Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Week 8 in the former East Germany

Remember last week's dismal 6-7 record? No way we can sink lower than that! This week: 6-8. Heh. We'll get into the particulars in a second, but first let's note the most remarkable thing about this weekend's games. At one point Sunday, there were two Iowa State alumni on the field playing quarterback: Sage Rosenfels of the Texans and Seneca Wallace of the Seahawks. The only other schools with two QBs getting real* playing time this weekend: Arizona State, with Jake Plummer (Broncos) and Andrew Walter (Raiders); and Southern California, with Carson Palmer (Bengals) and Matt Leinart (Cardinals). Yes, USC, which has produced three Heisman Trophy winners and two national championships since 2002, had as many QBs on the field as Iowa State, which last year lost the game formerly known as the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl. (*"Real" means Brian Griese's garbage time with the Bears doesnt count.)

Let's do it.

Green Bay 31, Arizona 14: The Packers are going nowhere in a great green hurry, but at least they're having a little fun humiliating the downtrodden on the way there. Like Romeo Crennel in Cleveland and Brian Billick in Baltimore, Cardinals coach Denny Green scapegoated his offensive coordinator after a recent embarrassing loss. Unlike Crennel and Billick, however, all Green got was this lousy sweat-stained T-shirt and another embarrassing loss. The Cardinals' total collapse against the Bears a couple weeks back is getting more watershed-y all the time.

Chicago 41, San Francisco 10: There's no better cure for the nearly-got-our-asses-kicked-by-Arizona blues than to haul the 49ers into the boys' room and stick their heads in the toilet. And you can always count on the Niners to ratchet up the pathos even further. Last year against the Eagles, the 49ers were down by four touchdowns in the third quarter -- and kicked a field goal. Sunday against the Bears, the 49ers were down by six touchdowns in the fourth quarter -- and kicked a field goal. The only unanswered question is whether 49ers.com will try to slip in a reference to "outscoring opponents in the second half" when it puts together the season recap. I'll be watching.

N.Y. Giants 17, Tampa Bay 3: Every time Jermey Shockey drops a pass, an angel gets his wings.

Kansas City 35, Seattle 28: We're halfway through the season, so it's as good a time as any to quote myself and a bunch of other blogtards: "The Super Bowl losers' curse ends with this year's Seahawks." I'm paraphrasing there, but that's the gist of it. Yeah, Hasselbeck and Alexander are hurt. So what? It's always something with these ... defending conference champions. But forget Seattle. The Kansas City Chiefs -- starring Damon Huard in the role everybody else made famous -- are 4-3 and in as good a position as anyone to claim that sixth playoff spot that know-nothings like me were so willing to award the Jets. No one builds a winner and then destroys it quite like Herm Edwards.

San Diego 38, St. Louis 24: San Diego just keeps improving. So does St. Louis.

New England 31, Minnesota 7:Fifteen rushes, forty-three passes. What is this, the Indianapolis Colts? It took a few weeks for Tom Brady and his receivers to find a rhythm, but now they have one, and it appears to be a bossa nova. The newspapers in the Twin Cities must have been full of stories about the Vikings' new tougher-than-leather defense, because that defense went into the Metrodome on Monday night and topped off their underpants on national TV. (I absolutely love defecating-in-the-pants references! At least one a week!) I've said it many times before: No one reads their own press clippings like the Minnesota Vikings. Trust Bill Belichick to not just identify an opponent's weakness, but identify a weakness that can't be corrected during the game. Who knew the Vikings were helpless against the underneath passing game? Besides him, I mean.

Jacksonville 13, Philadephia 6: You don't have to live under a tarp at Alltel Stadium to know what's coming. I call quarterback controversy! With Byron Leftwich under center, the Jaguars have lost to the no-account Redskins and the account-in-default Texans. With David Garrard subbing for an injured Leftwich on Sunday, the Jaguars "dominated" the Eagles, in Philadelphia. Thus Garrard -- say it with me -- "just knows how to win." Hmm. Here's Garrard's line Sunday: 10-of-17 for 87 yards, no TDs, no INTs; 8 rushes for 36 yards. By comparison, here's inveterate loser Donovan McNabb's line from the same game: 18-of-34 for 161 yards, no TDs, no INTs; 5 rushes for 37 yards. If McNabb's receivers had simply done a better jobs of catching the passes he put on their palms, it would be McNabb who just knows how to win. But they dropped those passes, so McNabb doesn't just know how to win. Who does just know how to win? I guess Fred Taylor and, to a lesser extent, Maurice Jones-Drew. I put the word dominate in quotes above because I heard the word used at least a dozen times in relation to Jacksonville's performance against the Eagles. But how dominant can a team be putting up just 13 points? And the Eagles played the Jaguars to a draw for the final 51 minutes of the game. That's dominance? This is not to say Jacksonville didn't deserve to win. For the third game in a row, the Eagles left their very pretty skirts on until the middle of the fourth quarter. That's no way to go through a season.

Tennessee 28, Houston 22: I'm losing the will to live. No, wait, I'm losing the will to care. That's right. Sorry.

Atlanta 29, Cincinnati 27: I'm going to have to apologize to Michael Vick and his fans at some point. Let's see ... The Falcons play the Lions next week and the Browns after that. You can't exactly praise a guy for carving up those turkeys. Ooh, here we go: Nov. 19 against Baltimore. If Vick chews up the Ravens the way he chewed up the Steelers and Bengals, I'll have my fat ass on the bandwagon right next to the driver. Except my son is supposed to be born on or around the 17th, so I might not be able to watch. Sorry, Mike! As for the Bengals? Eh. The aroma of 8-8 is starting to get mighty pungent. That must be what a fluke smells like when you leave it out too long.

Baltimore 35, New Orleans 22: Oh crap. Up to Sunday, Ravens coach Brian Billick had spent eight years pissing away the "offensive genius" reputation he built on the backs of other people. Just when it seemed he had peed himself into a corner with another anemic offense in Baltimore, he cut Jim Fassel's throat and assumed play-calling duty himself. And the Ravens promptly went out and had their highest-scoring game of the year. Does it matter that 14 of the 35 points came from the defense? Does it matter that the Saints' offense outscored the Ravens' offense? Does it matter that the Ravens benefited greatly from Reggie Bush entering the declining phase of his career? (He does everything fast!) No. All that matters is that Billick looks right this week, and if there's one thing that Billick and his smug little smile and his round little sunglasses and his receding little hairline can tell you, it's better to look right than to be right. Right?

