|Chargers start a long trip in Buffalo|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 16 October 2008 09:15|
``It was a good win,'' Philip Rivers said of the 30-10 victory over New England last Sunday night. ``And then the dust settles and we are 3-3. That's still where we are. We've got a long way to go.''
After the Chargers, on a three-game run of games with AFC East teams, play the Bills in Buffalo, they continue on to London for the NFL's European showcase on Oct. 26 against New Orleans. Given the differences in climates, many weren't sure how to pack, although an umbrella should be mandatory - last year's London game was played on what the Brits call a ``waterlogged pitch.''
The weather in Buffalo is supposed to be better, with the forecast for temperatures in the 50s, ``perfect football weather'' for most folks.
question. A week before the rout of New England, they lost in Miami, a victim of the Dolphins' new deceptive offense and a defense that held Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson and the rest of the Chargers to 10 points.
Buffalo, which leads the East at 4-1, is more dangerous than Miami, although before the Bills' bye week they conceded 41 points to Arizona and lost for the first time. Quarterback Trent Edwards was lost with a concussion in the first quarter of that game; the week off gave Edwards time to recover and he is expected to start.
``It was good to see him back smiling, feeling good and being able to come out there and make some plays,'' wide receiver Lee Evans said. ``It's good to get him back in the swing of things.''
If the Bills can get back in the swing of things after a loss and a bye, they may be the favorites in their division.
And at least they don't have to fly to London after the game. Their international trip is a short one, less than two hours away in Toronto against the Dolphins on Dec. 7.
In other games Sunday, Baltimore is at Miami; Dallas at St. Louis; Minnesota at Chicago; Tennessee at Kansas City; San Francisco at the New York Giants; Pittsburgh at Cincinnati; New Orleans at Carolina; Detroit at Houston; the New York Jets at Oakland; Cleveland at Washington; Indianapolis at Green Bay; and Seattle at Tampa Bay.
Denver is at New England on Monday night.
rizona, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Jacksonville are off.
Denver (4-2) at New England (3-2) (Monday night)
Reverse psychology from Bill Belichick, who says he doesn't think his team played too badly in the 20-point loss in San Diego except for ``a handful of plays that caused us a lot of trouble.'' Those are the kind of plays that Denver makes: long ones down the field from Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal, who is expected back after missing last week's game with a sprained ankle.
But count on Belichick to figure out ways to stop them. No one is better at adjusting. And even with Matt Cassel at quarterback, figure the Patriots to exploit a Denver defense that surrendered 416 yards in a loss to Jacksonville, 155 on the ground.
Dallas (4-2) at St. Louis (1-4)
These are the ``new'' Cowboys.
Adam ``Pacman'' Jones is suspended indefinitely; Tony Romo, Felix Jones and Terrence Newman are hurt; Brad Johnson is the QB - although Romo might wind up playing - and Roy Williams the new No. 1a receiver. Calling Williams No. 1 would alienate Terrell Owens, who professes to be glad Roy is in town but may not say the same after Williams gets some of the balls that used to be thrown to him.
g field goal as the Rams won their first game in Washington last week. But Haslett, hoping to be kept on next season and beyond, has made it clear the talent in St. Louis is less than playoff caliber.
Tennessee (5-0) at Kansas City (1-4)
The Titans are the NFL's last remaining unbeaten team. But they will undoubtedly note that the second-to-last, the Giants, were upset Monday night by the Browns and that the Chiefs' win came over a Denver team that was unbeaten when it went to Arrowhead.
Still, Kansas City knows it is rebuilding and spent the hours until the trade deadline trying to deal Tony Gonzalez. But GM Carl Peterson wasn't very realistic - one of the prospective buyers, the Giants, reportedly offered a sixth-round pick while Peterson was asking for a second-rounder.
Minnesota (3-3) at Chicago (3-3)
Unless this game is a tie, the NFC North will have at least one team over .500.
The Vikings are hurting psychologically. They have won two straight, but last week fans at the Metrodome chanted for coach Brad Childress' firing during a 12-10 victory over the winless Lions because of a punchless offense.
o a winning field goal. Coach Lovie Smith acknowledged this week the kick was a mistake.
Indianapolis (3-2) at Green Bay (3-3)
Peyton Manning returned to form last Sunday in the 31-3 victory over Baltimore. On Monday, coach Tony Dungy then confirmed what already was well-known around the NFL: that Peyton had a second procedure on his knee during the summer. He missed almost all of the preseason.
