Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Disasterous weeks for both the Bears and Redskins. Here are the stats:

OVERALL NFL PREDICTIONS:
JKD won the week, but Deeps maintains the lead.
Deepie is 78-37
JKD is second at 73-43
I am at 70-46

BEARS/REDSKINS PREDICTIONS:
Deepie is 9-6
JKD and I are 7-8

DEFENSE:

Bears - #22 scoring defense (23 pts/game, up 1 slot), #26 defense in terms of yardage/game (358 yds/game, down 1 slot). Ranked #26 in rushing defense (131 yards/game, no change).

Redskins - #16 scoring defense (20 pts/game, down 13 slots), #12 defense in terms of yardage/game (307 yds/game, down 7 slots). Ranked #9 in rushing defense (91 yds/game, down 4 slots).

OFFENSE:

Bears - #24 scoring 0ffense (18 pts/game, down 5 slots), #26 offense in terms of yardage/game (296 yds/game, no change). Ranked #31 in rushing offense (79 yards/game, down 1 slot).

Redskins -#23 scoring offense (18 pts/game, down 6 slots), #28 offense in terms of yardage/game (293 yds/game, down 3 slots). Ranked #18 in rushing offense (105 yds/game, down 2 slots).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Disasterous Football Weekend

UVA lost a game they should have won. Bears lost a game they needed to win. Both teams gave poor performances that were disappointing to say the least.

Bears - All those folks who called for Brian Griese can now see why he is a journeyman who is on his fourth team. His 4 interception performance against the Lions may have sealed the Bears' fate. I mean really - who throws 3 interceptions in the opponents end zone? He has a penchant for it. So in his 5 games, Griese is 2-3 and has 9 TDs and 10 Ints. His numbers are certainly no better than Rex. In fact, he is throwing interceptions at a much higher pace.

Brian Griese is a nice backup QB to have. The Bears have a bye week that comes at a good time for them. They need to think about how to turn things around. For my money, I say they need to fire QB coach Pep Hamilton, who hasn't done anything for them. Then they need to go back to Rex to see if he is going to be the Bears' long term QB. The playoffs are out of the question right now, but Bears fans have to hope that Rex catches fire and has some of his 100 rating games.

UVA got hit by a team that had a QB that caught fire. I thought the D played well at times but clearly made too many mistakes. UVA took the leade 24-23 in the fourth quarter on a well executed drive by Jameel Sewell. But the D couldn't hold the lead and gave up another long TD pass. I still expected UVA to pull it out in the end, but with 7 minutes to go Sewell got severe leg cramps and could not play. That pretty much sealed it. It's too bad, but it happens. They play streaking Wake this week in Charlottesville. UVA always plays well at home and will need to overcome a lot of their injuries to beat a Wake team that has won 6 in a row.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Great VT Loss!

I loved it. For 58 minutes last night Virginia Tech dominated Boston College, but then Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes in the final 2:00 to beat VT 14-10. Ryan was having a dismal night in the rain at Lane Stadium before pulling it out. To make matters worse for VT, BC recovered an onside kick before the final decisive score with just seconds remaining.

Virginia-Virginia Tech closes out the regular season for both teams. Assuming that Virginia doesn't lose more than 1 other ACC game (NC State, Wake, and Miami) and VT doesn't lose another ACC game (Georgia Tech, Florida State, and Miami), it will come down to the UVA-VT game for the Coastal Division. Right now, you have to say that Virginia has the inside track to get to the ACC title game.

If Virginia gets there without a loss, I am going to pray that BC gets there without a loss. Then you would have BC at #2 (perhaps #1 if Ohio State loses) against Virginia, who would likely be ranked in the top 10 - perhaps around #7 in the BCS. Depending how things go - and there is a lot that would have to happen - UVA could end up in the national title game.

I can dream. But for now, all that matters is beating NC State this week.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dropped Passes

Deeps wants to change NFL stats so that drops don't count against JC.

But they are part of the game. It turns out that Chicago has more drops than Washington. It happens.

NFL Power Rankings

ESPN has the Bears at #18 and the Redskins at #10.

Yahoo! rankings: Jason Cole has the Bears #20, Redskins are #8. Charles Robinson has the Bears at #19, Redskins are at #10.

CBS Sportsline and Pete Prisco have the Bears #19 and the Redskins #13.

