The Colts didn’t play yesterday, but there were some things to learn about the NFL.
Good News: The Patriots are in trouble. No one who watched that game could possibly consider the Pats as a top contender. The trade of Randy Moss has made a once explosive offense completely pedestrian. In two games since the trade, the Pats have won each by a field goal, but Tom Brady’s YPA has been below 6. They weren’t the better team yesterday, but Norv out Norved even himself and they won. Pats have a rough schedule ahead, so don’t look for them among the AFC’s top four seeds come playoff time. Yesterday was a good win for them, of sorts, going on the road to the west coast is always challenging, but there are major warning signs from a team whose defense melted like wax in the fourth quarter and who has a sputtering offense. Yesterday, the Pats started drives at the SD 43, SD 22, NE 41, SD 8, NE 42, NE 48, and the NE 40 and managed only 23 points. Not good.
Bad News: The Titans, despite instability at quarterback, have be considered for real. They’ve played a tough schedule and lead the NFL in point differential at +82. Granted, they’ve played an extra game, but no team in football has scored as many points as the Titans, and they field one of the best defenses around. They play roughly the same kind of schedule as Indy down the stretch, so they won’t get many breaks. The Titans are going to be one of those teams that will randomly get beat now and then because of bad quarterbacking, but they’ll win more often than not. They remind me a lot of the early 2000s Titans teams. That’s a bad thing.
Good News: The Ravens might be a tad overrated. Yes, they got the win over the lowly Bills, but after watching Ryan Fitzpatrick shred their defense throughout the game and then again late to force overtime, it’s time for everyone to admit that the Ravens might not be a juggernaut. They are about the same as they’ve always been. Of special concern has to be the fact that for the second straight week, their defense failed to protect a ten point lead in the fourth quarter.
Bad News: The Steelers won. I realize that Roethlisberger looked bad, and the end was controversial, but there aren’t a ton of losses on their schedule, so to pick up a tough win against Miami was big. I’m applying a little different standard for them than I am for the Pats for a couple of reasons. Although both won on the road, the Steelers didn’t receive anything near the kind of ‘non caused’ help from the Dolphins that the Pats did from the Chargers. Furthermore, the Steelers came into the game expecting a nip tuck affair, and did just enough to win it, while the Pats wasted chances and watched their defense implode down the stretch. Finally, I think the Dolphins are better than the Chargers.