- The Washington Times - Friday, November 21, 2008

POINT-COUNTERPOINT

Each Friday, columnist Dan Daly and Redskins beat writer Ryan O’Halloran debate a football issue. This week: What, if anything, should be done about the NFL’s overtime rule in light of the Eagles-Bengals tie?

Dan Daly: Well, duct-taping them to a couple of sticks of dynamite would be nice. I’ve never been a big fan of the current system — a coin flip followed by a maximum of 15 minutes of play, after which a tie is declared. And to me, it gets more ludicrous every year, because kickers keep getting better and better. A game shouldn’t be decided by a coin flip after which somebody boots a 52-yard field goal. That’s an injustice to the players and a rip-off for the fans.

RO: Ties stink, period. The current system is flawed for the aforementioned reasons. Playing until there is a winner could result in a marathon game that would impact the performance of both teams for the next few weeks. The college method would be flawed in the NFL because of quality of the kickers. I’ll throw out this — one possession per team starting from the 50-yard line. Neither team scores, everybody goes home.

Daly: I’d throw it out, too - right in the wastebasket. Here’s what I’d really love to see in OT: The outlawing of radio transmissions from the sideline and players left to their own devices, preferably wearing leather helmets. What’s most important is that you keep playing real football - and that means kickoffs and returns, not balls placed at the 50-yard line. Maybe the solution is to turn off the clock and give each team the same number of possessions - no one-and-dones, in other words. If the game runs too long and the network doesn’t want to keep carrying it, kick it over to the NFL Network. EVERYBODY would want the NFL Network then, and it would help break this ridiculous impasse between the league and the cable companies.

RO: No radio communication. Leather helmets. No clock. Now that’s old, old, old school. Television certainly will be considered if any alterations are made to the current overtime format. The no-radio idea really would put the game in the hands of the quarterbacks and defensive players such as London Fletcher. What kind of blitz would London call on a third-and-4 from the Washington 33-yard line in overtime? How about Jason Campbell on a first-and-10 from the opposition 30 and the Redskins down by three points? Now that would create intrigue.

WEEKEND PICKS

REDSKINS THIS WEEK

REDSKINS (6-4) at SEAHAWKS (2-8)

Sunday, 4:15 p.m.

TV: Chs. 5, 45

Line: Redskins by 3 1/2

Outlook: Gotta-have-it time for the Redskins, the first true “must-win” since Week 2 against New Orleans. In losses to Pittsburgh and Dallas, the Redskins’ offense has been stuck in neutral (one touchdown). But Seattle’s pass defense ranks 31st, and it’s time for Jason Campbell to reignite the passing game.

The pick: Redskins 31-20

GAME OF THE WEEK

GIANTS (9-1) at CARDINALS (7-3)

Sunday, 4:15 p.m.

Line: Giants by 3

Outlook: A preview of the NFC title game, perhaps? That game likely would be played in the Meadowlands, and this gives Arizona a chance to measure itself against the league’s best team. A key for the Cardinals is combating the Giants’ wave of pass rushers. Kurt Warner will get his yards, but the Giants will win the game by relying on their running game.

The pick: Giants 23-18

UPSET WATCH

COLTS (6-4) at CHARGERS (4-6)

Sunday, 8:15 p.m.

TV: Ch. 4, 11

Line: Chargers by 2 1/2

Outlook: San Diego is this year’s Team Almost - its six losses are by a combined 25 points. Ownership already has said Norv Turner will be back next year. The change to Ron Rivera running the defense hasn’t helped. Enter Peyton Manning, who is rounding into form with seven touchdowns and no interceptions the last three weeks.

The pick: Colts 38-27

THIS WEEK’S LOCK

TEXANS (3-7) at BROWNS (4-6)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Line: Browns by 3

Outlook: Yes, the Browns are playing on short rest, and yes, they’ve been awful at home (1-3). But Houston has been downright brutal away from the Gulf Coast. The Texans are 0-5 on the road, including losses by 21, 19 and 28 points. In two starts, Brady Quinn has a 79.8 passer rating.

The pick: Browns 30-23

FRIDAY’S FIVE

Last five tie games in the NFL before the Philadelphia-Cincinnati deadlock last week:

1. Falcons 34, Steelers 34 (Nov. 10, 2002): Atlanta scored 17 points in final 7:44 of regulation, both teams blocked field goals in overtime and Plaxico Burress was stopped at the Atlanta 1-yard line as time expired.

2. Redskins 7, Giants 7 (Nov. 23, 1997): The famous Gus Frerotte Head Butt Game. The infamous Michael Westbrook took off his helmet to push the Redskins out of field goal range.

3. Eagles 10, Ravens 10 (Nov. 16, 1997): At old Memorial Stadium, Baltimore’s Matt Stover (53 yards) and Philadelphia’s Chris Boniol (40 yards) missed potential game-winning kicks.

4. Chiefs 10, Browns 10 (Nov. 19, 1989): Kansas City’s Nick Lowery kicked a fourth-quarter field goal; Cleveland had four turnovers.

5. Chiefs 17, Jets 17 (October 2, 1988): New York rushed for 242 yards and outgained KC 542-385 but committed three turnovers.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

A look each week at one statistic in last week’s games. This week: an NFL first.

11-10 Victory by Pittsburgh over San Diego was the first such final score in the 12,837-game history of the NFL.

INSIDE THE AFC

• Tennessee goes for 11-0 against the Jets. The previous two teams to start 10-0 were Indianapolis in 2005 and New England last year. Neither team won the Super Bowl - the Colts were stunned by Pittsburgh in the second round and the Patriots lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl.

• One correct prediction so far: not believing in the Bills at 5-1. Buffalo has lost four straight since, including one to each of its three AFC East rivals. Quarterback Trent Edwards has eight interceptions, two fumbles and a safety during the streak. “You start seeing things that you’re not really seeing, and you do things you’re not normally used to doing,” he said.

• Miami was the only team in the NFL on Wednesday to not have a single player on its injury report. The other 31 teams combined to have 261 players on their lists.

INSIDE THE NFC

• San Francisco right tackle Jonas Jennings was placed on injured reserve for the third time in four years since signing a $36 million free agent contract. He dislocated his right shoulder in Week 2 and was cleared physically but was unable to play.

• With six games remaining, 31 teams remain in playoff contention. Only 0-10 Detroit can start thinking about 2009. Arizona can clinch the NFC West with a win over the Giants, a San Francisco loss at Dallas and a Redskins win at Seattle. The Cardinals still have running back Edgerrin James on their roster even though James asked for his release (so he could obviously try to latch on with another contender).

• Carolina’s recipe for success: Don’t let Jake Delhomme throw it. Last week, the Panthers rushed for a franchise-record 264 yards. DeAngelo Williams has three straight 100-yard games, and rookie Jonathan Stewart gained a season-best 130 yards last week.

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