Well it has finally happened. No one thought the day would come. Peyton Manning is no longer an Indianapolis Colt. Over the last few months it had become quite apparent that this day might come but many were hoping, wishing, and even praying that the Indianapolis Colts would find a way to keep Peyton Manning on the team. However, the closer the deadline became, the more everyone realized that it was finally going to happen.
Peyton Manning is a free agent and instead of hoping that someone will pick him up, Peyton Manning will be interviewing teams. Manning will take the best situation for himself and what he wants to accomplish at this point in his career. Peyton Manning probably has three to four good playing years left in him. Knowing that, Peyton Manning will want to find the best situation to make it to the Super Bowl and win the whole thing. Peyton Manning does not have the luxury of going to a rebuilding team and hoping they can squeak into the playoffs on his coattails. Peyton Manning will not even consider teams like that as an option.
Everyone is wondering which teams are the best options for Peyton Manning and all of what he wants to accomplish over the next few years. After eliminating all the teams with true franchise quarterbacks, there are only a few teams that make real sense. The Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all make sense at some level. This of course is not looking at what kind of deal Peyton Manning could potentially work. I am just considering which team could benefit the most from the arrival of Peyton Manning.
Examining all of these possibilities the team that would give Peyton Manning to accomplish a Super Bowl right away would have been the New York Jets. I am not the biggest fan of Rex Ryan and his coaching methods but the New York Jets are one great quarterback away from going to the next level. Mark Sanchez aka “The Sanchize” is not the answer. Everyone knows it and so does Rex Ryan. It was apparent last year that Mark Sanchez is nothing more than a game manager. However, as of last night the New York Jets decided Mark Sanchez was their choice of the future and signed their quarterback to a contract extension worth 40.5 million. The Jets may think Sanchez is worth it, but I just do not see it.
Personally, I would love to see Peyton Manning on the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have seen the failing of the Kevin Kolb Experiment and need a real franchise quarterback. Larry Fitzgerald is still one of the best recievers in the game. The Cardinals have Todd Heap at the tight end position who could return to top form with Manning throwing him the ball. In addition, the Arizona Cardinals defense is a young defense who is on the rise. Manning could do similar things to what Kurt Warner accomplished when he was the quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals.Manning might even be able to do the improbable and make the Cardinals Super Bowl contenders once again.
No matter how much we do our research and try to guess where Peyton lands, only Peyton Manning truly knows where his last stop will be. Any of the other NFL teams I named could end up being the place Peyton Manning decides to call home. Even though the Washington Redskins have moved up in the draft to take Robert Griffin III, I would not count them out of the running for a landing spot for manning. It would be a great situation to have Peyton Manning teaching Griffin III for 2 -3 years. The potential for that kind of mentoring situation would be truly sky high.
Of course, with all that being said we could have some surprise team show up to claim the coveted rights to Peyton Manning. The ride from now until the end of the courting match of Peyton Manning will be one to remember. We will have all sorts of speculations, some much crazier than others. Everyday we will hear more and more about what Peyton Manning is doing, who Peyton Manning is visiting, and which team has the edge. Whatever happens hopefully, Peyton Manning has more sense than to do something similar to the Lebron James “The Decision” fiasco.
Yesterday was Halloween and that means that Week 8 is in the books. Halloween is the time of year where things become rather strange and this week was definitely on the strange side. Teams that were predicted to lose, instead ended up winning. Teams that should have claimed victory rolled over and played dead. Some teams are even seeing a resurrection and have gained new life and focus.
Today I am going to play costume or uniform with my readers. Costume or uniform deals with how certain teams are playing so far this season. Does a team have a uniform on and playing up to their potential or is a team simply wearing a costume and fooling everyone.
