NFL Bandwagons: Week 11

Can A.J Green and the Bengals make it to the playoffs? It won't be easy. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

You know, after 11 weeks of the NFL season I was kind of hoping the playoff picture would make more sense. Let me rephrase that: I thought we would know who was actually good in the NFL. It seems like so many teams still haven’t really found themselves. Now I can’t even use the excuse of “too early to tell.” Right now only two teams have two losses or less (Packers at 10-0 and 49ers at 9-1). Seven teams are 7-3. Five are 6-4. When you count the four AFC teams at 5-5 who all still have a realistic playoff chance, that’s a lot of mediocrity. It also means it could be a very dramatic playoff race.

The only problem is it’s still difficult to sort out who is for real and who is not. Are the Bears without Jay Cutler still in the hunt for the wildcard? Can the Texans without Matt Schaub still win the AFC South? Are the Bengals for real? Can Atlanta make a run? Is Pittsburgh or Baltimore better? This could be a tricky bandwagon article. Well there are only 6 more to do after this so I had better just try my best.

Surrender would be the honorable thing.

Buffalo Bills– I am NOT saying Buffalo is out of the playoffs. The second wild card spot is there for whoever wants it. But I am saying that I don’t think Buffalo will make the playoffs. Losing 35-8 is never good. It’s even worse when it is to the Miami Dolphins. After three losses in a row, this team is done for. Fitzpatrick isn’t playing like he did the first few games of the season, and Fred Jackson is going to miss some time. The fact that their defense can’t stop anyone either doesn’t help. Like I said, they could still make the playoffs, but I’m very skeptical. If I haven’t said so already, I’m abandoning this bandwagon for the year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers– What a disappointing season. I thought they could make a run this year after such a promising season last year. Not the case. Last season, Josh Freeman’s TD/INT rate was outstanding. This year he has thrown 11 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The success of this team

I know he never surrenders while he's running, but I think his team should surrender the season. (seattletimes image)

hinged on another good season from Freeman, and I think he was quite a disappointment this year. He could still be a good quarterback in the NFL, and with LeGarrette in the backfield, Raheem Morris on the sideline, and Aqib Talib out of prison, this team should be optimistic about next year.

A fight to the finish.

Cincinnati Bengals– It should not surprise anyone that the Bengals dropped from 6-2 to 6-4 after playing Pittsburgh and Baltimore in consecutive weeks. I’m sure they’re not interested in moral victories, but they actually played fairly well in both games. Even though they play both of those teams again, they also play Cleveland, St. Louis, and Arizona. Add a game against Houston without Schaub and this team could easily finish 9-7 or 10-6, which should be enough to get them to the playoffs. However, they’re going to have to play well every game from here on out. I didn’t say it would be easy.

Atlanta Falcons– It would appear that the NFC East is going to destroy itself and only produce one playoff team this year, and with the Buccaneers out of it and the weak NFC West, that leaves pretty much just the Bears or Lions that they Falcons have to surpass to reach the playoffs (Chicago would be more difficult because the Bears own the tie breaker after their Week 1 victory). I have not thought too highly of Atlanta this year, but with a fairly easy schedule remaining this team could make the playoffs if they play the kind of football they are capable of every week.

New York Giants– The Giants must have one of the most difficult schedules in NFL history. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they finish the season with 6 straight losses; it’s that tough. I think at the end of the year they may end up really regretting the Week 1 loss against Washington and the blunder against Seattle. With the schedule they had, they needed to win all of the “easy” games. It doesn’t help that the sorry running game is still missing Ahmad Bradshaw, either. This team is still, in my opinion, one of the better ones in the NFC, but they will have to play great football for the rest of the year to have a chance.

Pre-Season bandwagon fails.

Philadelphia Eagles– I know they won, and they won with Vince Young, and the defense played well, but I am not convinced. We’re still talking about a 4-6 team here. They don’t have the easiest remaining schedule, either. And, most importantly, Michael Vick has not had the kind of season he is capable of. I honestly think this guy could be the best quarterback in the league…. if he had the best offensive line in the league. I must admit that I had very high expectations for him before the season, and he has not played well thus far. I think this team, like so many, should be thankful for the roster they have and look forward to next season.

San Diego Chargers– Another 4-6 team, another disappointing season, and another disappointing quarterback. Granted, the Chargers always end strong and the AFC West is very winnable, but I don’t know that they can with the way Rivers has played this season. There may be reason for optimism, however, because their next three games are home against Denver, at the Jaguars, and then home against Buffalo. Those are all very winnable games, and it could give them the momentum and confidence they need to rebound from their five straight losses. I would like to believe in Oakland and Denver, but to be honest, I might still have to pick the Chargers to win the AFC West.

I don’t really know….

Still praying for you, Tim. Not sure I'm still betting on you. Picture from wikipedia.

Denver Broncos– Are we really supposed to believe in these guys? Are we really supposed to believe in Tim Tebow? Well 4-1 certainly speaks for itself, and this IS the AFC West. I guess I’m going to avoid making a call until after they play San Diego this week. If they win they could finish the season 4-2 and end up 9-7, which could be enough to get past Oakland. If they lose against San Diego? The bandwagon is down to its last strike.

New York Jets– In fairness, four of their five losses were to very good teams, but I believe the New York Jets are not that great of a football team. Mark Sanchez and the lack of a consistent running game are too much of a detriment to a team that is solid defensively and has one of the best kick returners in the league. Why was Coach Ryan so foolish as to guarantee they would win the Super Bowl? I wouldn’t be surprised if they still got the second wild card, but I’m not going to say this is bandwagon is going to rally.

In other news

Happy Thanksgiving! Remember during this time of year all of the blessing you have. Remember to appreciate your family and friends. Be thankful for all of the things you take for granted that other people don’t have. God bless and Happy Holidays.

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