At The Not Quite Turkey Day Mark (NFL Breakdown 1 of 2)
- Wow. The Pats are virtual locks and after yesterday, the Bengals are validating my Sleeper Pick in spades. The Texans...well, I guess there's always next year, right? The Colts are in rare form, proving that a monkey in a suit could probably coach this team to 10 plus wins as long as Peyton's the QB. As for San Diego...hmmm. Normally, I would say they could make one of their patented runs and then count on Denver folding up like they did last year. But this year, I'm not getting that vibe from Denver. I'm all but convinced the Broncs will stumble, but not enough for the Bolts to gain enough on them to lose the division as they did a year ago.
Who'd have thunk that Denver actually got the better of the QB swap just three weeks before Thanksgiving?
Wild Cards: Ravens & Titans
- Well...good grief sums em' both up. The Ravens might be on their last legs as a unit and the Titans are proving that sometimes, you just can't catch lightning in a bottle twice. Chris Johnson is averaging 6.7 YPC, which in short means, the Titans are facing 2nd and Short or 1st & 10 everytime he touches the rock. I hear tell it's a record that anyone leads the league in rushing is averaging that amount on the ground. Can either turn it around in time to make the playoffs?
In the case of Tennessee, probably. Actually, if they can survive the one-two punch that is hosting Arizona and then traveling to Indy...they might be in good shape. Make no mistake, anything more than two losses the rest of the way kills their season. As for Baltimore, after next Monday night's scrimmage against Cleveland (which if they lose, they should have their playoff pass revoked indefinitely)...they get Indy, Blitzburgh and Green Bay back to back to back. Oh, they get Pittsburgh twice within a month's time. Sprinkle in games with the Lions, Bears and Raiders...they aren't totally out of it. But at the same time, by the time we're munching on Thanksgiving leftovers, it's fairly reasonable to think that the Ravens might be out of the playoff chase (if they aren't already).
Sleeper Team: Da Bengals
- See? I had this 6 wins before the rest of the world did. Now to think, if not for a fluke play at the end of their season opener, Cincy's 7-1 right now. The rest of their schedule breaks well for them, with cupcakes at home (Detroit, Cleveland & Kansas City) and tough road tests at the Ketchup Bottle (Heinz Field), The Favre Dome & San Diego. I would be remiss in stating that there's a very good possibility that if the 12/13 Sunday Night game is crap...Cincy/Minnesota might be bumped to primetime. Chad Ochocinco is back and ladies and gents...there's been a Cedric Benson sighting!!! Did you know that Cedric Benson was selected FOURTH OVERALL in the draft the year he came out? Well, those 836 yards on the ground and 6 TDs should be reminder enough for all of you.
Alright, now, let's forecast to the end shall we?
Division Winners: Pats, Colts, Chargers, Bengals
Wild Card: Broncos & Steelers
- The Colts effectively wrapped up their division yesterday, they probably won't do so officially until either just before or after Thanksgiving. I think the Steelers will more than likely win their clash with Cincy, but something tells me Baltimore's going to man up and stun them at the end of the month. Cincy will coast to the finish divisionwise and will win the tiebreaker. The Pats don't figure to have any real threat in the division to speak of and something tells me that Denver's schedule (which is brutal after next week with the Bolts, Giants, Colts and Eagles on tap) will end up doing them in. Two weeks from now, they MUST take care of San Diego to have control of that division and some semblance of breathing room. Lose that game and for all intents and purposes, I think they'll end up with a wild card.
I'll tackle the NFC momentarily...