Things I must begrudgingly admit:
The Saints were, in fact, riding on emotion last year and aren't that good.
The NFC's two best teams, right now, are the hated archrivals of my two favorite teams.
Related to the above: Tony Romo might be the NFC's best quarterback right now. And Brett Favre is not a has-been.
I'm a horrible person, and am probably going to hell. Why? I laughed about a player getting injured. Not the injury itself, mind you. It was the headline on SI.com's NFL page, which simply said: "Killings hurt."
There must be some kind of coaching "sophomore slump." Three coaches who improved their team (two drastically) are a combined 1-8: Eric Mangini, Sean Payton, and Scott Linehan. The other of last year's successful rookie coaches, Mike McCarthy, seems unaffected.
The Bears probably won't win the NFC North. Grossman will be benched, but Griese won't do much better.
Things I refuse to admit yet:
The Giants are as good as the rest of the NFC East. Yes, they just beat Washington, who beat Philadelphia, which should mean they're second best, right? They only lost to the undefeated Packers and Cowboys, right? Sorry, not buying it. I think Eli will prove to be a Drew Bledsoe-type, who will always start the season strong, shutting up his critics, but as the season goes on, he'll fall apart.
The Steelers are elite like the Patriots and Colts. Yes, some would say that they finally beat a quality opponent this week; I don't buy it. The 49ers' two wins were very close against average NFC teams playing poorly. They've convinced me of nothing.
The Broncos aren't any good. This week's loss to Jacksonville, coupled with the 1-5 record of the opponents they beat by a last-second field goal, indicate that they won't be leading the AFC West for long. But this offense has talent, and I think they can pull it together. They've been as disappointing as the Chargers, but they have a one-win advantage right now.
Jamal Lewis and Ahman Green still have another 1,000-yard season in them. I still think a breakdown is inevitable.
Black quarterbacks aren't judged more critically. I realize that I'm on an island in agreeing with McNabb, and I'm not going to get into neuroscience that I know nothing about this time, but answer me this. Are Marc Bulger and Drew Brees going to get booed the next time they step out on their home field? They've played far more pathetically than McNabb has this year, and both are expected to be perennial Pro Bowlers like McNabb. Also, I think HBO's timing on airing McNabb's comments was, quite simply, mean. When he made the comments, he was coming off of a good preseason, and had played well before his injury last year-he didn't deserve the criticism he was getting. But releasing the interview after he was struggling at 0-2... of course that's going to make the comments look ridiculous.
Things I'm thrilled about:
They finally made a Dennis Green "They are who we thought they were" commercial. However, they did miss out on a golden opportunity. The Coors Light guys should have said "Coach! What do you think of Budweiser's claim to be the king of beers?" Response: "If you want to crown them, crown their ****!"
I was SO right about Norv Turner. Except I thought that the only bright spot would be a continued excellent running game. Clearly, he has not done even that in San Diego. I don't claim to be the first person to have said that he'd flop, but I was one of the only ones who didn't even put him in the playoffs.
Coaching has done a lot to fix problems in Arizona, Houston, and Detroit. Detroit is playing with some heart for once, and the other two actually have a capable line: the Texans have only given up five sacks, which ranks them in the better third of the league, and-get this-Arizona leads the league in fewest sacks with 2! And they just played the Ravens! Russ Grimm, I loved you as a player, and I love you as a coach.
No, the Redskins are not good enough for the words Super Bowl to be brought up yet. But Campbell makes me happy - he's got the kind of poise that Rex Grossman doesn't. On a psychologically taxing final drive against the Giants, where penalties kept causing them to take five steps back after every six steps forward, he completed the crucial passes, and it wasn't his fault they didn't make it in the end zone. I have to believe that if a play-action pass to a tight end or fullback in the flat had been called, Campbell would have pulled through and sent the game into overtime.