Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Brutal NFC Outlook

Just when I thought the talk of the town would center around my least favorite referee, Ed Hochuli, and his bogus whistle on an apparent fumble to give the Broncos and upset win over the Chargers, the Eagles and Cowboys had to go out and play an instant classic, cementing both team's reputations as title contenders. By the way, I hate to say I told you so, but check out that Hochuli link of a post I did almost a year ago. Don't say i didn't warn the world about the terror that is Ed Hochuli.

It was a scary realization for any Redskins fan even with the ginormously huge win over New Orleans this past weekend. The Cowboys both looked as good as advertised, most especially the offense. Now, I don't want to put too much into one game at the beginning of the season (because any semi functional NFL fans knows how much things change over the course of a football season), but as much as this pains me to say, if I'm an Eagles fan, I'm feeling pretty good. Everyone knew that Cowboy offense was prolific, but nobody knew what to think of the Eagles shaky receiving group.

Fumble aside, Desean Jackson looks awesome. But I'm not sold on him staying healthy for an entire season. He could never really do it at Cal.

But two weeks in, it's pretty clear Philly is chock full of weapons, and they're only going to get better when Kevin Curtis returns from injury. The defense should be concerning —and it certainly doesn't look as good as some thought it might be — but it can't play much worse than it did in the first half last night.

It was a big wake up call to the rest of the league that the NFC East is likely to be the best division in football. My huge dilemma coming out of all this is that the Saints game showed me that the Skins are capable of being a top six team in the NFC. The only problem is Zorn's gang looks like the worst team in its division. That would make it impossible to make the playoffs.

Combine that with the play of the Packers in the NFC North, the Panthers in the South, and the automatic bid given to whichever mediocre team that comes out of the West, and it's going to take a 10-6 or maybe even 11-5 record to make it to the postseason as a wild card.

As for the Redskins, they looked impressive against the Saints. Jason Campbell played the best game of his career down the stretch. The first half looked eerily similar to Campbell 2007 when he would move the team up and down the field between the 20s, only to stall in the red zone. I'm hoping that second half, where the Skins rallied from down nine, will serve as a breakthrough to more touchdown drives. And everyone is talking about that deep bomb to Santana to win the game (great throw and escape from the pocket), but the key plays of the game happened a drive earlier after Campbell was sacked, putting the Redskins against inside the 10 yard line.

On second and 22, Campbell delivered a 23-yard strike to Chris "my balls were on the world wide web" Cooley, and followed that up with an escape from thew pocket strike to Antwaan Randle-El. On a drive that Clinton Portis finished off with a touchdown run to draw the Skins within two points, Campbell was 5-for-5 for 82 yards. That confidence set up the throw to Moss that will be highlighted a ton this week.

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