The Giants apparently headed to vacation a week early as the Bengals rolled over Eli Manning and the G Men. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
Week 10 Headlines
Nothing major happened this week. The Eagles were put to sleep, the rain robbed us of a thrilling game, and the Rams and 49ers played to a draw.
Someone take them to Chick-fil-A (NFL’s top 5)
1. Packers – The Packers had the week off and look better now than they did before the bye week thanks to a lackluster week from the NFL’s other top teams. There are plenty of really good teams in the NFL this season. I don’t think there are any elite teams, though.
2. Texans – In fairness to the Texans and Bears, the weather in Sunday night’s contest had a lot to do with the sloppy play and overall poor performance from both offenses. However, the weather also showed why the Texans are so good; they can beat you in so many ways.
3. Broncos – Why not the Patriots or Ravens? The Patriots can’t close games, they nearly blew another win on Sunday against Buffalo. The Ravens crushed an awful Raiders team after weeks of lackluster play. I need to see a solid performance against a playoff team. The Broncos, on the other hand, continue to get better defensively and Peyton Manning is playing better than Tom Brady and Joe Flacco.
4. Falcons – The Saints are still the big brothers of the NFC South. The Falcons are the cocky, gum-flapping, entitled twerps pretending they’re something great.
5. Bears – I’m not punishing the Bears for Sunday’s outcome. Sure, Jay Cutler was awful and the Bears were sloppy with the football, but Cutler has played worse and bounced back to win. A concussion stole the opportunity.
(Last Week: GB, HOU, NYG, ATL, CHI.)
Hardly Ramen Noodle worthy (NFL’s bottom 5)
28. Cardinals – Sorry Cardinals, I couldn’t punish the Panthers for one bad week, so you get to hold this spot for at least one more week. I guess I could have put the Jets here, but they think they’re a playoff team. I didn’t want to break their hearts just yet.
29. Raiders – Firing Tom Cable after the 2010 season didn’t make sense to me. Firing Hue Jackson after the 2011 season made even less sense. I’ll be dumbfounded when the Raiders retain Dennis Allen after the 2012 season.
30. Eagles – I can’t remember a more dysfunctional team in all my life. The Eagles have had worse teams in the past, but never one with so much talent. It’s actually painful to watch this team. Painful.
31. Jaguars – I think I’ve run out of ways to say, “the Jaguars are a bad football team.”
32. Chiefs – The Jaguars stink because they lack talent. The Chiefs have some talented football players, but stink just as bad. Time to start over (again) in Kansas City.
(Last Week: AZ, BUF, PHI, JAC, KC.)
Stock rising (but not in top 5, yet)
Cowboys – Since getting drubbed by the Bears in Week 4, the Cowboys have actually played really solid football. Unfortunately, due to mental errors and poor coaching, the Cowboys only have a 2-3 record to show for their efforts during that stretch. You can’t trust them, but the Cowboys are a top 10 team when they aren’t shooting themselves in the foot.
Saints – The defense still stinks, but the NFC will regret letting New Orleans back into the playoff picture. Also, New Orleans’ tie-breaking position shouldn’t suffer much from their early season losses as most came against teams that are all but eliminated from the NFC playoff picture (Carolina, Washington).
Seahawks – Great news for Seattle fans: The Seahawks are 5-0 at home and own tiebreakers over Green Bay and Minnesota. Bad news: The Seahawks go on the road for three of the next four, where they are 1-4.
Stock falling (but not in bottom 5, yet)
Dolphins – Well that was quick. Two weeks ago the Dolphins looked like a potential AFC playoff team. Now, they’re getting blown out by the schizophrenic Titans.
Lions – I was buying the Lions resurgence. I never expected them to make the playoffs due to a tough schedule, but I thought they’d at least give it a run. Not so. Detroit plays awful against the Vikings. Adios, 2012.
Chargers – A win Sunday would have kept the Chargers a game back in the Wildcard hunt and still in striking distance for the division. Turns out Philip Rivers and his propensity for back-breaking turnovers had other plans.
Things I thought and would’ve said on TV if someone paid me…
- Raise your hand if you predicted the Seahawks, Vikings and Buccaneers would be ahead of the Saints, Cowboys, Lions, and Eagles in the NFC Wildcard standings after Week 10?
- Here’s what I don’t understand. The Bears have one and only one receiving threat (Brandon Marshall). Yet, somehow, the Bears find a way to get Marshall the ball. In fact, Marshall has finished with less than five catches only once this season, and he’s caught seven or more six different times. Now explain to me why Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers has only caught five or more passes three times all season and never more than 7. I know Smith isn’t the physical presence Marshall is, but he’s every bit as feisty and talented. Although the Panthers target him excessively, it’s obvious they need a new approach to get the ball into Smith’s hands, because whatever they’re doing now isn’t working.
