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The NFL Quarter Season Wrap-Up

October 12, 2009

The NFL season is now roughly one-quarter over. It’s a little hard to define, as the regular season is 17 weeks long. For those of you that failed math, 17 divided by four, is four and a quarter weeks. Mostly this post is coming up now, because I’m a little lazy and I spent last week in the stupor of insomnia. Enough about me though, onto the recap.

AFC North: The Bengals are one of the big surprises this season. They are 4-1 and currently sit atop of the division. They’re doing it with a surprisingly solid defense and strong running from Cedric Benson, of all people. Carson Palmer not being hurt and Chad Ochocinco playing effectively is also a bonus. Baltimore and Pittsburgh are both 3-2, but have in division losses whilst the Bengals don’t.

AFC South: The Colts are, as I predicted, off to a strong start. They sit 5-0, and even though the run D isn’t as strong as I thought it would be, they are doing enough to help the team get by. They’ve defeated two division rivals, and look like one of the best teams in football. The Titans have fallen off the face of the Earth, and are winless. Both Jax and Houston alternate from looking great to shitting the bed, depending on the week.

AFC West: Wow! This division is making me and everyone else who picked the Chargers look stupid right now. Almost everyone decried the Broncos as useless, and I wish I could have that pick back. The Broncos are 5-0 at this point in the season and have won their only divisional game. The defense is playing very well right now, and the team is +56 in point differential. The Chargers are lagging behind with a 2-2 record, though they play the Broncos next week and have a chance to make things interesting. Oakland at least has a win already, but they arguably have the worst NFL QB of all time. KC is looking better, but they are winless.

AFC East: The Patriots are 3-2, which at the moment puts them in second place within the division. The Jets, who nobody picked to be good are in first at 3-1, though they have a big divisional game tonight against the Dolphins. Miami is 1-3 with last year’s hero, Chad Pennington – out for the season and possibly his career – with a busted shoulder. Buffalo is looking like it could be the first team to fire its coach.  Dick Jauron is pathetic, but they did stupidly sign him to an extension. As I predicted, Tom Brady isn’t his old self, and teams have figured out a way to get to him. The Jets are getting decent offense from Mark Sanchez, and they are playing inspired D behind new coach, Rex Ryan.

AFC Wildcards: I picked the Ravens and the Texans to be the wildcard teams in the AFC. Baltimore looks like it will be there, while Houston looks like it could potentially be there with some better luck. Currently, the five and six teams are the Jets, assuming a win over the Dolphins, and the Ravens. If the Jets lose, I guess it would be Baltimore and New England.

NFC North: I got this one pretty wrong also. I picked the Packers to win the division, but they currently sit in third place. The Vikings are in first place and are undefeated. Favre hasn’t played great, but he hasn’t made any mistakes either. The defense is strong, and the team has surprisingly put up the most points in the league. Chicago sits in second place, with Cutler playing decently (discounting the first game), and Forte looking like he may have regained his last year touch. The Packers are 2-2, but would be much better if they had an O-line. The Lions have won a game, and looked decent in another, but enough about them.

NFC South: This one is making me look pretty solid. I said that under Gregg Williams the Saints would be much stronger on defense this year, and they are. Brees pretty much is who we thought he was, and they are undefeated right now. Tampa is winless, and their coach looks lost out there. I guess hiring a guy who had never been a head coach might not’ve been the best idea ever. Jon Fox is on the hotseat in Carolina as the Panthers just won their first game, and Delhomme looks like a bad QB. Real bad. The Falcons are doing well, they’re just not as good as the Saints.

NFC West: I go back to somewhat looking like a fool. I picked the Cards to win the division, and they sit at 2-2 which is good enough for second place. Not counting today, the 49ers are playing inspired ball for Coach Singletary. They have a good, solid, young D in place, and have a game manager for QB with a good run game in place. The Cards just lack the confidence that I thought they would have. That and a defense. Seattle has faced a plethora of injuries and seems to either get blown out, or do a little blowing out themselves. St. Louis has 3 good players: Jake Long, Steven Jackson, and James Laurinaitis. That’s it.

NFC East: I picked the Giants to be in first place, but they have to lose 5 of their remaining 11 games for my 11-5 prediction to come through. They’re undefeated and have a great D and a surprisingly deep O. Philly is playing with a usually tough D, and their offense is clicking no matter who the QB is. Dallas is showing how flawed it is, and that Phillips will be fired at season’s end. Washington is the absolute worst 2-3 team of all time. All time. Jim Zorn is sure to be fired any day now. If he lasts to the end of the season, it’s because the ‘Skins win 9 of their last games and don’t lose next week. If he’s still there next year, it’s because he won a playoff game or two.

