I am proud to announce that there are no winless teams in this first half! Wooo! When was the last time that happened? Numerous teams have been fighting for the top spot, and there are some that just won't let it go. It sounds like one big rat race that everyone puts on face paint for.
Oh, the mid-life crises that some people go through.
Ladies and gentlemen, here is the NFL Midseason Slant for the 2012-2013 season.
This is for all teams prior to November 8. If you're reading this and the Colts/Jaguars game is on, that is your problem.
AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
New England Patriots (5-3) - Who's shocked? Not me. This team is known for the powerhouse offense under the reigns of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. The pass defense is a little shaky at times, but the offense (nine times out of ten) makes up for the unfortunate events. All in all, the team as a whole guarantees good showings regardless of winning and losing. I really can't write anything else about this team that you don't already know...I mean, you readers know football, so you should know about the Pats. The end.
Miami Dolphins (4-4) - Although they're what you call a "middle of the pack" team, there's a lot of room for improvement in this team, and even if their peak doesn't happen by the end of this season, it will definitely happen next year. Ryan Tannehill has so much potential, and that defense is an awfully big surprise considering the defensive woes the team once had. They could be a dark horse for the Wild Card this year.
New York Jets (3-5) - This team shouldn't be hard to talk about; their QB woes headline much of ESPN's broadcasts, right? Their team issues are rather obvious, and it shows a lot in their play. Aside from that crapolla, Guys like Shonne Greene are lighting up the run, but it sometimes shows for nothing when the defense has less-than-stellar outings. I have an idea: let's get some group therapy with Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan. Maybe something good will come out of the offense this second half.
Buffalo Bills (3-5) - Alright, don't get me wrong, their offense is not that bad. Ryan Fitzpatrick already has fifteen touchdown completions in eight games, and running back C.J. Spiller is having a fun ride in his position. There is...one problem. Their defense is bad at times. Like, really really bad. There are way too many big plays coming out of the opposition, and teams who thrive on the run laugh at these Buffalo boys. Their schedule is a wee bit easier from here on out, so we should expect some breathing room for these guys.
Baltimore Ravens (6-2) - Ray Lewis is hurt and it is very saddening that he is hurt. Now that I got that off my chest, let's talk about the rest of the team. The offense looks a little more crisp than in previous seasons. Joe Flacco doesn't look like much of a wuss in the pocket against stronger defenses anymore, and I like that. There's still strength in the run, and the defense still looks ripe (yet in an older way) despite the loss of Lewis. The schedule looks a little tougher for these guys so this could be a rough road, as they had some really scary-looking victories in the past few weeks.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) - I don't know how this happened, but guys have been getting hurt and they're still not doing that badly. Their defense is leading the NFL against the pass, and that's without the flying mane of hair going downfield. On the offensive end, a lot of the guys are younger, lesser-known folk, so that area needs a little room for improvement and growth. I'd really like to see this team with everyone healthy. Their second half would be super fun to watch if that happened.
Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) - They try. They really try. I just wish they didn't just play certain drives or quarters, because they could be worth a lot more than what you see at face value. Andy Dalton is having a 'meh' season, and newer guys are trying to wiggle into new and/or broken-into roles. Too bad their running game isn't effective (sorry, BenJarvus) because the next couple of D lines in the future could turn into some wins in the running game.
Cleveland Browns (2-7) - I like to think that I know some stuff about football nowadays, but...who are these guys? We have a lot of rookies and no-names on this team, and their lack of experience and a big-named figure may be hurting the team a little bit. Although I've just said that, I do give a bit of props to Brandon Weeden. At the age of 29 and in his rookie season as a starting QB, he's a real trooper and he tries makes the most of what he's given. Too bad that's not a whole bunch.
Houston Texans (7-1) - Defense certainly wins games in Houston, that's for sure. Arian Foster is being an absolute beast as usual and Matt Schaub is doing a fine job as quarterback. Any team that plays both sides of the ball efficiently is a good contender for the Super Bowl, and hopefully that sticks. What else is there to say but the fact that they are a bonafide favorite?
Indianapolis Colts (5-3) - Aww yay for these guys. After having an abysmal year last year, their first pick in Andrew Luck was a breath of fresh air. These guys have been consistent on both ends, but injuries among other woes have been little killers for this team. I'd like to see these guys go far, especially after that nightmare from last year.
