By Michael Silver, Yahoo! Sports
October 31, 2007
As Brett Favre's breathtaking deep ball soared through the thin Colorado air Monday night, football fans everywhere but the Rockies were sky-high with the expectation that the 38-year-old quarterback was producing yet another unforgettable thrill.
But shortly after Packers wideout Greg Jennings raced into the end zone to complete the 82-yard hookup on the first play of overtime, it was time to get grounded and consider the ramifications of Green Bay's 19-13 victory over the Broncos.
First, how impressive is the Packers' defense? Led by linebacker Nick Barnett and cornerback Charles Woodson, Green Bay limited a Broncos team that had put up 31 on the Steelers the previous week to a touchdown and a pair of field goals, surviving a late drive on which Denver was four yards from victory. The defenses of the Cowboys and Giants get more attention, but among the NFC's top contenders, the Pack's might actually be the best of the three.
Secondly, while Favre's two scoring bombs led the highlight packages, did anyone happen to notice that a first-year player named Ryan Grant ran 22 times for 104 yards? If the Packers suddenly have a running game to go with their majestically revived quarterback, this could be a very good offense when the weather turns and the games get big.
1. New England Patriots: If they get up on Indy late, will Bill Belichick try to run up the score?
2. Indianapolis Colts: What if Tony Dungy – gasp – runs it up on the Pats?
3. Dallas Cowboys: What do Tony Romo and Kevin Federline have in common?
4. Tennessee Titans: Can LenDale White do that (25 carries, 133 yards) every week, and if so, is it time we stop making fun of him for his conditioning?
5. Pittsburgh Steelers: How automatic is this team in the state of Ohio?
6. Green Bay Packers: Can you name five more memorable Brett Favre passes than the one he threw to beat the Broncos?
7. New York Giants: All things considered, isn't Tom Coughlin the obvious frontrunner for Coach of the Year?
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: With Fred Taylor closing in on 10,000 career rushing yards, how scarily high might that number be had he been blessed with good health?
9. San Diego Chargers: When was the last time a San Diego defensive back looked as disruptive as Antonio Cromartie did Sunday?
10. Detroit Lions: Where did this team suddenly get its toughness, and why do I keep thinking I may have underestimated Rod Marinelli?
11. Baltimore Ravens: Yo, Ray Lewis – after criticizing Brian Billick's play-calling and calling former teammate Adalius Thomas a "coward," perhaps you should consider channeling that rage into a transcendent performance in Pittsburgh Monday night?
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: After two straight losses, wouldn't now be a good time for rookie defensive end Gaines Adams to start playing like a No. 4 overall pick?
13. Washington Redskins: Did Joe Gibbs once brush past young Bill Belichick at a coaches' convention?
14. Seattle Seahawks: Can the return of Deion Branch and D.J. Hackett make up for the apparent reality that Shaun Alexander has been body-snatched?
15. Kansas City Chiefs: Is Jared Allen so good that, despite his off-the-field issues, he'll still get big money after this season?
16. Cleveland Browns: Is it fair to say that Braylon Edwards was a pretty legitimate first-round draft pick for a franchise that hasn't had many of those?
17. New Orleans Saints: For a guy whose highly regarded team lost its first four games, Sean Payton never seemed overly stressed, did he?
18. Carolina Panthers: That "Return of Vinny" story was a heartwarming short subject, wasn't it?
19. Denver Broncos: Do you think Mike Shanahan would like to have that quarterback-draw call on their last possession back, or what?
20. Arizona Cardinals: Is it true that during the bye week, team doctors cut open Tim Rattay's throwing arm and implanted habanero peppers?
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Should we be surprised that Donovan McNabb isn't going down without a fight?
22. Chicago Bears: If I write nice things about Brian Griese, does he automatically suck the next week?
23. Houston Texans: How did this team that looked so promising at the start of the season degenerate into such a mess?
24. Buffalo Bills: Can they play the Jets every week?
25. Oakland Raiders: It took Al Davis this long to realize that Mike Williams isn't a player?
26. Minnesota Vikings: Hey, Brad Childress – after you chose to go into a season without a quarterback, what did you expect?
27. Cincinnati Bengals: Why exactly didn't this team sign Grady Jackson the second he became available?
28. Atlanta Falcons: Can Brian Brohm really be as great as Bobby Petrino believes he is, and could this franchise be any more shameless about tanking a season to enhance its chances of landing him?
29. New York Jets: How many teammates are jealous of Jonathan Vilma?
30. San Francisco 49ers: When your banged-up quarterback has to rally the troops in garbage time to exceed 200 total yards for the third time in seven games, how bleak are your offensive prospects?
31. St. Louis Rams: Never mind the blackout; can you believe 62,777 people actually showed up to watch this putrid team last Sunday?
32. Miami Dolphins: When Wayne Huizenga announced that the Crown Jewels would be on display during that fabulous team party he threw at the Tower of London last Friday, did Cam Cameron instinctively reach for his groin?
Michael Silver covers the NFL for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Mogotxt, Twitter and Facebook. Also check out ridewithsilver.com. Send Michael a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Wednesday, Oct 31, 2007 11:04 am, EDT
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