Posts Tagged ‘Ravens’

What We Learned After Week 9 In The NFL

November 9, 2009

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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Bobby’s Thoughts on the Midway Point and Predictions for the Rest of the Season

November 7, 2009

– The New York Jets will not be making the playoffs this year, losing at home to the Dolphins last week is a huge blow, knocking the Jets down to 4-4 instead of 5-3. Their remaining schedule is tough enough to prevent them from getting in (they’ll basically have to go 7-1 or at the very least 6-2 just to get a Wildcard spot). Sorry, Rex Ryan, the Jets aren’t going to the Super Bowl this year. Although I do expect to see a Sports Center clip of Ryan saying something crazy in a post-game news conference later this year.

– The Denver Broncos will not have a second half collapse like the Jets had last year, although they may end up with a record not quite as impressive as their current 6-1 record.

– What happened to Brandon Jacobs? It seemed like the media have totally forgotten about him and maybe for good reason. He has just under 4 yards a carry, just 2 TD’s and seems to be getting less carries as the weeks go by and is on pace for just over 1,000 yards, which isn’t that impressive really.

– Speaking of the Giants, they are not making the playoffs unless the Cowboys and Eagles implode, which could happen.

– The Cardinals have a relatively easy schedule the rest of the way, look for them to finish 9-7 or 10-6 which will be more than good enough to win the NFC West. Of course the Cardinals could easily end up 7-9 and miss the playoffs all together, this team is fairly unpredictable, but they do have an easier road than their closest competitor, the 49ers.

– If I were Jim Zorn I’d kick Dan Snyder in the nuts. Yeah, he’d get fired and possibly arrested, but wouldn’t it be worth it? The chances of Zorn being succesful in Washington with Snyder as owner is about the same as being successful as a  head coach in Oakland with Al Davis as owner. It just ain’t happening.

– If I were Philip Rivers I’d kick Norv Turner in the nuts. Yeah, he’s get fined and probably traded, but wouldn’t that be good for Rivers? Having Norv Turner as your head coach means you’re not going to get to the Super Bowl. Ever.

– Speaking of Rivers and the Chargers, I see San Diego fighting tough through the second half of the season, but it won’t be enough. With games against Philly, the Giants, Denver, Dallas and Cincy, I see the Chargers finishing 8-8 or 9-7 and just missing that last playoff spot (that spot is going to the Texans, who will make their first playoff appearance in franchise history).

– The Green Bay Packers are clearly at least a year away from being one of the better teams in the NFL as last week against the Vikings showed. They may make it into the playoffs but they’re not doing any damage if they get there this season. O-line needs to be improved, defense is still adjusting to a new 3-4 scheme, young players are still learning their roles, WR’s need to be more consistent. They may be really good next year, though. I will however have to change my Super Bowl prediction.

– What ever happened to Terrell Owens? Oh, that’s right, he went off to play for the Buffalo Bills which is like the NFL equivalant of being sent off to a Siberian prison. The less I have to hear of him, the better.

– Remember when former KC head coach Dick Vermeil said it was time for RB Larry Johnson to take the diapers off? It was true and funny then and it’s still funny now! And Johnson still needs to take those damn diapers off!! I think it might be too late actually.

– It’s almost like the defending SB champs the Steelers aren’t even playing this year, everyone is talking about the Saints, Colts, the Pats, the struggling Giants, the Ravens beating the Broncos. The Steelers are just quietly flying under the radar. The Monday night game in Denver could be bigger than a lot of people realize. If Denver wins, it could help them regain momentum and a possible #2 seed in the playoffs, but if Pittsburgh wins they in fact could end up with the #2 seed considering the relatively easy schedule they have the rest of the way. Huge game.

– If I were the Browns I’d consider firing Eric Mangini at the end of the season. I don’t see anything that he does that helps this team.

– The officiating in this league has continued to be a joke this year. I’ve given up posting weekly officiating posts. Just not worth it.

– You can just tell the media wants to jump back on the Cowboys bandwagon, but they’re a little scared. I’d be scared too with Tony Romo at QB and Wade Philips as head coach.

