The 2012 NFL Season has been nothing short of unpredictable as well as one of the more exciting half seasons in recent memory. Yes all Football Fans know that this has become a passing league and we are living in the Year of the Quarterback. In Baseball the San Francisco Giants have just swept the Detroit Tigers to clinch their second World Series in three years. Congratulations goes out to this team, who really did defy all odds in this postseason. A quick review for those of you who either don’t follow the sport or don’t care….The Giants were down 0-2 in the Divisional Round and came back with 3 successive wins to make the NLCS. In the NLCS…they were down 3-1 to the Defending Champion Saint Louis Cardinals…on the ropes in game 5 and then came back to sweep the Red Birds to win their second trip to the World Series in three years. And Finally, they just swept the AL Champion Detroit Tigers 4-0 in the World Series in total domination. The Tigers had the best offense outside of the Yankees in Baseball this season and were completely and utterly embarrassed in this series. They were even shut out in two games. Once again, although I cannot stand the Giants….Kudos to them for playing as a “TEAM” to once again show the New York Skankees that it takes more than high priced free agents to win a title. Anyways….I had to get that out of the way and Hockey….well they are a bunch of greedy bastards and no one really cares about them anyway. So that leaves us with the NFL. So, back to the purpose of this post….A review of the 2012 Season at the halfway point after 8 Games.
Let’s first start with the Top 5/ Worst 5 Teams thus far in 2012:
1) Atlanta Falcons- The Atlanta Falcons are the only unbeaten team thus far so they get the number 1 Ranking by Default. However, there are many years that an undefeated team is not necessarily the best team. Well I have to point out that this does not include the Falcons. Their high flying offense behind the arm of Matt Ryan (playing like an MVP), speed receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White, and a resurgent running game with Michael Turner has scored over 200 Points. On the other side of the ball, their defense is much more balanced this season and has only allowed 130 Points which is third behind the Houston Texans (128), and Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers who have both allowed (100 Points). Please Note, the 49ers play their eighth game tonight on Monday Night Football so their total will probably rise. Anyways, Atlanta is the best team in the NFL at this point and if they continue playing at this level, the sky is the limit.
2) Houston Texans- Houston is 6-1 at the halfway point and has dominated most teams and is firing on all cylinders just like Atlanta. Houston bolsters one of the top running games in the NFL with Arian Foster, who has become the toast of NFL running backs, which enables them to control the clock. They have scored 216 Points on Offense and have only allowed 128. They also are at the bottom as far as turnovers. You put these three factors together and you have a decent recipe for success. Houston has played against good competition and beaten good teams. This team has been on an uprise the past few years and it looks like they have finally put it all together.
3) Chicago Bears- The Chicago Bears have been nothing more than a HUGE SURPRISE. They are a veteran team that seemed to be on a decline. Enter Brandon Marshall. Brandon Marshall, the All-Pro Receiver, has been a lightning rod for this Bear’s Offense. He is probably the most talented and dominant receivers that this team has ever had. Marshall has turned Jay Cutler back into the Superstar that he was supposed to be. This duo may have the best chemistry as far as Quarterback/Receiver in the NFL, since Peyton Manning/Marvin Harrison. Matt Forte continues to grow into one of the best all purpose running backs in the league. He pounds the ball with reckless abandon. The Bears are another team that does not turn the ball over. On the other side of the ball…they are the Number 1 Rated Defense in all statistics across the board. They have also been at the top as far as creating Turnovers. Their Special Teams Unit gives them a decided edge against most other teams in the league.
4) New York Giants- Big Blue has been on a roll and has picked off right where they left off in the Superbowl. Eli Manning continues to shine as one of the most underrated Quarterbacks in the NFL. They put points on the board in bunches as their offense thrives on the home run pass. Eli has developed a chemistry with Second Year Receiver, Victor Cruz that reminds me so much of his brother Peyton, in his days with the Indianapolis Colts when he was tossing touchdowns to Marvin Harrison. Ahmad Bradshaw, who has had a few injuries continues to improve each year. He is a North South Runner who grinds the ball behind one of the best offensive lines in Football. New York sports a stellar defense that thrives on the pass rush and creating turnovers. In Sunday’s win, they had 5 Turnovers on the way to a tough divisional win against the Dallas Cowboys.
5) San Francisco 49ers- Defense wins Championships. How many times have we heard that phrase. Well, defense really does give teams an edge especially when they play with a lead. San Francisco has allowed 100 points on D…tied for a league low with the Chicago Bears. The 49ers rush the passer with strength and push up the middle and their linebackers are one of the most talented groups in the NFL. On offense, Alex Smith has become the Trent Dilfer of the NFC. A solid game manager that does not turn the ball over. Frank Gore has stayed healthy and Vernon Davis has provided Smith with a Safety Valve. Although the past few games his production has dropped off, Davis has been a Monster as far as receiving the ball and running after the catch. The past few games he has been triple teamed, which has allowed veteran Randy Moss to get wide open for a few easy scores. The 49ers have been at the top of their game thus far and they round out my top 5.
Now My Worst 5 NFL Teams of 2012 at the Half:
1) Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jaguars have to be one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL so far. Blaine Gabbert has been injured part of the season and they also lost their star tailback Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jaguars have scored a league worst 103 Points while giving up 188 Points. This is a recipe for disaster. They have really been pathetic on the offensive line giving up sacks left and right and supporting one of the worst running games in the league. 1-6 at the halfway point….if they continue on this path they will shatter their record for losses as a franchise and may be in line for the Number 1 Draft Pick. That would be the only silver lining of their season.
