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NFL Inquest, Room at the Top Edition

New England Patriots Asante Samuel Carson Palmer interceptionI dig on the NFL as much as anyone, but last night offered up proof positive that it can be just as boring and predictable as any other sport, and that baseball (yes, baseball) can be a hell of a lot more exciting under the right circumstances.

Even if I did fall asleep before the end.

The New England Patriots dismantled the Bengals the same way they’ve been dismantling everyone else, and it wasn’t even fun to watch. It’s a performance that leaves little doubt, presently at least, about the Pats’ status as the league’s elite team.

That, of course, gives rise to “best ever” and “undefeated” talk. “Best ever” is the kind of thing only a moron would claim at this stage, but “undefeated” could be worth a look.

And after review: it’s not happening. With 12 games to go they still have to face the Cowboys (road), Redskins (home), Colts (road), Ravens (road), and Steelers (home). Any one of those teams has a chance, and those are just the obvious picks.

Look, the Pats are good. But beating up on the Bengals, Bills, Chargers, and Jets is one thing, while an undefeated season is quite another. They’ve hardly done enough for anyone to start prattling on about their status among the all-time greats. Give it time.

With the Steelers’ loss to the Cardinals the Ravens and they have now played two common opponents. The Steelers eviscerated the Browns in Cleveland while the Ravens lost there, but the Ravens beat the Cardinals where the Steelers couldn’t. You can’t read too much into that (yet), but I think it’s becoming clear that those Baltimore-Pittsburgh matchups will be huge. First one comes on Monday, November 5th in Pittsburgh.

The Bengals are now 6-11 in their past 17 games, and Marvin Lewis has reached the “call your players out” stage. It begs the question: is he really that great of a coach? His defenses before Brian Billick got here were average at best, and you know how much it pains me to admit anything that casts Coach Ego in a positive light.

But, really, shouldn’t Lewis be better than this?

I doubt the Browns are for real, but they are 2-2. Still…they’re next on the Bill Belichick Hit List, and they’d better get their heads screwed on straight if they want to avoid total embarassment.

The Skins celebrated their bye week by signing Keenan McCardell, a move designed to add depth on account of the possible absence this Sunday of both Portis and Moss. After what Detroit did to Chicago last week this could be bad news, indeed.

18 comments to NFL Inquest, Room at the Top Edition

  • Joe the Guy

    Neal,

    This is complete hogwash.

    The Pats are fun to watch. Wes Welker’s 27 yard run off a double reverse?!? That was fun.

    Sammy Morris had 8 straight run plays before TB hit Moss in the endzone (the third row quote I put up earlier) I know it was against a banged up Bengals team. But it was fun to watch.

    True, you can’t put these Pats in the Best Ever Category after 4 games.

    BUT….

    The Moss Trade has to be up there in the Best Ever category, at least in football, right? Someone prove me wrong.

  • sci

    I would be so pissed at Moss right now if I were an Oakland fan. Unbelievably pissed. What a joke. He really does just play when he feels like it.

    How crazy is trying to predict the NFL though? The Browns and the Giants looked like the two worst teams in the league after two games.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    Solid rocks with Moss on it always have worms underneath. Let’s wait a full year til we fellate this guy shall we?

    One stupid misunderstanding and he could pout/quit enough to seriously affect that team. I mean, history backs me up on this. Sure he could end up with his projected numbers:

    2200 yards – 28 touchdowns (stupid)

    But really if anyone can fuck it up it’s him.

  • neal s

    Hogwash, eh? That sounds like the kind of thing that could only come from…a Patriots fan!

  • df1570

    The reason Moss won’t fuck it up in New England – as someone wrote – is the exact same reason why no one worth a hoot will come to Baltimore as a free agent to play baseball here in ’08 and beyond.

    Players who have been perennial losers and then find themselves swallowed up by winning suddenly realize how much better it is to be with a franchise that strives to be competitive and win.

    Moss had some initial success in Minnesota, but his trip to Oakland was a flat out quit-job.

    But, like Corey Dillon who suffered for so long in Cincinnati (losing while he was there), getting to New England is the prescription for what ails you. They win there.

    And that’s why the O’s can’t attract anyone. They lose. A lot. And not only do they lose, they do so in what has arguably become the most dysfunctional house in all of baseball.

    Moss will thrive in New England. They’re winning. He likes it.

    The only way the Orioles will return to glory is to do so through solid drafting, farm system development and the careful handling of their young players as they go from city to city at their respective minor league levels.

    That whole process might take longer than we all want, but it’s the only way the O’s will improve.

    No one who has a choice is coming here.

    Drafting them is the only way to get them here and, hopefully, keep them here long-term.

    If Randy Moss could pitch, I’d sign him for ’08.

