Friday, October 19, 2007

What You Know 'Bout Dat: HU Homecoming

This weekend's gonna be crazy. You see, I am a college student. A college student that goes to "The Mecca," "The Capstone," "The Hilltop."

I am a black guy that goes to Howard University. Stereotypical, isn't it?

Our school's "Homecoming" for 2007 happens to be this weekend. If you don't know anything about black college homecomings, gather up some dinero, put it in a plastic bag, and make it rain with me after the jump:

Here's the skinny on the Howard University Homecoming:
1. Lots of food, games, and free stuff.
2. Scantily-clad women frolicking about.
3. New artists (attempt to) gain fans and prove their worth by performing at Yardfest.
4. Random sightings of stunt-doubles, 2nd tier actors (think: Morris Chestnut), Lil' Bow Wow, washed-up NFL players, Antoine Bethea, Tyson Beckford (who?), and other assorted thespians who's careers are gasping for air.

Basically, Homecoming is a mega-palooza that swallows up all of D.C. in its wake. This includes all artists, writers, columnists, perverts, frat boys, students, Congressmen (probably coming for the scantily-clad women)...and bloggers. If I get a post in at any time this weekend, feel free to pat me on the back.

Next Week: My formal introduction to the blogosphere and an ode to Joe Torre's career.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why Black Guys Need to Be in Sports: Reason #1

Kenny Lofton is officially= "The Man."

As Eric B. and Rakim once said, "Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em."

And for the record:
In Dancing= Black/Hispanic Guys > White Guys.


Tim McCarver Might As Well Start Pronouncing "Jhonny Peralta" Correctly...

Red Sox fans have just gotta love Manny Ramirez. He takes a routine run to the little boy's room during the middle of covering left field during games at Fenway, he derisively mocks all that baseball represents (and Bud Selig wants), and doesn't think his team still has a shot at winning the pennant even though the season isn't over....what, wha??
"Why should we panic?" he said Wednesday in a rare clubhouse interview. "We've got a great team." And then, this: "It doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like it's the end of the world."

The whole article is chocked full of rich, Manny being Manny goodness. Normally, Red Sox fans would be throwing tea off the edge of the harbor and demanding a trade by now. Looks like the '04 Championship chilling in the trophy case has cooled their jets a bit.

Also, Manny's got to be the only athlete that can say some totally outlandish crap and just get it written off as "Manny being Manny" in his city. Eh, so goes the Manny Ramirez saga in Beantown.

Bill Simmons must be banging his head against a desk right about now.

The Sports Truth: "In Boston, Manny Ramirez Era Like None Other"
ESPN: "Ramirez: Elimination from ALCS not 'end of the world' for Boston"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Looking Ahead to Next Season...

There's been one question that has overshadowed the entire baseball playoffs. No, not if God will keep the Colorado Rockies loss-free this postseason, or C.C. Sabathia finally pitching a big game for the Tribe, or even if Coco Crisp, Dustin Pedroia, or Julio Lugo will even attempt to get on base for the Red Sox during this series.

Here's the whopper that has effectively glossed over the entire MLB postseason:

Will Joe Torre get his job back in the Bronx?

George Steinbrenner, a guy who at this point might be completely comatose and frozen over like Walt Disney, might be using the Joe Saga to draw attention to the Yankees in anticipation for the 2008 season. Seeing how he's worked over the past 20 years (my lifetime), there's no way I can put it past him. Unfortunately for baseball fans, the 2007 Season hasn't ended yet. After many years and events, I have finally come to understand why fans around the world love to hate the Yankees.

Just look at the city of Cleveland. Cleveland has a baseball team, a squad that hasn't even tasted a complete season of victory since 1948, in the process of shellacking an overrated Yankee team...and your town's biggest sports hero, Lebron James, shows up IN A YANKEES FITTED CAP!

Granted, we know that the Yankees have dominated paraphernalia sales over the last decade (thanks, Jay-Z!) and are clearly America's team in the sport. But, do you really, REALLY want your legend-in-the-making to rock a cap in support of the visiting team?