Cleveland 20, N.Y. Jets 13: Did Jets tight end Chris Baker catch the tying touchdown on fourth down with a minute left, as Jets fans assert? Was he pushed out of bounds? Did the Jets get screwed by replay rules that say force-outs are judgment calls that can't be reviewed. Oh God, could I care any less? We said last week (in not so many words) that the Jets' path to the playoffs was clearly laid out before them, freshly paved with shit the color of the Cleveland Browns. If you're not man enough to win a gimme against the Browns, you can't be helped.

Oakland 20, Pittsburgh 13: There is nothing -- nothing -- I can say that hasn't already been said about this game. (Which, funny enough, was exactly the same thing we said about Tampa's win over Philadelphia last week and Chicago's over Arizona the week before.) Having demonstrated that they can win the Super Bowl from the sixth seed, the Steelers are now out to prove that they can do it without even making the playoffs.

Indianapolis 34, Denver 31: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Peyton Manning is suddenly clutch? I've got all sorts of papers and media guides and scouting magazines printed on low-grade stock here, and none of it says anything about clutch. The comeback, or whatever it was, was a real ring-a-ding-ding, but I'm less focused on the 34 points the Colts scored against their perennial donkey boys than on the 31 the Broncos were able to hang on their supposed betters. If they'd have just taken the ball out of Jake Plummer's hands completely and just run straight at the Colts, they'd have likely won. Because Indianapolis couldn't stop the run with an electrified fence. Whichever way it sorts itself out, it's starting to look like these boys could meet -- oh God, not again -- in the playoffs. A win's a win, and the Colts will take it, but I do have to wonder about the celestial wisdom of it all. Last year Indy started out 13-0, and as much as they deny it, the fact of their losslessness got inside their collective head and rotted it from the inside out. Maybe it would've been better to lose this one? You know: Get all of Denver puffed up about how "This Is The Year The Broncos Finally Beat The Colts." Then playoff time comes around, and the Broncos are so giddy for another crack at the Colts that they eat their own gun against some other team. The Ravens or someone. Hey, it happened to the Colts last year. It still could happen to the Colts this year. They do play the Patriots, in Foxboro, this weekend.

Dallas 35, Carolina 14: (Remember, Tom Brady didn't win the game in which he replaced Drew Bledsoe, either.) Something funny happened on the way to the Cowboys' implosion. Bill Parcells finally got the cap off the Sambuca and started kissing his charges up one sideline and down the other. This game was sphincter-tight until Carolina achieved the perfect balance of recklessness (long passes thrown by Jake Delhomme) and fecklessness (long passes dropped by Keyshawn Johnson) and churned it into 25 rich, buttery fourth-quarter points for Dallas. I hadn't seen a game turn into a blowout so suddenly since ... well, since the first quarter of the Bears-Niners game.

SEASON: 70-44
(2005 through Week 7: 74-42)

Down and Distance's exclusive KA-POWER RANKINGS are back for their second year. The product of a simple formula, the rankings have predicted 10 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners. Further, 14 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners finished the regular season No. 1 or No. 2 in the KA-POWER RANKINGS system. Unlike with other, lesser rating systems, no opinion is involved in formulating these rankings. None. Teams are ranked on a centigrade scale, with 100 representing the NFL's strongest team and 0 its weakest. Don't like where your team is ranked? Blame science. (Key: WK8 = This week's ranking. WK7 = last week's ranking. POW = KAPOW-ER centigrade score)
11 Bears 100.001716Rams 33.61
22 Chargers 75.571822Packers 25.14
34 Patriots 73.781919Seahawks 23.54
45 Ravens 62.992017Panthers 23.44
58 Cowboys 56.772120Jets 22.59
63 Broncos 55.642221Redskins 21.81
711Giants 52.6723T25Browns 18.58
86 Colts 52.512424Dolphins 12.49
912Jaguars 50.1725T25Lions 12.05
107 Eagles 50.062623Cardinals10.76
119 Saints 43.142729Texans 9.07
1213Falcons 42.602828Bills 8.05
1315Bengals 39.792931Titans 5.98
1414Steelers39.293032Raiders 5.06
1510Vikings 34.803127Bucs 4.88
1618Chiefs 34.31323049ers 0.00
Teams eliminated this week* from Super Bowl championship consideration (what?): Texans, Buccaneers, 49ers. Teams previously eliminated: Raiders, Titans, Lions, Dolphins, Cardinals, Redskins, Browns, Bills.
*Though the Steelers have posted five losses, they've proved they can win the Super Bowl with an 11-5 record. So they get a pass for now.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Week 7 without honor or humanity

This week's gruesome 6-7 showing in the picks makes perfect sense when you understand that no one in the NFL wants to stand out this year. Last season, the Steelers won a Super Bowl championship by futzing around until every game became a must-win. So now everybody wants to stay on the bubble as long as possible. Thus, I lost three games on last-second field goals, one game on a boneheaded end-zone interception, and two games in which allegedly top-drawer teams rolled over for stiffs. And I also picked Arizona to win. That one's entirely on me.

Denver 17, Cleveland 7: How good are the Broncos? For the fourth week in a row, exactly 10 points better than the opposition. It's what they call "playing to the level of the opponent." Cleveland does it every week, too, except they lose.

New England 28, Buffalo 6: In Week 1, these two teams played in Foxboro, and the Pats barely eked out a 19-17 win. Now, suddenly the Patriots are 5-1, and the Dick Jauron hire continues to pay Buffalo exactly the kind of dividends you would expect.

Green Bay 32, Miami 24: Like I'm proud of this.

N.Y. Jets 31, Detroit 24: The Jets have already matched their win total from 2005. With the Steelers falling to pieces and the Dolphins DOA, what's to say the J-E-T-S couldn't slide into the No. 6 playoff spot in the AFC? They still have the Browns, Texans, Packers, Bills, Dolphins and Raiders to look forward to, so just beating the crappy teams on the schedule would get them to 10-6. If they can take one from the Vikings, Bears or Patriots, suddenly they'd be 11-5.

