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NFL Midseason Ramblings

November 6, 2010

I gotta get this in before tomorrow’s games because Week 8 has come and gone, the Dallas Cowboys’ playoff hopes have disappeared like Doug in The Hangover, too many people have seen Brett Favre’s private parts (trying to keep it family-friendly here) and Week 9 is upon us. We’ll do this a little bit different than last time. Let’s go to the bullet points.

  • The St. Louis Rams sit at 4-4, second in the NFC West and a half-game behind division-leader Seattle. The Rams have a chance to move into a tie for first place with the Seahawks tomorrow if Seattle would happen to lose to the New York Giants. The Rams already defeated the Seahawks 20-3 in Week 4. The Rams have limited their opponents to 17 or fewer points in every game but one, and if you subtract the game in which they gave up more than 17 points (a 44-6 shellacking by the Lions) the Rams have a +37 point differential, which would be good for second in the NFC. Wow. The Rams defense has played extremely well, limiting opponents to fewer than 98 rushing yards a game and have a turnover differential of +3 (I think I did my calculations right).
  • Randy Moss has switched teams twice since we last met here. Moss was traded to the Vikings on Oct. 7, and after a rant last Friday in the Vikings’ locker room because of poor food choices from a caterer (plus a no-show in the Vikings’ Week 8 loss to the Patriots) Moss was released and the Titans were the only team to place a claim for him on waivers. Some might think Moss will help the Titans compete and/or win the AFC South, but the Vikings went 1-3 with Moss, and he’s more of a distraction than a help for his team. He still commands a double team most of the time, but if the opposing D can rough him up and get him frustrated, he’ll check out mentally and not help like he could.
  • Kansas City and Oakland meet on Sunday at the Coliseum. In the preseason if you had someone list the regular season games in order of importance this one would’ve been about 312 on the list. Alas, the Chiefs have been more of a surprise this season than Lady Gaga’s meat outfit at the VMA’s, and they currently are 5-2 and in first place in the AFC West. The Raiders, just as much of a surprise, seem to have finally gotten it together, especially in the last two weeks, outscoring opponents 92-17. Even if KC loses tomorrow, it’ll still have a half-game lead over Oakland, but the Raiders will be 3-0 in the division.
  • The Patriots have emerged as a favorite for the AFC crown, and while I’m not going to splurge all over the Cheatriots, they have put together a solid run of wins by surrounding Tom Brady with a bunch of rookies, free agents and castoffs. Their defense still remains a concern (They rank 31st in opponents’ passing yards allowed) and they face the Steelers, Colts, Jets and Packers in the coming weeks, so we’ll see if they deserve top-contender status in the AFC soon enough.
  • The NFC, on the other hand, doesn’t have a clear-cut top dog. The Giants, Falcons and Bucs all are 5-2; the Saints and Packers are 5-3. Despite being outscored by 27 points this season, the Bucs, even though they’ve only played two good teams (and got pummeled in both), have a chance to be in first place in the NFC South if they can beat the Falcons tomorrow in Atlanta. The Giants look to be one of if not the most complete team in the NFC, ranking in the top eight in passing and rushing, both offensively and defensively.

Fab Five

  1. Pittsburgh – Only losses are to the Ravens and Saints; they are 3-1 on the road; outscored opponents by 45 so far this season; and they’ve allowed the fewest points of any team.
  2. New England – I think Big Ben and the Steelers offense could tear apart New England’s weak secondary, and Pittsburgh’s D could at least limit the Patriots’ production offensively.
  3. New York Giants – The offense is clicking on all cylinders; Hakeem Nicks is having a breakout season that can only be matched by Katy Perry’s music videos; Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs are running over fools; and the defense is great.
  4. Indianapolis – They’re doing it with three different running backs, a back up tight end, the backup’s backup wide receiver; I think I saw Howard Stern and Jackie Chan running routes last Monday night. Peyton Manning is the man.
  5. Tennessee – Any of a few teams could go here, but the Titans are leading the league in points scored and are 3-1 on the road. We’ll have to see if the Moss addition helps or hurts this team.

The M. Night Shyamalan of NFL teams (teams that came into the season with high expectations, but have only failed miserably)

28. Cincinnati – If this team didn’t have T.Ocho on it, it’d get about as much attention as Jacksonville. But unfortunately, we have to hear about them even though the Bengals are terrible and Carson Palmer looks like JaMarcus Russell.

29. San Diego – We all know this story: The Chargers suck early and finish strong. That still could be the case this season, but they’ve lost to some bad teams and have grasped defeat from the jaws of victory. Plus, I don’t like Phillip Rivers, and Ryan Matthews has not helped my fantasy team this year.

30. San Francisco – 49ers, you were supposed to run away with this “crappy” division, yet you started 0-5 and have played three quarterbacks. Why don’t you just stay in Great Britain like all the other teams and celebrities do when they can’t make it in America?

31. Minnesota – Brett Favre already has six more turnovers this season than he had all of last season.

32. Dallas – You were supposed to play in the Super Bowl, now your only chance of playing in the Super Bowl is if you form a band called ‘Tony and The Jokers,’ kidnap will.i.am and dress in all leather.

MVP Watch

  1. Peyton Manning – Fifteen touchdowns, two interceptions. Throwing for more yards a game then he ever has even when his top receivers are injured, inconsistent or inexperienced.
  2. Tom Brady – I don’t know who I despise more: Brady or Justin Bieber.
  3. Roddy White – On pace for the most receiving yards per game in at least the last seven years. If it wasn’t for him Falcons’ opponents could just stack the box to stop the run.
  4. Clay Matthews – Any time I’ve seen him he’s either been A. sacking an opposing quarterback B. chasing an opposing quarterback out of the pocket or C. combing his hair.
  5. Sam Bradford – The Rams have already won more games (4) this year than they did the past two years combined (3).

Playoff Preview

AFC

  1. New England
  2. Baltimore
  3. Indianapolis
  4. Kansas City
  5. NY Jets
  6. Pittsburgh

NFC

  1. NY Giants
  2. Atlanta (assuming they win tomorrow)
  3. Green Bay
  4. Seattle
  5. New Orleans
  6. Tampa Bay
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