The Saints offensive players will be wearing custom made noise reduction earpieces tonight against the Seahawks in an effort to neutralize the noise made by the Seattle fans. While the devices may help neutralize the noise they will do nothing to neutralize Russell Wilson and the stout Seahawk defense. Unless Sean Payton can find a way to accomplish that feat the Saints return to the Big Easy with another loss under their belts.
The NFL regular season has reached the midway point and not without some surprises. Who would have thought that the Kansas City Chiefs would be the league’s lone undefeated team at 8-0? Equally as surprising, the Steelers, Texans, and Falcons are near the bottom of the NFL pile after being widely predicted to make a run at their respective division titles. I guess that’s why they play the games! A team has never won the Super Bowl without showing up and playing the games. Below are my top five power rankings for Week 9. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
1. Kansas City Chiefs 8-0
The Chiefs struggled late in the game against the Browns, but ultimately did what good teams do – they win ugly. In every championship season, winning teams will gut out some ugly wins and barely escape with the victory. But in the NFL a win is a win regardless of what it looks like.
2. Denver Broncos 7-1
Peyton Manning has finally shown signs of being human lately. He is also beginning to show his age. In the last few weeks his health has been the subject of much debate. No one can argue his Hall of Fame career or unbelievable season to date, but the retirement party is clearly on the horizon for Peyton. Meanwhile, the return of Von Miller has certainly strengthened the defense for their second half run.
3. Seattle Seahawks 7-1
Speaking of winning ugly… The Seahawks had a gut check week much like the Chiefs did. They went into St. Louis to play a bad team who recently lost their starting quarterback. The Rams reached out to Brett Favre last week but he turned down the opportunity to return for what would have truly been a spectacle. Things must be bad when you start calling senior citizen centers in search of a starting QB. Everyone expected a blowout in Edward Jones Stadium. Everyone but the Rams that is.
4. New Orleans Saints 6-1
The Saints are quietly putting up a great season. They have battled late in a couple of games this season, but held on to get the win. Drew Brees continues to just be a great quarterback and leader. The Saints may be the team that no one wants to face in the play-offs especially in the Super Dome.
5. 3 way Tie: Indianapolis 5-2, Cincinnati 6-2, and San Francisco 6-2
I don’t often list teams in a tie, in particular, a three-way tie. However, a really good case could be made for each of these teams to be at number 5. Andrew Luck has successfully lifted his team to the top shelf after replacing perhaps the greatest NFL quarterback of all time. Meanwhile, the Bengals are red hot and look prepared to run away with their division. If their offense begins to run smoothly with all of the parts in place the rest of the league had better look out. And we can certainly make a case for the Niners whose only losses have come to two teams also in the top 5: Indy and Seattle. The Niners are looking dangerously tough recently and we had better plan to see them playing deep into the play-offs.
In a league that is becoming increasingly more “pass first,” top level NFL receivers are at a premium. COwboys receiver, Dez Bryant recently opened a can of worms when he claimed in a radio interview that he was better than Calvin Johnson. Seriously? Is there a receiver on planet earth that is better than Megatron? On paper, probably not. But touchdowns are caught between the lines and not on paper.
With that in mind, an objective review of the current stats through 7 weeks reveal a number of receivers who could claim the title of “Receiver of the Year…So Far.”
In no particular order, here are my top five “Receiver of the Year” candidates after 7 weeks:
Wes Welker – leads the league with touchdown catches at 8
A.J. Green – near the top in all major statistical categories
Calvin Johnson – Look up “Beast” in the dictionary and you will find Johnson’s photo
Dez Bryant – Nudges out Julio Jones by a whisker
Demaryius Thomas – Ranks high in most stat categories
- Dez Bryant Comparisons to Calvin Johnson Not Unwarranted (bleacherreport.com)
- Nate Burleson scoffs when Dez Bryant compares himself to Megatron (profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Rankings and grades: Jason Hatcher is NFL’s top-ranked DT; Sean Lee No. 2 among inside linebackers (cowboysblog.dallasnews.com)
Every season is filled with surprises. Games that are surprisingly won or surprisingly lost. Teams that catapult to the top of the standings when no one dreamed it possible. Solid teams that plummet to the bottom of the standings in spite of their talent and previous accomplishments. The NFL can be as unpredictable as the weather and that is one of many reasons why we love it so much. Here are five of the biggest surprises of the season in my opinion. They are in no particular order.
