NFL Midseason Review (Kind of long)

breckenridge55

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NFL Midseason Review

AFC East:
Buffalo Bills – A-
The Bills have exceeded this year’s expectations by far. Many predicted this team to finish better than last year, but no one thought that they would be in the division hunt in week 10. A solid 5-4 start has them sitting pretty in the AFC East.

Miami Dolphins – C+
The Dolphins looked like the AFC Super Bowl representative after beating Denver a couple weeks back. They played great in that game but they are very thin all around and it is showing. A couple injuries and this team is starting to fall apart. Unless they can stay healthy for the playoffs, they won’t be going anywhere.

New York Jets – C+
The Jets had a horrible beginning to their season but have played very well in recent weeks. They finally found a solid QB in Chad Pennington and still have a shot at making the playoffs. They can kiss those chances goodbye if they can’t win Sunday night against Miami however.

New England Patriots – B-
Many people thought that Brady was a fluke and the Patriots would start to return to their usual six or seven win season. They were wrong however. The Patriots started great and then lost 4 in a row, but they played a great football game against Buffalo last week and look like they are starting to climb back up again.

AFC North:
Pittsburgh Steelers – B+
The Steelers were most people’s favorite to win the AFC. After a slow start, the Steelers are catching fire with Tommy Maddox at quarterback. Their defense is playing very well and Amos Zereoue has proven that he can back up Jerome Bettis. This team just keeps rolling and still looks real good to win the AFC.

Cleveland Browns – D+
Everyone thought that this was the year for the Browns. The year that the new franchise finally made the playoffs. That chance is looking dimmer every week. Ever since Dwayne Rudd tossed his helmet and the Browns lost in week 1, it has been downhill. Looks like another season ending early for the Browns.

Cincinnati Bengls – F
This was another team who we thought could have been their year. But, it looks like we were proven wrong. Not only is an 0-7 start pathetic (at least they finally won last week), but for the most part, they’re not even getting close to winning. The defense that everyone thought was decent has turned out to be pathetic, and they still don’t have a quarterback. Maybe they’ll draft Byron Leftwich with that top 3 pick in 2003.

Baltimore Ravens – C+
The Ravens didn’t have very high expectations this year. It is a rebuilding year for them, but it seems as if they are rebuilding pretty dang fast. A decent start to the year has been hampered by an injury to Ray Lewis, but Jeff Blake has proven that he can still be an effective quarterback. If Lewis can come back soon, the Ravens still have a chance at making the playoffs.

AFC South:
Indianapolis Colts – C-
Oh those Colts. They have three of the best offensive players in the game, and now a defensive minded coach, and they still struggle. The only positive thing for them this year is that the division they play in is pathetic. They could go 7-9 and still win this division.

Tennessee Titans – C
The Titans may finally be getting things together. Eddie George is starting to finally look like the Eddie of old and the Titans are starting to win. That was a big win they got over Indianapolis the other week. That may give them the division title.

Houston Texans – C
The Texans aren’t good, and everybody knows that. But, they are doing fairly well as an expansion team. Although they lost to those pathetic Bengals (at home no less), they still have a couple of wins and they are staying in most games. David Carr is coming along nicely.

Jacksonville Jaguars – C
The Jags had a good start to the year, winning in Kansas City and keeping Fred Taylor healthy for at least 2 consecutive games. That streak has now reached eight games and Fred is still running (except for last week). I’m starting to get the feeling that he may get seriously hurt soon, he is due. If that happens, the Jags are in trouble again.

AFC West:
Oakland Raiders – B-
It is hard to play in the best division in the NFL, but the Raiders shouldn’t be losing this many in a row. That streak will probably be continued on Sunday when they face off with the AFC leading Broncos.

Kansas City Chiefs – A-
The Chiefs have once again exceeded everyone’s expectations once again, but this time it may pay dividends. The Chiefs can still make the playoffs. They are playing very well and they have been all season by staying in every game and winning some as well. Priest Holmes is right now the AFC’s most dominant player and it isn’t even close. No one can stop him. The Rams didn’t need defense in 1999, and the Chiefs may not need it either in 2002.

Denver Broncos – A
The Broncos are playing the best football of anyone in the AFC right now. The defense has been phenomenal all year long, and Clinton Portis is really starting to carry the offense now. The Broncos are looking great, and until someone stops them, they are going to be my pick to win the AFC.

San Deigo Chargers – A
No one expected the Chargers to be 6-2. They may have been walloped by the Jets, but they are still very good. Their defense is arguably the best in the NFL (when Harrison isn’t suspended), and LaDainion Tomlinson is leading this offense with some stud-like numbers. Drew Brees is playing mistake free and that is winning football games. Marty-ball is working in San Diego.

