For the Record

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Drew Brees and the 6-6 Saints will likely miss the playoffs.

A weekly NFL breakdown that heads in the opposite direction of your average pro football analysis.

1. Since no one trusts the Titans yet, the Colts are about to become everyone's Super Bowl sleeper. Don't buy it. At some point, they're going to have to play outdoors in January. Even in a win against Cleveland, Peyton Manning reminded us once again that he can't play in bad weather. (Make that cold weather, as readers have pointed out.)

2. Drew Brees' three-interception performance in the Saints' loss to the Bucs should end his MVP candidacy. Can't we just all agree not to give the award to a quarterback this year? So what if Brees and Kurt Warner could break the single-season passing record? Four more guys will probably break it next year.

3. What an ugly week of football. After three blowouts on Thanksgiving, Sunday was just as bad. Here are some of the notable lowlights:

A) The Bengals had 155 yards of total offense in a loss to the Ravens.
B) I don't care if J.P. Losman or J.P. Ricciardi was playing QB for the Bills, how can they only muster a field goal at home against the 49ers?
C) Patriots receiver Randy Moss' two drops may have cost the Patriots a chance to reach the playoffs.
D) The Saints dropped everything.
E) Rams and Dolphins -- seven field goals, one touchdown. The Dolphins have to stop messing around with these non-Wildcat formations.
F) Someone tell the Jets the rain is supposed to affect the offense, not the defense.
G) Chiefs-Raiders ... didn't see one highlight, but I'm going to assume this was rough. Heard a rumor about some sort of Sebastian Janikowski running play gone awry, but that sounded too bizarre to be true.

4. The Giants can definitely win the Super Bowl without Plaxico Burress. The offensive and defensive lines are so dominant, their skill players have become virtually interchangeable.

5. Carolina's Steve Smith is the best athlete in the NFL. How can a 5-foot-9, 185-pound receiver constantly out-jump defensive backs for air balls?

6. If ever a personal foul was worth the 15 yards, it was Steelers safety Ryan Clark's "unnecessary hit on a defenseless receiver" against New England. Clark laid out Wes Welker, taking the Patriots' talented receiver out of the game. Welker and his fellow receivers have been torturing defenses, running for yards after the catch all season. Lots of safeties around the league have probably dreamt the hit Clark put on Welker. Hopefully the talented Welker will be just fine. While I understand the emphasis on player safety, as a fan I'd miss bone-crunching hits on receivers over the middle if they completely disappeared.

7. Looks like the Patriots aren't trading Tom Brady after all. If anyone still thinks Matt Cassel is anything more than an average quarterback who benefits from a great system, please let me know what you see.

8. Speaking of system quarterbacks, the Rams' Marc Bulger was terrible against Miami's No. 28-ranked defense, throwing three picks in a 16-12 loss. Bulger has fallen apart since the talent from the Mike Martz-era slowly went away. The Rams made a mistake giving Bulger a six-year, $60 million-plus contract before the 2007 season, especially since they didn't have an offensive line that could protect their investment. GMs better think about Bulger when they make Cassel offers this offseason.

9. Think the Jets might have read a few too many headlines about how they were going to face the Giants in the Super Bowl?

10. The Steelers are playing great football. It's a shame they won't get the chance to compete for the title, since the Giants and Titans are playing in the Super Bowl. Oh wait, sorry, I was thinking about college football. The NFL actually runs on common sense and has a playoff.


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