A colleague of mine and I are the first people in the sports world to always say: “Way too early to tell.” MVP’s, playoff teams, championships, Hall of Famers, anything. Even if someone said “Aaron Rodgers will be the MVP” (which does seem to be a strong possibility) we would say “Way too early to tell.”
However, these articles are about reactionary analysis, hence the weekly title of “NFL Bandwagons,” and the mindset of “Way too early to tell” does not make for good articles. Some teams have heard the death knell, and others are hearing the triumphant bells heralding the arrival of a truly elite team destined for greatness. BANDWAGONS!
By the way the title is a reference to the Ernest Hemingway novel, not the Metallica song.
Robinson Crusoe: Just barely surviving
Houston Texans– Wait, wait, wait, wait. Isn’t this team 3-3? Yes, and that’s the problem. The expectations for this team were way too high for a 3-3 and start. Sure, a lot of teams would be okay with a .500 record. Most NBA players would be happy with scoring 18 points in a game, but if Kevin Durant scored that many points in a game he (and everyone else) would be very disappointed. Granted, their last four games (New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Baltimore) have been brutal, and their final nine games aren’t too bad, but if they lose AT Tennessee next week this season could be over.
Philadelphia Eagles– No team had more pressure on them coming into the season, and that’s only
increased with every loss. Plain and simple, they have to keep winning or they’re in trouble. That win last week did not do much to make me feel any better about this team.
Washington Redskins– This lives and dies with Rex Grossman. As long as he plays as well as he did in the first four games they can win, and win often. But if he continues to play like he did last week….. order the coffin.
Atlanta Falcons– Just because you beat a team that is now 1-5 does not mean you’re off the hook. Not at all. It should not have taken that long for them to put Carolina away (although they have been a tough out). With the Saints and Buccaneers both at 4-2 and a fairly difficult schedule left, those of us that picked them to win the NFC South might want to keep quiet about that. Bandwagon not safe.
Indianapolis Colts– Do I really need to say anything? By the way, a reader brought to my attention a very good reason why the Colts might not want to draft Andrew Luck. You can find it in the comments for NFL Bandwagons: Week 5.
St. Louis Rams– Steven Jackson had a good game and they acquired Brandon Lloyd for a pretty low price, but this season is a lost cause.
Miami Dolphins– They completely outplayed the Jets the first half but were still losing.
Jacksonville Jaguars- At least they still get to play Indianapolis twice.
Minnesota Vikings– They’re not a very good football team, if you didn’t notice.
Detroit Lions- I’m not leaving this bandwagon yet. Their only loss of the season was to a team that is proving they’re pretty good. I’m disappointed we won’t be able to see two undefeated teams play each other on Thanksgiving, but no matter. Regardless, I think this week was a much-needed dose of reality for everyone.
Buffalo Bills– That makes two losses in a row now and I think I’m about ready to bail. While Fred Jackson has had a terrific season, the defense really lets this team down: 30th ranked pass defense and 29th ranked run defense. Perhaps it was all too good to be true?
San Francisco 49ers– Almost out of nowhere this team is 5-1. Why? Because they can run the ball and stop the run. Who says it’s a passing league? Okay, it is, but regardless. Their only loss was an overtime loss to the Cowboys and truly their schedule has not been by any standard easy. Apart from the Giants, Steelers, and a road-trip to Baltimore, the rest of their schedule isn’t too bad. This team could finish 12-4 EASILY.
The Men Who Would Be King
Green Bay Packers- I don’t blame anyone if they change their Super Bowl picks to Green Bay. My one concern is that they have the second worst pass defense in the league, and the perfect season could be ruined by away games against several good passing attacks: San Diego, Detroit, and New York Giants.
New England Patriots– All you need to know about the Patriots was contained in that final drive. Any team that can make a stop defensively and then march down the field for a game-winning touchdown like that is a team to be feared. Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game, but if I need a touchdown late I’m taking Tom Brady.
Baltimore Ravens– They’re definitely not in the same tier as Green Bay and New England yet, but they have beaten some pretty good teams by a lot this year. The loss against Tennessee was very strange when you consider how well this team has played. With a great defense and a good offense, this team can beat anyone.
In other news
I continue to lose respect for Mike Shanahan. Benching Rex Grossman is not doing anyone any good, because he has played well up to this point and is the best quarterback on your roster. Now he has created a quarterback controversy, and I don’t know that Grossman is the kind of guy to rise to the occasion and prove he’s better. The season may be lost.
I thought the Schwartz/Harbaugh handshake got too much attention. I saw that replay way too many times.
I’m not sure Al Davis is dead, because the deal the Raiders made for Carson Palmer was a terrible one. Carson Palmer is a good quarterback, not a great quarterback, and he will not play better than Kyle Boller, who is a mediocre quarterback, not a terrible quarterback who knows the system. To make it worse, they gave up two first round draft picks. There is no way Carson Palmer, even in the off-season, is worth two first round draft picks.
What do you think? Comment, like, subscribe, re-post.