September 2008 - Dallas Cowboys Wiretap
Owens Has Gone 7 Games Without 100 Yards, Longest Drought Since 1999
Terrell Owens was the good teammate in Green Bay when he only had two receptions for 17 yards during their impressive 27-16 win on the road,but expressed concern to Tony Romo after his seven-reception, 71 yard day against Washington. Owens has now gone seven games without a 100-yard outing, his longest drought since 1999 when he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers. He is ranked 11th amongst wide receivers in season FIC, a rating we use to measure productivity.
RealGM Player Rankings After Week 4
Using my custom position-by-position Field Impact Counter (FIC), we can safely and accurately rank quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends by an objective statistical measurement. The importance placed on specific positions is far different in football than it is in basketball, baseball, and hockey. Because of this, we have separated salaries by position instead of having a single common pool. Quarterbacks are compared to quarterbacks. Running backs are compared to running backs. Wide receivers are compared to wide receivers. There are only four positions on the football field where we can truly use statistics to rank a player?s performance in the same ways we can for the other three major sports. Intangibles such as how a running back picks up the blitz or how well a wide receiver blocks for his downfield runners do not appear on stat sheets and in order to get a truly objective statistical ranking, these elements are unfortunately overlooked. Players are ranked from highest to lowest by the total FIC for the season, not per game because players only give contribute to a team when they are playing. * More information about the FIC at the bottom of this article. Beside each player?s actual salary, we slide in raw cap value figures of the position, ranked top to bottom, which determines their ?deserved? salary. The player who has the highest FIC receives the highest ?deserved? salary. The player with the second highest FIC receives the second highest salary. The player with the hundredth highest FIC receives the hundredth highest salary. We then calculate the percentage increase or decrease from the actual and deserved and that figure becomes their Reina Value. The Reina Value is a valuation system that quickly determines how players perform in relation to their contracts or in the case of the NFL, their cap value. - Only Cutler has attempted more passes than Brees, and nobody has completed their attempts at a better rate (72.3). Would Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson be averaging 40.8 and 35.5 yards per reception respectively without Brees? - Cutler has completed a pass for 20 or more yards in 19 of his 102 completions. - Romo has been somewhat vulnerable to the blitz this season with an 85.9 rating, compared to 117.8 in 2007. - Favre now leads the NFL in passer rating with 110.8 following his six-TD performance against the Cardinals. He has now thrown a touchdown once for every 10 pass attempts. - Rivers has an excellent 139.3 QB rating during the 4th quarter. - Campbell still hasn't thrown an interception this season, and he's also lost 141 passing yards because of penalties. - Delhomme and Flacco have each been sacked on 7% of their pass attempts. - Russell's first interception of the season came on a deflected pass against the Chargers, and he continues to excel in the shotgun, with an NFL-best 135.8 rating. - Bush had his worst game of 2008 against the Niners as they held him to just 1.4 yards per reception, but the reemergence of Deuce McAllister (73 yards) should free up the RB FIC leader in coming weeks for more big plays. - Steven Jackson has been far more successful running up the middle and to the left tackle than he has on the right or around either side on the outside. - 281 of Turner's 422 yards have come on 1st & 10. - Is Larry Johnson back? He's rushed for 198 and 121 yards in the past two games after being held to 22 by the Raiders. - Norwood is averaging an NFL-best 7.0 yards per carry. - Jennings is averaging 19.3 yards per catch, and his 120.5 yards per game trails only Brandon Marshall. - Santana Moss is in the best three-game stretch of his career since early in 2005. - White is averaging 11.2 more yards per catch on the turf than he is on grass. - Muhammad is on pace for his first 1,000-yard season since 2004, his last with Carolina. - Owens was the good teammate in Green Bay when he only had two receptions for 17 yards during a win but is complaining after his seven-reception, 71 yard day against Washington. Owens has now gone seven games without a 100-yard outing, his longest drought since 1999. - Witten has 158 more yards than Gates, who is second in yards among tight ends, but Witten has just one touchdown. - Gates' yards remain modest, but he has reached the end zone in two straight games. - Scheffler's production has gone from 72 to 64 to 32 and down to 26 yards against the Chiefs this week. - Zach Miller's 63-yard touchdown is the longest by a tight end this season. Field Impact Counter Formulas Quarterbacks .25 Completions - .5 Incomplete Passes + .1 Yards + 4 Touchdowns - Interceptions + First Downs - Sacks .5 Rushing Yards - Rushing Attempts + 5 Rushing Touchdowns + Rushing First downs - Lost Fumbles Running Backs + 5 Rushing Touchdowns + .5 Rushing Yards - Rushing Attempts + Rushing First downs - 5 Rushing Fumbles + Receptions + .5 Receiving Yards + 5 Receiving Touchdowns + Receiving First Downs - 5 Receiving Fumbles Wide Receivers/Tight Ends 5 Touchdowns +.5 Receiving Yards + Receptions + First Downs - 5 Fumbles
Sources: Owens Complains To Romo
Terrell Owens' frustration with the Dallas Cowboys offense carried over from the field to the locker room Sunday. Owens, despite having 18 passes thrown his way in the loss to Washington, had what was deemed a serious conversation about the offense with Tony Romo after the game, according to multiple sources. The types of routes and throws are what concerns Owens, the sources said. The receiver, who the sources said was venting to Romo about his frustrations, has not liked how some of the throws were coming from the quarterback as far back as the season opener.