Indianapolis 36, Washington 22: Yes, Peyton Manning had a huge game, but before we get too excited, let's notice that in the box score, in the space for the visiting team, it says "Washington." These guys lost to the Titans last week. The Titans! Down and Distance isn't big on "conventional wisdom," but we live in Washington, where everybody else swears by it. And the local conventional wisdom holds that "in the offense, you gotta get the ball to your playmakers." With that in mind, some stats -- TD passes thrown to James Thrash: 1. TD passes thrown to Antwaan Randle El, Brandon Lloyd and Santana Moss combined: 0. It's a red herring, sure, but everyone else in town will be dining on it.

N.Y. Giants 36, Dallas 22: Hey, what's going on with that Tiki Barber guy? Haven't heard much about him lately. Why did I pick the Giants on the road here? Because the Cowboys are being consumed from within. Bill Parcells pulling Drew Bledsoe after one interception was the second-least-surprising thing to happen in this game. And he least surprising thing? Tony Romo throwing three interceptions after replacing Bledsoe. No, he actually isn't the answer. You didn't know that?

Tampa Bay 23, Philadelphia 21: Donovan McNabb throws a career-high five touchdown passes, but only three of them to his own team, as the Buccaneers "beat" the Eagles the same way the Bears "beat" the Cardinals last Monday.

Cincinnati 17, Carolina 14: In his career, Jake Delhomme had never turned the ball over inside the opponents' 10 yard line. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The Bengals could win the AFC North by default.

Atlanta 41, Pittsburgh 38 (OT): And the Steeler bandwagon throws a rod after just one week. In the first half alone we saw both how Pittsburgh rolled to two decisive wins this year -- by moving the ball at will -- and how Pittsburgh chalked up three embarrassing losses -- with all kinds of mental errors. Yet they were still ahead by three, until Ben Roethlisberger broke something else.

Kansas City 30, San Diego 27: On the way to 8-8, you're going to win a couple good ones here and there, especially when you can catch the Chargers sniffing their shorts for a half.

Houston 27, Jacksonville 7: Wow. Not even close. Suddenly the Jaguars' loss to Washington doesn't seem like such a fluke.

Minnesota 31, Seattle 13: Wow. Not even close. Suddenly the Vikings' win over Washington doesn't seem like such a fluke

Oakland 22, Arizona 6: This time the Cardinals tried spotting the other team a 14-point lead in the first quarter, and yet the result was the same. Behold the power of the red bird: Arizona has forced 11 turnovers in their last two games, and still lost both times.

SEASON: 64-36
(2005 through Week 7: 64-38)

Down and Distance's exclusive KA-POWER RANKINGS are back for their second year. The product of a simple formula, the rankings have predicted 10 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners. Further, 14 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners finished the regular season No. 1 or No. 2 in the KA-POWER RANKINGS system. Unlike with other, lesser rating systems, no opinion is involved in formulating these rankings. None. Teams are ranked on a centigrade scale, with 100 representing the NFL's strongest team and 0 its weakest. Don't like where your team is ranked? Blame science. (Key: WK7 = This week's ranking. WK6 = last week's ranking. POW = KAPOW-ER centigrade score)
11 Bears 100.001717Panthers 35.09
22 Chargers 81.171819Chiefs 33.96
33 Broncos 72.651918Seahwaks 27.69
47 Patriots 69.532021Jets 27.52
56 Ravens 65.802120Redskins 25.25
69 Colts 58.182228Packers 19.67
78 Eagles 56.392322Cardinals 18.07
84 Cowboys 54.572425Dolphins 16.07
910Saints 54.48T2524Browns 15.64
1016Vikings 51.89T2526Lions 15.64
1113Giants 50.972729Bucs 14.05
125 Jaguars 50.652823Bills 11.70
1312Falcons 46.622931Texans 10.73
1411Steelers46.26302749ers 10.39
1514Bengals 45.223130Titans 0.84
1615Rams 42.633232Raiders 0.00

Teams eliminated this week from Super Bowl championship consideration (what?): Redskins, Browns, Bills. Teams previously eliminated: Raiders, Titans, Lions, Dolphins, Cardinals.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Week 6, now with Retsin!

I have to say, I'd never spent a Monday night hoping that the team I picked would lose. But seeing Arizona thoroughly dominate the Bears for three quarters made me say, "Hey, this would be a really nice story if the Cardinals won." Yeah, well. Get ready for a week of how-resilient-are-the-Bears stories rather than a week of what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-Rex stories. With Chicago's ridiculous victory, I finished 9-4 for the week in the picks, which doesn't seem like much, but no one did any better, and 16 out of 22 did worse.

Because this is Week 6, Down and Distance has begun tracking the teams that have been eliminated from consideration for the Super Bowl championship. Why Week 6? See our explanation from last year. The upshot is that no team can be expected to win the Super Bowl after losing five games in the regular season. Two teams have proved themselves exceptions: the Patriots and Steelers. So they get eliminated at six losses.

So as this rap is winding down, it's plain to see I forgot my hat ...

Seattle 30, St. Louis 28: In Week 3, the Rams were leading by 2 when the Cardinals turned the ball over in field goal range in the final two minutes. The Rams won to improve to 2-1. In Week 4, the Rams were leading by 7 when the Lions turned the ball over in the final two minutes. The Rams won to improve to 3-1. In Week 5, the Rams were leading by 3 when the Packers turned the ball over in field goal range in the final two minutes. The Rams won to improve to 4-1. On Sunday, Week 6, the Rams were trailing by 6 when the Seahawks turned the ball over in field goal range in the final three minutes. The Rams scored, then the Seahawks scored, and the Rams lost. Give St. Louis credit for being better than some people (me) were willing to admit, but don't give them too much credit. When you're up 21-7 on the defending division and conference champions, you have to slam the door. Referee-Administered Beatdown of the Week: Ed Hochuli tells the St. Louis crowd -- and Rams coach Scott Linehan, who's dancing around like a fool on the sideline -- that the offensive penalty against Seattle did not, in fact, end the game. Nonsensical Faux-Insight Quote of the Week: After Deion Branch caught his second TD on a sweet fade from Matt Hasselbeck, Fox commentator Ron Pitts declared, "They'll say it every time, because it's true: A perfect throw will beat perfect coverage all day long." This appears to be an attempt to adapt the baseball adage "good pitching beats good hitting" to football. The problem, Pitts, is that in football a perfect throw is, by definition, one that beats the coverage. It's like saying, "You know, if you want three points, you should kick the ball through the uprights." Idiot.

