Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Around the NFC

By Greg Wiley
The Phanatic Magazine

Here's a brief rundown of what's hot with other teams in the conference.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys (1-0)
Rundown: The offense was clicking against a weak Giants defense in a 45-35 win Sunday night. Head coach Wade Phillips should start thinking about making Marion Barber III the starter at running back. The offense looked a lot better when he was out there rather than Julius Jones. On the defensive side of the ball, the secondary was abused for 314 passing yards and four touchdowns. Obviously, things need to change there for Dallas to have the successful
season that was anticipated.

Injuries: DT Jason Ferguson (torn right biceps) will be placed on IR; LB Kevin
Burnett (ankle) questionable; CB Terence Newman (foot) questionable; LB Greg
Ellis (Achilles) questionable; WR Terry Glenn (knee) out.

Next: Sunday at Miami, 4:05 p.m. (et).

New York Giants (0-1)
The injuries are starting to pile up for the G-men. Starting QB Eli Manning, starting RB Brandon Jacobs and starting DE Osi Umenyiora will likely miss Sunday's game against Green Bay. Without Jacobs the team can still win, but the bottom line is that no Eli, no win against a tough Packers defense. If New York wants any chance of winning, the defense is going to have to pick it up. Giving up 478 total yards to the Cowboys is horrible.

Injuries: DT William Joseph (back), CB Kevin Dockery (ankle) and DE Osi Umenyiora (knee) are questionable; LB Gerris Wilkinson (knee) and QB Eli Manning (shoulder) are doubtful; RB Brandon Jacobs (knee) and WR/KR David Tyree (wrist) are out.

Next: Sunday vs. Green Bay 1:00 p.m. (et).

Washington Redskins (1-0)
Rundown: Although it was important for the team to get off to a good start, a season-opening 16-13 OT win against Miami doesn't provide much of a barometer of where this Redskins team really is. RB Clinton Portis continues to be the offensive threat and appears to be joined in that category with WR Antwaan Randle El. Portis had 98 yards rushing and Randle-El tallied 162
receiving yards. QB Jason Campbell is shaky at best. He completed just 12-of-21 passes for 222 yards with two picks. Tackle Jon Jansen dislocated his ankle, marking a big loss on the offensive line for the Redskins.

Injuries: DE Phillip Daniels (foot) and T Todd Wade (shoulder) are probable; DB Vernon Fox (groin) and TE Cody Boyd (shoulder) are questionable; T Jon Jansen (ankle) is expected to be placed on IR.

Next: Monday at Philadelphia 8:30 p.m. (et).

NFC North

Green Bay Packers (1-0)
Rundown: The Eagles are well aware of this team's strengths and weaknesses. After a 16-13 win over Philly, the Packers have to consider themselves lucky. The offense was horrendous. QB Brett Favre was throwing the ball all over the place, locking in on WR Donald Driver too much. RB Brandon Jackson has to provide more rushing the ball for this team to win. The defense, on the other hand, is very strong. With one of the best linebacker groups in the league, this team will have a chance to win plenty of games.

Injuries: CB Al Harris (elbow) is probable; WR Greg Jennings (hamstring), DEMichael Montgomery (knee), S Aaron Rouse, T Tony Moll (neck) and RB VernandMorency (leg) are questionable.

Next: Sunday at NY Giants, 1:00 p.m. (et)

Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
Rundown: Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Adrian Peterson. The rookie RB had a strong debut, running for 103 yards and breaking off a 60-yard TD reception in Sunday's 24-3 win. Keep in mind that this is against the Atlanta Falcons, a franchise whose last worry right now is winning games. QB Tarvaris Jackson has yet to prove anything and probably won't get the chance to anytime soon. Expect head coach Brad Childress to continue to keep everything close to the vest until the QB proves his worth. The Vikings have a strong defense and it will be put to the test on Sunday at Detroit, a well-balanced offensive team.

Injuries: RB Chester Taylor (oblique), S Mike Doss(calf) and WR Robert Ferguson (ankle) is questionable.

Next: Sunday at Detroit, 4:05 p.m. (et)

Detroit Lions (1-0)
Rundown: Well, one week down and Jon Kitna's preseason prediction is looking pretty good. The QB said to expect at least 10 wins and if rookie WR Calvin Johnson is as good as advertised, that just might happen. Johnson had four catches for 70 yards with a TD in a 36-21 win over lowly Oakland on Sunday. Kitna was also strong, competing 27-of-36 passes for 289 yard with 3 TDs. The downside is the defense. Allowing almost 400 yards to a Raiders offense led by Josh McCown and letting the Black and Silver to convert seven third downs while holding the ball for over 33 minutes is tough to deal with. It looks like the offense is going to have to play a little more ball control.

Injuries: RB T.J. Duckett (ankle) and QB Dan Orlovsky (toe) are questionable.

Next: Sunday vs. Minnesota, 4:05 p.m. (et)

Chicago Bears (0-1)
With four turnovers on Sunday, you wonder how long it will be before the offense and defense become split on this team. QB Rex Grossman continues to be an enigma and if RB Cedric Benson wants to keep the job that was handed to him this offseason, he has to have better hands himself. He lost a fumble against the hard-hitting Chargers defense in Sunday's 14-3 loss in San Diego. The one thing that was certain when Thomas Jones was with the club, hew wasn't going to turn the ball over. And that's the way this team is going to win, keep the ball and let the defense put them in position to score.

