Meditations on Week 10

1. The call on the fumble recovery in the Vikings-Packers game was unconscionable. The Viking had the ball in his possession on the ground. He was clearly down. And if the ball can be taken away at any time even after a player is down, then why doesn’t the fact that the Vikings ended up with the ball and handed it to the official come into play?

2. There’s no substitute for a dependable running game. Teams that think 3rd-and-2 is a passing down aren’t going to go far in the playoffs.

3. St. Louis owns Seattle. There’s just no other explanation.

4. Atlanta is winning, but Michael Vick can’t possibly be considered a great quarterback, let alone a superstar, when he can’t find his wide receivers. There’s a word for quarterbacks that rely so heavily on their tight ends – mediocre. Do you think Randy McMichael would have such big numbers if it weren’t for the fact that Jay Fiedler and AJ Feeley can’t get the ball to Chris Chambers?

5. Why is it that NFL coaches can master the intricacies of the on-field chess game, but can’t figure out simple clock management?

6. Denny Green has put together a surprisingly good squad in Arizona. If he can find a running back, they could make some noise next year. A better quarterback might not hurt, but as we all know, it’s THE SYSTEM that is the star when Denny’s the coach.

7. I’m not impressed by Philadelphia’s big win in Dallas. The Cowboys are in melt-down mode and Terrell Owens reminds me of the Irish guy on my soccer team a few summers ago. He would always score three goals against the weak sister teams, but disappeared entirely against the good teams. The Eagles will certainly make the playoffs, but I won’t be surprised if they get upset before reaching the Super Bowl.

8. Jack del Rio is a surprisingly good coach. I didn’t expect anything out of Jacksonville this year, but they are a solid team that quietly overperforms, rather like Carolina last year. As for Carolina, no team is going to survive three running backs going on IR, except perhaps the Vikings.

9. Are you enjoying the 49ers collapse as much as I am? I don’t hate them, I just want to see them go through a decade or two of irrelevance. Speaking as someone who was forced to spend plenty of time out in the Bay Area ten years ago, it’s just a sheer pleasure to think about those smug looks turning into dismay.

10. With eight of the ten top teams in the league hailing from the AFC, things don’t look good for the stock market next year.