What We Learned From Sunday's Games
Going into the day, many of the games on the schedule seemed to be clear cut and determined. But it's like the old saying goes; "this is why we play the games!" There were some upsets, some near upsets, and a lot of shifting at the top of the power rankings. As I write this we're deep into the second half of the Eagles vs. Cowboys and it looks like the Eagles will be moving up on everyone's list after this performance.
The Saints were two touchdown favorites against the winless Rams and came in and laid an egg. At one point the Rams were winning 24-0. Maybe they should have saved some of the points they put up last week to carry over to this week's game. Drew Brees looked awful throwing a couple of picks, and the running game sputtered again. This game shows us you never know who's going to win from week to week regardless of the match up. We all need to remember that despite what the records show, these are all professional athletes and are capable of playing at a high level. It's just a matter of who can do it consistently.
The winless Miami Dolphins jumped out to a lead against the Giants but were unable to hang on as the game progressed. But they did prove that they can play with teams in this league. They just need to play for four quarters of football. The Arizona Cardinals looked like they were going to go in to Baltimore and blow out the Ravens and building a 24-3 lead. But as all losing teams do, they found a way to give the game away and lost at the last second 30-27. Despite the Ravens win, I'm still not impressed with Joe Flacco's play this year. He's been inconsistent at best, and I don't know how long the defense can keep saving this team. Ultimately he's going to have to prove that he can lead this team up and down the field on a consistent basis. In any event, they are in a three way tie atop the AFC North which may be the toughest division in the NFL.
I Am Now On The Bengals Bandwagon
The Cincinnati Bengals seemed to be in a rebuilding stage when the season began with a rookie quarterback and rookie receiver leading the team. Andy Dalton has proven to be a viable asset for the Bengals, and made it easier for Mike Brown to cut Carson Palmer loose and gain some valuable draft picks. They boast a top five defense in nearly every category, and Adam Jones brought a spark to the special teams before pulling a hamstring during the game today. The Bengals were able to go into a hostile environment and destroy the Seattle Seahawks 34-12. I picked the Bengals to win this game, but I didn't expect them to put up this many points against a stout Seahawk defense. I will be anxious to see this team compete in divisional play against the Steelers and Ravens this year. If they can split with each team, they have a great chance of winning the division, or at least a wild card spot in the playoffs. They will be moving up quite a bit in my power rankings that I'll release on Tuesday.
Steelers Are The AFC's Best
The Steelers proved today that they are the best team in the AFC, dominating the New England Patriots. The Patriots had no answer for Roethlisberger, they were unable to run the ball, and the defense looked slow and inexperienced. Why is Belichick getting rid of everyone in the secondary? The guys on the roster are brutal. Steeler receivers were nearly five yards open on every reception. They didn't play bump and run because they were scared of the speed of the Steelers receivers. Coming off a bye week I really expected the Patriots to win this game, but they weren't even competitive. The game wasn't as close as the score ended up being. Going forward, the Patriots need to establish a running game and deep threat on offense. Defensively, they need to do the opposite of everything they are doing right now. They now fall to a tie with the Bills atop the AFC East, but lost to the Bills earlier this year. As for the Steelers, they are the defending AFC champions and they are out to prove that the road to the Super Bowl still runs through Pittsburgh.
I'm calling for Javon Ringer to start at running back next week for the Titans. CJ2K isn't going to break 500 yards for the season the rate he is going. He put up 25 rushing yards against the 31st ranked rush defense in the NFL today. This has to have the Titans front office furious after Johnson held out the entire preseason for a "playmaker" contract. Johnson has no burst out of the backfield, and looks extremely weak when he hits the hole. I've watched him on several plays run right into the back of his blocker and fall backwards. Was this guy working out at all while crying about his paycheck? I hope the Titans have a clause to get out of that contract, but the guaranteed money they've already given him has to be killing them right now.
I'm waiting to hear everyone take shots at Tebow this week, but I'm not going to go that route. Yes, he looked really bad, but so did the whole team. They have no running game what so ever, the offensive line in horrible, and the defense isn't playing well at all. You can't point the finger at one guy on this team. They were in a rebuilding stage when the season began, and they continue to get rid of their talented players, like Brandon Lloyd. John Fox can't get caught waffling at the quarterback position. He made the change to go with Tebow so he needs to ride this out and see if the kid can progress and show some signs that he can be a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL. If he can't, then you draft accordingly next year. Besides, they will be in the mix for Andrew Luck. I see this team having a top four pick, so they can try and maneuver their way to the top if they are interested in doing so.