I’ll have to consider the Indianapolis Colts Donald Brown as my play for this weekend. If you have Brown then there is a possibility that you are playing him weekly. If he’s not a weekly start for you and your feeling anxious about starting him this week, relax. Running backs are like H1N1 to St. Louis Rams; defenders either fall at their feet or just stay away in general. Michael Bush could perform this weekend, but it’s the freakin’ Raiders, so who knows.

Do you want a deep sleeper at WR this week? Hit or Miss I will put New England Patriots WR Sam Aiken out there with my stamp of approval. I wanted Julian Edleman, but guess who has a broken arm. Aiken signed a two year extension this week so now with Edleman out, we should get to see why. Whether it’s in garbage time or early in the game Aiken should get his share of the yardage that Tampa Bay is continually giving up. Tampa is transitioning from the Tampa 2 over to a more man defense and still has not gotten it down. Arizona’s Steve Breaston could also put up some stats especially if Anquan Boldin is out.

If you are losing your starting TE this week because of bye weeks, then you need a new starting TE, Period! If he’s on the waiver wire, Steelers’s Heath Miller should become your starting TE. The Steelers are against a Minnesota team that is fairly stout against the run but gives up a lot to TEs, and Big Ben will know where to find him. By The Way the match up of Big Ben versus Jared Allen should be fun to watch. When Allen gets to Ben, can he drag him down before Ben gets the throw off? Other TEs possibly on the waiver wire that could become your starter are Zack Miller (Raiders, agh.) and Sean Ryan of KC (last resort).

The Indianapolis Colts defense could be one of the top defenses this weekend when they travel to St. Louis. The Rams offensive line is still a liability and the colts speed rushers should make them look silly. St. Louis QB learned from Kurt Warner to sit back and wait until a receiver comes open. If he has not changed his ways we could see Kyle Boller again sooner rather than later. As long as the middle of the defensive line and safeties can contain RB Steven Jackson, this could be a shut out for Indy. San Diego is also a long shot play this weekend despite what I said about Cassel above, really it’s 50/50.

Last Weeks Favorite Five

Matt Hasselbeck – Looks like Arizona found their pass D, Sorry

LeSean McCoy – Does Andy Reid even look at what other teams have done to his opponents? Sorry

Mike Sims-Walker – 9 for 120, I’ll take it!

Jermichael Finley – 5 for 54, again I’ll take it!

New England Patriots – 2 INTs 3 Fumbles Recovered and a Shutout, I’ll take that too!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What is Wrong with the San Diego “Super Chargers”?

What is Wrong with the San Diego “Super Chargers”?
By Will Osgood for Football Reporters Online

To answer the question of this article completely it would probably take a 900,000 word novel. I don’t have time to write such a piece, nor do you have time to read it. Instead, I will give a brief, to the point synopsis of such problems from a coach’s perspective. Some may disagree, although most will likely agree since it doesn’t seem to be brain surgery here.

1. A Lack of Commitment to the Running Game
Take Monday night’s debacle against the Broncos. While LT’s yards per carry average was not what it has been when he’s been at his peak performance, against a good defense he was consistently picking up positive yards and moving the chains. He looked fresher and quicker than I remember him in the last two-plus seasons. He had the quickness and explosion we’ve all gotten so used to from LT.
It felt like any play he was about to break the big one. He still had 70 yards, but on only 18 carries. Imagine if he was given carries on the goal-line early in the first quarter when the Chargers settled for another field goal. Say he gets to 25 carries. He gets very close to 100 yards, and I bet breaks a big one and gets well past that mark.

But more important is the effect the commitment to the run has on the Chargers both as a team and an offense. Norv Turner apparently felt he had to call all pass plays when only down by four points with about six minutes to go in the game. When Mike Nolan, the Broncos Defensive Coordinator, figured this out he just started blitzing an overmatched Chargers offensive line. Poor Philip Rivers had no chance to find men down field because blitzers were in his face as soon as he got back in his drop.

If Turner would’ve run the ball even once or twice on that drive, the Broncos would’ve had to respect that and played a little more conservatively, thereby giving Rivers at least a chance to find an open receiver.
As a New Orleans Saints fan I’ve seen how a pass-only offense ends up working out. You may put up great numbers and score a lot of points, but it is so hit or miss that you have as many three-and-outs as you do big plays. And the ball is in the air so much you’re bound to have a lot of turnovers.
Three-and-outs and turnovers kill your own defense because it puts them in horrible field position and makes them play far more downs than they are capable of handling before they break down. Complementary football, as Sean Payton calls it, is what wins football games. Run the football, keep your defense off the field, and give your offense a chance by being unpredictable.

2. Poor Line Play on Both Sides of the Ball
Again this is hard for anyone to question, but still bears being repeated. It is understandable why Norv Turner shies away from the running game. For the most part, they (the O-Line) have done nothing to reward his confidence in them. Since it is a little bit easier to throw the ball without great blocking, passing becomes your best option.

Part of the O-Line’s issues goes back to Pro Bowl Center Nick Hardwick’s absence. He is responsible for getting the line into its’ proper protections and adjustments. He has done this very well for a good number of years now. Without him the line is somewhat lost. Other injuries to Louis Vazquez have forced the Chargers to start two less qualified players on their O-Line for part of this season.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Chargers are greatly missing the services of two men who are now in other buildings, Igor Olshansky, now with the Cowboys, and Wayne Nunnelly, the veteran D-Line Coach who had been with the Chargers for 14 years and is now doing a wonderful job with…you guessed it the Denver Broncos.