Right now, the Indians are in the process of dismantling a sturdy Red Sox powerhouse, but the newspapers, journals, and the WWL are talking about Joe Torre, Mo Rivera, A-Rod offseason plans, and even Derek Jeter's trysts in his hotel room.

Like any other Yankee fan, I'm worried about our offseason acquisitions, but let's stick initally to the playoff picture, overanxious copy editors...


Saturday, October 13, 2007

"They Are Who We Thought They Were!" - Part Deux

Before I break down the rankings of these top NFL teams in what I have now dubbed “CoorsSpeak”, I have to let everyone know why my heart has been so downtrodden over the past two weeks. As a fan or enthusiast of every team associated with New York City (and if you want to count the Buffalo Bills, NY State), it has been a tumultuous, heart-wrenching, disastrous run since the advent of October. Let’s look at this trail of tears:

September 29- The Mir’land Terps merck the nationally-ranked Rutgers squad on their home turf in Jersey by running buckwild over Greg Schiano’s coaching aspirations in the second-half, ending any possible attempt for Rutgers to compete as a national title contender.

September 30: 1pm- The New York Mets complete the most historic collapse in sports history, coughing up a 7 game lead in the NL East with two weeks left in the season. The Mets are officially the biggest choke artists in the Big Apple since Charles Smith in the ‘93 Eastern Conference finals.

September 30: 4pm- Chad Pennington confirms the arguments of every sound critic, print journalist, and Deion Sanders-esque talking head around the NFL by throwing an floating gumdrop to Bills CB Terrence McGee, ending the Jets’ chances in Buffalo. In other news, Curtis Martin tears another ACL in his sleep.

October 2- GM, Head Coach (and potential brother on the DL) Isiah Thomas is found guilty for sexual harassment. The Knicks are officially the laughingstock of the NBA.

October 3- The NHL returns. Enough said.

October 4- The Yankees get burned at the Jake , (instead of the stake...get it?) 12-3.

October 5: Joba Chamberlain delivers a passed-ball in the bottom of the 8th, wasting Andy Pettite’s spectacular performance and allowing the Indians to go up 2-0 in the series.

October 6: Kevin Garnett proves that he actually WANTS to make the playoffs this season, putting up a 19-17-5 steal night as Boston demolishes the Atlantic Division champion Raptors.

October 7: The Jets get shellacked at the Meadowlands by the G-Men (our hated rivals), 35-24, topped off by Plexi-Plax Burress stiff-arming CB Andre Dyson to put the Giants ahead for good.

October 8: Joe Torre receives death threat ultimatum from the ageless George Steinbrenner, causing the Yankees to start a weakened, terrible Chien-Ming Wang on three days rest...basically, he stunk up the joint. Yankees lose...and the whole world mourns.

October 9: Mike Benjamin repeatedly bangs his head on desk...over...and over....

However, after this terrible string of failure, the Knicks decide to bring a little hope to the abused New York sports fan. Allan Houston, after a year struggling to make sense of the monstrocity that is ESPN’s NBA Fastbreak, has rubbed Ben-Gay on his surgically repaired knees and has elected to return to the Garden as a member of the New York Knickerbockers. I was....speechless.

Even though I received a deluge of hate mail from every Knick hater and realist in America, I have to believe that this Houston signing is the one option that can only benefit this team. If you think about it logically, he is a low-risk, high-reward type of gamble that the Knicks can afford to pull. I don’t doubt that the move a ploy to take the heat off of Isiah after the trial. I don’t doubt that it puts more fans in an arena that already sells out almost every game of the NBA season. (At the very least, we know Allan Houston's gonna lead the half court prayer after the game. With crazies like Marbury, Curry, and Z-Bo on our team, that's a positive start out of the Eastern Conference cellar...)

Anyway, let’s get back to the Power Poll:

Dennis Green- “That’s bulls***. Bull-S***!!!”