Biggest Surprises of the Year (In a Good Way)

1. Denver Broncos (6-1) – This one is a no-brainer. New, inexperienced head coach, new QB, new coaching staff. No one picked them to start the season like this. So far, so good.

2. Indianapolis Colts (7-0) – No doubt some picked the Colts to do well, but sitting right now at 7-0 with a new head coach, no running game, questionable defense and injuries is pretty impressive and pretty surprising. I guess Peyton Manning is the MVP of the league.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) – I thought the Bengals would be tough this year, but most certaintly didn’t see them starting off 5-2. With a bend but don’t break defense and a new ball-control offense the Bengals are finding ways to win games this year. Marvin Lewis is having one of his best years as a head coach so far.

Biggest Surprises of the Year (In a Bad Way)

1. Tennessee Titans (1-6) – Another no-brainer, who would’ve thought the Titans would be 1-6 right now? No one. Losing Albert Haynesworth might’ve been a bigger blow to the team than previously thought.

2. Carolina Panthers (3-4) – Considering how good Carolina looked last year it’s pretty surprising to see them play this bad for most of the season this year. Maybe it’s time to find a new coach.

3. New York Giants (5-3) – The Giants have a winning record but considering how badly the team has played in the past month it’s a little surprising.

Super Bowl Prediction

Steelers/Saints

Football Fury’s Power Rankings For Week 9

November 4, 2009

NO_logo-50x501. New Orleans Saints – THE GOOD – The Saints just keep rollin’, although they had a close one at home against the Falcons Monday night. Offense has so many weapons, they can run it and everyone is a threat to catch the ball. The WR’s and TE Jeremy Shockey are making great catches for Drew Brees. The Saints new aggressive defense thrives on creating big turnovers. THE BAD – Defense still gives up yards and points, still question marks about playing in bad weather stadiums, although it won’t matter if the Saints get the #1 seed in the NFC. CONTENDER? Yes.

IND_logo-50x502. Indianapolis Colts – THE GOOD – Manning is still playing at a very high level. Offense moves the ball when it needs to. Defensive secondary is playing very well and should only get better with Bob Sanders back in the lineup. Colts are giving up a league-best only 13 points a game THE BAD – Run defense is still pretty bad (Frank Gore ripped off a 50+ yard TD run on Sunday), running game is only 30th in the league in yards. That’s usually not the recipe for a SB champ, but things are a little different in today’s NFL so time will tell. CONTENDER? Yep.

MIN_logo-50x503. Minnesota Vikings – THE GOOD – With impressive road games against the Steelers and Packers, the Vikes are looking great right now. Favre continues to look really good out there. Running game is still great. O-line is playing very well. Defense seems to be actually playing better as the season progresses, the secondary is blanketing WR’s. THE BAD – Will Favre’s play hold up throughout the season or will it dip like last year? Playing home games in a dome could help. Defense has given up a lot of yards so far this year, but has gotten better. CONTENDER? Yep.

PIT_logo-50x504. Pittsburgh Steelers – THE GOOD – With a bye the Steelers are where they were last week. Big Ben is playing great, defense is still stout, James Harrison is still James Harrison (8 sacks through 7 games) the WR corps is one of the more underrated ones out there. O-line is playing better than they have in years. THE BAD – Still question marks about the run game, will it continue to improve as the season progresses or will it become a non-factor like last year? Questionable coaching decisions at times. CONTENDER? Yep.

NE_logo-50x505. New England Patriots – THE GOOD – Also with a bye, the Pats get ready for their stretch run. Offense is putting up yards and points, defense is playing well for the most part. THE BAD – Still question marks about the run game and how good the defense will be against the better offenses in the league. CONTENDER? Looks like it, but let’s wait until they play some better competition.

DEN_logo-50x506. Denver Broncos – THE GOOD – Defense is this team’s backbone and is still playing great for the most part, allowing a league-best 266 yards and under 14 points a game. O-line looks very solid. Orton is doing a good job as a  game manager. THE BAD – Is this a complete team? Offense is pretty average, which puts a lot of pressure on the defense. Is the defense as good as the numbers indicate or are they overachieving? Are the Broncos this year’s 2008 NY Jets? A great start only to flounder the rest of the way and miss the playoffs? Lots of questions which should be answered over the next month or so. CONTENDER? Maybe, still too early to tell with this team.

