Huddle Up

NFL News and Analysis with Andrew Perloff

  • 11:28 PM ET  11.08
Drew Brees and the Saints have not been that impressive.

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

1. Have there ever been less scary 8-0 teams than New Orleans or Indianapolis? What is New Orleans' signature win? The Saints beat the Eagles without Donovan McNabb, reeling Giants and Jets teams, and a Falcons squad that can't play on the road. And they had to come from behind against slightly below-average Miami and Carolina. Meanwhile, the Colts are cutting it close against middle-of-the road competition and head into the difficult part of their schedule with some question marks -- namely, their lack of running game and inexperienced defensive backfield.

2. Please, please don't start the Vince Young national media love fest. He's 2-0 as a starter, and the Titans host the Bills next week. He'll like improve to 3-0 and one of the biggest storylines in the league will be Young's ability to win and Jeff Fisher making a mistake by not going to him earlier. But Young couldn't have done much to help the Titans when their defense completely disappeared the first part of the season. Young has beaten two inconsistent teams -- Jacksonville and San Francisco -- and hasn't had to throw much. Let's see what he does when opponents gets some film on him and try to take him out of his comfort zone. If he keeps this up for six weeks, then start heaping on the praise.

3. The Giants' 21-20 loss to the Chargers appeared to put them in a serious hole in the NFC East, but the New York papers are writing their obituaries too early. The two teams ahead of them in the division, Philly and Dallas, built up their records against bottom-feeders and face their own challenges in the second half. The Eagles' offensive line is one more injury away from total chaos, and the Cowboys are due for their annual late-season collapse. Meanwhile, the Giants have a bye this week to get healthier and could go on a late-season run like they did in 2007.

4. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has to get most of the blame for the Bucs' six sacks on Sunday. Is Rodgers reading too many stories about being the heir apparent to Brett Favre and trying to make too many big plays? Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy better dial Rodgers down in the coming weeks, because the Packers have enough talent to grind out wins without Rodgers having to hold on to the ball to make plays downfield.

5. Everyone is writing off the Ravens defense after Cedric Benson ran for over 100 yards against them for the second time this season. But after the game, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said don't dismiss this defense's ability to tackle just yet. Harbaugh credited Benson for making some plays even when the defense was in good position. The Ravens defense still has some killer games in it. They have two games against Pittsburgh and face the Colts in two weeks, but Baltimore has several of the worst offenses in the league coming up in the second half, including games against Cleveland, Oakland and Detroit.

6. Tony Dungy's revelation that the Bills may be interested in Michael Vick on NBC's Football Night in America is far from shocking. Not only do they need a quarterback, they desperately need some excitement. They're so boring, I had to look at the schedule to see if they were still in the league (turns out they were on a bye). At this point, Vick is hardly scarier than Terrell Owens for a franchise like Buffalo. Vick's ineffectiveness in the wildcat shouldn't scare anyone, because he doesn't have any chance to get any kind of rhythm when he comes in haphazardly.

7. Just like they did two weeks ago in a loss to New Orleans, the Dolphins turned away from the wildcat on critical fourth-quarter drives against New England and Chad Henne just missed on passes that led to stalled drives. Even though Henne had some nice moments against the Patriots, you just had the feeling a slightly tired New England defense was glad to see him in there late in the game. The 'Fins have nothing to lose the rest of the season and should let it rip with the wildcat and wear down opposing lines and improve their odds in the fourth quarter.

8. Larry Fitzgerald's success today and the reemergence of Chad Ochocinco does not reflect well on Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- the Oates' (as in Hall and) of NFL receivers. Fitzgerald looked great while Boldin was out with an ankle injury, and Ochocinco appears more relaxed without Houshmandzadeh in the locker room. There's a reason the big threats on the outside get paid more than the possession/slot guys.

9. The Texans' inability to adjust their coverage on Indy's Dallas Clark is a great example of why they can't beat the Colts. Indy's coaching staff is just sharper. Houston gets another chance against the Colts in Week 12. The Texans better not let Clark beat them again.

10. The Saints, Vikings and Cardinals should win their divisions, so most of the NFC playoffs will be indoors and therefore, totally lame. January football should be in the elements. Even baseball is manly enough to play its postseason in the winter elements.


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