I apologize that this edition of the Musician’s Guide to the NFL is a day late. Actually, let me take that back; I don't apologize. While I love writing about the NFL, I also own a small business, am a single parent, am in a relationship, and write/perform/record music often, and all of these things take higher priority than spewing words about guys who beat the crap out of each other for a living. Still, better late than never, or so they say.
The Giants (6-4) are still leading this division, but it’s a good thing for them that Dallas (4-5) and Philadelphia (3-6) are still underperforming. The defending champs just dropped two in a row, somehow being crushed by the mediocre Bengals in week 10. They have a bye this week, and for their sake, they should look at regrouping before taking on the Packers in week 12. The Cowboys did manage a win over the more-and-more befuddled Eagles this week (who’ve lost five in a row), and should be able to beat the Browns at home this weekend. And is it my imagination, or has RGIII looked pretty bad ever since he got his bell rung a few weeks back? Washington (3-6) hosts the Eagles this Sunday.
If the Bengals can dogpile on you, then what's going to happen against the tough teams. Photo via AP.
A lot of people seemed shocked that the Bears (7-2) lost to Houston at home this weekend. Why? Houston is tough as nails and has a better offense than Chicago. The Bears had better keep an eye open for the suddenly-hot Green Bay (6-3). They didn’t play this week, but took four straight before their bye week, and will have an easier time against Detroit than Chicago will against the Niners. Lest we forget, Minnesota (6-4) is also right there in this NFC-leading division. Detroit (4-5), unfortunately, looks to be the weakest link here.
Ah, the Falcons (8-1) finally lost a game, eliminating all stupid talk of undefeated seasons for all teams this year. Who beat them? The lowly Saints (4-5), who despite an awful start have crawled back to near the .500 mark. Speaking of getting better, No one’s going to call Tampa Bay (4-5) a great team this year, but they’ve won three in a row. Should there be an asterisk for their having beat three terrible AFC West teams? Nah, that’s how the game goes. Finally, Carolina (2-7) appears to be a football team of sorts.
The Dirty Birds hit a roadblock. They couldn't have picked a worse team to lose to than their division mates New Orleans. Photo via AP.
Serious question here: how can you be in the NFL and not know there’s such a thing as a tie in regular season games? The last time it happened in 2008, Donovan McNabb expressed disbelief that ties could happen, and apparently, at the end of the Niners (6-2-1) and Rams (3-5-1) game, a good number of players had to be told that indeed, the game was over with the scores being equal. Granted, ties don’t happen often. Since 1989, it’s happened just five times. But still... there’s a third column, and it doesn’t say “W” or “L”! Perhaps more incredulous is the idea that St. Louis played as well as San Francisco for 75 minutes. Elsewhere in the division, the Seahawks (6-4) are looking good, and as usual are dominating at home. They crushed the Jets on Sunday, and have this weekend off. Arizona (4-5) had the week off after losing five straight, and their return game for week 11 is against the Falcons. Uh oh.
"So, wait... you're saying the game is over? What is this tie thing of which you speak?" Photo via AP.
New England (6-3) has won three straight, but not in any real dominant form. They barely got past the Bills (3-6) on Sunday, and everyone expects them to beat the hell out of Indianapolis this weekend. My advice? That 9.5 spread seems a bit wide. Miami (4-5), who’d been looking unexpectedly strong for awhile, has slipped back (doesn’t Miami always get worse as the season progresses?) and got crushed by the Titans in week 10. Next week, they travel to Buffalo. Finally, the Jets (3-6) can’t catch a break. They’re the underdog, for crying out loud, against the Rams next weekend. Sigh.
So much for “killed by injuries”. The Ravens (7-2) have won their last two. of course, they were respectively against the Browns and Raiders, so let’s not get too excited, Baltimore fans. They play Pittsburgh (6-3) in week 11, and that would have probably been an epic game except Big Ben’s shoulder was hurt this week against the Chiefs. Congrats to the Bengals (4-5) for unexpectedly beating the Giants this week. They face (and likely beat) the Chiefs this coming Sunday. Finally, Cleveland (2-7) is Cleveland.
Many people I talk to continue to deny that the Texans (8-1) are as great as they seem. Well, beating the Bears in Chicago might finally shut them up. They’re going to soon be 9-1 after beating the Jags on Sunday. Big props to the Colts (6-3), who, in the talent-deficient AFC, could actually end up in the playoffs if things keep rolling their way. Their game against the Pats could be this week’s shocker. The Titans (4-6), who started the year looking really terrible, came out and kicked ass against the Fins in week 10. They get a bye this week. Finally, in a race for next year’s top draft pick, the Jags (1-8) even make the Browns look alright.
Those who thought Houston wouldn't stand up against a tough NFC team were silenced, at least for a moment, on Sunday. Photo via AP.
I’ll keep saying this until someone acknowledges me: there are no good teams in this division. None. Of the six wins that Denver (6-3) has managed to get, not one of them was against a good team. In San Diego (4-5), they should be burning Norv Turner in effigy... or perhaps in reality. Tampa Bay beat them this week, and it’s likely they’ll lose to Denver in week 11. Oakland (3-6) did manage to put up 20 points against a tough Ravens defense, but got 55 points scored on them by a mediocre Ravens offense. They’re certainly not seeing any playoff games unless they buy tickets. Finally, the worst team in football, the Chiefs (1-8), may help salvage the sad records of the other AFC West teams who each do have to play them twice eventually.
That's All, Folks!
As always, I welcome your comments and opinions. We're now over halfway done with the season, so here's hoping your team is doing better than mine. Unless, of course, your team is playing mine, in which case I hope they are really, really bad that week.