NFC East:
Philadelphia Eagles – B
The Eagles were expected to be very good in the NFC this year, and they are. Donovan McNabb is earning every penny he makes with a fabulous year for the Eagles. He is again, their most valuable player by far. The defense is still very strong and Duce Staley has come on in recent weeks. They should be playing on Conference Championship Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys – C
The ‘Boys are looking alright. The defense has been very good this year and Roy Williams has played well for a rookie. The questions are still on offense where no one is sure about Quincy Carter and the debate is still going on at who to play at RB. Congrats to Emmitt for the record, now he needs to lead his team to the playoffs before he leaves the game.

Washington Redskins – C-
Hopes were high for the Redskins. New coach, new game-plan, new offense. But the biggest question at the beginning of the season is still lingering in week 10, who is the quarterback? Steve Spurrier changes his mind about his quarterback more than I change my socks (and I do change them often). You can’t win in the NFL by rotating three quarterbacks.

New York Giants – C
The offense is an embarrassment, we all know that. But the defense is picking up some of the slack. The Giants would be decent if they had a good quarterback, but Kerry Collins doesn’t cut it. We’ll see how he performs in the second half

NFC North:
Green Bay Packers – A+
The Packers may have played nobody, but they are beating the nobodies. It’s better beating nobodies than losing to somebodies. Brett Favre is the NFL’s best player, and along with Ahman Green, they make the best QB/RB tandem in the NFL. These guys are hard to stop, and the defense is good, so they will stop you.

Chicago Bears – F
The Bears were a fluke last year. Anthony Thomas isn’t the super-star that everyone thought he was, Jim Miller is a backup QB, and Brian Urlacher is the only real player on the Chicago defense. In fact, Urlacher is the only great player on the team. Marty Booker is playing well, but Booker and Urlacher aren’t 22 guys, and you have to play 22.

Detroit Lions – C
The Lions are improving a lot over last year’s 2-14 record. Joey Harrington is struggling at times, but he does flash potential. James Stewart is having a decent season and the defense isn’t too bad. They may get 6 or 7 wins if they play good down the stretch.

Minnesota Vikings- D+
The Vikings are better than last year, but then again, it’s hard to be any worse. Randy Moss needs to start learning to get away from defenders, but he is having a hard enough time trying to get away from traffic workers. SOMEONE on the defense needs to step up. At least someone make a play, but they don’t even have one guy who can. It will be a rough second half.

NFC South:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – B+
The Bucs are looking better as the year goes on under Jon Gruden. Keyshawn finally got into the end zone more than once last week, and the offense is slowly starting to rid itself from it’s previous mistakes. The defense is playing great as always and is keeping them in every game.

New Orleans Saints – A
Aaron Brooks is great. And so is Deuce McAllister. I’m really surprised that no one saw this before the season, but now we all know that Deuce really can play. The defense is even playing well. When was the last time that the Saints had a decent defense? This team is looking good, and it will be a dog-fight for the top spot in the NFC South.

Atlanta Falcons – B
Michael Vick is amazing. Too bad the Falcons aren’t on TV every week, as we are all missing one amazing football player. The offense is doing well in Atlanta and the defense is stepping it up a notch. The Falcons still have a shot at making the playoffs.

Carolina Panthers – C-
After a 3-0 start, the Panthers aren’t quite as good as we thought. It was all because of Rodney Peete. Chris Weinke and Randy Fasani can’t play and until Peete is back, the Panthers will be losing. At least the defense is decent.

NFC West:
St. Louis Rams – C
The Rams are back! Or at least I think they are, winning again with another unknown QB, Marc Bulger. Marshall Faulk is starting to return to his normal elite-status. The defense is still struggling and the wide-outs haven’t been as great as they usually are this year, but, the Rams can still make the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers – B
The Niners are playing great right now. Unless something catastrophic happens, they will win this division. Garrison Hearst and Kevan Barlow are a good combo as is Garcia to Owens through the air.

Seattle Seahawks – D-
The Seahawks had lots of promise. But with no backup QB, a running back who is more inconsistent than Ray Lucas, and a shaky defense, the Seahawks aren’t going anywhere. Trent Dilfer’s injury doomed this team and they aren’t coming back.

Arizona Cardinals – B-
The Cardinals have had a good start to the year. Thomas Jones is playing well and the defense is performing beautifully. David Boston isn’t as dominant as he was though, and Jake Plummer is still the turnover prone Jake Plummer that his opponents have all come to know and love.

