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Tuesday morning quarterback

Best target

Bears QB Jay Cutler, below, had 26 completions Sunday. His fourth-leading receiver was DeAngelo Hall, who caught four passes, including a 92-yard score, from Cutler. What's the problem? Hall plays cornerback for the Redskins. Even Bears diehards now have to question Cutler. Yes, he plays behind a horrible offensive line (Cutler has been sacked a league-high 27 times), but that doesn't totally account for all of his dumb decisions. In 22 starts with the Bears, Cutler has thrown 33 interceptions and lost four fumbles.

Worst week

Anyone want to switch places with QB Brett Favre today? The NFL is digging into his cell phone records to see if he was being a creep to Jenn Sterger, and now his Vikings have dug themselves a hole they might not be able to climb out of. The Vikings are 2-4, and Favre has thrown 10 interceptions after throwing only seven all last season. Watching him throw three picks Sunday night while hobbling on what turns out to be a fractured ankle made him look every day of 41 years old. Don't you get the feeling that he wishes he had retired?

Who dat?

Someone please explain the Saints to me. I realize Super Bowl Hangover is a real thing, but being blown out at home by the Browns is inexcusable. The final was 30-17, and the game didn't seem nearly that close. Maybe it's the wake-up call the Saints needed. It better be with the 5-1 Steelers coming to town Sunday night.

Most controversial call

The Steelers-Dolphins game ended in bizarre fashion when Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger was ruled to have fumbled just before crossing the goal line late in the game. Officials first ruled it a touchdown but reversed the call after a replay review. Then they couldn't determine with 100 percent certainty which team had recovered the ball in the end zone. They awarded the ball to the Steelers, who booted the winning field goal on the next play. It felt as if the Dolphins got a raw deal, and they kind of did. But, really, the officials had no other choice but to give the ball to Pittsburgh. The Dolphins still had two minutes to drive for a winning score that could've made the whole argument moot, but they turned it over. In the end, you feel bad for the Dolphins, but not that bad. One play doesn't decide a game.

Best preparation

Way to go, Kenny Britt. Now every player who ever gets in trouble for the rest of time can say, "See, it doesn't affect how I play on Sunday." Britt, a Titans wide receiver, was involved in a bar fight two nights before the game, and his punishment was not being allowed to start Sunday against the Eagles. But then he came off the bench and had a career day: seven catches for 225 yards and touchdowns of 26, 80 and 16 yards. Maybe WR Michael Clayton should've gotten in a few fights while he was with the Bucs.

Best team in the NFC

Bucs coach Raheem Morris says it's the Bucs. Former Bucs coach and NBC analyst Tony Dungy said it might be the Seahawks. I don't know how serious Dungy was, but Pete Carroll, above, has Seattle at 4-2, a game up in the NFC West. Only two teams (Steelers, Jets) have given up fewer points (107). Seattle has benefitted from a soft schedule (it has played only one team that now has a winning record), and half of its remaining 10 games are against teams with a losing record. As of now, I think the Giants will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, but the Seahawks have set themselves up for a playoff berth.

Three intriguing games this weekend

Vikings at Patriots. After losing Sunday, the Vikings are running out of time to straighten things out. Foxborough is not the ideal place to straighten things out.

Steelers at Saints. Not only a good game, but interesting to see the TV numbers as this Sunday night game goes up against Game 4 of the World Series.

Texans at Colts. A Houston victory would be its second against Indy and put the Colts, essentially, two games behind the Texans in the AFC South.

Hottest seat

I'm not suggesting that Broncos coach Josh McDaniels is in danger of being fired, but when a team drops 59 on you like the Raiders did Sunday, the seat starts getting a little warm. McDaniels started his head coaching career 6-0 with Denver last season. Since then, the Broncos are 4-13, including a disappointing 2-5 this season. Denver has allowed 199 points; only the Jaguars (209) have allowed more. Speaking of the Jags, coach Jack Del Rio might not want to order new furniture for his office. They were blown out Sunday at Kansas City and have dropped eight of their past 11. Del Rio, by the way, hasn't led the Jags to a winning record since 2007.

Strangest team

Let me get this right. The Chargers have the league's top-rated offense and the league's top-rated defense, they have outscored opponents 177-149 … and they are 2-5? Here's why: They are minus-7 in turnover differential, next to worst in the NFL. They turn the ball over, miss field goals, make dumb plays and when you put that in the blender and hit "mix," what do you get? A 2-5 record.

Team we've just about given up on

The 49ers were actually somewhat competitive despite an 0-5 start. A couple of plays here or there and they could have been 3-2. They beat Oakland last week but turned around and lost to previously winless Carolina on Sunday. The only reason the 49ers have a sliver of hope is because they now play three in a row against three beatable opponents — the Broncos (in London), then the Rams and Bucs at home. But if you can't beat the Panthers, what hope do you have to save your season?

Biggest injury

Most pointed to S Troy Polamalu's injuries as the reason the Steelers defense struggled last season. But losing underrated DE Aaron Smith, above, might have been every bit as costly to the Steelers in 2009. Now comes more bad news as Smith is out for the season after tearing his left triceps against the Dolphins. You watch, this injury will make a dent in the Steelers defense.

Tuesday morning quarterback 10/25/10 [Last modified: Monday, October 25, 2010 9:15pm]
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