N.Y. Giants 27, Atlanta 14: I admit that I loves to make me some fun of the fact that when Michael Vick is in one of his little grooves, he couldn't hit a receiver on the hands even if he had a ruler and a nun's habit. (Does that even make any sense?) But Sunday, he ws not in one of those grooves. Five minutes into the first quarter, he laid a pass right on Roddy White's butter-coated fingers; White not only tipped the ball to Giants DB Sam Madison, he also quit on the play as Madison ran the INT back upfield. About seven minutes later, Vick launched a 65-yard rocket that came down square on the damn palms of Michael Jenkins, who dropped it. With Vick's receivers working overtime to screw him, the Giants eventually took the lead. Jeremy Shockey caught two touchdowns; I'm sure we'll all be sorry for that soon enough.

Dallas 34, Houston 6: In the football equivalent of winning the battle but losing the war, the Cowboys got the ball to Terrell Owens for three touchdowns. Here's why the Texans are the Texans: With 34 seconds left in the first half and the game tied 3-3, Houston had 3rd-and-1 at the Dallas 31. Common sense says you either take a shot at the end zone or you throw a quick out to the sideline to try to get the first down and kill the clock. So long as you don't throw an interception, you can only benefit. Houston's call? Ron Dayne off right tackle for no gain. Houston kicks the field goal -- which is all it would have been able to do even if Dayne had gotten the first down -- to go up 6-3. Dallas promptly scores 31 unanswered in the second half.

Detroit 20, Buffalo 17: A total turkey, this game. The only thing that redeemed it was Roy Williams' touchdown celebration at the end of the first half. After catching a 28-yard TD in the back corner of the end zone, Williams made a beeline for a 5- or 6-year-old kid sitting in the front row, hopped onto the rail fronting the stands, handed the kid the ball and tousled his hair. The kid was wearing Williams' No. 11 jersey. Too cute. The only thing missing was a kitty-cat, though Roary tried to stick his sorry flammable ass in there. In the fourth quarter, CBS put up a graphic purporting to show what a clutch quarterback J.P. Losman is. In the fourth quarter of games this season, it said, he had completed nearly 70% of his passes for 231 yards, 1 touchdown, no interceptions and a 99.4 rating. The graphic left out the fact that in the fourth quarter in Week 1, Losman took a sack in the end zone for a game-losing safety. And that one fourth-quarter TD pass? It came in the final minute against the Bears last week when the Bills were down 40-0. He's like Elway out there!

San Diego 48, San Francisco 19: Probably doesn't make Stan Humphries and Natrone Means feel any better, but there had to have been some longtime Charger fan somewhere whispering "take that" as LaDainian Tomlinson scored his fourth touchdown.

N.Y. Jets 20, Miami 17: What a dog. CBS can send its No. 1 team to the Meadowlands to hype up Jets-Dolphins as a meaningful game, but a dog's a dog.

Pittsburgh 45, Kansas City 7: The Bengals have crumbled. The Ravens, they stumbled. The Browns just bumbled. And Pittsbrugh rumbled! K.C. was humbled. Herm Edwards grumbled. Big Ben mumbled: "So what if I tumbled? It's not like I fumbled." AFC North is jumbled.

Denver 13, Oakland 3: It's always nice to win by 10 points, and Denver has done so each of the past three weeks. But a 17-7 victory over the unbeaten Patriots and a 13-3 victory over the unbeaten Ravens are considerably more impressive than a 13-3 win over the winless Raiders. Something's just wrong in the mountains when Oakland, at 0-5, is the only team to have scored fewer points than the 4-1 Broncos.

Chicago 24, Arizona 23: All week we'd been hearing about how this was going to be an ugly blowout. On offense, we'd see a team move the ball at will and build a big lead. On defense, we'd see them beat the holy hell out of ballcarriers and pressure their opponent's young quarterback into costly mistakes. And for the first three quarters, that team was the Cardinals? Then, in the fourth quarter, when all Arizona needed to do was get a few first downs and keep the clock moving, Dennis Green abandoned the short passing game that had shredded the Bears and instead played the send-Edgerrin-into-the-teeth-of-the-beast-on-every-play card. How was Chicago able to come all the way back? Because Green's play-calling extended the game by a full half-hour. Regardless of all that, what we saw at the Pink Taco was what happens when you get caught looking past an opponent -- any opponent -- in the NFL. You show up on Monday Night Football preening and dancing and flexing your muscles for the cameras and before you know it you're down 20 points -- and you're lucky it's not 30. I've already explained what the lesson of this game for the Cardinals was. You figure out what it should be for the Bears. Probably that they shouldn't let Rex Grossman read about himself in the newspaper anymore.

New Orleans 27, Philadelphia 24: It's not as if the Eagles were ambushed by some fired-up Division I-AA program here. The Saints were 4-1 coming in and had dismantled the Falcons on national television. Remember? That game with all the people talking about the hurricanes? The president's dad flipped the coin? That one. And yet the Eagles gagged lolly for the whole first and second quarters, showed up briefly for the third, then got their asses delivered to them in the fourth. All right, Philadelphia, laissez la panique rouler! During the game, the Fox crew threw up a graphic that was meant, I guess, to demonstrate that the Saints are the league's most woeful franchise. New Orleans is one of only three NFL teams, the Chyron said, never to have appeared in either a Super Bowl or a pre-merger NFL championship game. The others two clubs are Jacksonville and Houston, both of which are considerably younger than the Saints (and the Jaguars have at least been to a conference championship game twice). This was true, as far as it went, but let's look at it another way: How long have fans of each franchise been waiting for their team to appear in a title game? The longest waits, in years:
Steelers 2005 Super Bowl 1
Seahawks 2005 Super Bowl 1
Patriots 2004 Super Bowl 2
Eagles 2004 Super Bowl 2
Panthers 2003 Super Bowl 3
Bucs 2002 Super Bowl 4
Raiders 2002 Super Bowl 4
Texans 2002 Expansion 4
Rams 2001 Super Bowl 5
Giants 2000 Super Bowl 6
Ravens 2000 Super Bowl 6
Titans 1999 Super Bowl 7
Broncos 1998 Super Bowl 8
Falcons 1998 Super Bowl 8
Packers 1997 Super Bowl 9
Cowboys 1995 Super Bowl 11
Jaguars 1995 Expansion 11
49ers 1994 Super Bowl 12
Chargers 1994 Super Bowl 12
Bills 1993 Super Bowl 13
Redskins 1991 Super Bowl 15
Bengals 1988 Super Bowl 18
Bears 1985 Super Bowl 21
Dolphins 1984 Super Bowl 22
Vikings 1976 Super Bowl 30
Colts 1970 Super Bowl 35
Chiefs 1969 Super Bowl 36
Browns 1969 NFL Champ. 36
Jets 1968 Super Bowl 37
Saints 1967 Expansion 39
Lions 1957 NFL Champ. 49
Cardinals 1948 NFL Champ. 58
Ah, the usual suspects!

