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CA Dolfan

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After five weeks, time to sort out NFL
By DAVE GOLDBERG
AP Football Writer
October 7, 2002


When Miami beat New England 26-13, it sorted out the AFC East for the time being -- the Dolphins have the edge. ADVERTISEMENT


Yes, teams have played four or five games, but division leaders and league flops are being established in an NFL that's been nutty so far.

Example: The two preseason favorites, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, have won one game between them. And the AFC North, which includes Pittsburgh, might be won by a team that's 8-8 or worse, perhaps even Baltimore, written off before the season because of its salary cap losses.

One trend: As in most sports today (the NBA, the NHL, major league baseball), the power is in the West. The AFC West, for example, has the league's only unbeaten team, Oakland, and Kansas City is last with a 3-2 record.

A look at how the NFL shakes down five weeks into the season:

^AFC=

It's quite possible that both wild-card teams will come from the West, where Oakland is 4-0, and Denver and San Diego are each 4-1. Assuming the Chargers are a contender, the loser of the Miami-New England race in the East could miss the playoffs.


A good thing we beat the Pats and that we continue to beat the teams in our division. Can't afford to rely on wild-card.
 

dolphan39

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Originally posted by CA Dolfan
A good thing we beat the Pats and that we continue to beat the teams in our division. Can't afford to rely on wild-card.
we all know how far we go in the playoff typically after we make it as a wild card. We must win our division, especially since NE is the only contender as of now.

and :topic: we are the #2 team in the power ranking and we play the #4 team in Denver

http://espn.go.com/nfl/tjtake/index.html
 

ckparrothead

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With only 6 division games now, each division game takes on a whole lot more importance than when there were 8 division games.

We're 2-0 in our division. There's only 1 other 2-0 division record in the AFC...the Colts.

I personally believe that this writer has it wrong. The loser in the race between the Phins and the Patriots, still has a very good chance of making the playoffs so long as they don't drop too many games overall...which I don't think they will. Meanwhile, the teams in the AFC West are all so good that they are going to beat the p!ss out of each other and drag each other down. They all have to play each other twice and they are all really good and could take each other. So their individual division records will most likely not be as good as those division records in the AFC East because the East is now a two-team race. The division winner will likely have a 5-1 record, and the runner-up will probably just be 4-2 (possibly even 5-1), while the last two (presumably the Bills and Jets) will have aweful division records.

Meanwhile over there in the West, the division winner may have a 5-1 division record (or even 6-0 if Oakland is as good as advertised) but the next two teams will be much more likely to be 4-2 and 3-3 or even both 3-3.

This writer has fallen into the trap of thinking that the best teams always go to the playoffs. So the writer thinks, heck the AFC West is filled with such good teams they'll probably have 3 playoff teams there. But with division record being the 1st tiebreaker for the playoff race, this is just not the case necessarily. Especially in a 4 division conference, the best teams will not go into the playoffs.

Whats pissing me off right now is that the winner of the AFC North will go to the playoffs and they might not even be 8-8. There should be a rule that you CAN'T go to the playoffs if you are not 8-8 or above.
 

SuperMarksBros.

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the media is ready to end the season right now and give the lombardi trophy to Oakland, and they've played well...fact is though, they only have one quality win(vs bills). their other opponents:steelers, seattle, tennessee(combined 3-10). plus, this team is a geriatric unit in a wheelchair taking the early bird at the sizzler and collecting social security. they wore down towards the end of last year and they very well could this year.
ps-saints scare the H*ll outta me. they, along with the fins, are the most balanced team in football
 

CA Dolfan

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If the Raiders are as good as advertised, I have a feeling week 14 against them could be pivital for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Looking forward to this rematch.
 

Baz

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It sucks cuz my manager at work is a Raider fan, and I always work Sundays. Its a lose-lose situation. If the Raiders win, I'll hear about it all day. If they lose, I'm cleaning toilets or cleaning the parking lot with a toothbrush......
 

ckparrothead

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The Raiders don't scare me. They are still basically the same team that we beat last year. Jerry Rice and Tim Brown, Rich Gannon, Charlie Garner, and the defense. I don't think the defense has necessarily improved. The offense appears that it might, but I won't really cede any REAL improvement to that offense until they do well against the Dolphins.

I know one thing. If Sam and Pat are in the game, Jerry Rice is out of the game. We blanked him last time and our CBs said it was "easy" to cover him. This isn't an arrogant statement either because they were right. We play press man coverage with safety help over the top. Jerry Rice is/was too old to get off the line of scrimmage well against bump-n-run man coverage. He just can't do it anymore. I remember it clearly last year. He was completely taken out of the game, then afterwards I saw stories that told why. Tim Brown, on the other hand, can/has/will give us fits. Charlie Garner as well. The D will just have to show up that day, but our offense is improved and their defense is at best the same as last year.
 

dolphan39

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as long as we play like we have the last 5 games overall, we have no worries

When you talk about stopping the run, we’re fourth in the NFL in rushing defense....If you can be in the top ten in running the football and stopping the run, you’re generally going to have a chance. We’re plus five in (turnover ratio) at this point....
from Wanne

http://www.miamidolphins.com/pressbox/coachscorner/coachscorner.asp?contentID=170

throw in our solid STs and you have the prototypical 21st century SB champion.

