login | Register

SPF's Week Five Pre-Pregame Show

Posted: Oct 07, 2007

It's week five in the NFL season.  Overall, the SPF Footprint is shaping up to be a year of the haves and have-nots.  The Footprint contains two of the NFL's winless teams (Dolphins and Rams) and several other struggling squads.  However, we also have two of the best teams, the Colts and the Cowboys, and several others that appear to be on the brink of success (Tampa, Tennessee, Washington, and Houston).

This is a key week to see if there will be even more separation in the SPF ranks.

Here's the slate (SPF teams in BOLD):

Early Games

Carolina @ New Orleans (NFL.COM Video Preview)
Miami @ Houston (NFL.COM Video Preview)
Detroit @ Washington (NFL.COM Video Preview)
Atlanta @ Tennessee (NFL.COM Video Preview)
Jacksonville @ Kansas City (NFL.COM Video Preview)
Arizona @ St Louis (NFL.COM Video Preview)

Late Game

Tampa @ Indianapolis (NFL.COM Video Preview

Monday Night

Dallas Cowboys @ Buffalo Bills (NFL.COM Video Preview)

(Cincinnati has a bye week)

Week 5 Themes

Dominant Teams

The Cowboys should have another breeze of a win in Buffalo.  This team must make Jerry Jones click his heels every day.  They are still waiting to find an opponent that will test them.  Wade Phillips is even lighthearted when he is talking about injuries.

Speaking of injuries, that is the story in the Bucs-Colts game.  These teams are linked.  Dungy came from Tampa.  Gruden won a Super Bowl with his players, and he has kept the Bucs defensive scheme (created by Dungy) largely intact.  However, both teams have injury problems.  Key personnel is either bruised or out. Dungy talks about the injuries in a way that SPF suspects he has things under control.  The Bucs seem to have a much thinner margin for error.  The odds are that the Colts will win, but Gruden knows this game could be an announcement that the Bucs are in the Super Bowl chase.

Coming off the bye week

Four SPF teams had byes last week.  Two were coming off of disappointing losses (Washington and New Orleans), two were coming off of impressive wins (Tennessee and Jacksonville).  Both of the losers had a great chance to get a little healthier and to correct some of their issues on the field.  These teams have a great chance to get things back on track. 

The Redskins have had the Lions number for decades, but the Lions also have one of the NFL's top offenses.  Still, expect the Redskins to do what Philly did to the Lions two weeks ago - blow them out.

The Saints have a wounded Panthers team coming in the Superdome.  Jake Delhomme is out.  That gives the Saints a huge advantage.  However, the Panthers are a traditionally great road team.  The Saints have looked absolutely terrible.  Losing Deuce McAllister for the season is a huge blow.  The Saints offense hasn't been able to do anything.  Losing Deuce's ability to control the clock limits Sean Payton's ability to counter-game plan with Reggie Bush.  The NFC South is wide open still so the winner here stays in the race.  The loser should start scouting the 2008 draft top prospects.

The bye week losers might be down, but sometimes that is better than being up or overconfident.  The Titans appear to be heading towards the playoffs.  However, it is tests like this week's game against the visiting Falcons that will show whether the Titans have turned the playoff corner.  The Falcons are rapidly improving.  Bobby Petrino has quickly shaped this team in his image.  Right now, he is making miracles happen.  Joey Harrington is actually playing statistically relevant and winning football.  Let's hope that the 60 Mintues appearance didn't go to Vince's head.

Jacksonville has been SPF's whipping boy, and that will continue this week.  KC is one of the toughest places to play.  The Chiefs are playing some chippy ball right now.  They also have a tough running game, the same kind of offense that shredded the Jags in week one.  Del Rio should win this, but SPF wouldn't be surprised to see a stumble.

The NFL's Identity Issues Still Remain in the Footprint

The Jags-Chiefs game gives SPF a chance to re-examine one of our themes.  Pro Football is still not completely connecting in the South.  The Florida Times- Union did a piece about which are the toughest pro stadiums for road teams to play.  KC was number one.  There were no SPF team stadiums on the list.  Interestingly, ESPN just did a list of the top ten toughest college stadiums.  7 out of ten were in the Tribal Fever Footprint, and it was clear that they were trying to include stadiums that shouldn't have been there (Cal, USC, Ohio State) just to give a wider view.

Football equals passion in the South.  The NFL needs to do more to stir the South's passion.  Winning is part of it, but identity is important as well

Bottom Feeders

Speaking of lack of identity,  we present the Dolphins, the Texans, and the Rams!

The Texans must win this game after two straight losses.  SPF has marveled at their early season emergence, but beating bad teams is a key part of building an identity.  Matt Schaub can take the diplomatic approach and that's smart, but this Dolphins team is old and without playmakers on either side of the ball. 

Cam Cameron is hammering the defense to step up while also saying it's "a new defense".  Huh?  Cameron continues to make excuses.  He wasn't brought in to rebuild the Dolphins.  He was (supposedly) brought in to tweak the offense and maintain the past defensive excellence.  SPF called this plan out as a fraud at the beginning of the season.  The defensive players don't sound particularly interested or convinced that there is a solution coming.  Cameron personifies "calm desperation" which is a complete new term.  I guess he's an innovator after all.

[RAMS] Speaking of desperation, SPF presents Scott Linehan.  Their trademark offense is battered and unproductive.  Maybe a change from the injured Marc Bulger to Gus Frerotte will make a difference.  If Frerotte has success, it will only make people wonder if Bulger was worth the big dollars or just a Martz "system" QB.

The Rams are a team looking for an identity.  They have won with offense.  Now there are losing without offense.  It is even worse considering that St Louis's old team is coming to town with their old QB at the helm.  Bernie Miklasz points this out in his column.  Where do the Rams go from here?  Win or lose, this team has a lot of questions to answer. 

related tags

Southern Pro Football,
New Orleans,
North Carolina,

Wireless from AT&T


Please login or you can to leave a comment.

If you aren't registered, Register Now to start leaving comments.

Copyright 1998-2018 by Swampland Inc. All rights reserved.