Saturday, October 03, 2009

Dr.Football On Fox Sports 980 Albany NY

Friday Night Dr. Bill Chachkes was a guest Of J.R. Rickert and Ray Brownell on "Inside Pro Football" on Fox Sports Radio 980 in Albany NY, for their "Celebrity Fantasy Football" Segment. You can listen here:
or Here:

Giants Need a Cure for the Blahs over The Chiefs –By Dr. Bill Chachkes for Football Reporters Online

Giants Need a Cure for the Blahs over The Chiefs –By Dr. Bill Chachkes for Football Reporters Online
(Photo: Giants Running Back Brandon Jacobs and Dr. Bill Chachkes at the EA Sports Draft event on April 24th 2009-By A.F. Chachkes)

New York finally got off the launching pad last week with a few “Green Zone” scores against the horrible Tampa Bay defense. The Issue still exists with leaving scoring on the field however, as it should have been 34-0 instead of 24-0 Giants.

So where does NY go from here? Hopefully with this week’s opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, we will finally begin to see more of the abilities of the offense and it’s play calling. Receivers Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Sinorice Moss, and the returning Hakeem Nicks must make their presence felt against the K.C. defensive backs. Will they also get Travis Beckum, Ramses Barden, and Derek Hagan involved as well? I was hoping for more touches per game from Beckum and Barden, who were two of FRO’s “undiscovered sleepers of the 2009 draft.

The Giants rushing attack also needs a boost big time. Brandon Jacobs told me in April at an NFL draft event (see Photo) that he was good to go for his best season ever at any level. Does that mean 1,350+ yards and at least ten touchdowns? Could Giant fans hope to be so lucky? This week Jacobs issued another ultimatum for himself. I keep hearing echoes of former Giants head coach Jim Fassel (now coaching in the UFL with the Las Vegas Locomotives) “putting all his chips into the middle of the table.”

This scares me as someone who has watched the Giants for all of my nearly 50 years on this planet as a fan and now reporter/writer. The Giants only have one ball on the field at any one time on offense, and it’s for the coaches and quarterback Eli Manning to decide who gets it and when. Six receivers, three tight ends, four running backs, you see where I’m going with this don’t you?

The Idea of fully spreading the ball around is not new, but the Giants have so many offensive weapons on the roster that teams will hover around general manager Jerry Reese at the trading deadline dangling draft picks for current players. New York has too many players who need the football and not enough football to go around, even if they held that ball for 40 plus minutes a game.

The short term cure for New York for at least this week is 35 pass attempts and 20 to 25 rushing attempts, with as many as possible for positive yardage.

FOR GANG GREEN,IT WONT BE EASY DOWN IN THE BIG EASY by TJ Rosenthal-contributing writer-Football Reporters Online

by TJ Rosenthal-contributing writer-Football Reporters Online

It won't be easy in the Big Easy when The 3-0 J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS  head to New Orleans take on the NFL's top offense, the Drew Brees led Saints on Sunday. Already possessing a passing game that includes standout WR Marques Colston, an array of complementary receivers, a healthy TE Jeremy Shockey and big play threat Reggie Bush, the Saints NOW HAVE starting RB Pierre Thomas back as well. For the Jets, a solid run game of their own combined with getting Brees to the ground are the keys to stealing what many feel is just too tough of a task for Gang Green.

The Saints come into the game first in the NFL in passing yards, passing TDs (Brees has 9),and second in rushing yards with 512. RB Pierre Thomas returned from an early season injury to rush for 122 yds and 2 TDS last week in Buffalo. If Brees and the air wasn't enough, now the ground game with Thomas back, provides the Saints a killer balance  So how do you stop them? Keep them off the field for as long as possible. The Jet ground attack of RB Thomas Jones and Leon Washington needs help from its offensive line in creating holes, and setting the rythym down for the Jet offense. Through September, the Jets have started slow on the ground in the first half. Another slow start on Sunday and the Jets may find themselves in a deep hole. 

The Jets defense, so effective in forcing Matt Schaub Tom Brady and Kerry Collins to get rid of balls early, has to do more against Brees. The defense will not only need to bring pressure, they'll need sacks; drive killers that force clubs into unenviable long yardage situations.  Jet coach Rex Ryan told the press on Wednesday that he is not comfortable with shootouts. Given Ryan's body of work as defensive coordinator in Baltimore and so far as head coach with the Jets, expect the D to try and make this a game few can envision right now: one in which it's the Jets defense, not the Saints offense, setting the game's tempo.

