Let’s face it: They haven’t looked like champions since opening night against Green Bay. Even the overtime win over 6-1 Denver came after almost blowing it at the end. Last week, the Percy Havin trade and subsequent internal upheaval had the effect of putting them in an 18-point hole early at St. Louis. No such excuse this time.
The how-are-they-doing-it Cardinals still have a quarterback with a throwing shoulder that only works some of the time in Carson Palmer. They still have a defense missing half its starters to injury. And now they have Philadelphia and Dallas on consecutive weekends. That’s a combined record of 11-2 waiting for them. The Seahawks and everyone else in the NFC West have been waiting for weeks for Arizona to come back to them. But Bruce Arians continues to do the NFL’s coaching job of the year.
Sure, it’s not yet Halloween. But Dallas is 6-1 with this schedule immediately ahead: vs. Washington, vs. Arizona, at Jacksonville, at the New York Giants. That could easily mean 10-1 before a Thanksgiving showdown with Philadelphia. The Seahawks’ two Super Bowl appearances have come after earning home-field advantage for the postseason. If they want to go to a third one this season, they may have to go through Big D.
Rumors when we were in St. Louis last week were that the Rams are joining the always-wandering Raiders and the stadium-wanting Chargers as the teams most likely to move to L.A. Rams owner Stan Kroenke purchased 60 acres of land at the site of the now-closed Hollywood Park racing track in Inglewood, next to the formerly “Fabulous Forum” of Magic Johnson’s Lakers. Kroenke probably didn’t buy it to revive a horse track. With another proposed site for a new stadium, downtown at the Los Angeles Convention Center next to Staples Center, has already been identified and could house the second NFL team in the city perhaps within two years.
Sunday’s Lions-Falcons game at Wembley Stadium (6:30 a.m. kickoff — Top of the morning to you!) brings with it more speculation whether the NFL will permanently place a team in England. I say it will take a new collective bargaining agreement with an increase in league revenues to the players, a second bye week added to the regular season, and team charters via the super-fast Concorde to get the players’ union to even consider agreeing to a franchise in London. Yet the NFL isn’t spending all this time, money and grass-roots effort only to someday walk away from London like it was never there.