NFL Week 9: Jerry Jones' Issues, Donovan McNabb's Fitness and Top 25 Questions

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2010

NFL Week 9: Jerry Jones' Issues, Donovan McNabb's Fitness and Top 25 Questions

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    Week 9 now bears down on us in the world of the NFL and along comes yet another range of questions and tribulations that are in need of an answer.

    In a weekend that started off fairly slow, Week 8 has delivered a bombshell on the league.  Donovan McNabb was pulled from the starting role in Washington, Brett Favre suffered facial lacerations and, of course, the Cowboys struggles continue to spiral down under Jon Kitna and Wade Phillips.

    But somehow, we keep plugging on. Now that the midway point in the season has been crossed, dire-straits mode has been switched on by several NFL franchises. Those teams are looking to turn around a shaky first eight weeks and possibly scrape into the playoffs.

    So what should you keep in mind this upcoming Sunday?

    Chances are even this article won't cover all of it. But if you are looking for the top 25 questions, look no further.

25. Who Is The Favorite To Win The Rookie of the Year Award?

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    It may be a little early for this discussion. But, nonetheless, the midway point in the season is now behind us, and the Rookie of the Year Award is starting to appear on the horizon.

    To put all bias and opinion aside, the main contenders for this year's award stand as follows:

    -Eric Berry (Kansas City Chiefs)

    -Ndamukong Suh (Detroit Lions)

    -Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams)

    -Jahvid Best (Detroit Lions)

    -Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys)

    -LeGarrette Blount (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

    So who takes home the award?

    Although there are several weeks to go in the season, the strong favorite right now is Sam Bradford.  With 1,674 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year, St. Louis' 4-4 record so far only further earns Bradford the honors.

    With that in mind though, this isn't to discount the other nominees. In Detroit, both Ndamukong Suh and Jahvid Best have been fabulous in their debut years, while LeGarrette Blount has begun to heat up at the right time down south in Tampa Bay.

    Keep a firm eye on this story in the coming weeks, as it now appears a real stat race is at hand.  Normally the favorites come from the quarterback and running back positions. However, with Eric Berry hanging around, who knows what will happen?

24. Has Troy Smith Officially Won The Starting Role in San Francisco?

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    Stepping into the starting quarterback role is tough enough in San Francisco these days. But attempting it in London, away from any serious support or motivation, is a monumental task.

    Meet Troy Smith, the San Francisco 49ers promising starting quarterback, who filled in for Alex Smith during Week 8, due to the latter Smith's right-shoulder injury. 

    In a game that held more than just a win on the line, Troy Smith managed to guide San Francisco over the hurdle against the Denver Broncos, and help Mike Singletary's record step up to 2-6.

    What came off as impressive from No. 1 was his ability to remain accurate. Sure, at times Smith missed a few targets. But overall, his 196-yard and one touchdown performance was commendable, even though San Francisco struggled to pile on points in the first half.

    Anyone out there who is considering Troy Smith the real deal though, I suggest you don't.  For a long time the 49ers have been searching for a truly talented quarterback, and after just one start in eight weeks, Troy Smith can't be deemed as the savior out west.

    If we are going to deem Troy Smith as something, though, he should be labeled as a potential starter.  Alex Smith is still injured, so the chances of Troy Smith filling in again in Week 10 are favorable.

    Luckily for head coach Mike Singletary, the 49ers now have a bye week to sort out this mess. Alex Smith was booed in San Francisco several weeks ago, and therefore, Mike Singletary may be doing us all a favor by starting Troy Smith.

    Much more is to come from this story, but you have to like Troy Smith's chances.

23. Is Derek Anderson Really The Better Option Over Max Hall in Arizona?

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    The Arizona Cardinals suited up in their black uniforms on Sunday afternoon, only to see the teams play display the exact same ugly color against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Heading into the game against quarterback Josh Freeman and his talented offense, young rookie starter Max Hall was the favored passer in Arizona, as he was granted his third overall start in 2010.

    Midway through the game, however, Hall totally collapsed. As a result, head coach Ken Whisenhunt was left with no other choice than to replace the young man with Derek Anderson, who has also looked shaky at times.

    Prior to Hall's benching, No. 6 threw for 71 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. I think you can tell now why Hall was benched.

    On the opposite side, Derek Anderson then stepped in and went on to throw for 234 yards, one touchdown and, yet again, two interceptions in the Cardinals' 38-35 loss.