Let’s get started with the teams who are wearing costumes:
1: Dallas Cowboys
2: Tennessee Titans
3: Washington Redskins
4: Philadelphia Eagles
5: San Diego Chargers
6: Kansas City Chiefs
7:New England Patriots
8: New York Giants
9: New York Jets
10: Atlanta Falcons
11: Chicago Bears
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
13. Oakland Raiders
This is a pretty good amount of teams that are not really who we think they are. Dallas tops the list and is what I call a yo-yo team. Every week we never know if Dallas is going to wow us or just fail all together. The Cowboys continue to make some great plays and then make some horrible decisions. Some people still believe that Dallas can make the playoffs. This scenario is not likely this year. I can hear Jim Mora saying, ” Playoffs? Playoffs???……”, we all know the rest of the famous rant. Cowboys are going to need a great deal of luck to turn this season around.
The Washington Redskins have been playing better this year. The Redskins have a decent running game, led by whoever is Shannahan’s favorite back of the week. Similarly, Washington does not have an identity at quarterback. Neither Rex Grossman nor John Beck is an exceptional NFL quarterback. The Washington Redskins started out on fire at 3-0 and now the team is 3-4 after four straight losses. Washington had us fooled at the beginning of the season but now we see their true colors shining through. On the bright side next year’s NFL draft is fast approaching.
The Philadelphia Eagles are listed here because they have been showing us signs of greatness and signs of a bad team all season. The Eagles won their first game of the season and then proceeded to lose the next four games. Now Philadelphia has won two straight games and things are once again looking up. The Philadelphia Eagles looked like the fabled, “Dream Team”, in their win over the Dallas Cowboys. A part of me wonders if this team is similar to the NBA basketball team the Miami Heat, that they will have major ups and downs all season and then find some way to make it to the playoffs. If the Eagles can obtain a spot in the playoffs they will definitely be one of the favorites to make a Super Bowl run.
The New England Patriots are on this list because of their defense. The Patriots can score with anybody in the league but their defense is lacking in a big way. The Patriots are ranked 32 out of 32 teams in the NFL in defense. The Patriots are similar to many college teams which run the spread offense and depend on outscoring opponents to win games. This theory is great but it hardly ever works against the elite teams in the NFL. The New England Patriots will make the playoffs but unless the defensive issues of the team are fixed, they will be knocked out early.
The last team I will talk about out of this list is going to be the New York Jets. The Jets for the last two years have found a way to make it to the AFC championship game. This year looks like a year that we will see a new team in the AFC championship team besides the Jets. The running game from last years is not as dominant. The defense is giving up more yards each game than the last two years. Mark Sanchez or “The Sanchize” is only improving his acting and modeling skills off the field. Sanchez’s quarterbacking skills have not made the leap they should have made coming into this year. The Jets are talking big talk but I do not believe they can walk the walk.
Flipping to the other side of the NFL football spectrum we see the teams who are playing up to their potential. These teams are wearing the uniform of an NFL team and deserve to have the record they have accumalated over the first few weeks.
1. Green Bay Packers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Baltimore Ravens
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. Buffalo Bills
6. Detroit Lions
7. Houston Texans
8. Cincinnati Bengals
9. San Francisco 49ers
10 Carolina Panthers
I know some of my readers are thinking, why are the Carolina Panthers on this list? The reason the Carolina Panthers make the list is because they have been playing competitive all season long. From the first week until now, the Panthers have been surprising everyone, due to the play of Cam Newton. The Carolina Panthers have established an identity for themselves and each week the team is becoming better. The Panthers have not won many games but they are very close to winning just about every game. Last year each Carolina Panthers game was a blowout, this year there have been no blowouts. Give it a couple of years and the Panthers will make a return to the playoffs.
I have written about the Detroit Lions before. I claimed that the Detroit Lions are a good team and they have not dissapointed me yet. I knew they would lose at some point during the year but good NFL teams rebound after losses well and the Detroit Lions finally proved they could do that this past week. The Detroit Lions have turned things around for the team this year. The Lions used to be the team that every team knew they could beat. Now the Detroit Lions, Led by Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson on offense and Ndamukong Suh on defense, are a team contending for a playoff spot. The Lions will continue to be turnaround story of the year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a shaky start this year going 2-2 in the first four games. The Steelers defense was playing horrible during that four game stretch. Experts and fans were calling the Pittsburgh Steelers old and washed up. Then the Pittsburgh Steelers we all know and love returned. The Steelers offense started being productive, their defense unit stepped up and started playing well. The Pittsburgh Steelers have not lost another game since. At this rate the Steelers will reclaim their normal playoff spot.
