Bye weeks aside, we’re effectively ¼ of the way through NFL regular season agenda. As we pass the quarter-mile post let’s take stock of the other 15 teams in the AFC race for the playoffs. IF and when we get to the point where we should take interest in the apparently superior NFC then we’ll expand and expound. Because, as we’ve learned all too well in the past weeks, we should keep our aspirations grounded in reality. Team capsule style by record followed by playoff predictions, like I’m some sort of fucking soothsayer, I know:
Tennessee (4- 0) – Impressive stable of backs, superior defense, but bullshit schedule. Opponents thus far are a combined 2-10 and on deck are the Ravens and Chiefs. ..worst 6-0 team ever? “Hey, VY, see if you can find your dignity under that outright release over there, you bi-polar pussy.”
Buffalo (4-0) – Trent Edwards is an above average QB and they have more staying power than the Kerry Collins piloted Titans, but…bullshit schedule. Two wins came against teams who don’t have their head coaches any more (St. Louis & Oakland). I consider the Bills impressive, but untested…still they’ll cruise to the playoffs with KC, Cleveland, Arizona and the East left on their schedule. Enjoy your swan song, Buffalo as your team is steadily moved to “shared with Toronto” status by Ralph Wilson’s slight-of-hand.
Denver (3-1) - The “Diabetic Dynamo” Jay Cutler has led the Broncos to a league-leading 314 passing ypg. Shanahan’s eyebrows have churned out another decent running back by committee love-fest. Surprising loss at KC, while spelling doom to my suicide league, is not too damning as Arrowhead is a bitch to play in. Photo finish with San Diego for the division.
Baltimore (2-1) – Frightening defense. Joe Flacco isn’t going anywhere from the look of things and although we got the W against these guys, they’re still very much in the hunt for the division. I’ll be curious to see how having the bye forcibly removed from their schedule already affects the ‘birds. Circle Dec. 14th on the calendar, it’s liable to cost us or them a playoffs spot.
New England (2-1) - With the offense only generating 16 points a game, much has been made of Cassel and Moss up in Foxboro, but their defense is piss – giving up over 140 rushing yards per game. My guess is .500 or slightly better, but they still have that cupcake schedule to lean on.
“Middling and Muddled”
San Diego (2-2) – Slow start again, but neck and neck with Denver for the lead in just about every offensive category. If they can remain relatively healthy (Tomlinson seems like he’s one hard sneeze away from IR), the Bolts look to be headed for the post season. If their D wasn’t sub-par they’d have a shot at a first round bye.
Jacksonville (2-2) – Pretty average season for these guys so far. Garrard has put them on his back with two come from behind victories since starting 0-2, but doubt that strategy will get them to a division title. Back to back games against Pittsburgh and Denver will go a long way in determining if the Jags will have a January.
NY Jets (2-2) – They’ll jump out of this position quick with their next three being Cincy, Oakland and KC. Favre is good for five or six wins a season based solely on his play-making and slinging of guns…problem is he’s also good for that many loses without a stellar D backing him up. Sub-par running game and a swish cheese secondary spell eventual doom for Gang Green, but they’ll make it interesting.
“So, what else is on?”
Indianapolis (1-2) – Only team in this group that has a prayer at the postseason. I’m not buying any of the hype about the Colts being over the hill, their O-line is getting healthier, Manning hasn’t started bitching yet and they still have one of the best collections of offensive weapons in the game.
Miami (1-2) – Fresh off the stunner against the Pats, these guys are a bit of an unknown, but that offense was unorthodox and won’t fool many D-coordinators going forward. Things are not good if Ronnie Brown is your personal Jesus, Fins fans and remember: your quarterback is Chad Pennington.
Kansas City (1-3) – Win over the Broncos was a moon-shot, not happening again for awhile. Dwayne Bowe is an impressive wideout…problem is Tyler Thigpen is the one responsible for getting him the ball. Will barely be edged out by Oakland for worst record in the West.
Cleveland (1-3) – How the mighty preseason pundit’s pick have fallen. I expect the Brady Quinn era to begin sometime around week 7 or 8 and the Romeo Crennel era to end around week 11 or 12.
Oakland (1-3) –Al Davis is like a cross between Montgomery Burns and the creepy neighbor from Family Guy. Also, “Run DMC” is a bullshit nickname.
“With the first overall pick…”
Houston (0-3) – Better than the record indicates, these guys will be fucking up some teasers and parlays in the coming weeks. Slaton hasn’t looked too bad, but Schaub is putrid.
Cincinnati (0-4) – “Now, with more clubhouse dissension!” You signed Cedric Benson? Wow. Just, wow.
East – Buffalo 12-4(BYE)
West –San Diego 11-5(BYE)
North – Pittsburgh 10-6
South – Tennessee 11-5
Wild Card – Denver 10-6
Wild Card – Indianapolis 9-7
(Don't hold me to this shit...)