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I'm embarrassed. I'm paid to make sense of the NFL. This deep into the season, I should have a firm grasp on two or three favorites to win it all. I don't.

I'm not sold on the undefeated Tennessee Titans as long as Kerry Collins is the quarterback. I nicknamed him Clipboard Kerry Collins years ago, and I still believe it. He's not a starter. And he's certainly not a Super Bowl quarterback.

Can he be Trent Dilfer? Maybe. But the Titans don't have a Ray Lewis. Tennessee's defense isn't as good as the Baltimore defense that dragged Dilfer to a Super Bowl. The Titans sport a spotless record and Collins has yet to throw for 200 yards in a game.

I'm not sold on the 5-1 New York Giants. Not as long as Plaxico Burress continues his descent to a level below Terrell Owens. Burress working in New York is a powder keg that will ignite and blow up the Giants. The G-men lost to the Browns. Eli Manning is starting to regress.

The 5-1 Buffalo Bills? No way. Their leading rusher averages 3.5 yards per carry. Their quarterback has thrown five touchdowns. I don't know anyone on their defense. The Bills have a lovely schedule. They'll get exposed in the postseason.

What about the Pittsburgh Steelers? Schedule. Over the next month, the Steelers play the Giants, Redskins, Colts and Chargers. Big Ben won't survive this stretch. Pittsburgh's offensive line can't protect.

9. The two teams I sort of like are the Carolina Panthers and the Green Bay Packers.

It troubles me to admit that about the Packers. I'm in the tank for Brett Favre and hoping he embarrasses Ted Thompson. After losing three in a row, the Packers have regained their footing with wins over Seattle and Indy. I expect the Packers to announce they're for real on Nov. 2 when they face the Titans.

Aaron Rodgers has been better than I expected. Green Bay will score a lot of points the second half of the season.

NFL Week 8

Week 8 action

    Bucs at Cowboys -- Preview | Notes
    Cardinals at Panthers -- Preview | Notes
    Falcons at Eagles -- Preview | Notes
    Rams at Patriots -- Preview | Notes
    Redskins at Lions -- Preview | Notes
    Chargers at Saints -- Preview | Notes
    Raiders at Ravens -- Preview | Notes
    Bills at Dolphins -- Preview | Notes
    Chiefs at Jets -- Preview | Notes
    Bengals at Texans -- Preview | Notes
    Browns at Jaguars -- Preview | Notes
    Giants at Steelers -- Preview | Notes
    Seahawks at 49ers -- Preview | Notes
    Colts at Titans -- Preview | Notes

Analysis

  • Whitlock: NFL truths
  • Schrager: Week 8 Cheat Sheet
  • Marvez: NFL's best owner

Video

  • Schein's Week 8 picks
  • Online OT: Complete NFL coverage

Photos

  • What we learned
  • Fantasy: Waiver wire

Carolina gets to fatten its record with games against the Cardinals, Raiders and Lions over the next month. I love Carolina's defense. It's arguably the fastest unit in the league. Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad form a terrific tandem at receiver. And John Fox is as good a coach as there is.

8. Here's my sleeper team: Da Bears.

Kyle Orton has won me over. He's a pocket-passing version of Jake Delhomme although Orton is more accurate. I never envisioned Orton developing into a solid NFL starter. I thought his arm was too weak and he was too inaccurate under pressure.

I was wrong. The kid is completing 62 percent of his passes, which is a 10 percent improvement over his career numbers. Chicago posted 48 points against a Minnesota defense that can't be run on.

If the Bears make the playoffs, they can beat any team they face.

7. After watching Brett Favre's Wednesday press conference, there is even less reason to doubt the accuracy of Jay Glazer's reporting about Favre helping the Lions prepare for the Packers.

I just happen to disagree with people who think that it is somehow a stain on Favre's Green Bay legacy. It's not.

The Packers treated Favre poorly. He has every right to want to see the organization flop without him, and of course he's going to do everything he can to assure that it happens. What Favre did isn't unusual in the slightest.

