by Michael Schottey
It’s supposed to be lonely up top, but the tops of the 2015 NFL season standings continue to look awfully crowded.
Weeks 4 and 5 were supposed to help the NFL’s very best separate from the rest of the pack. Instead, various trials by fire for many around the league have not only been passed (for the most part,) but in many cases, quite easily.
In fact, other than a Week 4 loss by the Arizona Cardinals to their divisional rival St. Louis Rams, all of the best teams around the NFL have held serve, and it’s almost as if we should just start the playoffs because it’s getting increasingly hard to pretend there aren’t some clear haves and have nots this season.
In Week 5, it started with a Cincinnati Bengals team that was down big to the Seahawks, but came back to score 17 fourth-quarter points and win in overtime. The Bengals are, top-to-bottom, the most talented team in the NFL. Think what you will about their chances of winning a playoff game in 2015, but their offensive and defensive lines, skill position players on both sides of the ball and multifaceted attacks on both offense and defense will make them a tougher out than they’ve ever been.
In Atlanta, the Falcons didn’t have nearly as easy of a time with Washington as many expected. Still, even with going to overtime as well, the Falcons held serve in a week while the Carolina Panthers were on bye and proved they can win games when their passing game stutters, falters and disappoints.
QB Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos proved much the same against the Oakland Raiders.
The Green Bay Packers needed to feel out the Rams a little bit, but though Aaron Rodgers threw his first interception at Lambeau Field since 2012, the Rams couldn’t keep up with the high-octane Pack.
The New England Patriots picked off the limping Dallas Cowboys easily, but not nearly as easily as the Cardinals dispatched the terrible Detroit Lions (more on them later).
The winning teams listed above are currently a combined 28-1. Add the Panthers, and that’s 32-1.
Parity still exists, but there are a lot of teams breaking out of the cycle.
Greg Hardy Proof Positive NFL Culture Only Cares About One Thing…Talent
What’s the difference between Cowboys DE Greg Hardy and someone like, oh…let’s say…former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice? The answer is simple, and it doesn’t need to include any moralizing or false equivocation about their various off-the-field bad acts or their contrition about the same.
No, the answer is: talent.
Rice was terrible the last time he took the field. Hardy is a bonafide elite pass rusher.
That’s the difference.
Nothing else matters.
Fox pregame host Terry Bradshaw called out the Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones this week (via SB Nation), saying he hopes there’s a day where the NFL doesn’t tolerate a player like Hardy. It’s especially noxious that Hardy’s return from suspension coincides with the NFL decking itself out in pink for breast cancer awareness. You know, because they support the ladies.
In the end, the NFL really only supports one thing: making money, and the winning of games that supports that.
This should not read as an indictment of every single decision-maker within NFL front offices or in the NFL league office—far from it. However, it is not a far cry to generally state the NFL could care less about what a player does off the field as long as he can contribute on it.
Don’t hate the player, they say…
Lions are Lost in Motown
Without a doubt, one of the most disappointing themes for fantasy owners has been the ineptitude of the Lions offense.
QB Matthew Stafford was supposed to put it all together this season, along with a healthy Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate at WR, and a rushing attack led by second-round pick RB Ameer Abdullah. Week 5 saw both Stafford and Abdullah benched for turnovers and the Lions look about the same with people who have about as much fantasy relevance as Joey Harrington and Barry Sanders do these days.
The Lions drop to 0-5 and are in the catbird seat for a high draft pick. Meanwhile, Stafford has a ridiculously unwieldily contract for the next few years and the Lions look closer to blowing this whole thing up than building off of last year’s success. Even the most powerful critics who thought the team would take a step back this season would never have been this down on the team, because it’s been a perfect storm of minor and major injuries, offensive ineptitude, underachievement on both sides of the ball and terrible coaching.
In other words, what most Lions fans have been used to their entire lives.
MNF Preview: Chargers and Steelers Could Light Up Monday Night
When one takes a cursory look at the Monday night matchup this week, it’s easy to write it off as a mediocre Chargers team against a solid Steelers team that is completely hamstrung at the quarterback position. Yet, this one has a solid chance of pushing the scoring pace up quite a bit. The Chargers will look to take advantage of a weak Steelers secondary, and the Steelers will come in knowing they need to get WR Antonio Brown the ball early and often.
Full Story Courtesy of FanDuel >>>> https://www.fanduel.com/insider/2015/10/12/shots-fired-the-nfls-very-best-continue-their-winning-ways/
This blogger used to be commish of an NFL.com fantasy league for 6 years up until this year! I got tired of the bitching, kvetching, complaining petty bullshit from the other team general managers! Besides, I stopped baby sitting grown men when I quit working for my dad at his asphalt paving company! I now do FanDuel!! And own my own company and not my dad’s slave!