Monthly Archives: November 2012
LOS ANGELES — Can’t believe it’s Week 13 already. Seems like Hard Knocks just ended and we were getting ready for Dallas and New York to kickoff on the Wednesday Night opener. Nope. Twelve weeks down. Only 10 remain. Who’s the Super Bowl favorite? Beats me. Who’s MVP? Your guess is as good as mine. Coach of the Year, who’s getting fired, your fantasy football league champ? Color me clueless.
One thing is known, though, who’s the Man. Let’s find out.
32.) Kansas City Chiefs (record: 1-10) (last week: 32) — So who’s going to be coaching the Chiefs next year? Chip Kelly? Bill O’Brien? Bill Cowher? And who’s going to be the quarterback? Now that Matt Barkley’s stock has fallen, is it Tyler Wilson from Arkansas? Alex Smith? Blaine Gabbert? Tim Tebow? Kevin Kolb? Michael Vick?
31.) Arizona Cardinals (4-7) (26) — Losers of 7 straight don’t get mentions in this column.
30.) Philadelphia Eagles (3-8) (28) — See #31.
29.) New York Jets (4-7) (27) — The biggest news to come out of Jets camp this week: Tim Tebow jersey sales down! Oh no!
28.) Oakland Raiders (3-8) (23) — When the Raiders play the Browns this week, do you think Carson Palmer and Brandon Weeden have a side bet of who’s going to throw the first Pick 6? Because they should.
27.) Cleveland Browns (3-8) (30) — See #28.
26.) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) (31) — Chris Law is jealous of Chad Henne’s Mo-vember ‘stache. And that’s saying something.
25.) Carolina Panthers (3-8) (29) –– Hey, Cam Newton, you actually won a game, so doing your whole Superman TD celebration actually made sense for once! Congrats!
24.) Tennessee Titans (4-7) (20) — Nate Washington has been in my fantasy starting lineup for a majority of the season. That should tell you all you need to know about the Titans and the Colt .45 Hollywood Bandits.
23.) Buffalo Bills (4-7) (24) — Did you catch the Amish Rifle on “The League” a couple weeks ago? That was far and away his best performance of the season. Oof.
22.) San Diego Chargers (4-7) (19) — There are several famous sport plays where things have yet to be finalized: Albert Pujols’ ball he hit off Brad Lidge still hasn’t landed, Matt Holiday still hasn’t touched home plate, Bo Jackson still hasn’t stopped running and Ray Rice still hasn’t crossed the 34-yard line. Still, they should show that 4th and 29 play to high schools across the country and how NOT to tackle someone.
21.) St. Louis Rams (4-6-1) (22) — Alert to all fantasy football owners: Steven Jackson had 100 yards! Steven Jackson had 100 yards! Only the 2nd time all season.
20.) Miami Dolphins (5-6) (25) — When you watched Hard Knocks at the end of the summer, was there any shot you thought you’d be watching a 5-win, on-the-verge-of-the-playoffs team? Didn’t think so.
19.) Detroit Lions (4-7) (18) — Yes, the Lions got semi-hosed on Thanksgiving. Yes, Jim Schwartz should know the rules. Yes, Ndamukong Suh is driving his way out of the league.
18.) Dallas Cowboys (5-6) (16) — I can’t wait until these guys are sinking and the national media can stop talking about them. However, with a matchup with the hapless Eagles in Week 13, which will get Dallas to .500, we’re not out of the woods just yet. Sigh.
17.) Minnesota Vikings (6-5) (15) — Hey, Jimmy, how you feelin’ about your boys now: “You know it’s a bad day when the punt holder scores on you … I think we have 13 total yards this half … My team is so bad today that Fox switched games at the half … I can wait another year for a Super Bowl appearance.”
16.) Cincinnati Bengals (6-5) (17) — This is a team I’d be afraid to play down the stretch, along with the Bucs. Andy Dalton is quietly having himself another Pro Bowl season.
15.) New Orleans Saints (5-6) (12) — Losing last weekend really hurts the Saints playoff chances, but a win against Atlanta would certainly keep them in the mix. But they don’t play any defense, which is kind of a problem in the NFL, unless you’re the Patriots. And how Marques Colston got up after getting upended like he did, I’ll never know.
14.) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) (10) — It baffles me that Pittsburgh didn’t call or David Garrard or Donovan McNabb to fill in at quarterback while Ben Roethlisberger is out. Maybe they did, and we don’t know it, but I feel like that report would’ve gotten out. You can’t roll with Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch. You can’t. Not when you still have a shot to win the Super Bowl
13.) Seattle Seahawks (6-5) (11) — Let’s see how good that Seahawks defense is when it has to go on the road (Chicago) and defend a red hot Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall without their two best defensive backs. Guessing Seattle falls by the wayside.
12.) Washington Redskins (5-6) (21) — I mean seriously, Robert Griffin The Third, if ya need him. So all My Good Friend Robert did on Thursday was annihilate the Cowboys, at JonesMahal, on Thanksgiving, in front of America. AND he did it by becoming the first rookie quarterback EVER to throw 4 TDs in consecutive games. NBD. I said it before and I’ll say it again, you are NOT changing the channel when the Redskins have the ball. EVER. I love caps lock.
11.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) (9) — Are the Bucs the best of the 6-5 and 5-6 group? I’d say so, though if you can’t defend the home turf against a division rival, maybe you don’t deserve to make the playoffs. That was a tough one to lose, especially when you’re looking up at the Falcons. But two of these teams are going to be playing in January. My hunch is Tampa is there.
10.) Indianapolis Colts (7-4) (13) — Who’s making whom better this season: Andrew Luck or Reggie Wayne? Little of each, right? And to think, we all laughed at Reggie when he announced he was re-upping with the Colts for two more years. Insane! We all said. Who’s laughing now. Colts, back in the playoffs (almost). Crazy. And if they play Denver? Twitter might break.
9.) Green Bay Packers (7-4) (2) — “Paging someone who can block for Aaron Rodgers. Anyone out there who can block for Aaron Rodgers. Please report to Green Bay, Wisconsin immediately. We have a jersey waiting for you.”
8.) New York Giants (7-4) (14) — Man, where has THAT Giants team been all season?! That sure was something on Sunday night. Guess Eli really needed that bye week to rest his dead arm, and the defensive line needed some time off to hone their hunting skills. Sure, the Packers offensive line is about as good as a group of 7th graders, but Green Bay had been rolling lately and New York made it look like chumps. I may have to amend my Super Bowl pick.
7.) Baltimore Ravens (9-2) (7) — Nothing about this Ravens team inspires me. They are ripe for a Divisional Round upset to the Colts.
