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200 Miles From the Citi


September 30, 2009 4:01 AM

EARLY INDICATIONS

Three games in, your team can only be 3-0, 2-1, 1-2, or 0-3. Four possibilities, but the record could be terribly misleading. I'm here to set the....um, record....straight.

0-3 (...and going nowhere)

St. Louis, Kansas City, Cleveland, Miami, Tampa Bay - all of these teams have shown nothing this season. Quarterbacks are the key - which is the surprise with Kansas City, considering Matt Cassel's success last year. St. Louis has an injured Marc Bulger...again. Cleveland might win a few games when Eric Mangini makes up his mind about a quarterback to stick with, but Miami suffered a huge setback when Chad Pennington got hurt. Tampa Bay's last hope is a quarterback change.

0-3 (...not quite cooked yet)

Carolina, Tennessee - Carolina showed signs of life Monday night, but even then couldn't get a win. They might fight their way back to 8-8 or so, but they certainly won't be in the playoffs, as I predicted at the beginning of the year. (Though the '200 Miles From the Citi' Southern Bureau had Carolina pegged this year. Should have consulted them before putting out my picks.) Tennessee played well against the Jets after the first quarter, but they need to play well now for 13 straight full games to earn back some respect.

1-2 (...and they mean it)

Detroit, Oakland, Seattle, Jacksonville, Washington - I really wanted Washington to play well this year, but they haven't shown anything. Detroit has nothing to play for now that they have a win under their belt.

1-2 (...but we'll still be a force to be reckoned with)

Pittsburgh, Arizona, Houston, Buffalo - Buffalo and Houston could be in their own category - bad teams that will play you tough this year. They'll hurt somebody's season down the stretch. I fully expect last year's Super Bowl teams to right themselves and make it back to the playoffs.

2-1 (...but don't be fooled, we're not really that good)

Cincinnati - I know they could easily be 3-0 right now, but I'm not buying into them. I don't know how they beat Pittsburgh, but their winning ways won't last.

2-1 (...and on the way up)

New England, San Diego, Atlanta, San Francisco, Green Bay, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia - Best crop of teams in any grouping, including the 3-0's. These teams could all be in the playoffs...and San Francisco's presence reminds me that I may regret saying I expect Arizona to rebound from their 1-2 start and make the post-season.

3-0 (...mostly with smoke and mirrors)

Denver, Denver, Denver, Denver, Denver - Ugh. How is this team 3-0? Anyone want to tell you momentum means nothing from week to week in the NFL, you point to this team. They lucked into a win in Week 1 and have ridden that wave. I'll be disgusted if they keep this up. Luckily for me, they won't.

(Due to the fact I wanted to emphasize Denver, I'm slipping Minnesota's presence to down here, as a sub-headline. Let's not forget Brett Favre's huge fade last year. Yes, the Vikings have Adrian Peterson, unlike the Jets, but Favre won't be making last-second touchdown throws all season, and the Vikings will lose key games because of that.)

3-0 (...and here to stay)

New Orleans, Baltimore, Indianapolis, New York Giants, New York Jets - I know, this is where I lose credibility...but you tell me that Jets' defense won't keep them in games and win them a few the rest of the season. Same with Baltimore, which is now putting up points as well. New Orleans and Indianapolis are the opposite, winning with offense (and the Colts just know how to win). The Giants still aren't impressing me, but they're winning, and they look convincing doing it. Color me convinced.

DUCKS UPDATE: By a hair, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs knocked the Long Island Ducks out of the playoffs. After Long Island battled back from an 0-2 series deficit, they rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 9th in Game 5 to cut a 7-3 lead to 7-5, but a strikeout with the winning run at the plate ended Hall of Famer Gary Carter's season. Next stop, the majors?

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