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The Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers will square off tonight in the Monday Night game, but outside of that skirmish, week 9 of the NFL season is in the books.  Congratulations, non-sports fans.  You are more than halfway through the regular season.  Only eight weeks to go! This week we have decided to combine our Water Cooler Cheat Sheet with our weekly recap of what you may have missed during Sunday’s action We understand that it was an uncommonly beautiful November Sunday yesterday weather-wise along the East Coast, so many of you were probably out enjoying the sunshine instead of being holed up in your living room watching a bunch of men in matching jerseys hit each other for three hours. We’re here to help.

1. “I know the Colts and Saints are both still undefeated, but man did they look vulnerable on Sunday.”

The Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints both ran their records to 8-0 with victories over the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers, respectively.  But neither game was easy.  The Colts needed a missed field goal by Houston kicker Kris Brown in the waning seconds of yesterday’s game to escape with a 20-17 victory.  Meanwhile, the Saints game against Carolina was still in doubt until a late fumble by DeAngelo Williams was returned for a touchdown by New Orleans defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove to provide the Saints with a 30-20 win.  New Orleans looks like a lock to run their record to 9-0 as they face woeful St. Louis this weekend.  The Colts, however, will have their annual tilt with the resurgent New England Patriots on Sunday night.

2. “Looks like the Bengals and Patriots have established themselves as the class of their divisions.”

New England defeated division-rival Miami 27-17 yesterday and now has a two-game lead in the AFC East.  Tom Brady connected with Randy Moss (pictured coasting into the end zone) on a 71-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter to lead the Patriots to the victory.  New England has a daunting schedule coming up as they face the Colts on Sunday, followed by a home game against the second place New York Jets, and then a road game on a Monday night against unbeaten New Orleans.  If the Patriots can win two of those games, especially the game against the Jets, they can all but wrap up the division.  Similarly, the Cincinnati Bengals made a big step toward making the playoffs by beating the Baltimore Ravens for the second time this year.  The Bengals sit in first place in their division at 6-2 a year after finishing last season with only four wins.

3. “Congratulations to Tampa Bay, but it looks like the Packers allowed Brett Favre to beat them three times this year.”

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the last team to win a game this year when they defeated the Green Bay Packers yesterday 38-28.  The Packers looked like they were in the throes of a classic big game hangover.  Last weekend, the Packers lost a hard fought game to the Minnesota Vikings and former Packer quarterback and legend Brett Favre.  It sure seemed like Green Bay still had Favre and company on their minds as they ultimately lost to an inferior Tampa bay squad. (By the way, the name of the  Minnesota quarterback is pronounced FARV.  There is no quicker way to lose all your sports credibility than to pronounce a player’s name incorrectly.  Just letting you know.)

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