A Workmanlike Win in Washington: The way the G-Men started out I thought it was going to be a blowout. Eli Manning marched them down the field three times even though they had to settle for two FGs after the opening TD. The rest of the game was more sedate. The Redskins pulled to within 13-7 at the half but that was as close as they were destined to get. The Giants pulled ahead slowly but surely. The Skins may not have been blown out but they never looked like they were going to win either. Truth to tell, they looked a lot like the team the Giants beat in the season opener. Coach Zorn appeared clueless and QB Jason Campbell was spraying the ball all over the place. To give him his due, the Redskins receivers did not aid his cause, dropping several catchable balls.It didn’t help either that injuries made the Skins’ leading rusher , Clinton Portis, a non-factor. Without the semblance of a running attack, the Skins were toast.The Giants , once again were solid rather than spectacular. They seem to play just well enough to beat their opponents rather than steamroll them. Eli Manning is not as flmboyant as his older brother but he is just as deadly. On a rainy day, he took advantage of the Redskins gearing up to stop the Giant rushing attack and picked apart the Redskin secondary. Good to see Brandon Jacobs back and have everyone come out of the game healthy. Next up , Philly which appears to be playing well once again. Westbrook is still playing injured but McNabb seems to have regained his touch. We’ll see.. many players look like worldbeaters but come apart against the Giants.
Giant Jerk and Gridiron Gunslinger are just two of the names that Plaxico Burress has been called after inadveretently shooting himself in the thigh at a NY nightclub on Friday. Burress and LB Antonio Pierce were enjoying themself when a concealed gun that Plaxico was carrying discharged accidentally ( how ? ). Burress was rushed to hospital and treated for a flesh wound and discharged but is expected to be arrested on Monday and charged with carrying an unlicensed firearm, a felony that carries a mandatory 3-1/2 year sentence. Burress had been ruled out of the Washington game because of injuries but this latest shennaigan may result in a much longer hiatus , even the end of his Giant career. Fully 80% of the Giants fans in a weekend poll said they would like to see the Giants cut him loose. So would I. At a certain point, the headaches are not worth the talent ( not that Plaxico has been a factor since the 2nd game of the season) . A team oriented organization like the Giants should cut this selfish, disturbed player much as the Red Sox did with Manny Ramirez. It’s true that, without Burress, they will not have a deep threat who will attract double coverage but I hope the others will step up. First, of course, they have to wait and see what punishment NFL Commish Roger Goodell will dole out. Goodell needs to take swift ,decisive action as the NFL is fast becoming the National Felony League. Antonio Pierce is ‘co-operating fully’ with the police and I hope he escapes severe punishment. Burress deserves whatever he gets and is expendable , but Pierce is generally well regarded and a leader who will be difficult to replace. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Best Division in Football. Early in the season, the NFC East was widely touted as the best . Commentators were saying that three of its teams would qualify for the playoffs. Since then, only the Giants have lived up to those initial predictions.One reason is that the NFC East teams have taken turns beating each other ; another reason is that Dallas has been beset by injuries. The net result is that Washington and Philly have fallen out of the playoff picture for all practical purposes. The new ” strongest” division is the NFC South where Tampa Bay and Carolina are tied for the lead with 9-3 records and Atlanta is only a game behind. Conceivably all three of those teams could qualify for the playoffs and push the Dallas Cowboys out of a playoff spot. These are the remaining games for the three teams contending for the NFC wildcard slots:
Cowboys .. @ Pittsburgh / Giants / Baltimore /@ Philly
Carolina … Tampa Bay/ Denver/ @ Giants/ @New Orleans
Atlanta …@ New Orleans/ Tampa Bay /@ Minnesota / St. Louis
Atlanta has the easiest schedule of the three and Dallas the toughest. Cowboy fans are talking big about next week’s matchup against the Steelers( about the lack of a Steeler rushing attack and ” Rottenburger”) but they ‘d best beware. The Steeler defense could make it a long night for Romo and his underperforming OL. In order to be sure of a playoff spot, the Cowpokes will have to win at least 3 of the remaining 4 games and I don’t think they can do it.
Is there a more unpredictable team than the Denver Broncos ? I never know ,from one week to another, what they’re going to do. Some weeks they look inept and then they pull off a stunner like they did yesterday. Who’d have thought that they would wallop the Jets 34-17 ;in an away game too. It’s amazing to check the standings and find that they’re leading their division.
The Best NFL Owners. The Sports Business Journal polled it’s readers recently as to the best NFL team owners. The following were the results: ( Percentages rounded off to the nearest integer).
1. Robert Kraft ( New England Patriots)… 32%
2. Jerry Jones ( Dallas Cowboys) … 28%
3. John Mara/ Steve Tisch ( New York Giants) … 11%
4. Dan Rooney ( Pittsburgh Steelers)… 5%
5. Publicly Owned ( Green Bay Packers)…. 5%
The one name that surprised me was that of Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys. He hasn’t had much success lately and he has been reviled for his arrogance, his poor trades and his interference with the day to day running of the team. I have to admit though that he did fine when he first bought the team and with Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer as coaches saw the ‘Boys win three Super Bowls in the mid-nineties. Besides, as someone remarked, he is ” a fine owner but a lousy GM’. Whatever, I don’t think of him as being in the same league as Robert Kraft , Mara/Tisch or Dan Rooney.