The Red Zone: You Cannot Deny Fantasy Jesus His TDs.

Chargers 14, Bears 3 – The problem with taking LaDainian Tomlinson out of the mix for the first half of the game is that you leave everyone else open to screw you over in the second half, and while Chicago was more than capable of keeping San Diego out of the end zone in the first half, they needed their offense to cooperate and get in the end zone. Problem is, the Bolts defense is good enough talent-wise to keep opposing O’s out. Putting everyone on Tomlinson meant Antonio Gates was open all day, and eventually Fantasy Jesus got end zone with the patented halfback pass to Gates along with one rushing TD. Expect the Rex Grossman bitching to continue in the Windy City, although if you want to blame anyone, blame Cedric Benson and his fumbleitis and self-tackleization.

Cowboys 45, Giants 35 – Let me get this out of the way first: I am incredibly uncomfortable with a universe in which both Norv Turner and Wade Phillips are undefeated. I don’t care if it’s Week One, and Tony Romo was facing a Giants defense that was not only sketchy to begin with, it’s still weird. T.O. and Jason Witten just broke Big Blue down in the second half. and the Giants kept fading in and out with the injuries accumulated throughout the game. At the very least, Giants fans cannot pin this loss on Eli Manning. He may have thrown picks, but he was the only thing keeping New York in this game until he suffered a “bruised shoulder” late in the 4th, and Coughlin should be praying that it isn’t any worse, or the Pillsbury Throwboy (Jared Lorenzen) will be starting next week. As for what Dallas ought to address: wasn’t Wade Phillips brought in to fix the defense? Allowing 35 to a team as dysfunctional as the Giants ought to give them pause, and eventually, Phillips and O-coordinator Jason Garrett must decide that Julius Jones does them little good; Marion Barber III is The Truth, and needs to be starting.

Seahawks 20, Buccaneers 6 – Another year and a new, better, and more efficient quarterback hasn’t made any difference for RB Carnell Williams, as the Seattle D sent him to the sideline with an injury and put newly acquired Jeff Garcia there with him not too much later. Luke McCown did time in this game as the replacement, which really tells you all you need to know.

Lions 36, Raiders 21 – Even in victory, Detroit performs an admirable feat that no team should want to be associated with: allowing the lamentably bad Oakland offense, led by Josh McCown, three offensive touchdowns. Jon Kitna managed his usual feat of balancing out his touchdown throws with 2 picks, while McCown somehow was permitted to throw for 300+ plus yards on the Lions’ defense. At least Oakland showed some fight under Lane Kiffin; it certainly gives them the edge in the matchup with Kansas City regarding who will be the worst in the AFC West.

As for my picks this week, I’m 7-7 so far before the Monday night games.

Photo: AP/Denis Poroy

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