Mid-Season Awards

MVP: Priest Holmes
He narrowly beats out Brett Favre who is just as deserving to win this award.

Offensive ROY: Randy McMichael
McMichael has had a great first half and leads his team in receiving.

Defensive ROY: Julius Peppers
If I’m not mistaking, he already has nine sacks. That was not a typo.

Coach of the Year: Marty Schottenheimer
At 6-2, no one expected this team to be there. But he has led them to a possible AFC West championship.

Predictions for Final Standings

AFC East:
Miami 10-6
Buffalo 10-6
New England 9-7
New York Jets 8-8

AFC North:
Pittsburgh 12-4
Baltimore 7-9
Cleveland 7-9
Cincinnati 3-13

AFC South:
Tennessee 8-8
Indianapolis 7-9
Jacksonville 7-9
Houston 4-12

AFC West:
Denver 12-4
*Kansas City 10-6
*San Diego 10-6
Oakland 7-9

NFC East:
Philadelphia 13-3
Dallas 7-9
New York Giants 6-10
Washington 6-10

NFC North:
Green Bay 13-3
Minnesota 5-11
Detroit 5-11
Chicago 5-11

NFC South:
New Orleans 12-4
*Tampa Bay 12-4
*Atlanta 10-6
Carolina 4-12

NFC West:
San Francisco 11-5
St. Louis 9-7
Arizona 8-8
Seattle 4-12

* denotes Wild Card team

Playoff Predictions

AFC Wildcard:
Miami over Kansas City
San Diego over Tennessee

NFC Wildcard:
Atlanta over New Orleans
San Francisco over Tampa Bay

AFC Divsional:
San Diego over Pittsburgh
Denver over Miami

NFC Divisional:
Philadelphia over San Francisco
Green Bay over Atlanta

Conference Championships:
Denver over San Diego
Philadelphia over Green Bay

Super Bowl:
Philadelphia 30
Denver 24
 

Baz

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Very possible if Ray keeps turning the ball over. I just hope that Jay is back in 2 weeks. Ray will get assassinated by that San Diego defense......
 

SoFlaFan

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Even with "all hands on deck", I would hate to have to play Denver again in the playoffs. <shudders>
 

BSQX4

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Lot of work Breck, can't Miami beat Denver and moveI on to win the Super Bowl? I know, wishful thinking. A lot depends on Jay. Whats wierd is that the Steelers come up with Maddox and boom, major turnaround. Here's the question: How could we have been so wrong about Lucas? And who's to blame. I sort of think we're stupid to be starting him against the Jets. After Buffalo we should have cut him and brought in Aikman or someone else. The Steelers found Maddox. Why couldn't we see that we were wrong about the guy and made a quick decision to cut him. I don't care about how he looked in pre-season, it was apparent after the Buffalo game that he was a loser and now look where we are. Wanny didn't want to go in panic mode. I think he was wrong because I love this team and really believe that we won't win ONE game with Lucas. I know this is radical but after the Bills game did we really need to see more? Deep down I'm afraid the Jets are going to kick our asses and I'm also concerned that it might be longer than we think before Jay can play at 100%. I know we have no other choice now but to start Lucas against New York but if right after the Bills game we brought in Aikman or someone else going into the bye week it would have given the guy two weeks to play the Jets. Can you tell that I'm a little down on Ray? Sorry to be negative but I'm not enjoying this ****! 10 Turnovers, damn. Having vented, I'd be the first one to be elated to be proven wrong.
 

cmax13

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bsqx4,

i agree on lucas, but i'd at least like to see rosenfels get a chance. could he play worse than lucas has played the last two games? i think not.

then if rosenfels was that bad, i say go ahead and bring someone else in (aikman or whomever).

but i think sage can be a good qb, he's got the attributes, and i think he just needs a chance. look how well the "spare" qb's have done around the league this year. maddox, bulger are two great examples.

i say give sage a chance, i've seen enough of lucas. i'm tired of him, and it seems the whole team has NO confidence with ray starting.
 

breckenridge55

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I just want to let you know, I had NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE of SI's midseason review released today. It called for the Phins to win the division at 10-6 and lose at Denver in the 2nd round, just like mine. I swear I didn't copy, lol. Any other comments? By the way BSQX4, I agree, I don't think we will win any games with Lucas in there.
 

baccarat

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How exactly do you give out grades? Why did you give Buffalo an A? They're not on top of the division and a division rival just blew them out at their house.

You give us a C+ and Detroit a C. Do you think we're just bearly above Detroit? I know we're in a slump right now, but I think we're better than Detroit.
 

baccarat

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BTW, I believe Clinton Portis will win the offensive ROY hands down.
 
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