I’d say there are 5 teams officially entered (Arizona, Minnesota, Miami, Indy and Denver) in what will eventually become a great horse race. The pursuit of Andrew Luck is not solely based on record. Carolina is 1-4, but they’ve got Cam Newton. Jacksonville is 1-4 as well, and if they ended up with the top pick you’d get an idea of exactly how much teams covet Andrew Luck. Would they kick Gabbert to the curb like a glorified Jimmy Clausen? I’m not sure they would. And, of course there is St. Louis as well and the Sam Bradford saga. That would also be a hell of decision, one that looks closer to becoming a reality every time you see the Rams on the field.
What I wonder about Luck is, how many of these fan bases have committed to following him rabidly, how many are getting invested early? And conversely, how many don’t really know a thing about him other than he represents the promise for better times and future Super Bowls. I don’t know that much about Luck. I know Stanford’s undefeated, I can look up the stats and see he’s 6th in the country in passing efficiency. He’s got an 11/1 TD to INT ratio, he completes 71 percent of his passes–those are all gaudy numbers, but as far as what separates him from Bradford, or Stafford, or Newton, I’m mostly just taking people’s words on that. And, I think a lot of people have that opinion. Don’t get bogged down in the details, just bring him in here so we can start winning games.
The Horse Race:
Stone Favorite: Miami (0-4). The Dolphins are a perfect 0-4. And now with Chad Henne hurt, they can really set the phasers to “tank.” Not that Henne was going to carry them to even 5 or 6 wins, but I think you’re going to need 2 wins, 3 max to secure this thing, and with an injured QB and a head coach on his way out the door, Miami is the ultimate fresh start location. The finally a replacement for Marino story is a pretty good one, too. Odds: 3:1.
The Early Speed: Indy (0-5). Peyton Manning went down, and the Colts put on an early clinic on how to lose football games. They might be the worst team in the league right now, but there’s that danger of them fading to 4-12. That won’t be good enough. For those thinking that the Colts wouldn’t have interest because of Pey-Pey and would sell the pick off for a ransom–I say, Think again. Odds: 5:1.
The Long Shot: Arizona (1-4). Arizona plays in a division with the Rams (0-4), the Seahawks (2-3) and the worst 4-1 team in the history of the NFL, the 49ers. They’re simply a victim of their environment. It’ll be very difficult for them to lose the 13, 14 games that will be necessary here. I think in their hearts they probably know that Kolb is not the answer, just like Leinart wasn’t, and Skelton and Hall and, of course, D.A. Odds: 12:1.
The Unknown: Minnesota (1-4). Ever since Adrian Peterson arrived in Minnesota it has felt like they just needed a QB to get over the top. The only solid year they got out of a quarterback (Britt Far) resulted in a nice playoff run, before Favre put his signature flourish on it and then left the building. What we don’t know about Minnesota this year is if they’ll stick to McNabb and grind it out, or transition to Ponder. If they go to Ponder and he’s as bad as I think he could be…Watch out. Odds: 10:1.
The Late Speed: Denver (1-4). Denver’s season at first glance doesn’t seem so bad, but we’re now teetering on the verge of the Tebow era. And, I think the more people see of Tebow, the more they’ll realize they do not want him to be their franchise QB. I look at Denver and I see a team that doesn’t do anything particularly well. They just lose and there is no reason to think they’ll stop losing if Tebow takes over. They could charge by the field losing 10 of their last 11, no problem. Odds: 8:1.
The Dark Horse: Philly (1-4). A lot of people probably thought Sunday was it for the Eagles. A new breed of miserable in their loss to Buffalo. We know for sure they can’t stop anyone. And, their offense can’t get out of their own way. If you want to say they’re finished now, I’d be reluctant to argue, but they do have “division leading” Washington next week. I put that in quotes because there isn’t much faith in the Redskins, even if they are 3-1. If they beat Washington, they wouldn’t be that far out of the hunt in the putrid NFC East. If they lose I’ll assume Reid has lost the team and we’re playing out a string. Odds Healthy Vick: 20:1. Odds Kafka/Young: 25/2.
Top-5 Fantasy A-Holes of the Week: I’ve come to like this segment, because it’s a way to complain about fantasy without getting into the specifics that bore everyone to death. I wonder if anyone took The Antagonist’s advice and started Pierre Garcon or Jose Cruz Jr? I happened to start Cruz, myself.
1. Curtis Painter. I feel like people pick up defenses that play the Colts and Painter has hindered that strategy two straight weeks now, but somehow isn’t producing stats for the Colts people might actually have on their team: Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, etc. He’s killing you from both ends.
2. Jerry Mike Finley. I don’t have Finley (I wish), but it’s got to be frustrating having almost any Packer receiver. Rodgers hit 12(?) different guys last night? If I had Finley, and was constantly listening to all this talk about how great he was, I’d be expecting 16 points a week. Instead, most weeks you look up and it’s 5-75 0 TDs.
3. Ahmad Bradshaw. What the heck is this guy doing with his life? 17 for 58 against Seattle? Seattle? My goodness.
4. A.J. Green. Did I mention I wanted to draft A.J. Green? Probably 8 or 9 times by now? I don’t understand how it’s happening, but the Cardinal-Haired Gunslinger is getting him the ball on the regular. He’s a picture of consistency these days. Thank god I snapped up Michael Bush instead.
5. All Kickers. Can I get into a league that doesn’t use kickers next year? That’d be great. Picking kickers is less intuitive than picking D.A. QBs at this point, and I didn’t think that was possible.
Arbitrary NFL Power Rankings: The Top Ten.
- Green Bay–In Perpetuity.
- Detroit–For 13 More Hours At Least.
- N.E.–Defense Looking Better? No, that’s the Jets.
- Baltimore–I don’t want to get too NFC biased.
- New Orleans–Ugly, Ugly win on Sunday.
- Buffalo–Back like Cooked Crack.
- San Francisco–Appearing This Week Only.
- San Diego–By Default.
- Washington–By Something Less Than Default.
- Pittsburgh–Season Shifting Blowout on Sunday?