Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NFL 2007 Week 8: AFC Edition

AFC EAST: Whoop-dee-doo, the New England Sooners won again. I think running up scores and kicking teams when they’re down is pretty disgraceful. The easy answer is to stop them, but that clearly proven easier said than done. Still, Wes Welker’s celebration in the endzone after going up 42-0 in the fourth quarter should not be tolerated by any professional coach, but it’s clear that Belichick encourages the behavior. I find it interesting that they’ve become the villains of football media when, just three weeks ago, they were still the martyred golden boys of the league. I know from pro wrestling that every good storyline needs a villain, though, and the Pats fit the bill perfectly. I really do hope the Colts beat them, and bad but, if I were to lay money down, it would be on the Patriots. The rest of the division is as bad as ever, though the Bills’ recent performances have given the teams hope that maybe they’ll wind up ahead of the NFC West. In the combined 4-19 record, Buffalo accounts for three of these wins. With J.P. Losman back in the game, I’d say that their two game win streak comes to an end against the desperate Bengals. Is Kellen Clemens the answer to the Jets’ long time woes? Let me think about this…no, there is no way that he’s better than Pennington. Even in a decent performance, he gets ousted, but it looks like the Jets have given up after this move. I’m going to guess that Pennington goes to Miami, since they like to make stupid quarterback decisions. With their entire team decimated, though, Miami looked as good as they have all season. They ran the ball relatively well with a lesser back and Cleo Lemon looked better than Tavarius Jackson, and he’s starting, so how much more can a team ask for…except a win, of course, but good luck with that.

AFC NORTH: Steelers were able to come back from their loss at Denver with a win at Cincinnati, but the Pittsburgh offense is not looking as good now as it has in previous weeks. Heinz Ward has come back from his injury in a big way, and is helping Roethisberger and Willie Parker is still running at a high level, but they just aren’t scoring. They may be third in the AFC, but it’s a distant third. Now the Ravens are vying with the Browns for second place, and it still mystifies me. The Ravens are not a great team, 4-3 is about where I’d have them at this point. The defense continues to overcome their offensive shortcomings, but they are going to be competing against Cleveland for second in the division. They still have both their games against Pittsburgh left, but they have to win both to tie for the division record at 3-3. Cleveland has already split in the division, which should be looked at by all Browns’ fans as a successful season and certainly helps in not giving the Cowboys that high draft pick they gave up last draft. Screwing Dallas is always a step in the right direction. There’s not much to say about the Bengals; they just keep losing. They made the wrong call in kicking the field goal but, for whatever reason, their offense just never kicked into gear this season. A group that talented shouldn’t struggle this much to score, but the internal problems must just be too much to bear. They were doing well when all they signed were criminals. Maybe they should return to that strategy.

AFC SOUTH: One thing you have to respect about the Colts’ undefeated record is that they’re playing in the toughest division in football. They may 7-0, but they are backed up by two 5-2 teams and a hugely overachieving 3-5 team, who could very easily be 5-3. I hate rooting for a defending champion, but go Colts this week. The best scenario would be a 0-0 tie, but that’s wishful thinking; I’ll just be happy with an Indy win. The bloom has started coming off the rose in Tennessee, and Vince Young just isn’t performing at a high level right now. Now that the novelty has worn off of his running abilities, defenses aren’t as scared as they were of him, and he’s started forcing more and more, both in his scrambles and his passes, where he’s hitting none of his targets. Yet, they keep winning. LenDale White has done very well, and surprised many with his own abilities, in spite of his perceived weight problem. He’s hard to stop, and deadly at the goal line. When Young is on, and their underrated defense is performing at its best, this is a very tough team that will make a run at the playoffs. Jacksonville’s going to be looking for the very same thing, but I still don’t see how they’re so good. I didn’t see it last year either, so maybe I’m prejudiced against teal. The Texans appear to be falling away. It’s a shame, but the injuries and that old sack problem are rearing their ugly heads. They’re a better team than anyone could have expected; hopefully, the organization will stick with Kubiak for a few years. More former Broncos running teams!! Go former Broncos!

AFC WEST: It doesn’t really surprise me that San Diego has turned it around like they have. They have too much talent not to win (although I say that about the Bengals and they can’t win a thing). Norv Turner still sucks, and forever will. Given how finicky the Chargers’ organization appears to be with their coaching staff, he won’t be stinking up the division for long. How are the Chiefs 4-3? Besides playing in a bad division, it makes no sense. Larry Johnson’s playing well finally, but he’s been the only change for the better. I guess the division is just that bad. A couple of weeks ago, I purposefully didn’t mention them because they were so far off the radar, now they’re tied for the division lead. It makes me sick. Speaking of being made sick, the Broncos looked pretty bad this week. They are thwarted at every attempt to score with somebody besides Elam. There were two plays that changed that game. A guard knocks the ball out of Cutler’s hands on the 2-yard line, and a garbage hold penalty pull as 60-yard run out of Selvin Young’s hands. If either of these drives ended with a field goal. That overtime crap is moot. Everybody can be happy for Brett Favre and his botox wife, but it was probably the most frustrating loss of the year for an already frustrated Bronco fan. And then there’s the Raiders, who are up to their old tricks again; sucking tricks, that is. After Culpepper’s big show a few weeks back, they haven’t won a game. Things don’t get any easier for them, and they’re ditching a good running back, which doesn’t help so, if nothing else, I can at least take solace in the fact that Denver isn’t the worst team in the division. They’re just really close.