Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Week 11? These go to 11

Still waiting for our little one. Four days overdue now. He's gonna have some explaining to do.

New England 35, Green Bay 0: Another man's pain isn't really funny, but the circumstances can be. Filling in for dented iron man Brett Favre, who has started 251 straight games, Aaron Rodgers broke his foot after 32 whole minutes and is out for the season. Hey, that indignity is considerably more amusing than the one visited on the Packer defense.

Pittsburgh 24, Cleveland 20: Ben Roethlisberger discovers that when you lead your team to a stirring comeback victory over a (vastly inferior) historic division rival, people will let slide the fact that you were the one responsible for digging the hole so deep in the first place. Who said he didn't have anything to learn from Eli Manning?

Tampa Bay 20, Washington 17: The worst possible thing that could have happened to the Redskins on Sunday would have been for them to win the first game of the Jason Campbell era. Instead, the loss to the walking-dead Buccaneers might -- I emphasize might -- signal to the front office that while quarterback play has been a problem this season, it hasn't been the problem. What's been the problem this season? The front office! Just like every season.

Carolina 15, St. Louis 0: The Panthers outgained the hapless Rams 411 yards to 111 and controlled the ball nearly twice as long, yet still won by only 15-0. This is why no one fears a kitty-cat with teal fur.

Kansas City 17, Oakland 13: I know it was just Trent Green's first game back, and the Chiefs wanted to ease him back into things, but you can't expect to make the playoffs out of the stacked AFC West if, when facing the Raiders at home, you play the duckie for all but the last couple minutes.

Miami 24, Minnesota 20: The Joey Harrington-led Dolphins have "won" three consecutive games. The only way that could be more amazing is if Harington had played much of a role in winning them. But as Kyle Orton can tell you, this sure beats working.

Chicago 10, N.Y. Jets 0: Bad Rex. Good win!

Baltimore 24, Atlanta 10: Good Vick. Bad loss!

Arizona 17, Detroit 10: I can understand why the network had to serve Arizona and Michigan this shitburger, but what did Toledo, Ohio, ever do to Fox?

Dallas 21, Indianapolis 14: It's the matchups, people. Were I a Colts fan -- and every night I thank the big commissioner in the sky that I am not -- I'd be less concerned about a 7-point loss to Dallas on the road than I would about 1-point victories over Tennessee and Buffalo at home. The consensus appears to be that the Colts needed this loss as much as the Cowboys needed this win. Like it'll matter.

Cincinnati 31, New Orleans 16: It's never a good sign when a quarterback throws for 510 yards, especially when 145 of them come on drives that end in interceptions: two in the end zone, and one brought back for a touchdown.

Tennessee 31, Philadelphia 13: All the attention paid to the sad injury to Donovan McNabb obscures the sad reality that the Eagles were well on their way to losing this game before No. 5's knee went pop. The Dolphins, Colts, Redskins and Ravens have already learned this year that you look past the Titans at your own peril. Combine the Eagles' similar lack of focus with their now-standard operating procedure of spotting an inferior opponent the lead, and it'll be another cold, idle January at the Linc. It seems the window of opportunity has finally slammed shut on the Eagles' blunt (5 fumbles) fingers.

Buffalo 24, Houston 21: What does J.P. Losman have in common with Michael Vick? Both were first-round picks. Both spend significant chunks of the season bobbing around in the toilet, then surface from time to time with a solid game. That's about it, really. Sunday was Losman's turn to play reasonably well. He threw three touchdowns, four if you count the interception brought back for what was nearly the TD that cost the Bills the game.

San Francisco 20, Seattle 14: Though Shaun Alexander is back, the Seahawks still--OH MY GOD. The 49ers have won three straight and are now one game behind Seattle in the NFC West.

San Diego 35, Denver 27: If the Chargers can beat the Broncos in Denver, with their two steroidal freaks sitting out, then the AFC West is San Diego's to lose. Speaking of losing games or starting jobs ... I know I can't put all the blame for the Broncos' choke act on Jake Plummer's slumped shoulders, but the guy is a total wreck back there.

Jacksonville 26, N.Y. Giants 10: It was clear going in that the holey Giants defense was going to have some problems with the Jaguars offense. And sure enough, David Garrard on Monday night moved Byron Leftwich a bit closer to the starting job in Minnesota for the 2007 season (mark my words). What I foolishly assumed, however, was that New York's mostly healthy offense, with all its high-performance parts, would keep this game close enough to pull out in the end. The most dangerous part of any vehicle, of course, is the nut behind the wheel, and Eli Manning was by turns too tight, too loose and just not there at all. Your typical analyst watches a performance like Manning's against Jacksonville and declares that Eli looked as if he didn't care that he was killing his team. I can't read minds. All I'll say is that it looked as if Eli didn't notice that he was killing his team, at least until it was too late. And that may be the essential difference between the Manning boys: Peyton can throw three touchdown passes and still won't appear particularly happy. Eli can throw three interceptions brought back for touchdowns and still won't appear particularly upset.

SEASON: 96-64
(2005 through Week 10: 105-55)

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: W11 = This week's ranking. W10 = last week's ranking. POW = KAPOW-ER centigrade score)
11 Bears 100.001715Falcons32.80
23 Patriots 82.191818Vikings 32.03
32 Chargers 75.691920Dolphins30.92
44 Jaguars 70.992019Rams 26.75
55 Ravens 69.562123Browns 23.26
66 Cowboys 66.142225Bills 23.13
77 Eagles 56.592321Jets 23.11
88 Broncos 56.542424Lions 19.17
99 Colts 55.662526Redskins18.58
T1012Chiefs 44.232622Packers 15.22
T1010Giants 44.232727Texans 13.50
1211Saints 44.062830Titans 10.78
1314Bengals 43.032928Cardinals10.73
1413Steelers42.51302949ers 10.28
1517Panthers39.893132Bucs 2.46
1616Seahawks32.813231Raiders 0.00
Teams eliminated this week from Super Bowl championship consideration (what?): Jets, Eagles, Falcons. Teams previously eliminated: Raiders, Titans, Lions, Dolphins, Cardinals, Redskins, Browns, Bills, Texans, Buccaneers, 49ers, Steelers, Packers, Bengals, Vikings, Rams.

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