The Rams didn’t even play last week, but with the Niners looking like a legitimately good team sitting at 4-1, I think it’s pretty safe to kill off the Rams, who have looked like the worst team in the NFL. Sam Bradford’s 2010 rookie campaign could be broken up into three different seasons: the rough, but expected start for a rookie, the excellent progression through the middle of the season, and finally, the disappointing finish. Here’s what I mean:
Pundits nationwide that thought the Rams would be for real this season chose to ignore the first and last sections, and became enamored with the middle part. Bradford broke all sorts of “compiler” rookie records last season, but that was mainly due to the fact that he threw an insane number of passes (590). The media loves the “new QB on the block,” and were ready to anoint Bradford as the next great one. Tap the breaks on that one. It’s gonna take time, especially since the Rams have absolutely nothing in the way of playmakers on offense, and a struggling defense to boot. See you in the first hour of the NFL draft again, Rammies.
When the Cardinals traded for Kevin Kolb, I thought they’d win the terrible NFC West. Oops. Back in June, I made two long-shot bets in Vegas. I bet the Vikings would win the NFC North at 9/1, and I bet the Cards would win the NFC Championship at 40/1. I figured that with the Cards, all they had to do was win the division, and then I’d simply hedge my bet by playing against them the rest of the way in the playoffs. Instead, I wasted $200 on two teams that never really had a shot.
In fairness, the Cards should be 2-3, not 1-4, but we won’t get into all that again. The more the Cards lose, the higher the 2nd round draft pick the Eagles will get in 2012, so keep the losses coming, Kev.
In a weird way, it’s probably pretty fun to be a Panthers fan right now. Last year, after 5 games, the Panthers put up a total of 1175 yards. This year through 5 games, led by rookie Cam Newton… 2141. May as well just hand Cam the Rookie of the Year trophy right now. Expectations for the 2011 Panthers were extraordinarily low, and they’ve outplayed those expectations, even as they’re sitting with a 1-4 record to show for it thus far. They’ve hung with the two best teams in the NFC (the Packers and Saints), as well as the 2 seed in the NFC last year, the Bears, in Chicago. They’ll be entertaining to watch all season long, and Panther fans will get to watch the progression of their young team. Any wins along the way are just gravy.
12 – A little revenge
Last year, the Giants absolutely pounded Seahawks into submission, with a 41-7 blowout, a score that could have actually been worse. This year, with the Seahawks flying 3000+ miles to play a 1pm East Coast game at the Meadowlands, I figured we’d see more of the same. Wrong. Tarvaris Jackson played well, then got injured, and Charlie Whitehurst played even better. The W keeps the hawks out of the obits for another week. They still stink though.
10 and 11 – Disappointments
Back in Week 2, we all thought we were watching 2 of the best teams in the NFC squaring off in a very entertaining game that could eventually have big playoff implications. Gah… again… Wrong. The Falcons simply can’t stop the pass, as they’ve given up almost 300 passing yards per game (5th worst in the NFL). Meanwhile, the Eagles can’t stop the run, giving up 140 yards on the ground per game (3rd worst in the NFL). The Eagles travel to DC this week, and if they don’t win, their season is probably over. The Falcons play at home this week against Cam Newton’s Panthers (no longer a gimme). If they can’t take care of business, their season could be all but over as well.
9 – Ew
The Bears had 9 false start penalties last night in Detroit. Nine. Gross. Here are their offensive and defensive ranks:
Passing yards – 23rd
Rushing yards – 21st
Passing yards – 27th
Rushing yards – 28th
Juan Castillo said he wanted the Eagles’ defense to play like the Bears’. Well, they are.
8 – Huge day Sunday from the sofa
Very tough test this week in Massachusetts, obviously. You hear a lot about “Good Rex, Bad Rex.” Why isn’t that applied to “Good Tony, Bad Tony?” He’s kind of the poster child for good-bad, but doesn’t have a common dog name.
Tarvaris Jackson? Charlie Whitehurst? Really?
6 – Worst blowout of the season
The Bucs traveled to SF in what was quietly a very big game, except the Bucs didn’t show up. 48-3 matches the biggest blowout of the season to date, matching the 48-3 blowout administered by the Lions to the Chiefs. The Bucs are 3-2, but after their lopsided loss, they’re not at a -38 point differential on the season.
5 – Like Dallas, huge winners this past weekend
The Redskins can either end the Eagles season on Sunday, or give them life. This is the biggest game the Redskins have played since their 2007 playoff loss to the Seahawks.
4 – Nasty team. You don’t want them on your schedule
I actually got to see a lot of the Niners-Bucs game on the Red Zone channel last Sunday, and expected it to be a good game. Nope. The Niners obliterated the Bucs. San Fran is for real, everyone. That’s an excellent defense.
3 – 5-0? Just… wow.
Didn’t look overly impressive on Sunday against the Bears, but this team just continued to win. The NFC North is looking like it might be the best division in football.
2 – Almost faltered
The Saints took care of business against a feisty Panther team. They’ll play their 3rd consecutive road game in as many weeks in Tampa this Sunday. If they can go 3-0 on that little road trip, they have a very easy schedule ahead, and should be able to cruise to at least a 2 seed.
1 – Still the best.