1. The Carolina Panthers aren’t really this good, or they just haven’t gotten the publicity because national media outlets don’t waste time on small markets. Or is it that their 4-1 burst out of the gates has largely gone unnoticed in a conference loaded with quality teams?
Whatever the reason, it seems very few people are including the Panthers in talks about the NFC’s elite. Yes, Carolina has played three of their first five at home. And, yes, the opponents so far haven’t exactly resembled worldbeaters (the Chargers, Bears, Vikings, Falcons and Chiefs have posted a combined 8-12 record). But consider this: Carolina ranks no worse than 15th in any statistical category, both offensive and defensive. And in a division as throw-happy as the NFC South, the Panthers third-ranked pass D will likely go a long way in dictating their chances at capturing a division title, especially when Carolina plays rival New Orleans, which leads the league in passing offense at 327.3 yards a game.
2. The AFC’s lone unbeaten team couldn’t care less if its style of play is as attractive as Amy Winehouse after a night of speed balls and Red Bulls.
The Tennessee Titans won’t be racking up the style points anytime soon, but that’s quite alright with Kerry Collins, the leader of a no-name offense that has been strangely effective despite being void of noticeable playmakers.
“It wasn’t always pretty today. It wasn’t my best game,” Collins said, after completing barely more than half his passes for 163 yards in the Titans’ 13-10 win over Baltimore on Sunday. “But at the end of the game we found a way to win.”
And win they did, though they were outgained 285-210.
Jeff Fischer may have to become accustomed to winning ugly. Though his offense has produced two 30-point performances, the unit ranks 25th in the league, averaging just over 286 yards a game. And if it weren’t for a defense that ranks number one in the NFL in points allowed (11.5 per game), a franchise-best start could easily be a modest 3-2 record.
3. The Detroit Lions have now officially become the laughing stock of the league.
I am not implying the Rams or Chiefs are better, nor am I insinuating Detroit wasn’t the worst team in the league prior to its blowout loss to the Bears at Ford Field on Sunday.
It is definitely no secret Lions owner William Clay Ford is old-fashioned and unwavering in his stubborn mode of thinking; Matt Millen can attest. But for all the power that was bestowed upon Millen during his horrendous tenure by Ford, there was one aspect of the franchise the former GM could not tamper with: Ford’s unrelenting hatred for a pair of supple, revenue-generating C-cups.
It is beyond me, an avid football guy for years, how this went undetected: The Detroit Lions are The Only Team in the NFL Without Cheerleaders. For a franchise that has gone nearly 60 years since its last championship, failing to reward an unwavering fan base with a bit of extracurricular eye candy is inexcusable. Not only are NFL cheerleaders a group of attractive and marginally paid part-time employees, but they are the reason middle-aged pervs and young-ens alike periodically hope for a blowout, whereby nose-bleed seats and binoculars are discarded in favor of front row seats to an extravaganza of T & A and pom-poms.
Upon doing some research, I discovered that Ford frowns upon the idea of employing cheerleaders to uphold a more wholesome, family-friendly atmoshphere. Sure, because watching the Lions is such a pleasant and wholesome experience.