2) Kansas City Chiefs- The Kansas City Chiefs have also been putrid on both sides of the ball only scoring 120 Points and giving up 209 Points. Wow….thats an awful ratio. Kansas City has lost their quarterback Matt Cassel a few times to injuries and they also have a porous offensive line. Another Turnover Machine, the Chiefs have really disappointed their fans as well as NFL experts who some had them making the playoffs. 1-6 will not get you anywhere and thats a hole that will not be dug out.
3) Carolina Panthers- The Panthers were picked to make the playoffs as well by many NFL experts. Well, they have been far from a playoff team. Their offense has only scored 128 points and their defense has given up 167…not too bad in the NFL. The Panther’s Defense has been their strength as their offense has left a lot to be desired. Cam Newton is going through a sophomore slump which probably should have been expected. Star Receiver Steve Smith has drastically lost a step and is no longer wide open on every play. He is also not the deep threat that he once was, which has allowed teams to key on the run. Johnathan Stewart has been injured and De’angelo Williams has been a huge disappointment. Of course, it does not help the Panther’s chances being in a very tough division.
4) Cleveland Browns- The Browns were the only winless team for weeks, but they have now won 2 games in a row. They don’t have the terrible ratio in points scored/points allowed that these other teams have, however they do turn the ball over quite often. The Browns can run the ball, but their offense is predicated on good quarterback play. They have been inept in this area. Cleveland’s Defense has also been a huge failure and they do not put pressure on the quarterback. The Brown’s have a chance to get off this lsit as they have won two games in a row and appear to be improving.
5) Philadelphia Eagles- OUCH! This hurts me as most of you know I am a die-hard Eagles fan. But I cannot ignore the facts. With 120 Points Scored, they have the worst ranked offense in the NFC. The Philadelphia Eagles are 3-4, but truthfully anyone that has watched them this season knows that they could truly be 0-7. They have the worst offensive line in Football. They have the most stubborn coach who continues to use a pass first philosophy even though they have the top 3 Running Back in the League?? Michael Vick has been under siege every game. He has not been terrible, but I don’t care if they put Tom Brady behind this line….he would be just as poor. You cannot expect success when your quarterback has bruised ribs and is on his back more than in the pocket. Defensive Coach Juan Castillo has been the scapegoat thus far in the season. This Defense is terrible. However, Andy Reid is the reason that the Eagles are one of the worst teams in the league. Michael Vick, not elite, however he is definitely not the reason this team is not winning. In fact, he was ultimately responsible for two of their wins coming back at the end of the game. And going 3 games without a sack????? BRUTAL!!!!!! They did not go that long without a sack in a season since 1983. This team has always prided itself on Defense but they lack any heart and identity here. When they retired Brian Dawkins….there went the last true leader that this team had. The Eagles to me are the most disappointing team this season and thats a hard pill for me to swallow.
TOP 5 QUARTERBACKS/WORST 5 QUARTERBACKS:
Top 5: Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Ben Rothlisberger
Worst 5: Michael Vick, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Cam Newton
TOP 5 RUNNING BACKS/ WORST 5 RUNNING BACKS
Top 5: Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris, Marshawn Lynch, Willis McGahee
Worst 5: Maurice Jones-Drew, Ryan Matthews, Ben-Jarvis Green Ellis, Donald Brown, Mike Leshoure
TOP 5 WIDE RECEIVERS/ WORST 5 RECEIVERS
Top 5: Victor Cruz, Wes Welker, Brandon Marshall, AJ Green, Percy Harvin
Worst 5: Deshaun Jackson, Hakeem Nicks, Jeremy Maclin, Titus Young, Andre Johnson
TOP 5 TIGHT ENDS/ WORST 5 TIGHT ENDS
Top 5- Rob Gronkowski, Tony Gonzalez, Heath Miller, Jason Witten, Vernon Davis
Worst 5- Dallas Clark, Jermicah Finley, Greg Olsen, Aaron Hernandez (Injured), Brent Celek
TOP 5 KICKERS/ WORST 5 KICKERS
Top 5- Laurence Tynes, Stephen Gostowski, Matt Bryant, Jason Hanson, Greg Zurlein
Worst 5- Garret Hartley, Dan Carpenter, Alex Henry, Billy Cundiff, Ryan Lindell
TOP 5 DEFENSE/ WORST 5 DEFENSE
Top 5- Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals
Worst 5- Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans
1) Matt Ryan
2) Peyton Manning
3) Arian Foster
4) Brandon Marshall
5) Aaron Rodgers
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
1) Peyton Manning
2) Adrian Peterson
3) Chris Johnson
4) Jay Cutler
5) Reggie Wayne
TOP 5 DISSAPOINTMENTS
1) Philadelphia Eagles
2) Carolina Panthers
3) Bufalo Bills
4) Dallas Cowboys
5) Green Bay Packers
TOP 5 SURPRISES
1) Seattle Seahawks
2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3) Arizona Cardinals
4) Minnesota Vikings
5) Chicago Bears
*****Ok, Well I could keep picking categories but I would be here all day. Obviously these are my opinions. Im sure some people would feel different. Anyways…This is my 2012 NFL Review at the Half Way Point. After tonights game, I will Recap Week 8, Mine and Aaron’s picks as well as Fantasy Results. BTW….I think I had the league high for points in my league this week….WOW!