The last time these teams met, in 2004, Manning beat Brett Favre 45-31 in Indy in a game in which the teams scored TDs on the first five possessions. Now it's Aaron Rodgers for Green Bay and it could be high-scoring again. The Colts' defense was soft until last week and the Packers' defense is banged up.
Dungy is 0-7 at Lambeau Field going back to his Tampa days.
New Orleans (3-3) at Carolina (4-2)
The Saints, who also head for England next week, are a game behind the Panthers, Bucs and surprising Falcons in the NFC South, A win here would bunch them even more. Drew Brees is only 7 yards away from 2,000 yards passing this season, on pace to break Dan Marino's 24-year-old record of 5,084.
The Panthers had been complementing Jake Delhomme with the rushing tandem of DeAngelo Williams and rookie Jonathan Stewart. But a week after rushing for 195 yards against Kansas City, they had just 39 in last week's 27-3 loss in Tampa.
``In some kind of way, I think this loss is a great thing for us. You go back to square one. You look at the game, learn from your mistakes and move on,'' Giants DE Justin Tuck said after the Super Bowl champions' eight-game winning streak ended in Cleveland. The reasoning? The Giants relish being disrespected, which became hard when almost everyone considered them the NFL's best team.
The 49ers have had second-half problems this season, allowing 23 fourth-quarter points to the Eagles after taking a 26-17 lead. ``The players we've got on the field are competent, quality players, and we've just got to do a better job,'' coach Mike Nolan says.
Cleveland (2-3) at Washington (4-2)
The Browns treated Monday night's game with the Giants as their Super Bowl and some felt like it turned them into a contender again. Coach Romeo Crennel wasn't quite buying it.
``Just because we won one game it doesn't put us in the playoffs. We're not even .500,'' Romeo Crennel said, trying to dash some of the ``We won the Super Bowl'' attitude among both players and fans.
The Redskins come from the opposite pole: a home loss to previously winless St. Louis after road wins over Dallas and Philadelphia. One reason is three turnovers after just one in their first five games.
Seattle (1-4) at Tampa Bay (4-2)
Hasselbeck remains out, so Seneca Wallace or Charlie Frye will be the QB. Wallace gets the start if he's healthy.
With Brian Griese still out with an elbow injury, Jeff Garcia is back as Tampa Bay's starter. Of note: John Madden will not make the coast-to-coast bus trip to do this night game for NBC, the first he has missed after 476 straight telecasts. Cris Collinsworth replaces him.
Pittsburgh (4-1) at Cincinnati (0-6)
Carson Palmer remains out, so Ryan Fitzpatrick remains the quarterback for the Bengals. Fitzpatrick doesn't have much of a chance with a running game that got only 43 yards last week against the Jets, 23 by Fitzpatrick himself.
The Steelers got healthier during their bye week, although RB Willie Parker may still be out. Ben Roethlisberger, 10-0 for his career (including playoffs) in his home state of Ohio, goes for No. 11 in what on paper is an easier game for the Steelers than those in an upcoming stretch that includes the Giants, Redskins, Colts, Chargers, Patriots and Cowboys.
New York Jets (3-2) at Oakland (1-4)
Brett Favre has raised expectations so much that Jets fans were critical of their 26-14 win over the Bengals last week because the game was so dull. New York is depending on veterans: Favre and Thomas Jones, who had three TDs last week, two rushing and one receiving.
le, appointed head coach by Al Davis after he fired Lane Kiffin. Darren McFadden is healthy again and is hinting he may run out of the ``wildcat'' formation, as he did at Arkansas.
Baltimore (2-3) at Miami (2-3)
The Dolphins keep fooling people with variations of that wildcat, although they aren't advanced enough to win consistently, losing to previously winless Houston after beating San Diego. Still, it can be fun to watch Chad Pennington line up at wide receiver, then throw a TD pass on a reverse.
Joe Flacco is hitting the rookie QB wall for the Ravens, who were picked apart last week by Peyton Manning and the Colts.
Detroit (0-5) at Houston (1-4)
The Lions will probably win at some point - they could have in Minneapolis last week when they lost 12-10 to the Vikings. The margin of defeat was a safety caused when QB Dan Orlovsky meandered out the back of the end zone without knowing he was doing it. Orlovsky starts again with Jon Kitna on injured reserve and without one of his most dangerous weapons because Roy Williams was traded to Dallas this week.
The Texans, who should have beaten the Colts two weeks ago, got their first win on Matt Schaub's 3-yard QB draw on the final play against Miami. CB Dunta Robinson, who missed a year with a serious knee injury, was back at practice this week and will probably play some for Houston.