6. New England (5-2). If you had told me the Pats would lose Tom Brady in the first hour of the first game, and would play a quarterback as green as Kermit the Frog, and would play like the '76 Bucs in losses to the Dolphins and Chargers, and would be 5-2 and tied for first in the division midway through the season ... well, let's just say I would have wondered if you were all there.
And, if you'd have told me that Peter King would continue to be fat. And, Peter King would continue to be lazy. And, Peter King would continue to oggle Brett Favre. And, Peter King would continue to annoy every NFL player with 3 am text messages eight weeks into the season ... and, and, and, and ... well, let's just say I would have completely believed you.
9. Chicago (4-3). Twenty-five career starts for Kyle Orton. A little early to start thinking about Orton being the long-term quarterback, but it has to be something Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith are pondering.
On the one hand, it's too early to start thinking about this. But, on the other hand, the GM and coach are thinking about this.
14. Atlanta (4-3). Every game Matt Ryan has to struggle and get bloodied and knocked down and go through adversity is another game closer to making him a top-10 quarterback in the league.
For the record, things that make you a top-10 quarterback in this league:
1. Rocket arm
2. Ridiculous precision on passes
3. A solid understanding of NFL defenses
4. Ability to go through progressions accurately
5. Some valuable skill players would help
67. Taking a beating, struggling with your passing, getting bloodied, getting knocked down, going through adversity, and going 23-44 with two interceptions in week eight of your rookie season.
Stat of the Week
Chad Pennington is money on money drives. I find it amazing that a man who got to Miami less than a month before opening day can know the offense as well as Pennington does. How well does he know it? Miami has had 16 touchdown drives in its seven games this year. On those 16 drives, Pennington has completed 88.9 percent of his passes (56 of 63).
What's a money drive? I take it to be, roughly, the last two minutes of the first half, or at any point in the fourth quarter when your team is ahead by less than eight or trailing. Peter King, you define it as, well, as any drive ending in a touchdown pass. So, you're saying that on drives that ended in a touchdown pass - the ultimate success for a quarterback - he was good at completing passes? Got it. What a stat of the week.
e. The legend of Matt Ryan grows. How'd he thread the needle past Asante Samuel for that 55-yard TD throw to Roddy White?
Same way he managed to throw the aforementioned two picks and assist in losing the game.
g. Who's thinner, Jimmy Johnson or Jennifer Aniston?
h. Europe finally saw some offense. 2008: 69 points in London. 2007: 23 points in London by the Giants and Miami.
Yesterday in London: perfect weather, the Chargers with a very solid offense, versus the Saints, who you mentioned earlier can't stop anyone. London, circa 2007, pouring rain, with the Giants, a defense you laud just about every single week, and the Dolphins, who were very, very bad at scoring points last season.
Also, when you say "finally," can that refer to the second occurrence of one thing being better or substantially different than the first? Ponder this: let's say Matt Ryan had had a really awful week one, but a phenomenal week two. Would Mr. King have written, "Finally, Matt Ryan has a good game?"
Somehow, I doubt it.
6. I think -- and I said this all week -- that there are so many reasons why Kellen Winslow is probably not long for Cleveland, but there is one overriding one: money. The staph-mania is a legitimate story, and the Browns have to continue their vigilance to make sure the infections don't continue to be any more of a problem in Cleveland than they are for any other franchise. But the biggest source of tension Winslow has with the team is that he's had two very good years and two years when a knee injury kept him off the field.
Biggest concern for Cleveland: money.
Concerns listed by King: Staph infection, and Injuries keeping him off the field.
b. Who's better on play-action than Chad Pennington? You've got to see how he froze the Buffalo front on a first-half touchdown throw.
Peyton Manning says, "hello." Also, the point of play action is not to freeze the front, but rather the secondary, into thinking it's a running play, so that your receivers can get behind them.
i. Andre Johnson had a 41-catch, 593-yard October for Houston. That would translate to 164 catches and 2,372 receiving yards for a full season. This just in: You've got to mention Johnson with Randy Moss (who had his 800th catch Sunday) and Larry Fitzgerald among the elite wideouts.
One month does not a career make. Johnson has had two 1000-yard seasons in his first five seasons. Moss is eight for his first ten.
9. I think I've got this piece of old business from the Favre-Matt Millen-Packers love triangle broken last week by Jay Glazer on FOX: Millen told Favre last week that Detroit defensive coordinator Joe Barry was the source for the story that Favre discussed Packer offensive stuff with Millen. Barry has declined to comment on the story. I have tried to reach Millen, without success.
I did speak to Favre last week. He is steadfast that he gave the Lions nothing of substance, including the kind of code words a quarterback would say at the line that would indicate an audible or specific change of play, and is adamant that what FOX called "a 90-minute dissertation on every single thing that the Green Bay Packers do on offense'' never happened. Without Millen's side of the story, I can't substantiate that one way or the other.
When you first spoke to Favre, you basically reported that he hadn't contacted the Lions at all. Shortly thereafter, you reported that Favre had spoken to the Lions, but it may or may not have been about substance.
Excuse me for pointing out you're possibly the least biased person to ever tell us what's happening in the life of #4.
a. Guess I was wrong about the Rays. That's the thing about a short series. You get a couple of guys in a slump (Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria) and it's all over before they can get out of it.
It's 3-1. It's a best of seven series. It's not over yet.
d. There are about 10 movies I want to see. Recommendations?
They all suck. On second thought, you might like High School Musical 3.