Phillips Says Cowboys Need To Run More
Cowboys' Coach Wade Phillips says that they need to start running the ball more after they attempted just eleven runs in their loss to the Redskins on Sunday. "We didn?t run the ball enough in the ballgame," Phillips said. "That?s my fault. We do have audibles at the line of scrimmage; in some games we audible out of running plays. In this game, we probably audibled out of too many." In Week Three, Dallas ran for 217 yards against Green Bay. "We need to run Marion Barber up in there, and we can still run against an eight-man front, and if he breaks through there, he?ll make a big play for us," Phillips said. The Cowboys will face the Bengals this Sunday.
RealGM?s Week Four NFL Rundown
If you live in the Northeast, you probably saw a majority of the thirteen games played in the NFL?s Week Four because of a Sunday full of heavy rain. But if you weren?t watching Brett Favre light up the scoreboard, there is no need to worry. RealGM is here to help summarize all that went down as the first quarter of the NFL season comes to a close. We will also showcase each game's top FIC* (field impact counter) performers using RealGM editor Chris Reina's innovative statistical system, and calculate each team?s Trench Counter**. Tennessee 30, Minnesota 17 Team Trench Counter: Titans +3.1, Vikings -3.1 The Tennessee Titans (4-0) made franchise history on Sunday with a victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The win marked the first time the team has ever started the season with four-straight victories. Kerry Collins went 18-for-35 with 199 yards against the Vikings as the Titans did their damage on the ground. Chris Johnson had 61 yards and two touchdowns while LenDale White added 13 yards and a score of his own. Adrian Peterson had eighty yards and two touchdowns in the loss as Gus Frerotte was ineffective and suffered an injury against Tennessee. Frerotte went 25-for-43 with 266 yards and an interception. The Titans recorded four sacks and forced three fumbles in the victory. Bernard Berrian had his best game as a Viking, catching five passes for 78 yards in defeat. Game FIC Scores - Kerry Collins, TEN: 29 - Gus Frerotte, MIN: 45 - Adrian Peterson, MIN: 45 - Chris Johnson, TEN: 35 - Bernard Berrian, MIN: 47 Tampa Bay 30, Green Bay 21 Team Trench Counter: Buccaneers +14.7, Packers -14.7 The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) defeated the Green Bay Packers (2-2) on Sunday in a game that was highlighted by a number of turnovers and an injury to Aaron Rodgers. Brian Griese went 15-for-30 with 149 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions in the victory, with Earnest Graham tallying 111 yards and a score on the ground. Warrick Dunn added 63 rushing yards, and tight end Alex Smith caught two passes for 26 yards and a touchdown. Rodgers, who left the game with a shoulder injury before returning in the fourth, went 14-for-27 with 165 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Rodgers left for good in the fourth after throwing his third pick. Ryan Grant managed just 20 yards on fifteen carries, as Greg Jennings was the lone star, grabbing six passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns for Green Bay. In addition to Grant?s struggles gaining yardage, he fumbled in the third quarter, which led to a 38-yard touchdown return by Jermaine Phillips. The victory was an emotional one for the Buccaneers as kicker Matt Bryant played despite the death of his infant son this past week. Bryant kicked three successful field goals and was 3-for-3 on extra points. Game FIC Scores - Aaron Rodgers, GB: 36 - Brian Griese, TB: 24 - Earnest Graham, TB: 50 - Greg Jennings, GB: 73 N.Y. Jets 56, Arizona 35 Team Trench Counter: Jets +14, Cardinals -14 Brett Favre did something he has never done in his lengthy NFL career as he led the New York Jets (2-2) to an emphatic victory over the Arizona Cardinals (2-2). Favre went 24-for-34 with 239 yards and a career-high six touchdowns. The only blemish on his line was an interception. Laveranues Coles caught eight passes for 105 yards and three touchdowns in the victory while Jerricho Cotchery grabbed four balls for 67 yards and a pair of scores. Kurt Warner went 40-for-57 with 472 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown by Darrelle Revis in the second quarter. Edgerrin James had just 29 yards on nine carries, but had two scores in the loss. Three Arizona wide receivers topped the one hundred-yard mark (Steve Breaston, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin), but they received a huge scare when Boldin was carted off the field following a helmet-to-helmet hit late in the fourth quarter. Game FIC Scores - Brett Favre, NYJ: 84 - Kurt Warner, ARI: 97 - Edgerrin James, ARI: 44 - Thomas Jones, NYJ: 24 - Anquan Boldin, ARI: 75 - Laveranues Coles, NYJ: 82 - Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ: 51 - Larry Fitzgerald, NYJ: 76 New Orleans 31, San Francisco 17 Team Trench Counter: Saints +4.1, 49ers -4.1 Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints (2-2) to a big win over the San Francisco 49ers (2-2) on Sunday. Brees went 23-for-35 with 363 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Lance Moore stepped up in the absence of Marques Colston, catching seven passes for 101 yards and two scores. Deuce McAllister had 73 yards and a touchdown on twenty carries while Reggie Bush added 38 total yards in the win. The Saints? defense, which was criticized all week, sacked J.T. O?Sullivan six times and forced a fumble. O?Sullivan went 18-for-36 with 257 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions in the loss. Frank Gore added 82 yards on just sixteen carries but scored no touchdowns as the 49ers were forced to throw often after falling behind early on. Arnaz Battle caught seven passes for 120 