Week Nine Friday 10-pack

Every Friday, we take 10 items that would otherwise potentially appear as 10 different items and clump them into one long item aimed at preparing you for the coming weekend of games.

It probably would make more sense to do 10 separate items.

As we ponder that possibility, we give you what could be the last of the Friday 10-packs.

(There, now I’ve built some phony drama that will get people to come back next week.  I wonder if I took that medication that keeps me from typing everything I think?)


1. Margin for errors shrinking in AFC.

With one playoff berth earmarked for the AFC West and five spots leftover for the other three divisions, multiple quality teams will be on the outside looking in.

Two years ago, the Patriots found this out the hard way  With the Chargers qualifying for the postseason field at 8-8 as champions of a woeful West, six teams with eleven or more wins played musical chairs with five playoff spots.

Despite an 11-5 record, the Patriots stayed home.

That same year, a 9-7 team from the NFC went to the Super Bowl.

This year, 11-5 could be good enough to get in; 10-6 may not be.  Thus, teams like the 4-3 Dolphins, 4-3 Texans, and 5-3 Titans are inching toward a crisis situation; they can each lose two more games before potentially having to run the table.

For Miami and Houston, those fourth losses could come this weekend, with tough games against the Ravens and Chargers, respectively.  

2.  Seahawks get a look at Whitehurst.

Pete Carroll’s Seattle team is doing better than anyone expected, making them a contender in the none-of-the-above NFC West.  And just as they get an opportunity to show that they can hang with the best team in the conference (at least when playing at home), quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has a concussion.

Enter Charlie Whitehurst, who’ll start against the Giants.

And so the man who has never thrown a regular-season pass during five years in the NFL will get a chance to prove that the Seahawks made a smart move when trading for a quarterback who was languishing on the San Diego depth chart.  Disappointing in the preseason, Whitehurst now has an opportunity to prove that he can do the job come 2011.

It he can’t, Hasselbeck suddenly will have a burst of leverage as his contract moves toward its conclusion.

3. Chilly’s last stand.

After one of the roughest weeks any head coach ever has endured (he can blame himself for most of it), there’s a growing sense that Vikings head coach Brad Childress remains one home loss to the Cardinals away from losing his job.

No one within the organization has suggested that Chilly is on the hot seat, and for good reason.  If the Vikings can beat Arizona at home and then the mediocre Bears in Chicago, the November 21 game against the Packers presents the Vikings with an opportunity to climb back to .500 for the first time since the first game of the season, when they were 0-0.

But if the Vikings lose to the Cardinals and slide to 2-6, anything can happen.  Despite the new contract Childress received in 2009, owner Zygi Wilf realizes that local support will be critical to getting a new stadium; thus, buying out Childress’ deal should be viewed as a cost of doing business.

Then there’s the possibility — slim but not completely impossible — that the Vikings would find a way to fire Childress with cause.  It’s not just a Raiders tactic.  Last year, the Browns did it to former G.M. George Kokinis.  With the league office presiding over any and all arbitration claims filed by coaches who believe they were unfairly stiffed, the Vikings could choose to take a stand.

Given the present unpopularity of Childress in Minnesota, taking a stand could actually help generate support for a new stadium.

4. Bucs can put their money where the coach’s mouth is.

Recently, Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris said that his team is the best in the NFC.  But the Bucs have beaten only three teams in the NFC — the 1-6 Panthers, the 4-4 Rams by one point, and the 3-4 Cardinals by three points.  (The Bucs also have beaten the 2-5 Bengals and the 2-5 Browns.)

In turn, the Bucs have lost to the 5-2 Steelers by 25, and to the 5-3 Saints by 25.

This weekend, Tampa gets its chance to prove that it belongs, via a short trip to Atlanta for a game against one of their NFC South rivals.  If the Bucs truly belong among the NFC elite, they’ll win this game — or at a minimum come close to doing so.

It’s up to you, Bucs.  Make your coach look less delusional.

5.  Redskins mess not going away quickly.

Mike Shanahan’s team has a bye this week.  But that won’t reduce the chorus of folks who aren’t buying the shifting, inconsistent explanations given for benching quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Five days later, the situation seems no less bizarre.  McNabb, the franchise quarterback acquired from the Eagles, was left on the sidelines for a key drive that could have delivered victory in favor of a washed-up first-round pick with a penchant for letting the ball fly, without regard to where it may land.

It’s baffling that the Shanahans, Mike and offensive coordinator Kyle, wouldn’t just tell the truth — that McNabb hasn’t played well and that their frustration with his performance prompted them to decide to send the veteran a message by yanking him from the final moments of a winnable game.