Of course, losing All Pro Nose Tackle Jamal Williams doesn’t help matters either. The Chargers D-Line has become an undersized, minimally talented unit that for the most part does not fit the scheme the team is trying to run. Many in Charger Land are now casting blame on GM A.J. Smith for his inability to find suitable backups in case of a Jamal Williams injury or dropoff in production because of his age.

I for one, believed two years ago Kentwan Balmer, a DT out of North Carolina, would have been the perfect man to eventually replace Williams at that nose spot. Smith instead chose CB Antoine Cason, who looks like he’ll be a good player, but seemed to be less of a need pick at the time. Now the Chargers are left trying to fill a couple D-Line positions with career journeymen. Is it any wonder they are struggling to stop the run?

3. The Approach Has Become Stale
It is not uncommon for coaches to feel as if they are no longer reaching the players on their team after ten years or so with the same team. Well, it hasn’t been nearly that long for Norv Turner, but it is reaching that amount of time for GM A.J. Smith. And under Smith, the approach has been the same. Bring in young talent, sign your core players long-term, but don’t at any cost overpay them, and only sign second-tier free agents who will make your team as backups or role players.

To be completely honest, I generally love this model. It has worked for some of the best franchises in the league, such as Pittsburgh, New England, Indianapolis, and perhaps you could include Philadelphia. But guess what? They’ve all at least been to a Super Bowl. The Chargers have not.

Players will buy into anything if it leads them to their ultimate goal. But when their ultimate goal is not being met, uneasiness and questioning begins to take place. You might say success breeds success, just as losing leads to more losing. In my opinion this has happened to the San Diego Chargers. You could see it in the First Quarter when both Tomlinson and Antonio Gates (both team leaders and core players) showed their frustration after a third down call on the goal-line.

Most people realize San Diego’s real leader is not Norv Turner. He is much more of a puppet to A.J. Smith. Turner is basically just a glorified Offensive Coordinator. Smith chose him after firing Marty Schottenheimer to keep the current offense (which again was smart), but also so he could choose his own defensive coordinator. Most organizations allow their head coach to make such a decision.

A.J. Smith is a wonderful talent evaluator, but he has worn out his welcome with his bold moves, most notably allowing Drew Brees to leave via Free Agency, although in hindsight it worked out okay because Rivers has developed nicely.
The bigger point is that the players know Norv Turner has no power, and therefore they do not respect him. And they do not respect A.J. Smith because he is a pompous, overbearing boss who is doing more than his job description entails.
If the Chargers have any chance at salvaging their season, Turner must retake hold of this team and their psyche. He must recommit to running the football, and find a way to get some production out of his lines, despite their lack of talent and size.
It is a tall order to say the least. It is unfortunate that Turner is in this position because he actually has done an okay job given the situation he’s been given. He’s fighting an uphill battle, and one very few coaching candidates now would want to be a part of. Truthfully, despite San Diego’s talent level, I would say the Chargers Head Coaching job has become one of the least attractive in the league because you are faced with A.J. Smith.
It is no secret what I think the biggest problem is in San Diego.