yards in the loss, as San Francisco squandered an opportunity to take sole possession of first place in the NFC West. Game FIC Scores - Drew Brees, NO: 62 - J.T. O'Sullivan, SF: 40 - Frank Gore, SF: 47 - Reggie Bush, NO: 15 Kansas City 33, Denver 19 Team Trench Counter: Chiefs +3.9, Broncos -3.9 Larry Johnson led the Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) to a shocking win over the Denver Broncos (3-1) on Sunday with 198 yards and two touchdowns. Damon Huard went 21-for-28 with 160 yards and one touchdown, a 10-yard strike to Tony Gonzalez. Dwyane Bowe caught seven passes for 85 yards in the win while the Kansas City defense kept Denver in check with a sack, two interceptions, and a pair of forced fumbles. Jay Cutler went 29-for-49 with 361 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the loss. Selvin Young and Michael Pittman combined for 85 rushing yards on fifteen carries. Rookie Eddie Royal continued to emerge as one of Cutler?s favorite targets, catching nine passes for 104 yards. Brandon Marshall added 77 yards and a touchdown against the typically porous Kansas City secondary. Game FIC Scores - Jay Cuter, DEN: 69 - Larry Johnson, KC: 89 - Brandon Marshall, DEN: 56 - Dwayne Bowe, KC: 55 - Eddie Royal, DEN: 59 - Tony Gonzalez, KC: 34 Jacksonville 30, Houston 27 (OT) Team Trench Counter: Jaguars +1.6, Texans -1.6 Josh Scobee kicked the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) to a win for the second-straight week against the Houston Texans (0-3) on Sunday. David Garrard looked like he often did last season, going 23-for-32 with 236 yards and a touchdown. Garrard, Montell Owens, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Fred Taylor combined to rush for 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the victory. Matt Jones continued to shine in the wake of some offseason legal woes, grabbing five passes for 71 yards and a score against the Texans. Matt Schaub had his best game of the season, going 29-for-40 with 307 yards and three touchdowns, but the Houston defense simply couldn?t put any pressure on Garrard or the Jacksonville offense. Rookie Steve Slaton had 116 total yards and a touchdown in the loss and Kevin Walter starred with eight catches for 76 yards and two scores of his own. Game FIC Scores - David Garrard, JAX: 75 - Matt Schaub, HOU: 86 - Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX: 23 - Steve Slaton, HOU: 67 - Andre Johnson, HOU: 24 Cleveland 20, Cincinnati 12 Team Trench Counter: Browns +10.9, Bengals -10.9 The Cleveland Browns (1-3) won a battle of winless teams on Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals (0-4) thanks to seventeen points in the fourth quarter. Derek Anderson went 15-for-24 with 138 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while Jamal Lewis tallied 79 yards and one rushing score in the victory. Lewis also played the role of peacemaker, separating Anderson and Braylon Edwards on the sideline at one point against the Bengals. Edwards had 22 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Cleveland?s defense put a ton of pressure on Cincinnati with three sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles. Ryan Fitzpatrick, starting for the injured Carson Palmer, went 21-for-35 with 156 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in the loss. Fitzpatrick added 41 yards on the ground while Chris Perry had just 28 rushing yards. Chad ?Ocho Cinco? Johnson caught his first touchdown of the season, a 4-yard strike from Fitzpatrick late in the fourth quarter. The Bengals led 6-3 heading into the final fifteen minutes. Game FIC Scores - Derek Anderson, CLE: 31 - Jamal Lewis, CLE: 33 - Kellen Winslow, CLE: 35 Carolina 24, Atlanta 9 Team Trench Counter: Panthers +5.5, Falcons -5.5 The Carolina Panthers (3-1) played sixty minutes of strong football en route to a big divisional win over the Atlanta Falcons (2-2). Jake Delhomme went 20-for-29 with 294 yards and two touchdowns, while DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 109 yards and one trip to the end zone against the Falcons. Muhsin Muhammad starred with eight catches and 147 yards and one touchdown while Steve Smith added 96 yards and a score of his own for Carolina. Neither team had a turnover, but Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense couldn?t advance the ball against the Panthers? tough defense. Ryan went 21-for-41 with 158 yards while Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood had 107 yards between them. Roddy White caught seven passes from Ryan, good for 90 yards. Jason Elam, three-for-three on field goals, was responsible for all of Atlanta?s scoring. Game FIC Scores - Jake Delhomme, CAR: 67 - Matt Ryan, ATL: 30 - Michael Turner, ATL: !5 - Mushin Muhammed, CAR: 95 Buffalo 31, St. Louis 14 Team Trench Counter: Bills -1.2, Rams +1.2 The St. Louis Rams (0-4) jumped out to a 14-6 lead, but the Buffalo Bills (4-0) remained perfect with another comeback in the second half. Trent Edwards went 15-for-25 with 197 yards, one touchdown and an interception while Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson combined for 103 rushing yards and one touchdown in the victory. Lee Evans had two catches for 88 yards and a score, a 39-yard strike from Edwards in the fourth quarter. Trent Green, who started in favor of Marc Bulger, wasn?t very impressive. He went 17-for-32 with 236 yards and an interception. Steven Jackson was the lone bright spot for the Rams, rushing for 110 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Donnie Avery joined in the ?fun? as well, rushing for a 37-yard score on his only rushing attempt. Jackson also had 78 yards receiving in the loss, while St. Louis put pressure on the opposing quarter (four sacks) for the first time all season. Game FIC Scores - Trent Edwards, BUF: 36 - Trent Green, STL: 37 - Marshawn