The morning games have had a decidedly bizarro world feel to them.
Arizona, who has thus far been a tremendous flop, has Baltimore on the ropes early. Granted, that is mostly due to a punt return TD and the emergence of one Joe Flake-o at QB. But still, two touchdowns up in Baltimore is nothing to sneeze at.
Meanwhile, over at the Moving-to-LA-Dome, the Rams seem to have channeled the energy of that other St Louis team and are taking it to the Saints.
A strange development, and perhaps an aberration, but it also has to make you think. Perhaps this division race isn’t as one-sided as it appears, and all this talk about the Niners cruising to the playoffs is going to look very foolish come December.
In about an hour or so, the Niners will kick off what is more or less the definition of a trap game. At home, off the bye, against a struggling team that only managed 6 points last week.
It’s a much more ominous feeling than two weeks ago in Detroit. We all figured that would be a challenging game, but this is one the Niners should win, a game they’ve had an extra week to play for. It’s like being the #5 seed in the NCAA basketball tournament. It’s like having the bases loaded with no outs and Eli Whiteside at bat. -It’s a facepalm you can see coming from a mile away.
Maybe I’m making too much out of this. After all, even with a Niner loss and the assumption that neither Arizona or St Louis blow their leads they’ll still be three and four games out, respectively. And Seattle faces a Cincy team that has very quietly built itself a 4-2 record.
But still, it’s a reminder that the season is far from over, and the other teams in the division aren’t just going to roll over. That’s not to say St. Louis or Arizona will roar all the way back and finish ahead of the Niners, but they could both catch the Niners off guard and make the race a lot closer than everyone expects.
UPDATE: And just like that, Arizona chokes away the lead. This is why I don’t offer betting advice.