NFL Week 12 Notes: 2008
November 25, 2008 11:08 PM
Week 12 notes on the National Football League
1) Washington Redskins, welcome to Saints-ville. Yeah, the Saints beat Seattle in Seattle last year too, but that's not all you've got in common. You've got a coach, Jim Zorn, who gets desperate in games too quickly, which is apparent by the way he sometimes abandons the running game and often goes for it on 4th down (see Sean Payton). You are a team with a first year head coach who took other teams by surprise early, and now must contend with the fact that teams are onto you (see 2007 Saints). You have a highly paid defensive line, including ends Jason Taylor and Andre Carter, that is supposed to be dominant, but simply isn't (see Will Smith and Charles Grant). You've got a highly-regarded, young WR, Malcolm Kelly, who can't get himself into the mix (see Robert Meachem). Get ready for inconsistency and barely making/missing the playoffs for the next few years.
2) Cheerleader of the week: Erica Jenkins of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. She loses points for being a big country music fan, but I'll overlook it.
3) The New Orleans Saints blew out the Green Bay Packers. The first half was an entertaining game of swapping touchdowns. The third quarter was the best quarter of football the Saints have played all year, resulting in a 21-0 advantage in that quarter alone.
4) Congratulations AFC West! You are the weakest division in the NFL! Your best team (Denver Broncos) is barely over .500 and just lost to a team (Oakland Raiders) that had 2 wins before the game. The Raiders exacted some payback for the Week 1 blowout Denver inflicted upon them, so the Raiders have that going for them, which is nice. Also, the Raiders win eliminated 4 players from my suicide pool, which leaves me a 1:8 chance to win the ca$h.
The Chargers' season is probably finished. With 7 losses I suspect they are out of the playoff landscape. Technically, they could still win that sorry division, since they are only 2 games behind Denver. But honestly, does it matter? Whichever team wins that division is still shitty.
5) My current Top 5: New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens. I'll make the Saints an unofficial #6. And I'm keeping my eye on the Colts, they've won 4 straight, including wins over New England, Pittsburgh, and San Diego; they also beat Baltimore earlier this year.
6) Strange set of early games this week. Not one was decided by less than 13 points. Usually as it nears 1:00 pm I start keeping an eye on the close games so that I can switch over and watch how they end (NFL Ticket on DirecTV rules!). But this week, there were no close games to keep an eye on.
7) The Saints put on one hell of an offensive display against a team whose passing defense was supposed to be one of the best in the league. 416 yards, 7 touchdowns, 51 points ... without Reggie Bush. The Saints have won 3 of their last 4 games ... without Reggie Bush. I don't mean to imply the Saints are better without Bush, I just hope Coach Payton remembers how effective his offense is without Bush. When Bush is in the game, Payton tends to try extra hard to get him the ball. Not necessary, there are guys all over the field who will make plays as long as Drew Brees is directing the traffic.
Like I said last week, if Brees were to get hurt, his team would tank. If that's not the definition of MVP, then I don't know what is. Brees is in the top 2 candidates for league MVP this year. He is lights out.
8) This year, the sportscasters and analysts have latched onto the concept of incredible football plays being "like a video game". Too many times I've heard someone say, "that looked like something from a video game!" Madden football has been out there for years, and video game football even longer. But I've noticed this year an increase in video game call-outs, which is annoying, because that would have been cool about 10 years ago ... maybe.
9) Fantasy tip: I got nuthin' for you this week.
10) The Saints defense grabbed 3 interceptions! I can't recall the last time they accomplished that, so I looked it up. The last time the Saints had 3 picks in a game was against the Panthers on November 25, 2007, one year ago today. Not as far back as I would have guessed.
Between this week and last week, the defense is making great plays and making hard hits. That's the kind of defense they need to be playing. They ran some effective blitzes, real blitzes, not that bullshit corner blitz they'd been using all season.
Bonus! New Orleans Saints notes!
1) Holy crap! Deuce McAllister became the Saints' all-time touchdown leader when he scored his 54th touchdown against the Packers Monday night. He has cornerback Jason David (of all people) to thank for breaking the record. It was David's interception, which he returned to the 3-yard line, that set up the McAllister plunge.
Congratulations Deuce! You are the most beloved player to ever wear a Saints uniform, it's perfectly appropriate that you hold the franchise touchdown record.
2) Saints stat of the week: 157.5. That was Drew Bress's QB rating against the Packers. Damn near close to a perfect rating of 158.3.
3) I must give respect to Pierre Thomas who had 18 touches for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns. Thomas has been playing well all season, continuing from his great play near the end of last season. Deuce looked shaky on the first series of the game, 2 carries for basically zero yards and it was Thomas the rest of the way. I love Deuce, it's too bad his kness are ailing him, it showed last night. Thomas is proving he can run between the tackles, opponents might have to start accounting for him.
4) I must give respect to Lance Moore who had 5 catches for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. This is his first year playing a significant role as a wide reciever for the Saints, but he's proving to have that Wes Welker type ability to catch a lot of balls and convert a lot of first downs. Marques Colston is still their big threat, I wish he would get 100% healthy and stay healthy. Brees has so much confidence in Moore now, I think Brees would throw him the ball even if all 11 defenders were circling him.
5) I must give even more respect to Drew Brees. The guy just plays perfect game after perfect game. Some people are saying that the Saints offense finally emerged last night. Well, that's bullshit. With the exception of an egg they layed against Carolina, the Saints have scored 24, 24, 32, 31, 27, 34, 37, 20, 30, and 51 points this year. Does that sound like an offense that isn't producing enough? Not to mention they have the number one overall offense and number one passing offense in the league. And it's Drew Brees who makes that all possible, he's still on pace to break Dan Marino's single season yardage record. He is money. And Don Banks of SI agrees with me.