6.) Chicago Bears (8-3) (8) — Should Jay Cutler be in the MVP discussion? The stats are telling.: 1-6 without him in the last two years, 15-5 with him. Despite his hideous mustache, bro balled out this past weekend and has put himself in the Top 5.
5.) Denver Broncos (8-3) (6) — Is Denver the best team in the NFL? Not yet. But they are playing like it. Pretty unconvincing win against the hapless Chiefs for the best team in the league. That game should’ve been a boat race, but it wasn’t. Still, Peyton Manning is the MVP until someone rips it from him. Arian Foster has a chance. Outside chance.
4.) San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1) (5) — It’s hilarious to me that every former coach-turned-analyst on television right now is saying that Jim Harbaugh is doing the right thing by sticking with Colin Kaepernick, while every player is saying that Alex Smith is getting a raw deal and should get his job back. I’m not saying Smith isn’t a good player, but hell, what CK is doing can’t be duplicated.
3.) Atlanta Falcons (10-1) (4) — There’s a lot of people talking trash about the Falcons; calling them the worst one-loss team this late in the season in quite some time. Well, they’ve won 10 of their 11 games. Whether it was by one point, or 100 points, they’ve done it. Matt Ryan throws 5 picks? No worries, they still win. No running game? They still win. Still, people won’t be satisfied until Ryan and Mike Smith win a playoff game.
2.) New England Patriots (8-3) (3) — Can’t tell you how enjoyable that Thanksgiving Day game was to watch. When this Patriots team has it cookin’ on all cylinders they are a fun group to watch. And say what you want, but if you don’t want Tom Brady out there up 30 points throwing darts downfield, stop him. Just really hope they don’t look past Miami this week toward that Monday Night showdown with the Texans in Week 14.
1.) Houston Texans (10-1) (1) — To play 10 quarters of football in roughly 4-and-a-half days, wow, and to win both games (albeit a tad controversially), hell, that’s enough to make you The Man.
LOS ANGELES — It’s been a very busy week putting together the Rich Eisen Podcast Thanksgiving Special, so forgive the lateness and quickie feel to this week’s rankings. We’re back in full force for Week 13.
Let’s find out who’s the man.
32.) Kansas City Chiefs (32) — Eric Stonestreet, you know him better as Cameron on “Modern Family,” is a huge Chiefs fan. He spills his guts on how he feels about them on our Thanksgiving Special on NFL Network. You can check out the audio here.
31.) Jacksonville Jaguars (31) — Chad Henne, everybody!
30.) Cleveland Browns (29) — You’re not going to believe this, but I saw Greg Little make a catch in this game. Like a really good one. No, I’m serious!
29.) Carolina Panthers (30) — Remember how even he got wrecked over the middle or the Steelers were losing, Hines Ward would be smiling? Well, Cam Newton is the opposite of that. Dude NEVER looks happy anymore.
28.) Philadelphia Eagles (25) — Sooooo, maybe it’s not all Michael Vick’s fault?
27.) New York Jets (28) — Can we all just admit the Jets traded for Tim Tebow to a) steal back page headlines from the Giants, and b) so the Patriots wouldn’t acquire him and turn him into the next Danny Woodhead? K, thanks.
26.) Arizona Cardinals (27) — When you’re turnover margin in one game is plus-5 but you’re point differential is -4, that’s a problem. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
25.) Miami Dolphins (17) — Is there a bigger fraudulent team in the NFL right now than the Dolphins? I need to look at Lauren Tannehill to make myself feel better.
24.) Buffalo Bills (26) — A few peeps from home sent me pics of them hanging out with the Amish Rifle last weekend at the Harvard-Yale game. Love that guy.
23.) Oakland Raiders (24) — How do the Raiders lose and yet rise in the rankings, you ask? Because everyone else is that crappy, that’s how! And Carson Palmer is 3rd in the league in passing yards! Third!
22.) St. Louis Rams (21) — This team. They could’ve buried the Jets and entered the playoff picture and got smoked. At home!
21.) Washington Redskins (23) — Imagine if the Redskins beat the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and sneak into the NFC playoff picture? How insane would that be?
20.) Tennessee Titans (22) — It’s about time to put the 2012 Titans to bed.
19.) San Diego Chargers (20) — If you ever need entertained on Sundays, just follow the Twitter stream of David Letterman writer Eric Stangel. It’s worth it. Trust me.
18.) Detroit Lions (18) — I don’t hate Matthew Stafford, I swear. But bro needs to stop throwing the ball like Vlad Guerrero swings it: from his ankles. Not a good look for a wannabe Super Bowl contender.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (19) — Up. Down. Down. Up. Can’t figure out these Bengals.
16.) Dallas Cowboys (16) — It’s just like the Cowboys to be on the brink of disaster and then sneak in a win to keep their very slim playoff hopes alive. Still say Sean Payton is the coach next year. Oh, and if you missed it, my photoshop genius thanks to Jim Brockmire on what he thinks about the Jerry Jones/Jason Garrett relationship.
15.) Minnesota Vikings (15) — With the Vikings on a bye week, my buddy from home, Jimmy, had no reason to chime in with playoffs talk. But make sure you check out Adrian Peterson on the Rich Eisen Podcast Thanksgiving Special on Friday night at 10pmET and again on Saturday morning at 10amET. You can also listen to the full audio version here. Thanks again.
14.) New York Giants (13) — Big game in Week 12, playing host to the surging Packers.
13.) Indianapolis Colts (12) — Andrew Luck is going to be a superstar in this league for a long, long time, but he got a first-hand look at how the creme-de-la-creme do it in Tom Brady in Week 11.
12.) New Orleans Saints (14) — Is there a team in the NFC right now you don’t want to play more than the Saints? This team is straight up ballin’. Five wins in its last six games. Look. Out.
11.) Seattle Seahawks (10) — I was pretty sad this past weekend. Why? I’ll tell you. The best part of Gameday Highlites on Sunday afternoons is when Deion Sanders sings during Seahawks games, “his first name’s Russell… his last name’s Wilson!” And with Seattle on a bye last week, we were robbed of that diddy.
10.) Pittsburgh Steelers (8) — Can you throw a forward pass? Can you stay upright for 60 minutes? Can you hand the ball off to gigantic running backs? Then you, too, could play quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers! Charlie Batch!
9.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11) — I’m sticking with my prediction that these Bucs make the playoffs. We’ll see. Tough schedule down the stretch.
8.) Chicago Bears (4) — If we learned anything Monday night in San Francisco, it’s that Jason Campbell is getting paid $3.5M this season to get sacked by Aldon Smith.
7.) Baltimore Ravens (9) — For Ray Rice’s sake, I hope him trading his game gloves for a Terrible Towel and then waving it triumphantly as he walked off Heinz Field doesn’t come back to bite him. Didn’t workout too well for those teams in the past that tried it.