Dr. Z - Bears #21, Redskins #10

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Weekly Stats After 7 Weeks

Bears and Redskins both won (barely). Here are the stats:

OVERALL NFL PREDICTIONS:
Deepie won the week and increased his lead.
He is 68-34
JKD is second at 62-41
I have been gaining and am just one behind at 61-42

BEARS/REDSKINS PREDICTIONS:
Deepie is 8-5
JKD is 6-7
I am 6-7

DEFENSE:

Bears - #23 scoring defense (24 pts/game, no change), #25 defense in terms of yardage/game (357 yds/game, up 2 slots). Ranked #26 in rushing defense (133 yards/game, no change).

Redskins - #3 scoring defense (15 pts/game, no change), #5 defense in terms of yardage/game (277 yds/game, down 2 slots). Ranked #5 in rushing defense (81 yds/game, up 1 slot).

OFFENSE:

Bears - #19 scoring 0ffense (20 pts/game, up 1 slot), #26 offense in terms of yardage/game (302 yds/game, up 2 slots). Ranked #30 in rushing offense (81 yards/game, down 3 slots).

Redskins -#17 scoring offense (20 pts/game, down 1 slot), #25 offense in terms of yardage/game (305 yds/game, down 9 slots). Ranked #16 in rushing offense (115 yds/game, down 2 slots).

Monday, October 22, 2007

JC's Inconsistency

Looking over his games JC has an average QB rating of 78.5. Rex finished last year at 73.9. Here are JC's ratings for his first 6 games - 54, 75, 74, 125, 72, 57. Last year, Rex had a 99, 148, 65, 101, 101, and 10.

The Redskins D is actually playing better than the Bears D did last year. Right now they have a better scoring D and are giving up fewer yards per game. They are even getting turnovers and sacks.

Moss and Randle El are comparable to Berrian and Moose. Cooley is better than Clark. Portis and Betts are certainly better than TJ and Benson.

I know the line is beat up, but they haven't been horrible. Why isn't JC performing?

Bears and Redskins QBs

Well, Rex got pulled after 3 games with 1 TD and 6 interceptions and a 45.2 QB rating. He did not get much of a shot to turn the season around. I have no problem with the move to Brian Griese and support Lovie, but it will be interesting to see what happens to Rex. I think he will remain with the Bears, but if he does leave, I think he will do great things in the NFL.

Griese has been good, but not great. His final minute drive yesterday was awesome and his 2 TDs in the closing minutes against Minnesota last week were good, but he hasn't really been on fire for the most part. In 4 games he has provided solid play with an 86 QB rating. He has a completion percentage over 62 percent, has thrown for more than 1200 yards and has 8 TDs and 6 interceptions. Five interceptions came in the two losses to Detroit and Minnesota. Basically, what I can say is that Griese is doing a lot of what Rex did last year. He needs to do better (especially cutting down on the mistakes) if the Bears are going to make some noise this year.

JC is doing about what I would expect for a young guy. He has almost 1200 yards and almost an 80 QB rating. He has 5 TDs and 5 interceptions. What we can say is that he has been a solid performer, but nothing really special. His numbers are Kyle Boller-ish and Damon Huard-ish. He had the one great game against Detroit with his 125 rating and 2 TDs and 0 interceptions. But then he has had 2 games in the 50s against Miami and Arizona. In those games he had 0 TDs and 3 interceptions. Pretty inconsistent in fact. A few more ups and downs and perhaps we can start asking the question - when do we start talking about "Good JC" and "Bad JC?"

Cavaliers' Strength of Schedule

For all of your nonsense about UVA building a 7-1 record against weaker teams, JKD and Deeps, you should look at the strength of schedules for the nation's top teams:

UVA's schedule ranks #22.

BC and Virginia Tech's schedules are in the 50s
In the Big East you have South Florida (6-1) at #8 and West Virginia (6-1) at #55
In the Big 10 you have Ohio State (8-0) at #71 and Michigan (6-2) at #34
In the Big 12 you have Kansas (7-0) at #117 and Oklahoma (7-1) at #83
In the Pac-10 you have Arizona State (7-0) at #61 and USC (6-1) at #92
In the SEC you have LSU (7-1) at #10 and Florida (5-2) at #6.

