NFL Bandwagons: Week 9. A Few Good Men.

Finally a week in the NFL actually makes some sense. The Saints beat the Buccaneers, the Falcons beat the Colts, the 49ers beat the Redskins, the Texans beat the Browns. Wait, wait just a second. The Patriots lost at home? To a Manning other than Peyton? The Bengals are 6-2? Tebow went off and is 2-1? No, no! What’s going on? Nothing makes sense, what is the truth?

“You can’t handle the truth!!!!!”

The aforementioned few good men.

Has it occurred to you how few really good teams are in the NFL right now? I’m going to list every single one of them right now and this section will probably only take me ten minutes to write.

Go ahead, Aaron, smile. If only your defense could get a discount double-check. I know that doesn't really make sense but you get my point. Picture from Businessinsider.com

Green Bay Packers– Honestly I would not call them the best team in the NFL if it wasn’t for the guy throwing the ball. Without Aaron Rodgers, this is potentially a miserable team. Their defense is pretty bad and their run game isn’t great either, particularly late in games. Neither can compete with the Steelers or Ravens, yet their ability to simply score a million points a game keeps them from losing. Aaron Rodgers has not had a bad game yet. Actually, he hasn’t had anything but great games. It is probably impossible to overstate how well he has played thus far. If he continues to only have great games, this team might never lose. If he has just one weak game in the playoffs, however, this team won’t make it back to the Super Bowl.

Baltimore Ravens– What else is there to say other than their Sunday Night victory gave them a sweep of the Steelers? I don’t believe in Flacco as much as T-Sizzle does (that’s Terrell Suggs for those of you who are not well-versed in the ways of player nicknames). However, he marched his team down the field against a top defense and scored a game winning touchdown. Without a doubt, he is still the weak link in this team, but when you can call Joe Flacco your weak link, you should feel pretty good about your chances to win.

That’s all of the really good teams. But there are still some quite good teams.

Bound for Glory

Pittsburgh Steelers– I would rank them third after the Packers and Ravens. After a shaky start, I think Roethlisberger has played well. I’m still really impressed with the way he (and the rest of his team) played two weeks ago against New England. This team is definitely good, and I’m still feeling good about my Super Bowl pick. Actually, if given the chance to change it, I wouldn’t. I think this team is still going to improve.

San Francisco 49ers– It’s kind of unfair to keep a 7-1 team out of the elite group, but I have a couple of problems with this team. One, they are 30th in the league in passing, and if they ever trail by a lot they are going to struggle to catch up. The other reason is that in consecutive weeks they have scored 20 and 19 points, against the Browns and Redskins, respectively. You have to score more points than that against bad teams to convince me. That being said, as long as Frank Gore stays healthy, you can’t count this team out. The bandwagon is safe if you haven’t joined yet.

New York Giants– Their win at New England was the most convincing win of the week, more so than even

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

the Ravens victory. New England hasn’t lost a game at home since Brian Wilson last shaved his beard. Eli continues to impress and the defense made Tom Brady look bad. However, like the 1976 Best Picture Nominee that this category is named for, I don’t think they’re getting the credit they deserve. That will change if they can win three or four of their next four games (San Francisco, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Green Bay).

Crash

New England Patriots– That’s two straight losses for Tom Brady and co. They are tied now with New York and Buffalo for the AFC East lead. They cut Albert Haynesworth. Chad Ochocinco has caught as many passes as Keary Colbert. Did I forget to mention Tom Brady threw two interceptions, which makes ten for the year already? Next week they play at New York against the resurgent Jets. As bleak as things might seem after a loss there, the rest of New England’s schedule is actually pretty easy. Don’t count them out of the playoffs yet. Don’t make any Super Bowl bets either.

Philadelphia Eagles– I don’t understand it. At all. How is it even possible for this team to be 3-5? I know they were over-hyped, but this was a playoff team last year and they added the second best cornerback in the league. Forget the rest of the acquisitions; that right there should be enough to chalk this team up as a powerhouse. Everyone wants to know what the problem is, and many are pointing at Michael Vick. That simply isn’t fair and that is coming from people who don’t watch the games. Like the rest of his team, Vick has been a disappointment this season, but he doesn’t have any time to throw. No one, not Peyton, not Rodgers, not Fran Tarkenton, could operate with the time he has. To make matters worse, it’s messing with his head now. That was a poor interception he threw early in the game against the Bears, but wouldn’t you be quick to chuck the ball as quickly as you can when Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije are running at you un-blocked? I don’t know where to put the blame on this team, but something has to be done in a hurry to save the season for this very talented team.

Apocalypse Now

Cincinnati Bengals– Something is wrong. Very wrong. The Bengals are 6-2? With a rookie quarterback?

Do you hear that? No, it's not Hueys, it's the Bengals. I can hear Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyrie" in the background as the Bengals charge out of the tunnel.

They still haven’t played the Ravens or Steelers, but a win on the road against Tennessee is not an easy task, and once again their stellar defense led the way and they earned another victory. I’m going to go out on a limb here, way out on a limb, and say that the Patriots should not be worried about their playoff chances because of the Jets or Bills. No, they should be worried about the Bengals. I take it back, kidding, kidding. I don’t think this team really has a shot, but who know? When you play defense like they do….. we’ll talk two weeks from now after they play Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Houston Texans– Finally, for the first time in franchise history, they are three games over .500. I was beginning to think that they would never make it to the playoffs. I don’t know that a team has ever been so mediocre for so long. Finally, though, they are the clear favorites to win the AFC South. It would be a terrible collapse if they lost it now. Does it kind of freak anyone else out that the playoff brackets could include Houston, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Detroit, and San Francisco?

In Other News

I don’t want to hear another person complain about penalties for helmet-to-helmet hits. Even Chris Collinsworth sneaked in a subtle comment about how things were “in the old days.” You don’t mess around with head, neck, or back injuries. Obviously there are going to be some missed calls, like the Bernard Pollard hit, but there are missed holding calls, pass interference calls, and all sorts of missed calls. It happens. Here’s a thought d-backs: lead with your shoulder instead of your head and go for the stomach, not the head or shoulders! Stop complaining about “putting a dress on the players.” Worry about having to dress them when they don’t have the neurological functions necessary to do it themselves.

I’m sick of this NBA lockout. Greedy millionaires fighting with greedy billionaires. #Basketballneverstops

By the way, Apocalypse Now is not that great of a movie. I would definitely not recommend it, especially if you’re looking for a war movie. It’s kind of freaky too.

What do you think? Any thoughts on a particular team? What about helmet-to-helmet hits? Got a particular favorite Best Picture Winner? Like, comment, follow, post to facebook.

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