Week 8 Review of the NFL

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At the beginning of the season I started doing a weekly segment on twitter called the Good, the Bad and the Ugly after every week in the NFL.  With so much futility this year, I feel this is the best way to sum up the half way point of the 2010 NFL season.  Each team will be briefly broken down into the Good, the Bad and the Ugly section.  Lets get started.

The Good

New England Patriots 6-1
They haven’t missed a beat since trading Randy Moss.  Tom Brady looks as good as ever and the defense, while young is performing above their pre-season standards.  They are doing this while playing in a very competitive division with the Jets and Dolphins looming behind them.

New York Jets 5-2
A slow start was averted and they won five straight.  They hit a snag last week coming off their bye, but this is still the most talented team in the NFL.  As long as they return to their roots of running the ball and controlling the clock, they will be fine.  The defense is as good as advertised even with a banged up Darrelle Revis.

Miami Dolphins 4-3
All of their wins have come while on the road and for some reason they don’t play the same at home.  It has made them a force to be reckoned with the rest of the way.  They will need to fix that problem at home if they want to get into the playoffs.  It won’t help them beat the Jets or Patriots, but other teams might not have a chance if the Dolphins start winning at home.

Baltimore Ravens 5-2
The defense is performing up to their standard and they now have Ed Reed for the rest of the season.  The offense sputtered at times, but it seems that Joe Flacco has a handle on what went wrong and Baltimore seems primed to take a hold of the division.  They’ve already beaten Pittsburgh on their home turf and a season sweep would make it a lot easier to claim the division.

Pittsburgh Steelers 5-2
They went 3-1 without Ben Roethlisberger and everything seems to be running pretty smoothly.  The Steelers are still rushing the ball pretty effectively, but the Steelers are turning the ball over a little too much for their liking.  They have a tough fight ahead with Baltimore in the division, but it isn’t out of the question for them to make the playoffs.

Indianapolis Colts 5-2
When you have Peyton Manning everything else seems to fall into place.  Injuries to Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai haven’t slowed down Manning as the Colts are now positioned to clinch another division title.  It still won’t be a walk in the park, but how can you doubt the Manning led Colts.

Tennessee Titans 5-3
They have been a little inconsistent lately, but the Titans still have the best running back in Chris Johnson.  Now they’ve thrown Randy Moss into the mix to help take pressure off Johnson to produce all the time.  Whether the Titans can keep Moss happy is one thing, but going forward they have another weapon defenses will have to gameplan for.

Kansas City Chiefs 5-2
Yes they are playing in one of the worst divisions, but they are the best team in that division.  It’s no fluke.  They’re winning games they’re supposed to and they have the best 1-2 combination at running back in Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles.  Matt Cassell hasn’t been perfect, but no where near what he was last year.  It’s a recipe for success the rest of the way.

New York Giants 5-2
The defense is playing with the same tenacity that won them a Super Bowl just three years ago.  Eli Manning is on fire.  Especially with his favorite target Hakeem Nicks.  And surprise, surprise the Giants are running the ball effectively too.  The NFC East is theirs until further notice.

Philadelphia Eagles 4-3
Their record is deceiving, but the Eagles are doing a good job while having issues at quarterback.  Obviously hindsight tells you that they have to continue to ride Michael Vick until he falters, but what’s to say that he will after a rib injury kept him out the last couple games.  For now they are in a good position to succeed, but it all rests on Vick’s shoulders.

Green Bay Packers 5-3
Injuries are starting to mount for the Packers, especially on defense.  Has that stopped them?  Hardly.  Beating the Favre led Minnesota Vikings and the New York Jets has put the Packers back into the conversation of contenders in the NFC.  It basically boils down to whether Aaron Rodgers can continue to lead the Packers the way he did last season.

Atlanta Falcons 5-2
They have the slight edge in the suddenly tough NFC South.  The defense is coming around slowly, but what matters is that they can continue to run the ball.  Matt Ryan will need to continue to find Roddy White.  They have become the best quarterback wide receiver combo in the NFL this year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-2
The surprise of the NFC.  For the Bucs it comes as no surprise because their quarterback Josh Freeman is the real deal.  I haven’t seen a young quarterback with this much poise since Peyton Manning burst onto the scene.  Tampa Bay will be in the spotlight if they can beat their rivals Atlanta and New Orleans.

New Orleans Saints 5-3
The defending champions still have some life left.  Winning the division is priority number one right now.  They have to get back in sync on offense and they started to against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.  Whether they can get on a winning streak before Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas return is another question they will have to answer now.

St. Louis Rams 4-4
Quite shocking that a .500 team is in this position.  The reason is simple.  They are playing a lot better.  So much so that they have a chance at their division.  Sam Bradford is getting better every week.  The defense is playing with a sense of urgency on every possession.  In the weakest division, the NFC West, the Rams only competition is the lowly Seahawks and Cardinals. 

The Bad

Cleveland Browns 2-5
Who is the quarterback?  Who is running the offense?  Who has all the answers?  How much longer will it be til Mike Holmgren takes the headset away from Eric Mangini?  The Browns only bright spot is their defense, but they can’t score the points at the same time.

Houston Texans 4-3
If you want to be considered a good football team, you have to beat the lowly Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts.  The Cowboys only win was against Houston.  The Colts were fortunate that the Texans forgot that they ran the ball all over the Colts in the first game of the season.  How much longer will it be before the Texans use their strengths to their advantage?