UVA's record is just fine and it has come with one of the more competitive schedules in the country to date. So, don't pull out anymore B.S. about playing a soft schedule. That is just patently false.

Just for fun, JMU's 6-1 record comes on the basis of playing the #163 ranked schedule in the country. Nice.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bears Thriller

The Bears D gave up the go-ahead Eagles TD with about 5 minutes to go, and it was journeyman Brian Griese and the Bears offense that pulled it out. Griese led the Bears on an 11-play, 97 yard drive that culminated with a 15-yard TD pass to Moose. The Bears pulled it out and saved their season. If they can beat the Lions and get to 4-4, they have a bye and can get healthy for the stretch run.

What I liked was the Bears D responded with a solid effort and the Bears offense took advantage of Devin Hester and Greg Olsen. It was a classic Bears win. Hopefully they can keep it up next week.

Great football weekend with the Bears and Cavaliers winning. UVA is now #15 in the BCS rankings. The big ACC game this week is BC vs. Virginia Tech. I'd like to see BC win.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

UVA Wins Again!

Beautiful win. UVA pulled a huge road win against a very good Maryland team. Jameel Sewell led UVA on a 90 yard drive which ended with a UVA TD with 16 seconds remaining. True freshman Mikell Simpson came out of nowhere to rush for 119 yards and 2 TDs (including the game winner) and to catch 13 passes for 152 yards. The UVA D was solid as always and Chris Long dominated play again. He had 2 sacks including a safety.

Huge win. UVA goes to 7-1 and in sole possession of the ACC Coastal Division (4-0). Next up, UVA heads to North Carolina to play the the 2-5 N.C. State Wolfpack.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bears and Redskins Picks

4-7 on the year.

Bears - Another must win after their embarrassing defensive performance last week at home to the Vikings. They cannot lose another NFC game and will win this week in Philadelphia. Lovie stepped in and took a more hands on approach to the defense this week. I hope we will see a different team that is more like last year's early season bunch than this year's listless group. Bears 20-17.

Redskins - Should have no trouble with Arizona at FedEx. Arizona will likely end up with Tim Rattay at QB. Enough said. Redskins 24 - Cardinals 6.

UVA plays on the road here in Maryland. They have not been a good road team under Al Groh, but this is a game that they should win. I'd be more comfortable is Cedric Peerman was back, but the D is still great and I like the way Jameel Sewell is playing. When they need him to perform he has been coming through. UVA will get to 7-1.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

College Football - All About Money

You want to win a national championship? You need financial resources.

Here is Forbes list of the biggest revenue-generating college football programs. They are generating between $50 million and $100 million in revenues. That is why they are perennial national champion contenders.

UVA generates less than $20 million. It is foolish to expect UVA to be a national power unless one commits the resources year after year that the big boys commit. That is why I am quite pleased with this season and I am comfortable with Al Groh's record as head coach.

Read what the University of Texas does for its athletes and you can see what it takes to be a team with national title aspirations every year. You can see that it is a whole different level of athlete worship at play.

I tried to find expense reports, but there is too much variation in what gets counted as expenses. For example, some schools put in stadium improvements/expansion expenses, but others do not. They just account for it in the University's overall capital improvements budget. So, using revenues is a better barometer of where a program stands. It counts in ticket sales, TV contract revenues, bowl appearance fees, booster money, etc. It has less variation in what gets counted.

Sure, there are always teams that rise up out of the blue for a year or two - South Florida and Rutgers come to mind. But they are just "flavors-of-the-month."

If UVA boosters really want to become a national championship contender then kick in another $5 million to $10 million per year and show the financial commitment to build a national contender. With more resources maybe the stadium can be made larger, we could have football facilities improvements, better market the program, increase coaches salaries, and make the university more attractive to top recruits.

NFL Power Rankings

ESPN has the Bears at #23 and the Redskins at #11.

Yahoo! rankings: Jason Cole has the Bears #25, Redskins are #10. Charles Robinson has the Bears at #19, Redskins are at #12.

CBS Sportsline and Pete Prisco have the Bears #22 and the Redskins #15.

