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San Diego won't continue to average 43 points a game, as they have over the last two weeks, but with Brees and Tomlinson at the top of their games, opponents can't key on one element of the offense. Four weeks into the season, which team is the toughest in the league on both sides of the ball? Indianapolis? Tampa? Cincinnati? You can't have that discussion without including the Chargers, even with their forbidding schedule.
Going South in The AFC South
In the wake of a 20-7 home loss to the Broncos on Sunday, which dropped them to 2-2, the Jaguars have to fix their offense and take full advantage of the mostly weak schedule that remains (two games with Tennessee, two with Houston and one each with Arizona, Cleveland and San Francisco) to contend for a playoff berth. Jacksonville has gone 54 straight games without scoring 30 points-- Detroit currently has the second-longest such streak, at 19 games--and the Jaguars haven't gotten a bang for their buck from first-round pick Matt Jones.
A quarterback turned wide receiver out of Arkansas, Jones has only 117 combined receiving and rushing yards in four games, and in Sunday's loss he short-armed a throw from QB Byron Leftwich, enabling Denver's Nick Ferguson to pick it off. And though Leftwich has earned his reputation as a gutty player who withstands big hits, he takes many of those blows because he holds the ball too long in the pocket and can't escape the rush.
Even more disconcerting is Jacksonville's penchant for making mistakes. The Jaguars committed 15 penalties on Sunday--a stunning number for a home team presumably not bothered by the crowd--including six false starts. Said left guard Vince Manuwai, "How can you have six false starts playing at home?"
The Hard-Hat Commissioner
If one of Pete Rozelle's legacies as NFL commissioner was parity, successor Paul Tagliabue's just might be stadiums. Since 1992, 24 teams have built new stadiums, made significant renovations to existing facilities or contracted to construct new venues, and the man pushing for redevelopment has been Tagliabue. Three new stadiums were in the news over the last two weeks: The Colts broke ground on a $500 million home in Indianapolis, the Vikings presented plans for the financing and the site of a $675 million retractable-roof venue north of Minneapolis, and the Giants and the Jets agreed to split the $800 million cost and share another facility at the Meadowlands in northern New Jersey.