 Shut down corner Darrele Revis will help in slowing down the dangerous Marques Colston. The Saints passing attack includes more than one guy though. Devery Henderson is one of the primary  deep ball speedsters that compliments Colston along with the high strung and highly productive TE, former Giant Jeremy Shockey, whose ability to stay healthy so far in 2009 will only add to the Saints proficiency, especially in the red zone.

The 3-0 Saints enter Sunday with a defense that may not resemble the high pressure hard hitting Jet unit that has risen to the top of the league in the blink of an eye.Yet the numbers will tell you that the Saints are no longer just one side of the ball. After the first three games, New Orleans, led by former Jet middle LB Jonathan Vilma, has accumulated a total of 6 sacks and 9 turnovers. OK, these numbers have perhaps been built up against rookie Matthew Stafford, Eagles backup QB Kevin Kolb and the always disappointing Trent Edwards, but the question for the Jets is , where does Mark Sanchez fit in among this group? 

The rookie QB has proven leadership, toughness, and resiliency in the early going. One thing he has NOT had to do so far, is bring the Jets back from a big deficit, or have to match an opposing offense on a scoring tirade. That may be the case for Sanchez this week who like the quarterbacks before him in 2009, could be forced into pushing the ball downfield more than he'd like to. This in order to keep up with the Saints juggernaut offense.

Sundays battle will be a daunting task. Win or lose, the bar will again be raised regarding the level of play required in order to beat Super Bowl caliber teams. . This is a BIG test for Kris Jenkins, Bard Scott, David Harris, Kerry Rhodes and the rest of the Jet defense. Alot depends on them. If, and only if, the Jets CAN get Brees down, AND move the chains on the ground, the game will move to the fourth and be anybody's to win.

Three keys to the game:

Brees vs Jet blitz. Sacks, not pressure. For the Jets thats key

Jet ground game vs Saints front seven. A slow start by Jones and Washington for the 4th straight week could spell disaster for the Jets this time.

Dustin Keller vs Saints Linebackers. The Jets up and coming TE, both a  reliable safety valve and downfield threat, needs to ease the load for Sanchez by  having a Jason Witten type game of lots of catches and yards, 

FRO's Fantasy Sleeper – WEEK 4 By William Queen-contributing writer-Football Reporters Online

FRO's Fantasy Sleeper – WEEK 4 By William Queen-contributing writer-Football Reporters Online

This week, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler serves as my fantasy sleeper. His first year with the Bears, Cutler has put up solid production so far, throwing for more than 750 yards and 6 touchdowns in his first 3 games alone.
Yardage is always a given when your talking about Cutler, but a solid TD-Int. ratio is usually a concern. However, he shouldn’t have to worry about that when he lines up against the Lions this Sunday. I don’t think I have to go into much detail after I saw the Lions.
Even though they won their first game last week vs. the Redskins, I don’t expect Detroit’s defense to be any better than they were before. They’ve allowed 10 passing touchdowns so far this season, which statistically gives the average opposing quarterback more than three touchdowns.
You may have passed up on Cutler in your fantasy draft since it’s his first year with the Bears, and other teams in your league may have done the same. So if Cutler just happens to be a free agent, I’ll make up your mind for you, take him. Take him now while you still can.

FRO's 2009 Drew Brees Watch-By Jon Wagner Sr. Writer at large Football Reporters Online

Brees-ing Past Marino's Mark?

FRO's 2009 Drew Brees Watch-By Jon Wagner Sr. Writer at large Football Reporters Online

One year after passing for the second most yards (5,069) in an NFL season, only 15 yards behind Hall Of Fame quarterback Dan Marino's single-season record of 5,084 yards in 1984, New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees is again poised to take aim at Marino's record. FRO follows Brees' prusuit of Marino each week, throughout the season:

Brees’ 2009 Avg. Yards Per Game: 280.33
Avg. Yards Needed To Pass Marino: 326.46

1 Sun 9/13 vs DET W, 45-27 26-34 76.5 6-1 358 4,727
2 Sun 9/20 at PHI W, 48-22 25-34 73.5 3-1 311 4,416
3 Sun 9/27 at BUF W, 27-7 16-29 55.2 0-0 172 4,244
4 Sun 10/4 vs NYJ
5 Bye
6 Sun 10/18 vs NYG
7 Sun 10/25 at MIA
8 Mon 11/2 vs ATL
9 Sun 11/8 vs CAR
10 Sun 11/15 at STL
11 Sun 11/22 at TB
12 Mon 11/30 vs NE
13 Sun 12/6 at WAS
14 Sun 12/13 at ATL
15 Sat 12/19 vs DAL
16 Sun 12/27 vs TB
17 Sun 1/3 at CAR