Dr. Z - Bears #22, Redskins #12.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Weekly Stats After 6 Weeks

Bears and Redskins stumbled, although the Bears' stumble is far worse. Here are the stats:

OVERALL NFL PREDICTIONS:
This is the first week that I won outright, but Deepie still leads at 58-30
JKD is second at 54-35
I gained, but am third at 52-37

BEARS/REDSKINS PREDICTIONS:
Deepie is 7-4
JKD is 5-6
I am at 4-7

DEFENSE:

Bears - #23 scoring defense (25 pts/game, down 2 slots), #27 defense in terms of yardage/game (361 yds/game, down 4 slots). Ranked #26 in rushing defense (134 yards/game, down 14 slots).

Redskins - #3 scoring defense (14 pts/game, up 1 slot), #3 defense in terms of yardage/game (259 yds/game, no change). Ranked #6 in rushing defense (80 yds/game, up 2 slots).

OFFENSE:

Bears - #20 scoring 0ffense (20 pts/game, up 2 slots), #28 offense in terms of yardage/game (288 yds/game, up 2 slots). Ranked #27 in rushing offense (83 yards/game, no change).

Redskins -#16 scoring offense (20 pts/game, down 2 slots), #16 offense in terms of yardage/game (333 yds/game, down 4 slots). Ranked #14 in rushing offense (123 yds/game, down 4 slots).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bears Lose

It doesn't matter who plays QB for the Bears if you give up 200 plus yards to a rookie running back. The gameplan must have been to stop the running game and let Tavaris Jackson beat them. Didn't work out.

The offense needs to pick it up - they made plays in the final three minutes to score 2 TDs, and then Lovie actually kicked off to Adrian Peterson who returned it to the Chicago 38 and set up the final game-winning 55-yard field goal. Peterson killed them all game and then they kicked it off to him. Crazy!

The Bears season is again on the brink. They have to win in Philly this week. If the Bears don't win their next 2 going into the bye at 4-4, their season is likely over.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

UVA is 6-1

Great game against UConn. Great defense and the offense made plays when they had to.

With LSU and Cal losing, it looks like Ohio State and BC will be 1 and 2. UVA will be moving up into the Top 25. If they can keep it going against Maryland next week, things could really get interesting. There is a scenario that has UVA playing for the national title. Obviously there is a long way to go, but I think it is safe to say that Al Groh has proven some of you wrong already (you know who you are).

Friday, October 12, 2007

Walter Payton - What could he do besides run? Everything.

The greatest football player of all time - no question in my mind.

Bears and Redskins Picks

Bears - Play at home against Minnesota. They have a chance to build some momentum following their inspired second half effort against Green Bay. The D is getting healthier and I think the running game will start to emerge in coming weeks. I expect the Bears t have a solid victory and get themselves to 3-3. Bears 24 - Vikings 9.

Redskins - Go to Green Bay to take on the Pack. I'd love to see the Redskins win. That would put the Pack up only 1 game (assuming the Bears win). But, I think the Redskins are a mediocre team and will lose. Green Bay's D is much improved over last year and Favre seems to be playing much better. Green Bay 28 - Redskins 13.

UVA - take on 5-0 UConn at home. Cedric Peerman may be out, which would really hurt, but the Cavs play well at home. If the game was on the road, I'd probably pick UConn, but I think Groh and the boys will get their sixth win of the season at home. That will set them up for a nice run down the stretch against the better teams in the ACC.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

NFL Power Rankings after 5 Weeks

Bears and Redskins are both up following last weeks wins.

ESPN has the Bears at #15 and the Redskins at #8.

Yahoo! rankings:
Jason Cole has the Bears #16, Redskins are #9.
Charles Robinson has the Bears at #15, Redskins are at #9.

CBS Sportsline and Pete Prisco have the Bears #18 and the Redskins #11.

Dr. Z - Bears #16, Redskins #13.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Weekly NFL Stats Through Week 5

Bears and Redskins had huge wins this week. Here are the stats:

OVERALL NFL PREDICTIONS:
Deepie increased his lead again this week and stands at 50-25
JKD is second at 47-29
I'm still pulling in at third at 42-33

BEARS/REDSKINS PREDICTIONS:
Deepie is 6-3
JKD is 5-4
I am at 3-6

DEFENSE:

Bears - #21 scoring defense (23 pts/game, no change), #23 defense in terms of yardage/game (344 yds/game, down 8 slots). Ranked #12 in rushing defense (99 yards/game, down 3 slots).