Of course, Denver can say the same thing
On this week’s game against Denver) – “Not to jump ahead, but this will be a huge challenge this week on both sides of the ball. They are giving up about 65 yards (rushing) a game with their defense and they are running the ball on offense. I think they are in the top ten in rushing the football. This will be a challenge on both sides of the ball with both of hose areas.â€Â
 

ckparrothead

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Their linebackers are fast but I think they are supposed to be undersized, much like ours. Power time for Ricky.
 

DPlus47

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I'm with ck. I think Denver's defense could be vulnerable to somebody running right at them. Hopefully Ricky will be fully recovered from his 36 carry day, and maybe Dixon will be back. The thing about Oakland that scares me is Charlie Garner, though as a team they will have to beat somebody before they're really scary.
 

Samphin

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Charlie Garner injure is hamstring, Fullback Jon Ritchie injured his foot. Two of their offensive 5 were already out and two more have turf toe, Charles Woodson is out with a broken shoulder. The wheels of that bus are starting to loosen if you ask me. Perosnally I think they will start to believe their own hype...again, and blow it like last year. They are too old to hold up through an entire season...especially if their line is as banged up as it is, Gannon could get lit up here real fast. One of my favorite memories is of Tony Siragusa crashing his fata$$ onto Gannon knocking him out of the playoff game. I am more worried about Denver and the fact that a 7-9 team could go to the playoffs while, a 11-5 team could stay home...something has to be changed in this playoff structure next season.
 

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Its Oaklands D thats improved, their Offence is basically the same. On Defence they've added Sam Adams, John Parella, Romowski and Rod Woodson. I think they're going to be a very difficult team to run on. Hopefully by the tiem we play them tho they'll have started to wear down. Id be shocked if their 35+ playmakers are still makin plays come playoff time.
 

CA Dolfan

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Originally posted by DPlus47
I'm with ck. I think Denver's defense could be vulnerable to somebody running right at them. Hopefully Ricky will be fully recovered from his 36 carry day, and maybe Dixon will be back. The thing about Oakland that scares me is Charlie Garner, though as a team they will have to beat somebody before they're really scary.
Garner, was my only concern. Did you see that pass play out of the backfield where he scored that TD. I think that's when he injued the hamstring. Oh well, we'll be playing at a higer level by then.
 
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<I know one thing. If Sam and Pat are in the game, Jerry Rice is out of the game. We blanked him last time and our CBs said it was "easy" to cover him. This isn't an arrogant statement either because they were right. We play press man coverage with safety help over the top. Jerry Rice is/was too old to get off the line of scrimmage well against bump-n-run man coverage. He just can't do it anymore. I remember it clearly last year. He was completely taken out of the game, then afterwards I saw stories that told why. Tim Brown, on the other hand, can/has/will give us fits. Charlie Garner as well. The D will just have to show up that day, but our offense is improved and their defense is at best the same as last year.> You can't go by last year as the raiders only threw the ball twenty something times. Jon Gruden is very conservative coach who didn't think Fiedler could beat them. He basically tried to run the ball down their throats. The Raiders under Callahan(watch them on direct tv-tibo) are so diffrent . This Callahan goes for the throat. He keeps attacking a defense weakness for four quarters. Buffalo Bills thought they could play that man to man with their fine cbs. They also doubled team the two hall of fame wrs with the safetys over the top. This freed up there third reciever Jerry Porter who is becoming a force had somethking like 7 catches for 117 yards. The scary part is the Raiders who rarely threw deep under Gruden throwing alot of passes deep down the field. This is not the same offense we saw last year. They are averaging over 40 oints per game and are on pace to break all records for scoring points in a season.

The defense is about the same- Thats ludricuous . Thanks to the stupid Glazer Family(draft picks) that defense is only going to get better.
First you have two massive Dts Sam adams and J Parrella. Nobody running up the middle on them. Their lbs are lightning quick mlb Naoplean Harris, SslbBill Romanowski(slowest lb but simply a playmaker and wlb Eric Barton who having a probowl type year. There best Defensive is the 3-4 defense where they bring Travian Smith 6'4 245 4.45 speed off the corner. With the Dt taking up multiple blockers , the lbs are free to run to football. They are the number 1 defense against the run. The safety tandem ofFs rod woodson(how many interceptions this guy have and SsDerrick Gibson is like night and day from last year group. The bad news for the rest of the league is that cbCharles Woodson been out for a couple games already. Why is this bad. The rookie Cb Phil Buchanon (has struggled some but this kid has made a ton of big plays too. Deion sanders says this kid is going to be a star real soon. With more game experience they have four quality Cbs. P Buchanon, C woodson, T James and T Shaw. Hopefully the age will start to catch up with the raiders later but they are clearly the best team in football right now. Get Direct tv .
 

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<<<AFC North, which includes Pittsburgh, might be won by a team that's 8-8 or worse, perhaps even Baltimore, written off before the season because of its salary cap losses. >>>

It really is a shame anyone from this division will be allowed to take their playoff spot. Clearly, these are not top caliber teams.
That's the way it goes though.

As it has been every year, it's in their hands not to let that even be an issue. I think this is the year they win the Division, get a bye week and a home game.

A big sign will be this week.
Broncos in Denver is even more of a test for the Phins than the Patsies down here were in my opinion. A road win against an AFC power that rarely loses at home will do wonders for this team and it's confidence.
 
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