12. Baltimore Ravens (3-2):
As many of you pointed out over the last week, I failed in my placement of the resurging Cleveland Browns. The Browns kept pace with a red-hot Patriots team for an entire half, won a shootout with the Bengals, and demasculated these Ravens at the Dog Pound. Truth be told, I believed that this Raven team would be ready to compete with the best of the AFC going into 2007. The Ravens went out and grabbed a top running back (Willis McGahee) to replace the artifact that cost them the game against the Colts last January (Jamal Lewis). Brian Billick’s young weapons showed promise as dangerous threats (Demetrius Williams, Mark Clayton) for Air McNair, and the aging receivers still had serviceable years left on the tank (Derrick Mason). The Ravens also had an top-5 TE (Todd Heap), and a strong offensive line led by perennial Pro-Bowler Jon Ogden. However, the Ravens’ victories haven’t been reassuring (Niners, Jets, Arizona...Kurt Warner only played the 2nd half) and they’re only one McNair groin injury away from another Kyle Boller year.

Dick Vermeil- "You have to learn to handle it, okay? You have to learn to handle your own intensity."

11. Houston Texans (3-2):
Now’s not the time for Texans fans to get overzealous. Houston has played well above anyone’s expectations, and has hopes to challenge for a wild-card spot in the confusing AFC picture. No matter how well Matt Schaub has been playing without Andre Johnson, he’s gonna need his top gun back in the saddle for the Texans to have a ghost’s chance at beating the powers atop the AFC.

10. Tampa Bay Bucs (3-2): Picture this. You’re Jeff Garcia. You are the leader of a team that can outright win their division because the Saints (terrible), Panthers (Vinny Testaverde as QB), and Atlanta (no offensive line) are all starting to cough up blood. The team that you get canned from is struggling to find their groove, your coach (Gruden) has anointed you the Savior of the franchise (as well as his fading head coaching career). Plus, everybody now thinks the guy that intimated your gayness on national TV (T.O.) is mentally unstable in his own right, and voila!’ve got a revised public appearance. If the Bucs continue to rack up W’s, I’d expect to see Jeff Garcia sipping a martini on the rocks with David Letterman in a few weeks.

Dennis Green- “The rules are fair. The regulations are fair. The competitive balance is fair.”

9. Tennessee Titans (3-1):
Vince Young is one of the most erratic QB’s in the NFL right now. Vince can either destroy your fantasy team or hand you this trophy. Jeff Fisher made a smart move by signing a hired gun (Eric Moulds), a guy who knows all about working with erratic signal-callers. I really don’t understand why the Titans have proven to be one of the stronger teams in the NFL this year. I’ll just deride them by pointing at their two weak victories (New Orleans, Atlanta) and ride into the sunset, waiting until they eventually level off.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-1): Existing as the super-sleeper in the NFL right now, the Jags have beaten teams with ball control and few mistakes. Switching to the more mobile, accurate QB (David Garrard) has brought a proven winner to the forefront. Also, the evolution of Dennis Northcutt as a pass-receiving wideout has helped the Jags ease pressure on their running attack while improving their success rate on 3rd downs. If Jack Del Rio continues to work on his team’s progress rather than making routine trips to Men’s Warehouse, we might see Jacksonville make the playoffs.

7. Seattle Seahawks (3-2): The Seahawks, a team that once made America giddy with their snazzy four WR sets, their Pro-Bowl RB, and their strong, power OL (Hutchinson and Walter Jones), now reeks with the smell of normalcy. I finally understood this fact once I looked at my FoxSports fantasy roster (Hasselbeck, Alexander, Branch, Seattle DEF) and asked myself this question:
“Why do I consider these three guys untradeable?”

Only a few years ago, Deion Branch was an elite receiver (Tom Brady effect), Shaun Alexander was atop the league in rushing (#2 RB taken in Fantasy), and Hasselback was the undisputed best QB in the NFC. Now? I think Mike Holmgren’s best years are behind him.

