In the spirit of checking self-esteem I’d like to take a moment this morning to talk about how bad some teams in the NFL are playing this season. Last night a national laughing stock, with a rookie QB who a month ago was a punchline himself, no starting running back and an overrated coach moved to 3-2 with a win in Atlanta. Were people wrong about the Jets? The Jets are in the playoff hunt. They’re better than the entire NFC East. Maybe we were all wrong about the other teams. Perhaps the bottom half of the NFL is a festering pool of mediocrity where virtually anything can happen over the course of a few weeks. The Jets are better than the Jags, who may be historically bad, but they’re right there with the other 17+ teams who have no shot of doing anything this season. Where did the NFL’s middle class go? Let’s look at some offenders:
Atlanta 1-4. I picked Atlanta to go to the Super Bowl last year–decent pick. I picked them this year and I lost every ounce of my credibility. I’m not exactly sure what is going on here. The Falcons don’t have a running game. Their defense isn’t good, but that hadn’t stopped them from winning in the past. They have played a RELATIVELY tough schedule, but they’re 1-2 at home and mercifully headed into the bye-week.
Houston 2-3. We’ll be talking more about Houston later for another reason–use your imagination–but it appears the window for this Texans team has closed. They spent so long trying to get over the hump that it looks like they’ve fallen apart on the other side. Arian Foster and Andre Johnson aren’t what they were and while they showed some signs against Seattle, their last two road trips have been epic, embarrassing beatdowns. The Texans were never going anywhere, but now even 10-6 looks like a dream.
The NFC East 5-14. Am I beating a dead horse? I just don’t remember the NFC East ever lacking a real contender. It’s spent time as one of the best divisions in football, but even when the teams at the bottom were struggling there was a power at the top. Not this year. And, it’s mostly a defensive issue. The division is giving up 31 points a game on the average. The entire division! That’s incredible. The Giants are 0-5 and that game Sunday was like a contest to see what would happen first. Will the Eagles defense blow it, or will New York give up? It’s pretty clear to me that the Cowboys are the best team in the division and they just gave up 51 points and have Tony Romo at QB.
So there are six teams right there that people usually expect to be in that 8-10 win range, on the fringe of contention, maybe a wild-card, maybe a streaky playoff run, but where things stand now they’d be lucky to string together two straight wins. There will be some 8,9,10 win teams this year–it has to happen, but they aren’t going to be any good.
NFL Pick ‘EM Standings:
- Big Dub, 17-7-1
- Grossy, 16-8-1
- Kraft, 16-8-1
- DC, 13-10-2
- Nichols, 11-14
- JCK, 10-14-1
Let’s just take a minute to reflect on the top of the standings. That’s pretty impressive. I’m trying to be serious for once. We’re on the verge of deserving some national attention. And, really it was a hell of a week. The combined record was 20-10, which is killing it no matter how you want to look at it.
The “Haunted Hayride” Pick of the Week: Indianapolis (+3)–Grossy, DC and Kraft.
You get into the bye weeks and you get a lot of similarities in the picks. I must say that this year on games where several people agree, we’ve been doing quite well. That’s anecdotal. I’ll get Jayson Stark to research the true numbers, but there wasn’t a standout individual pick this week, so we’ll go with the undefeated Seahawks going down. It was a tough spot for Seattle, but after that game at Houston last week you wondered just how lucky and good this team was. And, Indy doesn’t have much of reputation in hard battles, but they are getting one–in a hurry. But, I still don’t know Colts defensive players. Let’s remedy that. Jerrell Freeman has 43 tackles and 3 sacks–guy’s everywhere.
The “Call Hammer, This Season’s Over” Awful Pick of the Week: Atlanta (-10)–Grossy.
Let’s just go through what I said, line by line. It’ll be funnier that way. The Falcons have to have this one. Guess not, they fell behind immediately with no sense of urgency. Geno Smith doesn’t seem equipped at this point to go into a hostile dome and throw anything but picks. 0 INTS. I’ve given up on the Falcons season at this point….THEN WHY ARE YOU PICKING THEM. Rex Ryan is so distraught after the game he has his stomach unstapled. By all accounts Ryan’s stomach is still tightly fastened. Really bad example of picking the Monday game just because it’s there. Where are the teams you can trust?
3-PT D.A. of the Week: Matt Schaub. Schaub is putting together a nice streak right now. Is there anything worse than thinking you have at least a decent QB and then all of a sudden you don’t? Houston’s built to win now–allegedly. What’s the plan? Shame and embarrassment. Read more about Schaub and this season’s D.A. battles on the D.A. Page….
The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary Top-10:
- Denver, 5-0. Thanks, Tony!
- Kansas City, 5-0. This team won TWO games last year.
- New Orleans, 5-0. Impressive in Chicago.
- Indianapolis, 4-1. Confident and Dangerous Right now.
- Seattle, 4-1. Russell Wilson needs a hand on offense.
- New England, 4-1. Brady is now 0-1 in biblical rain storms.
- San Francisco, 3-2. Hiccups over for now.
- Cincinnati, 3-2. Who knows week to week.
- Tennessee, 3-2. A top-10 team if Locker can come back.
- Cleveland, 3-2. Hammering home my no middle class point.