    Whichever of these two quarterbacks proves to be the lesser evil would perhaps be the better selection.  Unfortunately though, Whisenhunt doesn't feel this way, and has chosen to wait before announcing the starting quarterback ahead of the team's clash with Minnesota this weekend.

    As for who the better option is, neither is pretty. But if a prediction needs to be made, Derek Anderson has guided the Cardinals to more wins than Max Hall, and that says a lot considering Arizona's position in the NFC West.

    Max Hall looked brilliant against New Orleans three weeks ago. Since then, though, he has struggled and has blown his chance. Derek Anderson is no Kurt Warner, but he'll have to do for the time being.

22. What Will It Take For the Denver Broncos To Post a Win?

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    Chances are the Denver Broncos would have even Albert Einstein puzzled right now, seeing as though the Broncos feature two of the top offensive players in the 2010 regular season.

    I feel like a broken record here, but Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd have been great.  Both have piled the yards on this season, and both stand in the top five rankings in their positional class midway through the year.

    Looking past these two talented players, no one else pops up though. The run game is noticeably flat,  ranking dead last in the league. As a result, the Broncos point-scoring game has taken a direct hit, ranking 22nd.

    Now I ask you, can someone tell us all what it will take for the Broncos to post a win?

    Maybe even the good Lord Himself can't answer that one. If Denver is going to start somewhere though, they will have to savor the Week 9 bye, and really work hard on team chemistry, the run game and, better yet, defense.

    In Week 10, the Broncos remain home to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.  Chances are the Arrowheads will still be in tip-top shape come that time, and seeing as though this game is a division rivalry, Denver can't afford to be blown out by the Chiefs like they were by the Raiders a week ago.

    Josh McDaniels is on the hot seat, and so are many players.  Using the injury excuse is one way to go about it, but Denver needs a win badly to avoid the criticism torch that will be awaiting after another loss.

21. How Will a Loss to New Orleans in Week 8 Affect Pittsburgh on Monday Night?

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    If you participate in some form of online pick 'em, chances are that you tipped the Pittsburgh Steelers to topple the New Orleans Saints last Monday Night, in a hotly contested game in the Superdome.

    Unfortunately, if you did pick the Steelers to win, Pittsburgh failed to live up to expectations.

    Going into the game against the Saints, the Steelers' run game was heavily favored with Rashard Mendenhall proving to be explosive in weeks prior. By combining this with Ben Roethlisberger's usual brilliance and Hines Ward's sticky hands, the Steelers looked able to walk away with a win.

    Strangely enough, this theory couldn't be further from the truth.

    On the night, Mendenhall rushed for only 71 yards and one touchdown, while Roethlisberger struggled from the very first whistle, missing passes and targets and enduring a handful of three-and-out series.

    I guess at the end of the day, the scoreline does do the Steelers justice. A 10-point loss is nothing too severe. But moving forward, it could play on the Steelers' minds considering that the Saints can still be labeled as contenders in the NFC.

    Week 10 sees Steel Nation take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football. Back in August, this matchup would have been labeled as a "sure to be classic". Now though, it may be a blowout due to the Bengals' lack of offensive momentum.

    One minor hiccup shouldn't affect Pittsburgh too much, and let's face it, it's faced this before. A 5-2 record is still great in the AFC, so don't expect to see the yellow-and-black freight train derailing anytime soon.

20. Are the Houston Texans Now Heading Toward the Bottom of the AFC South?

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    Six weeks ago, this question would have been laughed at. But several weeks down the road, it now makes total sense.

    By stating the plainly obvious, the AFC South has by far been the best division this season. It has been deadlocked numerous times, and eight weeks into the season, it is still anyone's division to grab if they can pull it off.

    On Monday night, the Indianapolis Colts rolled over the Houston Texans, sending them to third place.  In other news, the Tennessee Titans also slipped up against the San Diego Chargers, and the Jacksonville Jaguars nabbed a big-time win over the Dallas Cowboys.

    Now where do the Houston Texans stand?

    To say that they are on the downward spiral may be a little hasty.  What we do know, however, is that when the Colts get into the first spot, they are extremely stubborn and tough to maneuver out of that position.

    Offensively speaking, the Texans have been fantastic. Ranked ninth in points scored and seventh in yards, much of this is due to what I like to call the "Three Stooge Offense" of Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster.