6.) Denver Broncos (7) — Don’t look now, but Denver has won 5 straight and Peyton Manning is making room in his trophy case for another MVP.
5. San Francisco 49ers (6) — Colin Kaepernick just torched the Bears. Jim Harbaugh says postgame he’s going to go with the hot hand as his quarterback. Harbaugh names Kaepernick the starter late Wednesday. I dominated the SATs.
4.) Atlanta Falcons (2) — Well, here’s one way to look at it: the Falcons are now 1-0 in games which Matt Ryan throws 5 interceptions.
3.) New England Patriots (5) — Aqib Talib had quite the day, Sunday. He got beat for a TD, picked one off and returned it for a TD, he got burned a couple times, he made some tackles. Hey, anything’s better than what the Patriots had back there.*
2.) Green Bay Packers (3) — My NFC Super Bowl pick is getting better each week, and the amazing thing is they’ve been doing it all year without a running game. Seriously, is Ahman Green up next for the Packers in the backfield?
1.) Houston Texans (1) — A top-end defense and an offense that can score in a hurry on the ground or in the air. And I see you 2nd-most single-game passing yards Matt Schaub. Bald is beautiful.
* not gonna talk about Rob Gronkowski. Not. Gonna. Do. It.
LOS ANGELES — The last year I was in Maine, I covered my high school, Thornton Academy, as it won its first-ever boys basketball Class A state championship. It was the greatest run for me both professionally and personally because of the team and individuals involved (I was a captain my senior year). Looking back, I feel like I wrote some of my best game stories and columns during that time, and while I might have had some extra motivation to be at my best, I relished in it the moment and tried to remain as objective as humanly possible.
Being there as the final seconds ticked and the celebration and the cutting down of the nets and talking to the kids and coaches afterwards is something I’ll never forget. I felt like I was a part of that team, and for no other reason than I spent a lot of time with them; at their games, at their practices, talking on and off the record to the coaches and players. Saco is a true community, and a giant local sports town, and I’m proud to forever be part of that community for my service there as a student athlete, teacher, and member of the media.
This past weekend, another of Thornton’s teams I have a strong affinity for, did something it hasn’t done in 24 years. The Golden Trojans football team reached the Class A State Championship game with a 20-13 victory over Cheverus in the Western Maine final to earn their first trip to the title game since 1988. We won the Gold Ball that year and if all goes to plan, we ‘ll take it home again on Saturday. I played 3 varsity season during my time as a Thornton Academy student, the last as its quarterback. I’ve known the head coach, Kevin Kezal, since he was my JV baseball coach in 1996. My first year out of college, he brought me in to be the Trojans wide receivers coach; it was one of the best times of my life. I’ve known all the coaches nearly as long and covered them for 5 years. To say I’m close to the program is an understatement.
The funny thing is, when I was home in May, I stopped by Thornton and talked to Kezal and another coach for nearly two hours. It was mostly just catching up, since I hadn’t been home or seen them in a while, but they noted how special this team could be; that they had a chance to finally be the one to end our Gold Ball drought. And now they’re 48 minutes away. It kills me not to be there. Good luck, boys.
We know who The Man is in Maine, let’s find out who’s The Man in the NFL this week.
32.) Kansas City Chiefs (1-8) (32) — The Chiefs took the lead on Monday night for the first time all season. And then lost. Then got a penalty for a sick dance on a play that technically didn’t happen. That tells you all you need to know. #FreeJamaal
31.) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) (31) — I’m glad we can put to bed all this “Alabama would beat the Chiefs or Jaguars” talk, with the Tide’s loss over the weekend to Texas A&M. But wouldn’t a game between them be fun?
30.) Carolina Panthers (2-7) (28) — OK, Cam Newton, I’m going to give you a mulligan for this season. I think you’re a good player. Really, I do. I called it two years ago when co-workers were trashing you, but please please please put the “Superman” dance away for the rest of 2012.
29.) Cleveland Browns (2-7) (30) — Not really much to say about the Browns so allow me to another opportunity to dial up a quickie Extra Butter for the new Bond flick “Skyfall”: I get the impression that in real life, Daniel Craig is a pretty big a-hole. I get it, he’s the biggest star in Europe. I’m sure I’d be one, too. But he’s an awesome Bond. Physical. Imposing. Vulnerable. Those piercing blue eyes. Quick-witted. I dig him. And I did this film. It’s an experience. Javier Bardem is an awesome villain and downright creepy, to be honest. An ex-MI6 agent, he’s seeking revenge for M selling him out to the Chinese years ago. Him battling wits with Bond makes for a riveting 143 minutes. Brockman Stamp of Approval: 4.25/5 shaken martinis.
28.) New York Jets (3-6) (22) — It’s tough to see how Mark Sanchez can continue to be the quarterback of this team. And while a lot of the blame has to be put on his shoulders for his very below average performance this season (9-of-22, 124 yards, INT vs. Seahawks), the coaching staff and management has not done a good job of playing to his strengths and surrounding him with players to bolster his weaknesses. I’m done talking about this team.
27.) Arizona Cardinals (4-5) (27) — Definitely giving up on this team, so allow me to tell how difficult it is to change a tire when all you have is one of those tiny rinky dink jacks. It’s really hard. And even harder when you try to change it on a public street. You have to angle your car so you have just enough room off the curb and on top of that, it’s was dark and the automatic sprinklers just went off for the 3 foot strip of grass. Then you’re car is low to the ground, so you have to lay on the pavement to spin the
26.) Buffalo Bills (3-6) (29) — Stevie Johnson is the most flamboyant player on the Bills. He wears really cool outfits and makes fun of Plaxico Burress after he scores touchdowns. However, he was not happy after Buffalo’s 37-31 loss to the Patriots.
25.) Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) (25) — Holy shnikes this team sucks. I mean, what the hell? Can’t Michael Vick go one game without getting his ass kicked like he plays for that team Adam Sandler was the water boy for? I actually think I had a dream last night that Andy Reid shaved his walrus ‘stache. Do you think if he did, that would confuse Eagles fans, reporters and even his own Jeff Lurie into thinking that it was a new coach and therefore no one would get upset and Lurie wouldn’t come damn near close to firing him every Sunday night? That might work, right? Hell, it’s worth a shot. Andy doesn’t have many bullets left in the holster.
