Last Minute Heroics - October 7th, 2008



Another exciting week has past and the NFL has one less undefeated team in it's ranks bringing us down to two. There's plenty to ponder about as some top caliber teams continue to struggle and some of the surprise contenders are looking more and more like championship material. This week's edition offers; In the Books - Week 5, the Game of the Week, Week 6 - Who's in It and Who's Gonna Win It, The Ten, and the Hero of the Week.

In the Books - Week 5


Sunday, October 5th


Tennessee Titans (4-0) @ Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

The Titans came in hot but to beat the Ravens you need to play a defensive game it wasn't clear that they were ready for. The Ravens despite their great defense couldn't possibly be ready if this game became an offensive battle. It came down to defense and despite the Ravens effort the Titans proved they were ready if only enough to squeek by.

Predicted Winner: Tennessee Titans

Actual Winner: Tennessee Titans (5-0)

Final Score: TEN, 13 - BAL, 10


Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) @ Carolina Panthers (3-1)

The Chiefs came into this game with higher expectations from their fans and of themselves after beating Denver a week prior. Carolina was ready for a game and they might have actually been surprised, this wasn't the Kansas City that beat Denver. The Panthers shut out the once again hapless Chiefs and now are in sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Predicted Winner: Carolina Panthers

Actual Winner: Carolina Panthers (4-1)

Final Score: KC, 0 - CAR, 34


Chicago Bears (2-2) @ Detroit Lions (0-3)

Chicago came in hoping to welcome the Lions back from their bye with a familiar sound at home, booing. The Lions were hoping they could begin the post-Millen era with a win. The Bears left Michigan with smiles on their faces as they trounced the Lions and now stand alone at the top of the NFC North.

Predicted Winner: Chicago Bears

Actual Winner: Chicago Bears (3-2)

Final Score: CHI, 34 - DET, 7


Atlanta Falcons (2-2) @ Green Bay Packers (2-2)

The Falcons' road struggles needed to be put behind them to win in Green Bay. The Packers needed to get back on track to stay with the Bears in the NFC North. Atlanta sure looked to be right at home in Green Bay as they played well and left with the win.

Predicted Winner: Green Bay Packers

Actual Winner: Atlanta Falcons (3-2)

Final Score: ATL, 27 - GB, 24


Indianapolis Colts (1-2) @ Houston Texans (0-3)

Two struggling teams met up in the reopening of Reliant Stadium, each hoping to get back on track. The Texans were without Matt Schaub but seemed to be getting the most out of Sage Rosenfels. The Colts looked like they were on the verge of another disappointing loss but they made an impressive comeback and left Houston scratching their heads again.

Predicted Winner: Indianapolis Colts

Actual Winner: Indianapolis Colts (2-2)

Final Score: IND, 31 - HOU, 27


San Diego Chargers (2-2) @ Miami Dolphins (1-2)

San Diego was looking for a chance to get closer to the top where Denver stands and they would be taking on the Dolphins. The Dolphins have made strides and after beating New England they were hoping to get a streak going by defeating the other team of last years AFC Championship game. The Dolphins made that hope a reality and San Diego's downward spiral continue.

Predicted Winner: San Diego Chargers

Actual Winner: Miami Dolphins (2-2)

Final Score: SD, 10 - MIA, 17


Seattle Seahawks (1-2) @ New York Giants (3-0)

The Seahawk came in as a sputtering team off it's bye week. The Giants came off their bye as the undefeated Superbowl Champions. The conclusion was no surprise as the Giants massacred Seattle to stay undefeated.

Predicted Winner: New York Giants

Actual Winner: New York Giants (4-0)

Final Score: SEA, 6 - NYG, 44


Washington Redskins (3-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles (2-2)

Despite beating the Cowboys last week many people percieved the Redskins to be underdogs. The Eagles came off their loss to Chicago needing a win to keep up in the NFC East. Washington overcame an early deficit to make believers out of the Eagles.

Predicted Winner: Washington Redskins

Actual Winner: Washington Redskins (4-1)

Final Score: WAS, 23 - PHI, 17


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) @ Denver Broncos (3-1)

Brian Griese came into Denver on Sunday hoping to beat his former team and not make the mistakes he became famous for while playing there. The Broncos wanted to remove the stench of last weeks loss in Kansas City. The Broncos defense made an impact in this game and all of Denver hopes it is a sign of things to come. Griese most likely left Denver like he did the last time he was here, without a starting job. Jeff Garcia replaced Griese after Griese took a Champ Bailey knock out punch. Denver came out with the win but with some pretty serious injuries that could sideline Eddie Royal and Tony Scheffler for a few weeks.

