NFL notes: Week 10


First, I’d like to say that I loved how Sean Payton utilized his crutches today. Flailing them in times of disgust, pointing out players with them, etc. Well played, Mauer. Also thought it was hilarious that the Saints hired a guy whose job was simply driving Payton around in a golf cart. Wish I had that treatment when I crutched around the UVM campus a few weeks ago.

After watching the Saints the past two weeks I’ve been pretty impressed with their run defense and willingness to gang tackle. If their defense continues to play at this level they might be the only NFC team capable of standing up to the Packers when they’re having a good day.

I was very skeptical about the 49ers’ hot start. This is a team with a quarterback that had failed and failed again at the NFL level. But whatever Jim Harbaugh is selling, I’m buying. The defense is relentless, the run game is consistent and Alex Smith is playing well enough for me to take them seriously. He doesn’t have to do much, you can settle for field goals when you have a defense like that.

Their 8-1 record is clearly aided by their schedule thus far but you have to respect how quickly they turned that team around. Patrick Willis has the quickness of a safety in a 240-pound frame.

After watching the Bucs flail at Saints ball-carriers last week, I thought it might get ugly against the prolific running attack of the Texans. Sure enough, the Texans ran for 185 yards and three touchdowns against the Bucs this week. They’re 7-3 despite missing Andre Johnson, which you have to  respect, but they’ve made their money mowing over poor teams.

Yes, they beat the Steelers when they were slumping but their other six wins were against the Colts, Dolphins, Titans, Jaguars, Browns and Bucs. Those six teams are a combined 15-38.

The Eagles have essentially the same personnel as the team that nearly beat the Packers in the playoffs last year, but they’re done. If they win seven straight games I’d be as surprised as someone in Wyoming seeing someone else in Wyoming.

Have to question sitting DeSean Jackson when you’re 3-5 — you don’t bench your best players in a must-win game. Find another way to deal with it. Larry Fitzgerald’s seven catch, 146 yard two touchdown game tells me that Nnamdi Asomugha wasn’t worth the money. The Eagles are too top-heavy, they’re built like an NBA team.

While the final score may say differently, the Jets outplayed the Patriots for a solid portion of that game. Minus a few stupid mistakes, the Jets could have made that a pretty good game. Revis contained Welker and the Patriots couldn’t run at all.

If the current Patriots and the current Jets played ten times, I’d take the Jets six times out of ten. It’ll be interesting to see the Jets game-plan to stop Gronkowski if these teams meet in the playoffs.

The Patriots found the pass rush they desperately needed and the Jets run defense was dominant, so both teams can take away positives from Sunday night’s game.

When a team is running empty sets up 37-16 with five minutes left it shows you how much faith they have in running the ball against you.

I will still take the Jets, Steelers and Ravens over the Patriots come January. Last year they lost their first playoff game despite having a better defense and running game, so someone explain to me why this year will be any different.