1. New England Patriots 14-2
The theory of a younger team being better able to make adjustments, during the week, over the second half of the season…seems to be working out quite well. With 96 tackles this year, Oregon Duck Pat Chung been a great example of this. Tom Brady is getting all the credit, but football fans know that Coach Evil B took over the defense. They look tough to beat. They’ve got the momentum they need going into the playoffs. You know they’ll be looking for revenge, if they draw the Ravens, for their “early” playoff exit last year.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4
It’s tough to remember that they started without Big Ben. Their O line is banged up, but they’ve found a way to stay balanced in all 3 phases of the game. The Steel Curtain is looking to regain football dominance. The AFC North has to be the toughest division of the year. Look at the schedule and let me know if you disagree. Ultimately the O line could keep them out of the Big Game.
3. Atlanta Falcons 13-3
“Matty Ice” finally got beat at home. How they respond will make all the difference. Their defense looked great against New Orleans. Trouncing Carolina was easy enough. Their first round in the playoffs won’t be. They’ve had a few teams flop and give them easy wins. This has been their best shot at a title in a while.
The Ravens are all about the “W”, but the locals are not Wacko for Flacco. You don’t want to hear the word “statue” about your QB in the pocket. It’s amazing the Mason has still out-performed Boldin, Housh, and Stallworth! We’re hoping that Reed, Heap, Ngata, Lewis, and the O line can stay healthy through the playoffs. New tight end Oregon Duck Dickson has provided matchup problems for opponents. Oregon Duck Ngata has provided a D Line that lets Suggs and Lewis do what they do best. Former Seahawks Housh, Redding, and Wilson have provided a few sparks. If anyone can keep the Ravens relevant over the next five years it’s Ozzie Newsome. The Ravens success is no accident!
5. New Orleans Saints 11-5
Under the radar for most of the year. Even with Pierre Thomas back their running game doesn’t look as good as they need it to be. If they can win more battles on the line (s) they have a shot at repeating! Losing to Baltimore and Tampa Bay doesn’t show the momentum, going into the playoffs, that they wanted. Anything can happen!
This squad has been amazing despite injuries. I just don’t see how they can overcome a lack of a running game in the playoffs. Rodgers and Matthews are clearly among the best in the league at their positions, but it won’t be enough.
7. Philadelphia Eagles 10-6
DeJaVu: Vick runs roughshod over the league, but the teams who keep him in the “umbrella” find a way to win. Entertaining, but not a Cliff Lee. Will the young track stars have enough to make a playoff run? Good fundamentals, sound football, and a few hard hits could take the shine off their highlights. That loss to the Vikings was very telling about the quality and maturity of the organization.
8. Chicago Bears 11-5
Lovie Smith has pulled together a great season here. You can’t see them going far in the playoffs. The bigger questions seems to be if ownership will be patient enough with Coach to build something in 2011. One of the only Bears to sack Vick was Oregon Duck Matt Toeaina.
9. Indianapolis Colts 10-6
Manning survives the roller coaster and makes very ordinary players look extra ordinary. Mathis and Freeney rush around the edge. Addai misses games injured…Dominic Rhodes, wait is this 2006? Amazing stuff! One update: the owner is the biggest Twitter star on the team…no one else can say that!
10. NY Giants 10-6
Matchups – it’s all going to come down to matchups. Eli has struggled quite a bit. Coughlin seems to be losing his grip. Brandon Jacobs rebound from his earlier spoiled brat behavior has once again proven that he’s a man. If they had this year’s Packers running game they would be 4-12.
This has been the best year that the Arrowhead faithful have seen in a long time! Can they keep Cassel on his feet long enough to find out if he can lead this squad? With Charles and Bowe playing lights out football their O line should give their all to win the war in the trenches.
