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article imageOp-Ed: NFL - Packers pulling away from everyone else

By Shawn McLeish     Sep 27, 2011 in Sports
The slate of games this week was full of suspense and mistakes. With Week 3 in the books, it's time to see who's contending and who's pretending.
* First, a word about last night's game. The Washington Redskins went to Dallas last night to play the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. Dallas QB Tony Romo was playing in the game despite being diagnosed with cracked ribs and a collapsed lung. He was wearing a Kevlar vest to protect himself and it was truly remarkable that he played at all. The question remains whether it was remarkably brave or remarkably reckless. The game itself was a logical consequence of having half of a Tony Romo competing against a full Rex Grossman. Both QBs were saddled with very conservative play calling and the game devolved into a field goal fest. The score was 9-9 at the half and it was only the second time in NFL history a half ended with both teams kicking 3 field goals each. The other game was in 1971 and people tuned out then also. Regardless of the game play, it remained close right to the end with Dallas rookie Dan Bailey kicking his sixth (yes, sixth!) field goal of the game with 1:47 left to secure a 18-16 victory for the Cowboys in their home opener.
* 12 of the 16 games this week were decided by less than one score (8 points). Less than half the games in the first two weeks were decided by that margin or less. The league is surely hoping this week's trend continues. Nothing is worse for football than empty seats in the fourth quarter and players just going through the motions on the field.
* According to a source from Associated Press, The NFL and NFLPA agreed on eight players who could be disciplined for their unsavory actions during the lockout this past summer. The list includes some key players such as Kenny Britt, Aqib Talib, Cedric Benson, and Albert Haynesworth. Britt and Talib have apparently already been told by the league they wouldn't be suspended for their actions and Benson has spent time in jail already for his misdemeanor assault charge. The situation is extremely tricky due to the fact that the NFLPA, despite agreeing to investigations into these players, wasn't actually a union when the transgressions occurred. Also, there was obviously no collective bargaining agreement during the summer, so holding players accountable to the terms of an agreement that didn't exist when their crimes were committed will be difficult. The NFL would be best to let the police and the courts deal with these players.
* On a side note, Adam "Pacman" Jones was also named by the AP source as one of the players the NFL could investigate. He allegedly had an incident at a bar this summer which resulted in misdemeanor disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. Why does this guy ever leave his house? Trouble follows him everywhere he goes...or he makes it for himself. He is currently on the physically unable to perform list for the Cincinnati Bengals.
* In the AFC race, the Buffalo Bills are the only undefeated team, standing at 3-0. Buffalo's Drayton Florence was correct when he stated he didn't think the Bills win over New England Sunday was as much of an upset everyone else did. The Bills weren't that far away last year and are sneaking into the AFC's upper echelon. There is very little so far this season separating the top six or seven teams from each other, but here's how they stack up so far:
1. Patriots - they're still the best, but chinks in the armor are starting to show.
2. Ravens - the offense is just good enough and their defense is still top-notch.
3. Jets - this could change next week if they beat the Ravens in week 4. Huge early season game.
4. Bills - they proved on Sunday they're for real and the AFC East is a beast.
5. Steelers/Raiders/Texans - too close to call yet for these teams trying to play with the big boys.
* As close as the AFC now is with New England slipping back towards the pack, in the NFC The Pack is pulling further ahead of everyone else. Getting running back Ryan Grant and tight end Jermichael Finley back from their injuries last season was like adding two top free agents to the defending world champions. Free agents that already had the playbook and knew the system. Every other NFC team is playing catch-up:
1. Packers - the offense looks even better than last year and the defense never lets up.
2. Saints - leading the NFC in points scored with Brees over 1,000 yards already.
3. Buccaneers - beat Falcons, now waiting for the Saints to come to Tampa in week 6.
4. Lions - 3-0, but have the Cowboys, Bears, and Falcons in 3 of their next 4 games. Stay tuned...
5. Eagles - too much talent to write them off completely...yet.
* Watching games this week, the overall play seemed a little muddled. The games were mostly close, which did add to the excitement, but the game play itself was sub-par. Teams made several mistakes on offense and defense and most games had costly penalties that dictated the outcome to varying degrees. Of course, maybe it just seemed that way because we were spoiled by excellent play in the first two weeks of the season.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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