We’ve just witnessed the first blockbuster trade of 2010. What impact will that have on the season? Will we have anymore undefeated teams after this week?
In case you missed it, the Patriots blew the Dolphins out of the water on Monday. Coach Belichick relied not only on Tom Brady and his offense, but the defense finally showed up, and the special teams unit made many huge plays. Miami entered halftime with a 7-6 lead. Pats receiver Brandon Tate returned the kickoff 103 yards to start the third quarter. Safety Patrick Chung blocked the Dolphins’ punt on the ensuing drive which set up a touchdown run by the “Law Firm”, BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Ricky Williams caught a pass to bring Miami within six. Danny Woodhead extended the New England lead to 27-14 with a touchdown catch from Brady. In the fourth quarter, Chung made yet another outstanding special teams play with a blocked field goal returned for a score by Kyle Arrington. Chung finished with a pick six as Chad Henne threw his third interception of the night.
Former Dolphin and current Patriots’ linebacker Rob Ninkovich recorded his first two career interceptions earlier against Henne. Green-Ellis and Woodhead had 76 and 36 rushing yards respectively. Randy Moss finished with no catches, while Wes Welker caught eight passes for 70 yards. Henne threw for over 300 yards for a second consecutive game for Miami. Ronnie Brown and Williams combined for 83 yards rushing. Brandon Marshall had five catches for 50 yards, and Davone Bess led all receivers with 96 yards and a touchdown. With the victory, Brady becomes the fastest QB to reach 100 wins.
News & Notes
The Buffalo Bills traded running back Marshawn Lynch to the Seattle Seahawks for two draft picks earlier this week. Rumors had been flying around about the Bills receiving offers from teams like Green Bay and Philadelphia. Lynch reunites with another former Cal Bear, running back Justin Forsett, in Seattle’s backfield.
Comcast SportsNet New England has reported that the Chargers and Patriots have had talks about swapping hold outs Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins. There has been no confirmation from either side.
The Denver Broncos have cut off contract negotiations with Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey. Bailey’s agent Jack Reale was surprised when he got a call saying negotiations would be put off until the end of the season. Bailey, who stated he wants to remain in Denver, is in the last year of his seven-year contract.
Future Hall of Famer Randy Moss is back in Minnesota. New England sent the seemingly disgruntled receiver back to the Vikings where he played the first seven years of his career. Moss will be catching passes from another guaranteed Hall of Fame star, quarterback Brett Favre. Moss should add the deep threat that the Minnesota passing attack lost when Sidney Rice went down with hip surgery. In four games so far this season, Moss has nine catches for 139 yards and three touchdowns.
After Tennessee defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil was fined $40,000 for an obscene gesture during Sunday’s loss to Denver, corner Cortland Finnegan was hit with a $5,000 fine for allegedly punching Broncos’ offensive lineman Chris Kuper. Denver quarterback Kyle Orton has been very vocal on his view of the Titans being “cheap”. The Titans were penalized 10 times for 111 yards against the Broncos.
The San Francisco 49ers released safety Michael Lewis on Monday. Lewis had requested his release last week, and did not travel to Atlanta with the team for last week’s game. Rookie Taylor Mays will get the starts for the rest of the season.
The Cleveland Browns have yet to pick a starting quarterback for this week. Jake Delhomme is recovering from an ankle injury that has sidelined him for the past three weeks. Coach Eric Mangini told reporters he needs another day to monitor Delhomme’s progress. Seneca Wallace has thrown for 554 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions in Delhomme’s absence. Running back Peyton Hillis is expected to play after injuring his thigh in practice.
Green Bay inside linebacker Nick Barnett will miss the remainder of the season with a wrist injury. The injury will require surgery on Barnett’s right wrist. He was only eight tackles away from breaking the all-time franchise record.
Houston receiver Andre Johnson is expected to play against the New York Giants. He did not play against Oakland last week while recovering from an ankle injury.
Josh McDaniels has ruled out Denver running back Knowshown Moreno and fullback Spencer Larson. Moreno has sat out the last two weeks with a hamstring injury.
Kevin Kolb will resume his role as the Eagles’ starting quarterback while Michael Vick nurses a rib injury. Corner Asante Samuel and receiver Riley Cooper will sit out with concussions. Running back LeSean McCoy is expected to play despite a broken rib.
New York Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins underwent surgery on his torn ACL in his left knee last week. This is the third knee injury Jenkins has suffered. He tore the same ACL last season and tore the ACL in his right knee when he was with the Panthers. Jenkins isn’t calling it quits just yet. He plans on returning again next season.
Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden will most likely miss Sunday’s contest against division rival San Diego. He missed his second practice with a sore hamstring. McFadden his tied for third in the league with Adrian Peterson with 392 yards on the ground.
Game of the Week: Kansas City at Indianapolis
The only undefeated team left in the NFL will be looking for their first 4-0 start since 2003. And the other team is trying to keep its head above water and avoid falling to 2-3. What’s wrong with this picture? The Chiefs are the undefeated team! Yes, Kansas City is 3-0 coming off their bye week. Peyton Manning and his Colts are third in the AFC South after losing to Houston in Week 1 and Jacksonville in Week 4.
The Chiefs have played fundamental football with a good running game and great defense. Jamaal Charles leads the team with 238 yards and a touchdown. He is averaging seven yards per carry. Thomas Jones has provided a perfect compliment for Charles. After rushing for a career high 1,402 yards last season with the Jets, Thomas is off to another good start with 217 yards and a touchdown. The team is 3rd in the league with 160.7 rushing yards per game. Matt Cassel has thrown for 494 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions. The offensive line has only allowed two sacks. Third round pick Tony Moeaki leads the team in all receiving categories with 12 catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Another rookie, Dexter McCluster, has provided a special teams spark with a 94 yard punt return touchdown. Defensively, Kansas City is second in points allowed per game (12.7) and fifth in rushing yards allowed per game (75). Tamba Hali leads the team with 3.5 sacks, and Brandon Flowers has two interceptions, one going all the way for a score.
The Indianapolis Colts have struggled so far this season, with a disappointing .500 record. Manning has done all he can to help. The Colts are second in points scored (29.2), third in yards per game (411) and second in passing yards per game (335.5). Manning has completed nearly 70% of his passes. He was thrown 11 touchdowns and only one interception. Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie are ranked first and third respectively in receiving yards in the NFL. Collie has a team high five touchdown catches. However, the ground game has been absolutely terrible. Joseph Addai and Donald Brown have combined for 309 yards. The team averages 3.2 yards per carry. The Colts have also been exploited on defense. In Week 1, Houston running back Arian Foster ran for 231 yards and three touchdowns. In Week 3, Broncos’ quarterback Kyle Orton threw for 476 yards. They also gave up 121 total yards and two touchdowns to the Jaguars and running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Safety Bob Sanders may not return this season, and his backup Melvin Bullitt was placed on injured reserve, leaving a void in the defense. If Indianapolis plans on winning their division again, their rushing attack and defense must improve.
Key Matchup: Jamaal Charles & Thomas Jones vs. Indy’s Front Seven
The duo of Charles and Thomas are off to a great start, and the Indianapolis defense has given up big chunks of yards on the ground. The best chance the Chiefs have at winning this game is to copy the game plan the Houston Texans used in Week 1. Texans’ QB Matt Schaub only completed nine passes for 107 yards, not the usual Schaub who threw for nearly 300 yards a game last season. Arian Foster carved up the porous Indy defense by gaining 231 yards on 33 carries and three scores. Out of 23 first downs, the Texans converted 15 on the ground.
While Matt Cassel has done a good job managing the offense, I don’t think he is ready to win a big game like this with his arm. Yes, he did throw for 250 yards and three touchdowns against San Francisco, but the 49ers are playing horribly this season. The infamous pass rush of Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney has seven sacks so far this season, and while Cassel has only been sacked twice, the line hasn’t faced these two.
America loves routing for the underdog. Kansas City has surprised all of us this year, and the Colts have disappointed us. I would like to pick the Chiefs, but they haven’t faced a team with as much talent as the Colts. Manning has a chance to tear apart the Kansas City secondary if Addai and Brown continue to struggle on the ground. If Charles and Jones have a big game, and the defense can find a way to shutdown Manning, the Chiefs may prove their 3-0 record isn’t a fluke. However, I’m giving this one to Indianapolis.
Best of the Rest (Home team in italics):
Buffalo over Jacksonville
Houston over New York Giants
Cincinnati over Tampa Bay
Green Bay over Washington
St. Louis over Detroit
Chicago over Carolina
Atlanta over Cleveland
Baltimore over Denver
New Orleans over Arizona
Dallas over Tennessee
San Diego over Oakland
Philadelphia over San Francisco
New York over Minnesota
Last week’s results: 8-6
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