NFC Wildcard: For my wildcard picks, I chose the Bears and the Vikings. The Bears could end up there, and the Vikings are potentially going to win their division, so I’m going to chalk that one up as a win. If the season were to end today, Eagles the Bears and the Falcons would fight it out in some complex tie-breaker situation to determine who would go forward.

MVP: One I might nail. I picked Peyton Manning to win this one, and he’s at the top of everybody’s list right now. If he’s not, then you’re just lying to yourself. He’s leading the league in yards (having not thrown under 300 yards in a game), completions, YPA, TD’s, YPG and QB rating. He’s also second in completion percentage, at 73.5%, has only been sacked twice and thrown 3 picks. Oh yeah, and his team is undefeated and has blown out it’s last two opponents. My second choice would be Mr. Drew Brees, who’s having another fantastic season. And my third choice would be one that I’m going to get skewered for, Cedric Benson. The guy’s the reason that his team is where it is. You can stop laughing now. Think about it, he’s leading the league in rushing yards and YPG. He hasn’t scored as many touchdowns as some of the others, and his YPC is “only 4.4”, but without that element to the Bengals’ game, they’d easily be 1-4 instead of 4-1.

Offensive Player: I originally picked Brees, but I’m going to have to pick Peyton again. He’s beyond good this year, as his 5 straight 300 game performances can attest to. Yeah he’s only on pace for 38 TD’s with 10 INT’s, but that ‘s pretty decent football. Second choice is Drew Brees. Even when he’s been shut down this year, he hasn’t really been shut down. He’s still on pace for a great year, even though he has a running game and a defense this year. Third choice goes to Adrian Peterson. He’s second in yards and YPG. He leads the league in rushing TD’s, and is averaging 4.9 YPC. If he stops fumbling the ball, he’ll move up this list.

Defensive Player: I originally picked Mario Williams. I think that he could finish the season strong, but right now he’s not in the hunt at all. My first choice is Antwan Odom of the Bengals. Yes, the Bengals. He’s got 8 sacks right now, and it’s not like he has the greatest assortment of help on defense. Second choice would be Darrell Revis. He’s not so quietly turning into the leagues premiere shut-down corner. He made Randy Moss look rather pedestrian, and teams are already starting to stay away from his side of the field. For the next choice, can I pick a tie? No, okay then I’m going with Elvis Dumervil. He’s also got 8 sacks and is a huge reason that Denver is doing so well on the defensive side of the ball. I suspect that this is the award that is the most likely to change over the course of the season. I don’t expect Odom to continue to play so well, and it’s hard for such a young guy like Revis to play at such a high level for the entire season. There’s also a bunch of guys that are knocking on the door to be on this list. Guys like, Freeney, Jared Allen and James Harrison.

Offensive Rookie: I picked Percy Harvin, and I’m going to name him the winner of this award. He’s been great as a receiver, wildcat runner, and as a KR. It sounds a little weird to name a lineman as part of this list, but I’m going to put Michael Oher on this list. As a rookie, it’s amazing to be playing at such a high level for one of the best O-lines in the league. Third place is Johnny Knox. He’s emerging as one of Cutler’s favorite targets in Chicago, and does well at returning kicks.

Defensive Rookie: I originally picked Aaron Curry, but that pick isn’t panning out so well right now. I’m going to have to go with James Laurinaitis right now. He’s the best defensive player on the Rams team. Maybe that doesn’t say much, but he’s a rookie and he’s from the much-maligned Ohio State. Second would be safety Louis Delmas from the Detroit Lions. He won the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month award, so I say that qualifies him for this award. Third place goes to Brian Cushing of the Texans, who seem to be having great luck drafting defensive players lately (Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans).

Coach of the year: I picked Mike McCarthy, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Gimp picked Josh McDaniels as a joke pick, and now he’s the front runner. Rookie coaches don’t take teams that went 8-8, then run the Franchise QB out of town and start 5-0 and yet he has. Props, douchetard. Second place would be Mike Singletary. Sure they lost yesterday, but they’re definitely on the right course this year. If they can find a better QB, they will be a good team with the potential to be a force. Third place is Rex Ryan, who took a losing team and gave them some much needed swagger.

So as you can see, some of the picks I made are decent whilst others are completely off the mark. Then again, the season is only a little over a quarter done and nobody is paying me to be an NFL prognosticator, though maybe someone should…

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 12, 2009 9:21 am

    I’m disappointed that @J_Allens_Mullet did not make the #1 spot for Defensive Player. It weeps, gally. It weeps.