12. NY Jets 11-5
Ol’ Rex Ryan makes for good TV (the one about the Jets), but I would have them outside the top 10 even if they weren’t going to be missing their QB going into the playoffs. They usually have a tough schedule, but it’s probably getting lonely on Revis island.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6
Ok. I admit it. I think they found their QB and RB. He’s no Hall of Famer, but given how shallow the pool of available QB’s is…they should focus on other areas in the draft. Oregon Duck Blount is one of the best come back stories in the NFL since Mike Williams of Seattle. Coach Raheem Morris is giving Coach Belichick a run for Coach of the Year. Blount has been jumping hurdles since college.
14. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-8
Garrard may be the only reason this team isn’t moving to L.A.! I have to admit that it’s hard to not root for him. You have to wonder what he might have been able to do on a different team with more consistent Offensive Coordinators. MJD has already had his surgery in hopes to recover for next season. Seems like maybe he should have made that decision last January. Being .500 isn’t all that bad for this team.
15. San Diego Chargers 9-7
Once upon a time, Rivers was in the MVP race – not anymore! Maybe the Bolts should wear the powder blue until they’re back on top. Truth is that Norv has helped produce at least 3 Hall of Fame Quarterbacks. He has got to find a way for his team to start the season winning instead of flopping around!
16. Minnesota Vikings 6-10
They’ve got an “interim” head coach and a quarterback who was drafted as a wide receiver. Once in a while the best stuff – happened on accident. The spat between Coach Chilli and Old Man Favre might just be the best thing that happened to the Vikings in a year that saw the collapse of the stadium roof and the team. You know the Minnesota fans are hoping that this team doesn’t move to L.A., but that just might happen.
17. Oakland Raiders 8-8
Cable may be as disreputable as any Raider, but he has proven that he’s a leader. This crew is playing real football again. Their division is weak. Getting back on top, with the running game they have now, should be easy enough. There’s an option in Cable’s contract that means it is very unlikely that Al Davis will bring Coach Cable back for another season. Josh McDaniels anyone?
18. Cleveland Browns 5-11
Well, Holmgren has already fired the “Man-genious”, but will bring in a West Coast Offense style coach. Maybe “Chucky” Coach Gruden? They’re in the toughest division in the league. It won’t be easy to get relevant within the next five years. Particularly since the Bengals have finally found the way to spend money. Oregon Duck TJ Ward has helped the secondary and should mentor the youngsters.
19. Detroit Lions 6-10
St Louis, Tampa Bay, and Detroit have turned around their teams from almost record setting lows. Pretty impressive. Calvin Johnson will catch more TD’s next year. The Lions had a much better season than their records suggests. This team could be pretty tough next year. Oregon Duck and former Seahawk Maurice Morris has definitely made a difference. Their best draft pick may have been “a boy named Sue” from Portland Oregon Ndamukong Suh. He’s a Quarterback Hunter and field goal kicker.
20. Dallas Cowboys 6-10
Jerry Jones is likely to blow a tube during the Super Bowl, wondering what could have been. Kitna is possibly the most amazing story on the team. How does a passer with a long track record of forcing throws in bad decisions become relevant for so many teams? It’s possible that one of the best things for this organization is that they did let go of Coach Wade when they did…maybe they should have done that in the off season. Don’t lose sight of the fact that Oregon Duck Igor Olshansky has helped their D line for a while! Can we finally stop calling them “America’s Team”? Please!
21. Tennessee Titans 6-10
Here’s hoping that Coach Fisher keeps his job and Vince Young goes elsewhere. I don’t think that will happen and it’s possible they make a couple more mistakes in the off season. That’s why I’ve got them at 21. CJ is going to need a bit more help.
22. Miami Dolphins 7-9
Henne is a huge disappointment! The new ownership had better use football smarts and hold on to Sparano! What will they do with Brandon Marshall?
23. Seattle Seahawks 7-9
The magic of Blades, raising the 12th Man flag for the fans, somehow woke up the Seahawks for their Super Bowl. What a game! Whitehurst showed that he just might be the future. He knows how to step up in the pocket better than Flacco. The Hawks lost their O line coach (the brains behind their running game) right as the season started. Then they watched a flood of injuries to their O line. Maybe Marshawn Lynch “Beast Mode” isn’t all that bad. Oregon Ducks Junior Siavii and Walter Thurmond have been racking up tackles! They’ll face the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the playoffs at (the false start record holding) vaunted Qwest Field. Ok, sure, they’re the first ever “losing” 7-9 team to make the playoffs. No one knows what will happen. That’s why they play the games!