Lynch, BUF: 30 - Steven Jackson, STL: 87 - Fred Jackson, BUF: 30 - Lee Evans, BUF: 53 - Torry Holt, STL: 41 San Diego 28, Oakland 18 Team Trench Counter: Chargers +8.4, Raiders -8.4 The San Diego Chargers (2-2) had twenty-five fourth quarter points on Sunday in a huge comeback victory over the Oakland Raiders (1-3). Philip Rivers struggled for the first time this season, going 14-for-25 with 180 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Thankfully for the Bolts, LaDainian Tomlinson dominated on the ground, especially in the final quarter, with 106 yards and two touchdowns. Antonio Gates had five catches for 58 yards and a score in the win. JaMarcus Russell went 22-for-37 with 277 yards, one touchdown and an interception in the loss. Michael Bush had 48 rushing yards and rookie Darren McFadden added 20 yards against San Diego. Zach Miller, who caught a 63-yard touchdown strike from Russell in the second quarter, finished the game with 95 receiving yards. Oakland led 15-3 heading into the final fifteen minutes before allowing the Chargers to score three touchdowns and a field goal. Game FIC Scores - JaMarcus Russell, OAK: 50 - Philip Rivers, SD: 36 - LaDainian Tomlinson, SD: 46 - Vincent Jackson, SD: 34 - Zach Miller, OAK: 60 - Antonio Gates, SD: 42 Washington 26, Dallas 24 Team Trench Counter: Redskins +3.7, Cowboys -3.7 The Washington Redskins (3-1) led the Dallas Cowboys (3-1) by seven at halftime, and held on for a huge September win in the tough NFC East. Jason Campbell went 20-for-31 with 231 yards and two touchdowns and Clinton Portis helped balance the offense with 121 rushing yards. Santana Moss caught eight passes from Campbell for 145 yards, while both Antwaan Randle El and James Thrash had touchdown receptions in the victory. Tony Romo threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns, but went 28-for-47 and had an interception. Dallas ran the ball just eleven times, with three of those carries by Romo and Terrell Owens. Jason Witten led the Cowboys with seven catches for 90 yards and one touchdown. Owens had 71 yards and a score, while Miles Austin added 45 yards and a trip to the end zone as well. The Dallas defense had a pair of sacks, but didn?t force a single turnover as they continued to struggle against the tough offenses of their division. Game FIC Scores - Jason Campbell, WSH: 41 - Tony Romo, DAL: 75 - Clinton Portis, WSH: 56 - Marion Barber, DAL: 16 - Antwaan Randle El, WSH: 30 - Terrell Owens, DAL: 51 - Santana Moss, WSH: 87 - Jason Witten, DAL: 61 Chicago 24, Philadelphia 20 Team Trench Counter: Bears -9.1, Eagles +9.1 The Chicago Bears (2-2) won a very hard-fought battle with the Philadelphia Eagles (2-2) on Sunday after jumping out to a 7-0 lead and playing extremely tight red zone defense in the second half. Kyle Orton went 18-for-34 with 199 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions while Matt Forte ran for 43 yards against Philadelphia?s league-leading rush defense. Orton fumbled the ball twice, giving the Eagles tremendous field position, but Philadelphia was never able to truly capitalize by reaching the end zone. Donovan McNabb went 25-for-41 with 262 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Correll Buckhalter ran for 66 yards and a score as Brian Westbrook sat out with a right ankle sprain. Rookie wide receiver DeSean Jackson was both incredible and awful once again, tallying 106 total yards and a touchdown but also muffing a punt and dropping several passes. Eagles? kicker David Akers missed a pair of long field goals, kicking wide on one and hitting the crossbar on another. Philadelphia sacked Orton four times while Chicago grounded McNabb on three occasions. Chicago preserved the victory late in the fourth quarter by stopping the Eagles from scoring a touchdown on first-and-goal from the four-yard line. Buckhalter ran for three yards on first down, but the Eagles couldn?t get any closer on their next two plays. Coach Andy Reid opted to go for it on fourth down with 3:40 left on the clock, and the Bears kept Buckhalter out of the end zone once again. Game FIC Scores - Donovan McNabb, PHI: 47 - Kyle Orton, CHI: 42 - Matt Forte, CHI: 32 - Correll Buckhalter, PHI: 40 - DeSean Jackson, PHI: 49 Pittsburgh 23, Baltimore 20 (OT) Team Trench Counter: Steelers +5.6, Ravens -5.6 Jeff Reed kicked a 46-yard field goal in overtime to give the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) a tight win over the rival Baltimore Ravens (2-1) on Monday night. The Steelers scored fourteen points in the third quarter to get back in the game after the Ravens took a 13-3 lead into halftime. Ben Roethlisberger went 14-for-24 with 191 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Without Willie Parker, rookie Rashard Mendenhall started and fractured his left shoulder. He is now out for the season after tallying 30 yards on eight carries. Santonio Holmes led Pittsburgh with 61 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Joe Flacco played more than respectably for the Ravens, going 16-for-31 with 192 yards and a touchdown. He lost a fumble that resulted in a touchdown for the Steelers in the third quarter, but led Baltimore's offense on a 76-yard drive to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Le'Ron McClain had 89 total yards and a touchdown, while Derrick Mason caught eight passes for 136 yards in the loss. Pittsburgh sacked Flacco five times, while the Baltimore defense got to Roethlisberger on three occasions. *The NFL Reina Value **Explaining The Trench Counter
Jerry Jones Fined For Bashing Refs
Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones was fined $25,000 by the NFL after he criticized referee Ed Hochuli for his overall performance in Week 2 against the San Diego Chargers. "I stepped out of bounds," Jones said. "Roger [Goodell] is doing his job."
