Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Monday October 29, 2007 12:49AM; Updated: Monday October 29, 2007 3:11PM
The Fine Fifteen
1. New England (8-0). Everyone looks at Sunday's game against the Colts as the biggest challenge in the Patriots' bid for an undefeated season. Agreed. But the other game that has a chance to be competitive -- notice I didn't say "the game they have a chance to lose?'' -- is the Monday-nighter on Dec. 3 at Baltimore. No team gets up for a prime time, national TV game like the Ravens.
2. Indianapolis (7-0). Fourteen minutes left, fourth quarter, Colts up 24-7, second-and-goal from the Panthers' 1 ... and here comes Dan Klecko, who is to Manning what Mike Vrabel is to Brady. Klecko lines up in the slot, and at the snap of the ball runs free into the end zone! Tweet! False start. There goes another TD catch for Brandon Stokley Jr.
3. San Diego (4-3). After 28 minutes at an ashy Qualcomm, the Chargers were up 35-3. They're back, baby.
4. Dallas (6-1). Marion Barber III's running the ball 12 times a game. That's not enough for one of the best 15 backs in football.
5. Jacksonville (5-2). It's not pretty with the Jags. Never is. And with Quinn Gray at the helm now, this is a team that's going to win with defense and the running game the next two weeks -- at New Orleans and at Tennessee.
6. Green Bay (5-1). Not to rub it in, but the Giants' Derrick Ward was inactive Sunday -- and still leads the entire Green Bay team in rushing, 448 yards to 394.
7. New York Giants (6-2). Don't kill Eli Manning for regressing and completing 8-of-22 passes for 59 yards in London. He was playing in a cranberry bog, from what I've heard about the Wembley pitch.
8. Pittsburgh (5-2). Ho-hum day for Willie Parker -- 22 carries for 126 yards, a 5.7-yard average. He's starting to put up the kind of weekly number Franco Harris did 30 years ago.
9. Tennessee (5-2). Sometimes you watch Tennessee and you think: The Titans are setting back offensive football 65 years.
10. Washington (4-3). You want to indict a team for looking like a high school JV team when they play the Patriots? Get in line.
11. Cleveland (4-3). The Browns are over .500 entering November. Unbelievable. Give thanks to Derek Anderson (18-25, 248, three touchdowns, no interceptions in the 27-20 comeback win at St. Louis) for that.
12. Philadelphia (3-4). I've got three words for all you Philadelphians who want to see Andy Reid fired: Not gonna happen.
13. Detroit (5-2). Lions have now swept the season series with Chicago twice in the last four years. Can you say, "changing of the guard?''
14. Tampa Bay (4-4). I know they don't put the fear of anything into anybody, but remember this: The Bucs' next three weeks are Arizona, bye, at Atlanta. So even though the division is coming back to them, the Bucs are still likely to be 6-4 with the division in their grasp come Thanksgiving Day.
15. (tie) Baltimore (4-3), Carolina (4-3). The Ravens need to find an offense, and as for the Panthers, I've got one comment: My God -- it's a pretty big indictment of your team when Vinny Testaverde goes down and your offense suddenly morphs into the 2006 Raiders.