1. The New York Jets have won three of their first six games. Who would have guessed, other than Coach Ryan, that the NFL’s most dysfunctional team would win three games in the entire season?
2. The Pittsburgh Steelers are 1-4 and in last place in the AFC North. That means that even the Cleveland Browns are ahead of the Steelers. It has been decades since the Steelers had a season like the one unfolding this year. Even their own quarterback declared them the worst team in the NFL. Ben has obviously not seen the Jaguars play.
3. The Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated at 6-0! We all knew that Andy Reid was a good coach, but undefeated as we approach the halfway mark? C’mon man, that is an awesome turnaround for any team. I will be cheering for the Chiefs to continue. Their good fans deserve it.
4. The New York Giants are 0-6 and look awful. We love the Manning family and any member of the Manning family gets a pass for just about anything, but one has to wonder just how long Eli can milk his family’s street cred. Even more vulnerable is head coach Tom Coughlin’s job in the wake of six straight losses. Really? The Giants 0-6? See #1 above for additional insight.
5. The #5 biggest surprise is a tie between the 1-4 Falcons and the 1-4 Redskins. Both teams have suffered catastrophic injuries which certainly will put the brakes on any season. The Falcons have lost their entire receiving corps and the Skins are trying to rehab their quarterback. But injuries aside, no one in Atlanta or DC thought that they would be at 1-4.
Stay tuned as more surprises are sure to come!
- NFL Week 6: Live Scores, Highlights and Reaction (bleacherreport.com)
Jadeveon Clowney, arguably the best player in college football, chose to back out of Saturday’s game against Kentucky, claiming that he had a rib injury. In the wake of that decision many outsiders have questioned the legitimacy of the injury. Barring a catastrophic injury, Clowney is expected to be the first pick in next year’s NFL draft. Simply put, Jadeveon Clowney has millions of reasons for remaining healthy. The young man stands to make a lot of money if he is picked number one in the Spring.
Only Jadeveo Clowney knows if he is truly hurt or not. Many have found it suspicious that Clowney himself and not a trainer or doctor informed Coach Spurrier that he could not play. Not to mention that the disclosure came so close to kick-off.
In a post game interview Coach Spurrier gave the impression that he was not in support of Clowney’s decision, but he has since changed his tune. In fact, earlier today he praised Clowney to the point of crediting him with the invention of sliced bread. It sounded like the typical waffling that comes after controversial remarks are made.
I don’t know if he is hurt or not, but as a fan of his ferocious defense play I now have some concerns. If he is concerned that an injury will hurt his draft stock then simply say so and leave the team. I get that and who wouldn’t be concerned? Millions of dollars are on the line and I can respect such a concern. But have the wherewithal to say so if that is what you are worried about. What happens when an undesirable NFL team selects him in the draft? Will the mysterious injury reappear preventing him from suiting up for the Jags? Any time a football player uses the leverage of taking himself out of the game I become suspicious.
Jadeveon Clowney will long be remembered for one of the greatest, if not the greatest play, in college football history. But now I’m afraid he may also be remembered as the player who quit on his current team for a bigger payday in the future. He is a tremendous player and I hope to see him in opposing backfields next Saturday.
In a recent television interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salter, Baltimore Ravens linebacker, Terrell Suggs, made a moronic statement alleging that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell conspired against the Ravens by engineering a power outage designed to rob Baltimore of their game leading momentum In last year’s Super Bowl.
