After a rocky start that included suspect losses to the Ravens and the Cardinals, the Patriots have quietly rebounded with four straight wins. At 7-3, and with three games up on their next closest division rival, the Patriots have essentially secured the division and a trip to the playoffs with six weeks to go in the season. I am not saying things are perfect in New England, especially given their atrocious secondary, but they already have a solid shot at securing a first round bye in the playoffs. They play Houston in a couple weeks, and if they can beat them they are the team to beat in the NFL.
2. RG3′s CAREER DAY
While I am still not a fan, having long given my rookie of the year vote to Andrew Luck, RG3′s four touchdown romp at home against the Eagles deserves some credit. Not only did RG3 decisively lead his team to victory against a divisional opponent, but he did so with some of the most perfectly executed plays made by anyone this season. I have come down hard on RG for his “mobile” play which often leads to immobile results, but he made everyone take notice of what fantastic in the pocket potential he has with those two 60-yard throws for touchdowns he had in this one. For RG3′s sake let’s hope he keeps it going from the pocket.
3. JAGS HANG TOUGH
At 1-8, the Jacksonville Jaguars do not have much to play for at this point in this season. In fact, at this point last year bad teams actually had something to look forward to with the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. This year however, don’t count the Jags as one of those teams looking to lay down as they went on the road and took it to the league’s best team the Houston Texans. In fact, not only did they lose their starting quarterback, but the team seemed to rally around the loss, took on a new persona, and lead by Chad Henne and his four TDs gave the Texans all they had and actually led for much of this game. While they did not win, the Jags can at least look back on one game this season with some pride.
For the second week in a row, despite all their self-imposed hype, the Falcons came up with a dud performance in a game they should have won. The only difference, is that this week the Falcons were lucky enough to escape with a win despite the brutal day from their leader Matty (no-)Ice. Just how lucky were the Falcons? Well, they were the only team in 40-plus years to win a game in which their quarterback threw five picks and no TDs. And while Ryan did throw for just over 300 yards, this sort of horrible showing overall against an inferior team is precisely the reason no one with any football sense gives any praise to the Falcons. Sorry Roddy White.
2. CLEVELAND STEAMED
Really, I could have put either of the participants in this contest in this low-lights section, but given that Dallas did just enough to win I will leave them off the list for now. The Browns however, absolutely belong on this list as they blew a 13-point half-time lead against a Cowboys team that has perhaps the worst home field advantage in all of sports and an offensive line so porous that they make the average spaghetti strainer look good. This game was right there for the Browns, but as they have done all season, they gave away a game they could have easily won with miscues and bad penalties. The good news for Cleveland is they actually played very hard for much of the game and their first round pick Trent Richardson looks fantastic. If this team ever finds a coach and a quarterback, look out AFC North.
3. PITTSBURGH SNOREFEST
ZZZ… huh? What? There was a game being played in Pittsburgh for real? Wow, with the way this game went you sure could have fooled me. While I love a defensive slugfest as much as the next person, this game was not that. This was two totally inept offences that for an evening made the Kansas City Chiefs look good. In their defence, the Steelers are a team totally infested with the injury bug on both sides of the ball and are a team barely holding it together. Anytime Byron Leftwich is your starting QB your team should get a pass. The Ravens however, have no excuse, because even though they have lost LeDarrius Webb and Ray Lewis, defence and special teams are not their problem. Once again the self-proclaimed “elite” Joe Flacco looked totally ordinary and ran some of the most stagnant ball played this season against a depleted defence that Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees would have totally torn to shreds. Newsflash Flacco: YOU ARE NOT ELITE.