Tennessee 25, Washington 22: Washington started out looking great, but then, as usual, they filled their underwear as soon as they fell behind. The Redskins, like the Eagles, can't say they couldn't have seen it coming. The Titans very nearly beat the Colts last week -- although nearly beating the Colts doesn't really seem to be as difficult as it once was. What made this one a real huckleberry was that it wasn't No. 1 USA Superstar Vince Young who ran wild on the Redskins, but Travis Henry. Travis Henry! I don't know what's wrong with the Redskins, though everyone else in town seems to. (Brandon Lloyd's theory: Not enough Brandon Lloyd in the gameplan. And he may be right.) It's either too many stars, or not enough stars, or not enough stars in the right places. I'll wait for the local hive mind to weigh in on Redskins Lunch. One post-game caller, though, opined that the 2-4 record is the fault of "all these defensive coordinators they keep bringing in." Has someone told Gregg Williams about these guys?

Carolina 23, Baltimore 21: I'd have picked the Panthers if I'd known Steve McNair was going to get hurt! Heh. Touchdown passes in five-plus games this year by McNair, who was brought in because Kyler Boller sucks: 5. Touchdown passes Sunday by Kyle Boller: 3. The best thing about statistics like these is that you can't tell when they've been twisted grotesquely out of context. Carolina does this to me every year: They come out and crap their pants in the opener, stumble around unimpressively for a few weeks, and then all of a sudden are 4-2. You don't want to say it's all Steve Smith, but ... you don't have to, because I just said it.

Tampa Bay 14, Cincinnati 13: I'm not saying that wasn't a touchdown on the play that got reviewed right at the end, but if there was indisputable visual evidence, I didn't see it. I watched maybe 10 minutes of this game over the course of the afternoon, and it was 10 minutes too many. Pee-yoo. Cincy appears to have peaked. The question in: Has Tampa?

SEASON: 58-29
(2005 through Week 6: 56-32)

Down and Distance's exclusive KA-POWER RANKINGS are back for their second year. The product of a simple formula, the rankings have predicted 10 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners. Further, 14 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners finished the regular season No. 1 or No. 2 in the KA-POWER RANKINGS system. Unlike with other, lesser rating systems, no opinion is involved in formulating these rankings. None. Teams are ranked on a centigrade scale, with 100 representing the NFL's strongest team and 0 its weakest. (Key: WK6 = This week's ranking. WK5 = last week's ranking. POW = KAPOW-ER centigrade score)
11 Bears 100.001717Panthers 45.06
22 Chargers 95.711818Seahawks 44.57
39 Broncos 72.95197 Chiefs 40.24
412Cowboys 70.562019Redskins 38.87
56 Jaguars 70.462124Jets 32.76
63 Ravens 70.452222Cardinals32.60
78 Patriots 65.952323Bills 30.94
85 Eagles 65.382421Browns 30.32
911Colts 61.912526Dolphins 27.42
1010Saints 60.662628Lions 25.99
1120Steelers58.37272549ers 22.57
124 Falcons 55.852827Packers 21.87
1316Giants 54.162930Bucs 19.06
1413Bengals 52.123031Titans 14.32
1514Rams 50.423129Texans 9.52
1615Vikings 50.403232Raiders 0.00

Teams eliminated from Super Bowl championship consideration (what?): Raiders, Titans, Lions, Dolphins, Cardinals.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

In defense of Harrington
... or maybe I mean Culpepper

3 8 special

The Miami Dolphins have benched Daunte Culpepper -- possibly for the rest of the season -- and will be starting Joey Harrington at quarterback. This tells us:

A) Harrington is a better quarterback than Culpepper.
B) Culpepper's knee is not fully healed after he tore his ACL, his MCL ... pretty much every CL except NaCl.
C) The 2004 Detroit Lions offensive line was worse than the 2004 Minnesota Vikings offensive line.

The answer, obviously, is C. Because whenever a multiple-choice answer is a total non sequitur like that, it has to be the correct one. Congratulations. You just learned one of the secrets of journalism and mass communication.

In the Dolphins' first four games -- a sluggish loss to the Steelers, a shocking loss to the Bills, a gruesome win over the Titans and a humiliating loss to the Texans -- Culpepper was sacked 21 times. Last Sunday, in a predictable loss to the Patriots, Harrington was sacked just once. The numbers make sense if you noticed the subtle differences in the way they played. For example, when the rush closed in on Culpepper, he'd hold the ball, hold the ball, hold the ball, then do a little cha-cha-cha before going down in an embarrassing pile. When the rush closed in on Harrington, on the other hand, his eyes would get big like pie plates and he would dump the ball off or throw it away. Neither quarterback was making Miami fans forget Dan Marino, or even Jay Fiedler, but our pal Joey at least helped the cause by not losing 12 yards every other time he dropped back. Hell, if Harrington hadn't thrown two interceptions, the Dolphins might have even beaten the Patriots. Which is sort of like saying that except for that business at Dealey Plaza, Jackie had a great time in Dallas.

The question has been circulating for a year now: What's wrong with Culpepper? The conventional wisdom -- the kind of thinking Down and Distance sneers at unless we can get a funny joke out of it -- held that Culpepper was lost without his longtime favorite target, Randy Moss, who was run out of Minnesota for miscreant behavior a season before Culpepper had the same thing done to him. (To be fair, if I had to pick a player to live in my neighborhood, I'd rather have the one who played dice on a boat full of strippers rather than the one who tried to run over a meter maid. But I'm a native Minnesotan.) And yes, Culpepper did indeed go ass-up as soon as he had to play without Moss: Coming off an incredible season in 2004, he opened 2005 with 8 interceptions and no touchdowns in his first two games. Last year, in games against teams that weren't living out of suitcases in San Antonio, he threw just three touchdowns and 12 interceptions before his knee was destroyed (a medical term) against Carolina in the seventh game of the season.

