NFL Week 11 Observations

By Josh Satler

After Week 11, what most have known became pretty much evident to all: The New York Giants are the best team in the NFL.

No disrespect to the Tennessee Titans, but the Giants are a more complete team and have beat far better teams week-in, week-out. Yesterday was no different.

With the prospect of throwing into 30 mile-per-hour winds on a cold, gusty afternoon in the Meadowlands, the Giants decided to utilize its top-ranked rushing offense against the Ravens’ No. 1 rushing defense. The result was 207 yards rushing for the G-Men, as they beat down Baltimore at its own game.

Defensively, aside from a few drives from an impressive rookie signal caller (Flacco), New York limited the McGahee/Rice combo to 37 yards on 19 carries and forced two interceptions, one of which was taken back to the house.

In Washington last night, the Cowboys took another step closer to righting the ship. Tony Romo came back and led Dallas to a 14-10 victory in the nation’s capital. A few things impressed me in this one: the defense played a very tough game, and CB Terrance Newman’s return really solidified the pass defense. Offensively, Romo was able to sustain longer, more effective drives in the second half and actually wore out Washington’s defense with a demoralizing six minute-plus drive to end the game.

Marion Barber had a lot to do with that last drive, but Romo made a few big plays on third down. With San Francisco and Seattle on the plate next, the Cowboys should be 8-4 when they head out to Pittsburgh.

As for the Eagles, I’ll sum it up quickly: The only thing worse than losing to the 1-8 Bengals is tying them. Reid loves to pass the ball, as evidenced by his 60/40 pass-to-run ratio, but over the long haul this is a formula for mediocrity.

And sitting at 5-4-1, mediocre is just what the Eagles are.

The Panthers kept their sights on the No. 2 seed in the NFC with a 31-22 victory over the Detroit Lions. While the two-headed monster of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart ran for over 250 yards, Jake Delhomme struggled once again. The Panthers will have to get him fixed if they have serious intentions of going to the Super Bowl.

The Bucs kept pace in the NFC South with a 19-13 win over Minnesota. It wasn’t the prettiest of contests, but they did what you have to against a one-dimensional Vikings attack, which is plugging the holes to stop Adrian Peterson and forcing Gus Frerotte to beat you.

Once again, Frerotte wasn’t able to do so.

Switching conferences, let’s head to the sleeper in Pittsburgh.

Man, that was a boring game.

It was 8-7 through three quarters and ended up 11-10 before the most exciting play in the game took place.

And if you don’t think it was exciting, ask millions of people who had placed bets in Vegas. On the final play of the game, the Chargers threw a short pass to LaDainian Tomlinson, who lateraled it back to a player who, in turn, lateraled it back again before Pittsburgh safety Troy Palumalu scooped it up and returned it for a TD.

Why was this significant?

It would’ve given Pittsburgh a 17-10 victory which would’ve covered the 5.5 point spread. Instead, the refs called an illegal forward pass (which didn’t exist) and the game ended in a one-point victory. As a result, it’s possible Pittsbugh could get screwed in terms of tiebreakers at the end of the season, should it come down to margin of victory, which is one of the criterion used in determining playoff positioning.

Moreover, millions of fans who bet on the Steelers walked away with a worthless ticket.

The aforementioned Titans scored 21 unanswered points to beat the 4-6 Jaguars down in Jacksonville.

Quarterback Kerry Collins threw two long TD passes and Tennessee’s defense tightened up in the second half as the Titans improved to 10-0. They’re not going perfect in 2008, but they will be tough to beat in the AFC. The defense is excellent and they do just enough on offense to win.

The Dolphins moved to 6-4 for the season.

While beating the hapless Raiders 17-15 isn’t much to write home about, when you think how far this team has come since its anemic 1-15 ’07 campaign, it’s actually very impressive. I don’t think Miami will make the playoffs, with the Jets hitting their stride right now and the Pats refusing to go down without a fight, but the schedule is all lined up for the Dolphins to finish strong, so you never know.

Who would have thought that after Week 7, when the Bills moved to 5-1, they’d be sitting in the cellar of the AFC East with a loss tonight to Cleveland?

Lastly, come the Denver Broncos.

They moved to 6-4 yesterday and took a commanding two-game lead in the porous AFC West. It took everything they had to get the “W” in Atlanta, but Cutler tossed a late TD pass to seal the deal. Now they just have to hope that the Chargers continue to find ways to lose football games, and they’ll hoist the AFC West banner before they get ousted in the first round of the playoffs.

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