6. Arizona Cardinals (3-2): Yes, those Arizona Cardinals get the favorable spot here at #8 for a myriad of reasons. First, they beat the Seahawks in Week 1. Secondly, the QB controversy is finally over thanks to Will Witherspoon’s snapping of Matt Leinart’s collarbone. Since Warner took over for Leinart in the Baltimore game, the defense has been lights out, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald woke up from their slumbers, and Edge James...well, maybe EVERYTHING’s not glee-filled in Cardinal land. (Kurt Warner must have Kurt Franklin’s “Jesus Is The Reason for the Season” playing in his SUV...)

5. Washington Redskins (3-1): The Skins have one of the best defenses, top to bottom, in the NFL. They demolished a highly touted Lions team at FedEx Field, and Jason Campbell looked like a superstar, sharing the wealth with Randle El, Cooley, Portis, and Betts. Even Mike “The Weapon” Sellers got into the action. Once Washington takes care of business up at Lambeau this Sunday, folks will start to take this team long last. (When you have ½ of the Jets’ roster in your locker room, of course your team will be dominating!)

Mike Ditka- “I have the drive...believe me...and the enthusiasm is growing in me as I talk to you people.”

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1):
After an 8-8 season and a year where they lost a legendary coach to retirement, many reporters and NFL fans had written off the Steelers in 2007, especially because Pittsburgh was in a solid AFC North division with improving teams. (Plus, no one believed that Mike Tomlin was the real deal) However, the Steelers have prospered. Though Hines Ward has been shelved with another leg injury, guys continue to step up as targets for Big Ben to find in the offense. Though the Steelers have decided to create the most blatantly gay mascot for their proud city, the well as this team...have responded.

3. Dallas Cowboys (5-0): When a legend like Bill Parcells gets canned for a guy that was on the wrong side of the Music City Miracle, it just doesn’t look promising for America’s team. Jason Garrett, the Dallas offensive coordinator was found guilty of using performance enhancement drugs during his playing days, and was punished by the NFL. While T.O. led the league with TD catches, he also dropped the most catchable passes, some that could have been potential game-changers. Also, would Tony Romo recover from the fumbled snap in Seattle? Though many question marks were looming over the ‘Boys at the start of their 2007 campaign, their intensity has placed them atop the league, seen by many as the team to beat in the NFC. On Monday night, Dallas proved that they could win an intense game, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. We’ll see if this trend continues when they take on the Pats…perhaps the most touted matchup of the NFL season.

2. Indianapolis Colts (5-0): A lot of folks choose not to respect the Colts. Here are the common complaints from the peanut gallery:
“Sure, Peyton Manning puts up gaudy numbers, but their defense has no superstars.”
“Of course Reggie Wayne is atop the league leaders in TDs…he’s got Marvin Harrison drawing double coverages on the other side of the field.”
“Any quarterback with a cohesive offensive line would be successful in that offensive system.”

These are the defending World Champs! These guys tore through a Rex-led Bear team to win the championship. (Wait…gotta retract that argument…) The Colts are built with a bend, but don’t break attitude, a philosophy that usually decays most teams. But…they just know how to win games. And now that Peyton Manning doesn’t have to worry about being compared to Marino…watch out.

1. New England Patriots (5-0): After the incident with the Jets victory, dubbed many different names (CameraGate, BeliGate), a finding that destroyed a lot of Bill Belichick’s credibility as coach. Most people would have been emotionally shaken, and floundered under the unimaginable pressures that faced them as head coach of a football dynasty. Not Chairman Bill. The Patriots have beaten every team they’ve played this year by 20+ points, and will surely roll through Dallas at the Star this Sunday. I picked New England to be waiting at the Super Bowl this year, and I know we’ll see the deluge of Brady-talk and Belichick….and some Moss…in February ’08. The only thing these guys can’t win? A high performance helicopter.

Peace! I’ll leave you with one more clip. Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Great One Returns!

I am elated. Just speechless. Now, maybe Modells' can finally get those old jerseys off the shelves. Trust me, the ESPN gig just wasn't for you.

Ladies and gentleman...the king has returned!

Allan Houston, welcome back to the Garden, baby!!


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"They Are Who We Thought They Were!" - Part 1

(Editor's Note: This blog was first published at, where the author had previously been posting his blog notes and such.)

Yes, I know already. I've been slacking on my Facebook "note" game.

