Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The AFC Report- Week 12
By Ben Valentine

The Jets are done. But that doesn’t mean football season is over. For many other teams and fans out there, the playoffs are still an option. So today, I’m doing the AFC version of Zach’s NFC report; aptly titled the AFC report. Since this is my first one, I’ll break down the conference division by division. I’ll start with my team’s division, the worst in the NFL right now.

AFC Least-

As poorly as the Pats have played this season, and despite being the most beat up team in the league this side of the Jets (and possibly the Cardinals), they pretty much have this division wrapped up. Their win over the Saints gets them to 6-4, two games over Buffalo, who is a mess. Had the Bills (4-6) hung on a few weeks back in Foxboro, this might have been different. But I can’t see the Bills coming back with either JP Losman or Kelly Holcomb at QB, especially with their run defense being as bad as it is. Meanwhile, the Dolphins lost to the Browns; that gets you automatically eliminated from the playoffs. I think starting Sage Rosenfelds also qualifies. Same thing with having to play Brooks Bollinger, Vinny Testaverde and Kliff Kingsbury all in the same game.

AFC North-

And Tommy Maddox gets you a warning. If you start him after the New Year, one of your players gets a spot singing “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” on Super Bowl Sunday. Hopefully for Pittsburgh (7-3) fans, Big Ben’s knee problems resolve themselves soon. Losing to the Ravens, even on the road is a bad sign. With the uncertainty at the QB position, the Bengals (7-3) have an opportunity to steal this division. Overall, I think their play against the top teams in the AFC this year show they’re at least a year away. But with that offense they’re dangerous. That defense though… I shudder at what it would look like against the Colts in Indy. As for the rest of the division, the Browns are playing hard but aren’t very good. Reuben Droughns has been one of the better backs in the league this year however and is the only back to succeed after leaving the Broncos. Speaking of backs, what the hell happened to Jamal Lewis? I know they say prison can change a man, but this is ridiculous…

AFC South-

Indy won’t go undefeated. They won’t. I don’t have a reason for saying that other than, well, nobody goes undefeated. They’ll lose eventually. But with home field going through the RCA Dome, I don’t see them losing when it matters. This is the Colts year, and the point in time where people finally stop calling Peyton Manning a choker. The Jags (7-3) are starting to click offensively, and it looks like it has a lot to do with the emergence of Matt Jones. The converted Arkansas QB, has scored three TDs in his last four games and combined with Ernest Wilford, have made the Jags WR core a solid group. They hadn’t even gotten Jimmy Smith involved much until last week. Makes Byron Leftwich’s job a lot easier. My gut says they’re still a first round exit, but I wouldn’t want to see them come that first playoff weekend. The rest of that division is putrid and not worth discussing; except the Texans need to beat the Niners. They don’t deserve to waste the first pick in the draft.

AFC West-

The Chargers (6-4) are the best team in this division; and they might not even make the playoffs. Drew Brees is a pretty damn good QB. Funny story quickly; last year around week 2, Zach and I were playing Madden 04’. It was a franchise mode, and we saw Brees in a future year was a 90+ rated QB. Both of us laughed and said, “That’s video games for you. Drew Brees will never ever be close to being an 80 QB, let alone a 90.” Guess the Madden scouts knew something we didn’t. Here’s something we all know. LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates are the best at their positions in the league. That offense can rival the Colts people. They’re the scariest team in football right now, in my opinion.

Meanwhile, I thought Denver (8-2) was one of the worst teams in football coming into the season. I guess I was as wrong about that as I was about Brees. They’ve been helped by a favorable schedule and I still don’t buy Jake Plummer, but this team is going to make the playoffs. I still think the Chargers will push them for the division though and they’ll come back to the pack some. Their performance yesterday against the Jets was methodical, but I wouldn’t call it all that solid based on the circumstances (at home, Jets QB/line situation/ handed the ball in Jet territory repeatedly). They should have put up 40 points. Instead they were lucky to get 27. Not a great sign. Still a win is a win.

The Chiefs are a mediocre team, even at 6-4. I said they were an 8-8 bunch at the start, and I stand by it. They’re good at home, not so good on the road. They might have the same record as the Chargers, but they’re not in the same class as them or any of the teams ahead of them. As for the Raiders, the only question for them is whether Terrell Owens ends up there along side Randy Moss next year. Seriously, would it be the greatest WR tandem of all time? Or would they actually kill each other on the field? In fact as I close this AFC report, let me paint a vision I’ve just had of it…

The Raiders are driving late. Moss and TO are lined up in a bunch formation. The opposing team is stacking all 11 men on that side of the field. Lamont Jordan could walk into the end zone if they give him the ball. No, instead Kerry Collins drops back and throws the ball down the sideline into the sea of defenders… Somehow Moss jumps above them all and comes down with it; only to be hit by TO, who takes the ball away and scampers down the sideline for the game winning TD. He takes out his sharpie, signs the ball, then runs out and deposits the ball at midfield…

Only to get hit by Randy Moss; in a car. While smoking weed. Somewhere, Chad Johnson watches and takes notes.

Seriously, this could be the greatest mess/show in the history of the NFL. Since the sports for entertainment first and foremore, I believe T.O. to the Raiders should be mandated by the league immediately and cameras should be placed in the locker room for a new reality TV show. And I hate reality TV.


Blogger David Arnott said...

A)If the the Raiders get Owens and aren't forced to trade up to get Matt Leinart, I will be sorely disappointed in Tags. You've gotta make Leinart the referee between those two guys for the full comedy/talent effect.

B)A quick Madden '05 story... The Manhattan Stallions franchise (nee Buffalo Bills) had just won the Super Bowl in their inaugural season in New York City, a 59-20 romp over Chad Pennington and the Detroit Lions. Starting in Buffalo, this was their fourth straight NFL Championship. Romeo Crennel had guided them to two straight undefeated seasons (after Mike Mularkey had coached a 13-3 season and then an undefeated season). Crennel decided to retire, so the Stallions promoted offensive coordinator Charlie Weis to head coach and hired Troy Brown as offensive coordinator. Then, as general manager David Arnott was preparing to re-sign some of his potential free agents, he found that his phone and email had died simultaneously and he was unable to contact any players to negotiate contracts with them. "That's funny," he thought. No matter. He figured it was just a glitch and he'd simply make up for it in free agency. But when he went to the combine to prepare for the draft, no one showed up. Nobody. Not a single prospect. In fact, nobody could even tell him if there was going to be a draft or a league any more. (In other words, I think my Madden franchise file got corrupted somehow. Damn. That's what I get for living in the Stone Age.)

4:18 AM  
Blogger The Armchair Quarterback said...

Ben, I was right there with you in predicting another mess of a season for Jake Plummer and the Broncos. On a Broncos site I really ridiculed a Bronco fan after the first two weeks of the season and he had them rated as the third best team in football. Right now I'm eating crow. It's a little gamey.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Zachary Geballe said...

I still have my doubts about Plummer. I'm sorry, but I find it hard to believe that a guy like that can suddenly go from being a walking interception to one of the top five quarterbacks in the league. Maybe I'm wrong.

2:47 PM  
Blogger David Arnott said...

Zach, Weird Al just called... He needs your help writing a song about Jake Plummer called "Walking Interception", a parody of Green Day's "Walking Contradiction".

3:05 PM  

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