    Still, what has let Houston down is its defense.  Dead-last rankings are seen in both yards allowed and passing yards. Gary Kubiak will always have a tough time overcoming these odds as long as his defense remains inconsistent.

    Adding the cherry on top of the pie, the Jacksonville Jaguars are now breathing down Houston's neck.  Jack Del Rio's team is hot right now. With Tennessee looking unstable, the Texans could slip right down to the bottom if they aren't careful.

    Time is ticking, yet there is still plenty left. If Houston is going to make its first-ever playoff appearance this season, it needs to shift it into fifth gear very quickly.

19. When Will The Real Chad Ochocinco Stand Up?

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    If you're a big-time Twitter user, you may have noticed Chad Ochocinco's early-morning rant yesterday, centered around his performance this season and his overall team let down.

    In the tweets, Chad Ochocinco stated that:

    "My outlandish ways n style of play = hard work being overlooked (rightfully so)i' study the habits n work ethic of winners but i lose still".

    Reading this and realizing that it is all true is tough for any football fan.  Love him or hate him, Chad Ochocinco has always been a vibrant character in the NFL, and his 2010 performance has by far been the most disheartening in his 10-year career.

    On the season, Chad Ochocinco has struggled to play his usual dynamic game.  With a very low 458 yards and two touchdowns on the year, Ochocinco's skill has flown out the window. It effectively left the Bengals contemplating their season at 2-5 in the AFC North.

    Following up from Chad's original statement, he also had this to say:

    "So much losing makes me question my own game and truthfully is f-ing with my confidence or in my case what seems to be arrogance at times"

    Some people may relate this last statement to Chad Ochocinco's attitude during the Bengals recent bye week.  Instead of practicing, No. 85 decided to work on his trash talk, rather than his skill set.

    Cincinnati is clearly one-and-done this season, and it's tough to watch.  No one can say it's all Chad Ochocinco's fault, but so far this year, he really hasn't stood up like Terrell Owens has.

18. Is BenJarvus Green-Ellis Developing Into An Elite Rusher in New England?

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    I'm no fantasy football expert (I'm the guy who chose Laurence Maroney, expecting a miracle), but if you want to make a late selection midway through the year, go for the New England Patriots starting running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

    When Maroney left New England, Bill Belichick's run game looked destined to fall flat on its face.  Of course, the Patriots have never been a very run-savvy team. But at least New England had something to fall back on if Tom Brady had one of his rare off days.

    So when BenJarvus Green-Ellis stepped into the starting role, the third-year player was doubted from the very beginning.  No one knew too much about No. 42, and, quite frankly, no one expected Green-Ellis to excel so quickly.

    Boy, were we wrong.

    With the midway point in the year just gone, Ellis has rushed for 371 yards and six touchdowns, superb stats for a player that hasn't been in the starting role all season.

    To make it even better though, the Patriots really do have a run threat.  Not many people have experienced this feeling since the old Corey Dillon days, and to see such a young rusher excel so fast excites every Patriots fan.

    In the coming weeks, expect Ellis to continue to impress.  Against Minnesota this past weekend, he rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns, a sign of things to come.

    A big fantasy player?

    Get this guy on your team, he shouldn't disappoint.

17. Will Donte Stallworth Suit Up For The Baltimore Ravens?

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    You may not know it, but the controversial wide receiver known as Donte Stallworth is looking likely to suit up for the Baltimore Ravens this weekend when they take on the Miami Dolphins.

    Many people should remember Stallworth's 2009 saga that saw him strike a pedestrian in Miami, then face manslaughter chargers and an NFL suspension that saw him miss the entire 2009 regular season.

    In 2010, Stallworth was set to return, this time in purple. However, a broken bone sustained during preseason derailed this process up until now.

    When asked his chances of playing this Sunday, Stallworth stated, "It will probably be a game-time decision.  As of right now, it's still going to be a little sore after practicing today. It's a little sore right now. The main thing is making sure I get treatment on it and do what I'm supposed to be doing."

    Stallworth, who recorded 697 yards and three touchdowns in his 2007 season with the New England Patriots, is still a very capable wide receiver in his eighth season in the NFL. He could be a legitimate addition to the Ravens' already-stacked receiver corps.

    According to league sources, Stallworth looks likely to be returning punts if he is to play this Sunday.  It may not be the most glorified spot, but hey, it's a start, right?