Maybe it's because Facebook doesn't let me tag all of my friends and classmates to these creations even though someone can make an "event" or "group" and tag everyone. Maybe because I'm busy trying to holla at girls having a really, REALLY tiring junior year.

Or maybe it's because I'm just a lazy schnuck.

Whatever the case, a ton of people have been on my case to write-up a new Facebook note for their enjoyment. I've even got people scrounging my Profile page for quotes and ancedotes, as evidenced by one O. Chris, a big-time Falcons fan and overall enthusiast of my notes:
"Let me just first say that in reference to your Quotes, Michael Vick is/was a good QB. But, now for the real reason that I came here: I feel compelled to share this with someone and you seem the most appropriate. This is probably going to change, but as of now (Week 5), I think my picks for the last two weeks of the NFL season are as follows..."

After I finished reading O.Chris' lengthy wall post that was capped off by his prediction of a Packers/Patriots Super Bowl (a rematch of the 1995 season that had Bledsoe and Parcells pitted against Favre and the incomparable Reggie White in their primes), I realized that I've never made any predictions for this NFL season. Why not break out the Power Rankings capped off by my Super Bowl prediction in this Facebook "note" as a little warm-up for my school year of blog writing?

(Note: I really should take the time to expound on the MLB Playoffs and lament about the eventual end to the Yankees dynasty and Joe Torre's career. However, I realize that no one (except the Red Sox fans that will gloat at our expense) would care. Howard University is such a football-heavy school (even though our games stay empty), which makes it tough to embrace other sports on this campus. Plus, it looks like the Red Sox are about to take another I'll pass on the hyperbole. If you wanna hear more about baseball and the playoffs in general, listen to the guys at this radio station.

The categories are in honor of the innovative Coors' Light commercials and their coaches; Dennis Green, Jim Mora, Mike Ditka, Dick Vermeil, Bill Parcells. No matter how many times NBC, FO
X, and CBS shove these commercials down our throats, I will always enjoy a hearty LOL at your expense. Just keep pumping out the stupid quotes fellas.

Jim Mora- "I just hope we can win a game!"

32. Buffalo Bills (1-3):
Looking at this Bills team this season, you had to believe that this was a team that from the outset of this season was destined for fa
ilure. Their superstar running back (McGahee) abandoned them for better pasture (Ravens), their quarterback controversy involved a washed-up QB and a unproven rookie (Losman/Edwards), and their only deep threat (Lee Evans) now draws double teams every game, making his fantasy value plummet faster than George Bush's approval ratings. Plus, their coach is Dick Jauron...the same guy who though Jim Miller would be the answer at QB for the Bears a few seasons back. (Guess that didn't work out too well...)

31. New York Jets (1-4): I'll be the first Jet fan to admit that we got fortunate with some W's last season. Two years ago, the Jets had the 4th worst record in football, and was rewarded with a last place schedule las year (playing the Raiders in Week 17). Plus, our rookie OL's (D'Brickshaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold) played lights out, allowing Chad to sit back and dump off passes untouched, and made guys like Leon Washington and Kevan Barlow look like stars. There HAD to be a dropoff, and without a vertical passing game, our goose is as good as cooked.

30. New Orleans Saints (0-4): As America watched the U.S. Saints march on after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and sprint behind the wheels of Reginald Bush to the NFC Championship, I wondered aloudl while sipping on a great Checkers milkshake: "Can this team do it again next year?" How can I, a guy that witnessed a resurgence of Drew Brees, as a Pro-Bowl QB leading a dynamite offense (on turf no less)? I was concerned because I didn’t know the name of ANYONE on the Saints defense. The Saints front seven is filled with unknowns that were swept down the Mississippi to revive their careers in the bayou, and Sean Payton has the audacity to continue starting Jason David at cornerback after the whipping Reggie Wayne gave him on national TV in the Week 1 rout. It’s going to be a long season for the Cajuns down under.

