Crime pays in the NFL

By Randy  |   Thursday, December 14, 2006  |  Comments( 5 )

New Orleans Saints
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Remember a wise man in the French Quarter saying one night that supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. He was walking out of Cat's Meow and appeared to be sober at the time. Maybe he stole the quote from that $5 Chinese Book of Proverbs at Barnes & Noble.

A cursory glance at the NFL statistical tables suggests the Saints may not have to put up much of a fight Sunday against the Redskins. A New Orleans win will clinch the NFC South title. It doesn't require a graduate degree in Numerology to discern that the digits are aligned in the Saints' favor.

Unfortunately, success in the National Football League requires a team to lead a life of crime. It is called the takeaway/giveaway ratio. Perfecting the art of thievery makes life a whole lot easier in the NFL.

Through 13 games, Washington has not been the "Take the Money and Run" types. One of those "Transforming Debt Into Wealth" courses by John Cummuta may be a good stocking stuffer for the Redskins this Christmas. Although at 4-9, they would not derive much benefit from it this year.

Rumor has it, Donald Rumsfeld recently mailed his resume to the Redskins' Maryland offices. The team is seeking applicants for a newly created position of Secretary of Defense.

But seriously, folks, Washington's 'D' has been one extremely inept criminal in 2006. They kind of remind you of Woody Allen's portrayal of the clumsy bank robber Virgil Starkwell, and their criminal escapades only seem to be worsening.

If they stay on their current pace, the Redskins will set a new record for futility, qualifying as one of the more offensive defensive units in modern times. Entering Week 15, they have created only 10 turnovers - five fumbles and five interceptions. Two of those takeaways came via the special teams unit. Green Bay and St. Louis hold the NFL low for takeaways with 15 in 2004. Washington appears on the verge of eclipsing that ignominious mark.

Adding insult to injury, the Redskins have scored only 13 points off those 10 turnovers. Opponents have outscored Washington 51-13 in that category. A telling stat in the team's collapse in 2006.

"Man, 13 points for the season?" Redskins defensive lineman Renaldo Wynn asked the Washington Post incredulously this week. "You look at us last year towards the end when we made the playoffs, in those games that was the difference-maker: We had a bunch of turnovers and we ended up scoring off them, or the defense scored for us. And that's one thing we have not done at all this year for whatever rhyme or reason, and that makes a huge difference."

An astute observation on Wynn's part. Problem is, the Saints have not been in a giving mood this Christmas season. After a midseason turnover spree that resulted in some costly losses to AFC North opponents, the Saints have not given the ball away in their last three games- victories against Atlanta, San Francisco and Dallas.

Washington also ranks near the bottom of the league with only 15 quarterback sacks in '06. By contrast, the Saints have allowed only 15 sacks of Drew Brees- second best in the NFL. Not bad for a unit that entered the season with a suspect offensive line including Jamaal Brown starting at the critical left tackle position - a spot on the line he had never played before.

Brees has been intercepted only 10 times this year while completing 66 percent of his passes. The Redskins defense enters Sunday's contest with only five interceptions. Washington has given up a league-worst 25 touchdown passes. Brees has passed for over 4,000 yards and 25 TDs. Get the picture.

"If he isn't the NFL MVP, I don't no who is," said WWL Radio analyst Hokie Gajan on Thursday night. "As a fan, you feel so comfortable with the football in that guy's hands."

Saints head coach Sean Payton has created an intense atmosphere in practice in New Orleans, fearing a letdown after last week's emotional, nationally televised victory over the Cowboys at Texas Stadium.

Brees says," We know the division title is within our grasp and the focus needs to be on taking care of business."

Odds are the Redskins will not steal that division title away from New Orleans in a league where crime pays.
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CommentsComments: 5  |  Sign Up  View all comments
No.1
Sue
06:06 PM
12/15/2006
Randy, You have written another really good Article, with a dash of humor mixed in. Keep writing these great articles. What a...
No.2
Tovash
03:10 PM
12/18/2006
Randy, remember what I said last week? I knew that the Saints were capable of laying a clunker of a game at some point. They made...
No.3
fr8ttrain
11:21 AM
12/28/2006
Cowboys lost to Skins too Tovash, and the Boys are only 2-4 in their division. Talk about smellin yourself?? And in keeping with...
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