Six weeks into the NFL season, I felt that it was time to give my thoughts and observations of what has transpired this season. Some may be somewhat surprising, but bear with me for twenty observations.
Without further ado…
1. Peyton Manning is still damn good. Manning is off to the best start ever for any player in the history of this league. He’s on pace for 59 touchdown passes. Right now, he’s the no-brainer pick for the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
2. Cleveland’s decision to trade Trent Richardson is looking fine so far. The Browns were 0-2 this year with Trent Richardson and are 3-1 without him. Meanwhile, Richardson has not been able to produce with Indianapolis, making the Browns’ decision to trade him look somewhat smart.
3. If the season ended today, the Broncos would be… the 5th seed in the AFC? That’s right – Kansas City would actually be the 1st seed in the conference. The Chiefs have surprised everyone – including myself – this year. Think about it: the team has three times more wins than it did last season with only 37.5 percent of the season over. That’s incredible.
4. The Colts are on track to win the AFC South. Two games ahead in the division, I’m feeling very confident about my pick of Indianapolis to win the AFC South for the first time since 2010. The Colts haven’t played lowly opponents either, beating both San Francisco and Seattle en route to a 4-2 record.
5. RGIII hasn’t been doing RGIII things. The dynamic athlete we saw last year hasn’t shown up this year. He did have 77 rushing yards against Dallas, but he hasn’t shown the burst that he had in 2012.
6. The NFL has some absurd rules and regulations. When a defender goes low and leads with his shoulder, but hits the receiver in the head because he went low trying to avoid a hit, the defender is flagged 15 yards and is fined. That is ridiculous. The league should look for intent in a hit. Also, Brandon Marshall was fined $10,500 because he wore green shoes for Mental Health Awareness week. Any regulation like that should not be enforced.
7. What’s wrong with the Texans? That starts with the play of the quarterback. The defense has not lived up to its expectation either.
8. The NFC (L)east is possibly the worst division in football. The teams in the NFC East have a combined seven wins. One of those teams is 0-6. The defending division champion is 1-4. This could be the NFL’s worst division.
9. Will Tom Coughlin retire after 2013? The Giants are off to a miserable start although Antrel Rolle may not believe so. Coughlin is 67 years old, but he is in excellent shape. He insists that he will return in 2014. There’s no way the Giants will possibly fire him after all he has done for the franchise.
10. Kiko Alonso is the frontrunner for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Alonso leads the entire league in tackles. For a rookie second round pick, that is quite astonishing. He also leads all linebackers with four interceptions.
11. Atlanta has been a major disappointment so far. This one is obvious. The Falcons have been beat up on the offensive line and now we’ve learned that Julio Jones is out for the year (there goes my fantasy season). The defensive backs are young and have not been playing well. The team has a 1-4 record and looks to regroup against Tampa Bay after their Week 6 bye.
12. Philadelphia’s no-huddle offense has slowed down to below their 2012 pace. Believe it or not – the Eagles actually ran more plays in the six weeks of 2012 than the first six weeks of this season. Opposing offenses have been controlling the clock and have been able to keep Philly’s offense off the field since Week 2.
13. The Saints are back. Sean Payton makes a huge difference. The Saints should be 6-0; their loss last week at New England was attributed to bad clock management at the end of the game and poor defense against Tom Brady with less than 30 seconds left. Still, New Orleans is three games up in the division.
14. San Diego is a dark horse in the playoff race. The Chargers just beat the Colts. Yes, they are just 3-3 and are in third place in the AFC West behind the undefeated Chiefs and Broncos, but there is a long season ahead. The team can potentially push for a Wild Card spot down the road.
15. Colin Kaepernick hasn’t been his 2012 or January 2013 self. Kaep has not been running or throwing the ball as he was late last season. Have teams figured out how to defend him? We’ll have to wait and see.
16. Miami has a good shot to win the AFC East. Although the Dolphins are one and a half games behind the Patriots, Miami has an easier schedule down the road. They will win the AFC East if they can manage to beat New England at least one time.
17. Green Bay Packers Super Bowl bound? After not having a 100-yard rusher in 44 straight regular season games, the Packers have had three in their last four contests. This new dimension makes the offense even more deadly and it somewhat resembles the 2010 championship squad that was able to run the football.
18. Philadelphia has a quarterback controversy, although Chip Kelly won’t admit it. Nick Foles has won the Eagles’ last two games. Michael Vick has played much better this year, but Foles currently has the “hot hand”.
19. Baltimore needs to find its identity on offense. Are the Ravens going to pound the rock with Ray Rice or will they rely on Joe Flacco to find his receivers? It seems as if Cam Cameron’s ghost is running the offense.
20. Geno Smith has been playing better than most expected. The Jets are at 3-3 and have a big game against New England this weekend. Their quarterback has been playing better than most have expected en route to a .500 record. Nobody expected the Jets to beat Atlanta on Monday night in the Georgia Dome. Kudos to Smith for rebounding nicely after average performances.
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