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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

NFL Weekend wrapup

In the four afternoon games and the Monday Night Football game, I scored 4-1 against the spread, missing only the Oakland win. I should have known better on that one. This brings my record for the week to 9-4, not bad for a first time!

Some notes on the games...

MNF: Giants at Dallas - As I figured ("Giants can and will play into the teeth of the Cowboys' strength and win."), the Giants are playing top-notch pro football right now. They're making a few mistakes, but they aren't letting their opponents take advantage of it. All cylinders are clicking for them; the offense is well-balanced with effectiveness in both the pass and the rush, so an opponent can't shut down one without giving up too much to the other - a lesson that a lot of poor rushing teams around the league ought to be considering. So much for the vaunted "#1 rush defense" of the Cowboys, the Giants rushing game still moved well against the best the league had to offer, two weeks running. At this point I would favor the Giants against Chicago IN Chicago, they are playing that well. The Bears are not the team to beat in the NFC anymore. One thing about the Giants' wins over the past two weeks is that their opponents can't point to any one thing they could have done to turn the game around - both Atlanta and Dallas were reeling not just from getting beat, but from getting beat at their own game at home and coming out of it having no idea what they could have done better. That's the sign of a Super Bowl team, and as long as the Giants play this way they are my favorites to win the championship this year.

Arizona at Oakland - Bad against bad. How do you call a game like that? After the week before, Arizona had shown signs it was ready to be competitive. It just took three steps back. The basic requirement of any team that wants to be competitive in the NFL is that you have to beat bad teams.

Vikings at Seahawks - The Seahawks are a shadow of last year's team, and not only because of the injuries to Alexander and now Hasselbeck. The loss of Hutchinson to the Vikings made all the difference. Lesson here is that the running back is the least important part of a rushing offense; it's all the guys in front of him making the blocks and creating the lanes that are really earning the yards. Moreover, a team that has an effective passing game is even more effective at the run because it has another good option. This game helped to confirm my opinion that Edgerrin James is and always has been a mediocre running back, at best. Anyone can put up good rushing numbers when opponents are mostly playing pass defense.

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