However we've felt watching this team so far, consider this: one week from this moment we may be musing on our 3-3 team.
There are a few things I'll be watching closely Monday night:
The Viking Linebackers. Without E.J. Henderson, there will be a lot of pressure on the other linebackers to make plays against Sean Payton's zany short-passing game. Reggie Bush could have 100 yards receiving.
Bryant McKinnie. I'll be zooming my focus on him as much as possible (when I watch other teams play, I can watch parts of the game other than the ball; when I watch the Vikings, I have trouble doing that). It will be interesting to see how his presence affects the play-calling, the running game (some more room could allow Adrian Peterson to break some long touchdowns), and the passing game (Gus Frerotte needs protection to attempt some necessary deep passes for this squad).
Drew Brees. I expect him to throw for 300 yards. But will it be an efficient 300, or will it be a ragged 300 featuring some turnovers, some sacks, some ugly 3rd down throws?
Adrian Peterson. Because when would I not be watching AP closely?
The Texans decide that it might be rather more fun to lose to the Colts than to beat them.
After the Texans went up 27-10 with about eight minutes left, I still intended to follow the Colts-Texans game for fantasy interest, but I was also flipping to the Falcons-Packers game to make sure the Falcons closed Green Bay out. And somehow, the Texans made it look easy for the Colts to score three touchdowns in just a few minutes. There's nothing to it: give up a long scoring drive by allowing easy completions over the middle. Fumble on unnecessary effort and give up a long defensive touchdown. Then fumble in your own territory and give up a short touchdown drive. When you look at a 17 point deficit, you figure it would take some sort of miraculous effort and luck to win (which, of course, it did). But when you look back at a team blowing a 17 point lead, it actually looks remarkably easy.
The Packers are not that good.
The Packer defense only has two weaknesses to overcome: they're bad at stopping the run, and they're vulnerable against the pass. If they can overcome those two weaknesses, they could be a good defense.
The Lee Evans Fantasy Experience
In the past two games, Lee Evans has been credited with a total of four receptions. Despite just four catches, he's also credited with 188 receiving yards, 22 rushing yards, two touchdowns, and one two-point conversion.
But in his next game, those two catches could be for 12 yards. That's the Lee Evans Fantasy Experience. If you're starting Lee Evans on your fantasy team, that's the experience you've signed on for.
The Ronnie Brown Fantasy Experience
125 yards and a touchdown after his 113 yard, 4 TD game: is Ronnie Brown now a reliable fantasy starter? Evidently.
The Kyle Orton Experience
I don't care who the opponent is. Last year I thought the Vikings' home win against the Bears was slightly tainted because it featured Kyle Orton lobbing five yard passes around the field. On that night, I would have found it utterly inconceivable that Orton would ever go 24/34 for 334 yards and 2 touchdowns in a professional game (unless it was via a series of screen passes to some sort of monster running back). I would find it entirely contemptible to suggest that anybody would ever consider picking up Orton for a fantasy team. But now it must be happening. It's enough to make me think that we can't make a closed-book assessment of Tarvaris Jackson three games into his third season.
The Randy Moss Experience
Watching highlights of Randy Moss's 66 yard go-route TD against the Niners, I'm just reminded that Moss is something else entirely than a great NFL wide receiver. There are great NFL receivers, and then there are Don Hutson, Jerry Rice, and Randy Moss. That's that.
The Eli Manning Experience
The erratic one has played four 2008 games and has completed 63.8% of his passes with just one interception. If you weren't reading for "Eli Manning: Super Bowl MVP," then like me you're struggling to prepare yourself for "Eli Manning: Elite Quarterback on an Elite Team."
The Kurt Warner Experience
He has to stay healthy, and he has to overcome his career-long weakness (turnovers). But Kurt Warner may end up being one of the fascinating stories of 2008. Remember, Warner is 5th all-time in QB rating, 5th all-time in yards per attempt, 2nd all-time in completion percentage. From 1999 to 2001, he played quarterback as well as anybody ever played it. He's supremely accurate and he throws a beautiful and deadly deep ball. And now he's playing great football again.
The Washington Zorns
The Hazelweird Fantasy Football Experience
In the Hazelweird League, we're always changing our team names. Half the league has now changed its team name to make fun of Sarah Palin. One member pointed out that it was now fun to propose trades to me to get a notice like "You have proposed a trade to Russia." I noted it was just as funny to see "You have a trade proposal from Washington Elites," and suggested we should name our teams according to how funny trade proposals will look. Now we have teams names like "Kevin McHale" and "Yourself."
What John Madden said tonight
"...he's right there in the hole, and he bangs him."
I always liked that guy.
Waiting on Monday night
I'll be feverishly grading papers in between classes; I hope being extremely productive during the work day makes the wait for the Viking game tolerable.
Enjoy your Monday, everybody.