AFC South Wrap Up Week 6

                       AFC South Wrap Up Week 6
By Rafael Garcia
Sr. Contributing Writer Football Reporters Online
Southeast Region
Houston 28 Cincinnati 17
In the NFL a lot of us try to find a reason why our team is not playing well. We all know they have to have certain components that work together and believe in each other. When the chips are down and they are not in sync all you need is a good quarterback to right the ship. Matt Schaub is becoming one of those quarterbacks. In a season where the job of the head coach and status of some players are in question, Schaub is maturing before our eyes. When his running game was not working he was just fabulous. He was 28-40 for 392 yards and four touchdowns with a passer rating of 124.2 with one interception. Andre Johnson caught eight passes for 135 yards and Owen Daniels had seven for 78 yards and two touchdowns. While Steve Slayton was held to 43 yards on the ground, he chipped in with 102 receiving yards on six catches, one for a touchdown. The defense was also huge in posting their third straight shutdown of the run game. Last week Cedric Benson ran wild on the Ravens but this week was held to 44 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown. In the past three weeks the run defense has given up 44, 45 and 46 yards respectively. They are playing lights out and are led by the likes of DeMeco Ryans (12 tackles), Brian Cushing (three forced turnovers, including a pick late). Next week they host the Niners and are looking to get to 2-2 at home.
Jacksonville 23 St. Louis 20
After getting stomped by Seattle 41-0 last week the Jags came back with a purpose. Maurice Jones-Drew ran a career-best 33 times for 133 yards and three touchdowns. Mike Sims-Walker was benched last week for curfew violation and came back with 120 receiving yards of his own. David Garrard looked sharp finishing 30-43 for 335 yards but he was picked off twice and sacked three times. It was said that Jones-Drew had expressed his displeasure with the play calling. So if he wanted the ball more he got it in a big way. At halftime he had only 11 yards but got 122 more in the second half. The Rams stayed in the game despite all that effort from Jacksonville as Marc Bulger was back after missing two weeks. He went 22-30 for 213 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Torry Holt was playing his first game against the Rams and had 101 yards receiving. Steven Jackson had 128 yards rushing and receiving. But in the end, it came down to a Josh Scobee field goal with eight minutes left, and the Jags found themselves at 3-3 with Houston. They must still play with more consistency because you cannot stay in playoff contention losing big one week and winning the next. What happened against the Seahawks and then the Rams happens all too often to this team and they must find a way to string a couple of consecutive wins together. 
New England 59 Tennessee 0
Yes sir you read that correctly. This was not a test or a rehearsal for the Titans. They showed the kind of ineptitude that has not been seen in this league In quite some time. Players were playing as if they were disinterested or were on the sidelines laughing It up with one another. The lack of pass coverage brings up questions about the coaching. Kerry Collins flat out stunk up the joint. Yes I know that receivers are dropping passes too but at some point It has to fall on the leader of the team. Collins was a miserable 2-12 for -7 yards folks. Chris Johnson actually had over 100 yards rushing but so what. They are dead last in scoring in the league with only 84 points. I mean the Pats got 59 in one game against them. The defense is faring no better and fans don’t want to hear that Haynesworth being gone makes that huge of a difference. Yes they have injuries in the secondary, but players are drafted to get the job done, and It just Isn’t happening. For the most part they have the same players from last year but you can’t tell watching blunder after blunder. Mistakes are a part of this teams makeup right now. They have no go to receiver and they cannot count on the running game as well. Now they have a quarterback controversy even if they didn’t want one. When do you find out if your $50 million dollar investment has anything to offer? Why not put Vince Young in now to see If he can Ignite your offense in some way. He may not be the answer long term but this would be the time to showcase him while giving him the starting job back he wants so badly. He Is scheduled to make over $14 million dollars next year and most would say that is not going to happen. The year Is shot now so take the chance because In the NFL you can suck In the first half and make a run in the second. Sure It may not get them into the playoffs but they need to find a way to win. This brings me to my last point about Jeff Fisher. I have been a fan of his since he was hired by the organization. He has earned his place and respect in Nashville but time is not on his side. Just this past week Owner Bud Adams gave him a vote of confidence, but It was for this season only. He said that he would not fire a coach in mid-season but has done it before. He and his coach have formed a bond and that has allowed Fisher to have control of this franchise unlike most NFL head coaches do. So If this ship Is sinking then he captain must take the blame now. He keeps talking about how well this team does In practice or how he believes In his players and coaches. Defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil Is looking like he Is In over his head and special teams are horrible. Changes are In need and fast in Nashville because fans won’t take It anymore . The Titans don’t want to end up like the Raiders with their well past over 80 owners calling all the shots. That’s why they hire these guys so they can get the job done and when they don’t Its time to get another.

NFC South Week 6 Wrap Up

                         NFC South Week 6 Wrap Up
By Rafael Garcia
Sr. Contributing Writer Football Reporters Online
Southeast Region
  New Orleans 48 N.Y. Giants 27
Wow Is a word you might want to use when describing the Saints offense. Maybe you could use the words awesome or unstoppable. Well they were all that and more In a battle of two unbeaten powerhouses. When the dust settled It was the G-men looking for answers. Drew Brees was simply marvelous In the first half alone. He threw where he wanted to and to whomever he wanted to. His first touchdown pass was to Jeremy Shockey from 2 yards and I guess you could say It was Shockey’s hello to his former team. He would go on to throw three more and finished the day 23-30 for 369 yards and four touchdowns. The Saints were also stout on defense keeping Eli Manning off balance all day. When they had the lead the Giants still tried to run they shut that down. Their defense limited New York to just over 23 minutes in time of possession. They would not let the running game beat them even though they were playing a monster in running the football. The Giants just could not move the ball consistently so they were never able to keep up. Three different receivers had at least 70 yards receiving for New Orleans and they kept making the big play on the arm of Brees. At times when It looked like it might turn into a game the Giants would make another mistake. Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell ran with purpose and helped compliment the passing game. If the Saints can maintain a strong defense they will go deep into the playoffs with the offense they have.
Carolina 28 Tampa Bay 21
This was another chance for Carolina to win another game and for Jake Delhomme to play a better game. They got the win but Delhomme continued his struggles going 9-17 for 65 yards, one touchdown and TWO more interceptions. With no passing attack the Panthers tuned to their one two punch in the backfield. DeAngelo Williams ran 30 times for 152 yards, two touchdowns, and his running mate Jonathan Stewart added 110 on 17 touches. As for the Bucs, they had great special teams play and that was it. Sammie Stroughter ran a kickoff back 97 yards for one score and Tanard Jackson picked off Delhomme and ran it back 26 yards for another score. The offense was horrible as Josh Johnson fumbled five times but was lucky to lose only one. He went 11-17 for just 147 yards and his offense only got 245. So head coach Raheem Morris continues to look for his first win of his NFL coaching career.
Atlanta 21 Chicago 14
Here was a game that the Bears should have won If they just stayed away from inside the Falcon 10-yard line. They turned the ball over twice and were stopped on a fourth down try In the last minute of the game when they could have tied it. Jay Cutler had a good day with 300 yards In the air and two touchdowns but could not overcome the mistakes that should have made this an easy Bear win. Matt Forte was one of the culprits as he fumbled not once but twice from the one and veteran lineman Orlando Pace moved early on a fourth and one to make it fourth and six on a late drive where they could have tied it. Needless to say they could not convert. The game was full of defense as each took turns stopping the other. Michael Turner decided the game when he scored the winner from five yards with just over three minutes left but only got 30 yards on 13 carries and Matt Ryan could not fare much better. He threw for two touchdowns but also threw two picks as his team out gained the Falcons to no avail. It was the second straight year that they have played a thriller and the second time the Bears went down in defeat. The Falcons kept pace with New Orleans for the division lead staying only one game behind.  

