(Eli Manning photos courtesy of the N.Y. Giants)
By Clark Judge
Talk of Fame Network
Early prediction: The Giants win the NFC East. Let’s face it, they should be 4-0. You know it, and so do I. They lost to Dallas when they shouldn’t. And they lost to Atlanta when they shouldn’t. With Tony Romo down another six weeks, Dez Bryant out indefinitely, Sean Lee sidelined with a concussion and New England next on the schedule, Dallas is on the escalator going down. Meaning? Meaning there’s an opening for someone to advance in the division, and that someone is the Giants — provided, of course, they learn how not to beat themselves down the stretch.
2. Early Coach-of-the-Year returns have Dan Quinn in front, with Ron Rivera in the rear-view mirror.
3. By the way, first-year coaches Quinn, Gary Kubiak and Todd Bowles are a combined 11-1. The rest of the first-year class — Jim Tomsula, John Fox, Rex Ryan and Jack Del Rio — are a combined 6-10.
4. I’ll tell you when we get a barometer on Cincinnati: Next weekend. The Bengals are home to Seattle.
5. Dear Jason Myers. Thanks for saving my job. Sincerely, Chuck Pagano.
6. Pagano should channel his inner Alfred E. Neuman. “What? Me worry?” Not when you play in a division with Tennessee, Houston and Jacksonville, a combined 3-8.
7. Sorry, Jerry, but we have seen more gifted passers than Brandon Weeden. That was his 10th consecutive loss, and that should tell the Cowboys something. Something like: Matt Cassel, start warming up.
8. Looks like the Rams finally figured out how to make use of Tavon Austin. It’s about time.
9. San Diego is a great place to live but, apparently, not a great place to block. I swear, I’ve never seen a team lose so many offensive linemen to injuries. It happened last year, and it’s happening again.
10. All those Miami fans in favor of leaving the Dolphins in London please raise your hands.
11. San Francisco: 1-3. University of Michigan: 4-1. Just sayin.’
12.. For the record, the Dolphins have lost to Blake Bortles, Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Fitzpatrick this year. So, yes, no question about it, I think they’re ready to challenge Tom Brady.
13. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for DeMarco Murray. Yeah, his offensive line stinks, but he could’ve stayed in Dallas. Instead, he chose the money.
14. If Chip Kelly is so smart, how come he hasn’t figured out how to produce a first-quarter TD? Seriously. The last time the Eagles scored one was last December. And what about this? The Eagles haven’t scored a first-half TD in three of four games this year. Chip, you’re wanted in the principal’s office.
15. Kelly is just another example why you don’t give a head coach total control … unless you also give him Tom Brady.
16. Where did Amari Cooper go in the second half? He had no catches and was targeted just twice.
17. And that, folks, is why the Rams drafted Todd Gurley.
18. Former Harvard star Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t the best Ivy League quarterback this weekend. Dartmouth’s Dalyn Williams was, hitting 22 of 24 passes for 327 yards and two touchdowns – then running for two more scores – in the Big Green’s 41-20 beatdown of Penn. Big Game Alert: Dartmouth at Harvard, Oct. 30. The Ivy title is decided there.
19. Houston does have a problem … and it goes beyond its quarterbacks. It’s a defense that twice this season allowed 27 or more points in a first half – and that’s a killer, folks. Defense has been the backbone of this franchise … until now. Houston has been outscored 74-19 in the first half this season and outscored 108-77, period.
20. Kansas City is another club in trouble because of defense. The unit that last year ranked second overall in points allowed (it was tied with Detroit) can’t stop leaking, surrendering 105 points the past three games – all of them losses.
21. Wait a minute. We’ve got to wait until Dec. 13 for Carolina vs. Atlanta? You gotta be kidding.
22. That makes 25 interceptions for Jameis Winston in his last 17 starts.
23. At this rate, Miami winds up with four sacks this season. Honest.
24. Now accepting applications for this week’s Eagles’ placekicker. And Bucs. And …
25. Tyrod Taylor says he wants to be “one of the most dynamic players that ever played this game.” I’d settle for a winning quarterback. Period.
SUNDAY’S HALL OF FAME
(Philip Rivers photo courtesy of the San Diego Chargers)
N.Y. Jets’ RB Chris Ivory. His 166 yards rushing are the most in the history of the NFL International Series. They came at the expense of Miami, and one question: Wasn’t Ndamukong Suh supposed to prevent this from happening?
New Orleans QB Drew Brees. He not only played with a bad shoulder; he shredded Dallas, especially on the last two drives when he was 4-for-5 for 134 yards and a game-winning pass to C.J. Spiller in OT — the 400th TD of Brees’ career. Maybe he didn’t revive the Saints’ season, but he saved kicker Zack Hocker some tough questions after he blew a game-winning 30-yard field goal that forced a fifth quarter.
Kansas City PK Cairo Santos. He kicks a franchise-record seven field goals. That’s the good news. The bad? He kicks a franchise-records seven field goals. That’s a signal the Chiefs can’t find the end zone with a sherpa.
Indianapolis QB Matt Hasselbeck. OK, so he wasn’t flashy. But he did win his first start since 2012, thanks largely to a 28-yard pass to Coby Fleener in overtime, and he saved Andrew Luck for Thursday’s game vs. Houston. Oh, yeah, then there’s this: The guy is 40.
San Diego QB Philip Rivers. He loses offensive linemen. He loses receivers. But he never loses his touch. Somehow, he throws for 358 yards, three touchdowns and leads San Diego to a last-minute victory it desperately needed.
SUNDAY’S HALL OF SHAME
(Ryan Tannehill photo courtesy of the Miami Dolphins)
Miami offensive coordinator Bill Lazor/QB Ryan Tannehill. They’re the guys who forgot they had Lamar Miller in the lineup and called those plays netting Miami zero firsts on 16 third-and-fourth-down calls. You heard me. Zilch.
Kickers. Once they were automatic. Not anymore. Kickers were 56-of-70 on field goals (80 percent), missing kicks as close as 29 and 30 yards, and blew four extra points. Josh Scobee, please stand by.
Cleveland CB Tramon Williams. It was his penalty (he jumped offsides) that gave San Diego kicker Josh Lambo a second chance at a game-tying field goal. He didn’t miss.
Oakland RB Latavius Murray. His two turnovers fumbles not only led to 10 Chicago points; they put him on the bench and cost Oakland a third straight win.
Jacksonville PK Jason Myers. First he misses a game-winning kick at the end of the fourth quarter. Twice. Then he misses the game-winning field goal in overtime. Just another example of bad things happening to a bad team.
THIS WEEK’S CANTON NOMINEE
Atlanta RB Devonta Freeman. For the second straight week he scores three times – the first time any Falcon running back pulls a hat trick in consecutive games. Of course, if he’s on your Fantasy Football team you knew that.
“I’ve been here before. All is not lost.” — San Francisco RB Reggie Bush.
(Peyton Manning photo courtesy of the Denver Broncos)
1 — Eli Manning interception this season
2-0 – Tom Coughlin vs. Rex Ryan
3 – Consecutive 100-yard games for Brandon Marshall
6 – Green Bay sacks of Colin Kaepernick
7 – Denver sacks of Teddy Bridgewater
7 – Times Peyton Manning has started 4-0, an NFL record
13 — Number of seconds in OT it took New Orleans to win
17 – Buffalo penalties
22 – Blitzes Sunday by Jets’ defensive backs
41:08 — Washington’s time of possession
163 – Yards in Jets’ penalties
848 – Yards in offense allowed by Miami the last two weeks