24.) Oakland Raiders (3-6) (24) — Literally the only player worth having on the Raiders for fantasy purposes in their tight end, Brandon Myers, who I actually never even heard of about 5 weeks ago, but has been killing it for me in that span. However, he suffered a concussion, along with half the league, this weekend and is questionable against the Saints, which forces me to start Jermichael Finley, who I have grown to loathe this season. He couldn’t catch herpes if he had a threeway with Paris Hilton and Linsday Lohan.*
23.) Washington Redskins (3-6) (20) — Did I see that right, the Redskins have the exact same record at this point in the season as they did last year with Rex Grossman as their quarterback? I’m not saying any more. My Good Friend Robert needs a win though. Pretty badly.
22.) Tennessee Titans (4-6) (26) — I’m conflicted here with the Titans. On one side, I’m happy for Jake Locker that he came back from his injury and won a big road game against an apparently fraudulent Dolphins and got Tennessee back in the playoff mix. On the other side, I’m sad for My Brother Matthew, who won’t get any more burn this season unless Locker goes down with an injury again. Conflicted. Oh, and that TD run by Chris Johnson is one of the plays of the year. Dang, homey.
21.) St. Louis Rams (3-5-1) (23) — See, I knew I wasn’t the only ones who felt indifferent about the Rams. The Football Gods deemed it necessary to have them play in a tie this season. A TIE!!?! It’s been 4 years since the last tie in the NFL and Donovan McNabb regrettably stated he didn’t know the game would end that way. Now, after that episode, you’d think that no NFLer would dare admit that again, but lo and behold, Danny Amendola went and did just that to Peter King afterwards. When are these guys gonna learn to KEEP. THEIR. MOUTHS. SHUT? I’m guessing never.
20.) San Diego Chargers (4-5) (18) — You may not see a worse pass this season than the one Philip Rivers threw that Leonard Johnson intercepted and ran back for a touchdown this week. I don’t get Rivers one bit. Sure, he throws it uglier than Tebow but man he can make plays one minute and then the most boneheaded the next.
19.) Cincinnati Bengals (4-5) (21) — It’s ridiculous how there are so many teams with basically the same record but who have very different feelings about their playoff chances. Such as the Bengals, who are 4-5 are in the same boat as the Chargers, but while San Diego might as well be walking the plank, Cincy is down below getting drunk on rum its huge win over the Giants. It’s all about trends and the Orange and Black is trending up.
18.) Detroit Lions (4-5) (17) — The Lions will never win anything until Matthew Stafford turns his hat around. No one ever won anything in a backwards cap. Not Ken Griffey Jr., not Tony Romo, no one.
17.) Miami Dolphins (4-5) (16) — The Dolphins had a chance to make as statement, get above .500 for the first time since who knows when and get into the AFC Playoff Picture and what did they do? Get absolutely boat raced at home by the Titans. Inexcusable. I’m so upset by this I need a new picture of Lauren Tannehill to cheer me up. Aaah, that’s better.
16.) Dallas Cowboys (4-5) (19) won — Does anyone stay alive quite like the Dallas Cowboys? They’re like that one last good run at the blackjack table as you’re nearing zeroes that keeps you around just long enough to lose your entire stake. Don’t trust them and never will. But that’s very noble of Jerry Jones to say he’d fire himself. So go ahead and do it, you dope.
15.) Minnesota Vikings (6-4) (15) — Definitely a must-win last weekend, in division against the Lions, for the Vikings. If it wasn’t for Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson would be the MVP of the league right now. You could make an argument the two should share that award and Comeback Player of the Year, which is incredible. Here’s my buddy Jimmy’s take: “Going into the bye 6-4, gonna finish 10-6. You heard it here first.” Yes, we did.
14.) New Orleans Saints (4-5) (14) — One of those annoying Pepsi commercials featuring Drew Brees and some band called “One Direction,” which is why I’m going this route. But is anyone else kind of tired of/annoyed with/want to punch Brees in the face? He hasn’t been doing himself any favors in the last 6 months with the holdout, the Bounty stuff, the tired pregame chants and now these commercials. They’re terrible. Deplorable, even. And on those pregame chants; who takes those seriously? Seeing Brees stand there and be all, “come on, uh huh, yeah” and say things like, “real Saints have swag,” get real, Drew. Don’t care if you’re a Hall of Famer, you’re out.
13.) New York Giants (6-4) (9) — Even if their bye week wasn’t pre-determined for Week 11, I’m guessing Tom Coughlin would’ve most likely petitioned the league office to make it the Giants week off after the way they’ve played lately. Now with just a two-game lead over the Cowboys in the NFC East, Big Blue is reeling like it’s fly fishing season. Eli Manning has
12.) Indianapolis Colts (6-3) (13) –– It’s amazing what’s going on in Indianapolis. Truly. And if you think about it, the Colts are a Blaine Gabbert to Cecil Shorts 80-yd bomb in the final two minutes away from being 7-2. That’s one people are going to look back and shake their heads at, especially when the Jags are 1-15 and the Colts are 11-5.
11.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) (12) — I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: really like what’s going on in Tampa Bay. Sure, Greg Schiano is a little insane, but this team has offensive firepower coming out its ears. Mike Williams has a 3 TDs in the last 5 games
10.) Seattle Seahawks (6-4) (11) –– I still don’t believe in Russell Wilson, but each week he’s making me look dumber and dumber for saying that.
9.) Baltimore Ravens (7-2) (10) — Seems like this team only plays well and home. And could Ray Lewis really come back and play this season? He was spotted at practice this week. Hmmm.
8.) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) (8) — Remember a little over a month ago when I wondered if the Steelers were any good? Well, four straight wins later I think they’ve proved me wrong. However, with Big Ben nursing a dislocated rib with the possibility of puncturing an aorta (what the what?!), Pittsburgh has to turn to 73-year-old Byron Leftwich and his hand crank delivery. At least they don’t play the Ravens two of the next three weeks. What’s that you say, they do? Hmm…
7.) Denver Broncos (6-4) (7) — You know who’s awesome? Von Miller. Here’s why; the dude likes to have fun while playing football. Imagine that. I really like how he does other people’s celebrations when he sacks them or makes a play. He’s Tebow’d, did Aaron Rodgers’ belt celebration, Mile High Saluted, Cam’s Superman and countless others. Always reminding us that it is just a game, and game’s are supposed to be fun.
6.) San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1) (5) — It appears Alex Smith (concussion) will be ready for the Monday Night clash against Chicago, but don’t you kinda get the feeling that the 49ers would like Smith to be out so they could see what life could be like with the dangerous Colin Kaepernick behind center? No? Am I the only one who thinks that? Kaepernick is bigger (hands), has a stronger arm, is faster and can make something from nothing. Sure, Smith is Harbaugh’s guy (when he’s not courting Peyton Manning) but why not rest him and see what you have in the young kid?
