Thoughts on the NFL landscape

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 18, 2009

What’s more laughable…that Drew Brees threw six touchdowns last Sunday, or that none of us were all that surprised to see him do it?

It was almost expected! “Yeah, the Lions are hanging around…Drew did what had to be done.”

Sure, Brees MAY NOT throw for the 96 touchdowns he’s on pace to throw for – I’ll take the statement no further than that, as I’ve learned not to doubt Brees and the apparent witchcraft he holds mastery of – but there appears to be little doubt things are shaping up to be a special year for him.

If healthy, the Saints are four deep in terms of playmaking receivers; boast a standout tight end who is finally healthy; an “x-factor” of a pass receiving running back; and now, apparently, a smashmouth rusher in Mike Bell.

Donovan McNabb or no, I think Philadelphia – and a lot of other teams – will have their hands full trying to keep the Saints under even 30 points on a given Sunday.

Speaking of holding a good offense down…the Buffalo Bills. Sigh. Not two years after blowing a surefire win on Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys, the Bills may have topped the feat against the Patriots this past Monday. Up 24-13, less than five minutes remaining…you should be planning out the victory party.

Of course, maybe Buffalo took that literally. A fumbled kickoff return and two Tom Brady-to-Ben Watson touchdowns later, and we’re off the hook for a week of “What’s wrong with the Pats?” headlines.

Incidentally, Tom Brady by all accounts looked pretty rusty on Monday, though he shook it off by game’s end. To that I ask, though, how good is Brady – a rusty night for him constitutes completing a Monday night record 39 passes and tossing 378 yards. Nice.

And Oakland looked good too! Well, much better than I had anticipated. That team can run the ball, and Darren McFadden looks like a player…but JaMarcus Russell needs to improve his accuracy if he’s going to stick as a starting quarterback. I was surprised San Diego didn’t blow the doors open in that game, but the Raiders look to be pretty formidable up front. That mix could make them much better than anyone anticipated – maybe that’s only six or seven win good, but I’d hardly be surprised to see them best the Chiefs and Raiders in the AFC West.

The Jay Cutler era in Chicago…unimpressive so far. He’ll rebound from that, but probably not this week against Pittsburgh. But I don’t care if he did attend Vanderbilt with Earl Bennett, don’t throw to him when he’s being covered by four Packers! Check down to Matt Forte once in awhile, lest he become Rex Grossman-redux.

For anyone who hasn’t seen it, I give my highest possible recommendation to pulling up that highlight of the Denver/Cincinatti finish. If only for commentator Gus Johnson’s complete freak out of a call when Brandon Stokley caught that deflection.

I feel like we’re seeing and hearing less about Peyton Manning than ever. Hype, commercials, everything. It has a calm before the storm feel to it, doesn’t it? I half expect he and Indy to go on a tear now and win the Super Bowl.

Jake Delhomme: 11 turnovers in his last two games. It’s early, but I’m looking at Atlanta/New Orleans as “the race” in the NFC South. There’s an NFL Films clip circulating out there from Sunday’s game in which Steve Smith tells Delhomme “As a quarterback, I never liked you. But as a person…”

Smith was, of course, clearly kidding. Raising his quarterback’s spirits. Right?


Thanks be for Brees.

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