Risdon's Week 4 Predictions
Last Week?s forecast: 11-5, pushing the overall season mark to 31-16. The skies should be clear across the country for this weekend?s slate of games. Now that it?s officially autumn we will start seeing more cold weather games, though from now until Halloween is often ideal football weather for the East Coast and Great Lakes teams. The changing of the season also means the forecast models are more accurate, as the increased pool of game film provides more accurate readings. You?ll still see some flukish results that defy all explanation, but at least you?ll know it was a fluke. I?m sure you are familiar with the emergency alert system on television and the radio; it?s that annoying high-pitched alarm that is always followed by the ?This is a test of the emergency broadcast system. This is only a test.? Here?s an open question for the folks who operate this system: how come it never activates when there is an actual emergency? I?ve been through a couple of hurricanes, I?ve been within 500 yards of a tornado that struck both a nuclear power plant and a heavily populated resort, I?ve seen large cars swept away in floods, I?ve seen hail the size of baseballs. But not once in my life have I ever heard this supposed ?alert? system ever activate for anything but a test, and anyone who knows me will tell you I live with either the radio or television perpetually on. Either put this system to use or stop annoying the crap out of everyone with the pointless tests! Bright and sunny games Washington (14) at Dallas (1): Thanks to all the Dallas fans who continually remind me I predicted the Cowboys would miss the playoffs. I?d like to say that it?s still early, that they haven?t hit their patch of adversity yet, but I?ve got to admit they have easily been the most impressive team in the NFL thus far. The rival Skins have looked solid, playing smart and fundamentally sound on both sides of the ball. If Jason Campbell can continue to manage the offense and keep control of the ball, and the Skins can get some pass rush up the gut on Tony Romo, they can pull off the road upset. But I see Marion Barber running strong, Jason Witten exploiting the weaknesses in the Redskins back 7, and the Dallas defensive front giving trouble to the Skins solid but unspectacular line. Cowboys 30, Redskins 20. Baltimore (10) at Pittsburgh (8): Pittsburgh?s offensive line couldn?t handle the Eagles or even the Browns, and now they get the Ravens impressive pressure defense. Baltimore is very quietly playing real sound football, and the defense is playing just as well as it did during the 13-3 season of 2006. The Steelers D has paved their early road to success, and they have the ability to bring the heat themselves. But Pittsburgh will be without NT Casey Hampton and DE Brett Keisel, and S Troy Polamalu continues to nurse a thigh injury. Baltimore isn?t an explosive offense, but they do have a power running game and a young QB getting more confident each drive. It?s rare I pick against the Steelers at home, but missing RB Willie Parker seals it. Baltimore seizes control of the AFC North with a hard-fought 13-10 victory to atone for last season?s MNF gig where the Steelers embarrassed Steve McNair into retirement. Don?t think Ray Lewis & Co. have forgotten about that one... Seasonably pleasant games Atlanta (20) at Carolina (11): Very interesting game in Charlotte. The Falcons have looked good thus far, but their two wins are over punching bags Detroit and Kansas City. The Panthers have earned two wins in three games against three pretty strong defenses (alleged in the Chargers case), and the two-headed RB of Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart complements Jake Delhomme well. I like what I saw of the Panthers defense, who bottled up Adrian Peterson and the Vikings potent rushing attack nicely last week. Their LBs are tough and fast, and safety Chris Harris is quickly becoming the bedrock of a strong defense. Atlanta?s D has played well too, led by Jon Abraham, who would be touted as an MVP candidate if he played in Dallas or New York. Most of the forecast models indicate a big day for Steve Smith and the Panthers TEs and a learning-curve game for young Matt Ryan, who hasn?t seen anything like Julius Peppers or the strong Carolina secondary. Panthers 24, Falcons 17. San Francisco (18) at New Orleans (16): I exchanged emails with a 49er this week, and his team is flying high with confidence and optimism, something they haven?t had under Coach Nolan. Other than nickel back Shawntae Spencer (now on IR), they?re pretty healthy and are coming off an easy win over Detroit where they didn?t have to open up the playbook much. The Saints dropped a shootout in Denver, and they?re fooling themselves if they think they can continue to give up over 20 first downs per game. They rank near the bottom in sacks, turnovers, yards per attempt, yards per 1st down snap, and points per game. That does not bode well against a Mike Martz offense with self-confidence. What bodes even worse is the loss of G Jamar Nesbit, the best interior run blocker on the team. However, the Saints have won the last 4 meetings by an average score of 34-22, and two of those games came in years where the Saints were worse than this year. We?ve seen the Niners start strong before and quickly wilt, and I think this game begins the wilting. New Orleans 34, San Francisco 24. Green Bay (5) at Tampa Bay (19): Tampa will need to improve their pass coverage if they have any shot, because