Predicted Winner: Denver Broncos

Actual Winner: Denver Broncos (4-1)

Final Score: TB, 13 - DEN, 16


Buffalo Bills (4-0) @ Arizona Cardinals (2-2)

The Bills have been hot and they came into Arizona looking to get their fifth win of the season. The Cardinals had just been embarrased by the Titans of New York (aka the Jets) a week prior. The Cardinals made a statement by stomping the Bills who had to play most of the game with backup quarterback J.P. Losman after Trent Edwards went out early with a concussion.

Predicted Winner: Buffalo Bills

Actual Winner: Arizona Cardinals (3-2)

Final Score: BUF, 17 - ARI, 41


Cincinnati Bengals (0-4) @ Dallas Cowboys (3-1)

The Bengals didn't look like a 0-4 team going at the Cowboys, much like their close loss to the Giants a couple weeks ago. Dallas almost let this game slip away but they managed to reel it in late and get their fourth win of the season.

Predicted Winner: Dallas Cowboys

Actual Winner: Dallas Cowboys (4-1)

Final Score: CIN, 22 - DAL, 31


New England Patriots (2-1) @ San Francisco 49ers (2-2)

The Patriots went into San Francisco looking to bounce back from an embarrassing loss to Miami. The 49ers were looking to rebound after a loss to New Orleans. Both teams need a lot of work but the better team is still Cassel's Patriots.

Predicted Winner: New England Patriots

Actual Winner: New England Patriots (3-1)

Final Score: NE, 30 - SF, 21


Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)

Pittsburgh wanted another big one in prime time to boost them up. The Jaguars were trying to catch up with the Titans in the AFC South. The Steelers were able to take one away from Jacksonville and now are in a comfortable lead in the AFC North.

Predicted Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars

Actual Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1)

Final Score: PIT, 26 - JAX, 21


Monday, October 6th


Minnesota Vikings (1-3) @ New Orleans Saints (2-2)

Minnesota entered this game seemingly too inconsistent to keep up with an offense like New Orleans boasted. The Saints looked to stick with the rest of the NFC South in pursuit of Carolina. Despite not one but two impressive Reggie Bush punt returns for touchdowns the Saints fell to the Vikings who put together some impressive plays on both sides of the ball.

Predicted Winner: New Orleans Saints

Actual Winner: Minnesota Vikings (2-3)

Final Score: MIN, 30 - NO, 27


Game of the Week


Clinton Portis and his teammates celebrate his touchdown.
Photo by Chris McGrath / Getty Images

In another amazing NFC East showdown the Redskins arrived in Philadelphia after a tough upset win in Dallas, the Eagles were ready to put their loss to Chicago behind them by taking it to the Redskins. The Eagles would draw first blood on the opening possesion of the first quarter after a 12 play, 80 yard drive resulted in a 9 yard Brian Westbrook touchdown scamper to give the Eagles a 7-0 edge. Following that drive the Eagles would force a three and out leading to an electric 68 yard punt return touchdown by DeSean Jackson which buried the Redskins early at 0-14. The rest of the only other offensive drive for the Eagles in the first half would result in a missed 50 yard field goal by David Akers and that was the extent of the Redskins luck in the first quarter.

The second quarter began and Washington capped off an 8 play 37 yard drive with a 41 yard field goal by Shaun Suisham to bring the score to 3-14. After letting one big pass go by the Redskins forced a three and out and began an eight minute, 15 play drive for 67 yards that resulted in another Suisham field goal this time from 48 yards, 6-14. With less than two minutes left the Redskins forced another three and out and lead a quick 9 play, 50 yard drive that resulted in Suisham third field goal kick of the game from 50 yards out leaving the score at the half at 9-14.

