NFL Week 10 breakdown
Monday, November 15, 2010 | Author: Mad Typist
Okay, so I kind of dropped the ball on weeks 8 and 9, but here's my week 10 thoughts:

My totally random thoughts on hair. In the biblical tale of Samson and Delilah, the mighty Samson is stripped of his great strength after he allows Delilah to cut his hair. Now consider the once mighty Jared Allen: last year he tallied 14.5 sacks while sporting a magnificent mullet. In the offseason, he got married and as a concession to his bride, agreed to cut his mullet for their wedding. This season up to week 8 he had only 2 sacks. Coincidence?

Meanwhile, Tom Brady has steadfastly refused to cut his hair, despite the fact that everyone has ruthlessly mocked it. Even Justin Bieber has gotten in on the act. Again, the love of a woman comes into play, as Brady claims that his wife (the incredibly hot Giselle B√ľndchen) won't allow him to cut his flowing locks. Well, this season the Patriots are again on fire, despite having no-name receivers and no running game to speak of. Brady went berserk last night on both the sidelines AND the field, totaling up 350 yards and 3 TDs (while adding a fourth TD by rushing). Again, I ask you... coincidence, or a testament to the power of the hair?

Change is good. This week new Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett took the drastic measures of actually expecting players to hustle in practice and show up on time to meetings. *Gasp!* Well, the team actually seemed to respond, behaving like professional football players for an entire 60 minute game, shellacking the surprised NY Giants in the process. While Garrett deserves credit for motivating his team, I suspect that this was partially a matter of good timing/luck - the Giants always have one or two games like this where Eli plays poorly and the defense looks sloppy, and the Cowboys have one or two games that remind us that they are stacked with individual talent. In this case, both of those yearly occurences happened in the same game.

With the Cowboys having success replacing an ineffective head coach, you have to wonder what it's going to take to get Zygi Wilf to follow suit and fire head coach Brad Childress. There are countless reports that the players hate Childress, and they are now 3 games out of first place in the division, sitting at 3-6. Childress put all his proverbial eggs in the Brett Favre basket at the beginning of the year, sending 3 players down to Mississippi to literally beg him to come out of retirement (increasing his salary by a cool $3 mil as enticement). This decision is obviously not paying off - Favre has only thrown 10 TDs and has 16 INTs this season, and hasn't exactly been a model of a team player. While people got excited last week when Favre brought the team back for a thrilling win, they forgot to mention the most important fact about last week's game: their opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, really really really suck. That they needed a wild comeback against a lowly team like that sort of sums up their whole season.

It's fairly well known around the league that the Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is highly respected and will likely be a head coach very very soon somewhere in the league. It seems crazy that Wilf wouldn't insert him in at the head coach position. This is a change that makes sense. Another change that would make sense is benching Favre and letting Tarvaris Jackson show whether or not he's the answer at QB moving forward. This is a lost year for the Vikings anyway - better to start Jackson and find out if he's the guy or not than to wait till next season and then find out the hard way.

There are no dominant teams this year. But boy are there some exciting teams. This week the NY Jets won their second OT game in two weeks in thrilling fashion. The Cleveland Browns have been surprisingly fun to watch, especially with the poised Colt McCoy at the helm and Peyton Hillis running like a total beast this year. And you'll be hard pressed to find a more exciting play than the hail mary play by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders are starting to look like a team to watch - if they can beat the Steelers next week they'll have to enter the discussion for top 10 ranking as well. Lastly, the San Diego Chargers are exciting in both good ways (a dynamic offense with Philip Rivers playing absolutely out of his mind even with scrubs filling in at WR) and in bad ways (with a special teams unit completely willing to spice up the game by failing to block, well.... anyone).

Brother, can you spare a QB? So, the details of Donovan McNabb's new contract came out today, and boy howdy is that some crazy money. $40 million guaranteed over 5 years for a QB who just turned 34? Sounds insane, especially given the drama of last week where McNabb was benched for Rex Grossman. However, consider the state of available QBs around the league right now, and suddenly the deal doesn't look quite as insane. There aren't that many QBs worth starting in the league. Consider the plight of the Miami Dolphins who went from having two Chads that could start (Pennington and Henne) to having no Chads and only Tyler Thigpen left to play. When they went to sign new QBs to serve as backups the only options were Patrick Ramsey (who they signed), Chris Simms, Tom Brandstater and JaMarcus Russell - not exactly a murderers' row of gunslingers there. Meanwhile, Tennessee also has a MASH unit where their QB unit should be - both Kerry Collins and Vince Young are struggling with injuries, which means they're not really able to take advantage of newly acquired Randy Moss.

Studs of the week. A lot of people forget, but Troy Smith was going to be the starter for the Baltimore Ravens in 2008. In the final week of the pre-season, he got very sick and was out of commission. In the interim Joe Flacco came in to start and the rest is history. However, I'm glad to see Smith getting a second chance in San Francisco, where this week's performance (17/28, 354 yds, 1 TD) should help solidify his bid to keep the starting job. Roddy White and Andre Johnson have several things in common: both are low drama hard working players, and both had stellar weeks (White, 12 rec, 138 yds, 2 TDs; Johnson 9 rec, 146 yds, 1 TD). This week Tom Brady finally broke the 300 yard passing mark in a game this season, but his studliness was more about the fire and motivation he showed, both in his own performance and the way he inspired his team than mere stats (30/43, 350 yds, 3TDs, 1 rushing TD). Finally, Michael Vick... there are no words to describe the way he personally dismantled the Redskins DEF this week.

Duds of the week. Knock the ball DOWN, not sideways, Glover Quin. It's bad enough that you're kind of a douche, Jeff Reed, but your kicking is pretty poor this season too. Nick Folk also has a case of the yips this week, missing 3 FGs and making his team have to win the hard way in OT.

Teams I like this week. Obviously, you have to like the way the Denver Broncos AND the Philadelphia Eagles dropped the hammer on their divisional rivals this week. You also have to like the Buffalo Bills (but just a little bit) for finally winning their first game of the season and avoiding the dreaded 0-16 record. I also like the New England Patriots, who remind us that no matter who they have on the roster, they can find a way to win against any team. The Patriots are a team that is intimidated by no one. Finally, I love the Atlanta Falcons, who have quietly gone about earning the best record in the NFC. This is important, as they are just ridiculous at home. Matt Ryan is 18-1 lifetime at home. That is just insane.

Teams I don't like this week. I don't like the Minnesota Vikings and I think you know why. I also don't like the Detroit Lions this week - after starting the year with fire in their bellies, they've looked too soft and too much like the Lions of old in these past few weeks. Jim Schwartz has made some very questionable calls as a head coach as well. Finally, a big old hate goes out to the Washington Redskins, for utterly failing to show up on defense. Yes, the offense struggled a bit early, but the defense looked scared and frozen in place trying to stop Michael Vick.
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