The truth is that McNabb hasn’t played well.  His passer rating is 76.0.  He has thrown seven touchdown passes and eight interceptions.

Sure, he doesn’t have much of a supporting cast this year.  Neither does Peyton Manning.

It’s almost as if the Shanahans are baiting McNabb to blow his top via a stream of conflicting excuses for benching him, possibly to make it easier to sell the ultimate decision to send him packing in 2011.

Actually, it appears that decision already has been made.  Otherwise, McNabb never would have been benched for Rex Grossman.

6.  Raider uprising.

In Week One, the supposedly new and improved Raiders lost to Tennessee.  By 25 points.

Same old Raiders, right?

Their next four games were one-score affairs, two of which the Raiders won, and two of which they lost.

Then came the unexpected.  While the rest of the NFL was focused on things like the bone in Brett Favre’s foot and/or the stick in Randy Moss’ ass, the Raiders steamrolled the Broncos and Seahawks, via a combined score of 92-17.

Lately, these aren’t the 2002 Raiders.  They’re the 2007 Patriots.

Next up, the Raiders face the 5-2 Chiefs in a game that could go a long way toward determining supremacy in the conference’s weakest division.  But if the Raiders can keep playing like they have the last two weeks, the AFC West no longer can be regarded as weak.

7.  Packers poised to roll over ‘Boys.

From 1991 through 1996, the Cowboys and Packers played eight times.  And the Cowboys won all eight of them.

Packers fans surely will never forget that stretch of futility, and they’ll relish every opportunity to stomp on the Cowboys, no matter how downtrodden they may be.  

A week ago, the Cowboys had the table set to get back on track.  With reduced expectations after the broken clavicle suffered by quarterback Tony Romo, a wounded Jaguars team came to town.  And saw.  And conquered.

This week, no matter how much Jerry Jones apologizes, the Packers are the ones who’ll likely have to say “sorry” for inflicting a blowout.

We have a feeling they won’t.

8.  Mangini gets his chance to bury the hatchet.

When we interviewed Browns coach Eric Mangini for the first-ever (and possibly last-ever) PFT Season Preview magazine, Mangini said he’d like to eventually patch things up with his former boss, Bill Belichick.

“[Belichick] and I haven’t really talked,” Mangini said.  “When I talk about him, he was my mentor.  He taught me everything, and I respect him tremendously.  That’s not bullshit.   That’s how I feel.  I hope at some point, we’ll be able to sit down and talk about things and get back to a better relationship.&nbsp

; It’s not there right now, but at some point, things have a tendency to roll back.”

Mangini gets his chance on Sunday, when Belichick and the Patriots come to town.  For some reason, however, we have a feeling that Belichick has used up all his former-employee bear hugs for the 2010 season.

If the Patriots win handily, maybe he can muster one more.

9.  Texans commencing slide to irrelevance.

Before the season started, the Texans focused on the Colts.  But launching the season against the team from Indianapolis doesn’t justify the Daytona 500 attitude.  

Since winning in Week One, the Texans have been mediocre and fading.  

The pass rush is non-existent.  As a result, the pass defense has been horrible.

It’s now catching up with the offense, which has gotten away from the running skills of Arian Foster and is relying too much on a passing game that isn’t as potent as it was last year.

With the suddenly rejuvenated Chargers riding an upset of the Titans into Texas, the Texans could be destined to end up with four losses after eight games, which is at least two too many if the Texans hope to make their ninth year in the league their first year in the playoffs.

10.  Bills will break through, eventually.

Buffalo fans deserve better than 0-7, and it’s been excruciating the past two weeks, with the Bills pushing a pair of five-win teams to overtime in their own houses.

Eventually, the Bills will turn things around.  The decision to claim linebacker Shawne Merriman shows that the Bills at least are trying.

And, of course, the Bills probably will have just enough success to blow their shot at the first overall pick in what will be the first draft without the huge windfall payments to the top selections.

Look for the process to start this weekend, with the Bills taking down the Bears.

41 responses to “Week Nine Friday 10-pack

  1. Can we PLEASE stop talking about the damn Cowboys? And this is coming from a life long dallas fan. Look, I support my team, through thick and thin. But even I’m getting sick and damn tired of Dallas being in the news.