TOTALS; 120-56 67-97 69.1 9-2 811

FRO's FAVORITE FIVE Top Five NFL Moments - Week 3 by Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer-At Large, Football Reporters Online

Top Five NFL Moments - Week 3
by Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer-At Large, Football Reporters Online


That New Orleans Saints’ running back Pierre Thomas had a career high 126 yards? Good. That he ran for that much on just 14 carries for a 9.0 yards per carry average? Even better. That he put up those numbers without touching the ball on offense for the game’s first 32 minutes? Outstanding. All of Thomas’ carries came over the final 28 minutes in the Saints’ 27-7 victory in Buffalo, including a 34-yard touchdown run that gave the Saints some separation with 9:45 left in the game, and a 19-yard score to ice the victory with 2:03 remaining.


It was supposed to a wild west shootout between Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner, but it was Manning who fired all of the early shots for the Indianapolis Colts in the desert, and neither Warner nor the Arizona Cardinals could keep up in a 31-10 Colts’ rout. Manning threw three touchdown passes on three straight possessions in a span of 7:12 in the second quarter to give the Colts a 21-3 halftime lead. Manning finished 24 of 35 for 379 yards, four touchdowns (to four different receivers), and just one interception.


The score was 24-0, but it might as well have been 84-0. The Giants’ performance, particularly defensively, of the Buccaneers on Tampa Bay’s own home field, was that dominant. On the game’s opening drive, the Giants had as many first downs (5) and almost as many yards (80) as Tampa Bay had all game. The Giants, who had 27 first downs for the game, outgained the Bucs 397-86, including 226-28 on the ground, possessing the ball for 43:38 to the Bucs’ 16:22. New York also converted 10 of 16 third downs while the Bucs were 0-for-9 on such opportunities. The Giants also held Tampa Bay QB’s Brian Leftwich and Josh Johnson to a combined 11 of 26 for just 58 yards passing.


Tampa Bay losing that badly? Perfect segue… Lions’ owner William Clay Ford said, “We not only got the monkey off our back, we got King Kong off our back.” That’s how it feels when you finally win after losing 19 straight and avoid joining the 1970’s Bucs in losing at least 20 in a row. Beating the Redskins so far this year is nothing special, but beating ANYONE when you’re coming off the NFL’s only 0-16 season in history and you follow that up with an 0-2 start the following year, is worth the number two spot on this week’s list. The Lions used a 13-0 halftime lead and then held on to finally break the string.


As he’s done so many times in his career, the Favre-elous one pulled another game out of the fire in the final moments. Only, it wasn’t just Brett Favre scrambling and tossing a great ball into the back of the end zone on a 32-yard pass just as he was hit. It took a fantastic catch and incredible concentration and awareness by Minnesota wide receiver Greg Lewis to leap and very difficultly, get both feet just barely inside the back of the end zone with just two seconds left in Minnesota’s 27-24 miracle victory that the Vikings stole from the San Francisco 49ers. A sensational play by Lewis, and a great way for Favre, in his first game that counted in his new home, to endear himself to the fans who used to root against Favre and his Packers each year.

FRO's Performance rankings week three-by Jon Wagner Sr. Writer Football Reporters Online

FRO's Performance Rankings
2009 NFL Season
By Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer At-Large Football Reporters Online

While there are many power rankings out there based as much on hype, expectations, and too often, unrealized and inaccurate projections, at Football Reporters Online, we prefer to rank NFL teams on what's actually happened, taking into account only how teams have performed on the field and who they’ve played. At FRO, you won’t find yet another power ranking that doesn’t tell you much. Instead, here are the FRO NFL Performance Rankings:

Week 3

#1 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 3-0 Week 2: #1 Week 3: Won at Buffalo, 27-7
The Saints stay in the top spot for the second consecutive week, proving in Week 3 that they’re not all Drew Brees and their passing game. After scoring 93 in the first two games behind 9 Brees touchdown passes, New Orleans posted its third straight win by at least 20 points on the strength of a defense that limited the Bills to just 7 points and 243 total yards, and a running game (now second in the NFL) that racked up 222 yards on the road.