last week the Bears had little trouble moving the ball and the Packers are better at every offensive spot than Chicago. Aaron Rodgers needs to have a big game, as RB Ryan Grant is looking like a half-year wonder the more he plays. Even though they threw the ball 67 times last week, the Bucs aerial attack doesn?t scare defenses unless TE Jerramy Stevens has his head (and hands) in the game. Green Bay hasn?t successfully covered the TE all season, and that gives the Bucs hope. Tampa?s kicker Matt Bryant lost his infant son this week, and that unspeakable tragedy could either be a rallying point for the Bucs or cost them in special teams. I?m betting on the former, as Bryant is as popular with his teammates as any kicker in the league. Tampa Bay 27, Green Bay 24. Philadelphia (4) at Chicago (23): The Eagles defense terrorized Pittsburgh last week, netting 9 sacks and snuffing out the potent Steelers run game. That?s a major problem for the blocking-challenged Bears offense. Chicago rookie RB Matt Forte is playing very well, and QB Kyle Orton appears to finally have a go-to WR in Brandon Lloyd. That provides hope for Chicago, but the Bears undisciplined, underachieving defense looks like they?re in for a long night against a rejuvenated Donovan McNabb and his increasingly healthier WRs. I expect a better showing from Urlacher & Co., but I just don?t see the Chicago offense able to score enough (if at all) to make it matter. Special mention to the Bears special teams, proving that the injured Devin Hester was far from a one-man gang. Eagles 20, Bears 6. Cool with wind and light rain games San Diego (6) at Oakland (24): You saw a real tale of two teams last week. San Diego regrouped with a laser-sharp focus and took the Jets behind the woodshed. Oakland played perhaps their best overall game of their last 10 outings but found a way to choke away a victory against the Bills. Good teams find ways to win, bad teams find ways to lose. These Raiders are probably better than you think they are, but they?re still not a good team. San Diego keeps rolling with a 33-13 victory. Arizona (13) at New York Jets (25): Kudos to the Cardinals for trying something new in their quest to break their East Coast futility. After playing in Washington last week, the team stayed East instead of returning to Arizona in preparation for the reeling Jets. Those Jets are returning from their drubbing in San Diego on Monday night, so they get the cross-country travel on a short week. Savvy move by Ken Whisenhunt & Co., and I bet it pays off. Obligatory Brett Favre name drop: Favre is just 3-7 in his last 10 starts against 3-4 defenses, though one of those wins came against Arizona. For as much talent as the Jets have in their secondary they sure struggle to stop the pass, and that?s a very real problem when facing Kurt Warner and the dynamic duo of Fitzgerald and Boldin. The Jets haven?t beaten an NFC team in nearly two years, and that drought continues in a 33-17 Cardinals victory. Minnesota (21) at Tennessee (3): The Titans defense has dominated thus far, and they present an interesting challenge to the Vikings. Minnesota is built to win by running wild with Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, and stopping the opponent from doing the same. But the Tennessee defense aggressively attacks the run, and their excellent LBs often get clean shots at ballcarriers thanks to the best DL in football. That means the Vikings will have to throw to win, and I don?t trust Gus Frerotte to beat the opportunistic Titans secondary, certainly not with the WRs at his disposal. Kerry Collins and the Tennessee offense will find equally tough sledding against a Vikings D that also features great LB play behind a dominant DL. But I do trust Collins to make less mistakes than Frerotte, and I also like K Rod Bironas at home. Titans in a game that screams for you to bet the under, 16-13. Tornado in the trailer park games Houston (27) at Jacksonville (22): Several readers have been quick to criticize my criticism of the Jaguars. To you Jacksonville supporters, I give the team loads of credit for the gut-check victory and the fantastic 2-minute drill to earn that victory on the road in Indy. I still don?t believe that the offensive line or wide receivers/tight ends are good enough to win more than they lose unless David Garrard is near-perfect. Except for that last drive against Indy, aided by a couple of legit but iffy penalties, Garrard has been very ordinary, as has the running game. That?s still better than the Texans, who have the worst 1st down offense in the league even after Steve Slaton?s 50-yard scamper. Their defense is devoid of any playmakers other than Mario Williams; Demeco Ryans is a great tackler, but he doesn?t make plays in the backfield and doesn?t force turnovers. Jags CB Rashean Mathis is a nightmare matchup for Texans QB Matt Schaub, who leads the league in INTs despite playing one fewer game than everyone else. Jaguars get back into the playoff mix while burying the Texans firmly in the AFC South cellar. Jacksonville 24, Houston 13. Cleveland (28) at Cincinnati (29): Lost in Derek Anderson?s rapid decline for the Browns is the stunning disappearance of OLB Kamerion Wimbley. Bursting onto the scene with 11 sacks and 62 tackles as a rookie in 2006, Wimbley has just 5 sacks since, and just 2 in the last 12 games. That absent pass rush from a player who looked poised to be the next DeMarcus Ware is as much what ails the Browns as their sputtering offense. It will be