Ah November. This is the part of the NFL season where things start to get good. The NBA has started, thus giving sports fans a full plate of viewing options and the NFL is finally real. When I say real, what I mean is that at this point in the year, we are starting to really get a handle on who’s good and who’s bad. Remember last season’s Buffalo Bills. Going into Week 9, the Bills were 5-2 but we were starting to realize that their record wasn’t that good. They’d beaten some bad teams to get to 5-2 (Oakland, KC, Rex Grossman’s Redskins) and I, and most fans, didn’t really believe in them. What followed was an epic 7 game losing streak, losing 8 of their last 9 (they did manage to beat Tim Tebow’s Broncos). This season, I feel pretty confident projecting most of the divisions. Rather than do game recap this week, I think i’d like to talk about each division.
NFC North Champions: Green Bay
I think this might be the closest division on the board right now. The Bears just didn’t look all that great against Carolina (although GB really didn’t against Jacksonville either). I just sense a Bears collapse coming.
NFC West: 49ers
The seahawks are dangerous, but this one is so close to locked. SF has been really good in spots, but definitely not untouchable as we saw against the Giants.
NFC East: Giants
The Giants are the best team in football. The Eagles, record wise, could still be in striking distance, but come on. The wheels are coming off in philly. The cowboys are ok at best and the Redskins are far too injured. This is the Giants’ division to lose.
NFC South: Atlanta
I hate the falcons, I still think they are overrated and will fall apart in round 1 of the playoffs as per usual. However, they’re 7-0 and they are so far ahead of tampa that I think they are untouchable. I really like what I saw out of Tampa the last two weeks. I think they might be my wild card pick (along with Seattle). I’d also love if the Bucs were the team that knocked ATL out of the playoffs 🙂
AFC East: Patriots
(i do like the Dolphins a lot, they punked the Jets, they are very good. They are an AFC wild card)
AFC South: Houston
Not much to say here, this is not even a close division. Houston is the AFC favorite and all other teams are “rebuilding”. I do think Indy might make some noise as a wild card and I think the AFC wildcard race will actually be really exciting.
AFC North: Steelers
I’m aware that the Ravens are technically a game ahead of the Steelers right now and that I’ve been ragging on the Steelers all year (with good reason, they aren’t that good and have a swiss cheese offensive line). However, Baltimore is decimated by defensive injury and the games they have won have just not been convincing. I’m off the Joe Flacco bandwagon (yes, at the beginning of the year I was wacko for Flacco, but my fantasy teams suffered enough—I’m out). Maybe the Ravens can ride Ray Rice to this division, it’s probably the closest in the AFC, but I still think the Steelers win it (and then are promptly beaten by whichever wild card they play).
AFC West: Broncos
By god, he might be back. Actually, I take that back, Peyton Manning still can’t make a deep pass and his throws are still wobbly. But man, he can read a defense. I think just being that intelligent, in this division with the Broncos’ easy schedule the rest of the way, is going to make them a strong winner of the division, maybe challenging Houston for the #1 seed. The rest of this division is garbage: Oakland is inconsistent (although pretty good when they are good), SD is a joke (bye bye Norv) and the Chiefs are the worst team in football.
The AFC wildcard, I think, is the most interesting thing about this conference. A case could be made for Indy, Baltimore (assuming they don’t win the North) , and the Dolphins. I am rooting for Miami and Indy, but I think it’ll probably go down to Week 17 and Baltimore and Miami will end up with it (the only thing that would stop the dolphins is that they still have to play the Pats twice, but one of those is week 17 and Bellichick could be resting starters).
Alright, on to this weeks games
New Orleans (-1.5) vs Philly
Can both of these teams lose? That would make me really happy. This game could go one of two ways. Brees could light up the horrendous Philly defense on the way to a lot of points, but the game is close because Vick is playing for his job and the NO defense is horrendous. Or, Vick goes out trying to save his job and throws pick after pick and loses the game huge, his job, and makes me the happiest i’ve been since July 2011. My money is, unfortunately, on a high scoring game that Philly ends up winning because their defense is marginally more competent than New Orleans. yuck.
Pick:Philly 42, NO 38
Giants (-3) vs Steelers
I’m a little shocked that the line is so low on this game. I really think the Giants are going to dominate the Steelers. The Steelers have no run game and their defense is so banged up (incidentally, what they should do is trade for DeAngelo Williams, in which case this game gets really interesting). This is, still, probably the best game this week because these are probably two playoff teams. I think the Giants make a statement with the game and win big.
Giants 31, Steelers 21
Not a thing changed last week. These are still the best three teams and they all proved it with their performances last week. The texans are trying to get in this group and they may.
1) Kansas City
My biggest mistake since I started blogging about this NFL season was not recognizing how terrible this Chiefs team is. For some reason they just weren’t on my radar. But every other team, Jags and Bills included, have redeeming qualities. The Chiefs are a poorly coached team with horrendous QB play and no defense. They have a talented RB that is never given the ball and a really talented receiver that would be great if he didn’t drop every pass thrown at him. I apologize, I anticipate that they will be at the top of this list for the rest of the year (see I told you, week 9 is when we can really have a handle on the league). The Jags are just young, I actually do think they will end up being good and I’m coming around on Blaine Gabbert, although I’m far from a believer. Let’s put him in the “you have potential but I’m not sure this is the right team for you and I’m not sure you really have all the talent that appears in flashes” category. Other members: Sanchez, Mark, Rivers, Phillip, Fitzpatrick, Ryan. The Bills are the Bills, they do have the talent but the product on the field has been shit. They are horrendously coached. speaking of coaches.
Scott’s Coaching Crystal Ball
So I want to keep track of the Coaches who are on the hot seat from week to week and really keep track of who saves their job and who puts the nail in their own proverbial coffin. Right now:
Norv Turner- Chargers
Jason Garrett- Cowboys
Romeo Crennel- Chiefs
Pat Shurmur- Browns
Ron Rivera- Panthers
If the season were to end today, I think every one of these coaches would be fired. As it stands, I think Rivera and Ryan will probably save their jobs. However, I really could see a scenario where Rex Ryan is the head coach of the chargers next year. In any case, these are the coaches to watch for next week’s blog, I’ll post how I think each of these teams did in terms of coaching and if they helped or hurt their coach (rex, mercifully, is on a bye week).
Thanks for reading,