Really? Let’s file that claim with other “brilliant” statements such as, “Miley Cyrus is a good role model for kids.” “The government shutdown won’t really happen.” And “Amazon.com is ‘Mom and Pop’ company that’s sure to fail.” T-Sizzle’s claim is as ridiculous as it is wrong.
Why would Commissioner Goodell want to risk the ratings drop that such a delay could create? Why would he invite such embarrassment on the NFL? Why would he want to diminish the great story of Ray Lewis possibly winning a Super Bowl in his final season? Why T-Sizzle, why?
I’m all for a good conspiracy theory but this one is really weak. Better yet, it is so weak that it is utterly non-existent. Suggs can play football and no one questions his on the field ability. One has to be fairly smart and coachable to play football in a league where the playbook reads more like rocket science. I’m sure that Terrell is an intelligent man, but c’mon T, this was not your brightest moment.
- Terrell Suggs Claims Roger Goodell Played a Role in Super Bowl Blackout (bleacherreport.com)
- Terrell Suggs Thinks Goodell ‘Had A Hand’ In Super Bowl Blackout (newyork.cbslocal.com)
I wonder if those who witness historic events realize the importance of those events in the moment? In some cases, I’m sure that they do. On the other hand, I imagine that history often unfolds right before our clueless eyes. Heads-up football fans lest we risk the latter.
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are flirting with a truly epic season. We are just one-fourth of the way through the 2013 season and Manning has already achieved a number of records. After four games Manning has broken Brett Favre’s record of 23 NFL games with at least four touchdown passes – Manning now has 24. He also broke Kurt Warners record of 14 touchdown passes through 4 games – Manning has 16. Add to that, Manning has tied Milt Plum’s (Browns) 1960 record of 16 touchdown passes with no interceptions thrown. And all while leading his team to a perfect 4-0 record atop the AFC West Division. At this rate, Peyton Manning may even replace Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Breaking Bad in the battle of trending Google searches for 2013!
Seriously, Peyton Manning is unstoppable right now. And to think, the Indianapolis Colts thought he was through! Well, Peyton Manning is not through and he is showing the world that he can do a lot more than sell pizzas. If you like football it’s time to wake up because history is happening in Mile High Stadium and history is wearing #18.
The National Football League has developed another “guideline” that strikes a blow to the NFL of my childhood. Today the league decided that “throwback” jerseys were fine, but “throwback” helmits are not. No longer will we see the great helmits of yesteryear adorned by today’s NFL players. Among the casualties are the white Dallas Cowboy’s helmit, the Patriots minuteman helmit, and perhaps, my favorite helmit of all time, the original Tampa Bay Buccaneer helmit bearing the image of a pirate who became affectionately known as “Buccaneer Bruce.”
On Sunday, October 10, 1976, the Tampa Bay Bucs, in their inaugural season, came to Riverfront Stadium to play the Cincinnati Bengals. I was there to watch my hometown Bengals take on the newest NFL team with the greatest nickname ever. I was the 14 year old boy seated on the 30 yard line screaming his lungs out for both teams. In a bittersweet victory, the Bengals won the game 21-0 behind the AFC’s leading passer Ken Anderson.
Somehow, those now hideous creamsickle uniforms were so cool then. They had that sort of World Football League flair that made them so much different from the mostly drab uni’s of the established NFL dinosaurs. And the best part of the entire uniform was the knife wielding swashbuckler on the helmit. And now, he walks the plank and goes to a watery grave forevermore. Or at least until the rules committee meets together again!
In the meantime, I will mourn the loss of another age old feature of the NFL. No more “stick-um,” no more fumbles when the running back bounces off the frozen ground, no more whiplashing, bone crushing hits on the unsuspecting quarterback, and now, no more “Buccaneer Bruce” either. So long old friend. You will be missed.
- New league policy forces Bucs to scrap Bucco Bruce throwbacks (profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Bucs: NFL rule blocks throwback uniforms (TBO.com)
- Bucs scrap plan for Creamsicle throwback jerseys (cbssports.com)