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FIVE THINGS WE KNOW ABOUT THE NFL RIGHT NOW

Times staff writer Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

1. The Saints are really good.

No, we mean really good. We weren't convinced, however, until last weekend because their best victory came against an Eagles team that lost to the Raiders. The other victories came against Detroit, Buffalo and the Jets. But then they went out and hung 48 on a Giants team that, quite frankly, we thought was the best in the NFL. Some believe because of their schedule, the Saints have the best crack at going undefeated. We're not buying it, not with two games against Atlanta as well as games left against the Patriots and Cowboys. Oh, and they have to play Tampa Bay twice (pause to let the laughter subside). But 14-2 or even 15-1 seems a decent bet.

2. The Titans are really bad.

Really bad, and we don't get it. Did defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth mean that much to them? The Titans started 10-0 last season and lost only three games. They've already lost six this year, including a 59-0 trouncing to the Patriots. They've given up 114 more points than they've scored. The only team with a worse ratio is the Rams, by a mere point.

3. We'd rather have Kyle Orton than Jay Cutler.

Well, right now, anyway. When the quarterbacks were traded for one another, supposedly the Bears got the better of the deal. But Orton has completed 64 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and only one interception. Cutler also has completed 64 percent of his passes and has 10 touchdowns, but has thrown seven interceptions, and a couple led to Chicago losses. And the bottom-line number: Orton's Broncos are 6-0 and Cutler's Bears are 3-2.

4. Brett Favre still has it.

Love him or hate him, the guy, at 40, can still play. He has the third-best QB rating in the league, behind only the Saints' Drew Brees and Colts' Peyton Manning. Only two (Texans' Matt Schaub and Brees) have thrown more touchdowns. And forget that gunslinger rap - he has just two interceptions. The Vikings are 6-0 thanks to two more classic Favre fourth-quarter comebacks.

5. Bill Belichick is still a jerk.

Come on, beating a team 59-0? The Pats ran no huddle with a 38-0 lead to tack on one more TD before halftime. QB Tom Brady - you know, the guy who tore his knee and missed all of last season - stayed in the game on a snowy field for one more scoring drive that made it 52-0. Leading by 52, the Pats went for it on fourth down, made it and scored again. Belichick's supporters will say if you don't want a team to run up the score then stop it. But it's clear that Belichick was sending a message to Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who was critical of Belichick during the whole SpyGate mess a couple of years ago. That still gets us. You cheat, you get caught and somehow it's everyone else's fault and they deserve to be punished.

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Change of the day

A major change is coming to Bright House Sports Network's The Lineup, the weekday nightly sports show. Starting Monday, the show will be cut from one hour to 30 minutes.

The goal is to produce a tighter show as well as avoid conflicts between the network's successful fishing shows and its college basketball programming this winter. Instead of airing from 6 to 7 p.m., The Lineup will air from 6 to 6:30.

The fishing shows, such as Average Angler and Hooked on Fishing, will move from their 7 p.m. time slot to 6:30. Most of BHSN's college basketball package has games beginning at 7 p.m. On nights when there is no college basketball, The Lineup will air again at 7, but with updated live elements.

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Interesting numbers of the day

Here are some numbers the National Hockey League needs to notice.

The 12 IndyCar series races shown this year on Versus averaged 315,000 viewers. In 2008, the 11 IndyCar races on ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 778,000 viewers. Forget about how good the production value is or what special programming is built around the events, it all comes down to accessibility and familiarity. More people get ESPN and ESPN2 than Versus and more sports fans instinctively turn to ESPN rather than Versus.

As of Sept. 1, Versus was available in about 74 million homes, or about 64 percent of the country. Meantime, ESPN and ESPN2 were in about 97 million homes, or about 85 percent of the country.

It's hard to convince anybody that it's better for the NHL to be on Versus than ESPN. But at this point, you wonder if ESPN even cares that it doesn't have the NHL.

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Three things that popped into my head

1. Despite thrilling finishes practically every day, the baseball playoffs haven't been that fun to watch and I think it's because it's already near the end of October and the weather is so awful. Games just don't seem to be as entertaining when you realize players are competing in conditions not meant for baseball.

2. Can someone again please explain why trading Dan Boyle, left, to San Jose was a good idea? Boyle and the Sharks come to town Thursday, fresh off hammering John Tortorella's Rangers, who had a 7-1 record before San Jose's 7-3 victory at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.

3. You might want to stay by your phone today in case the LPGA calls to offer you the job as commissioner.

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