Well folks we're already moving past the midway point in the NFL season with week nine quickly approaching. What exactly are owners going to say to players about the necessity of a cap to bring about parity? Frankly in a year without a cap, I can't find a team that stands out as dominant in the whole bunch. Is it Pittsburgh? New England? Either New York team? Or am I supposed to believe Raheem Morris and his 5-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their minus 17 net total points scored and allowed are the real deal?
In any event here's my booms and busts to this point.
Starting off in the AFC East, whether they are better than the Jets is debatable, but I took the Pats and I've been vindicated thus far. They're the hottest team in football with five wins in a row and after going 8-0 at home last season, they're already 4-0 in the early going. I never doubt Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and look at that they've got the best record in the NFL at 6-1.
My other playoff pick in this division was the Miami Dolphins. Though they're only one game off the pace with the Jets, I thought they'd be further along with that offense. Meanwhile the Jets, who I felt would have a winning record, aside from their clunker against Green Bay are only ten points away from being undefeated. That Jets defense is scary good and their offense has made better strides than I thought it would.
Over in the AFC North my preseason pick the Baltimore Ravens are also in first. Following the Ravens I had picked the Steelers much in the same vain as I did with the Jets. A team with a spectacular defense, but with questions of whether or not it could overcome deficiencies on offense.
In the AFC South my top two picks were the last two AFC South division champs, the Colts and Titans. That too has held true. Both squads have absolutely carved up the NFC East this year as well. Another funny note with this division is how two teams with four wins each (Houston & Jacksonville) could have such vastly different outlooks on where their season is at, at this juncture. Not that it'll mean anything, but an interesting point of conjecture nonetheless.
Out in the AFC West aren't you still waiting for the Chargers to lose two more games, then storm back to win six in a row and take the division at 9-7? They are slow starters as much as say the Giants are traditionally fast starters under Tom Coughlin, but it doesn't look promising being 0-2 in the division already. Philip Rivers is having a monster year but this team has really reached its peak as much as I thought they'd rule this division for at least one more year.
In Kansas City I vastly underestimated the coordinator change over to "New England Mid-West." Coincidentally the only other team with a 4-0 home record are the Patriots. As for the rest of the division, I thought the Raiders would dabble around the .500 mark. And does anybody remember when the Broncos started 6-0 last year?
If I were making picks over, I obviously would've had the Steelers and Jets at higher than 9-7 respectively.
Shifting to the NFC and more specifically the NFC East, the New York Giants are right where I figured they'd be and that's in first place. Typically fast starters so what else is new? Hakeem Nicks is playing like an MVP, Ahmad Bradshaw leads the NFC in rushing, but it's the fact that they have a pass rush back with Osi Umeniyora leading the way which has reignited a fire under these Giants. Knocking out five quarterbacks along the way helps too.
I thought Dallas would be better and the most disappointing thing is for a defensive oriented coach in Wade Phillips, the Cowboys defense has allowed the second most total points in the NFC with 187, only Arizona with 198 has yielded more.
Meanwhile the Eagles and Redskins are about where I'd thought they'd be middling around .500 with their own issues.
In the NFC North, as expected the Packers are at the top. Statistically they're a dream but somehow I thought they'd look a bit more dominant, stand out a lot more to the rest of their competitors in the NFC.
I also thought the rest of the conference was weak enough where if Brett Favre was able to just manage the games, that the Minnesota Vikings defense would ultimately carry them across the finish line. Instead Favre with a diminished receiving corps has been beat up and that defense has issues getting revved up to create turnovers.
However if you bet me money today I still believe they'd have a better shot at making the playoffs than the Bears. I also believe the Lions deserve a better fate than their 2-5 record indicates, that team is in every game.
In the NFC South the biggest surprise obviously the 5-2 Buccaneers. The Falcons have also had a nice bounce back year chiming in at 5-2 as well. I was really on the fence about Atlanta, thinking New Orleans just had too much fire power. With the Saints recent win over Pittsburgh, perhaps they're just starting to ramp it up.
Finally out in the NFC West where it is the only division where every team has a negative point differential, but also only one of two (NFC North) where every team is at least .500 at home, you just can't figure it. I like just about everyone else picked San Francisco. I also picked San Francisco to win the West in baseball and so far that has worked out a billion times better.
Seattle is currently in the drivers seat, but I like many others am most intrigued by Sam, Spags and the Rams of St. Louis and seeing how that squad holds up from here on out.
As far as my NFC preseason picks go, to be honest with you about the only one I might change is picking the Atlanta Falcons for a playoff spot.
To recap in the AFC to this point, three of my picks (New England, Baltimore, Indianapolis) would be in. Tennessee and Miami are still in contention and San Diego in a slightly softer division still has a shot.
Looking at the NFC to this point, three of my picks would also make it in (New York Giants, Green Bay, New Orleans). With Minnesota and San Francisco, slim has left the building and Dallas will host a playoff game this year but their team won't be playing in it.
I still feel fairly confident in my preseason Super Bowl pick of Green Bay over Indianapolis, though if I had to amend it at this point, I may go with Pittsburgh and New York.