Redskins - #4 scoring defense (13 pts/game, up 4 slots), #3 defense in terms of yardage/game (268 yds/game, up 10 slots). Ranked #8 in rushing defense (86 yds/game, up 1 slot).

OFFENSE:

Bears - #22 scoring 0ffense (17 pts/game, up 4 slots), #30 offense in terms of yardage/game (254 yds/game, no change). Ranked #27 in rushing offense (83 yards/game, no change).

Redskins -#14 scoring offense (21.8 pts/game, up 8 slots), #12 offense in terms of yardage/game (341 yds/game, up 3 slots). Ranked #10 in rushing offense (130 yds/game, no change).

Sunday, October 07, 2007

HUGE, HUGE, HUGE BEARS WIN!

As much as there can be a must-win game in early October, the Bears had it tonight. In what was like a playoff atmosphere (again, as much as you can have it in October), the Bears went on the road to Green Bay and got a GI-NORMOUS win. A loss would have effectively ended any chance at the division and would have likely required them to go 9-2 to make the playoffs.

After a shaky first half, the Bears had a huge second half by outscoring the Pack 20-3 and winning 27-20. The game really seemed to turn when Favre threw the bone-headed interception to Urlacher deep in Pack territory with the Packers up 20-10. The three prior Packer drives had ended in a TD and two field goals, and they were moving the ball at will against the Bears D up to that point. The Pack seemingly had things under control until Favre blew it and allowed the Bears D to make a play.

I have to give a shout out to the 'Skins and thank them for knocking off the Lions. If the 'Skins can go to Lambeau and beat the Packers next week and the Bears can beat Minnesota at home, they will be within one game of the division lead. Today and next week, I will be having a flashback to my pre-Danny Snyder, Redskin loving days.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

UVA Survives

Unexpectedly tough game for the Cavs. Cedric Peerman - the ACC's leading rusher - got hurt and it changed the complexion of the game. A missed extra point for UVA in the 4th quarter kept the score 20-14 UVA. Then a late interception for Middle Tennessee that gave them a TD and put them ahead 21-20, made it look bad for UVA.

But, Jameel Sewell led them on a huge final minute drive and Chris Gould kicked the game winner with just seconds left.

Bottom line - UVA is now 5-1. Just win baby!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Weekly Football Picks

2-5 on the year.

Bears - I just don't know about this team anymore. I do know that the Sunday night game against the Packers is absolutely critical. It is a rivalry game and I doubt the Packers will overlook the Bears. I am going with my heart and going to say that the Bears D rises up to the task and handles the Pack's passing attack. The offense settles in under Griese and the play calling improves. I think Benson will get his yardage and you will see a couple of more touches by Devin Hester. The Bears save their season with a 17-13 win in an ugly display.

Redskins - I hope they beat the Lions (it is obviously better for the Bears), but I think the Lions offensive strengths play to the Redskins defensive liabilities. Kitna was sacked 9 times against the Eagles and threw for more than 400 yards. He was sacked 6 times against the Bears and still had a big day. Now both the Eagles and Bears had banged up secondaries, but I do not think the Redskins D line or secondary pose that much of a threat. I also do not believe the Redskins O line is very good. The Lions will win for the first time in history in Washington. Final score 27-14.

UVA will defeat Middle Tennessee State and move to 5-1. Al Groh will be more than halfway to the 9 wins I predicted.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

NFL Power Rankings after 4 Weeks

A remarkable turn of events has the Bears wallowing ever closer to the depths of the NFL and the Redskins firmly ranked ahead of them. You are your record.

ESPN has the Bears at #20 and the Redskins at #13.

Yahoo! rankings:

Jason Cole has the Bears #26, Redskins are #14.

Charles Robinson has the Bears at #16, Redskins are at #12.

CBS Sportsline and Pete Prisco have the Bears #20 and the Redskins #15.

Dr. Z has the Bears at #20 and the Redskins at #18.

Rush Limbaugh Tries to Squirm Out of his Cowardice

"Real" - VoteVets.org TV Ad Responding to Rush Limbaugh

Major General (Ret.) John Batiste on Rush Limbaugh

Couple of Thoughts on Rush, Petraeus, and Iraq

First, the death count for American soldiers now stands above 3800 and there is no end in sight as the Senate has authorized another $150 billion to fund the mess (House still has to vote and then both houses of Congress have to agree to a unified bill). The Democratic congressional leaders are feckless and weak, which is exactly why Congress' approval ratings are lower than Bush's horribly low numbers.

