Cincinnati Bengals – Did you know that the Cincinnati Bengals are 5-2? Andy Dalton is playing just well enough with a quarterback rating of 82.7. It is their defense that’s keeping them on the field. Cincinnati is ranked fourth in overall defense. They are second in stopping the run.
Philadelphia Eagles – Every time I try to write off Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles, they do something spectacular. Towards the end of last season and now for most of this season, we haven’t seen the pinpoint accuracy that Michael Vick showed in the middle of last season. Well, that pinpoint accuracy came back and dissected the Dallas Cowboys. Andy Reid had a genius game plan. He took advantage of a extremely aggressive DeMarcus Ware and pulled a tight end to block him out of the play as the Eagles successfully ran trap play after trap play.
Pittsburgh Steelers – After the Pittsburgh Steelers were destroyed on opening day by the Baltimore Ravens, everybody, including myself, wrote them off. Well, Mike Tomlin is proving to be a very resilient coach. He’s got the Pittsburgh Steelers playing at a high level. The Steelers play ball control offense and really controlled that game from the opening snap and kept the Patriots defense off-balance. Ben Roethlisberger played extremely well. This was probably his best game of the season.
Dallas Cowboys – It’s okay to get beaten on national TV. It’s not okay to get spanked by a division rival. The Dallas Cowboys were never in this game. Not for a minute. I watched this game a couple times. The Cowboys could not stop the run and they couldn’t stop the pass. On offense, they made several mistakes early, resulting in penalties and sacks. Once they punted the football to Philadelphia the first time and Philadelphia scored again, the game was over (14-0). Brad Sham and Babe Laufenberg, long-time Dallas Cowboys announcers, stated that the Cowboys needed to forget this game and move on. I don’t think so. I think the Cowboys need to study this game. I know the rest of the league is studying this game and trying to figure out how they can replicate some of the plays. If the Dallas Cowboys defense doesn’t get this fixed, it’s going to be a long season.
Washington Redskins – What happened? As bad as the Dallas Cowboys were beaten, you could probably argue that the Washington Redskins were beaten even worse. Their offense was inept. Their defense was ineffectual. Their defense, as with the Dallas Cowboys, was supposed to be the strength of the team. Fred Jackson, arguably one of the best running backs in the league, ran for 120 yards. It was an embarrassing performance by the Redskins. I’m still confused as to why Mike Shanahan thought that Rex Grossman was the answer. Maybe he looks really, really good in practice.
New Orleans Saints – Just as I’m ready to jump on the New Orleans Saints bandwagon and was beginning to believe that they’re playing good football, they lay an egg. What was that? They made the St. Louis Rams look like a playoff team. St. Louis was beating them on both sides of the football. It was ugly. Drew Breeze had absolutely no time to look over the field. He seemed to be sacked about 100 times (it was only six). The Saints have some issues. They’ve got to get them fixed if they’re going to make a run for the playoffs.
Honorable mentions – I’m still not believing in Tim Tebow. As a quarterback in this league, you have to be able throw the ball accurately… He can’t or hasn’t. BTW, this has nothing to do with believing in him. It has to do with the hard work that it takes to throw the ball accurately. Eli Manning played well but I’m not sure why the Giants had to struggle to get a win over the Miami Dolphins. I don’t know what to think about Joe Flacco. I know that he has to play well in order for the Ravens to win. When you’re looking at Andy Dalton, Tim Tebow and some of these other young quarterbacks, you should compare them to Cam Newton, who is playing some really fantastic football. I’m not sure that San Francisco is as good as some people say their are. Let’s wait a couple weeks before we crown them, but I do tip my hat to anyone who’s played as consistently well as they have. I’m not sure what to make out of the Kansas City Chiefs. I do know that the San Diego Chargers are not playing that well.