Going into week seven there were precisely two AFC teams with a winning record. If you don’t believe the NFL can change suddenly, think about this: the NFC West, a division maligned as the worst in the league for the last couple seasons, had three teams that could claim the same. Parody is one thing, but what we have seen so far this year seems to have gone beyond that. The 2012 season has been a strange one, but honestly…have we ever thought a season was normal?
I will try to sort it all out the only way I know how, with sweeping generalizations and overreactions! Let’s get jerky.
Bob vs. Eli, round one
Why am I so amused by calling RGIII Bob? Couldn’t tell ya.
The Giants flirted with losing this NFC East battle, only to be bailed out by a key defensive breakdown in the final two minutes of the game. All the Redskins secondary had to do was keep the receivers in front of them and keep the clock running. Instead, both the corner sand safety let Victor Cruz get behind them for a 77 yard touchdown and complimentary salsa dance. It’s the kind of mistake that is so inexplicable and embarrassing that when they study the film the guilty parties might find a way to not be in the same room. After the game was over, the story didn’t seem to be the Giants. It was Griffin, who impressed the opposing defensive line quite a bit.
“That guy is flat-out unbelievable,” Osi Umenyiora told the media. “I am not going to lie. Best quarterback we have played this year for sure.”
On the drive before the Cruz touchdown, RGIII converted on a key fourth down where it looked like he made everyone on the vaunted defensive line miss at least once, before throwing a 20 yard bullet to move the chains. And then there was his absolutely perfect touch pass to Santana Moss for the go ahead touchdown. Something tells me this isn’t the last time that Bob and Eli are going to trade last minute comebacks in the same game.
As for the defending champs, there is a lot of buzz that maybe they are the best team in football at this point despite a few teams having better records. They still play with fire too often for me to crown them the best in the game right now, but I wouldn’t bet against them come playoff time.
But not all 5-2 teams are created equal
The Minnesota Vikings strategy on Sunday was a simple one: let’s hope the Cardinals don’t play good. It worked perfectly!
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder went 8 for 17 for 58 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. That was the winning QB’s stat line. Any thoughts that the Cardinals might be for real were promptly erased Sunday as they failed to take advantage of several Viking mistakes, and basically shit all over themselves. The Cardinals had a hundred yard rusher, which somehow didn’t trigger the apocalypse, yet they still couldn’t move the ball when it mattered. Each team turned the ball over twice but in the end it was a special teams touchdown that was ultimately the difference. While Adrian Peterson looked like a beast again, running for 153 yards on 23 carries, the offense is going to have to improve or this team is not going to be able to compete in this division. Special teams touchdowns aren’t going to grow on trees all season.
The Ravens’ record stands at 5-2 after being spanked in Houston, and they are sounding the panic alarm in Baltimore. After injuries to several key defensive players, including pregame speech legend and cult leader Ray Lewis, and their loss on Sunday the general thinking is that this team is finished. Normally I’d be tempted to believe that this is an overreaction and they are going to be fine but I’m not so sure about that.
After putting up over forty points week one against the Bengals, we were promised that this was a new Joe Flacco. Eli Manning gave him an “elite merit badge” and everything was great. But there have been some troubling performances since then, including only putting up nine points in Kansas City and going 21 for 43 for under 150 yards yesterday with a couple interceptions. With the defense in disarray, he is going to have to be a superstar and I just don’t see that happening.
Another option is everyone in Baltimore sending letters to the coaching staff to remind them that Ray Rice still exists.
The shittiest win of the week goes to…
…the New England Patriots, whose struggles are starting to become a pattern.
After they managed to lose at home to the Arizona Cardinals, everyone shrugged it off. They would figure it out. After losing to the Ravens they could blame it on the replacement refs. Dropping a game in Seattle could be explained as the Seahawks have one of the best home field advantages in all of sports. But when you start adding all these things up, and taking into account that they blew a ten point fourth quarter lead against the lowly Jets only to rally in the final minute of regulation and overtime, I come to a conclusion that some of you might find shocking.
The New England Patriots are an average football team.
They have a lot of skill players that can hurt you but the problems with the offensive line and defensive secondary seem to be negating that. This is not to say that at the end of the year I will regard this as an average football team, but for now I will lump them in with over half the league in a pile I will label: “I have no fucking idea what these guys are going to do next week.”
-There has been a lot of chatter about Aaron Rodgers being a poor leader, mostly because NFL talking heads love taking two seconds of film of a frustrated player and building a slanderous hypothesis around it without knowing anyone involved. But here are a few things he is “leading” in: QB rating and TD passes.
-After being left for dead following a puzzling loss in Baltimore where they basically dominated the game, the Cowboys got back to 3-3 after winning in Carolina Sunday. The schedule gets tougher but is there anyone in the NFC East that is going to put up a consistent effort week after week? I don’t think so. Their opening night victory over the Giants might still loom large before it’s all said and done.
-After calling a reporter “sweetheart” in a post-game press conference, Cam Newton seems hell-bent on finding new ways to be despised every single week. Remember Cam, you still haven’t played your homophobic slur card!
-The Raiders beat the Jaguars on Sunday. You don’t even care, do you?
-Drew Brees is back to posting NFL Blitz stat lines, and the Bucs lost in their ugly/glorious creamsicle jerseys. Everything is right with the world!
Enjoy Monday Night Football everyone. I know I will, as either way one of my least favorite teams is going to lose!