Ten weeks into the season, some teams are falling from favor fast. Others are screaming for attention. I’m all ears.
Chicago Bears– 9-19 for 123 yards and no touchdowns is nothing special. Actually it’s kind of bad. So is
18 carries for 64 yards. Being out-gained 393 to 216 yards is not a recipe for success. However, when all of that adds up to a 37-13 victory, you can’t complain. I’m sure the Bears didn’t. Whether you move the ball well or not, “Just win baby.” Matt Forte has been the primary reason the Bears had won 5 games up to Sunday, and regardless of his poor game they routed a pretty good team because of two defensive touchdowns and a punt return for a touchdown. That kind of defensive firepower cannot be under-valued. Giving up 393 yards isn’t good, but it doesn’t matter if you keep the other team from scoring a touchdown until the fourth quarter. The Bears were/are also helped immensely by the contributions of Mr. Sickness himself, Devin Hester. Forget the fact that he returns a kick for a touchdown every few games. He guarantees his team good field position because teams have to kick it out of bounds or high and short to prevent a return. With the defense they have and Hester returning kicks, they don’t need the offense to be all that great. Okay, Chicago, go ahead: It’s time to eat at the adult’s table.
San Francisco 49ers– So I’ve been really talking up the New York Giants recently, and San Francisco just beat them with the baddest running back in the NFL on the bench. Scarier than that, Alex Smith beat the Giants. Scariest of all, this team has 8 wins and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. I said they would win as long as Frank Gore stayed healthy, but it looks like not even that can slow this team down. The rest of their schedule, besides games against Baltimore and Pittsburgh, is a cake-walk. Not only are the 49ers going to make the playoffs, they are probably going to get a first-round bye! No bandwagon is as safe as this one right now.
Limp for your life!
Houston Texans– Despite another impressive game, I think the Houston Texans are going to make the playoffs, but they might not win a game when the get there. Matt Leinart is no Matt Schaub. Despite having one of the very best defenses in the league and an outstanding passing game, Leinart is such a down-grade that I fear they may struggle. It’s not so much that Schaub makes amazing throws, but he makes so few mistakes. They can’t put eight men in the box because he’s good enough to pick a defense apart when he has favorable match-ups. With Leinart, I think defenses can take a chance, and that may seriously affect how well Foster and Tate can run the ball. Keep in mind that Mario Williams is gone for the season too, and Andre Johnson still isn’t back. This bandwagon is definitely risky right now.
New Orleans Saints– Since the Falcons and Buccaneers continue to struggle, the Saints are the default favorites in the NFC South race. However, this team just isn’t the same Saints team of 2009. They aren’t consistently scoring the kind of points that you would expect from an offense like theirs. This team is certainly good enough to beat anyone, but they just aren’t playing like it. In all likelihood they will still make the playoffs, but with the first-round byes probably going to GB and San Fran, and the lack of offensive firepower, I don’t think this team is going to make a run this year.
How the mighty have fallen….
Buffalo Bills– My fears have been realized: this team really isn’t that good. They didn’t just lose to an unpredictable Cowboys team; they were dismantled. With a lack of defense and a return to earth for Ryan Fitzpatrick, this team doesn’t look like it can defeat great teams anymore. I am officially abandoning this bandwagon for the year. They will not pull a Lazarus on us.
Detroit Lions– I thought Matthew Stafford was supposed to be really good? And I thought Ndamukong Suh
was the cheap-shot king of the Lions? I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think Detroit is going to fare much better than Buffalo.
You were saying?
Green Bay Packers– One week after I criticized their defense and questioned their elite status, they play a complete game against the rival Vikings. They are a powerhouse, no questions asked. If the offense continues it’s excellence and the defense brings more of the same, this team won’t lose until 2012. Wait a second…. isn’t the Super Bowl in 2012? It might work out too perfectly….
New England Patriots– I have also been plenty tough on the Patriots this year. Well, as usual, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have proved me wrong. They went on the road and crushed the enigmatic Jets. That’s enough for me to consider them among the elite again, regardless of how bad their defense is. With the way this season is going though, I’m sure they will have a bad week next week and I will take back everything I just wrote. Wait, never mind, they play Kansas City.
You want to be a champion? Play like a champion!
Philadelphia Eagles– They’re done. I wouldn’t bet a dollar on them making the playoffs. Michael Vick has not had the season he’s capable of, but neither has the rest of the team (with the exception of LeSean McCoy). If you can’t hold 4th quarter leads you can’t win. The dream team isn’t going to win the Super Bowl this year, or make the playoffs, or finish above .500.
San Diego Chargers– What else needs to be said other than 4-5? In a division where all four teams are within a game of each other, you can’t lose close games to division opponents. When you consider the unpredictably good Raiders, the every-other-game Chiefs, and the Broncos who seem to just win in spite of no passing game, I just don’t know if San Diego can make it. They certainly have a playoff-caliber team, but that’s why they play the games!
Baltimore Ravens– I don’t want to write anything too extreme because the Ravens always prove me wrong, for better or for worse. They totally took a day off against Seattle, and Flacco throwing 52 times is not going to win you games, especially when that means 4 carries for Ray Rice. If they take a day off in the playoffs against the Steelers, Patriots, or anyone, they can forget a Super Bowl win.