PHI_logo-50x507. Philadelphia Eagles – THE GOOD – After demolishing the Giants, the Eagles may have turned a corner on the season. Young talent on offense is paying handsome dividends for the team. McNabb, at this point in his career, seems to play great or pretty mediocre. Usually the former. Defense has been playing better. THE BAD – Offense is very inconsistent. Andy Reid seems to make questionable coaching decisions at times. Defense may not be as good as it used to be, although injuries have something to do with that. CONTENDER? Not convinced, but with remaining games against Dallas (twice), road games against San Diego, Chicago, Giants, Atlanta and home games against the 49ers and Denver, the Eagles can definitely prove they are!

CIN_logo-50x508. Cincinnati Bengals – THE GOOD – With a bye, the Bengals are playing smart sound football and perhaps overachieving a little with their record. RB Cedric Benson is having a great season so far, Carson Palmer has looked fairly solid at QB. Defense is improved from season’s past. THE BAD – Defense is giving up a ton of yards through the air, offense doesn’t put up a lot of points with a more ball-control offense than previous Bengal offenses. CONTENDER? Probably not.

BAL_logo-50x509. Baltimore Ravens – THE GOOD – With an impressive 30-7 win over Denver, the Ravens could use that as momentum for the rest of the season. Jim Harbaugh is definitely one of the best young head coaches in the NFL. Joe Flacco is the real deal at QB. Offense is moving the ball and is very balanced. Defense can still make big plays, especially at home. O-line is playing great. THE BAD – Defense isn’t as good as past Raven defenses. WR corps is aging. Even with Ed Reed in the secondary the Ravens are only ranked 19th in pass yards allowed. CONTENDER? Even with a 4-3 record, the Ravens are a contender. This team could easily be 5-2 or even 6-1 if they got a couple breaks here and there.

DAL_logo-50x5010. Dallas Cowboys – THE GOOD – Tony Romo has over 900 yards, 8 TD’s and 0 INT’s in his last 3 games. Not too shabby, even if 2 of those games were against the Chief and Seahawks. Offense is balanced and productive with the run and pass. Cowboys defense has done a good job against the run so far. THE BAD – Defense has given up a lot of yards, Tony Romo is still a question mark in terms of consistency. Wade Philips is still the head coach. CONTENDER? This team is a real enigma, who knows if they are or not, I’m going to have to say no right now. Team is way too inconsistent and Wade Philips is still the head coach to consider them legit.

What We Learned After Week 8 In The NFL

November 3, 2009

09000d5d813e25c6_gallery_600Kerry Collins may never start another game as an NFL QB. Constantly under the radar during his career, he’s had a pretty good run as an NFL QB, better than most, that’s for sure.

The Jags aren’t going anywhere with David Garrard at QB. Great back up QB, not a great starting NFL QB.

The Browns are doing their best to be the worst team in the NFL. With the Bucs on a bye week and the Rams winning, the Browns are really flying high right now in the “worst team in the NFL” spot.

Brett Favre may actually lead the Vikes to the SB. I didn’t believe it, but he looked great against the Packers. Still, we’re only halfway through the season.

The Giants are in trouble.

The 49ers have a lot of heart.

Jets fans learned the hard way that special team blunders can cost you a win, even when your team is outgaining the other team by an almost 4 to 1 margin. The Dolphins had only 100 yards of offense!

Carolina and Arizona are two of the hardest teams to figure out.

Other Observations

Jets head coach Rex Ryan reminds me of a coach from the 80’s, sort of outspoken and perhaps over aggressive to a fault. In their loss to the Dolphins yesterday, the Jets attempted two 2 point conversions when it wasn’t necessary at all. Neither attempt was successful, If the Jets had just kicked the point after on both scores that game is 27-30 at the end of the game instead of 25-30. In other words, the Jets at least go into OT. The Jets had almost 400 yards of offense to just 100 for the Dolphins. No way should the Jets have lost that game. Part of that goes on coaching.