    • October 12, 2009 9:45 am

      He’s still got time.

  2. Superiority Complex permalink
    October 12, 2009 3:44 pm

    Well, now that we’ve gotten all the obvious things out of the way, here are some more obvious things:

    How to decide someone is good, by Gally. First, go to yahoo.com and find the players who lead the league in sacks. These are the best defensive players in the league. Second, go to yahoo, sort by who lead the league in TDs, those are your best offensive players.

    Some not so obvious things:

    1. The Cincinnati resurgence attributed to Cedric Benson? Before anointing someone with an MVP, ask yourself this question: if you replaced that player with another similar player at his position, would he produce similar results. Manning? Nope. Brees? Nope. Benson? You could substitute at least 10 backs I can think of for CB and Cincinnati would still be as good. What is responsible for Cincinnati’s resurgence? Their defense (and luck, but that’s another story). In fact, I would argue Rey Maualuga is more of an MVP on that team than Benson is.

    2. The Titans have fallen off the face of the earth because 1. their receivers can’t get open for the life of them and 2. they got rid of their defensive coordinator and their new guy has no idea how to scheme. Don’t even say Haynesworth because we all see how much he has helped Washington.

    3. The Chargers would be the best flag football team in the league. Tons of talent at the skill positions and absolutely no toughness, tackling, or depth at Oline or Dline.

    4. You would be hard pressed to find a starting QB who is historically worse than Jamarcus Russell who has started at least 16 games. In fact, there are 25 backup QBs I’d start over Russell.

    5. Favre hasn’t played great? I would argue that Favre can’t play much better than he has the last few weeks yet they’re not blowing guys out. What’s the problem? Brad Childress.

    6. New Orleans isn’t as good as people think. They’ll blow out good teams, they’ll play well against mediocre or decent teams. Wait until they face a team that’s somewhat well coached and they’ll be exposed.

    7. Hiring a head coach who has never been a head coach might not’ve been the best idea? What??? I guess it’s a bad idea to hire Josh McDaniels, Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh, John Gruden at Oakland when they first hired him either. Rarely has “prior head coaching experience” been the deciding factor in the success of a new coach (see Philips, Wade or Turner, Norv). Raheem Morris and Steve Spagnoulo are just horrible coaches who were overrated. It has nothing to do with having or having not been a head coach before. More like, they shouldn’t have fired John Gruden, who is one of the better coaches in the league. He led the Raiders to a Super Bowl, won a Super Bowl his first year at Tampa against his old Raiders team, held together some decidedly average Tampa teams and had them in the playoffs.

    8. Philly is the same inconsistent Philly. The reason for this? While McNabb looks good at times, he’s inconsistent, kills too many drives, and throws too many balls into the ground. I’d be surprised if they finished better than 9-7.

    9. Defensive Player: I have no problem with Darrell Revis. But, I would argue Brian Dawkins, Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Willis or Rey Maualuga are more deserving. Antwan Odom? Come on. It’s clear he’s having an outlier season. If you look at the Cincinnati defense, what changed? They added Rey Maualuga who’s everywhere and disrupts the offense, makes tackles, and is in on almost every single play. The single biggest offseason add to the historically bad Broncos defense last year was Brian Dawkins, who makes plays all over the field and plays great in coverage. Dumervil’s sack totals are a result of great secondary play and the scheming of Nolan’s 3-4 defense. Patrick Willis drives the 49ers defense. The Patriot’s D hasn’t dropped off despite the retirement of Bruschi, the trading of Seymour, and the loss of Mayo. Why do you think this is? Well, obviously they’re well coached and scheme well. But the second reason is Brandon Meriweather is everywhere, making plays, breaking up passes, etc.

    10. Offensive Rookie: I think Harvin is fine. YI think you have to include Mark Sanchez and Knowshon Moreno in the conversation. Another guy who gets way less credit than he should because he’s on a shitty team is Louis Wright.

    11. Defensive Rookie: Cushing is fine, but I would argue Aaron Curry has had a huge impact on that Seattle defense. Maualuga has been better than Cushing and you could argue Sharper and the Saints D has become much more effective because of Jenkins. Also, there’s a guy named Merling on Miami who has quietly had a really good season (maybe better than Cushing’s).

    12. Josh McD, Rex Ryan, Bill Belichick and those are the only 2 that should be included in the conversation. Every other team has had some combination of bad coaching, game mismanagement, or been outschemed.

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