Monday, December 15, 2008

NFL Week 15: What We Learned

• The Jets continue to find new ways to struggle. Now it’s their run defense. Paging Kris Jenkins: How do you go from being an MVP candidate to a player that is no longer doubled on every play? He looks slow and tired and it seems as if he’s trying to do too much and is therefore doing absolutely nothing. The defense as a whole was atrocious. It’s unacceptable to tackle that poorly in Week 15.

• The Jets coaching staff can’t be blamed for everything. The players were dismal yesterday. But they can be blamed for a lot. While leading in the 4th quarter, backed up near their own endzone, Thomas Jones could not get one carry. Leon Washington has an electric touchdown run. He could not get one more carry. The Jets really need to go back to the run-first, play action offense.

• The Giants need Brandon Jacobs back. Not having Plaxico will be tough enough. He just draws so much coverage and even if he wasn’t playing that well this season, his presence on the field was critical. I do think they can live without Plax, but not having two of their top offensive players is crippling. Ward and Bradshaw are very good, but they’re not the players Jacobs is.

• Chad Pennington is just a consummate leader and a great player. He’s leading the Dolphins on a run that reminds me a lot of the run the Jets made two years ago. No one expected the Jets to do a damn thing and Chad comes back from his injury and proves everyone wrong. Unfortunately, I still don’t think he can carry a team very far in the playoffs without an elite team and I just don’t think the Dolphins are very good. He still scares the hell out of me for the Week 17 game at Giants Stadium against the Jets.

• The AFC West is the worst division in football history, because the Chargers, who barely got by the Chiefs yesterday, are still in the playoff hunt.

• The Packers are awful, but don’t blame Aaron Rodgers. That defense has completely fallen apart. Rodgers has been steady all season and I really like what I see out of him. He has a solid enough arm, is very accurate and can run pretty well. He needs to grow up a bit more, but he's a keeper and I think the Packers knew what they were doing. If Favre's there this year, they probably wouldn't be in much better shape.

• My Super Bowl pick is still the Colts versus the Giants, but that is subject to change every week and within the hour.

• The Titans may not get the top seed after all. Kerry Collins just isn’t very good and when their running game isn’t going, then they are ridiculous beatable. Their defense is scary, but now with Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Van Den Bosch both injured, they could be in trouble. Both will be back for the playoffs, but will they be healthy? Plus they may have lost all their momentum by then.

• So, the Chargers really ARE awful?

• Wait, the Falcons really ARE good?

• If Matt Ryan doesn’t win Rookie of the Year, something’s wrong. He just wins games. And Michael Turner has completely proven me wrong. The guy is a beast.

• The Vikings/Cardinals game was a case of two teams going in opposite directions. Vikings are peaking at the right time, while the Cardinals may have peaked too soon.

• The Cowboys may be peaking at the right time, too. For some reason, though, I have a feeling something might go wrong for this team. I don’t know why. That’s one big, harmonious and happy family right there.

• Next week is going to be huge. Not only are the Panthers playing the Giants for home field in the playoffs, but the Steelers are facing the Titans. This season is turning out to be an absolute gem and one of the best in recent memory. I think I say that every year, though.

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