You ever seen someone fired from a job and escorted out by security? You ever wondered why they ask for a player's playbook when they cut him? You think fired coaches don't share everything they know about the team that canned them?

Brett Favre is a human being. He wants to see the Packers fail. There's nothing wrong with that.

6. Speaking of rooting for failure, Vince Young didn't appear all that happy watching the Titans improve to 6-0 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

I'm not trying to pile on Vince. Don't make a big deal about this observation. But Young stood by himself away from the rest of the offensive players throughout much of the Tennessee-Kansas City contest.

If he's trying to learn on game days, he's learning from a distance. The backup quarterbacks usually stand around the offensive coaches and try to be around the communication process. Not Vince. He stood on an island on Sunday.

In fairness, he might need to stand back for a minute so he can see the big picture. And he did seem to show a little emotion when the Titans scored.

5. The Rams should not overreact and give Jim Haslett the permanent head-coaching assignment because the Rams have won two straight.

Haslett is benefitting from ownership putting pressure on the entire roster. When a head coach gets relieved this early in the season, the locker room gains some intensity and focus. It's too early in the season to quit and mail it in.

Guys are still playing for contract leverage and dreaming about individual achievements. Before anyone anoints Haslett, let's see what the Rams are doing in early December.

4. I'm disappointed Mike Singletary was given the 49ers job at midseason.

As an interim coach Singletary could screw up his resume by taking over the 49ers at this time. If the 49ers go in the tank and lose their remaining games, Singletary could take the blame and end up being positioned poorly for a genuine opportunity.

Singletary was on track to be an NFL head coach. I realize you have to take these opportunities whenever and however they're presented. But I wish Mike would've waited.

3. When was the last time Al Davis made a bold decision that worked? Selecting Sebastian Janikowski in the first round of the 2000 draft.

Janikowski hasn't been a Pro Bowl kicker. He's not headed for the Hall of Fame. But he has remained a consistent weapon for the Raiders throughout his career. Last week he beat the Jets with a 57-yard field goal in overtime, bailing out coach Tom Cable who blew the game in regulation by calling one of those overused, last-second timeouts before a field-goal attempt.

There is no such thing as "icing" a kicker in warm weather. Leave the icing to hockey.

2. Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler and Craig James refuse to place my 20th-ranked Ball State Cardinals in their Associated Press Top 25 polls.

This hurts. You're talking about three of my favorite college football broadcasters. My Cardinals are 7-0 and likely to hit 8-0 this weekend after a contest against Eastern Michigan.

But let me be perfectly honest. I don't have a real problem with Herbie, Fowler and James being a bit suspicious of the Cardinals. We've struggled to replace star receiver Dante Love, and we haven't been tested since September.

The most difficult portion of Ball State's schedule is in November when the Cardinals play Northern Illinois, Central Michigan and Western Michigan. If we get through November unscathed and Herbstreit, Fowler and James continue to ignore my Cards, you'll be treated to an angry, hilarious column about the Three BCS Elitists.

*1. Is anything more enjoyable than watching the Cowboys bomb and T.O. implode on the sideline?

As I said last week, Jerry Jones knows talent and is willing to pursue it. He knows nothing about winning chemistry and how to build it or maintain it.

You can e-mail Jason Whitlock at Ballstate68@aol.com.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 23, 2008

Baltimore Ravens News

News » NFL Truths: Let's talk about Favre


NFL Truths: Let's talk about Favre


NFL Truths: Let's talk about Favre
As we approach the halfway point of the season, I have been inundated with requests from the commissioner's office and my peers in the press to make sense of this NFL season.


As the foremost authority on football, everyone wants me to reveal the Super Bowl contenders and the Super Bowl pretenders.

This week's NFL Truths column will address those mysteries.

10. I have no (expletive)ing idea which teams are legitimate. No clue.

NFL Blitz

Eli ManningCan't get enough NFL? We've got everything you need for Week 8. Check out the NFL Blitz, where we count down all the games from the worst to the best.
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