29. Miami Dolphins (0-5): Aging, Mediocre QB + an Aging, Overrated D= 4-12 season. They just let Kris Brown beat them with a 52-yarder at the buzzer and Daunte Culpepper get his roll on with 5 TD the week before. Let the John Beck era begin!
(Since I’ve already mentioned the other 3 teams in the AFC East…I believe we can go ahead and hand the Pats the division again this year…)

28. Kansas City Chiefs (2-3): I know there are some teams that have worse records that these guys, but let’s step back a
nd put this squad under the electron microscope for a sec. Brodie Croyle is their guy under center…who was trash in Alabama at QB. Larry Johnson continues to receive death threats from a ton of fantasy owners for his 20 yard performances. Dwayne Bowe returned to obscurity after his breakout game against Norv! and the Chargers. Herm Edwards is still the worst coach when it comes to winning the big games because he can’t manage the clock. (Thanks for the 4th round draft pick Chiefs.) This team just finished being murdered by Jacksonville (a sleeper team at 3-1) at Arrowhead, and need to dig into Lamar Hunt’s grave for a new fighting spirit…or some great draft picks in 2008.

Jim Mora "Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs! Playoffs?"

27. St. Louis Rams (0-5):
It’s a shame that we have to watch yet another wide receiver (Issac Bruce) slowly erode his legacy as one of the leaders of the “Greatest Show on Turf” by playing down-after-down in this mistake of a franchise. I placed the Rams in th
is bracket instead of squeezing them in with the five teams that preceded it because I really felt that the Rams would have a serious shot at competing for a playoff spot in their division. The NFC West has no true team that will flat out dominate that division. However, the key to the Rams’ demise lieth in the presence of two elements: The double-white guy system at QB & RB. No offense…but once I saw Brian Leonard lace up his Reebok cleats on the sidelines to replace Steve Jackson, I knew that the fat lady had just sang her last note.

Oakland Raiders (2-2)
Once again, Lane Kiffin tries to be the answer in Oakland as the youngest coach to ever lead an NFL team. In a division where taking a bye week makes a team look great by comparison, it’s hard for me to find a spot for this team. I’ll once again roll back to the QB issues (Cade McNown, Culpepper). Even though Daunte scored 5TD’s against the Dolphins two weeks ago, he only put up 100 yards passing. Either of these guys just spells failure in my book.

24a. Minnesota Vikings
24b. San Francisco 49ers

Face it, you’re looking at two teams that are spitting images of one another. Here’s the checklist:
Above-Average Defenses? [CHECK]
Potentially Devastating Running Attack? [CHECK}
Young Receivers That Need Time to Develop? [CHECK]

Coach that Wears Pen in Ear at all Times While on Sideline? [CHECK]
Terrible, Terrible QB’s destined to kill this team down the stretch in every big
game? [CHECK]

If they didn’t have such terrible offenses that will allow teams to stack the line on every single down, I would pick these guys in a heartbeat to be in the hunt. However, I have no faith in Tavaris Jackson, Trent Dilfer, Alex Smith, or Brooks Bollinger.

23. Atlanta Falcons (1-4): I really
thought the Falcons had a chance to shake up the division this year. Even’s Bill Simmons picked these guys to be the next recipients of his Ewing Theory …whatever that means. Bobby Petrino got a huge break, avoiding having to create an entirely new offensive system for Michael Vick and getting the luxury of having a built-in guy ready to take the blame for his mistakes (Joey Harrington). The defense, while losing top DE Patrick Kerney to the Seahawks, still isn’t terrible and I felt that the ground attack of Dunn/Norwood would carry these guys to at least a respectable 8-8 season. Things went according to plan - Joey came alive in Petrino’s new system and Roddy White learned how to catch passes in the offseason. Unfortunately after the meltdown of meathead DeAngelo Hall in the Carolina game and Petrino’s quick trigger with Joey in Tennessee yesterday, going instead with the inept Leftwich to try and tie the game up in Music City…I started hearing the sounds of an eventual implosion. Why pull Joey after he’s proven to be a solid QB so far this season? (A first for Mr. Harrington) Why bring in the slowest black QB ever, a guy with a completion percentage lower than the freezing point in Fahrenheit?
(Out goes confidence at the QB spot…now enters controversy and team suicide…)

Cleveland Browns (2-3): Simply put, if this team was in the NFC, they would be looking at a serious chance at the postseason. Romeo Crennel has finally gotten to a point where the Browns will beat the teams they should beat, and get emasculated by the teams they are supposed to lose to. Since the AFC is just way too stacked with great talent, I figure we’ll see this Mike Martz-led team make waves next season.