  2. AFC playoff race does seem to be getting a little early resolution. You’ve gotta figure Jets, Pats, Steelers, and Colts for sure, and if Ravens can play with just a little more consistency, that leaves only the winner of the West, which the Chiefs could (but won’t necessarily) virtually wrap up this week by taking out Oakland. Miami and Tennessee are both dangerous, but they both have vicious schedules that I don’t know if they’re quite equipped for.

  3. In 2008 the Pats went 11-5 against a weak AFC east a pathetic AFC west and a ridiculous NFC west.
    They didn’t deserve the playoffs and I say that as enthusiastic patriots fan

  4. Go Bills!
    Belichick will never make-up with Mangini, at least not as long as they are both in the league.

  5. I’m a diehard Bears fan, but you’re right, the Bills will take down the Bears, possibly in spectacular fashion.

  6. “It’s up to you, Bucs. Make your coach look less delusional.”
    So, if they win, and become 6-2, Morris is still delusional? Just “less” so?
    This is the kind of a-hole comment that makes people call you names, dummy.

  7. Hey Chilly, how about giving the ball to AP 30 times, problem solved, as you should have starting with the Saints game.

  8. for thje raiders two of which they lost..gotta admit the titans and texans both kicked our butts, the cardinals and seabass missed 20 yard field goal sucked, and J Campbell lookey like he must have got J-Bust old locker and found some of that purple kool aid…….seabass, and campbell both cost us two games……if the chiefs beat us, i can respect that…..if we beat ourselves, we are still learning how to win, but if the refs beat us, then it’s the same old NFL bs………i am just wondering how many pass interference calls we are going to get, or illegal contacts on 3rd down plays for the chiefs. GO Raiders beat the refs, and dominate the chiefs

  9. Florio says:
    “It’s baffling that the Shanahans, Mike and offensive coordinator Kyle, wouldn’t just tell the truth — that McNabb hasn’t played well and that their frustration with his performance prompted them to decide to send the veteran a message by yanking him from the final moments of a winnable game.
    The truth is that McNabb hasn’t played well. His passer rating is 76.0. He has thrown seven touchdown passes and eight interceptions.
    It’s almost as if the Shanahans are baiting McNabb to blow his top via a stream of conflicting excuses for benching him, possibly to make it easier to sell the ultimate decision to send him packing in 2011.
    Actually, it appears that decision already has been made. Otherwise, McNabb never would have been benched for Rex Grossman.
    ————————————————-
    Not bad, conflicting statements within one paragraph of each other.
    “The truth is he has played bad and should be benched.”
    “The only reason they would bench him is if they are trying to run him out of town.”

  10. Bucs versus Atlanta game is not that big of deal, the Bucs just need to continue to improve the rest of the year. If the lose they will still be 5 and 3, which far better than anyone could have predicted. Morris’s comment has been over stated by the media.

  11. “somesome says:
    November 5, 2010 11:26 AM
    Hey Chilly, how about giving the ball to AP 30 times, problem solved, as you should have starting with the Saints game.”
    This.

  12. @Grulks,
    With all the B.S. we usually have to hear about your cowgirls, the latest talk is soooo much fun to hear. It brings a smile to my face every time. Get over it! If you want to hear about them when their record is good, you must hear about them when they’re this bad! HAHAHAHAHAHA

  13. Peyton Manning also hasn’t been sacked 22 times, and has been in the same system his entire career.
    Also: he is Peyton Manning.

  14. “Grulks says:
    November 5, 2010 11:17 AM
    Can we PLEASE stop talking about the damn Cowboys? And this is coming from a life long dallas fan. Look, I support my team, through thick and thin. But even I’m getting sick and damn tired of Dallas being in the news. ”
    ———————————————–
    I appreciate this post; wish all Dallas fans thought this way ALL the time though. The rest of us are sick of hearing about them when they do well too!

  15. i’ll be the biggest Bills fan you’ll ever meet come week 16 against the Pats. hell, toss in week 12 against the steelers too cause i want home field advantage at some point for dem Jets

  16. Packers could easily get rolled by the Cowboys — it’s an easy game for Green Bay to mistakenly and carelessly take for granted — as though the bye week started a week earlier!

  17. Florio really.
    1. Margin for errors shrinking in AFC.
    Captain obvious
    2. Seahawks get a look at Whitehurst.
    Who cares
    3. Chilly’s last stand.
    Achilles would be a lot cooler
    4. Bucs can put their money where the coach’s mouth is.
    They don’t have any, owners are broke
    5. Redskins mess not going away quickly.
    Has not since Snyder took over the team
    6. Raider uprising.
    Not gonna happen. 2 words, Al Davis
    7. Packers poised to roll over ‘Boys.
    Again, Captain obvious
    8. Mangini gets his chance to bury the hatchet.
    this will be the last we hear about Mangini
    9. Texans commencing slide to irrelevance.
    Have since they got in the league
    10. Bills will break through, eventually.
    Not in my lifetime.
    It takes a 12 pack to want to read this crap.

