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.
There’s an old saying that claims that death and taxes are the only two things in life that are truly inevitable. I disagree. I have faithfully cheered for the Cincinnati Bengals for my entire life, or at least since being old enough to watch, play, and understand the sport. While I do not consider myself a football “expert” by any stretch of the word, I do feel as though I am qualified to speak intelligently on the historical accomplishments and blunders of the Bengals. I was there during the 1990’s, so I’m using the word “blunders” graciously!
So here is my list of ten things that you can count on to happen in every Cincinnati Bengals football game.
10. A disproportionate amount of off-tackle running plays.
The Bengals are not known for their offensive creativity. In a passing league, Marvin Lewis remains an “old school” smash mouth coach. Expect to see Ben Jarvus Green Ellis go off-tackle for two yards over and over again. Here’s hoping that the addition of Gio Bernard will change things in time.
9. In nearly every game the Bengals are good for at least one turnover in critical situations. For example, Andy Dalton threw an interception today against the Bills just outside the red zone. In their season opener loss to the Bears, Mohammad Sanu fumbled inside the red zone resulting in the potential loss of much needed points.
8. The Bengals defense will have their opponent on a 3rd and 17 only to allow an 18 yard pass for a first down to sustain a scoring drive. Seen it more times than I can count.
7. The Bengals opponent will get the ball near the end of the first half with a full field between they and the endzone. Lax defense will allow the team to march 60-80 yards in less than 90 seconds to give up a throw away field goal or touchdown which almost always comes back to haunt them later.
6. Not everything is negative in Bengal Land. In every game you can count on the Bengals looking absolutely brilliant on a series or two. This sounds like a positive but, in fact, it is a negative because we see what they have the potential to be if they could only overcome their inconsistency.
5. The inability to smell blood in the water and put a team away. It’s common for the Bengals to play well for 2-3 quarters and have their opponent on the ropes only to allow an amazing comeback that results in a dramatic Cincinnati loss. (Please see both of the Bengals last minute Super Bowl losses as proof)
4. That leads to me to my next point which is that the Bengals opponent will always make a run regardless of the score. Even in games that they do win we often see them give away a big lead only to win a nail biter (see today’s victory in Buffalo as evidence.)
3. The Bengals have the unique ability to make a rookie or untested veteran look like a Hall of Fame player. Again, just visit today’s game in Buffalo. Injuries forced the Bills to call a quarterback off the practice team earlier this week. One would think that such inexperience would result in a blow-out win for the Bengals, but one would be wrong!
2. The Bengals frequently play up or down to the level of their opponents. Last week the Bengals played the Patriots well and notched a big win. They played like a serious play-off caliber team. Today against the Bills, and earlier in the season against the Browns, they played down to the level of two clearly inferior opponents. In the process they lost to the Browns and nearly lost to the Bills. Great teams always the games that they are supposed to win.
1. And the number 1 thing that you can always count on during a Bengals game is asking yourself, “Why do I root for this team?” It can be hard to be a Bengal fan and you can expect a great deal of second guessing of your allegiance to a team that more often than not leaves you scratching your head and asking, “Why?”
- Bengals escape in overtime against Bills (profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Bengals vs. Bills: Bengals improve to 4-2 after 27-24 overtime win against the Bills (cincyjungle.com)
After five weeks there are three teams that remain undefeated. The Broncos, Saints, and Chiefs sit atop the standings and power rankings headed into week 6. Statistically, teams that start 5-0 have a 90% chance of making the playoffs and a 40% chance of making the Super Bowl. Those are numbers that make the folks in the Rockies, the Midwest, and the Bayou very happy!
Here is my Week 5 power rankings. Don’t agree? Leave a comment and let me know about it.
1. Denver Broncos 5-0
Peyton Manning is absolutly insane right now. Barring a catastrophic injury to #18 the Broncos are going to cruise. Don’t forget… Von Miler is coming back soon too!