The Cincinnati Bengals have been good and bad over the last few years. The Bengals came into the year with a rookie quarterback, a rookie wide receiver, and an almost completely revamped defense. No one expected the Bengals to do much with all the changes the team was going through. The Bengals obviously believed they could be a good team and have proven it through the first part of the season. The Bengals are now 5-2 and looking like a team that is poised to make the playoffs this year. The Bengals are looking like a team that can potentially be a playoff team for quite a few years going forward. Maybe we might even see them bring out the Ickey Shuffle dance.
The last team that I will talk about in uniform is the San Francisco 49ers. I have said it before and will say it again the 49ers are for real. San Francisco has always had a running game with Frank Gore as the primary back. Now Alex Smith has finally come around and started playing like a starting quarterback should. Smith is finally living up to his number one draft position after all of these years. The San Francisco 49ers defense has become an elite defensive unit. Jim Harbaugh should get coach of the year for molding the 49ers into a winning organization again. The SanFrancisco 49ers should easily win the division this year and make their first playoff appearance in years. The 49ers can be a playoff Dark Horse and play spoiler to some teams playoff hopes.
Well that is all for today. We will see as the season progresses which teams really are wearing a football player uniform and which teams are just wearing the costume. Some teams may even shed their costume for a uniform as the football season continues and vice versa. The playoffs are fast approaching it is time for time to put up or lie down and let the real teams play.
Now, let us get down to someNFL news and business. Another week is in the books for the NFL season and once again we have some new revelations. This NFL season has been one of ups and downs. Many of the playoff teams from the previous year are very far from repeating that success. However, some teams that did not make the playoffs last year are proving all of the doubters wrong. A great deal of players changed teams and while some have made an impact, others have led their team down the road to missing the playoffs completely.
This week we have seen the end of a career of one of the most well known players. Donovan McNabb is officially done, whether he is benched or not next week. McNabb has no hope of recapturing any of his former glory. I keep thinking that Donovan McNabb will show us a glimpse of his former self and all he continues to show everyone is the shadow of his former self. The Minnesota Vikings need to go ahead and tell McNabb to pack his bags and put in Christian Ponder. Let the world see what the rookie has to offer. It cannot be worse that what McNabb has shown the last few weeks.
This week we also finally have to confirm that the San Francisco 49ers are for real. The 49ers have been under the radar and quietly been defeating opponents. Alex Smith has developed into an effective game manager and has barely made any mistakes this season. Smith is completing a career high of 63.3% of his passes, has thrown eight touchdown passes, and only two interceptions. Jim Harbaugh has not only helped Alex Smith to become a reliable quarterback but also has changed the whole identity of the 49ers team. The 49ers now play great defense, have a good running game and have a 5-1 record this year. This past Sunday the San Francisco 49ers handed the Detroit Lions their first loss of the season. The 49ers are finally looking like a playoff contender.
Some teams got back on track after significant losing streaks. The Eagles aka former, “Dream Team”, put together a 20-13 win against the Washington Redskins. We saw the Philadelphia Eagles secondary step up and play like a secondary built to dominate the playoffs. Rex Grossman was intercepted four times after playing so well the first few games of the year. Monday, the New York Jets were able to stop their descent out of playoff contention. The Jets played a pathetic Miami Dolphins team which had no playmakers or highlights to speak of. The Jets basically had a game that served as an extra bye week and still failed to put on an impressive performance. We will see if both of these teams can truly turn it around and reach the playoffs.
A great deal of things remained the same in the NFL. The Packers are the best team in NFL. The Cowboys still cannot figure out how to close out games. Baltimore is continuing to prove why they are one of the best teams in the AFC. We are beginning to see which teams are the real contenders and pretenders. This lockout year is definitely going to be one to remember.