24. St. Louis Rams 7-9
The rookie Sam Bradford set records throughout his first season. It wasn’t enough against the fans in Seattle. Laurinaitis and Coach Spagnuolo will likely be just as important to the Rams future as the rookie QB. The bad owner-management decisions combined with the QB problems of the Cardinals and the 49ers will be very helpful to a Rams winning season in 2011.
25. Houston Texans 6-10
Well, ownership said “anything but another 8-8 season” and that’s what they got. Who thought the coach would be gone before the QB?! If the new CBA isn’t approved soon it will be a very bad time to be going into the new season with a new coach. It will most likely mean that the new coach won’t be meeting with his new players until less than a month before the season starts. Teams with an established coach will have an edge. This division just got easier.
26. Cincinnati Bengals 4-12
Definitely the most disappointing team in the league. This team won the division last year. Too bad that they learned how to spend money just in time for T.O. and Ochocinco to have one of their worst years. I don’t see another team wanting to pick up the $11 million due Carson Palmer next year. Cincinnati doesn’t want to be stuck with his brother at QB. Don’t worry we’ll all forget about this when we see Jerry Jones crying about “America’s Team” at the Dallas Super Bowl, in his 1.1 billion dollar stadium.
27. Arizona Cardinals 5-11
It’s strange, but you can’t win in this league without a QB. Poor Larry Fitzgerald. Now that Warner is gone – it’s much easier to feel good about this team being so bad.
28. San Francisco 49ers 6-10
I heard someone ask if the 49ers asked a flight attendant tell Coach Singletary that he was fired on the flight home. Thanks Cousin Sal. This should have been their year, and it wasn’t. The Cardinals gave them a Christmas present in keeping them from being the Worst Team in the Worst Division of the NFL. Trust me. If not for the Bengals, this would have been the most disappointing team in the league.
29. Washington Redskins 6-10
I agree with Matt Williamson of ESPN. This team has the biggest rebuilding project of any team in the league. They have more needs than anyone else and more system problems than anyone else. They effectively have no quarterback after the rivalry between McNabb and the Shanny’s. There’s really not a good 4-3 defense, nor are they a good 3-4 defense. And the poor Redskin fans have to deal with Snyder as the worst owner in football. How hard it must be to see so much money be spent poorly?!
30. Buffalo Bills 4-12
They got Fitz cheap enough that they can afford to bring in another QB to compete for the job. Poor Bills fans are probably going to have more home games in Canada. They’re a faithful bunch, regardless. It’s possible that former player Ross Tucker is the Bills best fan. Oregon Duck Jarius Byrd has been primetime (by their standards) with tackles, forced fumbles, and fumble recoveries.
31. Denver Broncos 4-12
TEBOW – I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I was glad to see that Tebow outlasted Coach McDaniels. Josh got away with so little heat for his “cheating” antics (both with the Patriots and the Broncos) leaving Belichick holding the bag. This is a team that was not as good as their record. Tebow may not be the prototypical NFL quarterback, but you cannot deny that he is a leader. Next year will be fun to watch.
32. Carolina Panthers 2-14
Which QB will they take with the first pick in the draft? That’s probably the only question worth discussing. They’ve got a running game thanks to Oregon Duck Jonathan Stewart. Oregon Duck Tight End Dante Rosario will help the new QB as a safety valve. John Fox has been fired, but will probably be picked up by another team.
…with the first pick in the NFL draft the Carolina Panthers select:
This team looks like they may not win another game.
That’s just bad football!
Let’s just say that paying attention to the NFL gets the competitive juices flowing:
Just in case you’re wondering I did this while watching Monday Night Football and this one during a flight over the holidays etc..
When we moved Direct TV gave us 5 months of the NFL for free! So we can watch whatever game we want: