The 49er players are respiting for two days, but the blogs are a 24/7 operation. And when there are no games, we make do with manipulating stats or replays for our little POV snow forts! Take that, POW! Back at you, POW!
If you like offensive stats, the next two games are not going to be your cup of tea, unless you like to ridicule offensive stats, which makes these games a chop licker to anticipate. The 49ers will be facing yet another top ten defense in Arizona, and again with St. Louis and Chicago. If Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Tony Romo can’t light these secondaries up, it’s sure not likely Alex Smith will either.
But, while the navel gazing and angst over the 49ers’ first place status wends its way to exhaustion, let’s peek around at the rest of the NFL.
The AFC seems to be the Texans and not much else. Maybe some other team will get on a run, but its difficult to see who that would be. Denver might, but though Peyton Manning’s comeback against the Chargers was impressive, let’s face it, he fell behind 24-0 in the first half. And the Broncos only get to play Norv Turner’s super stupid team once more this year. As it is, they are 3-3 and not impressing anyone very much.
The AFC East looks like the Patriots by default, though their defense is atrocious. The North has the same old Steelers/Ravens slug out, but neither team inspires much dread at the moment. The Steelers are heading downward and the Ravens can’t win on the road.
The NFC, however, has drama written all over it and the best looking teams. The Giants have the East in their hip pocket, unless their attention wanders too much. The Falcons own the South, but are probably the least impressive 6-0 team in many years. The North and the West are where the action resides. Six teams, three in each division, are legitimate contenders. If the Niners beat Arizona next Monday, the list would dwindle to five teams. And all five teams will be going head to head in late November and early December. Sensayshunull!
Frank Gore said after last week’s Thursday night game that Greg Roman was the best offensive coach he’s ever had, even calling his running play schemes the work of a genius. To most of us in the pass wacky world of the modern NFL, running plays are little more than our meat versus your meat, or our super duper running back versus your whole team. To many bloggers, I suppose, running plays are just some ugly annoyance that interferes with their Arena ball view of enjoyment, or an act of mistrust by the HC toward his QB.
To Jim Harbaugh and Roman, however, 200 yards on the ground is just as beautiful as 300 through the air. Maybe more so, since 300 passing yards guarantees victory far less reliably than 200 yards on the ground. This philosophy is not likely to change, even if our passing game improves over the course of the season as the QB and WRs get more and more in sync. Should that come to pass, the team will truly become an unstoppable juggernaut.