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ESPN Insider: Chat with Michele Tafoya


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Chat with Michele Tafoya


Michele Tafoya: Some impressive finishes yesterday. Pittsburgh, Washington and the Giants were all successful in the end. What did you guys think?


Nate Springfield,Oh: Hi Michele,How bad did the loss hurt and Bengals and how bad does it hurt their chances of winning the AFC North?Thanks

Michele Tafoya: It does hurt the chances of winning the division, but good teams react positively when they lose to other good teams. It's motivation to get better. I still like the Bengals and they can't hang their heads over this one.


Geronimo (Baltimore, MD): Hey Michele, what about those NY Giants...Eli is the truth. What do you think of the Giants chances to make the playoffs.

Michele Tafoya: The Giants made a huge impression yesterday. I agree that Eli is the real deal and he proved it down the stretch. The NFC East might be the toughest in the NFL, and what would you say to a Giants-Colts Super Bowl with the Brothers Manning facing off.


CC (Topeka, KS): Falcons roll the J-E-T-S tonight. Yea or nay?

Michele Tafoya: I won't say yea or nay, but I do think the Falcons will win. I'm a believer in Atlanta, which looks like a team that is going to get better every week. The Jets are hurting, and not just at quarterback, and I hope this one isn't over too early.


CJ (Fort City): Please sum up the AFC West...I really think KC will win this division.

Michele Tafoya: Speaking of tough divisions...This one will be close. Denver looks very good desptite yesterday's loss and I still like SD, but KC has been very good. I love a division in which the favorite doesn't emerge until about Week 12. The Raiders have been a disappointment, but the AFC West is good otherwise.


Matt (Grand Rapids): It looks like the Joey Harrington era is over in Detroit. What can we expect from Jeff Garcia and the Lions from here on out?

Michele Tafoya: If Garcia stays healthy they might win the NFC North. This division is open to anyone, and that the Lions are still in the race shows how bad the division really is. But we may have seen a couple of turning points this weekend with a possible season-turning win from Minnesota and a Detroit offense that should be better with Garcia at the helm.


bob (burlingame, calif): Michele, What is your take on having an NFL team in Los Angeles?

Michele Tafoya: The NFL needs Los Angeles, Bob. It's a huge media market. LA has to decide how much it needs the NFL. I honestly feel bad talking about the Saints leaving New Orleans considering the timing, but it is possible. It's also possible the Chargers could wind up in LA, but corporate LA needs to really decide how committed it is to supporting a team financially.


Bryan (Atlanta): Can the Falcons hold on to Matt Schaub this off season? What do you think the price tag on him will be?

Michele Tafoya: The Schaub situation reminds me a lot of the Billy Volek situation in Tennessee, where Steve McNair can't stay healthy. Volek could be a starter somewhere but has stuck around because Tennessee has paid him. Atlanta will have to do the same to hold onto Shaub, and they would be wise to because of Mike Vick's playing style and his injury history.


Andy (OH): Michele, with a good coach like Romeo Crennel, why does it seem like the Browns continue to take steps BACKWARD, instead of improving?

Michele Tafoya: Sometimes you have to go back before you can go forward. With a brand new coach and changes in the system steps back are almost inevitable. Fans need to be patient when new coaches come in since it often takes a full season and two training camps for everyone to be on the same page.


Cayne (Federal Way, WA): Michele, you talk of fantastic finishes with no mention of the Seahawks! Us Seattle'ites' aren't used to winning close comeback games... we need the recognition.

Michele Tafoya: You're right, Seattle had a fantastic finish and got an important win. When you beat solid teams in close-game situations you can't help but have a confidence boost and your outlook positively influenced. Seattle is a very good team and this is a great way to head into the bye week. The next big challenge will be slowing down St. Louis on Nov. 13.


Brian (Washington, DC): For all of the praise Dilfer has gotten this season do you think that it is time for us to see Charlie Frye? Dilfer was down right awful yesterday against a mediocre Lions defense.

Michele Tafoya: Not knowing how these guys look in practice I wouldn't know how to answer this. It's always tempting for fans to want the backup to play when things aren't going well, but it's very possible Dilfer is just the better quarterback right now.


Tony (Chicago): With the scary good defense of chicago can they make the playoffs?

Michele Tafoya: Again, in the NFC North nothing would surprise me. That defense is very good and the next three games look winnable (Detroit, New Orleans, San Francisco). This division is just too tough to call because no team is pulling away. It's anyone's division right now.


Kevin (Baltimore, MD): Hey Michele, in your honest opinion, what is wrong with the Baltimore Ravens?

Michele Tafoya: A lot of the problems on offense are due to the absence of Kyle Boller. Even though the defense is not what it has been that unit is still the strength of the team, but that is apparently not enough right now. The schedule is unforgiving over the next five weeks, and this just does not look like the Ravens' year. I might not have said that a few weeks ago, but they just cannot move the ball right now.