2. New Orleans Saints 5-0
Drew Brees is a tremendous quarterback and team leader. Add to that, Coach Sean Payton is back at practice every day. The Saints have raised some eyebrows in this remarkable resurgence.
3. Kansas City Chiefs 5-0
Coach Andy Reid has made believers out of many NFL fans who expected the Chiefs to continue sputtering. The only negative for the Chiefs right now is that they play in the same division as the Broncos. I would like to see the Falcons send Tony Gonzalez back to KC to help his former mates contend for a championship. That would be a fitting end to a certain Hall of Fame career.
4. Indianapolis Colts 4-1
Andrew Luck has played like he has 15 years experience under his belt. The only thing that is keeping the Indy fans from crying over the loss of Peyton Manning is Andrew Luck. In a few more years Peyton will be modeling for his Hall of Fame bust and Andrew will still be lighting up NFL defenses. The Colts have insured that they will have a top-tier QB under center for nearly 30 years.
5. Seattle Seahawks 4-1
Yes, they lost to #4 Indy last week, but the ‘Hawks are still a great team who look to be a force deep into the NFC playoff picture. Pound for pound, and inch for inch, Russell Wilson is as good a QB as there is in the NFL. If the ‘Hawks can remain healthy they will be hard to beat.
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 like Marvin Lewis. A lot. I like the professional way in which he has represented the Bengals over the years. I like the way he has reached out to players in personal distress and seen many of them turn their lives around. I like the many contributions he has made to his community. Coach Marvin Lewis has exemplified likability and loyalty which are two character qualities that go a long way with owner Mike Brown and the Cincinnati fan base.
However, there comes a time when NFL coaches need to win football games. That time has come for Marvin Lewis and the Bengals. We all know what a tremendous man Coach Lewis is. He has proven himself in those areas, but its time to win.
Yesterday’s loss is clearly on Coach Lewis and his staff. The Bengals are are a clearly superior team to the Cleveland Browns. Many have predicted the Bengals to play in the Super Bowl, or at least go deep into the play-offs. They have added tremendous talent on both sides of the ball. They have drafted well and made key free agents acquisitions. They have a quality team that is loaded with talent and ability.
So why does such a talented and superior team line-up against a struggling opponent and play as poorly as the Bengals played yesterday? Coaching. Preparing a team to play well and demanding that from your players is squarely on the head coach. And it appears that Marvin Lewis, as likable as he may be, simply cannot get his team fired up enough to beat an inferior opponent with a quarterback making only is second start in the NFL.
The Bengals were not just defeated yesterday. They were manhandled. The high powered offense that supposedly makes defensive coordinators lose sleep was totally silenced by the Browns defense. The Bengals ferocious defensive front allowed a rookie quarterback to play like a Hall of Famer. No passion. No emotion. No determination to win, and that is on the head coach. Perhaps losing has become acceptable to an organization so familiar with it.
If it were not for a double fumble and a crazy, fortuitous bounce at the end of the Bengals-Packers game the team with such a high ceiling would be 1-3 right now. With the Patriots next on the schedule don’t expect winning to get any easier in the near future.
I like that I like you Coach Lewis, but the time has come to win.
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos opened the 2013 NFL season with a 49-27 thrashing of the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. Granted, the 2013 Ravens are not the 2012 Super Bowl winning Ravens, but they are certainly not a cupcake either.
The start of the game was delayed briefly due to severe storms, but once the rain moved out of the Denver area the future Hall of Fame quarterback found one open receiver after the next. Before the night was over Manning tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes. That hasn’t been done since 1969 when Joe Capp threw seven touchdowns to lead the Vikings to victory over the Baltimore Colts.
Manning was 27-42 with 462 passing yards and no interceptions. His passer rating on the night was an amazing 141.1.
In typical Peyton Manning fashion, the quarterback deflected praise to his teammates and coaches while frequently referring to the Ravens as a Super Bowl quality team. Once again, Peyton Manning proves why he is such a class act.