5.) New England Patriots (6-3) (6) — The Patriots give up far too many points, yards and big plays (they lead the league in 20+ yard plays) yet somehow find a way to win. It’s why I can’t have them any higher despite their three-game winning streak. I’d also be lying to you if I said I was confident in the 4th Quarter against Buffalo and that I think this weekend’s game against the Colts is a cakewalk. Lying to you.
4.) Chicago Bears (7-2) (2) — How come it seems like every season Jay Cutler does something very Jay Cutler-like (aside from all the douchey stuff) such as getting hurt when his team has a legit shot to go deep in the playoffs? Oh, right, because he does. Last year it was the thumb and this year it’s the concussion thanks to a Tim Dobbins helmet-to-helmet hit when Cutler was scrambling and near the line of scrimmage on a throw. Allow me to the first to wish Jason Campbell congratulations on still being in the league and reminding everyone of that when he walked on the field, Sunday night.
3.) Green Bay Packers (6-3) (4) — Word out of Wisconsin is Aaron Rodgers recently proposed to his girlfriend, Destiny Newton. Could that explain is elevated play in recent weeks? I have no idea, but while you’re here, take a peek at Miss Newton.
2.) Atlanta Falcons (8-1) (1) — Matty Ice and Co. failed to remain unbeaten, falling to the Saints last weekend, but if we’re all honest with one another, I don’t think any of us expected Atlanta to go 16-0. This smells like a 13-3 team. Just not getting enough out of the running game. Not sure if it’s by design, but even when his number is being called, Michael Turner is struggling big time. That’s gotta get fixed for me to be serious about the Dirty Birds as legit contenders.
1.) Houston Texans (8-1) (3) — I have just one rule: when you go on the road and defeat a fellow once-beaten team, and on top of that, knock said once-beaten team’s quarterback out of the game, AND you have Arian Foster, you deserve the top spot in my weekly You’re The Man rankings.
LOS ANGELES — The halfway point of the regular season is a time for all the pundits to adjust their preseason predictions. Here at The Chris Brockman Website, we make statements and stick by them, which is why we’re standing behind our prognostications 100%! Back in August, I went on record and chose Lovie Smith as my Coach of the Year, Matthew Stafford as my passing champ, Darren McFadden as my rushing champ and Tom Brady my MVP. Also, I predicted the Patriots and Packers to reach the Super Bowl (the same pick I said in 2011 (I was half right)) and I have no reason to move off that.
New England is 5-3 and Green Bay is 6-3 and each are improving by the week. The Packers have been bitten the injury bug this year, especially at receiver with Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson but have still made plays and put up numbers. Tom Brady is still doing his thing and the young defense seems to be improving, though time will tell with the secondary. So, I’m standing by my NFC playoff teams: 49ers, Packers, Bears, Giants, Bucs and Falcons. In the AFC, honestly, I don’t recall exactly what I said since I don’t think I wrote it down, but I’m calling Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Broncos, Texans and Colts.
What say you? Send me your pics here at the halfway point. While you mull it over, let’s find out Who’s The Man.
32.) Kansas City Chiefs (1-7) (32) — If you’re in the market for some large, luxury-style homes with lots of bathrooms, probably theaters and pool tables in the greater Kansas City area, you’re in luck! There should be at least three such available in less than two months after Romeo Crennell, Scott Pioli and Matt Cassel all get axed.
31.) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) (31) — I’ve run out of things to say about the Jaguars, so here’s a quickie Extra Butter about the movie I saw over the weekend, “Sinister,” which was as frightening Jacksonville’s play this season… Without giving anything away, here’s a quick plot outline: Ethan Hawke is a true crime novelist looking for one more big hit. He stumbles across what he realizes is a series of murders he thinks are connected. Only he and his family end up becoming part of the story. It’s very good. Some jumpy parts. Moves quickly. If you’re into this genre, you’ll enjoy it. Brockman Stamp of Approval: 3.5 out of 5 boxes of home movies.
30.) Cleveland Browns (2-7) (29) lost — OK, so maybe my Browns honking was a bit premature last week. Someone has to stump for them, though, right? I mean, no one’s watching their games now that the NBA has started and Kyrie Irving and Dion Waters are manning the Cavs backcourt. Those two could have a great decade run if Dan Gilbert doesn’t run them out of town with Comic Sans emails.
29.) Buffalo Bills (3-5) (28) — I blame last week’s loss to Texans on the fact that the Amish Rifle shaved his beard into a goatee. You don’t mess with beard karma, as I’ve learned after trimming mine into a hideous mustache for No Shave November. OK, I guess the Texans are pretty freakin’ good.
28.) Carolina Panthers (2-6) (30) — Here’s the good news for all you Mitt Romney supporters: in 17-of-the-last-19 presidential elections, if the Redskins win their last home game before Election Day the incumbent party retains the White House. The Panthers defeated the Redskins in Landover, Md. on Sunday. Will the GOP be celebrating Tuesday night? (update: nope, they sure weren’t.)
27.) Arizona Cardinals (4-5) (27) — If you saw this game or any of the highlites or saw Larry Fitzgerald’s touchdown reception on Red Zone Channel, did you notice how hard he had to work on that thing? How many jukes and moves and broken tackles he had to withstand just to find the end zone? It should not be that difficult for one of the top, if not the top, receivers in the game to score. It just shouldn’t. At this point, I’m sure Fitz wouldn’t mind if Michael Vick were his quarterback. Ya know, assuming Vick is out of a job in about 8 weeks. #FreeFitz
26.) Tennessee Titans (3-6) (25) — I’ll let Titans owner Bud Adams bring this one home: “In my 50 years of owning an NFL franchise, I am at a loss to recall a regular season home game that was such a disappointment for myself, and fans of the Titans,” Adams told The Tennessean. “We were grossly outcoached and outplayed from start to finish today… At this time, all aspects of the organization will be closely evaluated, including front office, coaches and players over the next seven games. If performance and competitiveness does not improve, I will look at all alternatives to get back to having the Titans become a playoff and championship football team.”
25.) Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) (23) — Ooooooooh Philadelphia. What a week this is going to be there. But before Jeff Lurie does anything, I hope he checks in with Marcus Vick; he seems to have a lot to say.
24.) Oakland Raiders (3-5) (26) — I attended the UCLA/Arizona game this past weekend at the Rose Bowl, my first trip to the famous Pasadena stadium. Loved the experience, and even though the game was an absolute boat race, there were some heavily intoxicated females sitting in front of us who happen to be talking about fantasy football. I leered close enough to get myself into the conversation. One of them said she had to start Carson Palmer this week with Tom Brady on a bye, but she didn’t feel good about because she “hated” the Raiders and didn’t like Palmer “because he’s a Trojan.” I told her to stick with Palmer, that he would undoubtedly have a big game, which he did: 39-of-61, 414 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs and a 2pt conversion. In my league, good enough for 40.3 points. You’re welcome, drunk broad.
23.) St. Louis Rams (3-5) (24) — I feel like I’ve been doing my Rams fans readers (I’m guessing there has to be at least one of you out there) a disservice all season long because I just can’t find anything to say about this team. It’d be one thing if it was good and flew under the radar and was sniffing the playoffs, but I don’t see that happening. Danny Amendola should be back this week. That’s good, right?
22.) New York Jets (3-5) (22) — My editor on Sunday nights, Jantzen, the die-hard Steelers fan who feared for his life at a Raiders game earlier this year, had a great comment about the Jets at halftime of the Giants/Steelers game when it looked like the fix was in for the G-Men. It’s kinda moot since the Steelers ended up winning the game, but check it out anyway. I hate the Jets.
21.) Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) (21) — Of all the teams in the league who think they’re good but really aren’t even close to being there, the Bengals might be the best of them. Did you follow that? I’m not even sure I did, but Cincy is approaching St. Louis territory where I’m just running out of things to say about them since I don’t a) have anyone on my fantasy team on them and b) they’re just not that interesting. I mean, their quarterback is a ginger for crying out loud!
20.) Washington Redskins (3-6) (14) — Correct me if I’m wrong, but it can’t be good if your head coach says after a loss that he’s at the point in the season where he’s evaluating players as to who will be on the team next season, can it?
19.) Dallas Cowboys (3-5) (20) — Jerry Jones is pretty fascinating. He seems to “get it” in every part of his life EXCEPT when it comes to running his football team. Think about it. This guy is a billionaire. He makes TV cameos and is funny, quick and basically a better actor than 75% of those who do it professionally. He built a stadium that is a modern marvel of modern technology. He was ahead of the plastic surgery craze. But for some reason he can’t put the pieces together to field a winning football team. He really should be running the Jets.
18.) San Diego Chargers (4-4) (19) — Nobody wins in November like Norv Turner, and they did it again last Thursday. Sure, the Chargers did get a gift in terms of the hapless Chiefs, but Philip Rivers and Co. still had to go out and make plays, and they did. Now the Norv gets at least a one-week reprieve from the axe.
17.) Detroit Lions (4-4) (18) — Matthew Stafford came on the Rich Eisen Podcast this week and basically said it’s Calvin Johnson’s fault for not scoring more TDs this season. He noted at least 5 times that Megatron has gotten tackled inside the 2-yard line this season. Stafford also noted he’s been taking a lot of heat from fantasy owners. I’m in a 2-QB league and drafted Johnson with my first overall pick (yeah, I’m in last place) and traded him this week for Doug Martin. Yup. I’m a winner.
16.) Miami Dolphins (4-4) (12) — Despite last week’s loss, which featured both the Colts and Dolphins with winning records (raise your hand if you thought that would happen this year; I shouldn’t be seeing any hands), I still like this Dolphins team. Reggie Bush runs hard, Lauren Tannehill’s husband has been very solid.
15.) Minnesota Vikings (5-4) (15) — My Maine buddy Jimmy is losing faith in his Vikings. As I wrote him at one point, the ship be sinking: “Your stud RB runs for 182 yards, 2 TD’s, and your team loses by double digits. This may not be our year.”
14.) New Orleans Saints (3-5) (16) — I don’t know if the Saints still have a shot at the playoffs or not. I tend to think the Bucs are going to be a wild card team and most likely the Packers. However, if this team makes the playoffs, Look. The. Eff. Out. Yes, they can’t stop Narbonne High School, but do you want to face Drew Brees with a chance to shut everyone up about how their season would be lost without Sean Payton? And speaking of Payton, is there any way he’s not coaching the Cowboys next year? You don’t think Jerry Jones is gonna pay him $10M a year and give him a jet or an island or Paulie’s talking robot from Rocky IV or something to seal the deal?
13.) Indianapolis Colts (5-3) (17) — After 8 games, Andrew Luck has 2,404 yards passing. That ranks tied for 4th in the NFL. You know with whom? Peyton Manning, maybe you’ve heard of him.
12.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4) (13) — So Doug Martin has had two really amazing games, huh? But here’s my stance on him not liking his nickname “Muscle Hamster.” Tough. Get over it. You think there are kids out there who don’t love their nicknames? You think Chunk from “Goonies” or a giant fat guy named “Tiny” like those?
11.) Seattle Seahawks (5-4) (11) — I don’t think this team is going to make the playoffs, but Russell Wilson is proving a dangerous playmaker. You wouldn’t take him over My Good Friend Robert, I understand, but he’s not a bad alternative. Look at their numbers: 62 comp %, 1,639 yards, 13 TDs, 8 INTs and 65.6 comp %, 1,993 yards, 8 TDs, 3 INTs. Who would you take?
10.) Baltimore Ravens (6-2) (9) — What the hell is going on with that Ravens offense? No, seriously, this is a legitimate question. They have weapons coming out of the nest and barely beat the Chiefs and Browns. This is troubling, and a major reason why they’ve slipped in rankings. YOU HAVE RAY RICE, JUST GIVE HIM THE BALL. OK, I’m done.
9.) New York Giants (6-3) (3) — Now it’s Eli Manning’s fault? That sounds about right. Sure, Eli is slumping, only throwing 2 TDs in his late 4 games and under 200 yards in 3 of those, but they still should take control of the NFC East. After 2 Super Bowls, I’m not ruling the Giants out of anything until the playoffs start and they’re not in them.
8.) Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) (10) — Wait, so these ARE your daddy’s Steelers? In the last few years, Pittsburgh has transformed itself into a new-age Black & Gold, with Ben Roethlisberger winging it all over the yard. But as the offensive line has gone down with some injuries this season, Pittsburgh has gone back to its old school roots, pounding the rock with whomever they line up at tail back. Lately, it’s been Jonathan Dwyer and Issac Redman, who’ve combined for nearly 400 yards in the last three games.
7,) Denver Broncos (5-4) (8) — As long as Peyton Manning keeps ballin’ out of control, his teammates will rally and play up to his level and the Broncos will be a threat down the stretch. I’m not sure how good their defense is, but any time you have Von Miller rushing the quarterback, sacking him and doing a silly dance, you got a shot.
6.) New England Patriots (5-3) (7) — The man with my favorite name in sports, Aqib Talib, was acquired by the Patriots during their bye week from Tampa Bay in a move that surprised many given Talib’s fondness with breaking the law. He doesn’t exactly fit the demographic of what a Patriots player looks like, then again, Bill Belichick has taken chances on players with sketchy backgrounds in the past. The key always being, if you perform on the field, I don’t care what you did before you got here. And New England needs secondary help. Currently, it’s 28th against the pass (281.1 ypg) and have given up the 3rd most passing TDs (17).
5.) San Francisco 49ers (6-2) (6) — The 49ers still have to play the Bears, Saints, Patriots and Seahawks in the second half of the season. To quote Cris Collinsworth: I’m not so sure San Francisco doesn’t have a tough road to the #1 seed in the NFC.
4.) Green Bay Packers (6-3) (4) — Before the season started I was out with my friend Justine, and she was texting with her friend Randall Cobb. She said he was telling her how the Packers were planning to use him this season, and they were expecting big things. It was then I decided I want to get Cobb on my fantasy team. Ultimately, I waited too long to pick him up, but I’m very glad to see him ballin’ out like he has. No way anyone envisioned 45 rec, 500 yards and 6 TDs including another 667 return yards and a punt return TD. And he’s only 22 years old.
3.) Houston Texans (7-1) (5) — How many times are the Texans going to run that play-action bootleg and then throw it deep to the tight end for a touchdown this season before teams start preparing for it? The tight end is always WIDE OPEN. They did it again against Buffalo this past Sunday. Oh, and Arian Foster has now scored a touchdown in 12 straight games. Me likey that very much.
2.) Chicago Bears (7-1) (2) — Holy smokes, Charles Tillman just ran into my apartment, punched my laptop out of my hand and Brian Urlacher raced by, scooped it up and ran to the The Grove’s Apple Store for a touchdown rebate!!?! What in the hell just happened?!
1.) Atlanta Falcons (8-0) (1) — Seeing a lot of articles this week comparing the Falcons to other 8-0 teams in history and coming to the conclusion that this team doesn’t stack up. I often like to quote Bill Parcells: you are what your record is. And this Falcons team is 8-0, and of the 14 teams in NFL history to reach that mark, 9 of them (64.3%) have reached the Super Bowl. And as Herm Edwards says:
… and right now, the Falcons are winning. And that’s all that matters.
LOS ANGELES — It was Halloween this week; such an interesting “holiday.” Kids obviously still love it and department stores still set up months ahead of time with candy and decorations. Since I’ve lived in Los Angeles, I’ve warmed to the idea of dressing up and going out to enjoy it with other adults. I still don’t feel right about it, but clearly I’ve participated and enjoyed myself. Past costumes have included Bill Belichick, Al Capone, Tim Tebow and Mr. Blonde. While I’m sure the Halloween celebration across the country has its own unique flavor, here it really is like another big holiday. City streets close off, neighborhoods go all out and parties are sponsored by liquor companies. Halloween takes people watching to the next level. It’s really interesting to me to see, with all the creative people in such a small area, what these artistic minds come up with in terms of intricate and unique costumes. It’s hard to explain but one of those things you need to experience to appreciate.
Let’s see who’s dressed up as The Man.
32.) Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) (32) –– For the second week in a row, there will be no change in the bottom of these rankings and the three teams you’re about to read about have 3 combined wins. Now stop me if this sounds a little wacked: Jamaal Charles, who rushed for 233 yards in a game earlier this year, had just 5 carries for 4 yards this weekend against the Raiders, when you started Brady Quinn at quarterback. Romeo Crennel’s days are numbered in K.C.
31.) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6) (31) — Saw some tweets floating the Twitterverse last night about how the Jaguars offense is better without Maurice Jones-Drew and how Blaine Gabbert looks better without MJD in the backfield. I hate to go all 2010 on everyone, but CHILD, PLEASE! If Blaine Gabbert can’t succeed with a Top 5 running back in the backfield that’s on HIM, not the Top 5 running back.
30.) Carolina Panthers (1-6) (30) — This week in “Let’s Blame Cam Newton For Everything”: 5th straight loss, 20-for-39, 314 yards, Zero TDs, 2 INTs and a 57.0 Passer Rating. Cam did conduct himself better at the postgame press conference
29.) Cleveland Browns (2-6) (29) — SOMEONE BREAK UP THE BROWNS!! Not sure if you saw this game on Sunday, but there was a monsoon in Cleveland and the only thing worse than Norv Turner calling plays dry is Norv Turner calling plays soaking wet. 7-6 is kinda setting today’s pass-happy game back a few decades, but that was a game made for Trent Richardson (122 yards, TD) and he delivered.
28.) Buffalo Bills (3-4) (27) — Let’s be honest, a bye week was just what the doctor ordered in Buffalo.
27.) Arizona Cardinals (4-4) (18) — You know how much I love stats. Here’s one for ya: three teams have started the year 4-0 and then lost the next four games. The 1993 Philadelphia Eagles, the 2002 Oakland Raiders … and the 2012 Arizona Cardinals. The ship, be a sinkin’. #FreeFitz
26.) Oakland Raiders (3-4) (28) — Don’t look now but the Raiders are only a game back of the Broncos for the AFC West division lead. OK, no one really thinks they have a shot, not with how Peyton Manning is playing, but still. This team was a mess a few weeks ago, and now Carson Palmer has strung together a couple solid performances in a row the #FreeDMC campaign has sunk faster a lead balloon. Which is a good thing. The league is better when the Raiders are competitive. Let’s hope this continues.
25.) Tennessee Titans (3-5) (24) — Heartbreaking loss by my brother Matthew’s team on Sunday after a third-straight win was lost when Vick Ballard leaped towards the pylon in overtime. Ballard’s amazing play aside, the Titans have looked much better in recent weeks. Hasselbeck has averaged a respectable 233 yards per and a TD in 4 starts, and has only turned it over twice in that span. Chris Johnson has averaged 102 yards in his last 4 games. So it’s coming back.
24.) St. Louis Rams (3-5) (23) — I have yet to travel abroad in my 32-year existence (I plan to get to it at some point, please don’t deride) but it appeared to me that the Rams left their game back in St. Louis. And did anyone find it odd that Wembley fans cheered for the Patriots? Ya know, U.S. Revolution and all that stuff?
23.) Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) (21) — So getting boat raced in the pouring down rain by the Atlanta Falcons is Juan Castillo’s fault, too, I’m guessing? Right, Andy Reid? And now we’re talking about Michael Vick being benched for Nick Foles? Seriously? Someone panicked in my fantasy league and actually picked up Foles. If Nick Foles starts a game this year I’ll be more shocked than that time I was shocked about something shocking.
22.) New York Jets (3-5) (19) — I’m not gonna say I predicted this, but I did pick up the Dolphins defense with Houston on a bye because I felt a Mark Sanchez game coming. And lo and behold: 4 sacks, a couple of turnovers, 2 blocked kicks, a TD and 29 points later and I had myself an upset fantasy win. And what’s with this news Tim Tebow is taking some actress? Yup, this’ll end well.
