Late Game Thoughts And A Look Ahead To Week 5

* What a crazy slate of late games yesterday, highlighted by what will go down as the game of the week – the overtime tilt in Washington between the Jags and Skins. Overall, you had an 18-point comeback in Oakland, an overtime thriller in Washington, a 75-point circus in St.Louis, a blowout in Cincy, and a thrashing in Chicago. Happy to say that my picks for the late games were undefeated, as I went 5-0 with the Browns, Skins, Rams, Pats and Bears, taking my mark for the week to 9-4. A win by the Eagles tonight and the week doesn’t look so bad after all.

* I wrote more about it below, but Marvin Lewis and the Bengals have to be a wee bit worried about now as their defense for a second straight week could not stop the run. Last week vs the Steelers they allowed 170 yards on 38 carries, a 4.8 yards per rush, and yesterday vs the Pats it was even worse, allowing 236 yards on 41 carries, a 5.8 yards per rush. That adds up to 406 yards on 79 carries in the last two games – a staggering 5.1 yards per carry. They had better use the bye week to straighten some things out when it comes to stopping the run.

* Way back when I did an article about three teams that could make some noise in the NFC, those being Philadelphia, St.Louis and Arizona. If the Eagles win tonight, looks like after four weeks the bust of the group would have to be the Cardinals. New stadium, players brought in this past offseason, growing fan base – same old Cardinals. At 1-3, most of the blame seems to be being heaped on quarterback Kurt Warner. Warner has been so bad this season, Sunday he threw another interception that resulted in a TD, and fumbled twice. If Denny Green wants to save the season, he’d better hope that Matt Leinart is ready to go next week vs the Chiefs at home.

* What happened to that stout Jaguars Defense that was supposed to be so great after their 9-0 week two win over the Steelers? Sunday vs the Redskins in their second straight loss, the Jags allowed 481 yards of offense to Washington, and 329 yards passing to Mark Brunell. Yes they did hold the high powered Colts to 209 yards a week ago, but after a quick 2-0 start with home wins over Dallas and the Steelers, they have now dropped their last two and have allowed 57 points in those two games. After rushing for 191 yards vs the Colts last week, the Skins held them to just 33 this week, a main reason they are now back to .500 at 2-2

* As if anyone needed any more proof, it is official that the Raiders are the worst team in the AFC. Sunday they looked like an actual team again in getting up 21-3 in the second quarter against the Browns, then they folded like a deck of cards before losing 24-21. Andrew Walter was awful, going 9-for-23 for 68 yards and a TD and pick. The defense was solid early, but give credit to Charlie Frye and the Browns for not playing in panic mode and using the run and pass to get back in the game. Frye did make a bonehead move late in the game, throwing a bad pick in the end zone up by three that could have resulted in disaster, but this is the Raiders, so the Browns this week were able to hold on. I don’t think the Browns will win many games this year, but this is one they had to have.

* Early look at week 5 – The big games that are shaping up for next week include: Washington at New York Giants (Skins could deal the Giants a huge home loss, sending them to 1-3). NY Jets at Jacksonville (Jets have been better than everyone thought, Jags need to get back on track after two straight losses). Dallas at Philadelphia (gee, wonder if this game gets any national coverage?). Pittsburgh at San Diego – Sunday night (this was a thriller a year ago, interested to see if the Steelers get back to winning after the bye week). Baltimore at Denver – Monday night (Baltimore with a huge win over San Diego Sunday, Denver still wants to show its the class of AFC West).

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