Wade Phillips’ time is up for Dallas; the Jets flop; the Patriots keep winning; hot player of the week; who’s tops in the NFC?

By Jim Buzinski

How I saw Week 8 in the NFL:

Fire sale: The scariest performance on a Halloween Sunday was Dallas’ 35-17 embarrassing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. This is the same Jaguars team that had lost its last two games by 27 and 22 points. The Cowboys, who had hoped to become the first team to play a Super Bowl on its home field, dropped to 1-6 and 0-4 at home. It’s time to fire Coach Wade Phillips.

I am normally not one who thinks a midseason firing is warranted, but the Cowboys have quit. Yes, the offense is missing Tony Romo to injury, but what’s the defense’s excuse? Phillips serves as defensive coordinator and that unit is playing like a bunch of dogs. The players seemed to have quit and have tuned out Phillips. Since he’s a goner after this season any way, why not can him now and see if Jason Garrett can provide a spark?

“I’m distraught, to say the least,” Phillips said. “I’ve got talented players and I’m not getting them to play well enough. To me, that’s the root of the problem.”

Hot player of the week: Adrian Peterson

I was smart enough to not pick the Boys to make the Super Bowl prior to the season, but still thought they would be a wild card. They clearly have talent, but leadership is clearly missing. Jerry Jones says he is not yet ready to make a change, but I am not sure what he’s waiting for. Jones is the de facto GM but he won’t be fired since he’s also the owner.

Grounded: The Jets had been the league’s hottest team, winners of five in a row. So how to explain a home 9-0 loss to Green Bay? The Packers (5-3) are good, but the Jets (5-2) were healthy and coming off a bye; their offense played like it was still on a bye.

This game showed the folly of using all your replay challenges too early. Rex Ryan challenged two plays early in the game that weren’t of much consequence and lost both. So he could not overturn a Packers interception that looked more like it should have been Jets ball down by contact inside Green Bay territory.

First place: The Patriots (6-1) continue to win while looking less than dominant, but that’s the NFL in 2010. They beat the Vikings (2-5), 28-18, on the strength of a fluky long TD pass and a fluky interception that set up another. This comes a week after they beat the mistake-prone Chargers despite gaining less that 200 yards and two weeks after they needed a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Ravens. I am not dissing the Pats, since this looks like the 2003 version that won close game after close game all the way to the Super Bowl; one where the sum of the parts is stronger than any individual part.

Streaky: Odd stat of the season – the Dolphins (4-3) are 4-0 on the road and 0-3 at home. I wonder if that has ever happened?

Crap: The NFC West might be the worst division in memory. Seattle got drilled by the Raiders, 33-3, yet still lead the division at 4-3. The big surprise are the 4-4 Rams, who look like that have a future. Rookie QB Sam Bradford looks like the real thing and all he needs is more experience and higher-quality receivers. The 49ers are 2-5 but can’t be counted out since the rest of the division is so bad. The Cardinals (3-4) look like they’ll be lucky to win six games given that they have no quarterback.

Overrated: The Cowboys, Chargers and Vikings were expected to all be Super Bowl contenders. Instead they are a combined 6-16. I still think the 3-5 Chargers have a chance in their division since I’m not sold on the Chiefs (5-2). Dallas is done and the Vikings are on life support.

NFC’s best: Hard to believe that 5-2 Tampa Bay is tied with the idle Giants and Falcons for the best record in the NFC. Trust me, the Bucs aren’t that good. They’ve beaten teams with a combined 12-24 record. Expect them to fade as their schedule gets a bit harder.

Hot player of the week: Players wear so much gear that it’s often hard to get a sense of how developed some of them are. So when I saw Adrian Peterson on the “Muscle & Fitness” cover a while back I did a double take. He is the definition of “sculpted” (220 pounds with very low body fat) and handsome to boot. See more of A.D. here.

Quick hits: The Raiders (4-4) have won their last two game by a combined 92-17, astonishing for a team that has struggled offensively the past eight years. Oakland has won three of four and has a rare big game next week against division leader Kansas City (5-2). A Raiders win next week gives them a real shot to win the West. … It was weird to see Brett Favre get knocked out of a game, and it wasn’t his bum ankle. He took a real shot to the chin against New England and needed eight stitches to close the gash. He was carted off the field but seemed fine in his post-game press conference. After all the drama this past week, I thought Favre played pretty well. It was a key Patriots stop of the Vikings at the goal line at the end of the first half that changed the game. …

The Saints (5-3) beat the Steelers (5-2), 20-10, a week after losing to the Browns. That shows how weird this season is. New Orleans has allowed only one touchdown in each of its last four games, but is only 2-2. Sunday night’s win was a huge one for New Orleans, and kept them right in the middle of the NFC race.