Tuesday, October 30, 2012

JC's Take: Stars, Goats & Notes From Week 8 Of The NFL

Team of the Week: Denver Broncos
Denver took control of the AFC West this week with a very convincing win over the Saints. Denver's defense has had some problems stopping good offenses this year but they did a good job of shutting down Drew Brees and the Saints offense. And Peyton Manning looked like the Peyton Manning of old the entire game. Yes it was against the Saints defense, but it was still a very impressive performance. Denver has established themselves as the top dogs in the AFC West. They've shown they can put teams away early and also come from behind late like they did two weeks ago against San Diego. Denver is the most stable team in that division. If their defense can keep putting up performances like they did Sunday night, then they could be a threat in the AFC. That will be the key for Denver going forward.

Game of the Week: NY Giants 29  Dallas 24
I counted the Cowboys out after they fell behind 23-0 and almost contemplated going out to a movie. I'm glad I didn't. Dallas came roaring back and took the lead in the second half. Tony Romo fought back from an ugly first half performance to give his team the lead. The Cowboys were driving until Felix Jones fumbled. It looked like Dallas was about to have a last second win after a Romo to Dez Bryant touchdown, but Bryant's finger tips landed out of bounds before any part of his body touched down in bounds. The Giants hung on and now have a three game lead in the win column in the NFC East. While every other team has question marks the Giants are a pretty complete team. They would have to collapse pretty badly to lose the division. I just don't see an Eli Manning lead team doing that.

The Team Sheikie 3 Stars of the Week
3. Vick Ballard
Ballard didn't have too big of a game, but he had one hell of a highlight reel touchdown to win the game for Indianapolis at Tennessee. Ballard flew a good five yards, back facing the ground, to get to the pylon and win the game for Indy. At 4-3 Indy is quietly putting together a good season and is right in the thick of things in the muddled AFC.

2. Matt Moore
Some people questioned why the rookie Ryan Tannehill received the starting job this year in Miami over Moore. Moore played okay last year and people didn't think Tannehill was ready. He's played well, but Tannehill left the Jets game early and Matt Moore was forced to come in. Moore played very well, going 11-19 for 131 yards and a touchdown. Not world beating numbers, but enough to get the job done. Moore has handled himself well this year and he did a good job of filling in.

1. Matthew Stafford
Lots of people, myself included, have been on Matthew Stafford for his poor play this year. I don't know if Sunday's win over Seattle is a turning point, but Stafford was damn impressive against one of the league's best defenses. Stafford was 34-49 for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown as well and lead Detroit on a game winning touchdown drive in the 4th quarter. Detroit has struggled this year and they needed a big win to boost their morale, and this win did that. Now if they can carry the momentum over into the rest of the year is the question.

The Almost As Bad As Those Steelers Jerseys 3 Goats of the Week
3. Arizona Cardinals Offense
Okay, I know they played the San Francisco 49ers. But that was just a terrible performance on Monday night. How the hell was John Skelton 6-0 at home before that loss? The team looks horrible on offense and has no running game to speak of. I could see them finishing 4-12 after starting 4-0.

2. The Rams "Home" Game In London
I know the NFL wants to expand to the London market, but the Rams were clearly the road team in that game. The crowd was very pro New England. If they want to put good teams over there against bad teams, then make the good team play the home game. Oh wait nope, can't do that. Gotta let the big market teams have their way!

1. DeAngelo Hall
There's never any excuse for a player to react like that. Hall's team was down and he was probably frustrated, but keep your cool and live to play another day. Don't give the officials a tongue lashing for not making the right call. Hall has had problems keeping his cool in the past. He needs to man up and keep playing. If the NFL wants to send a message, they would suspend Hall for a game. No place for that in the NFL.

Other Week 8 Notes
-I'm going to use this section this week to talk about teams that are struggling. Lets start with the New York Jets. The Jets are 3-5 and did not look good at home against Miami. They gave the Patriots one hell of a fight last week in New England but laid an absolute goose egg against Miami. The offense looked completely out of sync from the start. Mark Sanchez was off all day. The defense let Miami back-up QB Matt Moore throw all over them. Now the Jets go into their bye week with a ton of question marks and many people questioning whether or not Mark Sanchez is going to last the season as the Jets QB. While the Jets did not look good, Miami looked might impressive on defense and the offense looked in stride. The Jets need a wake up call during their bye week and if they don't right things quickly, they may face a long losing streak ahead. The Jets look like a team that does not have a true leader and is missing an identity.

-Now lets move on to the San Diego Chargers. Yes, I know the weather conditions were bad in Cleveland. But with a team that has as many weapons as the Chargers does, they should have been able to put up more than six points. The offense just could not get anything going. Cleveland has an average defense, they aren't a shut down type team. Ryan Matthews fumbled again. Philip Rivers only threw for 154 yards. This has been a problem with the Norv Turner lead Chargers since has taken over. He's had so much talent on the team, especially on offense, but has yet to put together a winner. His only opportunity there his star players were hurt on offense. Many people were surprised Turner was retained this off-season. I would say that there is almost no chance Turner returns if San Diego misses the Playoffs again. The Monday night loss against Denver, and blowing that huge lead, may look like the turning point in their season.

-And I may be saving the best for last: the Philadelphia Eagles. I didn't expect them to beat the Falcons, but they almost completely no showed. The defense was suppose to be different with the firing of Juan Castillo during the bye. But Matt Ryan had continued success all game against a supposedly very good Eagles secondary. Then on offense, Mike Vick continued to struggle. The wind was no excuse because Matt Ryan did just fine. There is clearly some disconnect between Andy Reid and his team. I know Reid went through a personal loss in the off-season, but the team just doesn't look right. Mike Vick is openly saying that he thinks Andy Reid is thinking of a QB switch. Andy Reid is saying all options are on the table. Reports are conflicting right now but all signs point to a change. I don't think Reid or Vick will be back next season for Philadelphia. While Reid is a good coach, he constantly abandons the running game and has time management issues. Just like San Diego, there is a lot of talent on this team that is going to waste.

Random One Liners
-If only the Jets could back up all the hot air that comes out of their mouth.

-At this point, Chiefs fans should just be lucky they have a QB that actually is a QB. (Coming from a cursed Maryland football fan)

-Thank god I did not bet any money on those Chicago and Green Bay spreads.

-Can anyone stop the Falcons passing attack?

-Maybe I was too quick to jump on the Christian Ponder/Vikings band wagon too.

The Fab Five
1. Atlanta Falcons
2. Houston Texans
3. New York Giants
4. New England Patriots
5. Chicago Bears

The Barf for Barkley Bottom 5
28. New Orleans Saints
29. Cleveland Browns
30. Carolina Panthers
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
32. Kansas City Chiefs

Three Games I'd Like to See Next Week
Pittsburgh vs NY Giants: Big Ben vs Eli. Two clutch QBs. Will anything give?
Dallas vs Atlanta: A win here could save the Cowboys season.
Miami vs Indianapolis: Battle of 2 young QBs. Miami has chance to get two wins over .500.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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