Week 12 in the NFL was one of those weeks where everyone realizes that as much as we would all like to think so, no one knows anything about the NFL week to week. As usual, I was right about some things and dead wrong about others. Here are the major things I took from Sunday’s action.
In a league full of uncertainty, one thing is certain. The Patriots are the best team in the NFL right now- This could always and likely will change, but right now there is no argument. Since getting crushed in Kansas City and dropping to .500, they haven’t lost and they have notched convincing wins over the Bengals, Broncos, Colts, and a Bears team that has as much talent as any team out there. No other team in the league boasts a portfolio this impressive. I know Arizona has one more win, but who would you rather have at quarterback, Drew Stanton or Tom Brady? The Pats are even more lethal at the moment because they have been given a running game. The completely unknown Jonas Gray came from nowhere Sunday night to rush for 201 yards and 4 TDs. If the Pats get half this production on the ground going forward, good luck to the rest of the NFL.
Join me, start paying attention to the Chiefs- I’ve been on this since late September. They pulled out a narrow home win against world champion Seattle Sunday, as I predicted. They are well coached, have a great running game, a great defense, and their QB is better than most think. What’s not to like? Also, with Denver banged up and coming off a humbling loss in St. Louis, the two rivals are now tied atop the AFC West. Their Sunday night game on November 30th is massive. There are still questions about Alex Smith outdueling a Manning or Brady type, and rightly so, but this team is really good, not flashy, but really good.
The Bengals are the NFL’s bipolar team of the year- I cannot figure this team out to save my life. They started out 3-0. Only for that to eventually be part of a long and confusing season that has included ugly losses to Indy and Cleveland and an ill-faded tie with Carolina. Then, they go on the road to New Orleans and dominate the Saints like we haven’t seen them dominated in the Drew Brees era. That tie is actually helping them keep the rest of the AFC North at bay for now. I still tab the Steelers for this division, but a large part of who wins it will come down to which Bengal team shows up when. Next up for them is a Houston squad that looked refreshed under new QB Ryan Mallet Sunday.
A really bad NFL team is going to host a home playoff game- The NFC South is bad, really bad. The Falcons lead it at 4-6 by virtue of a head to head tiebreaker over the Saints, Carolina is just a game back at 3-7-1 and God awful Tampa is in the mix at 2-8. If Tampa makes the playoffs, the NFL should disband. None of these teams can play defense. I like the NFL’s playoff system rewarding division winners, but this can happen from time to time (See the 2010 NFC West won by the 7-9 Seahawks). A quick note on the blog itself, I hope to add some college football related content in the coming weeks.