21.) Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) (22) — I really hope during this bye week the Bengals figured out what’s going wrong with their defense that’s given up 58 points in their last two games.
20.) Dalllas Cowboys (3-4) (17) — No one gets blown out, comes back, only to blow the game in stupid fashion quite like the Cowboys. I know this has been asked all week, but the the hell, Tony Romo? It’s funny to me people are trying to figure out if he can ever lead the team to the Super Bowl. These guys like Romo and Rivers give us so much evidence that they are who they are. Romo blew a playoff game back in 2006. We had hard evidence 6 years ago! He’s never gonna get it and Dallas is never going to win with him. Period.
19.) San Diego Chargers (3-4) (14) — Groundhog Day in the NFL is every year around this time the talk around the league is how the San Diego is in the tank, Norv Turner and A.J. Smith should be fired and Philip Rivers isn’t as good as everyone thinks he is. Then the Chargers rattle off 5 wins in 6 weeks, save their season, finish 9-7 and sneak into the playoffs.
18.) Detroit Lions (3-4) (25) — Fact: I had no idea who Ryan Broyles was until the third quarter of Week 7. Fact: I picked him up and started him this week. Fact: He scored a touchdown for the second straight week. Fact: I won this week. I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but Calvin Johnson has to be hurt or something. That’s the only explanation I’m accepting.
17.) Indianapolis Colts (4-3) (20) — Is that the play of the year from Vick Ballard? Take a look. Watch it again and again. Have you ever seen someone hit the pylon with his head?! A leap is one thing, but a leap, eskimo roll into the head off the pylon. Ridiculous. And don’t look now, but if the playoffs started today, the Colts are in.
16.) New Orleans Saints (2-5) (16) — Really surprised the Saints didn’t play better in Denver last week. Brees has looked a little off all season and that defense, I mean, I didn’t think there was a worse secondary than the Patriots, but good golly. New Orleans is porous. They couldn’t stop my high school, which has it’s Western Maine Class A semifinal playoff matchup this Saturday. Go Trojans.
15.) Minnesota Vikings (5-3) (13) — Pretty bad loss by the Vikings, at home, on Thursday night against the Bucs. This season, home teams have dominated the Thursday games and I was expecting more of the same. The Purple Pistol hasn’t looked great in the last 4 games, throwing 7 interceptions. I still think this team can make the playoffs, but a brutal schedule awaits. “Seriously? WTF” was all Jimmy had for me this week.
14.) Washington Redskins (3-5) (12) — This team is close, but still shows signs of not being that close. Alfred Morris has been out of this world good but you get the feeling against good teams they don’t know how to win yet. It’ll happen. My Good Friend Robert is too special.
13.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) (26) — Yes, I have the Bucs jumping up 13 spots this week. Yes, that is a record in the 9 weeks of this poll (I think). Yes, this may be an overreaction. Yes, Doug Martin is fast, and yes, Josh Freeman has a snake named Eisen.
12.) Miami Dolphins (4-3) (15) — As much as I feel for Lauren Tannehill’s husband for getting injured, I’m really glad for Matt Moore, whom I always thought got a raw deal down in Miami. Good to see him come in and play well. And like I said earlier, big ups to that defense for getting me a win in fantasy this week.
11.) Seattle Seahawks (4-4) (8) — The SeaChickens better hope they win the NFC West and get homefield, because that’s the only way they have a chance of winning a playoff game. Never seen a team struggle so much on the road. They’re the Bizarro Giants.
10.) Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) (11) — I don’t know who Jonathan Dwyer is or how much he weighs, but he sure looks like Jerome Bettis, doesn’t he? Runs like him, too. Could be dangerous for opponents going forward if they start playing like the Steelers of old.
9.) Baltimore Ravens (5-2) (6) — When you’re coming off a bye week, I generally don’t have much to say about you. But by no fault of their own, the Ravens have gotten skipped over by a few teams who just have that mojo working right now.
8.) Denver Broncos (4-3) (10) — We may be witnessing the greatest Peyton Manning season in his 15-year career. Call me crazy, but what he’s doing is incredible. I was on record, here and everywhere, that I thought Manning should have retired. Four neck surgeries. A season off. I didn’t think there was any way he could come back and be the Peyton we’ve known. All he’s done lately is 4 straight 300+ yard, 3+ TD games and has the Broncos in the driver’s seat in the AFC West.
7.) New England Patriots (5-3) (9) — The Patriots brought their full artillery to the motherland and put down a full musket whooping of the Rams. Tom Brady leads the league in passing yards (2,408) and Stevan Ridley is 5th in rushing (716 yards). Sure, we all say the former coming but no one saw the latter. If that maintains, and this Thursday trade for Aqib Talib pans out. Look out.
6.) San Francisco 49ers (6-2) (7) — I know the Cardinals have gone in the tank since starting the season 4-0, but dang did the 49ers put the bang thing (@richeisen voice) on them this Monday. And nice of Randy Moss to dust off the cleats and show us some of that 2007 speed.
5.) Houston Texans (6-1) (5) — Arian Foster was out in California last week to have his jersey retired by his high school. That’s pretty awesome, but shouldn’t every player in the NFL have their jersey retired by their high school? It goes to figure if they made it to the NFL, they’re at least in the 99.9% of players who’ve EVER played at their high school? What in the hell took so long for Foster? What is taking so long Thornton Academy? Oh, right, I wasn’t any good.
4.) Green Bay Packers (5-3) (3) — Aaron Rodgers is still ballin’ out of control right now, and as long as that’s happening, who cares if the Packers only beat the hapless Jaguars 24-15?
3.) New York Giants (6-2) (4) — Only the Giants are good enough to go on the road and rack up a 23-0 lead against a division opponent who beat them earlier in the year. And only the Giants are bad enough to blow that lead and then hold on to win the game because the opponent’s star receiver’s fingers are an inch too long. They’ll probably win the Super Bowl again.
2.) Chicago Bears (6-1) (2) — Before the season we made preseason prediction on the Rich Eisen Podcast and for Coach of the Year, I said Lovie Smith and was laughed at. I said, if the Bears have a good season, which they could with a healthy Jay Cutler (they were on their way last year before he got hurt), then Lovie was going to get serious consideration. I think I’m sitting pretty at the season’s midway point.
1.) Atlanta Falcons (7-0) (1) — The Falcons showed no rust coming out of the bye week; going on the road and putting it down on the Eagles. Matty Ice (or the Mattural) strengthened his MVP campaign with 3 more TD passes as Atlanta remained unbeaten. It hosts the Cowboys this week in what will either end their season or keep their chatter on our tongues for some time to come. Please let it be the reaper (Frasier Crane voice).