interesting to see which Bengals team shows up, the one that showed little effort or emotion in the first two weeks or the inspired group that nearly beat the Giants last week. Because it?s at home and it?s the rival Browns, I see a repeat of the latter. It won?t matter if the Browns skill players on offense, not to mention Wimbley, get their acts together, but nothing we?ve seen this year indicates that forecast model is realistic. Bengals bury the Browns 33-24. Denver (7) at Kansas City (31): Astute reader Ryan Hansen pointed out to me that even though I?m one of the very few people who picked the Broncos to make the playoffs, I have yet to pick them to win any of their games. Ryan--this one?s for you! Denver 37, Kansas City 20. Buffalo (9) at St. Louis (32): How messed up are the Rams? Embattled coach Scott Linehan benches the highest paid player on the team, QB Marc Bulger, in favor of scrambled-brained fogie Trent Green. Green does offer better mobility, but that doesn?t help a lot when nobody is open and the pressure comes from all sides. The Bills survived a clunker against a game Raiders team, but the feeling around Orchard Park is that those are games that good teams win and bad teams find ways to lose. This Buffalo unit clearly believes in itself, and more people around the country are jumping on the bandwagon. That scares me to some degree, because the game that seemed like the biggest lock in each of the three prior weeks has wound up bombing. Keep that in mind before you use the Bills in those elimination fantasy games. Buffalo wins 30-17. Bye Week: Detroit (30), Miami (26), Seattle (15), New England (12), Indianapolis (17), NY Giants (2) Drinking in the Dorm Room Games 3-1 last week, 14-2 on the season. Note that I do not advocate breaking campus drinking laws, but rather strongly advocate the revocation of those laws on the basis they encourage binge drinking and irresponsible behavior. Enjoy alcohol in moderation, never alone, and never mixed with drugs. Moms everywhere, you?re welcome! - Georgia 27, Alabama 25. Just a hunch and my admitted anti-Saban bias bleeding through. - Penn State 40, Illinois 29. The Nittany Lions very quietly have great offensive talent across the board, and the Illini have major defensive problems despite the outstanding play of Vontae Davis, the best cover man in the country so far. - USC 44, Oregon State 17. The Trojans have stumbled in roadies like this recently, but not this year. - Wisconsin 20, Michigan 16. The Wolverines offense has to prove they can complete a pass for more than 8 yards before the Badger defense will stop flooding the box and stuffing the run. Thus far they haven?t shown that ability, and their OL faces their biggest test yet. Jeff.Risdon@RealGM.com
RealGM's Top-10 Fantasy Starters For Week Four
It's hard to forecast exactly what will happen in Week Four of the NFL season, but RealGM is here to help you make some critical fantasy football decisions. The first rule of fantasy football is always to start your studs, but you can never over-prepare, either. Bye Week Advisory: Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami, N.Y. Giants, Seattle, New England Based On Prior Week Performance And Matchups Quarterbacks 1. Drew Brees, New Orleans vs. San Francisco 2. Jay Cutler, Denver @ Kansas City 3. Philip Rivers, San Diego @ Oakland 4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay @ Tampa Bay 5. Tony Romo, Dallas vs. Washington 6. Kurt Warner, Arizona @ N.Y. Jets 7. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia vs. Chicago 8. Brett Favre, N.Y. Jets vs. Arizona 9. J.T. O?Sullivan, San Francisco @ New Orleans 10. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore Sleeper: Jason Campbell, Washington @ Dallas Running Backs 1. LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego @ Oakland 2. Frank Gore, San Francisco @ New Orleans 3. Marion Barber, Dallas vs. Washington 4. Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo @ St. Louis 5. Reggie Bush, New Orleans vs. San Francisco 6. Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia @ Chicago (injury risk) 7. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota @ Tennessee 8. LenDale White, Tennessee vs. Minnesota 9. Larry Johnson, Kansas City vs. Denver 10. Michael Turner, Atlanta @ Carolina Wide Receivers 1. Anquan Boldin, Arizona @ N.Y. Jets 2. Brandon Marshall, Denver @ Kansas City 3. Terrell Owens, Dallas vs. Washington 4. Chris Chambers, San Diego @ Oakland 5. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona @ N.Y. Jets 6. Greg Jennings, Green Bay @ Tampa Bay 7. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati vs. Cleveland 8. Hines Ward, Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore 9. Braylon Edwards, Cleveland @ Cincinnati 10. Roddy White, Atlanta @ Carolina Sleeper: Chansi Stuckey, N.Y. Jets vs. Arizona Tight Ends 1. Jason Witten, Dallas vs. Washington 2. Antonio Gates, San Diego @ Oakland 3. Tony Scheffler, Denver @ Kansas City 4. Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City vs. Denver 5. Kellen Winslow, Cleveland @ Cincinnati 6. Chris Cooley, Washington @ Dallas 7. Robert Royal, Buffalo @ St. Louis 8. Jeremy Stevens, Tampa Bay vs. Green Bay 9. Donald Lee, Green Bay @ Tampa Bay 10. Vernon Davis, San Francisco @ New Orleans Sleeper: Dustin Keller, N.Y. Jets vs. Arizona Kickers 1. Ryan Longwell, Minnesota @ Tennessee 2. Nate Kaeding, San Diego @ Oakland 3. Matt Prater, Denver @ Kansas City 4. Jason Elam, Atlanta @ Carolina 5. John Kasay, Carolina vs. Atlanta 6. Josh Scobee, Jacksonville vs. Houston 7. Nick Folk, Dallas vs. Washington 8. Joe Nedney, San Francisco @ New Orleans 9. Neil Rackers, Arizona @ N.Y. Jets 10. Robbie Gould, Chicago vs. Philadelphia Sleeper: Rob Bironas, Tennessee vs. Minnesota Defense/Special Teams 1. Tennessee Titans, vs. Minnesota Vikings 2. Philadelphia Eagles, @ Chicago Bears 3. Pittsburgh Steelers, vs. Baltimore Ravens 4. Green Bay Packers, @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5. Baltimore Ravens, @ Pittsburgh Steelers 6. Buffalo Bills, @ St. Louis Rams 7. Minnesota Vikings, @ Tennessee Titans 8. Jacksonville Jaguars, vs. Houston Texans 9. San Diego Chargers, @ Oakland Raiders 10. Carolina Panthers, vs. Atlanta Falcons Sleeper: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, vs. Green Bay Packers Click for more fantasy insight:
Romo Vows To Fix Red Zone Mistakes
Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo has vowed to fix the red zone mistakes that have plagued him through the first three games of the season, according to Star-Telegram. "You just look at it and learn from it," Romo said. "I?m no different from anybody. Look at what you?re doing right, look at what you?re doing wrong and try not to do it again." He has been intercepted twice in the red zone and fumbled in the end zone against the Eagles in Week Two. "We have scored quite a bit and quite a few points and that?s a big thing," Coach Wade Phillips said. "But in the red zone [at Green Bay], I thought we could have done a little better job. We had a couple of opportunities we let get away."
Cowboys' Games Drawing Huge TV Numbers
Sunday?s Dallas-Green Bay game averaged a huge 9.0 rating/22 share in adults 18-49 and 22.23 million viewers overall -- the second largest crowd since NBC started ?Sunday Night Football? a just over two years ago. Ranking second for the frame was the Cowboys? earlier 41-37 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on ESPN?s ?Monday Night Football? (7.8/21 in 18-49, 18.61m), which racked up the largest audience on record for a cable program.
Lions' Williams Looking Forward To Free Agency
Roy Williams will be a free agent after this season and is already talking about returning to his home state of Texas.
RealGM's NFL Player Rankings After Week 3
Jay Cutler, Reggie Bush and Jason Witten still lead their respective positions, but Greg Jennings is the new leader at WR.
RealGM?s Week Three NFL Rundown
The Chargers earned their first win of the young season on Monday night against the Jets. Read about San Diego's win and much more in the RealGM Rundown for Week Three in the NFL.
NFL Picks For Week 3
Want to know which teams will be victorious this weekend? Ask RealGM's Jeff Risdon.
RealGM's Top-10 Fantasy Starters For Week Three
Make sure you start players that are going against the poor defenses of Detroit, St. Louis, San Francisco, Kansas City and New Orleans this weekend.
Al Harris Will Try To Contain T.O.?
When the Packers and Cowboys do battle this weekend cornerback Al Harris will likely have the job of trying to contain Terrell Owens.
RealGM's Player Rankings Through Week 2
Reggie Bush, Jay Cutler, Anquan Boldin, and Jason Witten are the current FIC leaders at their respective positions, but Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, and Calvin Johnson aren't far behind.
Emmitt: Cowboys Need An Emotional Leader
Legendary Cowboys running back believes that the team lacks an emotional leader on their current roster.
Cowboys' Williams Fractures Forearm
Cowboys' safety Roy Williams fractured his right forearm while making a special teams tackle in the team's win over Philadelphia on Monday night.
T.O. Now Second All-Time On TD Catch List
Dallas wide receiver Terrell Owens has moved into second place on the all-time touchdown reception list.
RealGM?s Week Two NFL Rundown
The Dallas Cowboys outlasted the Philadelphia Eagles, 41-37, on Monday night, as the two teams combined to score 54 points in the first half.
Jackson: I Don't Want To Act Like TO Off The Field
DeSean Jackson had a brilliant rookie debut on Sunday against the Rams and finished tied for sixth amongst receivers with a game FIC of 63.
RealGM's Top-10 Fantasy Starters For Week Two
Prior to last week's action we touched on how hard it is to predict each week's top individual performers, and boy did Week One highlight just how true that really is.
Owens: I Made McNabb A Better QB
Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens admits that Donovan McNabb made him a better wide receiver, but believes their relationship was a two-way street.
Owens: Donovan Made Me A Better Receiver
Every time the Cowboys and Eagles play each other, the subject of Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens' relationship is broached.
Cowboys, Redskins Are NFL's Most Valuable Teams
The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins are the two most valuable franchises in the NFL, but both New York teams have made great strides over the last year.
Phillips: Barber Will Run Against Eagles
Cowboys coach Wade Phillips says that injured running back Marion Barber will face the rival Eagles on Monday night.
Eagles' Passing Stats Don't Impress Pacman
Cowboys' cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones isn't impressed by what the Eagles' passing attack did against the Rams on Sunday.
Pacman Claims He Was Grabbed In The Groin Area During Pileup
Adam Jones accused Browns' DB Nick Sorenson of grabbing and squeezing Pacman's groin region during Sunday's game.