16. What Injury Will Brett Favre Pick Up Against The Arizona Cardinals?

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    Nowadays, it seems not a week goes by that Brett Favre doesn't pick up some form of minor injury.

    Two weeks ago against the Green Bay Packers, Favre sustained a fractured ankle due to a heavy hit by the Packers' hard-knock defense.  Last weekend against the New England Patriots, Brett Favre was also hit hard and endured some facial lacerations to his chin.

    So what will it be this week around?

    Perhaps without Randy Moss on the team, Favre may be fine.  However, the old-timer has really been in bad shape as of late, and it seems the more he tests the limits of physicality and age, the more determined a greater being is to push him back a peg.

    Hopefully for the 2-5 Vikings, they win at home against the Arizona Cardinals.  Still, this season has been far from predictable, and by looking at Favre's track record, another knock or bump may be coming No. 4's way on Sunday.

15. How Does a Bye Week Affect the Tennessee Titans?

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    The Tennessee Titans fell to the struggling San Diego Chargers this past Sunday, in a game that was very unlike the Titans have come to expect.

    Quarterback Vince Young threw for a very high 253 yards and two touchdowns, while the always dependable Chris Johnson somehow backpedaled, only running for 59 yards and one overall score in the Titans 33-25 loss.

    Aside from performances, though, more than just a loss was seen against the Chargers.  Former Rutgers star wide receiver Kenny Britt was injured in the game, and he is expected to miss a fair amount of time due to a leg injury.

    So for Week 9, the Titans now have some time off.  On the downside, however, Tennessee may not be totally loving the bye week, considering that this allows either the Indianapolis Colts to go further ahead in the division, or the Houston Texans to tie it all up for second place.

    Last week, both the Texans and Colts took their annual bye week, so now it is the Titans' turn.  As a result, Tennessee gained the upper hand while other teams snoozed. But this time around, the cards have quickly been turned.

    It's not something head coach Jeff Fisher can become too preoccupied with. So now he needs to bring the offense back on the same page after the loss of Kenny Britt, and he also needs to reignite the defense a little.

14. Will David Garrard Be Able To Maintain His Perfect Momentum In a Bye Week?

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    If you thought perfect games were only for MLB pitchers, guess again, because Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard nearly pulled off the unthinkable on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

    During the entire first half, Garrard didn't miss a pass.  Hitting targets Mike Sims-Walker, Marcedes Lewis and Mike Thomas, Garrard left fans wondering why they had doubted his talent.

    Looking past the near-perfect game, the Jaguars also walked away with a rather comfortable win.  Not only were they able to ignite a "Let's Go Rangers!" chant in Dallas, Jacksonville also brought their record back to .500, now sitting at 4-4 on the season.

    In Week 9, the Jaguars mimic the Titans in taking the week off.  It's unlucky that the Colts and Texans can extend their advantage over Jacksonville, but with Garrard coming off a hot Week 8, the green and white are far from out.

    In Week 10, Jacksonville will return home to face those very Houston Texans in a meaningful AFC South game.  Perfect or not, David Garrard has had an exceptional year.

13. Is Mike Hart The Better Runner For The Indianapolis Colts?

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    People have been crowding around the water cooler to discuss it, and I'll be damned, backup running back Mike Hart has been exceptional for the Indianapolis Colts as of late.

    Filling in for the injured Joseph Addai, no one knew what to expect out of Mike Hart, who is a third-year player with very little experience in the starting role.  After 177 yards and one touchdown, Hart is now looking to be a likely candidate for a permanent job in Peyton Manning's offense.

    To be realistic for a second, Addai will probably return and take over at some point in time.  With this said though, Hart seemed to rejuvenate the Colts offense entirely on Monday, considering that Manning was short on several of his usual prime targets due to injury.

    It was unlucky that Hart didn't score against Houston on Monday night, yet there is plenty of time for that.  More on the promising side, Hart's big plays through the middle left people to realize what Joseph Addai often lacks, and it made Colts fans very happy at the sight of a possible two-headed rush attack.

    Big things to come?

    We'll wait and find out.  The potential is definitely there though, and so is the starting role if Hart's play keeps up.

12. Does One More Loss In Dallas Equal a Wade Phillips Firing?

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    From a very encouraging topic like Mike Hart, we now switch to a concerning issue in Dallas that features head coach Wade Phillips and his struggling football team.

    A 1-6 record, wow.  What can we say?  It was never expected, and everybody knows that after finally reaching the playoffs last year, the Dallas Cowboys were certainly expected to make the playoffs, if not the Super Bowl, in 2010.

