NFL ROUNDUP

Posted: December 20, 2011 by dostlund84 in NFL

Are Tebow and Brady going to kiss?

Speculation on why Green Bay lost.

Tim Tebow is who we thought he was.

2012 draft talk.

Luck to the Vikings and the Eagles winning their division, which is more likely?

Division breakdowns from around the league…

NFC NORTH

The Packers finally lost on Sunday to the Chiefs.  It wasn’t Drew Brees and the Saints, it wasn’t the hard hitting San Francisco Defense.  Nope it was Kyle Orton in his first start after being cut by the Broncos, the first game for interim head coach Romeo Crennel.  Also, the first game the Packers have played this season without Greg Jennings in the lineup, and it showed.  Rodgers failed to complete 50 percent of his passes.  Randall Cobb had the most production out of any of the other wide receivers.  It didn’t help that the Pack lost two of their offensive lineman to injury in the game.  Tamba Hali sacked Rodgers 3 times, which should be alarming for the Packers coaching staff as they have Peppers and Suh to block in their next two games.

The way the Packers had been playing though, you would think that they could overcome these issues and still beat the Chiefs.  So why didn’t they?  I believe they had their head in the clouds, dreaming about a perfect season and were not focused on the Chiefs.  In the practice week before the game, the media interviewed several players.  They didn’t ask them about how they were going to prepare for the tough Chiefs secondary and the pass rush of Tamba Hali.  Instead, asked, are you going to keep playing to win against the Bears and Lions?  The players smiled and speculated about their perfect season instead of saying, this is the NFL, we are preparing for the Chiefs right now, we aren’t looking ahead that far, we are focused on the Chiefs.  In the NFL, the worst team can beat the best on ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, I mean the Rams beat the Saints this year, and now the Chiefs took down the world champs.  Perfect, keep dreaming Green Bay.

The Vikings lost again Sunday, they currently are tied with the Rams for the second worst record in the league.  The Colts won their first game, meaning the Vikings are 2 losses and a Colts win away from Andrew Luck.  Yes the Colts own the tiebreaker right now, but that tiebreaker is Strength of Schedule and the Colts play the Texans and Jaguars and the Vikings play the Redskins and Bears.  I believe the Purple will ultimately own the tiebreaker.  Will the Colts win one of their games and the Vikes lose both? Not likely but remains more than a pipe dream for Vikings fans.

The Lions won in a dramatic fourth quarter comeback, to all but lock up their wild card spot.  Megatron dominated the fourth quarter finishing with over 200 yards and two scores.  It was Suh coming back from suspension who clinched the game for them, blocking a 65 yard record breaking field goal attempt from Janikowski.  The Bears have fallen apart offensively and will not make the playoffs.  They are mathematically still alive but face the Packers next week.  They are done.

NFC SOUTH

The Saints rolled over the Vikings Sunday and Brees is clearly stat padding.  I have come to despise these teams who care more about breaking records than ending the game with class by running out the clock in the run game.  The Packers were doing this with Rodgers a few weeks ago but now the Saints took it to a new low.  They kept throwing deep balls late in the game when they were up by 22 points.  Also, they were trying to twist the bum ankle of Adrian Peterson at the bottom of the pile, real classy New Orleans.

The Falcons all but locked up their playoff spot with a win over the Jaguars.  I do not see them as a legitimate contender.  The will lose to the Packers, Saints or Niners in the playoffs and look to next season.

The Bucs and Panthers are essentially irrelevant.  The Panthers did beat the Texans Sunday and Cam Newton is looking like the NFC Offensive Rookie of the year.  The Bucs have had a major regression this season after going 10-6 last year.  They need to evaluate a lot of things this offseason.

NFC WEST

The Niners bounced back with a win over the Steelers after a disappointing loss to the Cardinals.  Their defense has been the story this year.  Not just one player either.  Navarro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Carlos Rodgers, Dashon Goldson, Justin Smith have all played outstanding.  It is the rookie though that was making plays Monday Night, 2.5 sacks on the tough to bring down Roethlisberger, Aldon Smith is playing his way into NFC defensive rookie of the year with 13 sacks on the season.  The Niners are playing for a first round bye and are mathematically still alive for the number 1 seed in the NFC.