Not to beat a dead horse BUT Eli Manning continues to look like an average at best NFL QB. In his last three games, all losses, he has 3 TD’s, 6 INT’s, is averaging around a 50% completion percentage and his QB ratings are 45, 51 and 51 in those 3 games. Just awful. Meanwhile, the Giants, in an effort to improve their pass defense, forgot to cover the run against the Eagles. RB LeSean McCoy averaged 7.5 yards a carry and FB Leonard Weaver averaged 9 yards a carry and the Giants secondary still looked horrible. The Giants could be in serious trouble with a remaining schedule that includes the Chargers, Falcons, Cowboys, Denver, Minnesota, and Philly (again). That’s a painful looking schedule, especially with the way the Giants are playing right now.

A team constantly under the radar is the Houston Texans who had a fairly impressive 31-10 win against the Bills in Buffalo. Matt Schaub is having a Pro Bowl year, they have one of the better offenses in the NFL and the defense continues to slowly improve. With a 5-3 record and a remaining schedule that includes the Jags, Titans, Seahawks, Rams and Dolphins, the Texans could end up getting into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. It’s there’s for the taking. I’m thinking the #6 seed. It’d be pretty neat to see that happen.

The Broncos were knocked out of the ranks of the unbeaten in their loss to the Ravens. How did it happen? Offensive ineptitude. You have to give credit to the Ravens defense of course, but the Broncos offense only had 200 yards of offense and they just don’t put up a lot of points and it will probably stay like that for the whole year. A lof of pressure rides on their defense to play great. Their D wilted in the second half against the Ravens offense, but a lot of that was due to the Broncos offense not able to sustain any drives. Broncos defense remains 1st in the league in yards allowed and while the Broncos offense is 14th in yards, they are only 20th in points scored.

What We Learned After Week 7 In The NFL

October 27, 2009

09000d5d813b1091_gallery_600Alex Smith is still in the NFL and he actually looks pretty good.

Ron Winters and his officiating crew is probably still the worst crew in the NFL with a number of questionable calls in the Vikings-Steelers game. “Defensive delay of game”? What the hell is that?

The Falcons defense isn’t very good. Could cost the Falcons a playoff spot or a playoff loss.

Carolina is definitely not making the playoffs this year. Get ready to hear about a possible coaching change in the offseason.

The Rams look like they’re trying to claim “Worst Team in the NFL” this year but they’re getting tough competition from the Browns, Chiefs and Buccaneers.

The Cardinals are actually 4-2 after their impressive win over the Giants. Wonder how many people actually realize that. They’re suddenly the new favorite to win the Stinker Division (ie, NFC West).

JaMarcus Russell was benched probably 5 games late.

Other Observations

The Jay Cutler trade is starting to look a little one-sided right now. Consider that the Broncos got a 1st round and 3rd round pick in 2009 AND a 1st round pick in 2010 AND Kyle Orton in exchange for letting Cutler go!! Insane. Cutler has been erratic and not very impressive so far this year (he’s averaging almost 2 INT’s a game) and while he may get better with more talent around him in Chicago, there’s no doubt that Denver got a pretty sweet deal in getting rid of Cutler. Sort of funny that Orton has better numbers and has outplayed Cutler so far this year.

Why did the Dolphins call for a play action play on 4th and 13 with 2 minutes left in the game? Bizarre call. Just go back and throw it. Didn’t matter with the flag and intereception, but still…

There’s a lot of good RB’s in the NFL that you never seem to hear about, either due to that player being on a bad team (Frank Gore, Steven Jackson) or because teams are focusing more on the pass these days (Pierre Thomas).

Eli Manning has to be the most overrated QB in the NFL. He was coming out of college and continues to be in 2009. Against the Cardinals he continued to show why he’s just an average NFL QB when the Giants run game isn’t being dominant. The praise he gets from the media (Both Boomer Esiason and Trent Dilfer had him #3 in their top 10 list of QB’s so far this year) is a little ridiculous.

