What We Learned After Week 9 In The NFL

09000d5d81406e36_gallery_600– The Giants will not be making the playoffs after losing at home against the Chargers. I’m already writing them off, especially with such a brutal schedule the rest of the way.

– The Cardinals continue to be one of the most unpredictable teams in the NFL. After losing 34-21 at home against Carolina, they go on the road and spank the Bears 41-21.

– The Buccaneers will not go winless this year. Way to go, Bucs!

– The Packers are officially in trouble of making the playoffs this year. Losing to the Bucs could be devastating. It at least shows the Packers are not serious contenders this year.

– The Saints defense has scored more points than the Browns offense so far this year. Just for this statistic alone the Browns are officially the worst team in the NFL this season.

– Seahawk fans may not feel like their team actually won yesterday. After being down 17-0 to the Lions in the 1st quarter the Seahawks managed to scrape out a win, but not after playing a pretty poor game against one of the bottom-dwellers in the NFL.

Matthew Stafford is playing like a rookie QB.

– The Chicago Bears will not be making the playoffs this year.

– The Titans have not been officially eliminated from playoff contention. Just sayin’.

Other Observations-

– The Bengals defense is playing better than their actual numbers are showing. They had arguably their most impressive game of the season against the Ravens this weekend, shutting down Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense for most of the game in a huge divisional showdown. The secondary is playing a lot better of late.

– I’ve touted the Ravens as contenders all year, but losing like they did against the Bengals has to be pretty concerning for Ravens fans everywhere. The offense isn’t progressing as the season goes on and the Ravens defense is clearly aging and the team is not adequately replacing the older players. Losing Rex Ryan has been huge. I’m not ready to completely write this team off, but it’s not looking good.

– The Texans played their hearts out against the Colts in Indianapolis. If not for a goal line fumble and/or a missed FG in the last seconds of the game, the Texans might’ve won, but that’s what separates the best from the rest. The Texans still haven’t taken that next step. I do have to question some of the overly safe playcalling by the Texans offense in this game. A lot of run plays on first and second down even though the Colts were missing half their starting secondary and the fact that the Texans are a passing team.

– The Colts beat the Texans to remain undefeated but consider this – Peyton Manning had 40 passing attempts in the first half (!!!) and threw for over 200 yards but the Colts were only up 13-3 at halftime. That is precisely why I’d be surprised if the Colts make it to the Super Bowl. For an 8-0 team the Colts haven’t exactly be overly impressive.

– The Miami Dolphins know how to play against the Patriots. Even though they lost 27-17, the game was a lot closer than the score indicates. The Pats defense seems to struggle against the Wild Cat formation and the Dolphins defense knows how to play against the Pats passing game. They just single covered Randy Moss and covered the short passing game, which is the Pats bread and butter. Almost worked Sunday, but not quite.

– It looks like the Cowboys defense may have finally turned a corner over the past few games. Constantly underperforming for most of last year and into this season, the Cowboys defense is finally playing up to it’s potential. Defensive line is getting good pressure on the QB and the secondary, which has long under achieved, is finally playing great.

– Bad coaching decision of the week – Trailing the Cowboys 20-13 with just under 5 minutes left in the game and with NO time outs left, Andy Reid elects for the team to attempt a 52 yard FG. The ball barely breaks the crossbar. Why is this a bad coaching decision? Well, for one it’s a 52 YARD FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT. There’s a decent chance your kicker won’t even make the field goal, which would give the Cowboys the ball near midfield. But even if he makes it (which he did) the Cowboys get the ball with just over 4 minutes left, your team has no time outs left and all the Cowboys have to do is pick up a couple first downs to run out the clock. Which is precisely what they did. But even if you force the Cowboys to punt you will have no time outs left AND you still need a TD with little time left! Andy Reid can put together a good team but his on field decision making and clock management is very questionable at times.

– Horrible officiating watch – There were a number of bad calls on Sunday. In the Texans-Colts game there was a horrible unnecessary roughness call on a Texan defensive back when he hit Dallas Clark around the shoulder pads as he was attempting to catch a ball. Why is that a penalty?? There was a strange defensive offsides call on the Texans defense that helped the Colts to keep a drive alive. I sure didn’t see it on the play. Of course CBS never showed a replay so we’ll never know for sure whether there was offsides or not on the play.

In the Lions-Seahawks game there was a pass interference call on a Lions DB, even though a.) the ball was uncatchable and b.) if anything there was offensive pass interference on the Seahawk WR on the play when he grabbed the Lions DB. The Seahawks would go on to score on that drive.

In the Dolphins-Pariots game the Dolphins had to challenge a play where Miami QB Chad Henne was hit as his arm was going forward and lost the ball but the refs called it a fumble and the Pats recovered it. It’s totally ridiculous that a team has to use a challenge on a play where it’s clear and obvious that the play is not a fumble. There was horrible pass interference call on a Pats DB, when Miami’s WR Ted Ginn basically ran into him. Last time I checked a DB is allowed his space on the field. Is there a rule that I’m not aware of where a DB has to get out of the way of a WR? Pretty sure that’s not in the rulebook.

In the Cowboys-Eagles game there was horrible unsportsmanslike conduct call on Eagles DB Assante Samuels, even though he helped up the player he was supposedly taunting! I still don’t understand how the Eagles didn’t get a first down on the QB sneak by Donovan McNabb in the fourth quarter. Just a horrible spot by the refs. The Eagles challenged the spot on the field but it was bizarrely upheld, even though it was clear that McNabb had gotten the first down.

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