Seven & Out – Week #6

Seven & Out – Week #6
By Michael – Louis Ingram, Associate Editor, Director of Scouting
PHILADELPHIA (FRO/BASN): Each week, the League confesses seven deadly whims; and we’re here to decipher the sins – from the wins…
But first, a tip of the hat to 7& reader Rob Daniels - who offered a significant aside to the question in last week’s column, “How many of Kurt Warner’s 50 300 yard games did he win?” Daniels said, “31 out of 50.”
You know, Rob – I can roll with that. Thirty – one up and nineteen down means Warner’s passing stats were integral to his team’s overall success, and not filler for some fantasy freak.
The holidays are coming, and I have your address, Rob. Rest assured Rasta Claus will send you something to put under the tree…
Today’s Menu:
New England quarterback TOM BRADY passed for 380 yards and ties a franchise record with six touchdown passes in the Patriots’ 59-0 win against Tennessee.  Brady threw five touchdowns in the second quarter and became the first quarterback in NFL history with five touchdown passes in a quarter.
(In all likelihood, Brady will also be the first QB to get bitch-slapped in the regular season the moment the opportunity presents itself. This ain’t the fuckin’ BCS! New England is up 45 – 0, yet they’re still throwing the ball, and Brady’s still in the game.
I’m all for whippin’ dat azz, but if Brady had wanted to show what a real leader looked like, he could’ve just audibled and ran the ball the whole second half. When you add the new pom-pom rule {don’t hurt my Tommy!} it further taints whatever accomplishments Brady had earned thanks to his cheatin’ ass head coach.
You’d think Belicheat’d know better by now, after having the Giants beat the shit out of his 18 – 1 ass! Showing up an opponent should have been a lesson learned, but noooooo!
Stay tuned, y’all; because what comes around…)   
Arizona quarterback KURT WARNER threw for 276 yards in the Cardinals’ 27-3 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.  Warner (30,032) surpassed 30,000 career passing yards in his 114th career game, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO for the fewest number of games to accomplish the feat in NFL history.
(Kudos to Warner for this milestone, but does this make him a Hall of Famer? I’m slightly leaning to yes – but there are at least three who’d better be in Canton before Warner even entertains a thought: try Ken Andersen, Randall Cunningham and Ken Stabler.)
New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 369 yards in the Saints’ 48-27 win over the New York Giants.  Brees has passed for 15,310 yards in 53 games since joining the Saints in 2007, becoming the fastest quarterback to reach 15,000 passing yards with a team.  The previous mark was 56 games set by Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (Miami) and MARC BULGER (St. Louis).
(It seems each week we find at least one bullshit stat – and when it comes to Brees, all of these fantasy foreplay numbers still hide the fact Brees is only 55-51 career as a starting quarterback; oh, and the last time Brees was 5-0 out the gate, the team ended up 8-8 – and out of the playoffs. As Eugene “Mercury” Morris would say, “Call me if you’re in my neighborhood” – come December.)  
New Orleans had seven different players score a touchdown against the New York Giants to improve to 5-0.  The Saints became the fourth team since 1970 to have seven different players score a rushing or receiving touchdown in a game.  The Seattle Seahawks (10/30/1977 vs. Buffalo Bills), Cincinnati Bengals (12/17/1989 vs. Houston Oilers) and Jacksonville Jaguars (12/23/2007 vs. Oakland) also accomplished the feat.
(I’ve a feeling the Saints are gonna need some of those points a couple months from now; especially away from the Dome Depot.)
Jacksonville wide receiver TORRY HOLT had five receptions for 101 yards in the Jaguars’ 23-20 overtime win against St. Louis.  Holt, who had 12,670 receiving yards in 10 seasons with the Rams, became the first player in NFL history to post 100 yards in his first game against a team for which he had at least 10,000 receiving yards. 
(Playing well – and winning – is the best revenge…)
Holt also reached 13,000 receiving yards (13,066) in his 164th career game, becoming the third-fastest to accomplish the feat.  Only JERRY RICE (154) and MARVIN HARRISON (162) reached 13,000 yards in fewer games. 
(Told you the brother was smooth- next stop, Canton.)
Minnesota quarterback BRETT FAVRE threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikings’ 33-31 victory over Baltimore.  Favre has now passed for at least two touchdowns in 11 consecutive games at the Metrodome (eight with Green Bay, three with Minnesota), tied for the third-longest streak (JIM EVERETT, Anaheim Stadium, 1989-90) with the most consecutive games with multiple TD passes at one stadium. Favre (Lambeau Field, 1994-96) and KURT WARNER (Trans World Dome/Edward Jones Dome, 1999-2000) each had a streak of 12 games, the longest in NFL history.
(They say it’s better to be lucky than good; well if Minny is 8-0 at midseason, luck won’t have anything to do with it.)
Pittsburgh quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER led the Steelers to a 27-14 victory over Cleveland.  Roethlisberger has now won all 10 of his starts against the Browns and is only the second player since 1970 to win each of his first 10 regular-season starts against one team.  The last player to start 10-0 against one opponent was Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN ELWAY (against New England).   
(Well, it’s a lot easier to lead your team to victory when the referees are as blind as fucking BATS! Even Stevie Wonder could see that was not a first down, but, then again, the Seattle Seahawks know about getting screwed by referees when playing against Roethlisberger and the Steelers. I’m still waiting for his ass to score that touchdown from the “Get Jerome ‘Bus’ Bettis a Ring” Super Bowl, let alone get the “first down” against Cleveland.
If I’m a Browns fan, especially after watching the first down farce magnified on the big screen, I’m even more insulted. {Sir, let me confirm your order:  That’s One Royal Screwing, Hold the KY – with a side of Disrespect; you wanna be fried with that?)
Always remember, gang – once the point is made, roll a seven – you crap out!