The Seahawks have been playing good football behind a powerful, Skittles fueled running game.  It has been a good run over the last few weeks, but they are not making the playoffs.

The Rams are terrible.  Bradford can’t stay healthy and hasn’t looked like the 2010 NFC rookie of the year when healthy.  Steve Spagnuolo and Josh McDaniels may be on the hot seat this offseason.  The Rams should look to draft Matt Kalil to protect Bradford, I know they have spent early picks on Roger Saffold and Jason Smith in the last two years, but neither can stay healthy and both are looking like busts.  If they decide to go a different route we will likely see Justin Blackmon catching passes from Bradford next season.

The Cardinals seemed to have turned a corner.  They have won 6 of their last 7 games, including wins against Dallas, San Francisco and Philadelphia.  Patrick Peterson is a baller.  Fitz is a baller.  Beanie Wells is having a very productive season.  It is a shame they don’t have a Quarterback.  Maybe the Vikings can trade them Ponder after they get Luck next year.  I mean look at what they gave away for Kolb.  DRC and a 2nd round pick.  Bad move by the Cardinals, they will look to sign a veteran QB as a backup and contingency plan next year.  They won’t draft one as they don’t want to give up on Kolb just yet.

NFC EAST

The Dream team is still alive, I have been talking about this for weeks and would love it if they made the playoffs, just so I can tell people, “I told you so”.  They play the Cowboys next week and the Giants play the Jets, If the Eagles win and the Jets win, They will be only 1 game back with one week to play.  In the final week, the Giants play the Cowboys in New York and the Eagles play the Redskins.  If the Giants and Eagles win, the Eagles will win the division. Anything is possible.

The Redskins should look to draft a Quarterback in the upcoming draft.  Matt Barkley would be a good fit.  Ryan Kerrigan has been a solid draft choice, 7.5 sacks on the season.  Roy Helu has been coming on strong in the last few weeks as well.  Look for the Redskins to have another solid draft and improve in 2012.

AFC NORTH

The Ravens and Steelers lost this week.  Both need to win some ball games to earn a first round bye.  The edge goes to the Ravens right now as they own the head to head tiebreaker on both the Steelers and the Texans.  Games against Cleveland and Cincinnati coming up, they should beat Cleveland with ease then most likely beat the Bengals to go perfect in their division this season and lock up that first round bye.

The Steelers will be a wild card team, the 5th seed and will most likely play the Broncos in Denver in the first round of the playoffs.  They need Big Ben to get healthy.  Still competing for a first round bye and their wild card spot will make this difficult.

The Bengals are still alive for a wild card spot.  They need to finish with a better record than the Jets, as the Jets own the tiebreaker.  If they make the playoffs they will look to get their first playoff win in nearly 20 years!  The last time they won a playoff game was January 6, 1991.

The Browns are still rebuilding.  We will see in the upcoming draft if they believe in Colt McCoy.  With 5 possible 1st round quarterbacks (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Matt Barkley, Ryan Tannehill and Landry Jones), I think we will see Cleveland take one of them.  Their other options would be Trent Richardson if he fell to them, or reaching on Alshon Jeffrey or Michael Floyd.  They need an offensive playmaker.

AFC SOUTH

The Texans are going to make the playoffs for the first time in their franchise history winning their division.  They still can get a first round bye if T.J. Yates and their powerful run game can finish the season with a couple wins and get a little luck from the Ravens and Steelers.

The Colts got their first win of the season, defeating the Titans.  If they get another win in divisional matchups against the Texans and Jaguars they will be at risk of losing their 1st overall draft pick.  Peyton Manning should be cheering for his team and doing everything possible to help Dan Orvlosky get some more wins, as he is due a $28 million roster bonus in February and almost certainly would be dealt or cut if the Colts have the number 1 pick.

