Monday, November 27, 2006

The NFL Down the Stretch

Now that we're looking towards the playoffs, here's another look at what's going on in the NFL. No more undefeated teams, but not a whole lot of big surprises to end the season.

AFC West: Well, I got what I wished for: Jake Plummer has been benched. I really didn’t want to see it this season, but it’s time to see if Jay Cutler can cut the mustard. After the losses to KC & SD, it’s not like it could get a lot worse right now, but I’m just scared we’ll look like the Raiders. Speaking of the Chargers, LT looks to shatter the touchdown record. A lot of people will say that Peyton Manning is the best player in football, but Tomlinson gives him a run for his money.

AFC South: I’m so glad the Colts lost. Could it have been by a worse team? Maybe not, but I was a Cowboys fan for a night. Even though all three other teams in the division are looking better than at the start of the season, I don’t think any of them will be in the playoffs. Look for the Titans and the Jaguars for next year. Barring injury, Vince Young with some experience is a scary thought.

AFC East: I’m not sure what to thing about the AFC East. There’s clear talent in the Patriots and both Miami and Buffalo have been better lately. But, barring the Patriots, who have been steady, they all look absolutely awful at times. Look for none of these teams to do much at this point until next April for the draft.

AFC North: I certainly didn’t expect to see the North at the bottom of the AFC. The Steelers have been simply terrible and, even at 9-2, Baltimore is most certainly beatable. The Bengals have found ways to lose in spite of their talent and performances, so who knows about them. As predicted in the beginning, the Browns are the worst team in football today. Yes, even worse than the Raiders.

NFC West: At this point, the West is the cellar of the NFC and maybe the whole league. Seattle will be playing Denver for their season (and maybe vice-versa), but the rest of the conference is pretty bad, despite some talent shown from all teams. I really thought the Cardinals were going to be good, but it looks like there’s something in the water in Phoenix. Lately, the Niners have looked like a decent team, but it’s just too bad the season’s almost over. Too bad, indeed.

NFC South: Since Reggie Bush’s “greatness” looks to already be fading away, I can finally appreciate some players I like, such as Drew Brees and Joe Horn, who have been putting up ridiculous numbers and are a lot of fun to watch. Also a lot of fun to watch: John Gruden doing badly. After the Tony Dungee debacle, I’m always fond of seeing the traitorous Buccaneers (could you expect more from them?) do poorly. I’m wondering if Vick’s going to be on the market after this season, given his recent loss in popularity. He’ll be very successful given the right team of players, but it’s starting to look like he’ll have streaks like this forever.

NFC East: Why couldn’t the Cowboys only win been against the Colts? Why couldn’t Tony Romo have been a washout? Is it true that God is a fan of the Cowboys? Please let me be wrong. I hate living in Texas during football season. They are so obnoxious when they’re doing well. The Giants have stunk up the joint, but I’m predicting them deep in the playoffs, even still. The NFC is soft, soft, soft and they can turn it on a dime. Plus, as long as Washington is doing poorly, I’m happy. Bring those draft picks home to Denver.

NFC North: Now that the Bears barely look better than a bunch of chumps, the world is back at rest. They’re going to win their division, but they are an easily beatable team at this point. Minnesota still has potential to surprise and it looks like Favre still has a few tricks up his old, tattered sleeve. The Lions are as worthless as ever and they’re there for everyone to whip on. Poor guys, although it was funny to watch Joey Harrington get a little revenge on Detroit’s crappy fans.

So, based on record, it’s like a Colts/Bears Super Bowl, which would not be a lot of fun to watch. I haven’t given up hope for the Broncos yet, and I really haven’t given up hope that the Cowboys will collapse, but I think the most likely scenario will be the Ravens vs. the Bears, and the Bears will lose, and lose bad.