It’s still early but it looks like the playoff picture is already starting to come into focus just a little. In the AFC it’s a safe bet that the Pats, Colts and Broncos will be in the postseason. Not a lock but a pretty safe bet so far. Of those 3 the Broncos are the most likely to implode with their tough schedule and some question marks. With their talent level and easy schedule the rest of the way it’s a fairly safe bet that the Steelers will also get in. That leaves 5 teams (Jets, Bengals, Ravens, Texans and Chargers) vying for 2 spots. It should be interesting. Sorry, Jags fans, but I don’t see the Jags, even with a 3-3 record, getting in.

In the NFC it’s a pretty safe bet that the Saints, Cardinals and Vikings get in. Of those 3, the Cards are most likely to falter with some question marks here and there. That leaves 3 teams fighting it out for the NFC East (Giants, Cowboys and Ealges). That could get wild with the Giants showing some serious weaknesses of late. The two teams that don’t win that division will probably be battling it out with the Falcons and Packers for the two Wild Card spots. Of course the Packers could still win their division, especially if they win a huge game next week against the Vikes. I’d also include the 49ers in the mix but it just looks like they’re at least a year away at this point, maybe Alex Smith will make me change my tune, though.

Football Fury’s Power Rankings For Week 6

October 21, 2009

Just a note about our rankings, they are based on how well these teams are playing as opposed to overall record, unlike most power rankings. Now let’s get to it.

NO_logo-50x501. New Orleans Saints- THE GOOD – Pretty much everything at this point. The defense still gives up points, but the offense is still out running it. THE BAD – Still question marks about the defense and the effectiveness of this team playing in cold weather.

IND_logo-50x502. Indianapolis Colts- THE GOOD – Like the Saints, pretty much everything, although the defense has some issues as well. THE BAD – If Manning has a bad game this team will probably lose. That’s a lot riding on one player.

PIT_logo-50x503. Pittsburgh Steelers – THE GOOD – Offense is ranked 3rd, defense 5th, that’s pretty damn good. Big Ben leads the league in passing yards. THE BAD – Running game is still suspect. Defense hasn’t been as dominant as last year.

MIN_logo-50x504. Minnesota Vikings – THE GOOD- Team seems to be getting more confidence with each new win, Favre continues to play well. THE BAD – With the team ranked 13th in offense and 18th in defense in yards, there’s still question marks to how good this team really is.

DEN_logo-50x505. Denver Broncos – THE GOOD – head coach Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan seem to be doing wonders for this team. The defensive line is playing lights out right now. THE BAD – The Broncos offense still doesn’t really scare anyone.

NYG_logo-50x506. New York Giants – THE GOOD – The Giants still have a great running game. Defense is still great at attacking the QB. THE BAD – The Giants seem to really struggle when forced to play out of their comfort zone, ie, if they get in a shoot out with another team. If you take this team’s running game away they will probably lose.

NE_logo-50x507. New England Patriots – THE GOOD – The offense is starting to get better and better as well as the defense. THE BAD – Still question marks about the defense and running game.

BAL_logo-50x508. Balitmore Ravens – THE GOOD – Joe Flacco continues to play really well at times, defense can still cause problems for teams. THE BAD – Defense is not nearly as good as it used to be (ranked 17th currently) with aging players and the loss of former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan to the Jets. Injuries have hurt this team.

GB_logo-50x509. Green Bay Packers – THE GOOD – Aaron Rodgers continues to play great, O-line is playing better, defense is improving each week (ranked 8th currently) – THE BAD – O-line needs to continue to improve, still some question marks there. Same goes for the run defense.

ATL_logo-50x5010. Atlanta Falcons – THE GOOD – Offense is playing very well at times, Matt Ryan is playing at a high level. Defense is keeping teams out of the endzone. THE BAD – While the defense is keeping teams out of the endzone right now, it is giving up a lot of yards which could be a very bad sign for the future.

What We Learned After Week 6 In The NFL

October 21, 2009

09000d5d81380e22_gallery_600Jeff Fisher might be coaching another team in a couple years. Too bad for the Titans.

Apparently the Pats think they’re playing Division I football and running up the score will get them placed higher in the Top 25. I don’t care if the Titans did give up in that game, going for it on fourth down in the second half is ridiculous. The Pats still have some problems but this game could be a warning to the rest of the league.

Eli Manning is not anywhere close to being an elite NFL QB without the help of a dominating running attack.