The second half began and on their second possesion of the third quarter the Redskins would finally find the endzone and take the lead after a 7 play, 75 yard drive that culminated in an 18 yard pass to Chris Cooley by wid e receiver Antwaan Randle El leaving the score at 16-14. The score would hold until the second play of the fourth quarter when Clinton Portis hit paydirt with a 4 yard rush after a 6 play, 43 yard drive making the score 23-14. The Eagles would drive the field 86 yards in 12 plays only to settle for a 23 yard Akers field goal drawing Philadelphia closer at 17-23. With 7 minutes and 18 seconds left on the clock the Redskins impressively made sure the Eagles wouldn't get another chance as they wore the clock down in one possession to end the game.

The Eagles can't help but be dissapointed with this loss after setting such a good tone early but they were out coached and outplayed by a superior team. Washington has to be seen as one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL with the no quit attitude that got them through this game even after being dominated early on. These teams have a lot of good days ahead of them but the way Washington is playing they have the ability to go deep in the playoffs, they just have to keep it up.


Week 6 - Who's in It and Who's Gonna Win It


Sunday, October 12th


Chicago Bears (3-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (3-2)

This is a tough one to call as the Falcons have not only been impressive at home they are coming off a big road win out of Green Bay. The Bears have been no picnic for opposing teams either winning some tough games. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Atlanta has enough in them to beat Chicago.

Predicted Winner: Atlanta Falcons


Miami Dolphins (2-2) @ Houston Texans (0-4)

To say the Dolphins have been impressive as of late may be an understatement as they have beat both teams of last year's AFC Championship game in the past three weeks. The Texans suffered another close loss last week in a heart breaker to the Colts. As much as the Texans need a win the Dolphins are hot without a question and that shouldn't stop in Houston.

Predicted Winner: Miami Dolphins


Baltimore Ravens (2-2) @ Indianapolis Colts (2-2)

Baltimore came up just short in the battle with the still undefeated Titans last week. Indianapolis came up with a big comeback to beat the still winless Texans. The Colts are not the perennial playoff team we've all known for so long and the Ravens shouldn't have too much trouble with them on either side of the ball.

Predicted Winner: Baltimore Ravens


Detroit Lions (0-4) @ Minnesota Vikings (2-3)

Detroit couldn't handle the Bears offense and it is no surprise they weren't a challenge for their defense. Minnesota came up big against the powerhouse Saints and should attempt to climb the ranks of the NFC North. The Vikings should clean house with the Lions.

Predicted Winner: Minnesota Vikings


Oakland Raiders (1-3) @ New Orleans Saints (2-3)

Oakland returns from it's bye week in a post-Kiffin world but don't expect that to do anything but hinder them. The Saints need to rebound from their late loss to the Vikings last week. The Raiders were growing with Kiffin but with or without him I think the Raiders fate was already sealed in this game.

Predicted Winner: New Orleans Saints


Cincinnati Bengals (0-5) @ New York Jets (2-2)

The Bengals came up just short against an NFC East powerhouse again last week. The Jets are coming off a bye after putting on an air show two weeks ago. Cincinnati is just too inconsistant to make me believe they will beat the New York Jets this week.

Predicted Winner: New York Jets


Carolina Panthers (4-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)

Carolina is still the team to beat in the NFC South after demolishing the Chiefs. The Buccaneers are coming off a tough loss in Denver that came with questions at quarterback after Brian Griese left the game with a shoulder injury. Carolina couldn't have drawn a better week to play in Tampa Bay as they should encounter less of a struggle in this game.

Predicted Winner: Carolina Panthers


St. Louis Rams (0-4) @ Washington Redskins (4-1)

The Rams are coming off their bye week seeking their first win of the season as Marc Bulger returns to the starting lineup after the abrupt end of Scott Linehan's coaching days in St. Louis. Unfortunately for the Rams they find themselves in Washington where the Redskins have returned to continue their winning streak after their huge back to back road wins against division rivals. Don't expect an upset here.

Predicted Winner: Washington Redskins


Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3) @ Denver Broncos (4-1)

Jacksonville is the second Florida team that will travel to denver in as many weeks and they hope to be the first to win there. Denver toughed it out against the Buccaneers and their track record with the Jaguars suggests they won't find any peace this Sunday either. Denver should find a way to win a close game as long as their defense doesn't regress.

Predicted Winner: Denver Broncos


Dallas Cowboys (4-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (3-2)

Dallas found themselves struggling with the winless Bengals just a week after their close loss to the Redskins. The Cardinals trampled the previously undefeated Bills a week after allowing 56 points in their loss to the Titans of New York (aka the Jets.) The Cowboys should find a way to beat Arizona but it won't be easy by any means.

