Through the first 6 weeks of the NFL season we’ve witnessed how anything can happen on any given Sunday. In reality the NFL is upside down right now. No team has truly found consistency yet. Some of that is because of injuries, and some others remain a mystery.
As I start by recapping the New York football teams, I want to quickly discuss what most of us just witnessed on Monday Night Football…Peyton Manning just took his team back from a 24-0 halftime deficit to beat the Chargers 35-24 on national television.
First off….the Chargers are a joke. It must be so hard to root for that team when you can’t take them seriously. Not only did your defense give up 35 unanswered points, but your offense couldn’t even move the ball into field goal range? Your “franchise quarterback” is now going into the same conversation as quarterbacks such as Tony Romo and Jay Cutler. Some weeks the numbers look nice but the bad always outshines the good.
As for the Denver Broncos, mark this date…October 15th, 2012 as the day you won the AFC West. Take injuries out of the equation and this team will run away with the West. Peyton put on a clinic completing 24 of 30 passed for 309 yards and 3 TD’s. The scary thing is, he still may not be playing his best football.
Now officially moving onto the New York games…
NY Giants @ San Francisco 49ers – In a game I would’ve expected the Niners to win, the Giants manhandled them. I thought it would be close, with the Niners defense doing just enough for the win. I clearly took the wrong defense in this game.
The Giants defense looked like they had a coming out party. They were incredible all around. They made Alex Smith look like the Alex Smith of 2010, forcing 3 interceptions and a fumble. (that the Niners recovered)
Offensively Eli Manning wasn’t spectacular, but he didn’t have to be. He was able to put the car in cruise control from the start of the second half. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw had his second consecutive big week, rushing for 116 yards and a touchdown. The Niners hadn’t allowed a rushing TD all season. Bradshaw on the other had has 316 yards rushing in the last two weeks…Not bad for a guy who was deemed “washed up” by the fans after the loss in Philly in week 4.
The Giants who went into this game at 3-2 had beaten three easier teams, the Buccaneers, the Panthers and the Browns, but lost to two division team the Cowboys and Eagles. By crushing the 49ers on the road whom I thought was the best team in the NFC, showed why they are defending Superbowl champs and they have as good a shot as anyone in the NFC.
Colts @ Jets – This was a must win for the Jets. They couldn’t go into Foxboro in week seven a 2-4 team. Luckily enough they won’t be. Many fans were skeptical because the Colts had just come off a win against the Packers at home. One of those crazy things in this unpredictable season in the NFL.
The Jets defense was spectacular this week. Though Andrew Luck did make some plays and threw for 280 yards, the Jets mostly made him look like a rookie. He only completed 50% of his passes, he threw two interceptions, another which was called back, and was sacked 4 times. Give credit to the Jets pass rush for finally finding the quarterback, and give credit to cornerback Antonio Cromartie. He has stepped up in the biggest way possible for the Jets defense after the loss off Darrell Revis. He held Reggie Wayne to one catch for 5 yards before garbage time in the 4th quarter.
Offensively the Jets were the healthiest they’d been since week one. Rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill and tight end Dustin Keller returned to the lineup. Hill made an impact catching a touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez. Sanchez wasn’t spectacular in this game but his confidence must certainly be up and he threw for two touchdown passes and made some very big throws. The bulk of the offense for the Jets went through running back Shonne Greene, who rushed for a career high 161 yards and 3 touchdowns. Also credit the Jets offensive line for bullying the Colts D line.
Once again I need to credit Tim Tebow this week. Yes, he’s not getting all the offensive snaps Rex Ryan said he would have, but he is excelling on special teams, making big plays week after week. His big play in this game was a 23 yard pass on 4th and 12 when he was in as a punt protector. This changes the game so much, because now special teams units are going to have to spend extra time preparing for this guy. He is finally making the Jets trade for him look like a “football decision”
The first place Jets (yes you read that correctly) head into Foxboro next weekend to play the Patriots who are coming off a tough one point road loss to the Seahawks. The Patriots will want blood, and this game will show if the Jets are for real or not in the division.
Other weekend NFL notes…
Congrats to the Cleveland Browns on getting their first win of the season. Now every NFL team has at least one win. I’ve said all season that they Browns are much better then their record showed. Their 5 losses were by a total of 39 points. 14 points came to the Giants and 10 to the Bills. That leaves three losses by a total of 15 points, showing that all three of those games could’ve gone the other way. There is a lot of talent on this Cleveland team, and they’re very young, but as the Steelers and Ravens start getting older, we may be talking more and more about the Browns team in the next few years.
Maybe the Eagles need to stop proclaiming themselves victors before the season ever starts. They’ve done this two years in a row and the media also seems to buy into it. In 2011 backup quarterback Vince Young called them the “dream team” and this season Michael Vick called them a “dynasty”. Maybe the Eagles will win the Superbowl this season, but teams who claim themselves to the highest power shouldn’t be blowing 10 point leads at home with 3:33 remaining in the 4th quarter. The Lions looked anemic until the 4th quarter. Michael Vick continues to turn the ball over constantly. The Giants have already overtaken them in the standings, and unless they play like the team they claim they are in the preseason, it’s going to stay that way.
The Ravens won the game this week but suffered a huge loss in the process. Linebacker Ray Lewis tore his triceps and will miss the remainder of the season. It’s bad enough the Cowboys ran for 227 yards against them, but losing Lewis can crush this once dominant defense. They are already without Terrell Suggs and they also lost cornerback Ladarius Webb with a torn ACL for the season. Webb is the teams best cornerback. The Ravens were lucky enough to sneak away with the win as Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey missed a game winning field goal attempt. (At least he wasn’t iced by his own coach this time)
Week 7 Preview…
So 6 weeks in the books, here is what we can look forward to in week 7.
Thursday night football…Seahawks @ 49ers. Winner takes over first place in the division.
Washington @ NY Giants – the Giants get their first up close look at RGIII. What will the Giants defense do for an encore.
Baltimore @ Houston – Ravens are hurt, Houston is coming off a bad loss at home, who responds more?
Arizona @ Minnesota – Are either one of these teams for real? they’ll have to prove it this week.
Jets @ Patriots – Sole possession of first place is on the line.
Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati – Both teams are coming off road losses to teams most teams thought they’d beat. With the Ravens banged up, who wants to the division more? It’s wide open again.
Detroit @ Chicago – Lions kept their season alive this week, but they could look dead again with a loss to the bears on Monday Night Football.