Giants Zone Out In The Big Breesey

Giants Zone Out In The Big Breesey

By Jon Wagner-Sr. Writer at Large Football Reporters Online

New Orleans is known as “The Big Easy,” but the football game played at The Superdome on Sunday was anything but trouble-free for the New York Giants, who were unable to stop one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks and the league’s most prolific offense, which scored touchdowns on its first four possessions and never looked back.

After three straight effortless weeks shutting down some of the league’s worst offenses (winning consecutive games against 0-6 Tampa Bay, 1-5 Kansas City, and 2-4 Oakland), the Giants’ two-deep zone defense was picked apart by New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees in a demoralizing 48-27 loss, ending the New York’s five game winning streak to begin the 2009 season.

The Saints, who are 5-0 for the first time since 1993, set the tone early with a game-opening 15-play, 70-yard drive, which consumed 7:41 off the clock. The drive ended with a 4th-and-1, over-the-top dive for a touchdown by running back Mike Bell, giving New Orleans a 7-0 lead before Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning, who was making his homecoming, could touch the ball for the first time. The 28-year-old Manning, who was born and raised for the first 18 years of his life in New Orleans, played for the first time in the building where is father Archie Manning quarterbacked the Saints from 1971-1982.

On that first drive, Brees was just getting started, completing 5 of 7 passes for 43 yards against the Giants’ very soft zone with its injury-depleted secondary, while also running for six yards and a first down on 3rd-and-3 from the Saints’ 37 on the game’s first series.

The Bell touchdown marked the fifth time in as many games that New Orleans scored on its first possession this season. The score also gave the Saints 31 points (most in the NFL) on opening drives this year, which surpassed the Giants’ 27 points on such drives. On the game’s next possession, New York’s streak of scoring on its first possession in its first five games came to an end when it managed just one first down before punting.

The next time Brees touched the ball, he threw six straight passes, completing all of them, leading the Saints 80 yards in just 2:48, finding ex-Giant tight end Jeremy Shockey on a one-yard touchdown pass, putting New Orleans up, 14-0, with 2:11 left in the first quarter.

In less than 12 minutes, the Giants had already just about given up their average of 14.2 points per game (second only to Denver) coming into the contest.

At that point, Brees, who finished the game going 23-30 for 369 yards (his 32nd career 300-yard game), with four touchdowns and no turnovers, had already completed 11 of his first 13 passes for 123 yards against a Giants’ defense which entered the game ranked first in the league both overall (allowing 210.6 total yards per game) and against the pass (giving up just 104.8 passing yards per game).

The Saints led by double digits the rest of the way, in what was supposed to be a Bayou showdown between arguably the top two teams in the NFL entering Week 6, although the Giants briefly showed signs in the first half of getting back in the game.

After the Saints’ second touchdown, Domenic Hixon returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards to midfield, but New York could only move 19 yards to the New Orleans 31 yard-line, for a Lawrence Tynes 49-yard field goal, to pull to within 14-3 with three seconds left in the first quarter.

The second quarter featured a scoring explosion. The Giants scored a pair of touchdowns, but allowed another three, and trailed 34-17 by halftime.

After Tynes’ field goal, it took the Saints just four plays and 2:20 to go 57 yards and take a 20-3 lead (the PAT was missed) on a 36-yard toss from Brees to wide receiver Robert Meacham.

The Giants responded though, taking the next possession 9 plays and 73 yards in 4:59, closing to within 20-10 on running back Ahmad Bradshaw’s 10-yard touchdown run with 7:41 left in the first half. The game nearly got away earlier on that drive when Saints’ safety Darren Sharper returned the ball for an apparent touchdown, but it was called back for a personal foul call on New Orleans linebackers Jonathan Vilma’s late hit on Manning.

The Saints struck right back on the next possession, however, going 5 plays and 61 yards in only 2:37, taking a 27-10 lead on a Brees 12-yard touchdown throw to Lance Moore. That scoring drive was aided by a very questionable 35-yard pass interference penalty on Giants’ cornerback Corey Webster who got his feet tangled with Saints’ receiver, former Hofstra star Marques Colston (games highs of 8 receptions and 166 yards), setting New Orleans up with a first down at the New York 12 yard-line.

Hixon again responded, returning the kickoff that followed, 68 yards to the Saints’ 37 yard-line. The Giants used the short field to score in just four plays, as Manning, who was held to just 14 of 31 for 178 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT on the day, threw his only touchdown pass of the game, a 15-yard strike to wide receiver Mario Manningham, who ripped the ball away from Sharper. The Giants were in the game, down 27-17, with 3:19 remaining in the half.

On the next possession, Brees and Colston again had their way with the Giants’ pass defense, connecting on consecutive hookups of 40 yards and then another 20 yards, to the New York 8 yard-line.

The Giants defense finally had what looked to be a momentum-changing moment though, stopping the Saints on a goal-line stand, as New Orleans running back Pierre Thomas (game-high 72 yards on 15 carries) was stopped on 4th-and-1, on a surge led by Giants’ defensive end Osi Umenyiora.

