5 things I learned during week 14 of the NFL (minus the Ravens-Texans Monday night game)

Posted: December 13, 2010 in sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1. The Patriots are the best team in the NFL

By a mile.  I know, we probably already knew this after the 45-3 romping of the Jets on Monday night.  But Sunday’s 36-7 annihilation of the Bears in a way showed more about the Patriots than the Jets game.  We all knew the Patriots were gonna come ready to play against the Jets–Bill Belichick had 11 days to prepare for a nationally televised Monday night showdown between two division rival juggernauts.  There was no way the Pats would be lax for that one.  But would they show up for the Bears?  Just six days after the biggest victory of the season, this young Pats team riding on high emotions had to play in blizzard conditions in Chicago. Seemed like a classic letdown game to me.  But, in Bill we trust.  Belichick had his boys well prepared and proved all the skeptics wrong.  The Pats rolled into the windy city and blew the competition away, thrashing the Bears in a dominating fashion.  The improving young defense looked like seasoned veterans, intercepting Jay Cutler twice and forcing two fumbles, one of which was recovered for a touchdown.  Devin McCourty once again justified the Patriots taking him in the first round, forcing one of the fumbles.  The guy just continues to make big plays.  The defense played exceptionally and once again, Tom Brady and the offense soared, against the NFL’s third ranked defense nonetheless.  Brady completed 27 of 40 passes for 369 yards and two touchdowns, while Deion Branch and Wes Welker each grabbed eight passes and topped the hundred-yard mark.  The league may as well just hand Brady the MVP award now, not only because a 7-plus to 1 touchdown to interception ratio and a 110+ passer rating are absurdly good, but because he is leading his team to another Superbowl title physically and emotionally.  Brady’s the hottest player in the NFL right now in every way: scorching defenses on the field, fire in his eyes, and it doesn’t hurt that his hair is extra extra hot.  It looks like the Pats have a lock on winning the AFC.  They also have a nice two game cushion on the Jets in the AFC East after Sunday, which leads me to number 2…

2. The Jets are not who we thought they were

Well actually, they kinda are who I thought they were.  But only kinda.  I knew they weren’t as good as their 9-2 record coming into last week, pulling helmet-catch caliber luck out of their behinds to beat Denver, Detroit, Cleveland, and Houston.  I knew they could have easily been 5-6 facing the Pats on Monday, but I at least had faith in them to rebound after the second worst Monday Night Football defeat to beat the mediocre Dolphins at home.  I mean, Mark Sanchez is growing up right?  The running game is one of the best in the NFL, right?  Rex Ryan is a pretty good coach right?  Wrong.  Every part of the Jets’ game was flat on Sunday as they lost 10-6 to the Dolphins.  Sanchez looked like a rookie again with no sense of ball placement whatsoever, his throws were all over the place.  Meanwhile, the ground game was horrific, averaging just 2.8 yards per carry.  As bad as the players looked on Sunday, what was even worse for the Jets is that Rex Ryan has been exposed.  He and the Jets are built around swagger and confidence, and in the past two weeks their swagger level has gone from Mark Wahlberg in Shooter to Michael Cera in Superbad.  What happened, did someone steal all of their Old Spice deodorant or something?  The Jets need to get their act together, or they’re gonna have a tough road leading into the playoffs, if they even make the playoffs.  Which leads me to…

3. The Packers might not make the playoffs!!!!

As of right now, Green Bay is on the outside looking in.  I expected them to even things up with the Bears in the NFC North Sunday with an easy victory over the 2-10 Lions, but the worst thing that could have happened for them did:  Aaron Rodgers left the game with a concussion and they lost.  He is almost as important to the Packer’s offense as Peyton Manning is to the Colts’ offense.  Green Bay can’t run the ball anyway, they are about as good at it as Brett Favre is at staying out of the news, and without Rodgers this normally high-powered aerial attack is flat out pathetic.  How can Greg Jennings put the team on his back if he doesn’t even have a quarterback to throw him the ball?  What used to be a one-dimensional offense is now one-detrimental to their playoff chances.  Okay, enough with the jokes, because the road ahead is certainly not a joke for the Packers.  They take on New England in Foxboro (where Tom Brady hasn’t lost since 2006) next week, meaning they could very realistically be 8-6 heading into week 16.  They better catch the Bears, because 10-6 will not guarantee a wild-card spot.  Speaking of not having a guaranteed playoff berth…

4. The Chiefs are in for a ride

After laying a big ol’ goose egg in a 31-0 slaughter at hands of San Diego, the Kansas City Chiefs hold just a one game lead over the 7-6 Chargers.  Everyone knows San Diego is dangerous late in the season—the Chargers increase their lethality by 100,000 volts every December.  As much as I hate to say it, Phil Rivers plays phantastic phootball in December.  Sidenote: Hey Phil, win a ring and your cockiness might be justified.  But until then, I have hoisted as many Lombardi Trophies as you.  Hell, lets not even mention winning a Superbowl.  I’ve played in as many as you!  Anway, running the table is certainly doable for Kansas City with remaining games against St. Louis, Tennessee, and Oakland, but the Chiefs better indeed run the table or else San Diego will likely be the AFC West team hosting a playoff on wild-card weekend. Luckily for the Chiefs, Matt Cassel can only get appendicitis one time, so he’ll hopefully be ready next week.  And the Chiefs need him to be ready.  He’s playing underratedly well this season, tossing 23 touchdowns to just four interceptions.  Him and Dwayne Bowe are flying under the radar as one of the best passing duos in the league right now.  Hey, you know who else is flying under the radar?

5. The New Orleans Saints are playing championship football.  Again.

Since opening the season with a Superbowl hangover, Drew Brees and the Saints offense have restored themselves as one of the best in the league.  Overshadowed by a new Brett Favre injury headline every week, the Saints have quietly won six straight games.  Okay, fine, Brett Favre’s paper cuts aren’t the only things grabbing headlines.  Him taking questionable photos of his body parts and sending them to Jenn Sterger made the news too.  I guess if I mention Favre in an affair though, I have to mention that Big Ben was also a big headline.  Okay, fiiiiine. The biggest (and best) headline of the season is that the Pats are back baby!  But lets talk New Orleans again.  Several well thrown TD passes against the not-that-bad Rams from Brees have upped the Saints’ win total into double digits, as a big date with the first-place Falcons in Atlanta (where Matty Ice Ryan is 18-1 in his career) looms just two weeks away.  The way they’re playing, the Saints definitely have the assets to win.  While I can afford to look two weeks ahead into week 16, New Orleans can’t.  They must focus on their big meeting with the defensively-proficient 8-4 (probably 9-4 after Monday Night’s game) Ravens next week that will truly show if their offense is as good as I think it is.   It doesn’t get easy after the Atlanta game either—the Saints have to play pesky 8-5 Tampa Bay in the final week of the season.  But the Saints are champions, and I trust them to finish strong.

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Comments
  1. Paul Pender says:

    Nice, talk about the Vick to Jackson connection and Matty Ice next week.

  2. jbeebs says:

    I’d argue that the patriots’ success has more to do with Tom Brady’s and Julian Edelman’s flow than any individual player or any member on the coaching staff.

  3. Alex Anderson says:

    I enjoyed this post, I do believe the Patriots are the best team offensively, though I wouldn’t be surprised if a team like the Jaguars beat them in the playoffs (if they make it) because of their ability to run the ball, and the Patriots lack of stopping the run, the longer a team can keep the ball out of Tom Bradys’ hands the better chance of winning a team has.

    The Saints are hot and are taking command just like the Pats, I could easily see a Pats-Saints superbowl.

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