The NFL has built its most recent success on the formula of parity; keeping a lot of teams in the playoff race and fanbases invest until late in the season. Imagine being 3-6 in week 11 saying, “we’re still in it” because everyone else is sucking along with you. That has been reality for many teams for many years. This year, the situation is a lot more murky. If you really look at the conferences going into Week 11 next week, you will see that 4 or 5 spots are already filled for the playoffs, barring disaster. The AFC East (Patriots), AFC North and Wild Card (Ravens, Steelers), AFC South (Texans), AFC West (Broncos), and you could say the other AFC Wild Card (Colts) is already settled even though the Bengals look to have something to say about that. In the NFC, the South (Falcons), the West (49ers, barely) and the North along with a Wild Card (Bears, Packers) look to be locked down. Now there are plenty of teams in the mix (the 6-4 Vikings are on the outside looking in to the playoffs) so there is a lot of football to be played. But it is good to see that the teams who are superior to the competition are starting to separate themselves from the pack.
2. A very early, loser-goes-home game was played in Philly yesterday. Two bitter rivals with the same problems, embattled head coaches, slightly overrated rosters, QBs on the downside of their careers, major offensive line issues, and playcalling that ignores the strengths of the team and highlights weakness took the field for what turned into a fun game. The Cowboys turned out to be less overrated than the Eagles and a strong 3 minute stretched propelled them to a 38-23 win and Philly’s season went night-night. Now, the countdown is on for the Andy Reid-Mike Vick era to end at the end of the season. Reid, who tried to outsmart everyone else who watches football by promoting his great offensive line coach to defensive coordinator and totally forgetting that they have the 2nd best running back in the league, needs to find a better job. You can see Vick running the offense in Jacksonville or Cleveland. But I know the Eagles fans deserve better football play. If they don’t, they may burn down the stadium, not just the opponent team’s cars in the parking lot.
3. Gotta talk about the upset in Tuscaloosa. As much as the Mancave talked about Johnny Football, it’s the Tide defense that should have been the main topic. The defense isn’t as good as we expect a Tide defense to be. LSU moved the ball very well against them the previous week, and their offense is abysmal. Don’t get me wrong, the Tide is still very formidable and Manziel’s performance was legendary, especially for a freshman. But I am sure that a team like Oregon had to be licking it’s chops to face that Alabama defense. One more thing; why didn’t Eddie Lacy get any touches down by the goalline with the game on the line? Texas A&M’s backs were against the wall, and instead of pounding it in, the Tide tried to get cute. They bailed A&M out with their play-calling. What an awesome game, and what an introduction to the world for the next college superstar, Johnny Football.