The Jets continue to show they may be in trouble the rest of the year with Mark Sanchez struggling as a rookie QB (as predicted on here weeks back).

The Steelers quietly have one of the most explosive offenses in the league.

The Ravens defense isn’t nearly as good as it used to be.

There’s some talent on the Raiders defense.

Norv Turner is outcoached for the 100th straight time in his career. San Diego may not make the playoffs. Turner should go back to being an offensive coordinator.

Ron Rivera may have been part of a great Bears defense as a linebacker in the 80’s, but he’s not doing a very good job with San Diego’s defense as defensive coordinator.

Seattle is probably not making the playoffs this year.

Kyle Orton is playing better and better each week for the Broncos.

Other observations –

With the NFL making more and more rule changes favoring offenses, we’re seeing a lot of 300 yard passing games from QB’s along with high completion percentages. There were 8 QB’s with over 300 yards of passing in Week 6. Along with that there were 5 or 6 other QB’s with numbers close to that. I honestly miss the days of seeing QB’s actually earn those numbers as opposed to being handed it by defenses not being allowed to play actual defense. I’m sure others, especially those that play Fantasy Football, would disagree.

It seems like the days of dominating defenses are coming to an end. There’s only so much defenses can do when they are being handcuffed by new rules and refs all too willing to throw the yellow flag on any kind of contact on passing situations.

What We Learned After Week 5 In The NFL

October 16, 2009

09000d5d8134f4b8_gallery_600This will be Dick Jauron‘s last year as head coach of the Bills

Wade Philips isn’t a very good head coach coach.

The Jaguars are definitely not making the playoffs this year.

The Seahawks are suddenly looking like favorites to win the Stinker Division…Not really, but anything is possible at this point.

The party’s over in Tennessee, you can officially turn out the lights on this season. Wow.

Miami suddenly looks very much alive for a playoff spot.

Dolphins new starter at QB, Chad Henne, looks like a good fit. Pennington may not have a starting spot when he returns.

The Jets are starting to show some holes.

Tampa Bay might have the worst secondary in the league. Oh how times have changed.

Other Observations –

I’ve noticed some sports writers saying there’s less parity in the NFL than there has been in a long time because of all the undefeated teams right now in the NFL. I say, hold on right there. Most of the undefeated teams like the Colts, Broncos, Vikings and even the Giants could all very easily have at least 1 loss.

Looking closer at it, the Colts could easily have 2 losses with close games against the Jaguars (14-12) and Dolphins (27-23).

The Vikings would’ve lost to the 49ers at home if it weren’t for a hail mary TD pass from Favre with no time remaining in the game.

The Giants would’ve and should’ve lost to the Cowboys but Tony Romo self-destructed with 3 very costly interceptions.

If not for an 87 yard TD pass with 28 seconds left the Broncos would’ve lost in Week 1 to the Bengals. The Broncos also trailed both the Cowboys and New England by 10 points at home before somehow managing to come back to win those games.

With the exception of the Saints and Giants, more often than not these teams haven’t looked consistently great in any of their games. That’s not to say that the teams and fans shouldn’t be excited about their teams, but looking at it from an outsider’s perspective there seems to be more luck involved than less parity. It’s a long season and based on the actual on field performances of some of these teams I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of them struggle to make the playoffs when all is said and done.

A Quick Power Ranking for Week 6
1. New Orleans Saints
2. New York Giants
3. Indianapolis Colts
4. Minnesota Vikings
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. Denver Broncos
8. New England Patriots
9. Cincinnati Bengals
10. Atlanta Falcons

We’ll go more in-depth next week with the Power Rankings.

Football Fury’s Power Rankings for Week 5

October 8, 2009

1. New Orleans Saints – THE GOOD A legitimately improved defense and running game to compliment one of the best passing attacks in the NFL makes the Saints look like the most complete team as of now.  THE BAD The defense still needs to prove it each week, though.

2. Baltimore Ravens – THE GOOD Even with this week’s loss, the Ravens don’t really have too many holes and honestly looked like a better team than the Patriots. Some very bad calls in the Pats favor definitely effected the outcome. Sorry Pats fans, but it’s true. THE BAD The only weaknesses so far are an aging WR corps and a questionable to this point in this season secondary.

