- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2006

1. The Redskins are a bad team.

Right now, they execute poorly on both sides of the ball and on special teams, and they make poor decisions when it comes to personal fouls and unsportsmanlike penalties. They are a seriously flawed team that has a long final two months ahead of them.

The latest loss - 36-22 to Indianapolis Sunday at the RCA Dome - was expected. The Colts did what they wanted to do on offense. Thing is, it took two quarters for the Colts to warm up and as a result, the Redskins squandered a great opportunity to get back into the NFC playoff race.

Instead, they’re 2-5 and only Arizona and San Francisco are having poorer seasons in the conference. Other teams have only two wins, but at least Green Bay has Brett Favre.

Because of their schedule, the Redskins could be headed toward a 12- or 13-loss season. I’m not kidding. Who will they beat? Philadelphia, Dallas, Carolina, Atlanta, the Giants at home? St. Louis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay on the road? Right now, they’ll be an underdog in every one of those games.

2. Peyton Manning is good

Yesterday was the first time I had seen Peyton Manning play in person. Holy smokes, the guy is good. He carved up the Redskins’ defense for four touchdowns (three in the third quarter). And he makes throws that Mark Brunell can’t make, but neither can a lot of other quarterbacks.

Two plays stick out, both in the third quarter.

On the first play, Manning - seeing that Redskins safety Adam Archuleta was the lone man playing center field - changed the plan. Reggie Wayne ran a deep post and got behind Archuleta to catch a 51-yard touchdown pass to give the Colts a 27-14 lead.

On the second play, Manning took the snap, rolled to his right, planted and threw a bullet to the left sideline that Marvin Harrison caught for a first-down gain. It’s a throw that only Manning and Favre can complete.

3. Troy Vincent should start vs. Dallas

Signed a week ago and on the field for the first time since Sept. 10, new Redskins safety Troy Vincent played beaucoup snaps against the Colts, sending Archuleta to the sideline.

Vincent should start against the Cowboys, giving Archuleta time to regain his undoubtedly shaky confidence. If Joe Gibbs is all about playing who gives the Redskins the best chance to win, he should OK Vincent into the starting lineup.

4. If the Giants win tonight, they’re in good shape

Should the Giants win their third straight game with a victory at Dallas tonight, New York will be 4-2 overall, 3-0 in the NFC East and 2-0 in division road games. They’ll be in the division driver’s seat.

Elsewhere in the division, Philadelphia has to be concerned after losing consecutive road games to New Orleans and Tampa Bay. The worrisome part about Sunday’s loss - which came on a 62-yard Matt Bryant field goal - isn’t that they lost, but that they fell behind 17-0 before waking up.

5. Arizona should fire Denny Green today

The Cardinals, six days removed from choking away a game to Chicago, lost at wretched Oakland, giving the Raiders perhaps their only win of the season.

Denny Green - and I’m not a fan, considering that he did several things to ruin the Minnesota Vikings throughout the 1990s - should be shown the gate immediately before Matt Leinart and Edgerrin James are ruined.

Green’s scapegoat last week was Keith Rowan, who was demoted as offensive coordinator. The Cardinals probably hoped Rowan would quit so they wouldn’t have to pay him.

It’s the same old Cardinals in the desert.

6. The Vikings’ win at Seattle was impressive

Facing the defending NFC champs at their place, the Vikings defeated Seattle 31-13. Brad Childress has done some questionable things during his first season, but he isn’t afraid to call the trick play. Running back Mewelde Moore threw a touchdown pass against the Seahawks.

Memo to Joe Gibbs: Sometimes, rolling the dice with a fake punt or fake field goal can spark a team in many ways.

Minnesota is 4-2 and has played only one NFC North game. Considering that it should sweep Detroit, lose at Chicago and hopefully sweep Green Bay, the Vikings will be headed to a wild card berth.

7. Indy-Denver will be interesting

The Colts at Broncos is next week’s top matchup. Denver’s defense has allowed next to nothing this season, and the Broncos improved to 5-1 with a 17-7 win over Cleveland.

The Broncos’ biggest challenge to date will come against the Manning-led Colts.

Dallas at Carolina is the No. 2 marquee game.

8. Miami: Most disappointing team in NFL

The Redskins would be in the running for this category, but the Dolphins’ 1-6 start that includes losses at Houston and home defeats to Buffalo and Green Bay qualifies as the most disappointing so far this year.

Miami ended last year with six consecutive wins and acquired Daunte Culpepper. But Culpepper proved to be not fit to play full time and the Fins have had to rely on Joey Harrington. No defense, though, should give up 34 points to the Packers.

9. Seattle is finished if Matt Hasselbeck’s injury is serious

Seneca Wallace leading the Seahawks offense without Shaun Alexander doesn’t put as much fear into the minds of defensive coordinators. Hasselbeck strained his knee against the Vikings and missed most of the second half.

10. Non-football thoughts

* “Lost” is on a roll three episodes into Season 3. Can’t wait for Wednesday nights at 9 to see what the writers have come up with next.

* I give “Flags Of Our Fathers” three-and-a-half stars. Anybody who says it’s better than “Saving Private Ryan” should be committed. It’s good, but the battlefield scenes aren’t near as impressive and there isn’t a Tom Hanks in this movie, either.

* Congrats to two former co-workers and still friends on becoming first-time fathers. In Colorado, Patrick Ridgell’s wife had a baby girl; in Pennsylvania, Jim Seip’s wife also had a baby girl. Both moms and babies are doing well.

* I’m paying attention to the World Series (mostly through the expert game stories by Nats beat reporter/diehard seamhead Mark Zuckerman), but I can’t sit through an entire game, much less 2-3 innings. I don’t find it very interesting.

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