Some random observations at the one-third pole.

Some random observations at the one-third pole:

_Sure is a passing league now. Joe Flacco has been really good, completes about two-thirds of his passes and has 11 TDs to five picks. Yet that’s only good for sixth-best efficiency in his own conference, sandwiched between 2008 passing leader Philip Rivers and a guy named Brady.

On the NFC side, three straight games of 100-plus rating, followed by a 300-yard night, add up to ninth place for Jay Cutler.

_Eight teams have come off a bye thus far and six have won. The other two have Turners coaching.

_I write this thing on Fridays, so I can’t speak for Saturday’s result. But prior to that, Florida had not won at Mississippi State since 1985. Not an NFL factoid, but stunning enough to include.

_While off topic, this baseball point. When Chad Durbin relieved J.A. Happ in the pennant-clincher for the Phillies, Dr. William Farley could have repeated what he once said at a card game with my dad. “I delivered both those boys,” the fabulous G.P. slash OB/GYN, who practiced well into his 80s, uttered a different time when the two LaSalle-Peru natives traded the mound for the world champions. I think that’s kind of neat.

_Back to mysterious statistical facts. The guy named Allen Rossum, with whom we’re all vaguely familiar, went back to his hometown team, the Dallas Cowboys, from San Francisco two weeks ago when Michael Crabtree signed with the latter. And they told me Rossum was second all-time in NFL return yardage. What in the name of Billy “White Shoes” Johnson is going on here?

_I find Aaron Rodgers good, not great. Discuss.

_If you need any more reminder how fickle the NFL can be, consider the last two weeks of the Giants and Raiders. They played Oct. 11, the Giants named their own score, and linebacker Antonio Pierce said it was like a scrimmage. One Sunday later, playing opponents perceived as relatively even in preseason, one team got run off the field and the other won.

You know which is which. Want to pick all these games?

Love ’em

Colts -13 at RAMS: The second-best team in the NFL should be nervous the Colts won all their games before Bob Sanders got back. The 32nd-best team? Well, they ought to just punt. INDIANAPOLIS.

Eagles -7 at REDSKINS: The best way to re-empower the neutered Jim Zorn, who was ordered to relinquish play-calling duties to a bingo guy? Let him quarterback this bunch. PHILADELPHIA.

Like ’em, but I’m scared

PANTHERS -7 vs. Bills: The only way “Carolina minus 7” makes sense is if Roy Williams is on the sideline and Ty Lawson is running the point. BUFFALO.

I’ll know more Monday

BENGALS -1 vs. Bears: I ask two things of the Bears. One, let Derrick Brooks come play some linebacker. Two, start playing at noon again. I’m all out of excuses for getting nothing done on Sundays before 3 p.m. CHICAGO.

TEXANS -3 vs. 49ers: Houston never met a quality road win it couldn’t follow up with a disappointing home loss. SAN FRANCISCO.

I hate these games

Patriots -14 1/2 vs. Buccaneers: Tom Brady threw as many touchdown passes in one quarter last week (5) as the Raiders have scored all season on offense. However, we’re not sure a Friday flight to London connotes the right mindset for the heavy favorites here. TAMPA.

Saints -6 at DOLPHINS: A bye team at home facing a “sandwich” team, between Giants and Falcons games. Upset alert? Not with Vontae Davis and his porous gang trying to stop this passing machine and top D-coordinator Gregg Williams breaking down the Wildcat. NEW ORLEANS.

Packers -9 at BROWNS: The Pack followed its Mark Tauscher signing by bringing back Ahman Green. What, did Paul Hornung turn them down? They do know Favre is taken, right? CLEVELAND.

Chargers -4 1/2 at CHIEFS: A diseased team vs. a bad one. Sometimes, I simply resent having to pick every game. KANSAS CITY.

STEELERS -4 vs. Vikings: We know this column is for entertainment purposes only. But you can be really entertained by taking Pittsburgh. Because ITL is 0-6 picking the champs’ games and we’re guessing Minnesota’s dominance of the Steelers O-line will slightly trump Big Ben’s party on a perennially bad secondary. MINNESOTA.

GIANTS -7 vs. Cardinals: Kurt Warner returns to the one place he didn’t succeed, and faces what before last week was the league’s best pass rush. But the old man is getting the ball out quickly these days, and the dive of last year creates the feeling that Giants’ slumps last longer than one game. ARIZONA.

COWBOYS -4 vs. Falcons: The national love affair with the Falcons is largely justified, since they’re so well-coached. But it’s a little overboard nonetheless. DALLAS.

Jets -6 at RAIDERS: It’s stunning how often these “Heidi” combatants meet, seemingly the most of any nondivisional rivals I can think of. It’s even more stunning how bad the quarterback play figures to be here, especially with the NFL’s best two non-Champ cornerbacks (Jets’ Darrelle Revis, Raiders’ Nnamdi Asomugha) on the field. Even money there are more defensive touchdowns than offensive. OAKLAND.

Last week: 8-6
Season: 44-46

Peoria Journal Star sports editor Bill Liesse can be reached at (309) 686-3213 or bliesse@pjstar.com.