Jacksonville Jaguars 4-4
To be fair, the Jaguars are beating teams they’re supposed to beat.  The next week against a tougher opponent, they seem to lay down.  With the beating they laid at Dallas last week, maybe it finally puts the Jaguars are the right track going into their bye week.  They’ve been inconsistent all year long and they have to show something to counter that.

Oakland Raiders 4-4
They are coming on lately, but it could all be a ruse if they fall flat on their faces against the Kansas City Chiefs.  You can put them a step ahead of the Chiefs if they win their third consecutive game next week.  For now though, there is still a big question mark at quarterback.  Is this Jason Campbell’s job or will Bruce Gradkowski have to save the day again?

San Diego Chargers 3-5
Because they play in the AFC West you can’t count them out just yet.  Sure they haven’t won a game on the road yet.  Why would that matter to a team that plays better in November and December?  Can Norv Turner re-create that magic of years past?  The Chargers will need to for their sake and Turners.

Washington Redskins 4-4
Things are looking pretty bad right now if Mike Shanahan thinks that Rex Grossman gives them a better chance to win than Donovan McNabb.  That’s pretty much what it boiled down to last week when McNabb was benched down by eight points to Detroit.  I said at the beginning of the year that Shanahan lost the season with the Haynesworth fiasco and now he’s lost the team with this move.

Buffalo Bills 0-7
Yes they’re winless, but they haven’t looked like a winless team every week.  They could have easily beaten the Ravens and Chiefs, their last two opponents.  Then you would look at them a little differently.  Alas, they still are the Bills and it will be a matter of when not if they win a game.  Probably sooner than you think in my estimation, but that’s all they have to look forward to the rest of this year.

Seattle Seahawks 4-3
They are leading their division by percentage points right now, but can you see them being on top at season’s end?  Where is the running game?  The defense is carrying them, but after that performance against the Oakland Raiders, I don’t see how Seattle can stay afloat.  It won’t get any easier for them as only two of the remaining teams they play have no shot at the playoffs.

Detroit Lions 2-5
Things are starting to look better with the return of Matthew Stafford.  Him and Calvin Johnson connected for three touchdowns last week.  The defense is starting to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback.  The only problem is keeping a lead.  They haven’t shown the discipline needed to close games out.  The running game has slowly disappeared and the Lions fans start to hope for next year.

The Ugly

Chicago Bears 4-3
After a 3-0 start, they’ve fallen back down to earth.  Jay Cutler has gone back to the turnover prone quarterback from a year ago.  Mike Martz still doesn’t realize he has two running backs capable of running the ball.  The only saving grace for the Bears is their defense, but again how far can they carry them?  The Bears don’t have a huge window anymore and this is the year to make it happen.

Cincinnati Bengals 2-5
Come to find out this year that it wasn’t the talent around Carson Palmer that has been holding the Bengals back.  It was Carson Palmer.  This years talent pool is the best he’s ever had in Cincinnati.  Now the pressure was on him to make it happen.  So far it has been a disaster.  This was the make or break year and Palmer is breaking fast.

Denver Broncos 2-6
Josh McDaniels said goodbye to the franchise quarterback his first year in town.  Then followed that up with the trade of the franchise wide receiver.  What does he have to show for that?  Since they started 6-0 last year the Broncos have gone 4-14 going into Week 9 of the 2010 season.  That’s what the Broncos have to show for those two moves.

Dallas Cowboys 1-6
If there has been another team with as high of expectations as the Dallas Cowboys and fallen faster than them, please tell me.  I didn’t predict them to go to the Super Bowl like some, correction, most pundits did.  I however didn’t expect them to start the season 1-6.  I would be shocked if Wade Phillips is still head coach for one second after their final game.  But Jerry Jones has to look in the mirror as well to cast blame.

Minnesota Vikings 2-5
Favre’s Vikings are the laughing stock of the NFL.  Who is really the head coach?  Come to find out it’s Brett Favre.  Brad Childress admits to making a mistake by acquiring Randy Moss.  He fires him and in the process goes back to square one before they brought in Moss.  If this team makes the playoffs it will be nothing short of amazing.  Favre is done and so is Childress at seasons end.

Carolina Panthers 1-6
The biggest example of why you need a quarterback is right here in Carolina.  Matt Moore is not the answer and unless Jimmy Clausen gets the right tutelage, the Panthers future is even bleaker.  They are playing in the toughest division in football, but they haven’t even looked competitive against their division rivals.  The Panthers need to hope they land a big name coach to help turn their ship around.

Arizona Cardinals 3-4
Something tells me that Ken Whisenhunt wants to have a shot at drafting a quarterback in next years draft.  What was going on last week?  Max Hall was the starting pitcher and Derek Anderson came on in relief.  Was I watching a baseball game?  The Cardinals barely lost to Tampa Bay, but Anderson isn’t the answer with that late interception.  Max Hall looked promising in the pre-season, but it’s a massive fail in Arizona.

San Francisco 49ers 2-6
Alex Smith at times looked great, but wasn’t consistent and went down with a shoulder injury.  Apparently David Carr isn’t the answer as he was passed over for Troy Smith who hasn’t seen much action in the offense.  It worked against a porous Broncos team on a neutral site in London, but will that continue?  Most likely not, but five of the Niners final eight games are against the NFC West.  A 7-9 record is possible in the weakest division.

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