The NFL season is a little over a third of the way through and if you have any real handle on who to pick as the contenders in each conference, then I applaud you. OK, maybe the Packers and the Patriots are the easy choices, and the Ravens aren't far behind but are you really going to tell me that you are buying that the Bengals, Raiders, Lions and 49ers are legit teams? Sure, they may be looking that way with each passing week, and the common theme in the NFL is parity, but this is really hard to swallow. The next few weeks are going to be crucial for teams looking to separate themselves from the pack so it will be interesting to see if these shocking teams can still keep it going when the pressure mounts.
Oh Yes They Did!
The San Francisco 49ers put an exclamation point on their early season with a last minute win over the previously undefeated Detroit Lions. Anybody who doesn't feel that the 49ers are for real should look at their last three games where they beat Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Detroit all on the road. That's right, a West Coast team beat three straight East Coast teams, on the road, playing the early game. That's impressive.
The surprising Cincinnati Bengals just keep on plucking away, improving to 4-2 with their win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Cincy continues to win behind a rookie QB and is in the early hunt for the AFC North crown, Can they keep this up? That's doubtful but for now, it's all sunshine for the Bengals.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rebounded in a big way after last weeks 48-3 smackdown at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. They went out this week and, without star rusher LaGarrette Blount, upended the New Orleans Saints 26-20. And people wonder why it's hard to get a handle on these Bucs?
Oh No They Didn't!
Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman single-handedly kept the Philadelphia Eagles season alive with his four interception game this Sunday. With Washington looking inept most of the game, the Eagles capitalized with a 20-13 win that snapped their 4 game losing skid. The bad news, Philly was unable to must any points in the second half.
The Madden Curse is alive and well again after it's current victim, Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis, went out in their loss to the Oakland Raiders with a hamstring injury. Hillis has been feeling the weight of expectations all year and has been largely ineffective, only rushing for 210 yards on 60 carries. The biggest arms on the East Coast has better hope for a big second half if he's going to turn this curse around.
The Dallas Cowboys yet again choked up a late lead that cost them a game this past Sunday. This time it was on the road against the New England Patriots where they had the lead with a minute left. Poor play calling and the inability to stop Tom Brady, however, spelled the end for this talented yet disappointing Cowboys team.