— The New York Giants should keep their collective chins up after losing to the Cleveland Browns Monday night. They came into the game with an 11-game road winning streak and were due to lose a road game in front of a hostile crowd.
Coach Tom Coughlin will obviously use this setback as an opportunity to refocus his team after their much deserved “victory vacation” following their Super Bowl shocker over the Patriots.
Coughlin suspended receiver Plaxico Burress heading into their Week 5 game against Seattle in order to send a message to him and the rest of the roster that they need to be accountable at all times.
Eli Manning threw three interceptions in the loss to Cleveland while forcing the football into tight coverage as he was being blitzed the entire second half. If offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbright stuck to a game plan of running the ball, the Giants' line would have most likely softened the Brown's secondary and Manning could have rallied the team in the fourth quarter and possibly kept the Giants undefeated.
More Raiders' woes
JaMarcus Russell struggled as the Oakland Raiders were blown out on the road last Sunday in New Orleans. After looking confident on the first drive of the game, Russell digressed, made rookie mistakes throughout the remainder of the game, and finished with only 13 competitions in 35 attempts for 159 yards. He has a big arm, but is very inconsistent and fumbles the football when pressured.
Offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp must move Russell outside the pocket on critical third down conversions in the hopes that he can run for first downs if his receivers can't get open. Javon Walker and Ronald Curry have combined for only 11 receptions for 120 yards and one touchdown at the wide receiver position
If Matt Ryan can be counted on to make big plays with the game on the line for the Atlanta Falcons, Russell should be expected to do the same for the Silver and Black.
Warner for MVP?
Several callers to my radio show have said Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner should garner some early consideration for the MVP award. He has led his team to a 4-2 record and played solid against Dallas in last Sunday's overtime win.
I thought he was destined to back up Matt Leinart and hold a clipboard for his remaining seasons in Arizona, but Warner looks revitalized and confident while leading one of the worst franchises in NFL history. Warner has a 102.8 quarterback rating and has thrown for 1,708 yards and 12 touchdowns.
If Arizona, which has this week off, wins three out of the next four games (Carolina, St. Louis, San Francisco and Seattle), it should easily be able to run away with the NFC West and host a playoff game.
Cowboys can rebound
Commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended Adam “Pacman” Jones for the next four weeks and I believe that this penalty was too severe.
That being said, I have stated for years on my radio show that Jones is a thug, menace to society and overall bad guy. I am convinced that he can't stay out of trouble for extended periods of time because he craves the spotlight that comes along with being a professional athlete more than the passion to compete with 52 teammates towards the common goal of winning a championship. I'm not qualified to state if he is an alcoholic or not, but alcohol always seems to be involved when he gets into trouble.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones took a chance on Pacman because he thought he would be an instant impact player on special teams while adding depth to the defensive secondary. Jones will spend any amount of money to upgrade his team and has always been aggressive when it came to taking chances in the draft or trading picks. The Cowboys just traded a first-, third- and sixth-round pick in 2009 to the Detroit Lions for wide receiver Roy Williams in another desperate attempt to upgrade the team as they are coming off a loss and sit with a 4-2 record. I like this move because Williams needed a fresh start and wanted to go back home to Texas where he was a star in high school and college and grew up as a Cowboys fan. Opposing defensive coordinators will lose sleep trying to devise game plans to stop Tony Romo, Terrell Owens, Roy Williams, Jason Witten and the running game of Marion Barber and Felix Jones.
Dallas has obvious problems on defense with the loss of Terrance Newman and Adam Jones, but I expect them to go through a few more weeks of uncertainty before regaining their confidence before the start of the postseason. I picked the Cowboys to get to the Super Bowl and they are better with the addition of Roy Williams, but the franchise is dealing with many more distractions then I anticipated before making that pick.
Chargers back on track
The San Diego Chargers played like a Super Bowl contender as they dismantled the New England Patriots Sunday night. That dominant performance is exactly what San Diego needed to get back on track and gain positive momentum before their longest road trip of the season. This Sunday they travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills before crossing the pond to take on the Saints at Wembley Stadium in London.
Quarterback Philip Rivers is on pace for another Pro Bowl season, already amassing 1,489 passing yards with 12 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He has completed over 61 percent of his passes and has a quarterback rating of 109.4 that leads the NFL.
LaDainian Tomlinson is still is suffering from a nagging foot injury and is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry, but wide receiver Vincent Jackson has stepped up with 22 receptions for 439 yards. Chris Chambers also quietly has five touchdowns.
San Diego still has to improve on defense as it is ranked 26th overall and give up over 365 yards per game. I'm still sticking with an AFC championship game matchup between the Chargers and Colts.