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November 14, 2009 5:53 AM

Saints, Colts 16-0? Fahgettaboudit...

brees II.jpgp manning.jpgIndian summer's warm breezes have come barreling across the hills of Southwest Germany, and swept through the big, green double-doors of the Grill Room this weekend.

So, on this fine Saturday, we're busy cracking windows, swinging open those doors, sweeping off the biergarten, and getting some fresh air in the place before Mother Nature checks the calendar and sends the season's first snow our way.

And we'll do what we do best around here, ask and answer a few questions we've been throwing around from behind the bar, as the NFL turns the corner on the second half of its season.

Questions like...

Now that Tampa Bay has swiped the fun and folly that comes with rooting for a team to go 0-16, can we at least hope there is an undefeated team in the offing this year?
Here's why we're asking:

Because New Orleans and Indianapolis haven't lost yet, that's why. Oh, and because those rickety, old Dolphins from their undefeated team of yesteryear -- actually it was even longer than that, 1972, I believe --  have started paying attention. 
Well, will they?
No. They've both got at least one loss in 'em, and more likely more than that.
For 8-0 Indy, a loss could come as soon as tomorrow, when the hated Patriots come rolling into town. If not tomorrow, then road games the following two weeks at Baltimore and Houston will certainly result in at least one loss for the Colts.
Thing is, when you have the best quarterback in the game behind center, there's not a game you can't win. They'll lose at least once, though.

New Orleans (8-0) has been playing out of this world, but a bit above its head this year.
While their chances are slightly better than Indy's to go 16-0, they also have a schedule with enough bother in it to result in a loss or two. Home games remain against the Patsies and Dallas, with road tilts at Atlanta and Carolina.
And speaking of Carolina...the Panthers showed last week that the Saints defense can be pushed around a bit. While the Saints have way too much firepower to fall to the Rams Sunday, we'll bet you a pint of Pfungstadter that Rams RB Steven Jackson rumbles to a big day.

Neither Indianapolis, nor New Orleans are great clubs. They are very good, though, and the early favorites to play in the Super Bowl.

Is Cincinnati for real?
Here's why we're asking:
Because anytime a Bengals team reaches the midpoint of a season at 6-2, you sure as hell better be asking this question, pally.
Well, are they?
In fact they are. There really isn't a whole lot not to like about this club. In eight games they've really only turned in one clunker, a 28-17 loss at home to the Texans in Week 6. Otherwise, they have been a model of consistency, and one of the most physical teams in the league, which means the chances of them running out of gas before the finish line are pretty slim.

Cedric Benson (198 carries, 837 yds., six TDs), who better win the Comeback-Player-of-the-Year award in a walk, keys a solid ball-control offense that holds the ball four more minutes a game than its opponents.
Their defense is second in the league against the run, and is giving up a shade under 17 points a game.

The above winning recipe for success in the NFL was brought to you by Vince Lombardi.

Tomorrow, of course, the Bengals will be in Pittsburgh, which should be a pad-cracking game for the purists. Cincy will keep this game close. Whether they win or not will do nothing to scribble all over the big picture. The Bengals, yes, the Bengals, got at least 11 wins in 'em this year.    

How does Eric Mangini keep a job?
Here's why we're asking:
Because given the state of the economy, the money this dude is making to fail at the highest level -- again -- is a sin.
OK, but how does he do it?
Mangini has been smart enough to fool two very stupid organizations, with his rotten Bill Belichick imitation, that's how. The Jets and Browns have won exactly one Super Bowl between them. One! What, you think being this perpetually rotten year in and year out is easy?! It takes ineptitude at the highest levels to consistently produce this kind of swill.

Mangini will survive the year, because the Browns' owner only recently realized that the GM he wasn't sure he had hired put Mangini on the sidelines this year to coach the team he thinks he owns. Got that? Didn't think so.
If you don't have some garbage bin to clean out, or toilet to scrub, go ahead and Google the mess that is the Browns this year. Really, though, you are better off scrubbing that toilet.

And since for some bizarre reason we have addressed questions about Ohio's two teams, it's obviously past time we shut the Grill Room's doors. We need a drink.

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