Sorry to say, but this is the last week of the Bandwagon articles. After this week, I’ll still write about the NFL once a week, but it has gotten to a point now where the conventional Bandwagon approach and format no longer suits the events in the NFL. Many teams are looking to next year already and don’t need to be even considered, and even though I write this article for the typical ‘forget everything that happened this season except this week’ mentality that so many NFL fans have, the time for waffling is done. I would like to begin focusing on the playoff teams, particularly the elite ones (The SneakyGood Guide to Beating the Packers, coming soon). However, I think there are still a few teams on the border that I could give one last mention in the article. So until 2012…..
Chicago Bears- It wasn’t too long ago that I hailed these guys as a new frontrunner in the NFC. They had caught up to the faltering Lions and were playing some pretty good football. At the time, what seemed to be their biggest problem was having Jay Cutler on the field. Then he got hurt and it became very clear how important he really was to them. Not only is Hanie not as good as Cutler; he’d probably be 3rd on the Colts’ depth chart (without Manning or Collins). To make matters worse, the MVP of non-quarterbacks, Matt Forte, is out for 2-6 weeks now with an MCL injury. Good thing they have a great defense and kicker right? Well last week the seasoned veteran Brian Urlacher decided it would be a good idea to hit a jump ball right to an opposing player in the end zone and Robbie Gould missed a field goal that he could usually make while under the affects of anesthesia. And that aforementioned defense? 28th in the league against aerial attacks. I’m going to do what most offenses should do against the Bears: Pass.
Detroit Lions– Where do we start? Absence of Ndamukong Suh? Disappearance of Calvin Johnson? Injuries at running back? Excessive stupid penalties? We probably could come up with 99 problems with this team, and it showed against the Saints. Obviously the Saints are one of the best teams in the league, but they showed themselves to be at an entirely different level than the Lions. Maybe not talent-wise, but that’s why you play the game! However, there are still four game left, and the way I see it the Wild Card race is basically down to Detroit, Chicago, and Atlanta. If Detroit can simply cut down on penalties, I think they’ll be playing beyond January 1. But is that really going to happen……
Green Bay Packers– When Travis Beckum had that amazing catch and run and the Giants stopped the Packers on their first possession, I thought that it must finally be the week. If you had told me right then that New York would gain 447 yards and Aaron Rodgers would throw one interception, I would have bet $50 dollars on the Giants winning that game. What a difference one pick-six and a quarterback flying higher than a U2 can make. What more does a team have to do to win against these guys? The Giants even came up with a late game-tying touchdown and 2-point conversion and left only 58 seconds on the clock. Rodgers didn’t even need a good return from Cobb, who settled for a touchback. The thing that I have questioned most about Aaron Rodgers is his clutch-gene. His first season he looked terrible under pressure. That drive was very convincing (although he didn’t need a touchdown and he had overtime to fall back on). I would still take Tom Brady if I needed to win just one game, but Rodgers seems to have no ceiling at all.
Baltimore Ravens– As if 204 yards rushing from Ray Rice wasn’t enough, Ricky Williams decided to chip in 76 himself, almost a third as much as the Browns combined offense. And, once again, the Ravens played mistake-free football, and only committed four penalties for 18 yards. Taking notes, Detroit?
New Orleans Saints– Lighting teams up without barely trying has become so second-nature that I thought the coolest thing about SNF was the band of instrumentalists on the street playing after a commercial break. That’s something small towns are missing.
All I Do is Win
Denver Broncos– Can you really continue to hate Tebow? I have not been one of those people who blindly
supported Tim Tebow after every game. I realize he has a lot of work to do in order to become a truly effective quarterback. This week against Minnesota, he didn’t have his defense (that Tebow-haters claim is the reason the Broncos have been winning) to back him up, as they allowed 30 points (can’t count the safety against them). In order to win the game, Tebow had to actually throw the ball, and I thought he did a tremendous job. Many of his ten completions were perfect passes, and of his five incompletions, three were drops and the one at the end to Thomas could have been caught if Thomas hadn’t stutter-stepped. Obviously that win is not completely credited to Tebow either, as Willis McGahee is running in a way that makes me think Nevin Shapiro must be a Broncos fan, too.
Houston Texans– They don’t seem to care that someone named T.J Yates is their starting quarterback. They seem set on continuing to win (and have won 6 in a row). That shouldn’t really be a surprise, as they have the number one defense in the league and rush for over 150 yards per game. I don’t know what will happen when they play an elite team in the playoffs, but I wouldn’t bet against them entering the playoffs with the number one seed. Just think if they had Mario and Andre….
Arizona Cardinals/Seattle Seahawks– Could they really make a playoff run? I mean honestly, could they actually catch Detroit, Chicago, or Atlanta? Well Arizona has one four out of five and played some good teams close this year. Seattle has won three of four and has a game against the Bears still, who seem like they may be incapable of winning. I had written these teams off a long time ago, but I guess you never know, do you? Especially when Marshawn is going beast mode and Stephens-Howling is going Marshawn-mode.
Tennessee Titans– Lost among the other AFC South storylines, the unimpressive Titans, led by the long-awaited arrival of the real CJ2K, are 7-5 and have a very real chance of making the playoffs. They still have Houston and New Orleans on the schedule, so 9-7 may be a very real possibility, but do you really trust the Jets or Bengals to win more games than that? Don’t count them out.
In Other News
Why doesn’t anyone care about baseball!? Did we pay attention to anything else in sports while LeBron James was making his decision? Right now the best baseball player in the world, Albert Pujols, is a signature away from joining superstars Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes to play for the Marlins (don’t forget the signing of Heath Bell). This is huge news and it’s seemingly buried by the impossibility of Chris Paul and Dwight Howard joining Kobe in LA.
So in case you didn’t notice, the theme this week was rap songs (Last Call and I Wonder by Kanye West, 99 Problems by Jay-Z, Airplanes by B.o.B., All I Do is Win by DJ Khaled). I was thinking about the illuminati theory. If you don’t know, it’s the thought that all the world leaders and anyone influential is conspiring together in this group (sometimes thought to be Satanic) to control everything, including our minds. People especially freak out about it when you talk about rappers like Jay-Z, who has been “linked” to the illuminati more than anyone. I’m not going to say I know for a fact that Jay-Z isn’t putting Satanist subliminal messages in his music (aren’t the ones you hear when you play it normally bad enough?) but people need to settle down and not jump to conclusions. So many people accept it to be certain fact and think the entire music industry is out to get them. Maybe, maybe not, I’m skeptical. All I know is I don’t have to worry about any of that when I’m listening to Jesus Muzik.
What do you think? Did you like the Bandwagon articles this year? Should I bring them back next year? Who has a chance in the playoffs? Who is your favorite rapper? Any opinions on the illuminati? Like, comment, subscribe, follow on twitter, post to facebook, email the SneakyGoodSportsGuy at firstname.lastname@example.org.