3. New York Giants – Giants look tough across the board and can play smashmouth football which makes them a rare breed in today’s NFL and should give them staying power as the season goes on. THE BAD They would be 3-1 if not for Tony Romo completely choking in Dallas a couple weeks ago. If you can shut down the Giants running game and make them one dimensional, Eli generally becomes an average NFL QB.

4. Indianapolis Colts – THE GOOD – Peyton Manning is having a fantastic season, the WR corps are making some great catches, the defense at times looks tough and tenacious. THE BAD – The defense at times looks very weak against the run (see Miami Dolphins game). This team could easily be 2-2 instead of 4-0 with close wins against the Jags (14-12) and Miami 27-23. Running game is non-existent and team might rely on Manning a little too much.

5. Minnesota Vikings – THE GOOD They can run the ball as well as just about anyone and they might have the best pass rushing D-line in the NFL, Favre has become a good game manager. O-line is great. THE BAD Vikes would be 3-1 if not for a last second miracle TD pass against the 49ers. Does anyone honesty think Favre will play as well as he did on Monday night for the rest of the season? Especially late in the season? The Vikings D-line won’t be playing the Packers O-line every game this season.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers – THE GOOD – If this team played as aggressively against Chicago and Cincinnati as they did against San Diego, the Steelers would easily be 4-0. That’s the good and bad news for Steeler fans in a nutshell, if this team plays aggressively on offense and defense for all 4 quarters they can and probably will beat anyone in the league, but the question is will they? Big Ben is quietly having his best season as a QB, he’s on pace for over 4,000 yards passing, O-line is playing great, offense has a lot of weapons, defense has been really good in the 1st 3 quarters of games, but… THE BAD – Defense tends to go into a prevent style D in the 4th quarter, allowing teams to get back into the game. LB’s James Harrison and Lamar Woodley, the Steelers sack duo from last season has been largely absent in that department thus far this year. The running game has been suspect thus far.

7. New England Patriots – THE GOOD – Belichick is still a great coach, the refs seem to be on their side, Tom Brady is still the QB and is having a good start so far. The offense can put up points when needed. Defense seems to be improving THE BAD – Defense still looks weak a lot of the time, the O-line still looks very shaky. Run game is non-existent.

8. New York Jets – THE GOODMark Sanchez is having a solid year so far for a rookie QB and the players seem to have responded well to new head coach Rex Ryan. The defense is much improved from last year. O-line is looking good. THE BAD – Sanchez is still a rookie QB and has already started to struggle at times, which may be a bad sign of things to come.

9. Denver Broncos – THE GOOD – The defense looks mightily improved from last year, Kyle Orton is having a solid season so far and seems to be a good fit for Josh McDaniel’s new offensive system. THE BAD – The offense doesn’t scare anyone and hasn’t been that impressive thus far. Is the defense the real deal? The Broncos will be tested in the coming weeks with a tougher schedule.

10. San Francisco 49ers – THE GOOD – Defense looks like the real deal, giving up only 13 points a game so far, almost shades of the ’85 Bears but let’s not get crazy. Shaun Hill has been decent at QB. Team should be 4-0 if not for a miracle TD pass by Favre in the Vikings game. THE BAD – The offense doesn’t look too good, with the recent signing of Michael Crabtree things could improve. Division is weak, which puts doubts into how well they will ultimately stack up with the rest of the NFC teams. All 3 wins are against divisional rivals in what has to be the worst division in football.

The Glorious Bottom 5

5. Carolina Panthers – THE GOOD – Panthers have some good players on this team, but where are they and what are they doing? Jake Delhomme is off to a horrible start. THE BAD – Bad QB play, struggling defense, players already look like they’ve quit on head coach John Fox.

4. Kansas City Chiefs – THE GOOD – Not much to be honest, there are some young potentially good players on the team. Even with a winless record, the team’s fundamentals seem to be better than when Herm Edwards was head coach. THE BAD – Defense looks real bad at times. Offense is not much better.