After Manning completed an 18-yard pass to Manningham, he was sacked and fumbled. The Saints recovered at the Giants 8-yard line. Two plays later, running back Reggie Bush scored on an easy 7-yard touchdown run with just 9 seconds left in the half, to lead 34-17.

The Giants entered the locker room at halftime stunned, having allowed three more points in a single half than they had in any of their previous five games this season (they gave up 31 in a win at Dallas) and eight more points than they gave up in their previous three games, combined.

Brees completed the first half with a 157.7 passer rating, going a near-perfect 17 of 20 for 247 yards, 3 TD, and 0 INT. A huge part of the Giants’ inability to cover receivers downfield was their severe lack of pressure up front on the Saints’ quarterback. Brees wasn’t sacked and was hit just twice in the opening half, while New Orleans rolled up 315 yards of offense and scored touchdowns on five of 6 first-half possessions.

“I don’t know that we ever hit him,” Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said of Brees. “At this level, if you’re going to stop the pass, you’ve got to get pressure. You’ve got to force the quarterback not to throw it on his tempo.”

Which is exactly what Brees thought was the key to his success, saying “We wanted to really dictate the tempo of the game the whole way through. “Seven different guys scored touchdowns. That’s big. That’s the type of rhythm that, when you get in, you feel like you can call anything and it’s going to work.” It was the first time that seven different Saints scored in a game since November 2, 1969, at St. Louis.

After each team traded punts to start the third quarter, Manning was intercepted at the New Orleans 40 yard-line, prompting a frustrated Manning to slap Bradshaw on the shoulder pad and berate him for Bradshaw’s breakdown in pass blocking.

Brees and the Saints took advantage of the turnover, going 9 plays and 71 yards in 5:11, for Brees’ final touchdown of the day, a 12-yard touchdown pass to Colston with 4:10 left in the third quarter, giving New Orleans a 41-17 lead, effectively ending the Giants’ hopes.

The Giants had an early fourth-quarter touchdown pass after a great scrambling job by Manning nullified by a mysterious holding call. New York then settled for a 38-yard Tynes field goal, to trail 41-20.

New Orleans running back Heath Evans added a 2-yard touchdown run with 7:04 left and backup quarterback David Carr, in for Manning with the game out of reach, closed the scoring with a 37-yard throw to rookie wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (5 catches for 114 yards), who caught a touchdown pass for the third straight game.

New York will need to return to form defensively when it returns home next week to face another good quarterback, Arizona’s Kurt Warner, when the Giants host the Cardinals (3-2) at 8:20pm EST, on Sunday night, at Giants Stadium.


by TJ Rosenthal for Football Reporters Online (photo-Mark Sanchez by Rich O'Neil)

By losing to the struggling 1-4 Bills in OT  at home on Sunday, the Jets season came crashing down in a myriad of ways. They dropped their third straight and for the first time in 2009, fell out of first place. Mark Sanchez threw FIVE picks, leaving the Jets on eggshells as to how to handle him from here on In, and wondering If and when a benching to save the offense is worth considering. The Jets lost the heart and soul of the defense for the season when NG Kris Jenkins tore his ACL. A defense that only weeks ago was being heralded as the league's top ranked unit will now have to do it the rest of the way without one of the NFL's best run stoppers. A loss like this, after rushing for over 300 yards on the ground leaves you wondering as to whether the Jets can go out to Oakland and take care of the Raiders who were the leagues worst team before somehow beating the Eagles at home on Sunday. Who would've thought as the 3-0 Jets prepared for New Orleans, only a week away from acquiring the "missing piece" in Braylon Edwards, It could collapse so quickly. Only Jet fans would've thought that. We've seen it all before. Over and over and over. It's a movie that won't stop rewinding and playing itself all over again. Some call it the same old Jets. I just call It the Jets.

The real story of Sunday's swoon can be picked up with the Jets on top 13-3 and seemingly on cruise control. Thomas Jones had already broken off two giant runs of over 70 yards, one a TD. The Jets defense had sent Bills QB Trent Edwards off In an ambulance after suffering the 2nd concussion of his career. The cold and windy Meadowlands conditions made it hard to throw quick deep strikes. Midway Into the 3rd the Jets simply needed to move some chains, play some defense, and wait for a Bills mistake in order to gain a short field and put the game away: like good teams do. Instead, the Jets started creating a blooper reel worthy of a best short film nomination at the Cannes film festival next year. This allowed Buffalo back into a game they were out of.

After tying It 13-13 on a Lee Evans TD, The game remained tied until the final minutes. The Bills drove down,  wound the clock down and had a 47 yarder to win It into the wind on the last play. Yet K Rob Lindell missed it, forcing OT and a reprieve. In OT, both teams had chances on the other side of the 50, and threw them away. Both QBs trading interceptions before the Bills settled down and drove for the game winning FG. The game winner  by Lindell coming after Sanchez's mind boggling 5th pick, at the Bills 42 with 6:25 left. The Jets had a 49 yard FG attempt into the wind minutes before with Jay Feely (who nailed a fg Sunday to for a new Jet record) but punter Steve Weatherford bobbled the snap. A Dwight Lowry Int of backup Ryan Fitzpatrick thwarted the ensuing Bills drive before the fatal Sanchez pick gaveIit back to the Bills for the final time.

