to get this started after week four… and then a few fun things
happened, and I found myself needing to beat the Thursday night
game with the posting. So… we’ll kick things off with the AFC
South and get that up before the Colts and Texans meet. Then we’ll
have a general NFL overview, a column about the Patriots, and
a look at the other seven divisions. (Fingers crossed, before
Sunday’s games begin) Let’s get to it…
is the worst division in the NFL.
the NFC South last year? And all the fun we had for a time thinking
a team might take the division with 6 wins? Yeah… it isn’t quite
that bad here… but there is absolutely nothing worthy of watching
believe me? Ok… quick… who’s in first place?
if you didn’t look it up or scroll down to check… one of two things
just happened in answering that question.
possibility… you didn’t know. You’ve heard good things about Tennessee
(week one against Tampa), you’ve heard so-so to bad things about
Tennessee (both of the other games), and you’ve heard nothing
about Tennessee (bye week). Houston either has a quarterback,
has two quarterbacks, or has no quarterbacks on their roster,
and it’s not a good sign that the coaching staff doesn’t seem
to know if it’s one, two or none. Jacksonville beat Miami, which
last spring seemed an impossible result since the Dolphins were
headed to the playoffs and even an AFC East crown if Brady missed
time, but we’ve come to find out is a victory that honestly doesn’t
mean much of anything. And the Colts… well… sure… the Colts.
second possibility… you did know. And you are both stunned (like
I was when I realized the results of last Sunday’s made them a
division leader, and then stared at the standings long enough
for it to really register), and, you also have way too much time
on your hands.
trick is, the leader in the division right now is not going to
be challenged. They’re just too good for the other three teams
in this division… all of which will likely struggle to be playing
for an even record as December arrives, so let’s not even consider
for now a place where nine to eleven wins might be possible.
only are the Colts leading the division… they aren’t sharing the
lead right now (a game ahead of everyone, and, both of their wins
are division contests). A win on Thursday night, and they’ll be
3-0 in the division and effectively not just in control of the
AFC South, but on cruise control for the playoffs.
that’s a good thing.
as of right now, this team is in no way, shape or form a contender
in the AFC and they need to get their crap sorted out. Another
dozen games might allow them to do that. Unfortunately… I don’t
know if they can… and we’ll probably be ready to gauge what kind
of a playoff team they’ll be after the next ten or so days.
up… biggest thing… there is a huge organizational struggle taking
place right now. The general manager and head coach are spending
most of their time denying reports that they don’t get along…
and yet everyone seems to think Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano
are, at best, tolerating each other. In fact, most people have
begun to play the match game between Pagano and where he’ll be
coaching next season. On top of that, ownership (read Jim Irsay)
is a way-too-much-hands-on owner, meaning neither Grigson nor
Pagano really has sole authority over their responsibilities,
and, as the offense struggles (despite those noteworthy offseason
signings) you can bet there aren’t many people in the Indianapolis
offices thrilled though they reside in first place right now.
promises to be an ongoing soap opera for the year. As many of
you understand though… winning cures a lot of problems. So take
care of Houston and things quiet down a bit. Then win the next
game and… oh yeah… the next game.
second… here come the Patriots. You know how New England has been
stomping the Andrew Luck Colts the past few years? Well… umm…
I probably don’t need to tell you that many people think it’s
possible the Patriots might actually be motivated to play hard
when these teams meet on October 18th. In fact, a lot of people
seem to think it’s going to be very, very ugly.
there’s a reason they play the games. If Indy beats Houston and
New England, then start watching them closely because they could
correct their path and be headed toward the playoffs as a solid
candidate for the Super Bowl. It will speak volumes about them
if they can withstand an angry Patriots club and win that game.
they lose though… and good lord, if they lose badly… then this
ship if sinking. Slowly… because the division will keep them afloat
and carry them into the playoffs. But sinking in such a way that
teams like Cincinnati, Denver, New England, and Pittsburgh will
be heavily favored in January.
in mind… the Colts were supposed to take the leap this year… maturity…
strength… move into the hushed tones reserved for conversations
about the elite teams. Management struggles and looking second
tier against the Patriots will not inspire confidence.
looked miserable against the Browns. Just miserable. And yet…
you believe they are averaging just shy of 30-points per game?
How about… would you believe Marcus Mariota has 8 touchdowns against
2 interceptions, while putting up about 275-yards passing per
they give up too many points… I don’t think they’re ready to pull
many upsets against teams like Carolina, Atlanta, and New England…
so losses like that Cleveland game will hurt them, because when
you aren’t likely upsetting any of the teams you shouldn’t beat,
every game you could win matters even more.
signs are really encouraging though. In fact… keep December 13th
in mind. I don’t think the Titans are going to the playoffs. But
the Jets are going to be fighting for a wild card (if not the
AFC East division), and on that day New York hosts Tennessee.
Could be a great game.
stats are a bit off thanks to the game against New England. But…
the Jaguars can’t score and they can’t stop other teams from scoring.
As of right now… 31st in the league for points scored, and 25th
for points allowed. Yuck.
let’s take away the loss to the Patriots. Against the Colts, Panthers
and Dolphins, no opponent scored more than 20 points. That’s not
too bad. Their victory over the Dolphins came the week after Miami
beat Washington. You know… when those Miami players might just
have still cared. And with Tampa, Houston, and Buffalo coming
up (Tampa is an in-state road game, Houston is at home, and Buffalo
is in London)… it’s not outrageous to think they could win a couple
of these, because none of those three look like offensive juggernauts.
I think they’re a winning team? No. I don’t. In my opinion this
team has holes, is middle-of-the-league at best, and likely would
accomplish a lot by getting to 7 or 8 wins. But… if the Colts
continue to flop around and the Texans continue their spiral of
death… they could get those 8 wins.
sure what to say.
one hand, I think over the course of a full season, the Texans
will end up with a better than average defense that honestly will
frighten a lot of opponents. (J.J. Watt, Vince Wilfork and Brian
Cushing are a pretty good start to building a decent defense.)
also like the way their schedule looks. They’ve already played
Kansas City, Carolina and Atlanta, which leaves only New England
as a game that on the surface looks tough to believe they could
win. (I mentioned the Jets before… and we’ll get to them when
we cover the AFC East… as good as they’re playing though, let’s
just say history suggest their current quarterback will fade as
the year moves along and I don’t know if they’ll have an answer
problem is the whole Hoyer-Mallet mess. It’s honestly at a point
where if they said before a game that regardless of how things
were going they intended for one quarterback to play the first
half and the other the second half, I don’t think many people
would be surprised. It’s that crazy.
loved watching Hard Knocks with these guys. I like their
coaching staff. And I think they have some tremendous talent.
What I see missing is conviction and confidence. Amnd just one
place to start looking for that is at quarterback… and not by
saying they’re going to watch film after every game, or flip from
week to week, or have guys looking around to see if they’re still
in after a bad quarter of play. Make a decision. Back that starter
up. If you think you have a good team, step one is believing the
opponents need to adjust to you.