  • neal s

    That’s true enough, Drew, but the bottom line is that free agents will almost always go where the money is.

    We can all agree that MacPhail, at the least, seems to have the right ideas. Fair enough?

    He talks about wanting to build on pitching and strengthen the instruction and depth at the minor league levels. That’s both (a) smart as hell and (b) code for “this is going to take a couple of years.”

    BUT…riddle me this: if the O’s offer Aaron Rowand $15 mil/year and Torii Hunter $20 mil/year, do you really think either of them would flinch?

    No. They’d suit up in the black-and-orange and say “I can help this team win.”

    Whether or not they’d be right depends entirely on who’s really in charge, and how serious everyone is about winning. That part we won’t know for a year and a half at least.

    In the meantime, I’ll take Rowand in left, Hunter in center, and Markakis in right any day.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    MY NAME IS BIG BEN’S MOTORCYCLE

    Not Bob in Parkville, not _____ in Sparrow’s Point, BIG BEN’S MOTORCYCLE

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    Seriously I wasn’t saying that Moss would fuck up the Pats, just that he could. There’s just something diabolical about what they’re doing up there that could make them undefeated but on the flip side it’s fun to think of what could happen if Bellichick and Moss started feuding in any way.

  • neal s

    I’d love nothing more than a Belichick-Moss feud. It’d be good for the league.

    And Drew: if you want to bet a Chinese lunch on the Pats going undefeated, I’ll meet you in January at Cafe Zen. Bring your credit card, cuz I’m going hard.

  • df1570

    Gee, Neal, where were you a few years back when Vlad and Konerko got those major offers from the O’s (supposedly)?

    Guerrero took LESS money to go the Angels (supposedly) and Konerko took LESS money to go back to the White Sox.

    If the Orioles offer Rowand $15 mil per and the Phillies offer him $12 mil per, his ass will be sitting in the club suite at Flyers games all winter long.

    Players DO go where the money is when the team they’re going to has a chance at winning…sometime in the next decade.

    Unless, of course, that player is Aubrey Huff. Then again, no one else wanted him.

    I never said the Pats would go undefeated. I’m fairly certain they won’t.

    But anytime you want to take ME for a Chinese lunch for all the free pub I’ve given your site, I’ll gladly go.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Konerko wanted to stay in Chicago the whole time – he doesn’t like the east coast and felt at home in Comiskey. If the Yankees had offered him more money, he would have turned it down.

    Vlad didn’t come here, not because of the money, but because of the lack of a large hispanic community in baltimore – he doesn’t even speak english, and he doesn’t even want to try to learn – so those two examples aren’t the greatest examples in the world, drew. But I get your point.

  • neal s

    We might be able to work something out, Drew…throw in a guest spot or two and the deal might just get done.

  • dfgolf

    Andrew, you really think Konerko wouldn’t have gone to NY? Yeah, right. He’d give his left nut to play for the Yankees.

    Vlad’s bullshit about the Latin community was a cover-up for the real issue. He wanted to go somewhere that MIGHT be a winner. “Go to Baltimore for $100 million and never win in 5 years or go to L.A for $90 million and win?”

    Come back to reality, Andrew.

    Quality players aren’t coming here because the franchise has become a laughingstock.

  • df1570

    Neal, your bill with me is already up to nearly $3k.

    I’m not sure u can afford a guest spot or two.

    lol

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Okay, it’s altogether possible Konerko would’ve gone to NY. But, the winter Vlad was supposed to come here we had just signed three quality guys and things were looking way up.

    This winter, or last winter, of course somebody like Vlad or A-Rod isn’t going to come here unless we offer so much more money they light money on fire using other money that’s already on fire, but in 2003-2004, we were making our move. Besides, if players never go anywhere except winners, how did Detroit turn it around – they got Magglio Ordonez, Kenny Rogers, and Pudge up there somehow.

  • neal s

    Well, Drew, you’re out two things in that scenario:

    1. a Chinese lunch

    2. some high-quality sports talk. Ask Michael Popovec (who rules, by the way). Unless I’m way off, I think I’ve comported myself rather well on the WNST airwaves.

  • df1570

    There’s a great Chinese place right near the Ravens facility in Owings Mills called “Asian Kitchen”. I’m there EVERY Monday (except this coming Monday…) at 1:30 and have lunch before heading over to the Brian Billick press conference.

    Anytime you want to meet me there, you’re welcome to join in. Most Mondays I run out on the check, but if you’re there, maybe I’ll actually pay for once.

    I’ve heard you on Michael’s show and when I plan my 2008 baseball coverage, I’ll bring you in for “O’s Apologist Weekly”. The floor will be all yours.

    KIDDING!!!

  • neal s

    Wait…KIDDING about what, exactly?