NFL Week 11 Notes: 2008
November 19, 2008 2:06 PM
Week 11 notes on the National Football League
1) It interests me when teams get labeled "finesse." The teams who earn that badge typically find it offensive because this is a MAN's game after all, but it's actually a silly tag to put on a team. The Saints look like a finesse team when compared to the New York Giants, but the Giants look like a finesse team when compared to the 1970s Steelers. So it's a relative label, and in today's NFL where so many games are won and lost in the 4th quarter on the strength of 2-minute drills and last-second game-winning plays, the entire league is finesse in comparison to what it used to be. Every team in the league will wing the ball around the field in the 4th quarter if they are behind. Instead of calling it the "2-minute offense", we should call it the "finesse offense"; every team runs it every year.
2) Cheerleader of the week: Lindsey H. of the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders.
3) The New Orleans Saints beat the Kansas City Chiefs and recorded their first road win of the season (if you count the London game as a "home" game, that is). The Saints played a balanced game, with good effort on offense, defense, and special teams. The offense was less lopsided than usual, with 25 rushing attempts for over 100 yards.
Okay Saints defense, was that so hard? You got 4 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 red zone stands, forcing the Chiefs into field goals. The offense scores it's usual 30 points, all you need to do is hold opponents to 20 and that's the Saints formula for success. Truth be told, the Chiefs scored 24, but the refs blew a call on a replay that seemed obviously like a Chiefs touchdown. You couldn't actually see the ball in the replay, but it would have been a miracle if it didn't break the plane of the goal line.
4) Congratulations St. Louis Rams! You officially suck again! It was great that you took a brief respite from sucking, long enough to beat the Redskins and Cowboys back-to-back. But now you've lost 4 in a row, and been blown out in your last 3 (outscored 116-32). You might have 2 wins but you're playing worse than the Lions, who have 0 wins.
5) My current Top 4: New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens. The Giants totally stomped the Ravens; surprising.
6) As I've been saying ... the Patriots will be inconsequential this year. They may or may not win their division, if they do, it won't mean much. Losing your star QB when he is the identity of your team is a huge deal.
7) I can relate to the Cowboys and their Tony Romo situation. Romo is that team's identity. When they lost him, they lost their identity just like the Patriots when they lost Brady. Now that Romo is back, all of a sudden they look like a good team again. It's amazing the way even the defense plays better when Romo is in the house.
If the Saints were to lose Drew Brees it would be the same situation. Brees is the team's identity. The Saints would stink royally if he got hurt. And if he came back in his first game to beat the Panthers, Saints fans would be heralding the return of a savior, just like Cowboys fans are doing right now after Romo returned to beat the hated Redskins.
8) A few oddities this week. For the first time in 6 years, a game ended in a tie (Eagles/Bengals). For the first time in NFL history a game ended with a score of 10-11 (Chargers/Steelers). Donovan McNabb revealed that he didn't know there could be games that end in ties. Who gives a shit about any of this? They are quirky tidbits, but nothing more. Nothing that needs to be talked about by every analyst and touted on the front page of Yahoo!.
9) Fantasy tip: Start a running back that will score fantasy points for your team. In other words, don't start Tim Hightower.
10) I'm not a fan of Warren Sapp as an NFL analyst. He's too smug, likes himself too much, laughs at his own (unfunny) jokes too often, mugs for the camera too much. I could live without ever seeing that guy on TV again.
Bonus! New Orleans Saints notes!
1) Holy crap! Brees is still on pace to break Marino's yardage-in-a-season record. With the way Sean Payton typically abandons the run, it should be no problem to break that record.
2) Saints stat of the week: 5. That's how many of their next 6 games the Saints need to win to even THINK about playoffs. To be a serious contender, they need to win all 6.
3) Playing their last 4 games on the road, the Saints have not played in the Superdome since Oct. 12. They're finally back this week, hosting the Packers on Monday night.