Johnny (New Orleans, LA): Someone needs to mention how the Saints were robbed on the potentially game-winning drive against the Rams. Am I the only one who saw how absolutely horrid the call was?

Michele Tafoya: It's been tough watching the Saints lately because of the sentimental feelings we all have for the team. I think the Conwell play was a tough one to call, and it comes on the heels of the brutal loss the previous week to the Falcons. I don't think you're the only one who thinks they're getting robbed, but these are close calls that we probably wouldn't be noticing as much if it weren't the Saints.


t (pittsburgh): were you at all surprised with the steelers convincing victory yesterday?

Michele Tafoya: I was a little surprised, T. I'm a believer in the Bengals and I thought the game would be closer. The win is very important for Pittsburgh and it's really hard to ignore the value of Big Ben to the Steelers. The defense obviously did a good job, too. Impressive win for Bill Cowher's team.


nick (Finlayson,mn): good afternoon Michele, do you believe the vikings can turn the season around after a come from behind win over the packers?

Michele Tafoya: This kind of win was exactly what they needed. If the division were better I'd say they Vikings need more than one win, but because the NFL North is so bad this kind of game could be a turning point for the Purple. What was most impressive was the way Minnesota stopped Green Bay's offense in the second half. Clearly, the Vikings knew it was time to change something and now let's see how they build on it.


Roman (Kansas City): Does Green Bay's devistating Loss yesterday mark the official end of thier Season?

Michele Tafoya: It was indeed devastating, Roman. Green Bay looked confident in winning the week before, and in the first half against the Vikings it was more of the same. To be stopped and beaten the way they were could be very demoralizing for the team. Oh, and the injuries continue to pile up, too.


Mo (Atlanta): Hey Michele - what's the deal with the lack of coverage of Seattle's win yesterday? I understand the team plays in the Pacific Northwest, but a win over "America's Team" should merit some press time, don't you think? Thanks.

Michele Tafoya: I thought it got a lot of press time, Mo. I saw highlights again and again, so I'm starting to think Seahawks fans have a bit of an inferiority complex. Remember, Dallas isn't a juggernaut right now. Was it a good win? Yes, but it had to compete wiht a lot of other fantastic finishes.


Grant (IN): What's your most favorite NFL city and venue?

Michele Tafoya: My favorite stadium right now is Qwest Field in Seattle, a beautiful place without a bad seat in the house. One of my favorite cities is San Francisco, but there really hasn't been much reason lately to go there. Whenever we cover the Pats we stay in Boston, which I love, and Gillette Stadium is pretty impressive, too. And we always love going to Green Bay because of the fans and the atmosphere. San Diego is high on the list with the good weather.


Scott (Mauldin SC): Michelle...do you believe T. Bruschi have in impact in his "much anticipated" Patriots return - for the rest of the season?

Michele Tafoya: I think Bruschi will absolutely have an impact, and even if it's more emotional they can use that right now. Tedy has stayed in shape and is enough of a veteran to know exactly what he needs to do to be ready, and I also hope people will stop questioning his decision because he's a guy who would never put his family at risk just to play a little more football and I'm certain this decision is very well-researched. The void he left has been huge and the Pats can't wait to have him back.


Matt (Philly): HOw about Phily, held LT to 10 yeards and that was a pretty exciting finish as well, no??

Michele Tafoya: This one builds some momentum, no question. That finish was one of the best of the day, but what they did to LT was the most impressive thing anyone did all day. This is a team you can never count out as long as McNabb is in the lineup, but the upcoming schedule is pretty brutal. Let's see what happens at Denver next week.


Mike (Roanoke, VA): No Skins discussion yet?? What did you think of the 52 Washington put up, granted it was against SF and what do you think of the HUGE match-up with NYG?

Michele Tafoya: I mentioned Washington right out of the gate, Mike, and theirs was one of the most impressive performances of the day. The Redskins seem to be getting better every week and are a big reason I think the NFC East is going to be the toughest in the league. Next week's game is huge for both teams. I can't wait to see the savvy veteran Brunell against the young Manning. Washington is one of the surprises of the NFL and this should be an entertaining game.


Steve (New York): When will Ricky Williams be traded???

Michele Tafoya: The 1-2 punch is a nice thing to have these days. Ask the Chiefs and Rams. Williams has struggled early but Miami's line has not helped at all, so it's maybe too early to think about trading a guy with as much talent and skill as Ricky has.


steve b (indiana): why are the eagles not using brian westbrook at his fulliest (not running him)

Michele Tafoya: Westbrook certainly thinks so, Steve. I'm not clear on why there using him so little in the running game and I'd like to see the guy get a lot more touches period because he's one of the most dynamic players in the league. It's hard for me to question Andy Reid, though, because he's one of the best game-planners I've ever seen. I look forward to the time when Westbrook's contract is settled and everything is back to normal in Philly, and until they it's hard to know exactly what's going on there.

Michele Tafoya: Looking forward to a few big matchups next week: Redskins at Giants, Chiefs at Chargers and Philly at Denver. We'll talk about it all next Monday.

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