November 3, 2009

“Unknown” QB comes through

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

The North American media got all worked up this week over a guy going to Green Bay to play for the first time and I now I know why: This Brett Favre character turned out to be quite good at shredding up the Packers defence. Throwing for 244 yards and four touchdowns is one way to prove you’re not done yet, like the Pack thought he was when deciding to hand the franchise over to Aaron Rodgers two seasons ago. But while I am a supporter of the call for Rodgers, man is Favre  really shoving it in Green Bay management’s faces.

And how great of a story would it have been to see Favre try out a good ol’ Lambeau Leap a la Chad Ochocinco? Would the crowd have immediately shoved him away in an attempt to injure him, or held on to rain as much fists and beverages as possible onto him? Either way, the Vikes can now be pencilled in as the NFC North winners, holding a 7-1 record and a big tiebreaker over the Pack.

Elsewhere, two teams were able to get off the schneid and finally picked up their first wins of the season: The Titans beat the Jags and, in the worst game since Buffalo-Cleveland, the Rams beat the Lions. Tennessee looked like the team they were last year, with a strong as nails rushing game and careful quarterbacking in beating the rival Jaguars. As for the Rams, well, Steven Jackson had to score a TD sometime this season and what better time to poke one in than in the final two minutes of a tie game?

So, who is the worst of the worst now? Tampa Bay is still winless, but they’ll be starting rookie QB Josh Freeman in an attempt to jump start things, so I won’t write them off yet. Don’t get me wrong, they are still awful, but they’re awful with at least some potential. The Rams beat the Lions so both should be in the bottom three but the winner of the best of the worst has to be Cleveland.

Even their one win came because the Bills stunk bad enough to let the game end 6-3. Yesterday was no better than their average performance, a 30-6 drubbing by the Bears in which QB Derek Anderson went 6-17 for 76 yards and was pulled. If there is any hope in Cleveland for the Browns, I don’t know why.

Following the no-longer winless, let’s go with the no-longer undefeated. The Baltimore Ravens outclassed the Denver Broncos in every way en route to a 30-7 victory. The bubble had to burst for the Broncos sometime, better sooner than later but I’m just surprised at how badly it happened. I was expecting a much closer affair.

The Panthers picked up a big win over the Cardinals, after several media people spent the week touting Arizona’s much improved defence. Apparently the portion they didn’t improve was run defence as the Panthers racked up over 150 yards in the first quarter alone. Also, Kurt Warner suffered a reversal of fortune. After the Cards picked off Jake Delhomme five times in the playoffs last season, the Cats returned the favour by intercepting five Warner passes yesterday. So, are Arizona really the contenders we thought they were? Maybe we should think twice about backing those NFC West teams.

Those Cowboys are starting to get people’s hopes up again. This happens every season: Dallas rattles off a few big wins over teams that are middle of the road, then boom! they face a division opponent (like Philly next week) and then they’re promptly brought back down to earth. As much as I’m loving the Miles Austin era, the Roy Williams sulking and sucking era is still underway and can weigh things down. The Eagles are hot right now after blowing out the suddenly susceptible Giants setting up a huge game next Sunday night.

And, finally, a few people were wrong about this one including myself. Yesterday was NOT the first time ever that the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL have all played on the same day. It happened back in 2001, when the baseball season and playoffs were pushed back after 9/11. On November 4, the Yankees fell in Game 7 of the World Series and every other league was in their regular season.

This week: 4-7 (and New Orleans -10 tonight)
This season: 61-47-1.

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