Injuries: TE Greg Olsen (knee) is questionable; FB Obafemi Ayanbadejo (suspended) is out until Week 5.

Next: Sunday vs. Kansas City, 4:15 p.m. (et)

NFC South

Carolina Panthers (1-0)
Rundown: Optimism is in the air in Carolina, as the Panthers looked very impressive in pulling away late from the St. Louis Rams for a 27-13 win on Sunday. Jake Delhomme threw three TD passes, two to WR Drew Carter. Steve Smith was Delhomme's main target with 118 yards and a TD on seven catches. DeShaun Foster was also able to run for 94 yards, setting the all-time
franchise mark in that category along the way. With games against Houston, Atlanta and Tampa in the next three weeks, the Panthers have the chance to be undefeated come a Week 5 showdown against the Saints.

Injuries: S Nate Salley (knee) and DE Stanley McClover (thigh) are questionable.

Next: Sunday vs. Houston, 1 p.m. (et)

Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
Rundown: What is there to say about the Falcons? Nothing really. This team is as bad you think. There are plenty of questions after a 24-3 loss at Minnesota in Week 1 and there are no answers in sight.

Injuries: S Chris Crocker (knee) is questionable; DT Rod Coleman (knee) is out.

Next: Sunday at Jacksonville, 1 p.m. (et)

New Orleans Saints (0-1)
Rundown: The high-powered offense that was the Saints last season looked lost in their season-opening 41-10 setback to the Colts. Drew Brees was pressured all night and had a number of passes knocked down and Reggie Bush was held in check. Those two players are the ones who have to get on track if team is going to equal last season's output. The offensive line also needs to step up and create passing lanes for Brees, who is not as tall as other QBs and needs the passing lane to be completely effective.

Injuries: TE Mark Campbell is questionable.

Next: Sunday at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m. (et)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)
I've never a seen a Cadillac in the shop as much as Bucs RB Cadillac Williams. The third-year back is hurt again, this time he is doubtful for Weeks 2's game against New Orleans with a rub injury. Unless this team finds a running game, it is in serious trouble. The offense is just not good enough to produce without a productive back. The defense has always been the strong point of this squad, but being on the field for more than 30 minutes a game takes its toll.

Injuries: WR David Boston (foot) and DB Brian Kelly (groin) are questionable; RB Carnell Williams (ribs) is doubtful.

Next: Sunday versus New Orleans, 1 p.m. (et)

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
Rundown: Survived a horrid offensive performance on Monday night to escape with a 20-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals. The offensive line has to do a better job protecting QB Alex Smith, who was pressured all night. Smith, though, has to recognize that he has the mobility to make teams pay by using his legs and running. The broken hand RB Frank Gore suffered in the preseason is clearly bothering him, as he dropped a couple of catchable passes. The revamped defense impressed and it will have to perform all season as it doesn't look like the offense is going blow too many teams out.

Injuries: CB Donald Strickland (chest) and S Doshon Goldson are questionable.

Next: Sunday at St. Louis, 1 p.m. (et)

Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Seattle overcame a lackluster first half to down the Buccaneers 20-6 on Sunday. In an effort to bolster its offense, which likely lost wide out D.J. Hackett for the season with an ankle injury, the team acquired backup QB Charlie Frye from the Browns on Tuesday. The move allows the athletic Seneca Wallace to move to a wide out position from his backup QB spot. Wallace is not a game-changing player, but has the potential to become a serious offensive
threat. It will be interesting to see how, if at all, Wallace is used against an aggressive Cardinals defense this week.

Injuries: LB LeRoy Hill (foot) and WR Ben Obomanu (hamstring) are questionable; WR D.J. Hackett (ankle) is out indefinitely.

Next: Sunday at Arizona, 4:05 p.m. (et)

Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
Rundown: The Cardinals defense was impressive in Monday night's 20-17 setbackto the 49ers. The brought constant pressure and if not for a big run by Smith in the fourth quarter it might be the Cardinals who are 1-0, not San Francisco. QB Matt Leinart made some bad decisions and needs to improve upon that if Arizona is to contend this weekend against Seattle. On a positive
note, the rushing game appears to be back on track, as Edgerrin James ran for 92 yards on 26 carries.

Injuries: DT Alan Branch (hand), DT Ross Kolodziej (knee) and C Nick Leckey (knee) are questionable; C Al Johnson (knee) is doubtful.

Next: Sunday vs. Seattle, 4:05 p.m. (et)

St. Louis Rams (0-1)
The Greatest Show on Turf appears to be a shadow of itself. Even though the Rams still have the offensive threats they did in the Mike Martz era, the offense is becoming harder to come by. With only 238 yards of offense in a 27-13 opener loss at home against a suspect Panthers team, the Rams have to take a good hard look at themselves. Highly regarded RB Steven Jackson had a horrible day, fumbling twice and rushing for only 58 yards on 18 carries. He has the opportunity to find himself against a 49ers team on Sunday, but the loss of OL Orlando Pace is going to hurt his performance.

Injuries: WR Drew Bennett (thigh) is probable; LB Pisa Tinoisamoa (ankle) and DE Victor Adeyanju (knee) are questionable; G Richie Incognito (ankle) is doubtful; T Orlando Pace (shoulder) will be placed on injured reserve.

Next: Sunday vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m. (et)

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