After 10 weeks of football, I am noticing that there are three things that are going to happen every week and this week was business as usual. Number one is the Colts are going to lose, check. Number two is the Packers are going to win, check, and number three is that anytime you are ready to call a team elite, they will show you they are not. Week 10 gave us big upsets, season-changing injuries, and numbers that you just don't see every week. Now the moment we have all been waiting for, the week 10 recap.
On Thursday night, the Raiders and Chargers took the field in a battle of two quarterbacks who are no strangers to interceptions. Surprisingly, both Carson Palmer and Philip Rivers only threw one interception a piece, as Michael Bush became the latest member of the "from backup to 150 yard rusher club". The Chargers, who in their previous three games had already lost to a good team (Jets), a bad team (Chiefs), and a great team (Packers), completed the cycle and lost to a mediocre team at home. The Chargers, who are known for getting off to a slow start to the season before coming on late are, apparently are trying a different approach to the season. After winning 4 of their first five games, they have now lost four in a row with a trip to Chicago up next. Rivers and the Chargers offense has been out of sync for over a month now and there is no reason to think that a team who plays its home games in southern California is going to end its losing streak in Chicago in November. As bad as the Chargers have been in the last month, they still have just as good of chances of winning the AFC West as anyone else in the division does.
The Chargers aren't alone when it comes to teams that started the season on fire, and have cooled down faster then the weather. The Bills, who started the season 4-1, have now lost 3 of their last 4 games and in Detriot, after being one of the last teams to lose a game, the Lions have now lost 3 of there last 4. While the Chargers, Bills, and Lions may have all sold their fans false dreams to start the season, no team has fallen faster then the Redskins. The Skins entered their week 5 bye 3-1 and with their only loss coming by two points on the road to their rival Cowboys. There was talk around the beltway about how things were finally looking up for the Redskins and they might just be in the playoffs sooner then expected. Well what a difference a month makes. The Skins have lost every game since that bye including getting shut out in Buffalo and last weeks loss to the last place Dolphins. Danial Synder made his millions by selling spring break vacation packages to college students in his early 20's has been selling dreams in the DC area ever since. After buying the Redskins over a decade ago he has been selling the fans on hope on the way to making the team one of the most valuable in sports. However if the Redskins lose this weeks game against their hated rivals the Cowboys at home Synder might be running out of dreams to sell. While the NFL is full of bad teams, this year more then ever, the Redskins future looks darker then any other teams. Yes the team has gotten rid of the over priced has beens, that they have been known to collect over Synder's tenure. but they have replaced them with a bunch never were's and never will be's. If you look across the NFL you will be hard pressed to find a worse group of players at the skill positions, and the team lacks an identity. Just when it looked like things could look any worse Mike Shanan has started changing quarterbacks the way he does running backs. While I am not ready to call the Redskins the worst team in football, I will say that with no shoot at the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, they have given there fans the least amount to be optimistic about.
In Atlanta Coach Mike Smith is taking a lot of heat for decision to go for it in overtime deep in his own territory and he should. The call was a risky one and this time it turned out to be the wrong one. While the call didn't turn out in the result he was looking for i can surely understand why he did it, and his players should respect him for it. Many are trying to say that Smith didn't believe in his defense while i would like to think he believed in his offense. He believed that his offensive line along with his 260 pound running back could get him a couple of inches, and they let him down. Smith may have let his team and the fans down, but his offense let him down.
In last weeks wrap up I mentioned how hard it is becoming to identify who the elite teams are in the NFL. After weeks of dismissing them just because it didn't seem right i was ready to jump on the Texans bandwagon. Arian Foster had return to rushing title form, Andre Johnson was getting ready to return from injury and the defense was playing great. After beating the Bucs all over the field in Tampa, I figured it was time to recognize that the Texans are as good a team as any not named the Packers. Right after i got on the bandwagon and got to my seat, put on my seat belt and looked up, i realized that Matt Leinhart was now the driver, at witch point i said what you know were at my stop already, and just that fast i right back off the bandwagon. All season long the Texans have dealt with injury after injury to its best players and moved on but Matt Schaubs injury is going to be the hole in the boat that finally sinks it. First it was Fosters injury to start the season then, they lost Mario Williams, then Andre Johnson. I don't believe in curses but if i did this might be one of them.
Last week after beating the Steelers for the second time this season the Ravens had the look of what just might be an elite team. There season resume has some very impressive wins on it including a week one beating of the defending AFC champs, but its the loses that make you say " is this team serious ". Off the top of my head i cant recall seeing a quarterback throw the ball over 50 times and barely topping 250 yards in passing, but last weekend Joe Flacco did just that. For a team who has a average quarterback and what most believe to be a elite runningback, it hard to understand why the Ravens have become such a pass happy team. In the Ravens last four games Flacco has thrown the ball 38,51,47, and 53 times witch doesn't sound like Ravens football. Just when i was ready to say the Ravens were among the top teams in the NFL they went out to Seattle and lost to the Seahawks. Its hard to call a team elite with loses to the Seahawks, Jaguars, and Titans on there resume ( not to mention they almost lost to the Cardinals).When you see Ray Rice only getting 8 carries in a game and Ray Lewis missing tackles to end the game, you have to wonder how can this be an elite team?
At 6-3, and sitting a top the NFC east, one would think the Giants had to be an elite team right? Until you remember that they have already lost to both the Redskins and the Seahawks, two of the worst teams in the NFL. It's easy to say well those losses were earlier in the year and they are a much better team now until you see them go out and lose to the 49ers without Frank Gore. I can only wonder if all those Giants fans who last week saw Eli get a win over Tom Brady's Patriots and wanted to anoint him an elite quarterback, now use that same logic and call Alex Smith a great quarterback.
The Saints sit a top the NFC South and aside from a lopsided beating from the terrible Rams, their resume looks pretty good so we can call them a good team. In Chicago, they have done away with what at times seemed like 15 step drops that were getting Jay Cutler killed, and have let Matt Forte run lose. With the winter rolling around, Chicago will not be a place where teams want to go, so I will say the Bears are a good team. At 8-1 you have to call the 49ers a good team, it's just hard to call a team with Alex Smith starting good, but the record speaks for itself. All season long, we have been hearing how the Steelers and Patriots just don't look like the Steelers and Patriots we have known for the last decade. Both teams are supposedly old and washed up, that is until you look at the standings of course and see that both of them are on top of their divisions and neither has lost to a team with a losing record. So maybe they aren't what they use to be but both still are good teams.
When I woke up on Sunday and learned that Desean Jackson was inactive for this weeks game because he missed a special teams meeting, I thought to myself, that must have been some hell of a meeting or there is more to the story. While Eagles went out and played without their star reciever, the Cardinals played without their starting quarterback and still beat the Eagles. For the simple reason that I don't believe in any team in the NFC East I'm not ready to bury the Eagles playoff hopes just yet, but they are on life support, and the Giants will get a chance to pull the plug this week.
As always thanks for checking in for this weeks recap, see you all next week.