    Maybe Dallas is just taking a very long detour, or perhaps they really are that bad.  Whatever it may be, Wade Phillips is slowly but surely dying out in Big D. Although he was never a fan favorite, he is now being scrutinized more than George W. Bush himself.

    Throughout the week, many absurd suggestions have come from fan opinions.  Some have suggested throwing Jerry Jones a Motorola headset and telling him to coach, while others have stated that an entire revamp of the Cowboys team is in order.

    What is clear though, is that Jerry Jones is sticking behind Wade Phillips.  Not many options are left for the old-time owner, and therefore Phillips may grudgingly be left at the helm for the remainder of the season.

    But will another loss against Green Bay at Lambeau Field spell the end for Phillips?

    Right now it doesn't seem that way. If 1-7 is achieved, though, pencil in a firing at the end of the season.

11. Will Anyone Claim Shawne Merriman Before Wednesday?

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    First Randy Moss in Minnesota, and then Shawne Merriman in San Diego.  What is the league coming to?

    Yes, believe it or not, the 3-5 San Diego Chargers have waived one of their most talented players this week, and they are open to any offers or claims before Wednesday's deadline.

    The chances of someone snapping up Merriman right now are slim.  The three-time Pro Bowl linebacker has $3.269 million left on his contract this season, a sum of money that not all teams will be ready to spend.

    As for potential candidates for Merriman, the pickings are also slim.  The linebacker position isn't the most hotly contested subject right now, but while we're discussing it, the San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins and Houston Texans are all potentially in the hunt.

    Wednesday is now just around the bend, and if no one has claimed No. 56, Merriman will become acquainted with the free agency pool. 

    Until that happens, this story is still open-ended, and don't be surprised to see an absolute wild card emerge from the woodwork and take Merriman on board.

10. Which Team Benefits The Most From a Week Off?

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    Once again, six teams will be taking the week off in Week 9, to try and rejuvenate and recuperate after the past eight weeks.

    As it stands, this weekend's bye teams look like this:

    -Denver Broncos (2-6)

    -Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4)

    -San Francisco 49ers (2-6)

    -St. Louis Rams (4-4)

    -Tennessee Titans (5-3)

    -Washington Redskins (4-4)

     

    And who benefits the most from some relaxation?

    Many people would say the Washington Redskins or San Francisco 49ers, but really the Denver Broncos do.

    As already mentioned previously, Denver has two of the league's brightest offensive stars this season, yet it can't muster up a win against some of the league's weakest teams. 

    Much of this is due to the Broncos' 24th-ranked defense, which has struggled to maintain both the run and pass game.

    Not only has the defense struggled though. The Broncos offense has been doing poorly, and is relying heavily on Brandon Lloyd and Kyle Orton.

    A week off should help Josh McDaniels get his priorities in order, and hopefully lead to at least a respectable record come December.

9. Are the Jets Capable of Bouncing Back From a Week 8 Loss Against Green Bay?

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    The New York Jets' offense struggled on the weekend against the Green Bay Packers, falling to Mike McCarthy's strengthened and improved defense, 9-0.

    As big a story as Dom Capers' new-look defense was, though, the Jets' offensive collapse also sparked some worrying in The Big Apple, as Mark Sanchez threw two interceptions and managed to provide no offensive rhythm all game long.

    On the ground the Jets were also flat, as running back LaDainian Tomlinson struggled to penetrate Green Bay's linebackers, and more or less left the Jets with a one-dimensional option for the entire four quarters.

    In Week 9, New York will make an unfamiliar trip to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions.  Several weeks ago, this game would have been deemed as an easy win. But now that Matt Stafford is back under center, the determined Lions of old are even better nine weeks down the track.

    If the Jets are to bounce back from a loss against Green Bay, they will need to resort back to the basics.  Mark Sanchez needs to work on his accuracy over the week, while LaDainian Tomlinson needs to do what he does best and play the ground-and-pound game.

    The one positive to come from the Packer matchup was wide receiver play.  Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller were standouts, and if it wasn't for Nick Folk's poor kicking, the Jets could have stolen a victory.

    Detroit is one tough test, so keep an eye on this game. It should be closer than many people may think.

