NFL defense is dead.
Quarterbacks Drew Brees and Tom Brady both broke Dan Marino’s 27-year record in the past two weeks and neither one of them made it look very hard; Matthew Stafford was only off the 1984 mark by 46 yards (Think he’s in the same breath as Marino?). Beside those three QBs, three others surpassed the 4,600 passing mark this season. Aaron Rodgers back-up Matt Flynn almost did that in one game against the Detroit Lions with 480 yards and 6 TDs, another playoff team.
Another way to get the zeitgeist is to look at the playoff teams. The top seeds in the AFC and NFC in the Patriots and Packers. Either known for stingy defense? Not exactly.
Chicks dig the long ball (both home runs and a 60-yard bomb downfield). The NFL has created an era of spread offense because that’s what the fans want to see. Gone are the days of the Monsters of the Midway, Steel Curtain, Orange Crush or Purple People Eaters. Yes, some teams still have “good” defenses, but none are dominant. They have been watered down by penalties. No hitting the quarterback high or low, no “illegal” contact after five yards, a much higher incidence of pass interference and the list goes on.
Does the saying “Defense wins championships” still hold true? I guess we’ll see.
Before the 2011 season, Jets head coach Rex Ryan publicly guaranteed the Jets would be in the Super Bowl. They were in the AFC Championship the past two years so that wasn’t too much of a stretch. However, tell the entire world you’re going to be there, you better make it or you look like an ass at the end of the season. I know he won’t change I’m not suggesting he does because I love Ryan’s soudbites, but next year just tell your team that you have confidence in them privately. That is, if he does actually have confidence in them next year. Man, the Jets suck.
Colts get Luck-y, or not?
It what seemed inevitable the entire season, until the past couple weeks when the Colts actually won, Indianapolis lost the the Jags to get the first overall pick in the 2012 Draft. It will be interesting to see what they plan to do: Stick with Manning and trade the pick, Trade Manning and have Luck be the QB of the future, Let Luck mature behind Manning on the bench or draft someone other than Luck (RGIII anyone?). I have no doubt this topic will come up again later in the offseason.
Let me know your thoughts about any of these topics in the comments:
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: