You don’t have to be keeping track of DA Football stats to realize the points are flying in the NFL recently. Eleven teams eclipsed 30 points in week 11 and several others pressed well into the twenties. Looking around the league, I don’t see many feared defenses. Pittsburgh is probably at the top of the list, but after that you mostly find teams capable of exploiting a match-up. The Packers have looked great recently against inferior competition. The Bears shut out a third string QB in Miami, but I’m not sure if there is a defense, the Steelers included, that can be counted on to shut down a top offense.
I will concede the isolated moments of good defensive play. The Giants created a pretty consistent pass rush on Michael Vick Sunday night. They weren’t sacking him constantly, but he was harried and the Eagles were just a little bit out of sync on offense. It was the worst Vick has looked relative to his dominant performances this season. That said, the Eagles still scored 27 points, and that easily could have been 35+ with dropped balls in the end zone, missed field goals, etc. So, if that was the best the number one ranked defense in the league could do, what kind of chance does your middle of the road unit have?
I’d have to go back and look, but I think I remember a similar pattern developing last year. It looked like however potent a team’s offense was would dictate their overall success. It was about how many points you could score, and how well you threw the ball. It’s a passing league. We hear that all the time. It was ringing true last season, but then once we hit the playoffs the Jets emerged with their defense and running game and reminded everyone that there was maybe more than one way to win. The Vikings defense played a couple of good games as well, but in the end both those teams came up short. I’m not even sure there is a team this year that will challenge the offense first mentality that has infected the league.
Changing topics back to the head injury/helmet to helmet issue. I don’t have any more opinions to offer on what should be done, or the future of football, but I do have an observation. The number of injuries this year and the attention they are being given has altered the way I view games as a fan. I don’t know if anyone else has had this experience, but in the past I wouldn’t notice an injury until after the fact. The play ends, we digest it, and then you look back to realize someone was hurt on the play. Now when I watch games I scrutinize every hit while it happens. When I see a bad hit I no longer continue to follow the play, but I almost cringe and then wait for some sign the player is all right. It’s an odd way to experience a game.
Last topic for now is the NFC. The NFC gets absolutely no credit as a conference. It hardly makes an appearance in the top-5 of most power rankings. Jets, Pats, Steelers, Ravens and then maybe an NFC team, just to throw the conference a bone. But, even if the conference doesn’t have a great team there is plenty of competition between teams with good records for the playoff positions. Philly, Chicago, New Orleans, Tampa and Green Bay are all 7-3 and trailing conference leading Atlanta by a single game. At least one of those teams will not make the playoffs. If we were trying to sort through this overrated mess, I wonder how we’d rank these contenders? Who is legit, and who is a sitting duck in the first round of the playoffs? I think most would put the Eagles, Saints and Packers in the legit category while Tampa and Chicago are probably considered frauds. That’s how I would arrange them, but I’m stubborn. I’m still not giving Josh Freeman credit, and I’ll be fully expecting the Eagles to beat the Bears next Sunday.
Quick Closing Thoughts on the NFL:
- Shouldn’t Houston and Cincy play each other every week?
- Farve Quits/Favre is Benched/Childress is Fired. Please put in chronological order.
- Peyton Manning, maybe not a DA pick, but what was that last throw?
- Eli Manning…still can’t slide, the unathleticism of white people around the world is confirmed.
- If the Browns played in the NFC West would they be 8-2?
**Closing non-NFL thought. How important are character names? I just want to know, would it have been so popular if the kid was called Gary Potter? Just curious.