I can’t start anything off without first offering my deepest well wishes to the folks in Georgia and in particular parts of metro Atlanta, where I live, who suffered during the recent floods. Hang in there and let’s hope that the forecasts for more wet weather in the region this weekend stays away from the waterlogged areas that are still in bad shape.
On to football. I got a tour and glimpse of Jerry Jones’ new stadium last weekend. People can say all they want about it being an ode to excess and a tribute to gaudiness; I’m saying that place is off the chain! It is a beautiful facility that is very fan friendly. It’s also player friendly, in terms of the visiting locker rooms and other first-class touches that potential free agents on opposing teams will remember if being courted by the Cowboys in the offseason.
That stuff does matter to a lot of players.
What matters to Jones and the Cowboys is winning. Jerry should be smiling big Monday night when his Cowboys play host to Carolina. Jones and everyone else with the team wasn’t happy with s(p)oiling the opening of the stadium with a 33-31 loss to the hated Giants. Dallas won’t have it easy with the desperate Panthers, but the Cowboys run defense is stout. I also think DeMarcus Ware will get his — and Dallas’ — first sack of the season.
PLAYER TO WATCH: If you haven’t found out by now, I’m not trying to go with the obvious: Rams DE Chris Long. The No. 2 overall draft pick from 2008 will face off with Green Bay’s Daryn Colledge, who was moved over from guard after starter Chad Clifton hurt his ankle last week against the Bengals. Colledge gave up four sacks to Bengals DE Antwan Odom, who doesn’t quite have the status or pedigree of Long. However, Long has yet to show that he is an NFL-caliber pass rusher –- something the Rams envisioned when selecting him so high.
This is the game for Long, who is strong against the run, to get going against the pass — especially since he’s playing for a head coach (Steve Spagnuolo) who ran a system with the New York Giants that was very DE friendly. Long had four sacks as a rookie and already has 11 tackles (no sacks).
GAME OF THE WEEK: I’m a fan of 300, Braveheart, Gladiator (and for you old heads, the old street gang movie Warriors). I like the smash-mouth, teeth-rattling games and there might not be one better than the game between San Francisco and Minnesota. I like the Vikes at home, but this should be a good one where QBs Brett Favre and Shaun Hill actually have to make some plays.
I want to get your take on this: A 20-yard long, five-yard wide alley; 49ers LB Patrick Willis and Vikings RB Adrian Peterson get running starts in a game of chicken. Who wins?
UPSET OF THE WEEK: Bengals over the Steel Curtain. The Who Deys are playing some serious defense and they’ve got a reborn Cedric Benson and a nice backup in Bernard Scott.
Wyche’s Week 3 winners: Ravens (they should roll Cleveland); Lions (Rams almost upset Skins last week, Detroit finishes the job); Patriots (shootout over Atlanta) Packers; Giants; Titans (revenge for last year when Jets ended Tennessee’s unbeaten run); Texans; Eagles; Vikings; Saints; Bears; Broncos; Chargers; Colts; Cowboys.