Week 11 report on rags-to-riches NFL teams

Everyone likes to see the underdog do well – unless they’re smoking your favorite team. Because of the NFL’s structure, teams can go from worst to first in a relatively short amount of time. After 11 weeks of NFL action, lets discuss how some of the teams that stunk last year, but started fast this year, are doing right now:

San Francisco 49ers: 2010 record: (6-10); Current record (9-1)

Season summary: With a team that was waiting to be led in 2010, head coach Jim Harbaugh has taken that role this season and has been beating teams with a nasty run defense and an attitude to match. This team has melded under Harbaugh, Frank Gore is running like a madman and quarterback Alex Smith finally has some confidence.

My take: This team doesn’t have any competition in the hapless NFC West – it’s just a matter of how far they’ll go in the playoffs after winning the division.

Detroit Lions: 2010 record: (6-10); Current record (7-3)

Season summary: Well, you can only go up from 0-16 record in 2008, right? The Lions had a great 5-0 start this season, but struggled recently with the surging Chicago Bears and barely handled the Cam Newton-led Carolina Panthers today, 49-35. I know that seems like a decent margin, but one of the Lions best attributes is their defense; It’s starting to fail to show up.

My take: The Lions are yet to face the Packers this year and will likely get lit-up in the Thanksgiving Day game. The game on the last week of the season will likely be different if the Packers choose to rest players. Based on the rest of their schedule including winnable games against the Vikings, Chargers and resting Packers in Week 17, I think that the Lions will barely reach the playoffs. What they’ll do? I’ll predict that later.

Cincinnati Bengals: 2010 record: (4-12); Current record (6-4)

Season summary: Wait, Cincy is decent? Before the season started, everyone thought the Bungals (yeah, I meant that) were in deep trouble with a franchise quarterback that didn’t want to play with them in Carson Palmer and an unproven rookie going to start from them in Andy Dalton. Turns out the red-headed kid from TCU isn’t so bad after all and the Bengals made a steal by getting rid of Palmer for high draft picks.

My take: Yeah, Cincinnati lost back-to-back weeks to Pittsburgh and Baltimore but they were able to stay close in both, losing 24-17 and 31-24, respectively. They won’t make the playoffs in a tough AFC, but look out for them next season. 

Buffalo Bills: 2010 record: (4-12); Current record (5-5)

Season summary: Somehow this looks familiar. In 2008, the Bills started 4-0 and by Week 11 they were 5-5. At the end of the season, that team was 7-9. As always, when they get a quick start, the Bills fans bought in and were ready for a playoff run. I’ll admit I was a bit excited for them too. I think Chris Berman was about to have a heart attack when they beat the Patriots to get to 3-0.

My take: They’re fading fast and haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999 when they lost on the Music City Miracle play. I don’t think the postseason is in the Bills’ near future. Never you fear all you “Billievers” out there – the team is improving and needs just a couple real playmakers to take the next step.

Indianapolis Colts: 2010 record: (10-6); Current record (0-10):

Season summary: Sorry, this should actually be saved for a post next year.

My take: Colts, over to the side here for a minute. Stop trying so hard to win the “Suck for (Andrew) Luck” sweepstakes just so you can groom someone to replace Peyton Manning. You’re not fooling anyone here.

Think my predictions are off about these teams or want to make some of your own? Leave a comment below:

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Posted on November 20, 2011, in NFL, Sports and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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