Journey out west to the division that defense forgot. Oakland adds one of the game's best receivers but will he bring Geritol for the defensive line? Is Arrowhead Stadium now the Coors Field of the NFL, scaring off defensive free agents? Plus, Denver joins the march to the 3-4, and finally, the People's Champion has come back... to San Diego?!?! Mike Tanier whips through the AFC West in the latest edition of Four Downs.
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In the first edition of our new offseason feature, Four Downs, Mike Tanier takes a team-by-team look at the NFC West through the eyes of Football Outsiders, and examines the key questions facing each club. Four Downs will be regular feature on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the offseason.
Mike Tanier goes deep inside the psyche of Philadelphia sports fans as they hope for a championship on Sunday but secretly prepare to have their winter ruined by the Eagles. Guaranteed to be the only column in Football Outsiders history with a Charles Shackleford reference.
We told Michael Tanier that we would add him to the official Football Outsiders staff if he could come up with a unique angle on this year's big game. Can one solitary Eagles fan make it through two weeks of non-stop Super Bowl hype without either going insane or getting nominated for the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay?
They clinched home field advantage with weeks to spare. But when an offensive superstar was hurt in the clinching game, coaches had to decide whether to bench regulars and risk losing their competitive edge, or let the starters play in the waning weeks and risk injury. Do the 1996 Denver Broncos foretell playoff failure for the 2004 Philadelphia Eagles? Michael Tanier revisits those long ago days when John Elway was just a guy with great stats who couldn't win the big one.
There's a lot of talk out there about the Peyton Manning breaking the passing touchdown record, but very little talk about how Dan Marino set it. Michael Tanier compares the two seasons to find out if Manning is guilty of padding his stats -- or if Marino was guilty of padding his. Or neither.
The term "playoff race" is a bit of a misnomer when every team in the NFC seems to be running away from the playoffs. We could have two 8-8 teams in the playoffs this season, maybe even a 7-9 team. Michael Tanier looks at the worst teams to ever make the postseason, and what the histories of those teams say about the feeble NFC playoff contenders of 2004.