Bill Walsh- "I don’t believe I can segregate the two."

20a. Denver Broncos (2-3)
20b. San Diego Chargers (2-3)

Just as Bill Walsh couldn’t separate Coors Light from the definition of cold refreshment, I have also failed in separating this Denver Broncos squad from the sputtering Super Chargers, especially after their collapse at Mile High yesterday afternoon. Denver’s clearly got the better leader (Shanahan), but has failed to stop teams from running the ball up and
down the field. San Diego’s defensive front seven is one of the better units in football, the offense holds League MVP Ladainian Tomlinson (LT) in the backfield, but this team lacks a solid leader, a face that the players can rely upon for stability and growth. Norv Turner is a great offensive coordinator but terrible as a head coach (Dallas, Miami, Oakland, San Diego). This lack of efficiency on both teams leaves the AFC West wide open for the taking, with any team in the division able to grab the reins.

Dennis Green- "…and we let ‘em off the hook!”

19. Cincinnati Bengals (1-4):
The Bengals remind me of the Colts’ during the Jim Mora era. Peyton Manning and the crew would throw up an insane amount of offense, but their defense was so ridiculously terrible that they would end up having a lot of 9-7, 10-6, and 8-8 finishes. It’s funny that the Bengals team is crafted this way because the front office hire
d Marvin Lewis FIVE YEARS AGO to fix the problem on that side of the ball. We all know the weapons that the Bengals have in their storehouse (T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Carson Palmer, Ocho Cinco) on the offense side. I believe that this Bengal O is good enough to carry this team to a respectable season. However, I don’t think that Marvin Lewis will be around long enough to see his long term plan grow to fruition. Bill Cowher’s going to have a lot of coaching options once he makes the decision to come back next season.

Denny Green- "Everybody has a chance to get their bite of the apple."

16a. Detroit Lions (3-2)
16b. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)
16c. Carolina Panthers (3-2)

Looking at the NFC landscape at this point, we have only one solid contender (Dallas), leaving the rest of the conference entirely up for grabs. Setting aside the two shaky division leaders (Tampa Bay and Seattle) and one division that’s totally up for grabs (NFC North), we’ve got an insane amount of teams that can slide into the two wild card spots. Carolina, Philly, and Detroit have a great chance at squeezing underneath the playoff door because they:
a. Have weak schedules because of last year’s fallacies.

b. Have strong, game-changers at the speciality positions. (QB, RB, WR)
c. Are all in the NFC. (Obviously…)

Mike Ditka: "I don’t believe in living in the past. The past is for cowards."

15. New York Giants (3-2):
Eli Manning is playing football like a new boy man. He’s leading this Giants team past the short-sighted expectations of newspapers, magazines, and the talking heads on NFL Network. However, the resurgence of this Giant team isn’t to be credited primarily to Eli’s growth as a competent quarterback in the Big Apple. From Osi Umeyniora’s six sack performance on Sunday Night Football against Philly to Aaron Ross’ second-half spectacular in the Meadowlands, we have seen an energized take the cake.

14a. Green Bay Packers (4-1)
14b. Chicago Bears (2-3):
Sunday Night was a great matchup between the two top teams of the last 5-10 years in the NFC North. While Brett Favre continues to dispel the myths of his inevitable retirement by looking like a Tony Romo clone with Green Bay’s short passing game (a change in gameplay that even I doubted ), the Bears – with a decisive win at Lambeau – have still shown why they remain the class of the division. (Also, the interception that Favre forced across the field late in the 3rd Quarter might be a taste of what’s to come up in the chesse state.)

(Check out the rest of the Power Poll in Part 2!!!)