MONDAY MORNING PANCAKES
What I am doing here on a Monday?? Well, starting this week I will be giving you an abbreviated column called Monday Morning Pancakes. It’s the place for piping hot quick takes on the NFL games played the day before, and a preview of the Monday Night game. You’ll still be getting your in depth analysis every Friday, but now you won’t have to wait so long to read about what your team did the past weekend. So let’s do this!
The Takeaways- Week Two
(2-0) BENGALS 37, (0-2) VIKINGS 8
Daunte Culpepper needs to consider playing at “All-Pro” difficulty level instead of “All-Madden”. His TD/INT ratio so far in 2005: 0 to 8.
CB Deltha O’Neal picking off three passes?
“Okay, I want you to try NOT throwing the ball to the guys on the other team.”
(1-1) PANTHERS 27, (1-1) PATRIOTS 17
What’s the matter with Corey Dillon and the Patriots running game? 63 yards for Corey in week one, 36 in week two. He’s conjuring up memories of Antowain Smith back there.
THREE touchdowns for Stephen Davis!
(2-0) STEELERS 27, (0-2) TEXANS 7
WR Andre Johnson has been invisible so far this year. After logging 18 yards receiving last week, he stepped it up big time to get 20 yards this week. Houston’s scored 14 points total in 2 games. David Carr woke up this morning feeling like Tim Couch.
Ben Roethlisberger and Willie Parker? Roethlisberger has looked like the most improved QB in the league so far this year, and Parker has already rushed for 277 yards this season.
(1-1) BEARS 38, (1-1) LIONS 6
Okay, THERE’s our Joey Heatherington. 5 INTs yesterday, that’s Moe like it.
The Bears scoring 31 points in the first half!?!?! That hasn’t happened since….moment of silence and remove your hats please….1985. We’re not here, to start no trouble.
A Super Bowl XL win is now merely a fait accompli, my friend.
(2-0) COLTS 10, (0-2) JAGUARS 7
Peyton Manning 13-28 for 122 yards, an INT and NO TDS!?!?! Pete you’re killing the fantasy team here, c’mon buddy CUT THAT MEAT!
The Colts defense has allowed only 14 points so far this year. They sacked Byron Leftwich six times yesterday, including 3 by DT Montae Reagor.
(1-1) EAGLES 42, (1-1) NINERS 3
The Niners allowed Philly to complete 33 of 39 pass attempts. Why were they only allowed to play with 8 guys on defense?
Terrell Owens catching 5 passes for 143 yards and 2 TDs? Everything is hunky dory, for now. TE LJ Smith is emerging as a third weapon for Donovan McNabb, he had 9 receptions for 119 yards and a TD.
The Niners fixed what ailed McNabb, T.O., and the Eagles
(2-0) BUCS 19, (1-1) BILLS 3
13 carries for 34 yards? Whatchu talkin bout, Willis McGahee?
Cadillac Williams rushing for over 100 yards in both of his first 2 NFL games. Hey, Miami, way to take his backup over him with the second overall pick. In my country, that’s what you call outsmarting yourself.
(1-1) TITANS 25, (0-2) RAVENS 10
Great game for the Ravens O line. Jamal Lewis had 10 carries for 9 yards. Tennessee had 6 sacks. Who do you give the game ball to?
Travis Henry taking over as feature back for the Titans? 18 carries for 62 yards, and the team won.
(1-1) RAMS 17, (0-2) CARDINALS 12
The Cardinals’ offensive line gave up 5 sacks and numerous holding penalties, all of which killed the team’s comeback.
Cardinals rookie RB JJ Arrington falling off the face of the Earth? Boy those offensive players from Cal just make GREAT pros don’t they?
(1-1) SEAHAWKS 21, (1-1) FALCONS 18
Michael Vick continues to redefine the QB position. The correct definition is now someone who throws for 123 yards and an INT. Make a note of it.
Shaun Alexander shredding a good Atlanta defense for 144 yards on 28 carries?
(1-1) BRONCOS 20, (0-2) CHARGERS 17
LaDanian Tomlinson had 52 yards rushing after struggling to 72 last week. Isn’t he supposed to be the best player in the league? No, he is, ESPN told me so. After Michael Vick, of course.
Ron Dayne battering the way to the Broncos game winning field goal? Do I smell a new feature back in Denver? Well, I smell something.
(1-1) BROWNS 26, (0-2) PACKERS 24
The Packers lost at home to the Browns, and they also have a loss to a team that got beat 38-6 by the BEARS. It’s suicide time in America’s Dairyland. Actually, no, I hope not, I love the state of Wisconsin, but your football team is awful.
Rookie Braylon Edwards’ 80 yard TD reception? Could he be the next in a short line of great Cleveland wide receivers? Could he be the next Brian Brennan?
Webster Slaughter, Eat Your Heart Out
(1-1) JETS 17, (1-1) DOLPHINS 7
Ronnie Brown had 35 yards on 12 carries. And he is better than Cadillac Williams why?
That stupid list of how the Jets win. I must have seen that list about 50 times this week. NO FOOLISH PENALTIES! Stupid penalties are OK, as long as they’re not foolish.
(2-0) CHIEFS 23, (0-2) RAIDERS 17
And Lamont Jordan is good why?
The merciless ball licking Tony Gonzalez took from Mike Tirico and Sterling Sharpe all game long.
