This Review will be better than my Fantasy Football teams, which are a combined 5-15.
Team of the Week: San Francisco 49ers
-Two weeks in a row? You bet. That wasn’t a statement by the 49ers, that was a pipe bomb dropping on the entire NFL. Many, including this reviewer, thought the 49ers would be an afterthought this year, even in the below average NFC West. But new coach Jim Harbaugh has brought new life to the entire team. Alex Smith has been brought back from the dead. Frank Gore looks to be back to the Frank Gore of old. And the defense is making plays and putting their offense in a good position to win games. At 4-1, the 49ers pretty much control their own destiny in the NFC West. Tampa Bay was suppose to be the surprise, up and coming team this year. But the 49ers shattered that fantasy this week by holding the offense to only 3 points. There is new life in San Francisco, and it is well deserved for such a storied franchise.
Game of the Week: New Orleans Saints 30 Carolina Panthers 27
-The Panthers are this year’s version of the NFL’s “Lovable Losers.” They have played all of the big boys close this year and came within a minute of up-setting one of the league’s power house teams this past Sunday. Cam Newton is putting on a show for the fans. He has sparked life into Steve Smith, which has caused so much pain for this fantasy owner who kept Chad Ochocinco over him this off-season in his dynasty league. Plus the Panthers brought back the option this week with DeAngelo Williams, which gave Williams his best game of the season. But in the end, the Saints showed their offensive dominance marching down the field to take the lead. Ron Rivera taking that timeout at the end of the half and a blocked PAT came back to haunt the Panthers. The NFC South may be the best division in the NFL this year.
Goat of the Week: New York Jets
-If I’m a Jets fan, I’m starting to worry about my team. At 2-3, there are a lot of questions surrounding this team. If it wasn’t for Tony Romo, this team would easily be 1-4. Mark Sanchez continues to play terrible. The focus of the offense isn’t the running game. And now the Jets WRs are apparently complaining that they don’t have enough of a role in the offense. Add to that Rex Ryan getting all emotional about the team’s loss, and that could be a recipe for disaster. The Jets have a nice bounce back game against the Dolphins at home on MNF next week, then host the Chargers before their bye. They are already 2 games back of the Bills and Patriots in the AFC East. If they don’t right the ship quickly, they may get too far behind to catch up to either team this season.
Other Week 5 Notes
-I have to give a lot of credit to the Oakland Raiders this week. Just a few days after the passing of their owner Al Davis, the Raiders went out and played an inspired game against Houston, and pulled off a mild upset at home. You have to figure this team will play with a heavy heart the rest of the year. And with three straight home games coming up on their schedule, it should help motivate this team even more. The defense held the Texans in check for the most part, and the offense out-played the Texans good offense. This Raiders team is for real focus, and this season could be a great way to remember Al Davis by.
-It’s the Tim Tebow Era now in Denver. In reality, it is probably more of the “Suck for Luck” campaign beginning. Sure, Tebow made some good plays Sunday. But he also held onto the ball way too long and scrambled much more than a QB should. He also under threw a lot of WRs. He had Eric Decker wide open down field and even over threw him. The fans wanted Tebow, and now they may face the realization that he isn’t the QB everyone hoped he could be.
-Last week, I said the Steelers were in trouble with all of the problems and injuries they were facing. So what did they do? Completely man-handle and beat up a pretty good 3-1 Tennessee Titans team. Ben Roethlisberger played perfectly fine on a sprained foot. The offensive line held up, and the defense didn’t miss a beat without James Harrison. Maybe it was my blind hatred towards the Steelers that made me feel like I did, but there is no reason this team should be considered an afterthought in the AFC. Plus, they host Jacksonville and play at Arizona in the next two weeks. That’s a nice way to get back on track.
-Something is wrong in Atlanta. A team that was the top seed in the NFC last year is now 2-3 and facing a lot of questions. Matt Ryan is not playing very well. The defense was not able to play a complete game against Green Bay after holding them to 6 points in the first half. The honeymoon may be over for Mike Smith and Matt Ryan in Atlanta. I would even be worried about Carolina coming to town this week. Cam Newton should be able to make a few plays against a vulnerable Falcons secondary not playing up to the level they should. If the Falcons don’t turn this around quickly, they could face one of the worst drop-offs a #1 team from the previous year has ever faced.
Hey, I’m Just Sayin….
-Will people now take the Bills for real?
-At least Kevin Kolb’s old team is doing as well as his new one.
-50 yard field goal? Yeah that’s a chip shot for Sebastian Janikowski.
-Is the shine off of Victor Cruz in New York?