The most significant difference between the 2004 Vikings and the 2005 Vikings, however, wasn't the disappearance of Randy Moss; it was the loss of four-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk, who sat out the year recovering both from hip surgery and from the team's well-thought-out, cheap-ass way of doing business. Without Birk to keep the bad guys out of the pocket, Culpepper was missing a critical element of his success: not Moss, but time. Facing the kind of relentless pocket pressure he had never before experienced, he started off dreadfully in 2005. And just when he seemed to be adjusting -- we forget that the week before his injury, he had a passer rating of 123.1 against the Packers -- he was out for the year.

So we zip forward to 2006, and here's Culpepper in Miami. Remember? The Dolphins were going to challenge the Pats for the AFC East title? They had an outside shot at the Super Bowl? And then the season started, and Miami went plunk! right into the toilet, and the first thing we heard was the old Victrola playing Culpepper Can't Do It Without Moss (which is a Lindy, I think). The second thing we heard was "Culpepper is no good if he can't run." Which is pretty silly, too, because even if he didn't have a knee rebuilt out of an Erector Set, where's he going to run to? A "mobile" quarterback, however you want to define that, isn't out there by himself. He has to have a line in front of him holding off the rush so he either has the time to wait for a receiver to get open or has an escape route should he pull the ball down and run with it. Michael Vick is an exciting guy and a tough little bastard, but if he didn't have a halfway-decent line, his career would be over by now. (It'll be short enough as it is.) Culpepper wasn't getting any protection from his line, but he didn't seem to realize it. This is not a guy who's used to the pocket collapsing around him. In Minnesota, pre-2005, he occasionally experienced protection problems and from time to time took a "coverage sack." But in Miami he's been stuck behind the Maginot Line. He holds the ball too long because throughout his career he's never had to get rid of it in a hurry. He tries to run because he thinks there's going to be someplace to go. And, of course, on some level he doesn't realize that the knee still ain't right. Oh yeah, and no Randy Moss. Put it together, and you've got a disaster.

And this all leads us back to Harrington, who still, resolutely, goes by "Joey" when it's really got to be easier in the locker room if you're a "Joe." Down and Distance has always been something of a Joey Harrington fan, though not really for his play. The guy is probably a career backup, and there's no shame in that. What you have to respect about Harrington, though, is that he hung in there as long as he did in Detroit, where he was set up to fail from the time he arrived as the third overall pick in the 2002 draft. (Please note that he went to Oregon, the school that hyped the Smith brothers, Akili and Onterrio, all the way into the NFL. Oregon's mascot should probably be the Red Herring rather than the Duck.) Once Harrington got into the league, Detroit Lions resident genius Matt Millen stuck him first with a coach who didn't know what he was doing (Marty Mornhinwheg), then one who never had any intention of giving him a shot (Steve Mariucci). Millen supplied Harrington a cadre of receivers whose egos were as fragile as their clavicles, plus a twelfth-rate offensive line. And when Harrington proved himself only an average quarterback, which, considering the circumstances, was not too shabby, Millen let him take all the blame for the franchise's pathetic condition.

But as it turns out, Harrington may get the last laugh. (Or, he would if anyone in Miami can laugh anymore.) As it turns out, three-and-a-half years running for your life in Detroit prepares you perfectly to play quarterback for the 2006 Miami Dolphins. As it turns out, the Dolphins didn't need a quarterback who won games with a good team; they needed one who lost games on a bad team. Culpepper put up fantastic numbers in Minnesota by throwing the ball to trapeze artists from behind the Berlin Wall. Harrington put up mediocre numbers in Detroit by throwing the ball sideways as the building collapsed around him. Who do you think is better prepared for the job in Miami?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Week 5 recap, mostly T.O.-free

After two weeks in which I barely kept my head above water at 8-6, I turned in a solid 12-2 this week in The Writers Picks, posted here. Of course, I wasn't the only one at 12-2. And several people went 14-0, so it's not like I climbed in the standings. I could have gone 14-0, too. If, say, Brett Favre had not gone Kurt Warner and fumbled the ball away in field goal range. And if, say, Drew Bledsoe had thrown fewer passes to a) Terrell Owens, and b) Eagles defenders. Then I would have been undefeated, and everyone else would be looking up at me. Now, if you'll excuse me. I have some tile to regrout in the bathroom.

Indianapolis 14, Tennessee 13: The Colts continue to crumble. You can any-given-Sunday this all you want, but a come-from-behind victory over a Titans team that got waxed by Dallas last week is even less impressive than last week's come-from-behind victory over a Jets team that got waxed by the Jaguars this week. Don't let 5-0 fool you: Indianapolis is falling apart. The line on this game, by the way, was Colts by 18 1/2 points. Only the worst kind of sucker would fall for that.

Chicago 40, Buffalo 7: The Bears are the anti-Colts. Both teams are 5-0, but while Indianapolis is eking out increasingly tiny victories over increasingly lousy teams, Chicago is kicking the crap out of all comers, from the defending NFC champions of Seattle to the meandering boys of Buffalo. There are as yet no visible weaknesses. The defense eats children 5 and up for breakfast. The running game is clomping waffle marks into opposing linebackers. Rex Grossman is firing on as many cylinders as you want to give him. And we're getting into the part of the season where Lovie Smith wears that hat so unapologetically. This is the most dominant team the league has had in years. Notice I didn't say the "best" team. It's too early to make that kind of judgment. I said the "most dominant" team. The way they're blowing people into Lake Michigan is incredible.

New York Giants 19, Washington 3: The Redskins are better than this. They have to be. Seeing Eli Manning hang in there and deliver the ball knowing that he was going to get blasted almost makes me want to take back some of the bad things I said about him last year. And last week. (I said almost.) Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora both got a sack Sunday, so we can all shut up about that for a while. It's Mark Brunell -- he's 55 years old. You could sack him from a wheelchair.

Carolina 20, Cleveland 12: This week's least-surprising result.

Minnesota 26, Detroit 17: Purple and fool's gold. This was the first time the Vikings scored more than 20 points this season, no thanks to the offense. You can't count on your defense to score two touchdowns every week, nor can you count on the other team to give the game away in the waning minutes.

