I need Madden '08.
My wife might disagree.
I'm currently saddled with the ’07 version, featuring an All-Pro Tom Brady but not much else. My fake Sundays involve Brady lobbing deep balls to Reche Caldwell and zipping out patterns to Jabar Gaffney.
It's depressing—especially when Caldwell and Gaffney turn upfield and get caught from behind by defensive linemen.
Given the awesome performance turned in by Brady and his new receiving friends on Sunday, though, I'm sure my Madden fortunes would change if I were working with the same set of weapons.
A season ago, Brady was frustrated and alone after the Pats traded Deion Branch. While Tom did a fine job with a mediocre receiving corps, nothing came easily.
This year couldn’t be more different.
Randy Moss is infinitely better than any receiver Brady has ever had. Seeing him go up and get balls against Miami hearkened memories of his days in Minnesota.
Donte Stallworth, meanwhile, is faster than any receiver Brady has had. His touchdown against Miami was a product of equal parts speed and elusiveness. Ditto his score versus the Cowboys.
And Wes Welker? He's the squirreliest player Brady’s ever worked with—he slips out of tackles effortlessly, and he has the speed and moves to turn short gains into long ones.
The difference on the field is remarkable. Everyone knew Brady was a quality QB, but he finally has a chance to prove himself with good receivers.
His 27 TDs through seven games are the stuff of Madden fantasy—which is why I've got to get that new version.
I need to see how many TDs I could rack up with the Pats' arsenal. I need to throw deep balls that get caught and curl routes that turn into touchdowns. I need to see if throwing for so many scores in so few games is even possible.
I’ll call it research. Maybe my wife will buy that.
Team of the Week: New York Giants
The turning point in the Giants’ season came in the second half of their Week Three game against the Redskins. Tom Coughlin's team had looked terrible to that point, particularly on defense—but NY managed to right the ship, and a goal-line stand preserved the win.
They haven’t lost since.
Coughlin must have delivered one helluva halftime speech.
The New York defense has been outstanding since the Skins game, and the offense has been solid. As it stands, the G-Men are 5-2—only one game back of Dallas, with the Cowboys coming to New York in three weeks.
The NFC East race is shaping up to be quite a battle.
Bad Team of the Week: St. Louis Rams
Watching the Rams bumble through four quarters in Seattle was pretty much the worst experience of my week. They were inept on offense, unconvincing on defense, and blasé on special teams—the trifecta!
Scott Linehan will get most of the blame, but injuries have hurt St. Louis. No Orlando Pace and no Steven Jackson will make any offense look tepid.
Speaking of tepid, Marc Bulger had a particularly forgettable game, due in part to Pace and Jackson’s absences and in part to not having all of his ribs intact.
When healthy, the Rams are okay. When injured, they're painful to watch.
Kevan Lee’s Beverage of the Week: Sprite
I try to be as much like LeBron James as is humanly possible for a white kid from Idaho.
I played some pretty serious ball on my seventh grade team. I root for the Cardinals at Seahawks home games. And I don’t like Eric Snow.
But my emulation of James is at its best when I’m drinking Sprite. In fact, were it not for my 12-inch vertical and 800 square-foot apartment, you wouldn’t be able to tell us apart.
Nap of the Week: First quarter through second quarter, Rams-Seahawks
Going into the game, I was high on New England feel-good energy—and I thought this would be the first week I survived without a nap.
Then Matt Hasselbeck started checking down and Marc Bulger’s poor throws started piling up—snoozeville.
Most Misleading Stat: Larry Johnson's 112 rushing yards
LJ’s rushing total against Oakland looks like a return to form—but it was inflated by a 54-yard run. Take away that one, and Johnson would've had 58 yards on 23 carries (less than three yards per).
LJ looks better from week to week, but he's not there yet.
Painfully True Stat: 2nd-and-1, 3rd-and-1, 4th-and-1
These are the downs the Ravens had near midfield in the final minutes of their game against Buffalo.
A single first down would have kept the drive alive, but Kyle Boller threw three straight incompletions to lose.
Boller has played decently in relief of Steve McNair, but his inability to move the ball late in the game was the icing on the cake of a lackluster performance.
Stranger still was head coach Brian Billick’s decision not to run the ball on any of the three tries. Something is wrong in Baltimore, and the Ravens' bye week offers a great chance to fix it.
Premature MVP Ballot
1., 2., and 3. Tom Brady: His Week Seven performance puts him head and shoulders above the rest.
Weekly Super Bowl Prediction: Patriots vs. Lions
Detroit will ride the momentum of their win over Tampa Bay and storm through the playoffs en route to their first...ah, who am I kidding?
For more, visit www.kevanlee.com.
I need Madden '08.