-Did the Vikings just now realize their offense should be 80% Adrian Peterson?
-If Ryan Fitzpatrick is “The Amish Riffle”, does that make Andy Dalton “The Gun Slinging Ginger”?
1. Green Bay Packers (5-0, #1 last week)- Still looks like they are playing on rookie mode in Madden.
2. Detroit Lions (5-0, #2)- Calvin Johnson only had 1 TD this week. Talk about a slump.
3. New Orleans Saints (4-1, #3)- That scare this week may have been needed. They can’t rest on their reputation, they need to live up to it.
4. Baltimore Ravens (3-1, #4)- The bye week may have actually hurt their momentum.
5. Buffalo Bills (4-1, #8)- These “No Names” keep winning and are playing with a chip on their shoulders. Everyone needs to take them for real.
6. New England Patriots (4-1, #9)- Bill Belicheck pretty much made Rex Ryan cry. That has to put a smile on his face.
7. San Diego Chargers (4-1, #6)- They almost let Tim Tebow lead a comeback against them. That should worry the San Diego defense.
8. San Francisco 49ers (4-1, #13)- Jim Harbaugh brings new life to wherever he goes. It’s like he was born to be a great coach.
9. Washington Redskins (3-1, #11)- Right now, they’re the best team in the NFC East by default. But Rex Grossman needs to improve his play for them to stay at the top.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2, #16)- I’m still concerned about their offensive line, but clearly Ben Roethlisberger isn’t. I’m pretty sure he would play with his leg cut off.
11. Oakland Raiders (3-2, #17)- That was an inspired game they played in Houston. Their next three games: Cleveland, Kansas City, Denver. All at home.
12. New York Giants (3-2, #10)- And there is the bi-polar New York Giants we all love!
13. Houston Texans (3-2, #5)- Andre Johnson is still out a few weeks, and now Mario Williams is lost for the year. I still think the division is there’s for the taking. Just need to stay healthy.
14. Tennessee Titans (3-2, #7)- That is what we call a “Reality Check.”
15. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2, #18)- If the defense continues to play at thus level, they may be around the playoff hunt come December.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2, #12)- What the hell was that? Talk about a knockout punch.
17. Atlanta Falcons (2-3, #14)- Time to cue up the panic meter in Atlanta.
18. Chicago Bears (2-3, #16)- The Bears only hopes now are a Wild Card berth. There’s no way they are winning the division back three games.
19. Dallas Cowboys (2-2, #20)- Tony Romo had the bye week to get things right. And if he didn’t, then he may not be the answer in Dallas.
20. Seattle Seahawks (2-3, #24)- That was a big win for Seattle in New York. Pete Carroll, just like Jim Harbaugh, is a great motivator.
21. Cleveland Browns (2-2, #21)- Peyton Hillis could distract this team for the rest of the season.
22. New York Jets (2-3, #19)- The honey moon is over for Rex Ryan in New York.
23. Carolina Panthers (1-4, #23)- Are they the most exciting 1-4 team in the history of the NFL?
24. Kansas City Chiefs (2-3, #28)- Starting to look like the AFC West Champs from last year.
25. Philadelphia Eagles (1-4, #22)- They booed Santa Claus in Philly. Can you imagine what Andy Reid will hear the next home game?
26. Denver Broncos (1-4, #26)- Tim Tebow: The Path to Take to Get to Andrew Luck
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4, #27)- Blaine Gabbert’s next 3 opponents: Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Houston. Will he make it out of that stretch injury free?
28. Minnesota Vikings (1-4, #31)- Donovan McNabb saved his starting job for one week.
29. Arizona Cardinals (1-4, #25)- Is Larry Fitzgerald regretting that long term contract yet?
30. St. Louis Rams (0-4, #30)- Maybe the bye week saved them from a 40 point beating against Green Bay? Yeah, don’t think so.
31. Indianapolis Colts (0-5, #29)- Why bring back Peyton Manning when you can guarantee Andrew Luck?
32. Miami Dolphins (0-4, #32)- Sage Rosenfels? You guys are still trying to win this year? Riiiggghhhttt.
Three Games I Would Like to See This Week
Buffalo Bills vs New York Giants: Giants can’t afford a 3-3 start, Bills need to still silence any doubters.
San Francisco 49ers vs Detroit Lions: Two surprise teams. Whose hot streak ends?
Dallas Cowboys vs New England Patriots: Two weeks to prepare for the Pats, can the Cowboys right the ship?
That’s all from me today. NFL Picks later in the week.
Until next time,
Follow Me on Twitter @JCWonka