Sunday Observations, Part I

Despite an 8-1 record so far this season, the Packers have had their fair share of critics. Their lack of a running game, a one dimensional offense, and an average defense have all been points that anti-Packer people tend to raise. On Sunday, the Packers’ 34-0 home victory over the Minnesota Vikings went along way to proving that they belong among the NFL’s elite due to their improving defense and newfound star Ryan Grant at running back.

Last week, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson set an NFL record with 296 rushing yards against one of the AFC’s best defenses in the San Diego Chargers. Today, Peterson had just forty-five yards on eleven carries. The Packers’ defense surrounded Peterson each time he touched the ball. If the defense can maintain that same level of energy than the Packers might have an edge over the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys come January.

What was most impressive about Green Bay’s victory was the play of running back Ryan Grant. The first year player finished with 119 yards rushing and a touchdown while averaging nearly five yards a carry. Minnesota’s rush defense isn’t too bad as it has not allowed a single player to rush over 100 yards against them in a single game this year. Last week, reigning MVP LaDanian Tomlinson failed to even reach fifty rushing yards against the Vikings. So, Grant’s performance was certainly impressive.

-While the Browns did end up losing by a field goal to the Steelers, they are certainly headed in the right direction. In week one, the Browns lost to Pittsburgh by twenty-seven points at home. This time around, they held a lead for most of the contest and even had a chance to tie the game on a 52 yard field. It is amazing how much this team has improved, as they still remain in the AFC playoff hunt. Yes, the Cleveland Browns remain in contention for the playoffs. Earlier this year, head coach Romeo Cromell was on the hot seat, but so far, he has done an excellent job in the development of the young players, Derek Anderson, Braylon Edwards, and Kellon Winslow Jr, and preparing this team each and every week.

-Where have the Rams been all year? This has been a tough year for Rams fans as they were winless prior to today’s showdown against the New Orleans Saints. Their offense exploded against the Saints with Marc Bulger having a big day through the air. Bulger had two touchdown passes on 302 passing yards, while hitting seven wide receivers for completions. This kind of performance makes you wonder where they have been all season long.

-The Buffalo Bills are a nice story but they are really just average. For most of the game today, they trailed the winless Miami Dolphins before scoring eleven points in the final quarter to escape Dolphins Stadium with a victory. The win improved their record to 5-4 but one must point out that they really haven’t beaten any legitimate playoff teams. They are a nice story but look for the Bills to come back to earth next week against New England.

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