Week 8: The Halfway Point

By: Shawn Davis

“Still unbeaten at 7-0; respect us.”

We’ve arrived at the intermission point of the season where you all can get your popcorn and then return to your seats. Ready? Okay. What do we have thus far in a season where the New Orleans Saints are 2-5 while the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts are both 4-3?

It’s difficult to get a look at a team’s true identity too soon in the season so looking at the entire league at the middle point should give more information; which is what all this writing is about in the first place, ha. As sad as I am that the league year is progressing so swiftly I’m elated to see how the playoff picture develops as the regular season comes to a close.

Teams that started off hot are finding themselves in the midst of a downpour of terrible blocking and quarterback play (I’m looking at you Arizona.) and others have given their paying customers legit reasons to get off the couch and come to the stadium (the Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins and the Indianapolis Colts come quickly to mind).

So now that we have a better idea of who’s going to be playing for something more than draft positioning, let’s get to the laziest power rankings-ish type column on this interweb thing, the italics below were my thoughts at Week 4.

Playing For The 2013 Draft

Don’t kill the messenger here, history isn’t kind.

Carolina (1-6), Jacksonville (1-6), Cleveland (2-6), Kansas City (1-6) and New Orleans (2-5)

Collin Klein, Manti Te’o, Geno Smith and Matt Barkley better get a good real estate agent…soon, especially as it pertains to the quarterback position for the Chiefs and Jaguars. Oh yeah, the Cardinals and Jets could be calling as well.

I Have No Idea

Looks can be deceiving but a busty girl…is still busty. What am I talking about?

Minnesota (5-3), Arizona (4-4), New York Jets (3-5), Buffalo (3-4), Dallas (3-4), Philadelphia (3-4), Detroit (3-4), St. Louis (3-5)

Some things are obvious, like big breasts, so it makes some sense to see these teams grouped as so. I’m not going to label any of these teams as “bad” but to say they’re “good” would be an overstatement at this point…and it might prove that I write this column under the influence.

Minnesota is being “disrespected” here some might say – and I laugh; why? I do respect they’re 5-3 but their record could be fools gold in that they’ve only played one division game – a win versus Detroit, 20-13. Over the next five games they play four division contests and that will determine where they fall (and they visit Seattle this Sunday) in relation to the NFC playoff picture.

Did you see the Cardinals last night – at home – versus the 49ers? Bless your eyes if you didn’t. Four up, four down for the home team and it’s getting bloody. I feel bad for their defensive unit because they are top-level, almost elite, but it’s the offense (the o-line, quarterback, and running game) that has this team looking at their draft board when it seemed as though they would be a close second to the 49ers. To the quarterbacks declaring for the 2013 NFL Draft: I would be looking for real estate in Arizona, seriously; they will be calling you guys in for workouts.

I’m completely convinced that the Jets management wants Mark Sanchez to fail. There’s no other way to explain their negligence in building the roster around him. You mean to tell me there are NOOOOOO weapons on the free agent market? Not a single receiver (or three) that can catch some passes and soften opposing defenses for their “ground-and-pound” fart-fest of an offense? College quarterbacks: Welcome to New York City! One of you may be selected to play for this putrid front-office. I’ve been a fan of Sanchez since USC and I want him to be moved to another team – he needs a fresh start. I’m no Sanchez apologist either, he’s been awful, but he isn’t the whole problem.

As for the Eagles and Cowboys: I will not turn my back in either team because I could see them both getting back into the playoff hunt with so many NFC teams still lumped together. If Andy Reid really wants to save his job he should MAKE SURE that LeSean McCoy touches the ball at least 20 times each game for the remainder of the year and see where that leaves his job security – and their playoff hopes. For all the praise that Reid gets for being an offensive genius, the mere fact that he ignores that McCoy is on his roster bewilders me to no end.

Tony Romo has nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions thus far this season…bad! However he is completing 65.7 percent of his passes with over seven yards per completion so it’s not like he’s stinking the joint up. He gets too much scrutiny but they put everything on his shoulders so whether he plays well or not, it won’t be enough in Texas. I like his style of play but I hate the interceptions and in that vein he reminds me of Brett Favre: good plays with bad ones; you have to live with both when he’s your quarterback. With that said, he is one of the best at the position.

The Rams are great when they play with a lead. Otherwise they are too limited on offense and it really shows when they have to try to rally from behind.

No Easy Out

Reserved for the AFC West, it seems.

Tennessee (3-5), Washington (3-5), Oakland (3-4), Tampa Bay (3-4), San Diego (3-4)

Matt Hasselbeck is still alive it seems; it never made sense to me that Jake Locker was named the starter. I honestly feel that the front-office fell in love with all the young quarterbacks having measured levels of success across the league and went to the young gun over the proven veteran on their roster. Hasselbeck is better, period. Maybe Locker’s time is next year – or the year after – but their best chances of winning is in the hands of number eight.

The Buccaneers have been coming alive the last few weeks so that’s why I put them here. With the Saints and Panthers in the dungeon of the NFC South they have a chance to bubble up and push for the playoffs.

Robert Griffin is making the Redskins matter in ways they haven’t in years but he’s going to die if they’re going to line him up and run him in passing routes. Crazy. Let the Raiders and Chargers beat each other down in the fight to see which quarterback saves their career.

Prove It

Do it for a few more weeks; too small of a sample size to look ahead.

Indianapolis (4-3), Miami (4-3)

They play one another this week – and that should help clear some things up. Right?


So far…

Baltimore (5-2), Denver (4-3), Pittsburgh (4-3), Green Bay (5-3), Seattle (4-4), Cincinnati (3-4)

Why are the Ravens in this category and not the highest you wonder? Joe Flacco is not the elite player that he thinks he is; he’s holding them back. Denver has just pushed through the toughest part of their schedule…and they look to be getting ready to feast over the last half of their schedule. (Let’s get it going! Did I mention they’re my Super Bowl winner?)

The Packers are still soft on defense but Aaron Rodgers is still their quarterback and they are going to play a lot of division games (five to go, and I think they will go at least 4-1 in those matchups) in the second half of their season. The Steelers are not dead, sorry to break the news to you all.

Yes, the Bengals are 3-4 but I think they’re good, I do. Seattle’s secondary puts them in this grouping.

Playing For The Trophy

A bit too early to tell just yet, sorry; although last year the Patriots were one of the teams I had here and they did “play” for it. There are too many teams in bed together to separate the contenders so when Week 8 rolls around the view should be a little clearer…in theory.

Atlanta (7-0), Houston (6-1), Chicago (6-1), San Francisco (6-2), New York Giants (6-2), New England (5-3)

These are the best teams playing! We have the defending champs (along with the two teams they beat last year to win the trophy), the Texans, Bears and the only undefeated team remaining in the league. This grouping and the one directly above will provide this year’s Super Bowl matchup (my Super Bowl of Packers versus Broncos is still alive) so you should bet it in Vegas and send my cut for helping you out.

I’ll see you for the Week 12 breakdown.


Photo: ajc.com


2 thoughts on “Week 8: The Halfway Point

  1. MQ October 30, 2012 / 10:37 pm

    Jets suck; they should be relegated to Nassau Coliseum once the Islanders move out. Rex is not the guy. It was funny for a year or two, but look at the top teams: defense and discipline.

    • sthewriter November 1, 2012 / 8:13 pm

      I’m with you MQ. I don’t even have much of an issue with Ryan; their front-office is negligent.

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