The Titans miss CJ2K, and wonder if he even can be CJ1K this year.  Jake Locker has looked lukewarm in the little we have seen from him this year and should continue to improve in the offseason.  They hope to have Kenny Britt back to full health next season to help Locker in his sophomore season as presumed starter.

The Jaguars are a mess, a new owner, a first year quarterback who has been a major disappointment and zero legitimate wide receivers.  Look for them to reach desperately on a WR if Blackmon doesn’t fall to them.  I don’t think they will draft another quarterback even though they should.  They could also trade down to a team looking to take RG3 or Matt Barkley.  This would be a good move, as they could still get Alshon Jeffrey or Michael Floyd in the middle of the first round and get more draft picks.

AFC WEST

Tim Tebow finally ran out of magic on Sunday as the Broncos offense could not keep pace with Tom Brady and company.  They should still win their division with a win against the Chiefs in the season finale.  They can also lock it up with a win against the Bills this week and Oakland and San Diego losses.

They will have a tough matchup in the playoffs, hosting the Ravens or the Steelers.  I would enjoy either matchup thoroughly.  I was talking up Tebow very early in the season during our podcasts, but only for fantasy purposes.  I knew Orton would tank, Tebow would start and be a running force, elevating him into a top ten fantasy QB.  I never in my wildest dreams thought that he would have gone on this run and I am a little sick of it at this point.  I would love to see the Steelers and Ravens defense expose him.  He takes too much time to throw the ball, staring down receivers, taking way too long to wind up and ultimately throwing a ball with no spin on it that wobbles through the air.  He will not beat the Ravens or Steelers.

The Tebow playoff talk may be a little premature.  Phillip Rivers is now 23-2 in the month of December.  He just tore apart the Ravens and I think the Chargers will beat the Lions and Raiders to finish 9-7 on the season.  This would give them a definite chance at winning the West.

The Raiders are falling apart.  A tough loss to the Lions makes it 3 straight losses for the Silver and Black.  They face the Chiefs and Chargers to end the year and I doubt they can win both games.  After starting out 4-2 this will be a disappointing season for the Raiders who also lost Al Davis this season to heart failure.

The Chiefs look to end the season on a positive note.  After beating the Packers in the first game coached by Romeo Crennel, the chiefs play division foes in the final two weeks.  It Orton can go 3-0 in his limited action in KC, they would more than likely bring him back to compete with Cassel for the role of starter in 2012.

AFC EAST

The Patriots silenced the Tebowmaniacs and Tom Brady continues to shred opposing defenses.  Can the Patriots defense hold up in the playoffs to make a Super Bowl run?  Like Green Bay, the Patriots defense gets a lot of turnovers, but when they don’t get those big plays, they give up a lot of points.  The Patriots will have to play the Texans, Steelers or Ravens most likely and maybe even two of these teams in the playoffs.  All three of these teams have top caliber defenses that could limit Brady’s production.  Their defense will be tested against playmakers like Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, and possibly Andre Johnson who is still on the mend.  This will be a tough task.

The Jets are hanging on to their wild card position by a thread.  They have a big game coming up against the Giants that has major playoff implications for both teams.  This is going to be a great game to watch.  Plaxico Burress facing his old team, Eli Manning trying to bounce back after a putrid performance against Washington, and the Jets defense desperately trying to redeem themselves after what has been an up and down season filled with mediocrity.

The Bills have fallen apart after extending Ryan Fitzpatrick earlier in the season.  Losing Fred Jackson didn’t help.  The only bright spot here is that C.J. Spiller is proving that he is not a total bust showing flashes of big play ability and catching the ball well out of the backfield.

The Dolphins need to stop winning ball games if they know what’s good for them.  I think the Dolphins will do whatever they can to get RG3 in the draft.  Matt Moore has shown flashes but it is doubtful that their new coach will be satisfied with Moore as his starter.  Rick Ross likes to bring high profile celebs into the stadium and would love to have a flashy player like RG3 to show off to them.  Reggie Bush looks more and more like a feature back with every passing week.  The Dolphins could be a playoff sleeper next season.

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