- 19 points, 6 turnovers, less than 500 yards of offense, and 5 1st down conversions on 27 3rd down attempts wasn’t what I expected from two of the NFL’s best teams. Nature 1, NFL 0.
- Given the Giants propensity to climb out of the ashes it’d be foolish to throw dirt on them this early. However, we haven’t seen an Eli Manning turnover bonanza like this since the early days of his now illustrious career.
- Speaking of the Giants, nothing has surprised me about the Giants these last two weeks. Sunday’s loss was easily predictable – nice cushion in the division, bye week looming, Thanksgiving around the corner, Bengals were desperate. Still, I’d be shocked if the Giants didn’t win the NFC East. Other than that, everything is in play with this team. They’re the 2000-2002 Los Angeles Lakers. Like those Laker teams, this Giants squad can flip the switch on and off.
- As an Eagles fan, the worst part about the last two losses have been the brief stretches in the 3rd quarter when it looked like the Eagles were about to turn the season around and rally for a victory right before it all fell apart (again).
- I got a little overexcited about the Dolphins. While I don’t think they’re as bad as they played Sunday, they’re certainly not a playoff team.
- I don’t watch the Detroit Lions all that much. Can anyone explain to me why that team can’t beat the Vikings? Obviously, Adrian Peterson was a monster yet again (171 yards), but the Redskins, Seahawks, and Buccaneers thrashed Minnesota’s defense in three of the past four weeks. You’re telling me the Lions couldn’t muster more than 10 points in the first three quarters? Really?
- The Patriots nearly blew another double digit 4th quarter lead. I don’t understand why Bill Belichick and the Patriots don’t run the ball more in the 4th quarter with a lead. This is why we kill Andy Reid. For example, Fred Jackson fumbled at the Patriots two yard line with the Bills trailing by 10 and about 10 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. New England came out and threw three incompletions. Less than 20 seconds came off the clock. 1. The Patriots needed to burn clock. 2. Stevan Ridley was averaging close to 5 yards per carry. 3. A safety was certainly in play, so a two possession game could have easily been cut to one. Let’s pretend the Patriots run the ball there on 1st and 3rd down. Close to 90 seconds would have come off the clock. I understand the rest of the game may have been handled slightly different, but there’s no way the Bills end up with the football down six with over two minutes to play. There’s just no way. Buffalo probably has closer to a minute to work with. Bad job by Belichick and the Patriots.
- I disagree with Roddy White’s assertion that the Falcons “gave away” the game to the Saints. The Falcons went 3/6 in the red zone. Field goals don’t beat Drew Brees. Everyone knows that. The Falcons lost because they struggled in the red zone, their defense is overrated, and they couldn’t pressure the quarterback with any consistency.
- The saddest part about the Chargers loss in Tampa Bay Sunday was it was Philip Rivers’ best game of the season… right up until he threw a foolish interception right into the gut of Leonard Johnson, who returned it 83 yards for a score. San Diego was set up to tie or take the lead before Rivers’ costly mistake. I don’t think Rivers is done, but it’s clear he needs to address his recklessness with the football.
- Ron Rivera just coached his 25th game as the Panthers head coach. I don’t think he’s figured a single thing out in those 25 games. The Panthers still can’t run the football, still can’t get Cam Newton comfortable, and therefore can’t find any consistency from the offense. Carolina went 0/12 on 3rd down Sunday. Andy Reid and Cam Newton seems like a match made in heaven.
- I’m going to wait to see how he performs against the Steelers before I believe Joe Flacco is out of his funk. Sunday was Flacco’s first franchise quarterback-esque performance since Week 3.
- We should all apologize to Donovan McNabb. A majority of Rams and 49er players didn’t know an NFL game could end in a tie, either.
- Russell Wilson has yet to throw an interception at home, where he’s thrown 11 touchdowns. Conversely, Wilson has thrown just 4 touchdowns on the road to go along with 8 interceptions. Put simply, Wilson is Aaron Rodgers at home and Michael Vick on the road.
- Find me a more pathetic offense in the NFL than the Jets. You can’t. Tim Tebow isn’t a great quarterback, but there’s absolutely no way he makes the Jets any worse.
- Sam Bradford had a nice day Sunday. I may be back on the Bradford bandwagon.
Things I never thought and would not say this week, even if you paid me…
- Eli Manning is the NFL’s MVP through 10 weeks.
- Michael Turner hasn’t lost a step. Not even one. (13 rushes, 15 yards Sunday.)
- Mark Sanchez has played too well to lose his job to Tim Tebow.
- The Colts and Redskins should have never passed on Nick Foles.
Fantasy Nightmare Football update of the week…
- Stevan Ridley was given the football on three different possessions inside Buffalo’s two yard line. His stats; 3 rushes, -2 yards, only 1 touchdown.