MONDAY NIGHT- ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBAAAAAALLL??
AND THEN EVEN MORE FOOOOTBALLLLLLL????
(1-0) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AT BUT NOT TECHNICALLY AT (1-0) NY GIANTS
7:30 PM Eastern, ABC then ESPN, Giants favored by 3 Ã‚Â½
What can you say about what the Saints have been through in the last month? The fact that they are the “New Orleans” Saints should tell you everything you need to know about their situation. Last week, they funneled all their hardship into a great performance on the road against division rival Carolina, and came away with a 23-20 victory thanks in large part to a defense that forced 4 turnovers.
The Saints travel to the Meadowlands to meet a Giants team that looked impressive in a 42-19 beating of the Cardinals in week one. QB Eli Manning is still clearly a work in progress, as evidenced by his 62.2 QB rating posted last week and his 2 interceptions. He did show a good working relationship with his new #1 wideout Plaxico Burress though, and the Giants had 2 special teams touchdowns, something every coach loves to see.
WEEK 2 GAMEPLAN
Lost in all the coverage that has been given to the Saints unique situation, is the fact that they are a pretty talented team. Their offense is hard to stop because they can run or pass with equal effectiveness. The Giants have a pretty good back seven on defense, but their defensive line is inexperienced. Add to that the fact that DE Michael Strahan may or may not play due to back spasms, and you are looking at a line that had a combined 11 starts in 2004 between its 4 starters. This means the Saints should be able to establish their running game, and batter the Giants with Deuce McAllister all night long. The Giants will almost certainly need to bring help to stop McAllister, and that will open up the passing game for Aaron Brooks. It will be imperative for the Giants to put pressure on Brooks and try and create turnovers when the Saints pass, because otherwise the Saints should be able to control the clock and the game.
While the Giants lack experience on the D line, the Saints linebacking corps has the same problem. That’s not a good thing against a Giants offense that likes to attack the flats with Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey. The linebackers will have to stay home to guard against their zones being attacked, and that’s going to open up the running game for Tiki Barber. The Saints will probably try to blitz QB Eli Manning, and take advantage of his lack of mobility. That’s a dangerous thing to do though, because he has safety valves that can take a dump off pass and convert it into a big play.
Last week the Giants held Arizona to only 31 yards rushing. Granted, it was against a team with a poor running game, but it was a good showing for a team who is concerned with its ability to stop the run. On paper, the Giants should have trouble with a good running game, but I can only use what they’ve done on the field so far this year as a guide. If the Giants can maintain McAllister, then Brooks will have to take the air, which will result in turnovers. This is going to be a good game, but I like the Giants.
Giants 27, Saints 23
(1-0) WASHINGTON REDSKINS AT (1-0) DALLAS COWBOYS
9 PM Eastern, ABC, Cowboys favored by 5 Ã‚Â½
The Redskins topped the Bears 9-7 last week in a truly excruciating football game. They lost QB Patrick Ramsey with an injury, and he will be replaced this week by veteran Mark Brunell. Aside from the stellar play of the defense, and encouraging sign coming out of this game was Clinton Portis rushing 121 yards on 21 carries. The Redskins need Portis to be an elite running back if they are going to win more games than they lose this year.
Nobody knew really what to expect out of the Cowboys in their season opener on the road against San Diego. They overhauled their defensive scheme and installed a starting quarterback who most feel has his best days behind him. All those things said, they got an impressive road win over a team that was 12-4 last year. Julius Jones is the real thing at running back, Bledsoe posted a 143.4 QB rating, and the defense held one of the best running backs in the game in check.
WEEK 2 GAMEPLAN
The Cowboys like to rely on their running game, but they won’t be able to do that in this game. The Redskins have what is probably the best run defense in the league, and they have a great performance in week one, and a week 16 game in which they held Jones to 57 yards on 22 carries to back that up. The Redskins know that Bledsoe has the mobility of Frankenstein after knee surgery, so they are going to come after him hard. Bledsoe is going to have to utilize his safety valves, and hit the open flats when Washington blitzes. That means he and TE Jason Witten are going to have to do some work together tonight to make the Redskins pay for blitzing, and force them to back off of Bledsoe. In the week 16 meeting last year, Vinny Testaverde, who is a similar QB to Bledsoe, was effective thanks to short, quick passes to Keyshawn Johnson and Witten. Look for a similar gameplan out of the Cowboys tonight.
For the Redskins to win, as they did last week, they have to run the ball very effectively. In 2005, Mark Brunell is not going to beat anyone with his arm. In the last meeting between these teams, Portis split carries with Ladell Betts, and the Redskins could only muster 84 yards on the ground. Last week the Cowboys stopped LaDanian Tomlinson , so if they can do that, I’m pretty sure they can keep the Redskins running game from killing them.
One important factor to keep in mind is that the Redskins kicker, John Hall, is unlikely to play this week with an injury. The Redskins need to be able to hit their field goal attempts to have any chance, an untested kicker is a bad liability for this team. Inflation hurt the value of the Cowboys’ win over San Diego last week now that the Chargers are 0-2, but they still should be able to take care of the Redskins on their home field.
Cowboys 17, Redskins 7
That’s it until Friday! Hope you enjoyed this and we’ll do it again next week. If you haven’t already donated to the Katrina cause, tonight might be a good time to do it. There will be information on how to donate throughout both games tonight. Salut!