3. Cleveland Browns – THE GOOD – Derrick Anderson looks like an improvement at QB over Brady Quinn. Team almost got a win against the Bengals. Team unloaded Braylon Edwards, ie, taking out the trash. THE BAD – Team looks like it already has quit on new coach Eric Mangini, Defense is stinky.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – THE GOOD – The youth movement on defense only means they’ll get better. Run blocking looks good, running game is solid. THE BAD – Defense is giving up way too many points, too mistake-prone on both sides of the ball.

1. St. Louis Rams – THE GOOD – Very little, very few brightspots. O-line is full of early round draft picks and should get better, LB corps is decent. Steven Jackson is a great running back. THE BAD – QB’s are running for their lives, RB Steven Jackson faces 8 and 9 man fronts on virtually every down which might reduce the length of his career if that continues. Unknown WR’s, no depth, pretty bad defense.

What We Learned After Week 4 In The NFL

October 6, 2009

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JaMarcus Russell is still a horrible NFL QB.

The Raiders are still the Raiders.

If the Texans defense improves it’s play, they could sneak into the playoffs this year.

The Titans are this year’s surprise team, but not in a good way.

The 49ers are the clear cut favorites at this point to win the Stinker Division.

Dick Jauron is probably going to be on the hotseat in a couple weeks.

St. Louis is the worst team in the NFL, now that the Browns almost won a game.

The Buccaneers are bad, but not as bad the Rams.

The Bengals are 3-1and improved but still not that impressive.

Jim Mora, Jr. might not have been the best choice as head coach for the Seahawks.

The Seahawks have the most boring offense in the NFL.

Peyton Manning is having an incredible year so far.

The Colts might rely on Manning just a little too much.

The Chargers aren’t a very impressive team.

The Steelers seem incapable of winning comfortably even when outgaining their opponents 2-1 in yards and leading in the 2nd half, 28-0. Maybe they like to keep things exciting for the fans for all 4 quarters.

Games in Depth

Baltimore 21 vs. New England 27 – This game could’ve gone either way. At times it looked like the Patriots defense simply didn’t have an answer for the Ravens offense. Strangely, the Ravens didn’t run the ball much but should have(Ray Rice had 11 carries for 103 yards!). Tom Brady progressively played better as the game went on. The officiating in this game was simply horrible and the Pats benefitted from mostly bad one-sided calls throughout. The Ravens receivers are starting to show their age, Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton dropped passes deep in Pats territory on their last drive that resulted in a change of possession and the end of the game. It’s evident that both team’s defenses have some serious weaknesses (Pats against the run, the Ravens against the pass). Joe Flacco is the real deal, he had a few great passes in this game, including the sweet TD pass to Mason on a third and goal from around the 15 yard line.

New York Jets 10 vs. New Orleans 24 – The final score was not indicative of how close this game was. One of the more entertaining games of the year so far. The Saints defense looks like the real deal under new defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams. In fact, they look like a completely different defense than last year, aggressive, smart, fast. Free safety Darren Sharper looks like a great FA pick up and was huge in this game, returning a bad Mark Sanchez pass back for a TD. As I predicted last week, Sanchez struggled in this game and Jets fans, that trend could continue as the season goes on and more teams have game film of him. Rex Ryan’s prediction of a Jets Super Bowl appearance this year might be a year or two premature. The good news for the Jets is they did a pretty decent job on the Saints offense for most of the game. Saints running back Pierre Thomas is the real deal and is looking like one of the best RB’s in the league right now.

Dallas 10, vs. Denver 17 – Denver is 4-0 and that’s a shocker, even with their relatively easy schedule. The Cowboys talented defense played sloppily and undisciplined throughout this game. The Brandon Marshall TD pass and run should be an embarrassment to all involved in Cowboys country. The Broncos defense looks more and more impressive under ex-49ers coach, Mike Nolan. The Cowboys receivers had a hard time getting separation from an aggressive Broncos secondary. QB Tony Romo progressively played worse and worse as this game went on, throwing passes behind, in front, and high of his receivers. He laid out WR Roy Williams over the middle with an over throw, resulting in Williams leaving the game with an injury. This whole game reeked of a poorly coached game by Cowboys head coach Wade Philips.