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1. The hits just keep on coming. Week Six in the NFL included a number of devastating hits throughout the league that has led to the wringing of hands, the gnashing of teeth, and may actually lead to some action from the NFL. The front office imposed fines on three players: James Harrison of the Steelers, Brandon Meriweather of the Patriots, and Dunta Robinson of the Falcons. Harrison, upset at his $75,000 fine and threatening to retire, was excused from the Pittsburgh practice today and told to cool off. Meriweather, on the other hand, facing a $50,000 fine of his own, apologized for his hit and promised to “play within the rules” in the future. Robinson also received a $50,000 fine. The NFL warned these players and the rest of the league that continued vicious hits, particularly on unprotected receivers and those of the helmet-to-helmet variety, would result in suspensions. On Sunday night, former Patriot and renowned hard-hitter Rodney Harrison suggested that only such suspensions would curb the these sorts of tough tackles on the field.
2. Brett Favre met with the NFL this week to discuss the allegations that he made sexual advances and sent explicit pictures to former Jets employee Jenn Sterger. Favre has refused to comment on the allegations, adding only that it is a “league issue” and stating that he is focused on the upcoming game against the Packers. Sterger is reportedly refusing to cooperate with the NFL’s investigation into the story, first reported by Deadspin.com. She is currently an employee for the Versus network, and her manager indicates that she has had no discussions with Favre regarding any sort of settlement. Favre met with the NFL’s vice president for security Milt Ahelrich on Tuesday, though no decision on the league’s part has been made thus far.
3. Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee received a one-game suspension from the team after his arrest for public intoxication this week. McAfee was swimming in a local canal in the Broad Ripple neighborhood when he was confronted by police. McAfee reportedly had a blood alcohol level of .15 and when asked how much alcohol he had consumed that night, responded “a lot cause I am drunk.” McAfee is the fourth Colts player to be arrested on alcohol-related charges this year. The Colts have a bye this week, but McAfee will miss Indy’s Monday Night game in Week Eight against the Houston Texans.
Two weeks ago, the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Indianapolis Colts. With that there were no more undefeated teams left in the NFL. This was the first season that the NFL did not have a 4-0 team since 1970. This is particularly surprising as at least one NFL team has started 10-0 over the last five seasons. The ’72 Dolphins are popping the champagne early this year. Come back next week when we will start the “Head of the Pack” feature.
2008 Detroit Lions Memorial Winless Teams
The Lions left this list in Week Six with a resounding 44-6 win over the St. Louis Rams. The following week, the 49ers managed to scrounge up their first win, beating the Oakland Raiders 17-9. This leaves the Panthers and the Bills as the leading contenders for futility this season. The Panthers may have their best shot at a win this week as they take on those very same 49ers who could not manage a victory until one week ago. Meanwhile the Bills will likely have to keep waiting as they take on Baltimore and have a tough schedule ahead of them.
Three Big Match Ups
1. Philadelphia at Tennessee, 1 P.M. EST on FOX – Who will be playing quarterback for Philadelphia seems to be a weekly mystery this season, but thus far, it hasn’t mattered all that much. Both Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb have been impressive down the stretch for Philadelphia and their stellar play has led the Eagles to a 4-2 record, good enough for a share of first place in the NFC East. Kolb and the rest of a talented Philly squad got a big victory over the 4-1 Falcons in a game many thought would be a much closer and more competitive contest. Despite Vick’s continued recovery, Kolb is widely expected to start against the Titans. Tennessee, meanwhile, has quietly racked up a 4-2 record of its own, with a 30-3 rout of division rival Jacksonville last Monday Night. Chris Johnson has been as fearsome as ever, racking up more than one hundred yards against the Jags. Both Titans QB’s, however, have been fighting injuries. Vince Young did not practice today due to a sprained knee and ankle, nor did his backup Kerry Collins due to a hurt middle finger on his throwing hand. It’s currently unknown who will start against Philadelphia, but both quarterbacks have shown themselves to be able of leading the Titans to victory. Expect a good game between these two teams with multiple options at quarterback.
2. Pittsburgh at Miami, 1 P.M. EST on CBS – Big Ben is back in Pittsburgh, and tossed for three touchdowns in a significant victory over the division rival Browns. The competition for Roethlisberger gets stiffer this week, however, as the Steelers travel to Miami. It’s unknown at this time what the impact of the recent controversy will have on the Pittsburgh defense, and on James Harrison in particular, but at 4-1, the Steelers are sitting pretty atop the AFC North with the return of their franchise quarterback. The Dolphins are coming off a big win of their own, unseating the Green Bay Packers in overtime to pull back into contention in the supercompetitive AFC East. Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall have been connecting with regularity and giving Miami a much more explosive pass attack. With Parcells stepping back, the Fins seems to be stepping up. This should be a good matchup between two hungry teams.
3. Minnesota at Green Bay, 8:20 P.M. EST on NBC – Welcome to Brett Favre’s Homecoming take two. Favre and the Vikes were able to win both games against the Packers last year, but this is a different year with different results. Both teams have underperformed relative to expectations and badly need a win. The Vikings beat the Cowboys in the desperation bowl last week. With parity as king in the NFL this year, a win could put them a mere half-game behind the division-leading Bears. Still, who knows what type of distraction the ongoing investigation into Favre will be, and it remains to be seen what impact recent addition Randy Moss will make as he transitions to his new team. For their part, the Packers have lost two games in a row, both in overtime, and find themselves at .500. Green Bay started the season by winning three of their first four games, but this two game skid has raised some red flags in Wisconsin. Many questions are being asked about Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy. Nothing would help silence the critics more than a big victory over the division rival Vikings and former ally Favre. Expect both teams to lay it all out on the line this week in a division where one win can mean the difference between being at the top of the head and at the bottom of the pile.