We’re officially halfway through the season, wow time flies when you’re having fun! There is a much better idea of where teams stand than there was 2 months ago, and most fans know whether the outlook on their season is half full, or half empty. Still some major surprises, but it will be fun to see how the next 2 months play out.
Hail to the Chiefs (not in a racist way):
Last week FMQB swooned over the Kansas City Chiefs surprise rise to greatness. Well they made it to 8-0 this week, in a squeaker of a win over Cleveland and their 3rd string QB. Looking at their schedule, here is who the Chiefs have beaten: Jaguars, Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Titans, Raiders, Texans, and Browns…none of which have a winning record. With 5 of their last 8 games against winning teams, it will be interesting to see whether their top defense and best record is because of they are legit, or because of their schedule.
Stat of the Week:
It took 2 weeks from Calvin Johnson to go from #42 in reception yards, to #1
Stolen Stat of the Week #2:
Calvin Johnson had more yardage than 15 teams in the NFL
Stat of the Week #3:
The Giants (who started 0-6) are 2-6 and only 2 games out of first place in their division
Stat of the Week #4:
Peyton Manning went 7 games and throwing 3 INT, on Sunday he threw another 3.
For the Record:
For as good of a year that Peyton Manning is having, Matthew Stafford is only 300 yards behind him for the year.
For the Record #2:
Two weeks ago, Josh Freeman led zero drives that ended in points, and the Vikings finished with 7 points. Last week, Christian Ponder led 4 drives that ended in points, finishing with 31 points.
On the Ropes:
For the second time in 2 weeks, Denver found themselves losing by 2 possessions and struggling to get any offense going. But this time, they put their foot on the accelerator and didn’t look back. Not only did Denver comeback, they scored 31 points in 1 quarter! That’s more than 18 teams scored in their entire game! It makes me nervous that the Broncos have had a few shaky halfs (halves?), but were able to correct it this time. They have at least shown they are vulnerable.
Drive of the Season:
By far, best drive of the season was Matthew Stafford leading the Lions to a touchdown, going 80 yards in 50 seconds, with no timeouts. This just shouldn’t happen in the NFL! There were a few perfect throws, but even with the Cowboys knowing exactly who the ball was going to, Johnson got 2 of his catches on this drive. Down at the 1 yard line with 12 seconds left, it was a very gutsy call for Stafford to sneak it. Love the fact that the 10 other Lions on the field didn’t know he was going to do that, but still, super gutsy. If he clocks the ball there, he easily has 3 shots at the endzone. But he chose to leap over the line. If he doesn’t get in, with the time it takes to get everybody off the ground and set again, the Lions would have had only 1 shot at the score…Still, there’s something to say for the element of surprise that might trump a couple fades into the endzone. On a side note, how many close games are the Cowboys going to blow this year!
Too Legit to Quit:
There are always some teams that you watch struggle, but feel they will explode later in the season. Case in point, the Broncos of last year after starting 2-2. This year, that team for me was the Falcons, but it’s looking like I may be wrong. The Falcons have gotten out to a woeful start at 2-5. Sure there are injuries, but believe it or not, Sunday’s game was the first game where they lost by more than 1 possession. And this loss was to the Cardinals of all teams. Good teams win the close games, or at least 50% of them, the Falcons have won none. I felt like Tony Gonzalez deserved to “sell out” and be traded to the Chiefs for one more shot, props to him for not making that move, but nobody would have gave him crap for doing it. The Falcons are legitimately in trouble this year.
First Monday Night Football game in 5 years for the Rams, and it HAD to come the week after we lose our starting QB for the season. Seemed like it would be a downer of a game, but ended up being very intriguing. First of all, the Rams defense showed up, completely holding Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch in check. The Seahawks scored on a short field (25 yd drive), and then a lucky 80 yd TD pass, otherwise nothing. Second, other than the 2 picks, Kellen Clemens actually showed up fighting for his chance to remain QB. The goal line stand was one of the more exciting moments I’ve had as a Rams fan recently, although it ended in disappointment. ESPN managed to avoid a MNF stinker after that Vikings Giants game a week ago.
First to Report on Week 9:
Crazy ending to the game last night between the Bengals and Dolphins! Only the 3rd time a game has gone into OT, and a team has won on a safety. ESPN and the refs are claiming the call was correct, but that’s not the interpretation of the rule I understood (not that I’m the expert on it). From what I see, Dalton drops back into the endzone, then steps up in the pocket (thus getting back onto the ½ yard line). In my opinion, this is forward progress. Instead he gets tackled and driven back into the endzone. Even when you look at the ball when he gets hit, it’s above the goal line (not behind it). Technically the ball “broke the plane” out of the endzone, which makes it not a safety. Interested to see the actual way to rule this play. Anyway, nice job for the 3-0 Dolphins, 0-4 Dolphins, and now 1-0 Dolphins to get off the schneid…Side note, how does the word “schneid” show up in spellcheck, ugh, the world today…
As always, FMQB will update his playoff predictions now that we’re at the halfway point of the season.
4. New England
5. Kansas City
6. New York Jets
(Yes the Jets, there’s something magical about them this season even if they’re .500 at the moment. Denver hops KC for division and overall lead)
2. New Orleans
3. Green Bay
5. San Francisco
(Sorry, no risk in the NFC, looking at schedules, I don’t see too much switching other than perhaps 1 and 2 flipping)
Super Bowl Prediction:
Sticking with my preseason pick of Denver to win it all, changing my NFC pick to New Orleans. Would be another Brees vs. Manning Super Bowl which would be interesting.
Viva Las Vegas:
FMQB went to Vegas last week for a wedding, and had my first experience in sports betting. I put 2 bets down for the Super Bowl Champions, one on the Colts and one on the Packers. I could have gone with the obvious Denver or Seattle, but the payout wasn’t as big. I also see weaknesses in each team, and they’re definitely beatable.