#2 NEW YORK GIANTS 3-0 Week 2: #3 Week 3: Won at Tampa Bay, 24-0
The Giants start 3-0 in back-to-back years for the first time since the 1993 and 1994 seasons. After a solid but not exceptional win against a Washington team that looks bad right now, and barely pulling out a win in Dallas on the leg of Lawrence Tynes at the final gun, Big Blue had a laugher, blanking the Bucs on the road, holding Tampa Bay to just 86 total yards, five first downs (none for the first 40+ minutes), and while rushing for 226 yards to help keep the ball for 43:38.

#3 BALTIMORE RAVENS 3-0 Week 2: #4 Week 3: Beat Cleveland, 34-3
Okay, so the Browns are awful, but the Ravens didn’t let them hand around, storming out to a 20-0 halftime lead en route to a 34-3 thrashing of the current Browns by the “original Browns.” The Baltimore defense returned to its usual form after allowing Phillip Rivers’ career-high passing game in the Ravens’ Week 2 win out west. QB Joe Flacco meanwhile, continues to show progress and no signs of a sophomore jinx after his very good rookie season.

#4 NEW YORK JETS 3-0 Week 2: #2 Week 3: Beat Tennessee, 24-17
It doesn’t seem to matter what the Jets are wearing, they just continue to play winning football. Even as the Titans (of New York), they can beat the current Titans (albeit, as the Oilers), on throwback day at The Meadowlands. Week 3 looked easy at first for the old Titans against the new ones, with the Jets taking a 14-0 lead before Tennessee ran its first offensive play of the game. In a game of streaks though, the Jets allowed the next 17, before scoring the final 10 to win, as the Jets’ biggest strength this year, making stops on defense in clutch situations, closed out another win. Despite that victory though, the Jets drop a couple spots to make room for the slightly better Giants and Ravens.

#5 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 3-0 Week 2: #8 Week 3: Won at Arizona, 31-10
The Colts have quickly shot up this list, from 17 (after a very mediocre 14-12 home win over Jacksonville), to 8 (after a nice comeback win on a Monday night in Miami), to 5 (after a blowout win in the desert against the Cardinals). Not easy to go on the road, on two different coasts, for consecutive national television night games, with a short week in between, and return to Indianapolis with a couple more wins to remain undefeated. Marvin Harrison gone or not, Peyton Manning is clicking right now with the receivers he has left.

#6 DENVER BRONCOS 3-0 Week 2: #9 Week 3: Won at Oakland, 23-3
We’re going to find out a lot more about the Broncos over the next five weeks as the schedule suddenly does a complete 180 on them (vs. Dallas, vs. New England, at San Diego, at Baltimore, vs. Pittsburgh). That’s a huge departure from the junior varsity cupcakes (Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Oakland –- okay, maybe the Bengals are at least pretty good out of that group) that Denver rode to a 3-0 start. Still, it’s hard to place the Broncos any lower as of now after a pair of easy routs in which they didn’t allow a touchdown, and especially not when Denver has allowed a league-low 16 points on the season thus far.

#7 MINNESOTA VIKINGS 3-0 Week 2: #5 Week 3: Beat San Francisco, 27-24
The Favrelous one did it yet again –- although not nearly enough credit was given to WR Greg Lewis for getting both feet in on a catch that was actually better than Brett’s game-winning heave. Whomever you give the credit to, the Vikings, after two easy wins, managed to barely pulled out their home opener, and thus deserve the last of the top spots occupied by the seven remaining undefeated teams, but two spots lower than they were last week.

#8 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 2-1 Week 2: #7 Week 3: Lost at Minnesota, 27-24
Looking just one spot up, you see just how close the 49ers were to being in the number 7 spot instead of the Vikings after losing in Minnesota on the a miracle play by the Vikings. So, just one notch lower, is a reasonable place for the Niners who by and large have played well over the first three weeks.

#9 DALLAS COWBOYS 2-1 Week 2: #10 Week 3: Beat Carolina, 21-7
The Cowboys have yet to put together a full 60 minutes of solid football, struggling in the first half before pulling away in the second half at Tampa Bay, and getting shutout at home for a half before sealing a win late with an interception against Carolina. Still, they have a couple of wins by double digits, have rushed the ball better than anyone by far (a league-leading 6.8 ypc; New Orleans is second at 5.0 ypc), and are a Lawrence Tynes miss from being 3-0.

#10 CINCINNATI BENGALS 2-1 Week 2: #16 Week 3: Beat Pittsburgh, 23-20
The Bengals have played pretty well ever since Brandon Stokley’s fluke play cost them a season-opening win. If not for that play, they would be 3-0. They thoroughly beat Aaron Rodgers in a win at Lambeau before breaking their 8-game home losing streak to Pittsburgh with two Carson Palmer touchdowns in the final 9:14, including the game-winner with 14 seconds left.

#11 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 2-1 Week 2: #13 Week 3: Beat San Diego, 23-13
The Chargers have been the epitome of inconsistency from week to week, even within each week. Favored heavily, they were outplayed in Oakland before pulling a win out of the fire. They responded with a huge passing game from QB Phillip Rivers only to lose a close game to Baltimore at home. And, they had problems with the Dolphins before they could put them away. Add it all up, and San Diego is okay at 2-1, and an enigma, playing both the bad Raiders and the good Ravens very close, as they continue to find their way through the early part of the schedule.

#12 ATLANTA FALCONS 2-1 Week 2: #6 Week 3: Lost at New England, 26-10
After home wins in dream matchups against winless Miami and Carolina, reality woke the up Falcons like a glass of ice water in the face when Atlanta traveled to New England for a 26-10 loss in which Matt Ryan and Michael Turner were suddenly held in check, unable to do what they did at home. For their own sake, the Falcons better not become that Jekyl and Hyde home/road team that’s often seen in the NFL, as three of the next four and five of the next seven are away from the Georgia Dome.

#13 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 2-1 Week 2: #17 Week 3: Beat Kansas City, 34-14
It’s tough to judge the Eagles without Donovan McNabb, and even in their one game with him, it was their defense that dominated in Carolina to beat the Panthers before McNabb left with an injury that’s kept him out since. With Kolb filling in, the Eagles were awful against the very good Saints, before rebounding with an easy win against the bad Chiefs. With three losing teams coming up (0-3 Tampa Bay, 1-2 Oakland, and 1-2 Washington), the Eagles are in decent position to compete in the tough NFC East until McNabb can get healthy and back into the flow.

#14 GREEN BAY PACKERS 2-1 Week 2: #20 Week 3: Won at St. Louis, 36-17
The perfect prescription for the Packers after a disappointing effort at home against the Bengals? Meet me in Saint Louie… at least that’s what Green Bay must have been thinking after falling to 1-1. Failing three times in the red zone, coming away with three first-quarter field goals, the Pack responded with touchdowns on each of their next four trips inside the Rams’ 20, for a fairly easy win to get a game back over the .500 mark.

#15 CHICAGO BEARS 2-1 Week 2: #14 Week 3: Won at Seattle, 25-19
Very much like the Bengals, the Bears have shown some mettle after a tough opening week loss. Chicago followed up a late loss in Green Bay by gutting out two games late themselves, with new QB Jay Cutler leading the way each time, once on a drive for a game-winning field goal against Pittsburgh, and another on a touchdown drive to win in Seattle with under two minutes left.

#16 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 2-1 Week 2: #22 Week 3: Beat Atlanta, 26-10
What’s wrong with Tom Brady? Are the Patriots still good enough to be considered among the elite in the AFC? Well, it wasn’t against another elite AFC team, but New England quieted some of the doubters asking those types of questions after the first two weeks, with a solid 16-point win over the Falcons at home, to get over .500 and right the ship. A very strange scheduling quirk has the Patriots playing their next ten games split evenly against five teams that are currently undefeated and another five against teams that are currently winless (of course, that will all change by the time Pats play a lot of those teams, but interesting nonetheless).

#17 PITTSBURGH STEELERS 1-2 Week 2: #11 Week 3: Lost at Cincinnati, 23-20
The defending champs started the 2006 season 2-6 after winning it all in 2005. They’re now 1-2 after winning last year’s Super Bowl, and they could easily be 3-0 or 0-3, after three straight games that went down to the final drive. The Steelers’ staple used to always be defense and a solid running game. The defense remains solid, but Pittsburgh won last year’s title in spite of a rushing game that lacked. This year, they might not be so fortunate if they can’t breathe life into the NFL’s 27th-ranked rushing offense.

#18 BUFFALO BILLS 1-2 Week 2: #12 Week 3: Lost to New Orleans, 27-7
The Bills have played well enough to have a winning record, but letting the opener at New England get away hurt. Buffalo rebounded by beating up on a bad Bucs team, but they showed they’re not in the class of a New Orleans. Running back Fred Jackson has been good running the ball for Buffalo, but the fact that he also has more receptions (15) than Lee Evans (8) and Terrell Owens (5) combined is a huge red flag for the Bills’ passing game thus far.

#19 ARIZONA CARDINALS 1-2 Week 2: #15 Week 3: Lost to Indianapolis, 31-10
Reaching the Super Bowl last season after just a mediocre 9-7 regular season, it’s not a major shock that the Cardinals have followed up that trip to the Big Game with a 1-2 start this season. What is a surprise however, is that both losses have come at home. Kurt Warner was nearly perfect (24 for 26 for 2 TD’s, no picks, and a 131.2 QB rating) in Jacksonville, yet at home, he’s been consistently bad (a 67 QB rating with only 1 TD and 2 INT’s in each game in Glendale in this season), while not being helped at all by a rushing offense ranked last in the NFL.

#20 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 1-2 Week 2: #27 Week 3: Won at Houston, 31-24
The Jags meanwhile, have been the opposite of the Cardinals… they’ve were awful at home (ironically, against Arizona), yet surprisingly impressive on the road (playing the Colts very tough and leaving Houston with a 7-point win led by RB Maurice Jones-Drew’s 3-touchdown, 119-yard effort). That type of formula, and the threat of more empty seats and television blackouts in Jacksonville has the Jags eyeing Orlando as a possible second site for some home games if the NFL expands its regular season to 17 or 18 games.

#21 HOUSTON TEXANS 1-2 Week 2: #18 Week 3: Lost to Jacksonville, 31-24
Now, here’s where the irony continues… Arizona’s lone good game on the road was at Jacksonville, which won at Houston, which is like Arizona, similarly struggling at home yet playing a good game on the road. The Texans are struggling to run the ball, at just 70.7 yards per game, good for 30th in the league. Houston also has the 28th ranked defense, the worst against the run. When you can’t run the ball and you can’t stop the run in the NFL, it makes for a lot of losses. The Texans have to address those two areas soon or all the pre-season playoff talk will be for naught.

#22 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 1-2 Week 2: #19 Week 3: Lost to Chicago, 25-19
The Seahawks looked great in a 28-0 whitewashing of the Rams. Oh, right, that was the Rams. Playing the 49ers and Bears was a wake-up call. Seattle had the game against Chicago until they couldn’t stop Cutler from marching the Bears down the field for a late game-winning score.

#23 TENNESSEE TITANS 0-3 Week 2: #21 Week 3: Lost at the NY Jets, 24-17
The Titans have been the hard-luck team of the NFL this season. They’ve been in all three games they’ve played in the fourth quarter or in overtime, yet have no wins to show for it. It’s hard to believe that last year’s top seed in the AFC which started 10-0 and finished 13-3 has already matched last year’s regular season loss total after just three weeks in 2009.

#24 DETROIT LIONS 1-2 Week 2: #31 Week 3: Beat Washington, 19-14
Congratulations are in order! No, not because Detroit lifted itself from the lowly 31 spot on this list, up to number 23, but because they avoided joining the old Tampa Bay Buccaneers era of the 1970’s as the NFL’s only teams to lose 20 straight games. Yup, 19 consecutive losses was all the Lions could bear. Lions’ owner William Clay Ford put it best, saying “We not only got the monkey off our back, we got King Kong off our back.” You have to feel good for the Lions, but are they that much better than last year’s 0-16 team? Maybe not. The Redskins might just be that bad…

#25 WASHINGTON REDSKINS 1-2 Week 2: #23 Week 3: Lost at Detroit, 19-14
… And the Redskins would be rated even lower than 25, but they’re here by default, since there are enough really bad teams in the NFL right now. Averaging 13.3 points per game, Washington’s offense isn’t scaring anyone right now, and they are the one team in the tough NFC East that teams outside of that division, do want to play.

#26 OAKLAND RAIDERS 1-2 Week 2: #25 Week 3: Lost to Denver, 23-3
Oakland’s season started promisingly. The Raiders were competitive against San Diego before choking away a possible win. Since then, they were awful against the Chiefs yet won by default almost, simply because Kansas City couldn’t score despite dominating the Raiders statistically; and they weren’t competitive against Denver. Jamarcus Russell is not an NFL starter, period. By far, he ranks last in the league among starting signal callers with a 39.8 QB rating a 41.3
completion percentage. Ouch!

#27 MIAMI DOLPHINS 0-3 Week 2: #24 Week 3: Lost at San Diego, 23-13
It’s looking like the fish may go from worst (1-15 in 2007) to first (11-5 last year), back to worst. The wildcat racks up yards and control the clock, but it doesn’t yield points, at least not for Miami. The Dolphins have rushed for the third most yards per game (161.3) but they only rank 26th in what really matters: points scored (just 14.3 per game) as they seek their first win. Add to that, Chad Pennington lost for the season with his latest of a career of injuries, and Miami may be looking for that first win for a while still.

#28 ST.LOUS RAMS 0-3 Week 2: #28 Week 3: Lost to Green Bay, 36-17
As expected, the Rams haven’t been competitive against a pretty good Packers teams and in a generally tough place to play (at Seattle). The only place they were competitive was against the bad Redskins. The way they’re going, the Rams couldn’t score in a brothel with a suitcase full of hundred dollar bills: just 24 points in three games, and 17 of those were in last week’s 19-point home loss to Green Bay. Not good.

#29 CAROLINA PANTHERS 0-3 Week 2: #29 Week 3: Lost at Dallas, 21-7
Like Tennessee, the Panthers were a serious pre-season playoff contender at in a huge 0-3 hole. They’re having their own problems putting points on the board: just 37 points in three games as Jake Delhomme has already thrown 7 picks and just 2 touchdowns.

#30 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 0-3 Week 2: #26 Week 3: Lost at Philadelphia, 34-14
The Chiefs were shockingly tied with Baltimore in the fourth quarter and should have blown out the Raiders. And yet, they’re 0-3 with the Giants coming to town next. This is no doubt another rebuilding year in KC. For all the talk of the Lions not being able to win until last Sunday, the Chiefs since 2006, are now a dreadful 6-29.

#31 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 0-3 Week 2: #30 Week 3: Lost to the NY Giants, 24-0
Yes, it was stated above, but again… 86 total yards? No first downs for the first 40+ minutes? The Giants defense is good, but come on, this is grown men playing, this isn’t Pop Warner. That’s just embarrassing. Seven straight losses and counting for Tampa Bay since its 0-4 December collapse cost it a 2008 playoff spot.

#32 CLEVELAND BROWNS 0-3 Week 2: #32 Week 3: Lost at Baltimore, 34-3
Ahh, the Browns. Outscored 95-29, the biggest differential in the NFL. Head coach Eric Mangini seems lost, and has already benched Brady Quinn, turning to Derek Anderson for help in Week 4. That will probably help, but for the Brownies, it’ll take more than that this season. A lot more.

NFL Changing Of The Guard In 2009? By John Wagner Sr. writer at large Football Reporters Online

NFL Changing Of The Guard In 2009? By John Wagner Sr. writer at large Football Reporters Online

Just three weeks into the 2009 National Football League season, it’s much too soon to draw season-ending conclusions. For proof of that, look no further than just two seasons ago when the 2007 New York Giants were shredded defensively to the tune of allowing 80 points while starting 0-2, before finishing 10-6 and riding a complete defensive turnaround to shut down the NFL’s highest scoring regular offense ever, in a Super Bowl XLII victory.

Still, there are some early signs that the final 2009 NFL standings could look drastically different than they did a year ago.

Only two (the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings) of last year’s eight division winners thus far are leading those same divisions this year.

And, three teams (Miami, Tennessee, and Carolina) that captured division titles a season ago are each still seeking their first win in 2009.

Last year’s AFC East champions, the Miami Dolphins have run the wildcat successfully enough to rank third in the league in both rushing offense and time of possession, but as we saw in their 27-23 loss to Indianapolis in which the Colts set a league record for having the ball for the least amount of time in a victory, that formula doesn’t necessarily translate to enough points (Miami is averaging just 14.3 per game) or wins (the Dolphins are 0-3). Throw in starting quarterback Chad Pennington’s latest season-ending injury, and Miami might be poised to go from the best turn-around in NFL history (from 1-15 in 2007, to 11-5 last season) right back to where it was two years ago.

The Tennessee Titans meanwhile, have been in every game they’ve played so far this year, and they’ve had some tough-luck losses, two by a field goal (one of those in overtime), and a third by a touchdown. However, last season’s AFC South champions have remarkably gone from the NFL’s best record (13-3) after a 10-0 start in 2008, to already matching last season’s loss total with an 0-3 beginning this year. Tennessee has a lot more talent and thus hope, than Miami, to turn things around, but NFL history has been unkind to 0-3 teams making the playoffs let alone winning a division.