Tennessee Titans (3-6) - I swear...Matt Hasselbeck has to be cursed or something. Wherever he goes, it's like the team dies on him or something. Jake Locker doesn't do so badly when he comes in for the save. It's just a shame that the defense can be a total nightmare. Some of their wins have been high scoring killers, and that alone ins a poor sign in itself. Let's just finish out the year, boys. Get some good draft picks and start fresh next year.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) - Eww. Like...seriously eww. With statistically the worst offense in the NFL, it can't get any worse for these guys. I remember years back when they were a pretty rotten threat, and now it's possible that a peewee team could beat these guys. I do sincerely feel bad for Maurice Jones-Drew, possibly the only shiny thing on this team. I personally think some of the higher-ups need to go, and...fast. This is a dead season for these guys.
Denver Broncos (5-3) - Well, I'm assuming John Fox and John Elway are quite pleased. Peyton Manning's offensive squad has one of the more formidable lines in the NFL, and the defense is doing their part to keep the opposition at bay. One thing you'll notice, however, is that their losses come from the titan teams: the undefeated Falcons, the Texans, and the Patriots. That should automatically tell you that they need to start proving that they can become a titan team themselves. They have the artillery, they just need to pay $200 to pass GO.
San Diego Chargers (4-4) - Injuries and lack of communication may be the main reason why the Bolts aren't playing entirely at their A-game week in and week out. Philip Rivers isn't having the worst of seasons, and lucky for him, the defensive line is picking up the slack for them. After having a rough first couple of games, things seem to be getting better for them. Hopefully they'll get out of their .500 rut and run for something sweeter.
Oakland Raiders (3-5) - Injuries and a shaky offense led by Carson Palmer could be the bane of the Raiders' existence right now. Their defense is middle of the pack, so there aren't very many woes on that side. It's just bad that there are often big mistakes made during the game and ultimately hurts chances of pulling out a victory. Big adjustments will need to be made on the defensive line so that further issues will not ensue.
Kansas City Chiefs (1-7) - I'll get it out of the way right now: the only shiny thing I see on this team is Jamaal Charles, and that was when he ran through the train-wreck defense of the Saints. More on that later. Aside from that, there's no holding the opposition from scoring, and we all know why Matt Cassel was Brady's backup for the longest time. Sure, the receivers might not be top-notch big names, but sometimes the QB--as the leader of the team, so to speak--could be the cause of the troubles on the offense.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
New York Giants (6-3) - After winning four of the last five, it looks like Eli and company are hitting their stride and fighting to prove why they deserved to win the Super Bowl back in February. Although they have been fighting through injuries, they're looking to not live on the past, but make a new future. Their defense might not look as scary as it did last year, but with their bye week approaching next week, they should have a good enough rest to fine-tune everything.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) - For those who have been paying attention, Michael Vick has not been playing up to expectations. While the team has boatloads of promise, their lack of points on the board on top of the turnovers week in and week out are really hurting them. On the bright side, their defense is not doing so badly.From this point forward, five out of the next eight games are divisional, and if they can't survive that, bad things will happen. Worse than the Santa incident.
Dallas Cowboys (3-5) - Dallas is one of those underrated teams that haven't been clicking on all cylinders as of late. Romo has been doing an excellent job but hasn't been getting much attention...then again, this could just be me being ignorant outside of my fantasy leagues. One thing you notice is that even though they have a good staff, there are still a lot of chinks in the armor that could really screw them up during the game. They could make a run for the Wild Card, but that would mean they have to work as a unit.
Washington Redskins (3-6) - RG3's rookie season has been an average one, and he's showing how versatile he can be as a quarterback. Problem is, the defense isn't making life much easier for him, as well as the rest of the squad. The thing is, you can tell they are fighting as their losses are rather close and that the defense isn't always as bad as they sometimes can be. There's hope for these guys. This week's bye week could be just what the doctor ordered here.
Chicago Bears (7-1) - DA BEARS look awesome this year. The defense has been consistent so far this season, and they have definitely been helping out the offensive cause. Jay Cutler is having a rather good year year, and Matt Forte has been pushing through as well. Despite their blip against the Packers, they've been a strong force and a good favorite for the Super Bowl. Here's hoping they don't catch the injury bug. It's still early for that.