This week, Rush Limbaugh called any soldiers who don't support Bush's Iraq war policy "phony soldiers." He has been hemming and hawing and has claimed that he was taken out of context. If you just listen to the full transcript it is clear what he said, and what he meant. Soldiers who have bled for this country and who have come to their own conclusion about Iraq are "phony soldiers" according to Rush. I posted a couple of "phony soldiers' " who decided to respond above.

Of course, you have to look at the messenger. Rush got out of military service in Vietnam because he claimed he had an anal cyst.

On a related note, this week's American Conservative magazine calls General Petraeus a "Syncophant Savior" and basically makes the case that he is now nothing more than Bush's political lapdog. Petraeus' immediate boss, Admiral William Fallon, Commander of CENTCOM has told the good general that he:

considered him to be "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" and added, "I hate people like that", the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Weekly NFL Stats Through Week 4

Bears fell apart in the 4th quarter and gave up a historic 34 points in the final period to lose. Season is on the line this week. Redskins were off. Here are the stats:

OVERALL NFL PREDICTIONS:
Deepie increased his lead this week and stands at 38-23
JKD is second at 36-26
I'm still pulling in at third at 33-29

BEARS/REDSKINS PREDICTIONS:
Deepie is 5-2
JKD is 4-3
I am at 2-5

DEFENSE:

Bears - #21 scoring defense (23.8 pts/game, down down 6 slots), #15 defense in terms of yardage/game (321 yds/game, up 1 slot). Ranked #10 in rushing defense (93 yards/game, up 2 slots).

Redskins - #8 scoring defense (16.3 pts/game, down 1 slot), #13 defense in terms of yardage/game (309 yds/game, down 3 slots). Ranked #9 in rushing defense (92 yds/game, up 2 slots).

OFFENSE:

Bears - #26 scoring 0ffense (15 pts/game, up 2 slots), #30 offense in terms of yardage/game (246 yds/game, no change). Ranked #27 in rushing offense (83 yards/game, down 1 slot).

Redskins -#22 scoring offense (17.7 pts/game, down 1 slot), #15 offense in terms of yardage/game (332 yds/game, up 2 slots). Ranked #10 in rushing offense (134 yds/game, down 3 slots).

Monday, October 01, 2007

First Quarter of NFL Season

Four weeks into the season and the Bears have been disappointing. The Redskins have perked up. Here are my first quarter grades and thoughts.

Bears - D-. I'd give them a failing grade, but the injuries are signficant and I give them some leeway because of that. The Bears coaching has been bad, and the injuries and the failure to control the turnovers are killing them. I was not really for benching Grossman, but I do think it was good for him to not have to hear all the boos and read all the criticism. I think he was being crushed by all the hating. Being on the bench should allow him to get his head on straight and hopefully be better able to play if he is called on again. That said, now that Griese is the starter, you have to allow him to play for at least 1-2 more games to show what he can do. But, all those Chicago Bears fans who were booing Rex got to see exactly why Griese was the backup and why he is playing for his fourth team. He cannot throw the long ball and did not even attempt a pass over 20 yards, yet the coaches had him throw 52 times. If they play him, they need to call a different game where he tries to manage the game - not win hit with his weak arm. Bad coaching against the Lions, no question in my mind. Right now, the Bears are playing poorly, but they certainly are not out of it. Looking ahead at the next quarter, they play at Green Bay, at home against Minnesota, at Philly, and then at home against the Lions. They can get right back into it with some wins. The question is - will they? I think some of their defensive starters will be back for the Sunday night game against the Pack this week. So that should help. If they change their play calling, that would really, really help.

Redskins - B-. The collapse against the Giants at home hurt and it is hard to really say how good the team really is. 2-1 is a good start, but they beat two teams with a combined 1-7 record. They have a tough stretch coming up. They play next week at home against the Lions and then on the road at Green Bay (I certainly hope the Redskins win those two games, but I am not holding my breath). Then they come home against Arizona, before going on the road against New England and the N.Y. Jets.

A lot of football left to play. I would not be surprised if both teams are tied at 3-5 or 4-4 after 8 games. The December 6 game in Washington may prove to be an important game, but a lot has to happen between now and then.