And then there’s the Carolina Panthers, last year’s NFC South champions, also starting this season at 0-3 after going 12-4 a year ago. The Panthers were thoroughly embarrassed against Philadelphia in their 2009 season opener at home, a place where they went a perfect 8-0 in the 2008 regular season… that is until they were upset in a blowout loss to Arizona in last year’s NFC divisional playoff game –- which also marked a sharp turnaround for quarterback Jake Delhomme and the Panthers’ offense. Over Carolina’s last four games, Including last season’s playoff loss plus the Panthers’ first three games in 2009, Carolina has lost as many games (4) and Delhomme has thrown as many interceptions (12) as the Panthers and Delhomme had respectively, throughout the entire 2008 regular season. Carolina has already been outscored by 50 points (87-37), averaging a measly 12.3 point per game this season. That’s a huge departure from the team that was the number two seed in the 2008 NFC playoffs.

Meanwhile, last season’s Super Bowl participants, Pittsburgh and Arizona, the only teams to navigate through their respective divisions with perfect 6-0 records in 2008, are each just 1-2, and each has already lost its first game within its division.

Of course, if some of last year’s division winners are struggling now, there must be others which have stepped up and taken their place, and that’s been the case so far this year in nearly every division in the league.

In the AFC East, the 9-7 Jets of a year ago have begun 3-0 to lead that division on the strength of one of the NFL’s best defenses thus far in 2009.

In the AFC South, the Baltimore Ravens were already good last year, but they fell short to Pittsburgh by a game for the 2008 division title. This year however, they look to be one of the NFL’s most complete teams en route to a division-leading 3-0 record.

A similar situation for Indianapolis in the AFC South. After losing the division by one game to the Titans in 2008, the Colts have again ridden quarterback Peyton Manning’s arm to the top of the AFC South –- for now –- where they sit at 3-0.

And, to round out all AFC divisions with new leaders at 3-0, the undefeated Denver Broncos, albeit against a soft schedule to this point, have played well, allowing an NFL-low 16 points (just 5.3 points per game).

In the NFC, the only stability from last season can be found in the NFC East and in the NFC North.

But, with the Panthers and Cardinals faltering, last season’s 8-8, last place New Orleans Saints look like the NFL’s best team so far in 2009, storming their way to a 3-0 mark, crushing their opponents by a combined 120-56 so far; and the first-place San Francisco 49ers, just 7-9 a year ago, have already won at Arizona this season, and are a Minnesota Miracle pass (a Vikings’ game-winning 32-yard touchdown pass with just :02 left) from also being perfect at 3-0.

There’s a lot of football left, and November and December in the NFL often look a lot different than September. But, so far, it looks like we should be forgetting all about 2008 and possibly getting ready for a lot of new faces as either division winners or at least, playoff contenders, in 2009.

CNN reporting on Chicago crime harmed 2016 Olympic vote

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, won the right to host the 2016 Olympics, beating Madrid, Tokyo, and most famously Chicago - which stunningly was dropped out of the first round of voting, even with a great bid and a visit from the President of the United States and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Here's the voting tally from

Ballot 1: (95 eligible, 94 valid ballots)

Madrid - 28
Rio - 26
Tokyo - 22
Chicago -18

Ballot 2: (97 eligible, 1 abstention, 95 valid ballots)

Rio - 46
Madrid - 29
Tokyo - 20

Ballot 3: (99 eligible, 1 abstention, 98 valid ballots)

Rio - 66
Madrid - 32

Rio de Janeiro elected.

What vexes me is CNN's constant drumbeat of reports on Chicago crime - and specifically two teen murders - in the very week before the vote and leading right up to the day of the IOC vote.

It seemed like CNN was trying to influence the vote to me, even mentioning the Olympics in their segments on the Chicago crime problem. Moreover, CNN failed to mention the crime issue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Rio has a huge drug and crime problem called "critical" and puts it in direct competition if not worse than Chicago. With all this why no mention of Rio's crime problem?

CNN is an international news organization with incredible reach and thus can certainly have an impact on how the IOC voting members would see Chicago. But the simple fact that CNN failed to report the drug and crime problem in Rio calls its intentions into question in the wake of America's voting loss.

CNN should explain what it was trying to do and why it did not mention the crime problems of Olympic competitor cities. One could make the argument - I will - that CNN was trying to politically hurt President Obama. Indeed, CNN's actions were irresponsible for a "trusted news source."