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• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud

Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

Two and Oh; Oh and Two
September 22, 2008

There's 10 unbeaten teams, 10 winless teams, with all the unwarranted rapture and gnashing of teeth that those two conditions cause. Here's the two–by–two on which teams already look the part and which teams are already falling apart.

2–0 (and deserve to be):
Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys.

Anybody surprised by Aaron Rodgers' ability to command the Packers offense deserves a slap of reality, but what's impressed me is the sheer confidence with which he's played — just the right side of reckless. A bad day will come, but he's already shown enough for Green Bay fans to ride it out without calling for anybody's head over that Brett Whatshisname. Injuries aside, the Packers look a certainty for the division title at the very least.

If Green Bay is in mid–season form, the Cowboys look like they're in post–season form. Their game against the Eagles this past week had postseason atmosphere and fervor, and it's doubtful that anybody is going to stretch Dallas quite as far during the rest of the regular season. Now that's not to say that the Cowboys are going to go unbeaten, because there will be off days and opponents on an up week, but the Eagles played out of their skins and the Cowboys still had the answer.

2–0, somehow
Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills.

The Broncos don't deserve to be 2–0 by definition — if referee Ed Hochuli doesn't make an (admittedly human) error, the Broncos are 1–1, a tie–breaker behind the Chargers and nobody is making the 0–2 fuss. I knew Jay Cutler was good, but Brandon Marshall living up to his own hype with 18 receptions in a single game has helped the Broncos to the no.1 offensive ranking. Before we get too carried away, however, they also have one of the statistically worst defenses so far, and the one game they won fair and square was against a clueless performance by Oakland.

The Buffalo Bills are 2–0. I still can't quick accept that they're this good, but I'd better start adjusting to the idea: with the Rams and Raiders upcoming, the Bills will probably go 4–0, and the way the AFC East is shaping up, that sort of head start could be enough to stumble to a division title or at least a wildcard. Defense and special teams aside, I'm going to need to see a rushing game before I'm convinced this isn't just one of those Buffalo false dawns.

0–2, but better than that
San Diego Chargers and Cleveland Browns.

See above, Ed Hochuli, etc. However, it wasn't an ill–judged whistle alone that made the Chargers 0–2 — Ladainian Tomlinson's toe is still a worry, and the defense is leaking points from every pore. All the same, a slow start by the Chargers isn't unprecedented, so don't write off a team that has lost by a single play in each of its losses. This week they host the Jets, who barely held on against the Dolphins and lost to the Brady–less Patriots. If the Chargers go 0–3, then some panicking might be called for.

The Browns have some great moments between the 30s, but haven't shown a killer punch, and that's meant low scoring. On the other hand the teams that made the Browns 0–2 were the Cowboys and Steelers, which are looking like the class of their conferences right now. Baltimore and Cincinnati give the Browns an opportunity to pull their September record back level. If it looks like that's not going to happen, replacing Derek Anderson with Brady Quinn might be hard to resist.

0–2, and might go 0–8
Cincinnati Bengals and St Louis Rams

If nothing else, the Cincinnati Bengals could usually be counted on to throw the ball all over the place and stay in games with their potent offense. This year, even that has gone to pieces. It's as if Carson Palmer was so bored being the good part of an otherwise tragic team that he decided this year he'd just join in. He's hitting on less than 50 percent of his throws, and hasn't thrown a touchdown. Next up: a visit to the Super Bowl champions, who haven't been spectacularly generous to opposing passers thus far.

The Rams being bad shouldn't come as a surprise, but just how bad? How about dead last in total yards on offense and defense, next to last in points scored and points conceded. Marc Bulger has thrown one TD in two games (their only TD), but don't blink, because after being sacked ten times already, Trent Green should be along any time now.

2–0 meets 0–2: Upset Alerts
Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings; Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots

The Minnesota Vikings are desperate enough to try Gus Frerotte in place of Tarvaris Jackson at QB, and it's hard to argue against that when his performance is overshadowing and effectively neutralizing the 4th best rushing attack with a 30% success rate on third down. Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers have won their two games by a total of 5 points, and their run defense hasn't been special. This is the Vikings' last home game before two road trips to Tennessee and New Orleans, so the conditions are as good as they're going to get.

The Dolphins to beat the Patriots on the road would be a massive stretch. More likely Matt Cassel gets to open the throttle against one of the league's worst pass defenses, and ex–Phins Wes Welker and Sammy Morris pull muscles laughing. However, the Pats are favorites by 12.5 with a backup QB who led the team to only 17 and 19 points the first two weeks. I'm not calling it, I'm just saying divisionals are usually a little close.

0–2 plays 0–2, 2–0 plays 2–0: Something's Gotta Give
St Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks; Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers

After just two weeks, the Seahawks are down to their 7th and 8th receivers. Last week the back–up QB played receiver, and this week former Seahawk Koren Robinson was signed off the street and is already a designated starter. And they will STILL beat the St Louis Rams.

In what could be an NFC Championship preview, the Packers and Cowboys face off on Sunday Night Football. The Packers have Lambeau advantage, but while this might be a chance for Green Bay to inflict a rare loss on Dallas, the Cowboys already proved in Cleveland that traveling North to play outdoors doesn't scare them.


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