NFL Roundtable: Week 7 recap | Football | CBC Sports

NFLNFL Roundtable: Week 7 recap

Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | 09:27 AM

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Quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints have won two straight after an 0-4 start. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints have won two straight after an 0-4 start. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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In's weekly chatter, our guys talk about the resurgent Saints, trouble in Buffalo in Carolina, and name the NFL's worst team.
In's weekly chatter, our guys talk about the resurgent Saints, trouble in Buffalo in Carolina, and name the NFL's worst team.

Follow our panelists on Twitter: @tcare66 @JesseCampigotto @JasonD79.

The Buffalo Bills appeared on their way to a victory against the Tennessee Titans, but allowed a fourth down TD pass with 1:03 remaining, dropping the team to a 3-4 record. Who should bear most of the responsibility for this loss?

Jesse Campigotto: I'll bet you dollars to beef-on-weck that defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt takes the fall for this. Only porous New Orleans has allowed more yards per play than the Bills this season, and Buffalo's sack percentage is mediocre despite the $50-million guarantee given in the off-season to purported sack specialist Mario Williams, who has 3.5 sacks through seven games. With the Bills on their bye week, the time is right for a scapegoat (even if firing Wannstedt probably won't change a damn thing).

Jason Davidson: You got to feel for Ryan Fitzpatrick. He goes 27-for-35 for 225 yards, three TDs and one INT. Unfortunately, that pick that went into Titans cornerback Jason McCourty's hands couldn't have come at a worse time. It led to Matt Hasselbeck's game-winning 15-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington. Yes, a poor decision by Fitzpatrick but he doesn't deserve all the blame. The Bills' run defence had no answers for Chris Johnson, who rushed for 195 yards and a pair of big scores. There has to be some accountability in that department. Unbelievable, by the way, that it took a guy like Johnson seven games to find the end zone. Tough way for the Bills to go into their bye following a loss like this.

Tony Care: It would have to be safety George Wilson's dropped interception two plays before Tennessee's winning touchdown. No matter how bad a defence plays - and the Bills have been abysmal this year - a game-changing play like an interception can mask a lot of problems. The reason I'm hard on Wilson is he's been solid when balls are thrown his way - 12 INTs in six seasons. He won't get an easier opportunity.

The New Orleans Saints have now won two straight games after dropping their first four games of the season. With all that's happened to this team this season, can the Saints actually dig out of their early season hole?

Jesse Campigotto: And make the playoffs? I don't think so. The Saints' two victories this season have come against San Diego and Tampa - neither look like playoff teams. With Drew Brees at the helm, New Orleans' offence is its usual brilliant self (tied for third in the league in yards per play) but the defence is even worse than we've come to expect (last in the league in yards per play allowed). That will be their undoing.

Jason Davidson: I doubt it. Going 0-4 to start the season is too much to overcome. Although with a 2-4 record, the Saints get an extra boost with the arrival of interim head coach Joe Vitt, who finished serving his six-game suspension on Sunday. The NFC is looking strong at the moment, to the extent that a 10-6 record may be required to get in as a Wild Card. Also, the Saints' defence is in shambles. They've surrendered a league-high 465.5 yards per game, not to mention 513 yards in Sunday's 35-28 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has his work cut out for him. Drew Brees and company can only bail you out so many times.

Tony Care: I understand Joe Vitt's return after serving his six-game suspension for his role in the Bounty Gate scandal will get a lot of attention because he'll take over the head coaching duties. But I don't see it. The Saints are rank 32nd in total defence and face a more formidable stretch of games with teams that will exploit New Orleans' biggest weakness: at Denver, vs. Philly, vs. Atlanta, at Oakland, vs. San Fran, at Atlanta, at the Giants. The hill is too hard to climb.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton looked listless in addressing another loss to the media in his post-game interview, telling reporters that "something's going to have to change." With the Panthers sinking to 1-5, is Newton beginning to question his coaches?

Jesse Campigotto: Seems like it. And "something" did change in Carolina on Monday when GM Marty Hurney was fired. For all the hype Newton and the Panthers got last year, they still only finished 6-10. While most of Newton's numbers are pretty close to those he put up last year, the reality is this team is a work in progress.

Jason Davison: It was pretty much inevitable that there would be repercussions following Sunday's 19-14 loss to Dallas, and sure enough, on Monday, general manager Marty Hurney was given his walking papers after holding the position for a decade. Newton is a frustrated QB who is mired in a bit of a sophomore slump. But Newton may want to take a look at himself in the mirror as well. 21-for-37, 233 yards, one TD and one INT aren't exactly fantastic numbers. In six games this season, he only has five touchdown passes, while getting picked off six times. Simply not good enough.

Tony Care:
I'm assuming Newton's rant didn't get GM Marty Hurney fired on Monday, although I find the timing amusing. For all his obvious physical gifts, Newton seems to have the maturity level of a five-year-old. He looked ridiculous pouting on the sidelines after being pulled from that embarrassing loss to the Giants a few weeks back. Now he talks of brining in a "suggestion box" following a defeat to the Cowboys. It really doesn't matter whether he's questioning his coaches or not. If Newton melts down every time something goes wrong he won't last in this business.    

We've talked a lot about the best teams in football, but let's go to the other extreme. As the season heads toward the halfway mark, which club is the worst in the NFL?

Jesse Campigotto: It's a race between Jacksonville and Kansas City, but I'll go with the Jags, especially now that Maurice Jones-Drew appears he'll be on the shelf for a while. Blaine Gabbert is banged up too, but backup Chad Henne is a better QB, so that could actually help Jacksonville. The Chiefs have been hapless all year, but they're averaging a turnover margin of minus-2.5 per game. That's astounding. The next-worst teams in that category (Indy and Philly) are at minus-1.5. There's bound to be some regression there for K.C., so despite their various problems they should rebound somewhat over the rest of the season.

Jason Davison: See my last answer. Well, the Carolina Panthers are one of those teams anyway. May as well toss the two other 1-5 teams into the discussion as well, namely the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs. The Jaguars' offence is so porous, they are the only team in the NFL who have yet to score 100 points. Also, the way they blew that game against the Oakland Raiders was pretty brutal. And now with running back Maurice Jones-Drew out of the lineup, things will only get worse in Northern Florida. As for K.C., well things are in shambles there as well. Brady Quinn, a former first-round pick who never really lived up to his billing, is now Romeo Crennel's guy under centre. Matt Cassel, acquaint yourself with to that clipboard. All things considered, the Jaguars have to be considered the worst.

Tony Care: I'm going with the Raiders. I look at that roster and I see a QB that won't take this franchise anywhere near a Super Bowl, a receiving unit devoid of a big-time playmaker, and a team stripped of its depth due to the squandering of future first-round picks for over-the-hill veterans. The good news is that new management is in place focused on building a team mostly through the draft. Trouble is it won't help the Raiders win games this season.

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