The Andrew Preview: NFL Week Ten

Your Top Stories

The Steelers take on the Patriots in a match up of two of the best teams in the AFC.

1. In a move where the only surprise was the timing,  Jerry Jones fired Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips, and named Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett as interim head coach of the team.  The news came Monday after the Cowboys were embarrassed in a 45-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers in the nationally televised Sunday Night game. The loss dropped Dallas’ record to a pitiful 1-7. This is the first time that Jerry Jones has made a coaching change mid-season, but the Cowboys owner, who bought the team in 1989, said that he had been in “denial” about how bad the squad had become. Phillips’ final record as the Cowboys’ head coach is 34-22, with a 1-2 record in the post season. He released a statement thanking the fans and the organization for all of their support. When asked for comment, new coach Jason Garrett said, “Wade is no longer the coach. I am the coach and what we’re going to do going forward (is) get ready to . . . give ourselves a chance to beat the Giants on Sunday.”

2. Broncos Linebacker and leading tackler D.J. Williams has been charged with driving under the influence. Williams was stopped on Friday at 2:40 A.M. for driving without headlights on, when he was arrested for DUI and ordered to appear in court on December 13th. This is the second time Willaims has faced such a charge. In September of 2005, Williams plead guilty to drunk driving, receiving a sentence of twenty-four hours community service. Williams will likely face a suspension from NFL Commssioner Roger Goodell. By comparison, Goodell handed down a four-game suspension to Chargers Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson for his DUI arrests. When reached for comment, Denver coach Josh McDaniels said, “We’re certainly disappointed and don’t condone that behavior from any of our players or anybody within our organization.”

3. It’s high school all over again, as the NFL is cracking down on the dress code. Noted NFL showman and provocateur Chad Ochocinco received a twenty-thousand dollar fine from the league for violating its uniform policy. Ochocinco had on gold cleats when the Bengals took the field against the Steelers in Week Nine, in violation of the league’s on-field dress code. This is his second fine of the season, after having lost twenty-five thousand dollars for violating the league’s social media policy by tweeting before a game. Jets linebacker Bart Scott was also fined twenty-thousand dollars for violating the uniform policy, though his offense was far less ostentatious. Scott was cited for not having his chin strap on at all times, in a violation more directed toward ensuring safety than maintaining professionalism.

2008 Detroit Lions Memorial Winless Teams

Buffalo Bills

For the third time in as many weeks, the Bills have ended the game three points away from their first victory, but have found themselves unable to seal the deal. Buffalo fell to Chicago, 22-19, for their eighth loss of the season. The Bills have one of their best chances to get that first win of the year this week when they take on the two-win Detroit Lions at home.

Head of the Pack

Your statistical leaders in:

Passing

1. Phillip Rivers (San Diego) –2944 yards.
2. Drew Brees (New Orleans) – 2587 yards
3. Kyle Orton (Denver) –2510 yards

With no one falling out of the top three.

Rushing

1. Arian Foster (Houston) – 864 yards
2. Adrian Peterson (Minnesota) – 857 yards
3. Ahmad Bradshaw (NY Giants) –765 yards

With Chris Johnson falling out of the top three.

Receiving

1. Roddy White (Atlanta) – 934 yards
2. Brandon Lloyd (Denver) – 878 yards
3. Terrell Owens (Cincinnati) – 770 yards

With Reggie Wayne falling out of the top three.

Sacks

1. Clay Matthews (Green Bay) – 11.0
2. Cameron Wake (Miami) – 9.0
T-3. Tamba Hall (Kansas City) – 8.0
T-3. Osi Umenyiora (NY Giants) – 8.0
T-3. John Abraham (Atlanta) – 8.0
T-3. DeMarcus Ware (Dallas) – 8.0

With no one falling out of the increasingly inaccurately named top three thanks to a four-way tie for third place.

Three Big Match Ups

1. Tennessee at Miami, 1 P.M. EST on CBS – For the second time in a about a month, there’s intrigue and interest in what impact Randy Moss will make with his new team. The Titans are also facing the question of whether Vince Young or Kerry Collins will be starting, and moreover, who will be taking the bulk of the snaps in the game regardless of who starts it? The Titans report that Young is a game time decision this week, as fans are excited about the prospect of a “three-headed monster” with Young behind center, Chris Johnson running the ball, and Moss going downfield. Tennessee has won three of its last four games, but lost to the resurgent Chargers going into their bye week. Every win matters in the AFC South where the Titans are tied with the Colts for first place in the division at 5-3, but with the Texans and the Jaguars each only a game out of first place. For their part, the Dolphins have been hot and cold this season, never stringing together more than two wins in a row, but never losing more than two games in a row either. To add to the peculiarity, each of Miami’s four wins has come on the road, meaning that nine weeks into the season, the Fins will be looking for their first home win despite being a competitive team. Still, with Chad Pennington expected to start for the first time since early 2009 (and so excited at the prospect that he’s rapping) expect Miami to come out roaring and attempt to not only get their first victory in front of the home crowd, but to gain ground in the highly competitive AFC East.

2. New England at Pittsburgh, 8:20 P.M. EST on NBC – This game has my vote for being the likely AFC Championship preview. The Patriots have been nigh unstoppable this season. They’ve played their share of close games, but have continue to manage to eke out the win, even over other league leaders like Baltimore. The offense has looked stellar despite numerous changes at receiver, and when they entered week nine with the best record in football, many thought that no one could stop the New England juggernaut. Then along came….The Cleveland Browns? That’s right, the 2-5 Browns did not just beat the Patriots, they routed them to the tune of 34-14. Expect the Pats to come out with a chip on their shoulders, eager to prove that least week was an aberration against the class of the AFC. The Steelers are in much the same boat, having won three of their last four games after the return of Ben Roethlisberger and standing tall at the top of the AFC North. Pittsburgh is looking good, but is still in search of a win over a major player in the playoff race since Big Ben has come back behind center. The Steelers are still smarting from a loss to the defending Superbowl Champion New Orleans Saints on Halloween night, and will look to show they can still hang with the best with a victory over the Patriots.

3. Philadelphia at Washington, Monday 8:30 P.M. EST on ESPN – Donovan McNabb doesn’t know the two-minute drill. He’s out of shape. He didn’t give the Redskins as good a chance to win as…Rex Grossman. These are the reasons that Mike Shanahan has given for his controversial benching of McNabb in the last two minutes of Washington’s loss to Detroit. What’s more, the Redskins’ bye week has given our nation’s capital plenty of time to mull over these ever-changing justifications, given us even more intrigue when McNabb takes on his old team for a second time. As usual, the NFC East race is increasingly competitive, and to both stay in the thick of things and put this unpleasantness behind them, 4-4 Redskins badly need this win. The same goes for the Eagles, as the return of Michael Vick coming out of the bye helped give Philly a tight, but signature victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Week Nine. Despite their injury issues, the Eagles have won three of their last four, and are only one game behind the New York Giants in the division. Vick currently holds the league’s highest passer rating at 105.3 and in the last year of his contract, he’s looking to show not just the Redskins or the Eagles, but the entire league, that he still has what it takes to lead a team in the NFL. Expect a great game between two division rivals who both really need this victory to keep up in the chase for the postseason.

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