This loss was a sickening one for the Jets and a typical one for all those who follow Gang Green . How can a team lose when Jones rushed for 210 yards including a 71 yard TD run? Leon Washington even added 99 yards on the ground In the loss.  That's over 300 yards on the ground. Prized acquisition Edwards managed only 3 catches for 40 yards. Buffalo, a team that managed only a FG the week before in a loss at home to putrid Cleveland somehow found a way with a backup QB, In the winter conditions, to get It done.

 To keep pace in a division with Tom Brady, these games must become wins for the Jets. They don't need to be 59-0 wins like the Pats gave their faithful on Sunday against hopeless Tennessee, but they must be games won by taking control and keeping the pedal to the metal. Maybe the Jets don't have the talent that the fans thought they had. Maybe Mark Sanchez Is not ready to start in the NFL. Maybe Rex Ryan does not come gift wrapped and ready, and still has some learning to do. These unanswered questions are not a form of panic. They are the result of going out against a Buffalo team that can't score , whose coach Dick Jauron Is on the hot seat, whose defense is missing key starters, and blowing a 10 point second half lead at home..

"By no means is it over," Bart Scott said after the loss. "There are a lot of teams having this conversation and they're 0-6 and they know realistically they can't win. We are who we are. We're a 3-3 team.. at the crossroads. We have to go to the West Coast and lay a tough game. We haven't earned the right to say games are easy. All games are going to be tough. We have to go out there and get it fixed."
 Scott Is on the mark when he says it's not over. Yet the truth Is this season can go one of two ways from here. Jet fans know the path to the way things usually go from here, downhill with the speed of an an avalanche. Whichever way It goes, It will do so without Jenkins. Let's see If Rex Ryan can instead carve a brighter direction for a franchise that can never, ever, even for a split second, enjoy prosperity. A team that consistently blows the must win games.  An organization that regardless of the talent that is brought in, invents ways to lose during the few seasons that actually offer hope. Hope that more often than not , turns to a glimmer of promise, before crashing and imploding on the landing pad. 


Jet defense needs to rebound: Miami was a disaster:

 The wildcat and Chad Henne had their way. Sunday the Jets couldn't shut down Ryan Fitzpatrick. This after knocking out starting QB Trent Edwards. Fitzpatrick made key throws and moved the chains with his feet as well

Dustin Keller vs Bills LB:

In windy Giants stadium (the Jets are the only franchise on Earth that plays home games in another teams stadium) Keller was the key. The safety valve. The one guy that could provide Sanchez with a rhythm that would extend into confidence. Instead the double digit targets to Keller amounted to two catches. Awful day between the two. Poor communication. These two need to play catch outside In a windy parking lot and forget about cozy Florham Park. This ain't sunny Los Angeles Mark.
The conditions only worsen as the calendar moves to the winter months. 

Lee Evans and Roscoe Parrish vs Jets secondary:

 The Bills have two speedy WR to go along with Terrell Owens. Shut them down and the Bills are, well, the 2009 Bills. Driving towards FGs. Sunday Evans got loose for the first time all season to tie the score. His first productive game all year. Unable to keep them under warps, the Jets ended up in a 13-13 tie late third quarter after controlling the game all day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Brees-ing Past Marino's Mark? FRO's 2009 Drew Brees Watch

Brees-ing Past Marino's Mark?

FRO's 2009 Drew Brees Watch
By Jon Wagner Sr. Writer at Large Football Reporters Online

One year after passing for the second most yards (5,069) in an NFL season, only 15 yards behind Hall Of Fame quarterback Dan Marino's single-season record of 5,084 yards in 1984, New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees is again poised to take aim at Marino's record. FRO follows Brees' prusuit of Marino each week, throughout the season:

Brees’ 2009 Avg. Yards Per Game: 280.00
Avg. Yards Needed To Pass Marino: 307.08

1 Sun 9/13 vs DET W, 45-27 26-34 76.5 6-1 358 4,727
2 Sun 9/20 at PHI W, 48-22 25-34 73.5 3-1 311 4,416
3 Sun 9/27 at BUF W, 27-7 16-29 55.2 0-0 172 4,244
4 Sun 10/4 vs NYJ W, 24-10 20-32 62.5 0-0 190 4,054
5 Bye
6 Sun 10/18 vs NYG W, 48-27 23-30 76.7 4-0 369 3,685
7 Sun 10/25 at MIA
8 Mon 11/2 vs ATL
9 Sun 11/8 vs CAR
10 Sun 11/15 at STL
11 Sun 11/22 at TB
12 Mon 11/30 vs NE
13 Sun 12/6 at WAS
14 Sun 12/13 at ATL
15 Sat 12/19 vs DAL
16 Sun 12/27 vs TB
17 Sun 1/3 at CAR

TOTALS; 192-93 110-159 69.2 13-2 1,400

Sunday, October 18, 2009

SB XLII Lessons Versus Saints Could Pave Giants’ Road To SB XLIV

SB XLII Lessons Versus Saints Could Pave Giants’ Road To SB XLIV
By Jon Wagner Sr. Writer at Large Football Reporters Online

(photos: Former Giant Jeremy Shockey shown here in 2007 at Giants camp, has found a home with the Saints-By A.F. Chachkes)

Twenty months ago, when the New York Giants shocked the football world by beating the heavily favored, undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, a certain recipe made such a stunning upset possible.

There were plenty of significant, contributing factors in that historic victory, like a key 45-yard reception by tight end Kevin Boss (setting up the Giants’ first touchdown), New York limiting their mistakes (committing just one turnover and only four penalties), and the Giants stopping the run (allowing just 45 yards on only 16 carries).

