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While they did move on to remain perfect on the season, and winning on the road is no easy task in today’s NFL, they still haven’t faced a true measuring stick as to whether this team is really a legit Super Bowl contender. Or maybe they have, but the AFC is so weak this season that the Titans are the best it has to offer. I think its game in a few weeks vs. Pittsburgh will give us a truer indication.
I take everything back that I’ve said about San Diego in recent weeks. While Tomlinson ran fairly well on Sunday, and Rivers passed for good yardage, the defense once again failed to pressure the opposing QB and the 15.5-point favorite squeaked by with a 20-19 over the 1-8 Chiefs. Perhaps I’ve been wrong to call Tyler Thigpen a back-up QB, as this is the 3rd straight game that he’s played fairly well in, but for San Diego to allow him to pretty much throw on them at will shows me (and the world) that the problems affecting the Lightning Bolts run far deeper than is visible to the naked eye.
The Indianapolis Colts once again saved its season yesterday although this performance was far more impressive than its victory over New England the week before. Faced with the challenge of having to beat the Steelers without the threat of a running game, Peyton came up big late in the game and led his team to a 24-20 win. In truth however, it shouldn’t have been so close; Marvin Harrison, who’s gotten old real fast, is done. He dropped two potential TD passes that for his first 11 years in the league would’ve been routine for him.
On the other side of the ball, how come Roethlisberger never gets pounced on for his ill advised turnovers late in games? After every poor throw that Eli Manning makes, the naysayers come out and question whether he’s really arrived, but not for Big Ben, who has become accustomed to throwing key late game interceptions that cost his team.
In his 1st few seasons in the league, he was protected by an awesome offensive line, a terrific running game, solid receivers and a dominant defense. Now that the key parts around him aren’t as sound as they once were, he’s being asked to do more and hasn’t been able to deliver. The Steelers are actually winning this season in spite of him, and unfortunately on days like Sunday, they’re not good enough to overcome him. The Steelers are still a very strong team in the AFC but they’ve really got to get #7 back on track.Super Bowl Champion Giants came in as an underdog and dominated in every facet of the game except the scoreboard. From time of possession - almost 2 to 1 - to rushing yards, etc. the Giants were in control, and thanks to some untimely gifts, they allowed the Eagles to stick around and make a game of it. Midway through the 2nd quarter, the Giants were up 17-7 and driving before RB Jacobs decided to leap over a 5-foot nothing CB which led to a key fumble. The Giants should have put Philly away at that point but that turnover let the Eagles hang around. In the end, the Giants showed the mental toughness of a champion and pulled out the 36-31 victory in the city of Brotherly Love.
Two things we can take from this game: the Giants have the best team in football and will be that much scarier come January once they work out their kinks while the Eagles, a talented team in their own right, will be limited once again because of the familiar story of Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid. McNabb just can’t get it done in big games and Reid’s play calling in important situations always leaves something to be desired. Giving Westbrook - who had been a non-factor throughout - the ball twice at the end of the game was a head scratcher.
The Atlanta Falcons are starting to make believers out of everyone. While the Saints are by no means an elite team, the Falcons thoroughly whipped them on Sunday and QB Matt Ryan continued his impressive play. Perhaps this team will do the unthinkable and make a late season push for a playoff spot.
Lastly, although Jake Delhomme (and his 4 Ints) tried his hardest to give away the game in Oakland yesterday (17-6 win), I’m still convinced that it’ll be Carolina or Tampa and not Atlanta battling it out for the NFC South when it’s all said and done. But don’t discount the Falcons just yet.