  18. “Sure, he doesn’t have much of a supporting cast this year. Neither does Peyton Manning.”
    Manning has had Reggie Wayne (one of the best in the game) and either Collie or Garcon as well as Dallas Clark up to this point. Plus, he’s had the most important thing of all… TIME to throw the ball.

  19. g2bucs:
    “Bucs versus Atlanta game is not that big of deal, the Bucs just need to continue to improve the rest of the year. If the lose they will still be 5 and 3, which far better than anyone could have predicted. Morris’s comment has been over stated by the media.”
    I disagree. Your team is playing beyond what most expected this year. They’ve put together good wins but against very mediocre talent. I understand that Morris’ comments may have gotten pushed a bit over the top, but he’s said it more than once. In fact, he just reiterated it again the other day. So, as a result, this game, win or lose, is extremely important. It’s not about a Superbowl this year for your team anymore than my Lions. It’s important both for the team and the fans, especially seeing the terrible turnout of fans for home games, that this game is at least close. If it’s a blowout, and I’m hoping it isn’t, the Bucs are a young growing team but they’re not even close to the elite level yet. They need to hang with a team that’s good. My team must do the same thing with the Jets, not because I thin they’re there yet, but because it’s good for the team to show they can do it. So far this year, this is the most important game for the Bucs.
    Next, I feel for you Vikings fans. You know that with a weak schedule the next 2 weeks, Chilly is going to save his job and you’ll get stuck with the idiot even longer. It would almost be a good thing to be playing a team that would knock you around this week. No way you lose to the Cardinals which means Chilly is here to stay. Raw deal.

  20. “It’s up to you, Bucs. Make your coach look less delusional.”
    “So, if they win, and become 6-2, Morris is still delusional? Just “less” so?”
    Yeah, just less so. You still got plastered by both the Saints and the Steelers and the Pack and G-Men are also still out there and have similar records.
    That said, I’m still cheering for you anyway. My third favorite team at any one time is always whoever is playing Atlanta.

  21. “Mangini gets his chance to bury the hatchet.”
    Yeah right like that will ever happen.
    Didn’t you pay attention to Belichick’s Wednesday presser ?
    When asked if he had anything in common with Ratgini his response was –
    “We’re both coaches of football teams that are playing on Sunday”.
    Sound like reconciliation with the Rat to you ? Will NEVER happen.

  22. Bucs beat 5 teams with combined win totals of 12-24, pretty crappy right?
    The Falcons are so much better that the 5 teams they beat have combined totals of 14-23.
    That’s a great reason to trash the Bucs and praise the Falcons as one of the NFC’s best.
    By the way Coach Raheem is motivating a young team. Youngest coach and youngest team having success, why are you dogging them so hard?

  23. Then why exactly are you reading Bayou? I really have never understood the people who just come on this site and tear into these guys. If you don’t like it, don’t type the address into your browser. While I don’t always agree with his view or points, they are always well thought out. Not to mention, Florio has made some serious bank off this website. What have you done besides finally moving out of your mom’s basement?

  24. Let me go one further to say that ALL teams have been a shock this year. All three over rated NFC preseason favorites “Americas Team” “Favres Last Stand” and for christ sake the 49ers? The NFL is a league of unexplained mediocrity this year.
    Emerging however are some good young teams that have some serious talent. They loaded through the draft and have begun to show flashes. No my Bucs aren’t the sexy pick to make the playoffs, Darren McFadden and the Raiders weren’t on anyones radar until they smashed the Broncos faces in, the 4-4 Rams were not talked about for 5 minutes after their 1st draft pick was signed, yet here they are 4-4 with a chance to win the west. Where else can we go? How about Kansas City leading the afc west,Seattle 1st place in the nfc west and even Detroit is beginning to get some respect. The tide is turning and the door mats are coming for the “Upper Echelon”

  25. The NFL is going through what I think is it’s worst year since the strike year.
    Worst year in terms of competition, football excellence, and watchability.

  26. @ Pirate
    Let’s not forget they won 11 games with a quarter back who never started a collegiate game let alone a professional one.