More than anything though, three specific things were primarily responsible for making the Giants unexpected champions on that February day in 2008: The Giants used a long game-opening drive, a relentless pass rush, and the continued great play of quarterback Eli Manning, the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLII.

Prior to the game, the questions abounded of how the Giants could possibly stop a team which just concluded the most productive regular season in Super Bowl history. How could New York keep the record-setting Patriots off the scoreboard enough to win? The Giants provided the answer on the game’s first drive, by winning the opening coin toss and not letting New England’s offense touch the ball until 5:01 remained in the first quarter. Even though that drive ended with only a field goal and a modest 3-0 Giants’ lead, New York went 63 yards on 16 plays, in a Super Bowl record 9:59, setting a tone for the rest of the game that the 14-point favorite was in for a battle, and there would be no cakewalk in the Arizona desert.

Although New England answered with a touchdown on the game’s next possession, the Giants wouldn’t allow another score until late in the fourth quarter, hitting and pressuring Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady all game, introducing him, and very often reintroducing him, to the University Of Phoenix Stadium turf. The Giants hit Brady nine times, sacked him five times for total losses of 37 yards, deflected four passes, forced a fumble, and recovered another.

And, the third key ingredient to the upset of all football upsets was Manning remaining hot after a terrific four-game playoff run to help the Giants reach Super Bowl XLII. Manning making plays, and allowing his wide receivers to do the same (like the famous and incredible ball-pinned-to-the-helmet catch by wide receiver David Tyree) was the final main component of the Giants achieving the previously unthinkable.

So, why relive all of this now, as the 5-0, 2009 version of the Giants prepare to battle the 4-0 Saints on Sunday? Well, because the Superdome showdown at 1pm EST features arguably the two best teams in the NFL right now, and the winner of Sunday’s contest could be in the driver’s seat toward getting the top seed in the NFC playoffs -- even though Minnesota (5-0), Atlanta (3-1), Chicago (3-1), or even a surprise team like last year’s 9-7 Arizona Cardinals might still have something to say about that.

A strong argument could be made that the Giants would be better served playing as a lower seed and on the road in the playoffs, given Manning’s playoff success two seasons ago (away from Giants Stadium for three straight playoff games plus Super Bowl XLII, as the Giants won a championship as a five seed) contrasted with his awful performance in the Giants’ playoff loss to Philadelphia as a one seed, playing in the very windy conditions of The Meadowlands last January.

Still, any NFL player or coach would likely say that there are three main goals in a season: 1) Win the division, 2) Try to get the one seed, even if Manning is your quarterback and swirling winds in your home stadium wreak havoc with your playoff passing game, and 3) Try to ride the top seed to a Super Bowl title.

The second reason the Giants’ aforementioned win over the Patriots is relevant on Sunday is because as in Super Bowl XLII, the Giants have a great defense and a hot Eli Manning again facing the NFL’s best offense. The Saints lead the league with 36.0 points per game, and rank third with 414.3 total yards per game, but New York, thanks in large part to Manning, is right behind New Orleans, ranking second, with 417.4 total yards per game. Defensively, the Giants have given up just 14.2 points per game (second only to Denver’s 8.6 ppg), and by a wide margin, have allowed both the NFL’s fewest total yards (210.6 per game; Denver is second with 252.8 ypg) and the least passing yards (104.8 per game; Carolina is second with 165.8 ypg) in the league. If the Giants can pressure Saints’ superstar quarterback Drew Brees the same way they got to Brady in Super Bowl XLII, it should spell success for New York.

Now, back to that long drive against New England for a moment… the Giants did the same as recently as last week, imposing their will, albeit against a far inferior opponent, going on a game-opening touchdown drive which consumed 8:03, en route to a 44-7 rout of Oakland. If the Giants’ offensive line can similarly help control the clock and keep Brees and his dangerous receiving and rushing compliments off the field, that would be another huge step toward a victory on Sunday.

And, to finish it off, again, the play of Manning, who is playing his best football so far this season since that magical four-game run through the 2007 playoffs and Super Bowl XLII. Manning has a 111.2 passer rating, completing over 64 percent of his passes, while throwing 10 touchdown passes and just two interceptions so far this season. But, most of all, he’s winning: 5-0 so far in 2009. Continuing that success on Sunday would be the final piece needed to produce yet another Giants’ win.

The possibility of gaining an eventual number one seed in the NFC playoffs by beating the Saints will certainly be enough motivation for the Giants’ offensive leader. However, there might be additional inspiration on a personal level for Manning, who holds a special fondness for the city in which he was raised during the first 18 years of his life. His father, Archie Manning, played in the Superdome for 12 seasons, from 1971-1982 (son Eli, was born just after the 1981 season), but Eli has never played a game there, though he attended many at the Superdome while growing up in New Orleans. Manning and the Giants were supposed to play in the Superdome in 2005, but the game was moved to Giants Stadium due to Hurricane Katrina, after which Manning visited shelters and the homes of his family in the area.

Since there’s still a lot of football left in 2009, Sunday’s tilt between the Giants and Saints could prove to mean little in the 2009 NFC playoff picture. But, if a New York win in New Orleans indeed decides the NFC’s number one seed a little more than two months from now, the lessons learned from the Giants’ Super Bowl XLII victory might just pave the Giants’ road to Super Bowl XLIV.

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