With so little to count on these days, it's kind of nice to have New Orleans, Indianapolis and Minnesota hanging around the Grill Room. These dudes are dependable customers, good tippers, and drink nothing but our best stuff.
Yeah, we've tried to seat Pittsburgh and Cincinnati at the Stammtisch with 'em the last couple of weeks to kind of even things out a bit, but it's clear now they just aren't in the same league as the Big 3.
This week, it's the Patriots' turn to audition for a seat at the big table when they take on the Saints.
They certainly have the credentials. Heck, used to be they sort of ran things around here. Everybody kind of looked up to 'em. But they didn't pay anybody any mind.
Guess you could call it arrogance, but, then, they mostly backed it up. Mostly, that is, until that fateful Super Sunday in Phoenix just about two years ago.
Truth is, they really haven't been the same group of guys since that gang of Giants punched 'em in the mouth, and put an abrupt end to all that talk about perfection.
Now, for the second time in two weeks, the Patsies see perfection staring at them out of the eyes of the team in the opposing helmets. Against the Colts, it sure looked like they blinked, what with that famous 4th-and-2 call and all.
Or maybe that was just the Patriots being the Patriots again. If so, we're probably in the minority when we say, it's nice to have 'em back.
THE STRONG STUFF
- 1 (1) Indianapolis (98 proof, 10-0) In the rare event Manning can't get it done, his under-appreciated defense will.
- 2 (2) New Orleans (97 proof, 10-0) Coming off scrimmages against Panthers, Rams and Bucs, Saints should be rested for the 4th-and-2 Pats.
- 3 (3) Minnesota (96 proof, 9-1) OK, we admit it. It is starting to look like Brett Favre might just last the entire season.
4 (5) New England (88 proof, 7-3) So, the Patsies have the ball at their own 28 and are up by six with two-plus minutes remaining in Monday night's tilt against the Saints. It's fourth down. Think they go for it? Seriously, you think that is a tough question?
5 (4) Cincinnati (86 proof, 7-3) Spent the three-hour flight to Oakland patting themselves on the back. Spent the three hours during the game on their backs.
6 (7) San Diego (84 proof, 7-3) The bullies of the pathetic NFC West are up to it again.
7 (8) Arizona (82 proof, 7-3) Not sure what Matt Leinart did to deserve all this. He didn't offer himself a fat contract!
8 (13) Philadelphia (80 proof, 6-4) Andy Reid's Eagles just biding their time for their annual December run on wins.
9 (10) Dallas (78 proof, 7-3) Two TDs in two games for the Romos. Make it three in three games and they still probably beat the Raiders tomorrow. And we are supposed to give thanks to that?!
10 (6) Pittsburgh (77 proof, 6-4) Proud Pittsburgh suddenly looks very tired to us.
- 11 (14) N.Y. Giants (74 proof, 6-4) Defense used coin that decided OT possession against Atlanta to call for help, but the line was dead.
- 12 (12) Baltimore (73 proof, 5-5) Every time it looks like this team is about to turn the corner, they trip. Last-chance time against the Steelers Sunday night.
- 13 (16) Miami (72 proof, 5-5) Becoming one of those teams that nobody wants to play right now.
- 14 (17) Green Bay (71 proof, 6-4) Should feast on Lions tomorrow, but you wouldn't bet on it, would you?
- 15 (20) Tennessee (70 proof, 4-6) Wow.
- 16 (9) Houston (69 proof, 5-5) Blame the kicker if you want, but that's only hiding the truth.
- 17 (11) Atlanta (64 proof, 5-5) That was Eli, not Peyton, that torched your sorry secondary, Atlanta.
- 18 (19) Jacksonville (60 proof, 6-4) Might be the worst 6-4 team in history. We're checking.
- 19 (15) Carolina (55 proof, 4-6) Nice run, but Miami did what you normally do best, Carolina -- only better.
- 20 (21) San Francisco (52 proof, 4-6) This is starting to look like a team that finishes around .500 every year. Only a real NFL QB will cure that.
- 21 (25) Washington (47 proof, 3-7) We are mildly intrigued at what it is this team is playing so bloody hard for.
- 22 (18) Denver (45 proof, 6-4) Tennessee and Denver just sped by each other going different directions in the Bizarro World.
- 23 (22) Chicago (41 proof, 4-6) We are told Jay Cutler even eats off his back foot.
- 24 (23) N.Y. Jets (40 proof, 4-6) Speaking of eating...When told John Fox has no rings to kiss, Buddy's boy just snarled and got back to gnawing on his young QB's arm.
- 25 (28) Kansas City (38 proof, 3-7) Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock smashed three deadlines and two typewriters on his way to banging out something resembling nice about Coach Haley after his team beat the Steelers.
- 26 (26) Buffalo (36 proof, 3-7) After Shanahan, Cowher and Holmgren turn down the Buffalo job, Dick Jauron emerges as the most qualified candidate to lead the team nobody wants.
- 27 (30) Oakland (32 proof, 3-7) If this team really wants to reinvigorate the Raider Nation, it will do the rest of the nation a favor and beat Dallas tomorrow.
- 28 (24) Seattle (29 proof, 3-7) Pride will be on the line when Seattle ventures into St. Louis Sunday. In other words, it's November and you are already playing for nothing, Seahawks.
- 29 (29) St. Louis (28 proof, 1-9) The Rams are used to playing for nothing. Look out, Seattle!
- 30 (32) Detroit (22 proof, 2-8) Traded their rookie QB's life for a win. These are desperate times in Detroit.
- 31(27) Tampa Bay (21 proof, 1-9) Cleveland better be thanking their lucky star they aren't on the Bucs' schedule.
- 32 (31) Cleveland (15 proof, 1-9) Another job Dick Jauron should factor in.