Side-effect of the NFL’s short season number 318: We always expect too much out of the better teams. In almost any other sport a game like the Saints had yesterday would go mostly unnoticed. You’d raise your eyebrows, chuckle at St. Louis’ fortune and get on with your life. In football everything is exaggerated. OH MY GOD! The NFC is now completely turned on its head. It all adds to the randomness of the game, that sense that you’ll never really get a handle on what is going on. If you could take a step back, look at the big picture, you’d say that Sunday wasn’t the Patriots best effort, but both teams are still going to make the playoffs, and let’s see what happens in January. That’s no fun, though. You want to immediately crown the Steelers as AFC champions, doubt the Patriots’ defense and question if they can win a playofff game and start talking about a Super Bowl rematch. We’ll do this until next week when the Steelers will lose, the Packers will get upset, or something else will happen to put us back on our heads.
Is Cam Newton headed toward the most lauded 3-13 campaign of all-time? And, who is starting to feel sorry for the guy? He feels a bit like a Clippers draft pick right now to me, before that Clippers stank settles in on them. He’s fresh, obscenely talented and still handling the losses pretty well, but how long does that last? I’d hate to see Cam get bogged down and stop progressing. I imagine Steve Smith won’t let that happen, but Sunday’s loss was another brutal one. That’s an instance for me where you just immediately cut the kicker. Not that kickers aren’t allowed to miss, but how can you even look Mare in the face this week at practice without pummeling him? It’s got to be bad for morale having the guy around. So, in half a season, Newton’s compiled 2,400 yards passing, 300+ rushing and has 18 combined TDs. Not too shabby, but Carolina’s 2-6 with a pretty stout schedule remaining.
If the Eagles can somehow turn the season completely around, and that’s still a long way off, LeSean McCoy could end up challenging Aaron Rodgers for the MVP if Rodgers can return to earth just a little bit. First of all, McCoy’s having an amazing year. He’s on pace for about 1,800 yards from scrimmage and 20 TDs, but along with that, Andy Reid is finally showing a willingness to give McCoy feature back carries. The last two weeks McCoy has 58 carries for 311 yards and 3 TDs. That’s uncommon ground for an Eagles running back, and the formula of getting ahead and then letting McCoy take the game over has worked wonders for the Eagles. McCoy looks fresh and ready to handle the workload. He carved up Dallas’ highly regarded run-defense and with Vick and the Eagles receivers being constant threats it will be hard for a defense to ever key on McCoy. He could be headed toward a monster 2nd half.
Five Fantasy Eye-Pokes of the Week:
1. Chris Johnson. Johnson has officially become a reclamation project candidate at this point. Tennessee has seen enough. I can’t believe my eyes. I was leery before the draft, but never thought it’d get this bad. Hello, Javon Ringer.
2. Tom Brady. Time to light a fire under Tommy Boy, isn’t it? Just 5 TDs over his last 3 games and while he’s been perfectly fine at QB, we’ve come to expect more. I talked about Brady being a hammer earlier in the year, and he hasn’t been for over a month.
3. Steve Slaton. First, he steals a TD from Reggie Bush (who I’m sure was a popular addition Sunday), but look at that line…5 carries for 7 yds. If that doesn’t get your rage up for the fantasy season Slaton tanked in 2009, I don’t know what will.
4. Brandon Jacobs. Is anyone still holding onto this guy? God forbid you start him. I think I know what everyone is thinking, the minute I cut him, he’s going to have one of those random games where he scores 3 times. Not happening this year.
5. DeSean Jackson. Jackson has an ability to look better than his stats at times. Every time he catches the ball there’s this flash of excitement that activates something in your brain that tells you he’s having a good game. It could be an 8-yd slant, and you’re thinking, “There’s DeSean–dominating.” He’s hardly put a game together this year. Two TD catches, and a total backseat to Maclin.
Arbitrary, But Definitive Top-10:
- Green Bay–Bye Week Bliss
- Pittsburgh–See? Rematch.
- San Francisco–Should be able to hold off the Rams.
- Buffalo–Don’t come into Toronto and expect to score.
- New England–Surprising Effort after the Bye-Week.
- Baltimore–Horrific Start, but found the offense finally.
- Detroit–Wins over Tebow barely count.
- Cincy–Wins over Seattle Don’t count.
- Atlanta–A Lot hotter than N.O. all of a Sudden.
- New York Giants–Convincing….ly awful win over Miami.