Clint's Corner Archive

Clint's Corner Archive

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The source for back issues of Clint's Corner. Forget a trade? Were Clint's predictions correct? Here's every edition, verbatim.

For 10/6/98

Count your blessings...

Before you complain that the Pats only beat the Saints by three points instead of 17, consider the alternative; you could be a 49ers fan. The Pats were a touchdown favorite traveling to face the undefeated Saints, but Vegas handicapped the ‘9ers with double digits. Surely they would not lose to the winless Bills, right?

In a 16 game season, every game is important, and you won’t be on top of your game every week. Last season, the Super Bowl champion Broncos steam rolled virtually every opponent, but they were roughed up by the 6-10 Raiders in Oakland by Napolean McCallum. We also just saw the defending NFC Champions lose their first home game since September 1995. The Vikings were ahead 37-10 when Favre was benched in the 4th quarter. As if that score was not bad enough, consider that 7 of Green Bay’s 10 points were scored by the Special Teams.

The lesson here is to NEVER complain about winning a game in the National Football League. Sure you can be leery of the Pats 3rd down defense. Sure you ought to be concerned about the 4 turnovers and many missed opportunities on offense, but don’t cry about winning the game by only 3 points. If you read my column last week, you know I wrote how the Saints were a 3-0 team that had the numbers to prove they were 3-0. Their defense is very solid, and until they played the Pats, they have been running the ball very well on offense. If that wasn’t enough, the Saints were also really up for the game, anxious to knock off an AFC powerhouse at home to prove their metal. When you win on the road, you pack your bags and go home satisfied, no matter whom you beat or how you beat them.

Put up or shut up...

Next Sunday, the Pats will play what the media, fans and the players all call a "big game." If the Pats want to be considered a force in the AFC, they must beat the teams who also share that opinion of themselves. The 4-1 Chiefs are certainly one of those teams, with many preseason prognosticators picking them to win the Super Bowl, and with their star linebacker Derek Thomas predicting they could go undefeated. A loss at Jacksonville has already proved Thomas wrong, but the Chiefs are still the defending AFC West Champions, and they believe they can overtake Denver en route to the AFC Championship.

Year in and year out, the Chiefs win a lot of games and make the playoffs. They accomplish this, however, with the aid of one of the best home field advantages in the NFL. Arrowhead Stadium is among the toughest venues in all of sports for a visiting team to win a game in. Fortunately for the Pats, this Sunday’s game is in Foxboro.

Last season, the Chiefs were 5-3 on the road. None of those 5 wins came against teams with winning records. The Chiefs only played three teams with more than 8 wins on the road last season, and they went 0-3 losing at Miami, Denver, and Jacksonville by an average deficit of 11 points. The Pats also played those three teams on the road in ‘97, going 2-1 with their mandatory loss coming at the hands of the Broncos. So far this young season, the Chiefs are holding true to form. They are 3-0 at home and 1-1 on the road, losing to the 4-0 Jaguars and defeating the 0-5 Eagles.

The Eagles scored a total of 16 points in their 1st three games, and were trailing at Denver 41-2 before scoring in garbage time. At home against the Chiefs in week 4, the Eagles put up three touchdowns, all on offense, and damn near won the game. Now I just got through telling you that there is no such thing as a bad win in the NFL, but squeaking by the 0-5 Eagles has got to be worse than almost blowing a game to the 3-0 Saints. 40% of the Eagles points this season came in one game against the Chiefs. If you take away the two 4th quarter TD’s and the 2 point safety in the blowout to Denver, nearly 57% of the Eagles offense this year over 5 games has come in 4 quarters against the Chiefs. You would think, on paper at least, that the Pats could do better than the Eagles. Perhaps the Chiefs suffered a let down in Philly, or perhaps they are just a much different team on the road than they are at home. The Patriots, at 3-1, have a winning record, so the Chiefs have as much to prove this Sunday as New England does.

Tale of the tape...

  Offense Rush Pass Defense Rush Pass

Chiefs

16th

23rd

5th

1st

8th

18th

Pats

12th

9th

19th

13th

15th

1st

  Games Yards Average AFC Rank

Bennett

5

397

3.9

10th

Edwards

4

274

4.2

5th

Clash of the Titans?

Last Sunday’s game between the Dolphins and Jets pitted Miami’s #3 ranked defense against the #3 ranked offense of the Jets. It was billed as a clash of Titans in the AFC East. I beg to differ. If this were game 1 of the season, you’d think you were watching two teams battling for 4th place in the division. It wasn’t a matter of which team played better than the other, it was a contest of which team stunk worse.

Miami had the #3 ranked defense after defending the Colts on the road, then the Bills and the Steelers at home. Those three teams, on offense, today rank 18th, 17th, and 28th in the NFL. It should not be hard to pile up the defensive numbers against teams like that. New York’s offense had faced the 49ers, Ravens, and Colts. Those three teams, after last Sunday’s games, rank 30th (last), 19th, and 22nd on defense. It should not be hard to put up offensive stats facing that type of talent. What those numbers are telling us is that every team in the league is shutting down the same opponents Miami shut down, and every team in the league is moving the ball against the same teams the Jets moved the ball against. Whoopie. The Patriots currently rank higher on both offense and defense than any opponent the Jets or Dolphins had faced prior to playing each other. And you wonder why the Pats are 13-3 in the East over the past two seasons! Not to look past the Chiefs, but Tuna Bowl III is just around the corner.

Sunday should be a great game. Take the "under", and I’ll see you next week!