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Sunday, October 24, 2004 

Games of the Day

What happened to parity? There are 9 teams with 1 loss or less, and 9 teams with 1 win or less. Not only is this surprising, but it makes for a lot of uneven matchups at least on paper.

Early Games

When Indy visited Jacksonville three weeks ago, no one really knew what to make of the Jaguars 3-0 start. Indy won 24-17 on a late Edgerrin James TD run, but they blew leads of 10-0 and 17-6 along the way. Partly due to those deficits, Byron Leftwich actually put up better numbers than Peyton Manning:

Cmp-Att Yds TD Int
Leftwich 29-41 318 1 0
Manning 20-29 220 2 0

Indy outran Jacksonville 117 to 97 (on 4 fewer carries), but the Jaguars controlled the ball for over 35 minutes, keeping Manning and the Colts offense off the field. Today the game is in Indy, and the turf clearly favors their high-powered passing attack. Jacksonville never blows teams out, but they always keep themselves in the game, as evidenced by another heart attack game last week against a bad Kansas City team. Jacksonville blew a 14-3 lead by allowing two Trent Green TD passes in the second half, but Leftwich threw a TD pass with 45 seconds left to win another one at the wire. The Colts are coming off a bye, so look for the Colts to come out smoking, then hang on to win.

Late Games

"The Patriots have a game today?"

This is the best game with the least attention I can remember for a while. Red Sox Nation is dominating the New England airwaves, so the Patriots are left to take on the Jets in (relative) obscurity. The Patriots offense really bogged down in the second half against the Seahawks, as the decimated New England receiving corps started to have an effect. Troy Brown practiced late this week, but it is not known if he'll play or how effective he can be. The Jets struggled against the 49ers last week but rallied from a 14-0 deficit to win 22-14. Curtis Martin is having another great year, with 111 yards and 2 TDs last week and a league-leading 613 yards for the season (plus a great 4.6 avg). Chad Pennington and Tom Brady are similar in that their focus is to not lose the game. If Pennington can figure out the Patriots defense today, the Jets have a good shot. But if the Patriots continue to confuse him, look for a close New England win, and the official NFL record for consecutive wins.

Prime Time

What prime time? No Sunday night game because of the World Series, and Denver at Cincinnati doesn't exactly get me excited. Denver got 176 yards on the ground last week from Reuben Droughns, who has replaced Quentin Griffin. Griffin ran for 156 yards in week 1, then became gradually less effective. Of course, Denver still has Tatum Bell on the bench, so it's possible they could have 3 different backs break the 150 yard mark - I wonder if that would be a record?

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