Atlanta is one step closer
As a football fan, how can you not like Atlanta? Their story, not the team per say. In 2007 they were essentially left for dead. Michael Vick was going to jail. Their head coach at the time Bobby Petrino abandoned the team before the season ended. The consensus was that it would take at least three years for the Atlanta Falcons to become contenders in the NFC. It turned out to be only one. Their head coach now Mike Smith has turned it around and it started with the drafting of Matt Ryan. He is the real deal. Since he was drafted the Falcons have only lost one home game. They have made the playoffs once with him and will clinch another playoff berth this year too. With this win against the Green Bay Packers the Falcons have almost solidified their place atop the NFC. Obviously winning the rest of their games would, that would put their record at 14-2. It’s actually doable. They’re playing at Tampa Bay, Carolina and Seattle. They finish at home against New Orleans and Carolina. A favorable schedule to say the least. I like seeing a franchise make a quick turnaround under some awful circumstances. Owner Arthur Blank went about it the right way by bringing in a football guy in Rich McKay who hired a great General Manager in Thomas Dimitroff. Those three are the main reason the Falcons have made the quick turnaround. I ask again, as a football fan, how can you not like Atlanta?
The Bears might have something in the Windy City
Jay Cutler might actually be a good quarterback. I know that pains most of you to hear that, but it’s true. Lets be honest, he wasn’t going to be the next John Elway in Denver. He sure isn’t going to be the next Sid Luckman in Chicago or Jim McMahon to be more recent. He’s Jay Cutler. Anyway when you look back now at the 2006 draft, Jay Cutler is the most accomplished quarterback by far. Vince Young and Matt Leinart are no longer starting quarterbacks. Next in line is Bruce Gradkowski. Tarvaris Jackson would be more accomplished if Brett Favre hadn’t been handed the reigns in Minnesota. The point is that Chicago mortgaging a lot of their future for Cutler might be worth it. He and the rest of the offense seemed to have bought into the Mike Martz system put in place. Pretty amazing considering they don’t run the ball and can’t protect Cutler on a consistent basis. I’m not putting the Chicago Bears on top of the pedestal, but they are in first place. Three of their final five games are against playoff contenders (New England, NY Jets and Green Bay). Their final game is at Green Bay which will probably decide the division title. Everything is riding on the psyche of Jay Cutler. If he plays like he did against Philadelphia this past week (14-21, 247 yards & 4 TD). Oh, and no interceptions. If that trend continues, you might see the Bears surprise everyone again.
Kansas City vs. San Diego
I expected this to happen next year, not this year. The Kansas City Chiefs have the best running game in the NFL. Now they have a pretty efficient Matt Cassell at the helm as well (22 TD to 4 INT). The defense is still at least a year away, but they can easily compete with the San Diego Chargers. Now that the calendar has gone into the December, the Chargers are on a four game winning streak, surprise. For far too long the AFC West has been ruled by the Chargers. They deserve those four consecutive division titles, but it’s about time that either Kansas City, Oakland or Denver step up and challenge them. San Diego has the NFL’s best defense and Philip Rivers is looking like a MVP candidate every week. Mark your calendars for December 12th, 2010. That will decide the AFC West between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers. I can’t wait.