Are you ready for some Monday Night Footballlll? That feels like Sunday Night Footballlll because Joe Thiesmann’s voice is talking at you? I know I am. Let’s take a look at tonight’s matchup.
PATRIOTS AT VIKINGS
This game has smashmouth written all over it. Both of these teams are giving up well under 100 yards per game rushing. That means that neither team will be able to dominate time of possession or take total control of this game.
Field position will be the name of the game tonight. The team that makes the fewest mistakes, which almost invariably result in the opposition getting great field position, is going to win. That means I give the advantage to the Pats. In their last 4 games, they have only turned it over a total of twice. Minnesota has given it up 7 imes during that same period.
It should be a tight, defensive struggle, a perfect game for a team that knows how to win this type of game. That team, is of course, the Patriots.
LATE GAME WRAPUP
COLTS 34, BRONCOS 31
Yesterday, I faced a fantasy football dilemma. Do I start Peyton Manning against a Broncos team that hadn’t given up a touchdown in God knows how long? Or do I take a pretty certain solid but unspectacular performance by Philip Rivers at home against the Rams?
I went with the Rivers option, and lost because of it. I am an idiot. Never again will stray from you Peyton Manning. Never.
CHARGERS 38, RAMS 24
Not that Rivers didn’t have a nice game. He did. He had a nice, efficient game. 206 yards, 1 TD, no INT, 108 passer rating, nice. Nice doesn’t cut it though, when your starting receivers are Derrick Mason and Braylon Edwards. Not even close. LT had 3 TDs in this game, and 183 rushing yards. The Rams, by the way, can’t stop the run to save their life. If I had noted that fact, I would have made the right call and started Manning.
RAIDERS 20, STEELERS 13
Well, this is it for the Steelers. Call the Fisher Brothers, it’s time to drain the blood out of this team. Ben Roethlisberger was horrendous. He threw 4 INTs, two of which went back for touchdowns. The Raiders win despite their QB, Andrew Walter, posting a 17.3 passer rating. The Raiders and Steelers are now both 2-5.
BROWNS 20, JETS 13
The Jets had what could have been a game tying TD catch by Chris Baker ruled out of bounds with a minute left, and I guess the play was not reviewable. Rueben Droughns rushed for 125 yards on 33 carries for Cleveland.
COWBOYS 35, PANTHERS 14
Geez, Carolina, how in the hell does THAT happen?
The Panthers have absolutely nothing going on other than Steve Smith on offense. The defense did nothing against anything the Cowboys did either. 2 tackles for Julius Peppers, and that was it out of him. TO had his first 100+ yard game in a Dallas uniform.
NFC SOUTH NOTES
Well, the bloom is off the fleur-de-lis a little bit after the Saints took an unexpected butt kicking from the Ravens at home. They couldn’t run the ball and they couldn’t play any defense. You do that, you will lose 11 out of 10 times. The Saints won’t win with Drew Brees throwing 45 times. Next time out, they need to re-commit themselves to getting Deuce McAllister 20-25 carries. That will keep their defense from being exposed the way it was yesterday.
2 really, really good games in a row for Michael Vick. He played a great game yesterday. I’ve got nothing to bad to say about him. He completed 3 or more passes to 5 different receivers. That’s what you call quarterbacking. With the Lions and Browns up next, the Falcons are probably looking at a 7-2 start. They will be in the playoffs this year.
The Panthers have a bye next week, and they really need it. They’ve got to go back to the drawing board and come up with some sort of offensive concept that gives teams something other than Steve Smith to worry about. The Panthers led yesterday’s 35-14 loss to Dallas 14-0 at one point. They led by 14 points, and yet, they only ran the ball 17 times in this game. That’s one way you can turn a 14 point lead into a 21 point loss. They need to either let DeShaun Foster be a real, live, feature back, or find somebody else that can be that.
Bruce Gradkowski’s numbers were horrible yesterday, but he was plagued by dropped passes. Joey Galloway and Michael Clayton both had a bad case of the dropsys. Galloway told the Orlando Sentinel after the game, “Any time you’re struggling to get in the end zone, when those opportunities arise — because they mainly come up once or twice in a game — you’ve got to make the play.”
That’ll do it for today. Tomorrow we’ll take a look at what happened in Pats/Vikings, and visit the AFC South.