|Washington in Foxborough in effort to stop Patriots streak|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 25 October 2007 14:41|
Joe Gibbs knows what he faces when he takes his Washington Redskins to Foxborough on Sunday.|
``You could look forever and I don't think you're going to find a weakness,'' Gibbs says of the Patriots, who are 7-0 and totally dominant thus far.
That's normally the standard pregame coaching platitude.
Not right now. In their unbeaten run, Bill Belichick's Patriots haven't scored fewer than 34 points in a game; haven't won by less than 17; and Tom Brady is on track to set all sorts of records. His 27 touchdown passes extrapolate to 62 for the season, which would shatter Peyton Manning's record of 49, set two seasons ago.
Brady insists Manning isn't on his mind. Nor do he and his teammates want to talk about Peyton and the unbeaten Colts, who they face next week in their second ``Game of the Century'' this season; the first was the 48-27 win in Dallas two weeks ago.
In normal seasons, the Redskins would seem like a tough test. They are 4-2, third in the strong NFC East, behind the Cowboys and Giants and seemingly primed for a playoff run. They are especially tough on defense, allowing just over 14 points a game and ranking fifth in yardage allowed.
On the other hand, they aren't close to the Patriots on offense, a situation not helped by multiple injuries on the offensive line.
Beyond that, Belichick is showing no mercy to his opponents, presumably upset by what he views as an anti-New England bias around the NFL stemming from the early-season episode in which the team was caught taping the New York Jets' signals from the sidelines. He was fined $500,000 for that, the team was fined $250,000 and lost a first-round draft choice.
Last week, New England took a 42-7 halftime lead over winless Miami. But after a mini-comeback by the Dolphins in the second half, Belichick reinserted Brady to throw his sixth touchdown pass of the game. The coach insists that's because he felt the Dolphins were closing in. But they were within only 21 points after backup Matt Cassel threw an interception for a score.
Neither Cassel nor Matt Guttierez is likely to see the field Sunday. But there's a chance Richard Seymour could. The Patriots' best defensive lineman practiced this week for the first time after being on the physically unable to perform list with a knee injury.
That's all New England's opponents need.
In other games Sunday, Detroit is at Chicago; Oakland at Tennessee; the New York Giants vs. Miami at London; Cleveland at St. Louis; Philadelphia at Minnesota; Pittsburgh at Cincinnati; Indianapolis at Carolina; Buffalo at the New York Jets; Houston at San Diego; Jacksonville at Tampa Bay; and New Orleans at San Francisco.
Green Bay is at Denver on Monday night.
Kansas City, Seattle, Arizona, Dallas, Atlanta, and Baltimore are off.
New York Giants (5-2) vs. Miami (0-7)
The NFL's first regular-season in Europe looks like a mismatch and probably will be.
The Giants have won five straight, lead the NFL in sacks with 27 and show no signs of going into the second-half sag that has plagued them in two of the last three seasons. But Tom Coughlin isn't delighted about the long trip to London. Asked if he supported the NFL's overseas efforts, the Giants coach replied: ``I'm not into international politics.''
Not only is Miami hurting in the standings, but Trent Green and Ronnie Brown, their two main offensive weapons, are out for the season and they've traded away their best receiver, Chris Chambers. Still, this is the NFL, strange things happen and the Dolphins have to win some time, don't they?
Probably not this week.
Indianapolis (6-0) at Carolina (4-2)
The Colts want to avoid looking ahead to their showdown with the Patriots next week, although that's usually not something that happens to a team coached by Tony Dungy and quarterbacked by Manning.
``You just have to keep doing it,'' Dungy says.
The Panthers have an odd imbalance this season, going 4-0 on the road, 0-2 at home.
The question for them is whether David Carr's back will be healthy enough to start at quarterback. They might be as well off with 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde, who got off his couch to quarterback the Panthers to a win over the Cardinals before their bye.
Green Bay (5-1) at Denver (3-3) (Monday night)
There may be more logistical problems with this game than with the one in London. That's because the fifth game of the World Series is scheduled to start a few minutes later and would be close enough to present some traffic problems in the Mile High City.
The Broncos, who were lucky to win two of their first five games, awoke last Sunday to beat Pittsburgh despite a raft of injuries. They got a big lift from a young defensive line that includes three rookies and second-year pass-rushing specialist Elvis Dumervil.
Brett Favre had his two worst games of the season in the two weeks before the Packers' bye: a win and a loss. Green Bay is last in the NFL in rushing, Denver is last against the run.