8. Will the Giants' Two-Headed Rushing Attack Continue To Develop In Week 9?

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    Keeping the New York theme running, we now take a look at the Giants, fresh off a Week 8 bye and looking to steamroll the Seattle Seahawks.

    Two weeks ago against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants showed glimpses of what is possibly to come.

    Ahmad Bradshaw has always been the favored starting running back in Big Blue, but Brandon Jacobs' 75 yards and one touchdown effort made people realize something could be brewing.

    And what is brewing exactly?

    Easy, the possibility of a two-headed rushing attack.

    For you see, the New York Giants could more than just benefit from this game style.  Big Blue has always chosen to mix it up on offense, but if both running backs were rushing the ball well, enormous pressure would be lifted from Eli Manning's shoulders.

    Last weekend, the Seattle Seahawks barely showed up against the Oakland Raiders.  A 30-point loss to an up-and-coming team now favors Tom Coughlin's team, which is ranked seventh in points scored.

    Very few teams utilize two running backs well, and if New York can accomplish this, the NFC East may easily become the Giants' for the taking.

7. Is The Green Bay Packers Defense Now Back To Its Very Best?

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    It was far from a pretty win for the Packers on Sunday, but a 9-0 shutout against the New York Jets was exactly what the green and gold needed midway into the year.

    On a day that matched two of the league's best cornerbacks, only one shone brightly: Charles Woodson.  With an interception against the inaccurate Mark Sanchez, Woodson along with cornerback Tramon Williams exposed New York's offense in every way possible.

    Besides the cornerback position though, the linebacker corps was also exceptional.  Clay Matthews recorded several game-changing tackles, and his late fourth-quarter sack of Mark Sanchez was almost storybook.

    Now the question is simple: is the Packers defense finally back to its best?

    So far so good.  Last year, Green Bay ranked as the second-best defense in the league and it wasn't hard to figure out why by taking one look at Dom Capers' talent.

    The funny thing about the Packer defense though, is that they are about to get better.  Sooner or later Al Harris and Atari Bigby will return, and when that day comes, Green Bay will be just about back to full strength.

    Once again, injury has ravished this team, but it hasn't stopped the Packers.  Week 9 sees the Dallas Cowboys come for a a visit to Lambeau Field, and with Jon Kitna starting, you've got to like Clay Matthews' chances at a few sacks.

6. Will Michael Vick Have a Successful Return From Injury Against The Colts?

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    It was recently announced that Michael Vick will start for the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend against the Indianapolis Colts, and for the most part, Eagles fans couldn't be happier.

    A little on the unfair side, Kevin Kolb has been hard done by.  Kolb's brilliance has been duly noted as of late, and although his accuracy and skills have been spot on, it appears that none of that was enough to totally convince Andy Reid.

    On the positive side however, at least the Eagles have someone to fall back on. NFL fans haven't see Michael Vick since Week 4, and five weeks down the track, No. 7 returns to try and send the Eagles to 5-3.

    Still, no cakewalk lays ahead for Vick, as Dwight Freeney awaits him at home in Philadelphia.  Chances are Vick will perform quite well, but expect to see his rib injury be tested by the Colts' hard-hitting ways early in the game.

5. What Quarterback Will Eric Mangini Decide on For the Cleveland Browns?

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    Behind the scenes, Mike Holmgren can't help but add his two cents into coaching decisions, and has now stated that the Browns quarterback decision ahead of Sunday's game against the New England Patriots will be purely in Eric Mangini's hands.

    For the record, three options await Eric Mangini.  One, there is Colt McCoy.  Two, there is Jake Delhomme.  And three, there is Seneca Wallace.

    Fortunately for all fans, we have seen a little bit from all three of these quarterbacks.  Right now though, the most convincing has been the rookie Colt McCoy, who led the team to a victory over the New Orleans Saints two weeks ago.

    On the bright side of things, Jake Delhomme may get a second chance even though fans will criticize it.  However, Seneca Wallace's team leading 693 yards and four touchdowns on the year add even more spice to the argument.

    If Eric Mangini is to do right by the team and remain fair, the best option is Colt McCoy. 

    He hasn't been brilliant just yet, but he has earned the right to be awarded another shot, instead of being placed on the bench behind a very risky Jake Delhomme option.

    The Browns are known for making controversial decisions, but luckily Eric Mangini and Mike Holmgren have limited these lately.  Say what you want, Colt McCoy should be under center this weekend.