New Orleans 24, Tampa Bay 21: At halftime, Fox's Jimmy Johnson declared that when Chris Simms returns, he'll probably do so as Bruce Gradkowski's backup. Maybe so, but jeez. Perhaps we could give Gradkowski more than one TD pass -- and let Simms' body get cold -- before we start bending over backwards with the Tom Brady comparisons. He lost the game, for God's sake.

New England 20, Miami 10: Speaking of the Hollerin' Yokels of Fox NFL Sunday, Terry Bradshaw declared on the pregame: "I never was a Culpepper fan because I thought Randy Moss made him the great quarterback that he was in Minnesota. Without Moss, Culpepper is a just a good quarterback." Actually, without Moss, Culpepper hasn't even been a good quarterback. Without Moss, Culpepper has been the kind of quarterback who makes people in South Florida suggest that Joey Harrington should start for a while. Harrington did start on Sunday, and for about a half he played better than Tom Brady. But only for a half. He'll hold the job until Culpepper recovers from his knee injury (for real, rather than in Dolphins Front Office Fantasy Land), which is the way it should have been back in August.

Kansas City 23, Arizona 20: Having a budding superstar like Matt Leinart taking the snaps is great, but when the clock ticks down to zero, it's the Cardinal on the helmet, not the name on the jersey, that matters most.

Jacksonville 41, N.Y. Jets 0: Watching the Jaguars choke away the game in Washington last week, it was inevitable that they'd come home and take out their aggression on the poor Jets. AP refers to this one as "the worst Jets loss in 20 years." I mean, yeah, it's embarrassing, but is it really worse than that cold January day in Pittsburgh when Doug Brien died? Here's the kind of day it was for Gang Green: Coach Eric Mangini ran quarterback-of-the-future Kellen Clemens out there for the last series just to get his feet wet in what would have been garbage time if the score had been 41-3. But it was 41-0, and the Jags were gunning for the shutout. So Clemens got sacked twice and fumbled the ball away. Welcome to the NFL. Now, kneel before Zod.

San Francisco 34, Oakland 20: The resistible force meets the movable object, and we have our answer: It's better to have a team full of marginal grinders than a team full of talented loafers.

San Diego 23, Pittsburgh 13: No doubt about it, Philip Rivers has made the Chargers "his" team. Meanwhile, his fellow member of the Class of 2004, Ben Roethlisberger, had nowhere to go but down after winning the Super Bowl. And down he goes.

Denver 13, New England 3: Another Monday night shootout. Remember when Steve McNair was going to invigorate the Baltimore offense? Remember when Jake Plummer quit making bad decisions? Regardless, the most important thing about this game is that Chris McAlister's fumble recovery appears to have made the difference in giving me my first-ever (and likely last-ever) fantasy football victory. My team, the Ramshackle Hobos, came into the weekend last in the league at 0-4. Lucky for me, my opponent was also 0-4 and appears to have already given up on his team. I didn't know Randy Moss played fantasy football!

St. Louis 23, Green Bay 20: The upset special once again comes up one or two plays short. One of these days I'm gonna look like a genius, and you're all gonna say you knew me back when. Did I mention that I correctly picked the Ravens to upset the Steelers last year? After three straight narrow victories over the likes of the Cardinals, Lions and Packers, suddenly the Rams -- the Rams! -- are 4-1 and leading the NFC West. My, do cupcakes taste delicious!

Philadelphia 38, Dallas 24: The real shame of the T.O.-returns-to-Philly hoax was that it reduced Donovan McNabb, a decent man and a great damn quarterback, to a kind of grotesque sideshow -- one-half of a song-and-dance number of which he never wanted to be a part. So although I called this game wrong, it was pleasing to see McNabb put up ridiculous numbers (18-of-33 for 354 yards and 2 TDs) while Owens metastasized up and down the Dallas sideline.

SEASON: 49-25
(2005 through Week 3: 46-28)

Down and Distance's exclusive KA-POWER RANKINGS are back for their second year. The product of a simple formula, the rankings have predicted 10 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners. Further, 14 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners finished the regular season No. 1 or No. 2 in the KA-POWER RANKINGS system. Unlike with other, lesser rating systems, no opinion is involved in formulating these rankings. None. Teams are ranked on a centigrade scale, with 100 representing the NFL's strongest team and 0 its weakest. Don't like where your team's ranked? Blame science. (Key: WK5 = This week's ranking. WK4 = last week's ranking. POW = KAPOW-ER centigrade score.)
11 Bears 100.001722Panthers 37.57
22 Chargers 86.221819Seahawks 36.77
33 Ravens 70.461917Redskins 33.21
46 Falcons 63.202020Steelers 28.58
57 Eagles 61.942123Browns 25.55
616Jaguars 61.852225Cardinals 25.32
75 Chiefs 60.202314Bills 24.93
810Patriots 57.772415Jets 24.54
911Broncos 57.18252949ers 24.01
108 Saints 54.882624Dolphins 20.74
119 Colts 54.112728Packers 17.91
124 Cowboys 52.842826Lions 17.45
1312Bengals 46.612927Texans 14.45
1413Rams 45.753030Bucs 9.94
1518Vikings 43.703131Titans 2.69
1621Giants 42.233232Raiders 0.00

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Week 4 with a side of slaw

Another 8-6 week in the picks. I'm lucky I came out ahead at all after the events of the past week. First I mistook my Vicodin for Mentos, and then that dude cleated me in the melon. I'm a Cowboy, on a steel horse I ride.

Atlanta 32, Arizona 10: Michael Vick messed around and got a double-triple as the ... You know, it's just more fun to write about the Cardinals. After Sunday, Edgerrin James' per-carry average is down to 3.1 yards, a full yard lower than in all but one of his seasons in the league (2002, after he tore the ACL). At this rate, he'll need 323 carries just to reach 1,000 yards, but he won't be alive long enough to get them. That's what happens when your passing game is a mess. Last week, Kurt Warner was threatened with benching after he threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. What an improvement: only two fumbles (one lost) and an interception returned for a touchdown. Performances like that had Cardinals fans calling for Matt Leinart, who then came into the game, lost a fumble and threw an interception. Atlanta fans can enjoy the win, but should perhaps ask themselves why they could muster only one offensive touchdown vs. six field goals against the hardly stout Cardinals.

Kansas City 41, San Francisco 0: Now there's the 49ers we know and love. Poor San Francisco gets caught in the middle of the highway as Damon Huard takes out the accumulated road rage of 5 years of carrying a clipboard.