Houston (3-4) at San Diego (3-3)
The site and time of this game were major question marks because Qualcomm Stadium is being used as an evacuation area for people fleeing southern California wildfires. The Chargers left Tuesday to practice in Phoenix.
An uncertainty for the Texans is quarterback Matt Schaub, listed as day to day with a hip injury. Sage Rosenfels did fine against Tennessee, throwing four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to put Houston ahead before Rob Bironas won the game for the Titans with a last-second field goal.
Detroit (4-2) at Chicago (3-4)
Detroit is 3-0 at home, but has been awful in two of its road games, losing by a combined 90-24 at Washington and Philadelphia. The Lions beat the Bears in Detroit, scoring 34 points in the fourth quarter of a 37-27 win and getting three turnovers from Brian Griese in his first start as Bears QB.
Griese has been much better since and may have saved Chicago's season in Philadelphia last week by engineering a 97-yard drive with no timeouts in the last 2 minutes. The Bears trail the Packers by two games in the NFC North, but won in Green Bay and have a shot if their defense can return to last season's form.
Pittsburgh (4-2) at Cincinnati (2-4)
Until they were upset in Denver, the Steelers were being ranked close to New England and Indianapolis at the top of the NFL. That 31-28 defeat earned Mike Tomlin the first criticism he's taken as NFL coach - that he ran too little against a team that has trouble stopping the run.
The Bengals are still struggling, although they showed some pluck last week against another struggling team, the Jets. They came back from a 23-10 halftime deficit to win 38-31, but still have a long way to go to get back in playoff contention.
Jacksonville (4-2) at Tampa Bay (4-3)
The Jaguars took an unexpectedly one-sided loss Monday night to the Colts in a game they thought they had a good chance to win. They also lost quarterback David Garrard with an ankle injury and Quinn Gray will start.
The Bucs played what was probably their worst game of the season in Detroit last week and now trail Carolina by a half-game in the NFC South, a division they've led most of the year. They also added wide receivers Michael Clayton and Mark Jones to an already long injury list.
``It's not major league baseball. You can't make a trade, put a guy in your lineup and say go play right field and hit fourth,'' coach Jon Gruden says.
Oakland (2-4) at Tennessee (4-2)
The Titans blew a 32-point fourth-quarter lead in Houston last week, but won on Rob Bironas' eighth field goal of the game, an NFL record. ``He could've kicked 10 field goals. And 10 field goals gets you 30 points, and 30 points wins you most ballgames. Who cares about red zone efficiency?'' coach Jeff Fisher joked.
The Raiders will probably see Vince Young at QB for Tennessee, back from a quadriceps strain. They are back to playing good defense and little offense, as in their 12-10 loss to Kansas City last week. Daunte Culpepper threw an interception in the final minute as Oakland was moving into position for a winning field goal. Josh McCown's toe is healed and he may start ahead of Culpepper.
Philadelphia (2-4) at Minnesota (2-4)
Two teams with offensive problems despite offensive coaches: the Vikings' Brad Childress used to be Andy Reid's offensive coordinator.
The Eagles have scored 11 touchdowns all season, eight of them in a 56-21 win over Detroit in Week 3. They got one late against the Bears last week, then let Chicago drive right back down the field for the winning TD.
The Vikings seem determined to keep the ball from rookie running back Adrian Peterson, even though he's their main (only) offensive weapon. He carried four times on their first drive in Dallas last week, which ended in a TD, then only eight more times the rest of the game.
New Orleans (2-4) at San Francisco (2-4)
Alex Smith will be back at quarterback for the 49ers, who are 0-3 since he separated his right shoulder. Trent Dilfer, who replaced him, had two fumbles and two interceptions last week in the 49ers' 33-15 loss to the Giants.
The Saints have won two straight after losing four straight to start the season. Coach Sean Payton credits the offensive line that hasn't allowed a sack in three games.
Buffalo (2-4) at New York Jets (1-6)
The Bills became the first AFC East team other than New England to win a game outside the division when they beat the Ravens last week. Coach Dick Jauron then announced that rookie Trent Edwards is the permanent starter at quarterback over J.P. Losman.
The Jets' QB situation is status quo. Chad Pennington will start again even after throwing a disastrous interception for a TD last week as New York lost a 23-10 halftime lead in Cincinnati.
Cleveland (3-3) at St. Louis (0-7)
The Rams are getting a little healthier. Marc Bulger was back at quarterback last week and RB Steven Jackson may be back for this game, although the offensive line is still a patchwork unit.
The Browns are a win away from equaling last season's total and Derek Anderson has 14 TD passes, third in the NFL behind only Brady and Tony Romo.
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