Green Bay Packers (6-3) - Fact: Aaron Rodgers has thrown 25 touchdowns in their nine games so far. Holy moley. They almost don't have a running game, but whatever they're doing on offense is totally working out for them. However, there are little hits and misses on special teams and defense. They've had good marriages in staffs so far, but the Division (or the Wild Card, in this case) will be harder to achieve if they can't stay healthy and quit their penalty love.
Minnesota Vikings (5-4) - The Vikings may be a tad bit streaky right now, but they have been doing a lot better compared to previous years. The running game can be very strong if Adrian Peterson stays healthy. Then again, everything would be hunky-dory if everyone was healthy. Christian Ponder will need a bit of a boost in his position if he wants to make a better name for himself outside of that frozen tundra that is Minni.
Detroit Lions (4-4) - Fact: Matt Stafford is an awesome quarterback. Fact: this team has beyond poor chemistry. After starting out 1-3, it seems that they're getting their lives back on track. The Lions have been well-known for their intimidating (and outspoken) defense, and even then there were a lot of problems in management and on the offensive line. Sure, last place isn't a spot for a .500 team, but consistency is going to be key for this team in the future, especially with their upcoming schedule.
Atlanta Falcons (8-0) - AWW YEAH. I like seeing this. This has been a monster team in the making. Ever since Matt Ryan took center stage at QB, good things have been happening. It's good to see massive backs and receivers in tow as well. The defense is also tank-like; their average points against are one of the lowest in the NFL. Although they have a somewhat easier schedule on the way, it shouldn't be taken lightly. These guys have NFC Championship game written all over them.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4) - The Bucs are a good mix of talent on offense, but sometimes the defense doesn't like to show up to said occasions. The defensive pass game is pretty poor, but they're a bunch of stellar walls up front. If Freeman doesn't get the job done during their drive, Connor Barth picks him up on special teams. I like their stuff, but it stinks that their record doesn't reflect that.
New Orleans Saints (3-5) - Oh my GLOB, this defense is ridiculously painful to watch. C'mon, you have Drew flippin' Brees as your quarterback and nobody can tell how much of a powerhouse he's been in as usual because you've been so godawful. Good offenses are ahead. Who Dat nation, take cover. This second half could get ugly.
Carolina Panthers (2-6) - Alright, let me get this out of the way...Cam Newton is like Michael Vick from almost 10 years ago, but he isn't afraid to run the ball out. Injuries are sort of hurting their team as well. For the rest of the team, they're a really screwed up looking situation that I can't even type out in a coherent statement. Management really needs to get tossed around a bit, because whatever they are doing right now isn't working at all.
San Francisco 49ers (6-2) - Aw man, this defense won't let up in the least bit. They've picked up where they left off last year, and they're looking to go back to the playoffs. I'm aware that Alex Smith isn't the most elite of QB's, but that's where runners like Frank Gore come in. These tools have been incredibly effective, and hopefully the rush keeps working. The losses they had were tough, so let's hope they've had enough learning experiences to take them to the end of the road.
Seattle Seahawks (5-4) - Yaaaaay special teams. With that said, they're at least getting points on the board. Their defense is highly underrated too. Marshawn Lynch is yet again proving his worth out on the field. Problem is, there are a lot of injuries on the squad, so that's sort of a crutch they have to use for the next few weeks. Things should get better for them, however.
Arizona Cardinals (4-5) - This is a case of good defense, but practically toilet-worthy offense. I almost feel bad for them because they have Kevin Kolb (a former second stringer) and John Skelton (well...). They've been rather lucky as of late, but their schedule is looking nasty, so things could get ugly for these guys.
St. Louis Rams (3-5) - I don't know man...they can't catch a break. It's bad enough to get spanked in London, y'know? Sam Bradford is a good quarterback, but just surrounded by an ultimate lack of help. They don't have the best of schedules coming up, but hopefully they can finish out on a good note.
And that about does it for me in this first half of the NFL season. Hopefully there will be more exciting action (and more posts on my end) in the future. Things are heating up and races look incredibly tight. Hopefully these mid-life crises will end and we'll have some cool grandparents after the next couple of weeks.
Until next time...