4. Can Ryan Fitzpatrick Lead The Bills To Their First Win Over the Bears?

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    An 0-7 record for the Buffalo Bills seems almost uncanny for a team that has managed to test the New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs in recent weeks.

    As for why the Bills have been able to achieve this feat, look no further than starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has sparked Chan Gailey's offense immensely since taking over the starting role from Trent Edwards.

    On the year, Fitzpatrick has thrown for 1,200 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.  Impressive?  Yes it is, especially for a quarterback who has limited options around him—most significantly in the receiving game.

    The Bills remain home in Week 9 to take on the unconvincing Chicago Bears.  Already, many people are labeling this as an opportunity for the Bills' first win. Although the Rogers Centre is no Heinz Field, home-field advantage can mean all the difference.

3. Where Will Randy Moss Wind Up?

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    A week ago, we were discussing Randy Moss' return to face the New England Patriots.  Now we are discussing where the former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver will land after being placed on waivers two days ago due to his lack of performance (update: he landed in Tennessee).

    Like Randy Moss or not, many feel he has been treated poorly.  To be signed by your former team is one thing, but to be thrown aside due to some poor play and lack of team chemistry is something unfair in its own right.

    But as Randy Moss knows, this is the NFL, and anything goes.

    Heading toward Week 9 now, Randy Moss joins Shawne Merriman in looking for a new home.  Positively for Randy Moss, he at least has a few outstanding options and he will likely find a new home in due time —even if it is one Moss might not like.

    Possible candidates include Kansas City, Washington, Oakland and, of course, New England.  In a bizarre turn of events though, Randy Moss has also stated a potential signing with the Miami Heat, even though the very thought of this can be taken with a grain of salt.

    The word tribulation is an understatement for the Vikings, and Randy Moss hasn't made it any easier.  At least Moss has the unreal thought of a basketball career to fall back on.

2. Will Jon Kitna Be The Cowboys Starting Quarterback In Week 9?

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    Failure was loud and proud in Dallas on Sunday, when the Cowboys, led by new starting quarterback Jon Kitna, fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars in convincing fashion.

    Following up from Jon Kitna's downturn that everybody expected, speculation has arrived in regards to potentially benching Kitna and replacing him with third-string quarterback Stephen McGee.

    As far as experience goes, McGee has very little.  Only a second-year player in the NFL, McGee has never seen a snap in his two-year career, and he is now looking at a chance to be thrown in the deep end in Dallas.

    If Jerry Jones were smart, he wouldn't make this move. Kitna may be as woeful as Ryan Leaf right now, but at least the Cowboys know what they are getting and they can work around it.

    Throwing McGee into the thick of things only worsens the situation.  No experience and no skill under his name, McGee could fail even more than Kitna already has. And he will ultimately leave Wade Phillips between a rock and a hard place.

    Boy, oh boy, if only Tony Romo hadn't gone down injured. A 1-7 record now looks possible, and with Green Bay awaiting, it's a record that you could just about bet money on.

1. Is Donovan McNabb Really 100 Percent Fit In Washington?

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    Where in the world has all of this come from?

    One minute Donovan McNabb looks great under center, and the next he is missing targets, forcing turnovers on downs and, more importantly, being pulled from games and replaced by Rex Grossman.

    As if this wasn't enough, Donovan McNabb's fitness is now in question.  Head coach Mike Shanahan won't hint one way or another, but the main man has stated that McNabb isn't fit for final drives in games, and he is more of a liability rather than a certainty.

    So what areas of McNabb's game is he struggling in?

    Mainly accuracy.  Several weeks ago McNabb looked great when lighting up tight end Chris Cooley for touchdowns. But now he is struggling to avoid interceptions and convert third-down opportunities.

    Finally, Terrell Owens has also added his two cents. 

    "Well, I don't really want to start anything, but I did play in the Super Bowl, and there were rumors where he couldn't get our two-minute offense going at the end of the game," Terrell Owens said. "I'm just saying."

    The truth to this statement is questionable, but Mike Shanahan also states that McNabb's cardio is an issue.  A bye week should fix this problem up, but don't be surprised to see the media buzzing all around this issue, especially since JaMarcus Russell has been linked with a possible signing.

    At the end of it all, Rex Grossman is in no way a starting quarterback. Therefore, McNabb will have to work on fitness.  As right as Terrell Owens may be, we have seen McNabb win in two-minute drills before, so if the Redskins quarterback can get back to basics, Washington should be just fine.