Dallas 45, Tennessee 14: The Cowboys went out and stomped the Titans. Only one Titan stomped back.

Indianapolis 31, New York Jets 28: Oh, the collapse is looming. The Colts barely beat the Giants, clobbered the Texans (which doesn't count), squeaked past the Jaguars and, Sunday, needed nearly every second of the game to edge the Jets. They're the weakest of the three remaining unbeaten teams. After watching Sunday's limp game plan by the Colts -- 3 yard run, 3 yard run, incomplete pass, punt -- I was left asking: The Colts do realize that although it's Eric Mangini standing over there, he isn't coaching the Patriots secondary anymore, right? Talk about traumatized. And I'd think that Colts special teams coach Russ Purnell would get an earful from Tony Dungy this week after giving up an onside kick and a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Except that I'm not sure anybody ever gets an earful from Tony Dungy.

Carolina 21, New Orleans 18: Carolina's now 2-2. At least no one had to get killed this week.

Cleveland 24, Oakland 21: The Fox Sports Game Trax report says, "The Cleveland Browns staged an improbable rally, winning 24-21 after trailing 21-3 in the first half." What's improbable about it? It's the Raiders. And if you don't know who Leigh Bodden is, just ask Randy Moss.

Chicago 37, Seattle 6: Wow, have the Seahawks fallen that far? More likely, the Bears have risen this far. Want trouble? Take a team that's tired of hearing about being the best in a soft division, put them on national TV against the defending conference champions, and then keep your head down. Will Rex Grossman get this team to the Super Bowl before the chip breaks his shoulder?

Philadelphia 31, Green Bay 9: Well, for a couple quarters that was uglier than it should have been. Attention Eagles equipment manager: You grease the footballs in practice, not in the real games.


Baltimore 16, San Diego 13: Late in the game, with San Diego up 13-7, the Chargers recovered a fumble at the Baltimore 25. In such a tight game, another field goal might well have iced it for the Chargers, but they shot themselves in the face: A sloppy clipping penalty pushed them back 15 yards, then Mike Scifres bobbled a perfect snap on the field goal attempt. The CBS announcer declared: "The Ravens defense always comes up with the big play!" With Ben Roethlisberger regressing to the mean (and he hopes it's his mean rather than Mike Tomczak's) and the Bengals reading their own press clippings, the early answer to the AFC North's big question -- Steelers or Bengals? -- is "Ravens."

Buffalo 17, Minnesota 12: Another week, another four field goals for Minnesota. This time around, it wasn't enough, but hey, it never is.

Houston 17, Miami 15: The Down and Distance Curse-in-Reverse strikes again! The week after we trash a team, that team invariably goes out and plays inspired ball. "Plays inspired ball," in this case, means "hangs on by their toenails as the league's most feckless offense stumbles toward a comeback like a chicken with its head and both legs cut off." The big difference for Houston this week was that David Carr's fourth-quarter heroics (one TD running, one TD passing) came when the team was down by less than four touchdowns. And look at this: Mario Williams got one and a half sacks! I don't see how the Dolphins can sink any lower than this, but they have the Packers on the schedule in Week 7 and the Lions in Week 12, so there's ample opportunity to do just that.

St. Louis 41, Detroit 34: This was my upset special, and it nearly went my way. I'm trying to get worked up over this, but it's just not happening. Good gravy: St. Louis is 3-1 and tied with Seattle for the division lead. The STL should enjoy it while it lasts.

New England 38, Cincinnati 13: Marvin Lewis is a great coach, and he's worked a near-miracle in Cincinnati. But he's just the latest coach to discover that no one knows his shit like Bill Belichick knows his shit. Everyone in The Writers Picks chose the Bengals to win this week because everyone forgot that Belichick and the Patriots always find a way to win when they have to -- except when their opponent is the Denver Broncos. Why did we forget it this week? Because last week's opponent was the Denver Broncos. When did you know this game was over? Down and Distance has long maintained that whenever an offense-oriented team scores a field goal on the opening drive of the game, that team is probably going to lose. If you get deep enough into enemy territory to kick the field goal, you should be able to score a touchdown. It's the first drive of the game; the defense hasn't had time to adjust. It's now or never! If you can't score a TD now, you probably won't later. And sure enough, that's what happened to Cincinnati on Sunday: Their opening drive fizzled out on the New England 22, and the Patriots would up rolling right over them. Offense-oriented teams need to jump out to the early lead. There's a reason Peyton Manning isn't known for his fourth-quarter comebacks.

Washington 36, Jacksonville 30: A solid win for the Redskins over a Jaguars team that must be feeling punch-drunk after consecutive games against the Cowboys (9-7 in 2005), Steelers (Super Bowl champs), Colts (14-2 and the No. 1 AFC seed) and Redskins (10-6 and a playoff team). Serves Jacksonville right after skating to a "12-4" record last year. Again, great win for the Redskins, though I wouldn't go so far as to say it's the "biggest Redskins win in five years." I don't have to. Everybody else in town is saying it. Pooh.

SEASON: 37-23
(2005 through Week 3: 38-22)

Down and Distance's exclusive KA-POWER RANKINGS are back for their second year. The product of a simple formula, the rankings have predicted 10 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners. Further, 14 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners finished the regular season No. 1 or No. 2 in the KA-POWER RANKINGS system. Unlike with other, lesser rating systems, no opinion is involved in formulating these rankings. None. Teams are ranked on a centigrade scale, with 100 representing the NFL's strongest team and 0 its weakest. Don't like where your team's ranked? Blame science. (Key: WK4 = This week's ranking. WK3 = last week's ranking. POW = KAPOW-ER centigrade score.)
13 Bears 100.001718Redskins45.98
21 Chargers 95.731815 Vikings 43.55
32 Ravens 85.82196 Seahawks 42.14
49 Cowboys 72.422020Steelers 39.59
5T27Chiefs 70.742121Giants 39.15
612Falcons 67.292223Panthers 37.34
78 Eagles 66.222326Browns 33.38
85 Saints 61.712425Dolphins 29.95
97 Colts 59.972519Cardinals29.33
1017Patriots59.4626T27Lions 23.29
1111Broncos 51.8327T27Texans 20.91
124 Bengals 51.502824Packers 20.80
1314Rams 50.51292249ers 19.38
1416Bills 48.383031Bucs 5.96
1513Jets 47.433130Titans 4.59
1610Jaguars 46.803232Raiders 0.00