Predicted Winner: Dallas Cowboys


Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) @ San Francisco 49ers (2-3)

The Eagles have endured two staggering losses in a row and need a win desperately to not fall down deeper in the toughest division in the league. The 49ers suffered yet another loss this time to the New England Patriots. Expect Philadelphia to bounce back in San Francisco.

Predicted Winner: Philadelphia Eagles


Green Bay Packers (2-3) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-3)

After a strong start Aaron Rodgers ' Pack has dropped three games straight and are lucky enough to only be down one game in their division. Seattle has to be desperate after starting out 1-3 but have seemingly found no answers to stop their floundering. Green Bay couldn't possibly have landed a better matchup to stay in the race for their division for at least another week.

Predicted Winner: Green Bay Packers


New England Patriots (3-1) @ San Diego Chargers (2-3)

New England just came off a pretty tough win over San Francisco. The Chargers just became the second victim of the Dolphins whose first were New England. In a rematch of last year's AFC Championship these two teams are struggling. Expect the Chargers to prove to be the better of the two this week.

Predicted Winner: San Diego Chargers


Monday, October 6th


New York Giants (4-0) @ Cleveland Browns (1-3)

New York has without a doubt proven their Superbowl win was no fluke as they are still a top tier team in this league. The Browns haven't come close to finding the magic they had going for them last year and have struggled tremendously. The Giants should get their fifth win of the season here.

Predicted Winner: New York Giants


The Ten

  1. New York Giants (4-0) [Last week: 2] - They put a licking on the Seahawks and continue to roll.

  2. Tennessee Titans (5-0) [Last week: 3] - They found a way to win in a defensive struggle with the Ravens, they remain undefeated.

  3. Dallas Cowboys (4-1) [Last week: 4] - Rebounding against the Bengals should have been smoother but they will face a true challenge this week.

  4. Denver Broncos (4-1) [Last week: 5] - Back at home and back in the win column, a loss by San Diego gave the Broncos a week to smile about.

  5. Carolina Panthers (4-1) [Last week: 7] - Shutting out Kansas City was impressive considering they were coming off a win over the Broncos.

  6. Washington Redskins (4-1) [Last week: 8] - This team is on the rise like a rocket after their two huge divisional road wins.

  7. Buffalo Bills (4-1) [Last week: 1] - Insult added to injury makes this team's bye week a blessing, will that be enough time to get Trent Edwards back?

  8. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) [Last week: 6] - They won a close one over the Jaguars and only drop due to outstanding play by teams that moved above them.

  9. Arizona Cardinals (3-2) [Last week: Unranked] - Beating the Bills put them on the map and they have another challenge with Dallas this week.

  10. New England Patriots (3-1) [Last week: Unranked] - They will need to up their game to beat the Chargers this week but they have done fairly well without Tom Brady.

The Ten is based on performance and strength of opponent, positioning on the list is taken into account as teams rise and fall.


Hero of the Week


For the second straight game he has lead his team to victory against teams they perhaps had no business beating. Ronnie Brown has been stellar as both a player and a leader for the Miami Dolphins who have started to roll with the "Wildcat" single-wing formation. Brown's decision making and athleticism have been key to making it work and no one has quite figured out how to stop it yet.

San Diego wasn't just sitting back hoping to lose that game, it really hurt their hunt for the Broncos who now hold the division lead by two games and the head to head tie breaker again. The Patriots hadn't been beat in the regular season in 21 games and they couldn't figure it out. Obviously a lot of credit goes to coach Tony Sparano but without Brown this system wouldn't be quite as impressive.

Ronnie Brown has done the seemingly impossible and has the Dolphins on a winning streak over two good teams and made them a viable threat again and that is why he is the Hero of the Week.


What's Next?


Last Minute Heroics returns next week in its weekly Tuesday spot. It will include the following:

  • In the Books - Week 6

  • Game of the Week

  • Week 7 - Who's in It and Who's Gonna Win It

  • The Ten

  • Hero of the Week

I hope everyone enjoyed this week's edition of Last Minute Heroics; I welcome any feedback and/or suggestions to be left as a comment below or sent by email to It's been a pleasure, thank you for reading.


- Love Hope Hero -

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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