Here are my usual post-Sunday thoughts. More a Ã¢â‚¬Å“late-night afterÃ¢â‚¬Â than afternoon today. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll reiterate that football isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t my thing, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll give it a shot as usual.
- The Giants have a deep and talented team, particularly on defense. Steve Smith is open every time you look up. They gave the Chiefs fits on Sunday. I do believe theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re the best team in football, but their huge weakness was exposed when Eli Manning somehow hurt his foot. The Ã¢â‚¬Å“bruised heelÃ¢â‚¬Â diagnosis was shady at best, as I simply view such an injury as impossible under those circumstances. I get injured all the time, so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sort of a self-proclaimed expert; the first thing I thought was that he messed up his AchillesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. Now IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m hearing that it may be plantar fasciitis, which would be far from a best-case scenario, but at least it wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be his AchillesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. Regardless, I believe Eli Ã¢â‚¬â€œ whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s far tougher than he looks Ã¢â‚¬â€œ wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t miss a whole lot of time with this. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had plantar fasciitis, and though itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no picnic, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s at least manageable. With the horrible Raiders coming to town, they may choose to sit him until the following week in a huge showdown in New Orleans. But David Carr isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t suitable to play quarterback in this, or any, league. And as deep as the Giants are at most positions Ã¢â‚¬â€œ including running back, where Ahmad Bradshaw has been at least the equal of Brandon Jacobs thus far Ã¢â‚¬â€œ David Carr simply is not an NFL quarterback, having been permanently ruined by years of playing behind a sieve-like offensive line in Houston. I believe the Giants are very good, and potentially dominant, but until Eli plays a whole game and shows no ill effects, you have to temper your enthusiasm.
- Speaking of tempering enthusiasm, could people have turned on Mark Sanchez any faster? Local sports radio super-blowhard Mike Francesa was campaigning on WFAN today to bench Mr. Sanchez after one loss Ã¢â‚¬â€œ against a fantastic Saints team in New Orleans, after the Jets won their first three games. And fans were following suit! And the backup is Kellen Clemens, who weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve all seen. Come on people, remember last week? This is the San-chise! Jesus in cleats! Namath reincarnate! Okay, so maybe the hyperbole was running a little strong last week. But is there any reason to totally abandon the kid after one loss? This still looks like a playoff team. When did the Jets turn into the Yankees Ã¢â‚¬â€œ championship or bust? After like thirty years of not making a Super Bowl, how about enjoying the fact that a month in and theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re tied with the Patriots atop the AFC East? LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s give the kid a few more games, see where heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s at. He has moxie, skill and charisma Ã¢â‚¬â€œ all of which are requisites for playing quarterback in New York. (Eli has gotten along fine without charisma, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a rare exception)
- The Titans taking a colossal step back is no surprise. Chris Johnson is a true talent, a practically incomparable athlete, but he wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the best player on the team last year. Albert Haynesworth was. And when the big defensive tackle was banged up last season, which had a tendency to happen, they werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the same. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m surprised I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been hearing this more. Haynesworth would decimate the pocket like a postgame buffet, allowing his teammates to get after the quarterback. A team that ranked seventh defensively last year is now just 22nd Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and dead last against the pass. Kerry Collins is under fire and probably deservedly so, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not out there rushing the passer. Sometimes, you just have to realize that there are players who you simply cannot replace. A good defensive tackle is hard to find. No matter the cost, the Titans should have kept Haynesworth. And in a similar vein, losing defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to the Lions was a blow. This is not the same defensive unit.
- As good as Brett Favre was in his Ã¢â‚¬Å“revenge gameÃ¢â‚¬Â against the Packers on Monday night, Jared Allen dominated the game with 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a safety. Put that guy next to the Williams Wall and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be very tough to beat this team. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why Favre is in the perfect spot to succeed at this point in his career. Like Alex Rodriguez with the Yankees, Favre can blend in, provide the occasional brilliant performance, and not have to carry a team to victory. The perfect gig.
- Not sure if IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve mentioned this, but I watch a little pro wrestling. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was the guest host on Monday Night Raw tonight, and began the show by summoning a slew of WWE Ã¢â‚¬Å“divasÃ¢â‚¬Â for something called Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Diva Bowl.Ã¢â‚¬Â Not for nothing, isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t that the wrong thing to do for someone who is currently being named in a high-profile rape suit? In his position, I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to be standing there gawking while a bunch of scantily-clad glorified strippers went by. On the bright side, Big Ben finished with more touchdowns than interceptions for the first time this season on Sunday.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s my latest top 10:
1. Giants (4-0) (Last week: 1) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ If EliÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s straight, still a top NFC contender.
2. Vikings (4-0) (LW: 4) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Defense and Peterson look simply top notch thus far.
3. Saints (4-0) (LW: 5) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ No TDs for Brees, no matter — if defense plays like this.
4. Colts (4-0) (LW: 6) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Versatile running attack, balanced offense spearheaded by Manning.
5. Patriots (3-1) (LW: 7) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Another gutty win for Brady. Imagine if offense really gets going.
6. Ravens (3-1) (LW: 2) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Boller superb in showdown with Brady. Nobody wants to play them.
7. Jets (3-1) (LW: 3) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Chill, Jets fans. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s see what happens next Monday in Miami.
8. Eagles (2-1) (LW: 8 ) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Horrible Bucs offense coming to Philly on Sunday.
9. 49ers (3-1) (LW: NR) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ No Gore, no problem. Pat Willis would be a huge star elsewhere.
10. Bears (3-1) (LW: NR) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Forte gets going, Cutler making difference. No Urlacher hurts.