  27. The Bucs/Falcons game is playoff-like for Tampa. Another bad loss and there will be another pathetic turnout for the Carolina home game as the lukewarm fans say “it’s the same as it ever was.” Hopefully a win will force the fans to bury their objections to ownership and support the division leading team. It ain’t the Superbowl, but it is the Respect Bowl (or the “Shut The Mouths Of All The Haters” Bowl).

  28. I agree, jandrews86 about people just bitching to be bitching. I do miss the old days with Taco Bill and more sophomoric content, and even didn’t mind buying a couple of t-shirts to keep the lights on. While a lot of the comedy has been sanitized now, this site is still the first I go to…even though they hate Tampa.

  29. “Give Peterson the ball 30 times a game.” That will not work for many reasons, the key one being that the O-line is just not that good and teams will be stacking the box v. them. 3rd and long will find Favre sitting on his keister (butt) . Anyone following the team knows that sending the kicker out on 4th and 1 to kick the FG, instead of running Peterson , would have kept them in 3 of their games this year. It is not for the Moss nonsense, but for the coach’ awful strategies (and poor challenges) that he is on the hotseat.

  30. But if the Raiders can keep playing like they have the last two weeks, the AFC West no longer can be regarded as weak.
    ————————————————-
    So you are saying that if the Chiefs win then the AFC West is still regarded as weak, but if the Raiders win then it’s strong Div?? please explain.

  31. jimmySee says:
    November 5, 2010 11:51 AM
    Packers could easily get rolled by the Cowboys — it’s an easy game for Green Bay to mistakenly and carelessly take for granted — as though the bye week started a week earlier!
    =============================
    THIS^^^

  32. The only look that the seahawks are going to get of Whitehurst is him getting faceplanted. I wonder if he’ll ‘scream a little bit’. Boley told me to add that last part. Go Giants!

  33. BUCS vs. Falcons: PewterReport.com’s Take: Everyone, including Florio, likes to point to the fact that Tampa Bay has not beaten anybody with a winning record. Well, Atlanta is in a similar boat. Atlanta’s only victory against a team with a winning record came in Week 3 when they beat the Saints 27-24. They have beaten the Cardinals, Browns, and Bengals just like Tampa Bay. The Falcons also lost to the Steelers just like the Bucs. They have narrow wins over the 49ers and Bengals, who are a combined 4-10. They lost by two touchdowns to the Eagles, who are 4-3. This weekend’s matchup against Atlanta features two teams that are more alike than people realize, and it should be a good one. The Bucs have won five straight on the road, while the Falcons have won 12 straight at home with quarterback Matt Ryan under center.

  34. The raiders “steamrolled” the the seahawks & broncos. Whoopty-do. Even if they beat the chiefs, no one cares.

  35. Re: Pack-Cowboys: Why are you fixating on ’91-96 ? In ’97 the Packers ran all over them. Last year the Cowboys scored in the final minute to avert a shutout. In the earlier days, through the Ice Bowl (NFL/World Championship Game [not the novelty game vs the expansion league team], the Cowboys had never beaten the Pack – postseason, regular season, pre-season…and you pick out ’91-96 ? Ok, if that gives you a thrill…BTW, in ’96 the Packers finished World Champs.

  36. Then came the unexpected. While the rest of the NFL was focused on things like the bone in Brett Favre’s foot and/or the stick in Randy Moss’ ass, the Raiders steamrolled the Broncos and Seahawks, via a combined score of 92-17.
    LOL. I love it. I just hope the Raiders can keep it going but i’m not going to count on it. A legendary team who everybody once feared has been down to long. However reality is a fact and we’ll see if they can keep it rolling. Best of luck to the Raiders. The moss and the stick comment was priceless.

  37. Of course handing AP the ball 30 times will work against Arizona.
    Of course Chilly was the worst game caller this year so far. Of course he should have kicked the field goal, Of course he should have tried to drive with some 30 secs and 2 TO left before half time. But he also has to give AP the ball more than 20 times. No matter the offensive line. He will wear defenses down, even if he only gets 2-3 yards, the yards will come in the 4th.
    Giving the game to Favre against Saints while they were never more than a TD behind and not running it with AP is just the dumbest thing I have ever seen. Burn the clock, keep Brees off the field and run the damn ball.

  38. Why are you such a hyperbolic idiot?! Is this how you gained fans/followers? Raheem Morris was *logical* with the “best team in the NFC” rhetoric—the team, @ the time, had as many losses as the best teams, therefore, etc. Simple logic, which is just too much for this site…

  39. Wrong on Childress… he’s already been fired, they’re just waiting for the end of the season.
    He no longer has a job.

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