My oh my, what a wild and crazy weekend. There were fights, punt return touchdowns and multiple picks sixes. And that was just in the Bears-Lions game! Sorry, Lions fans, but I have to take a moment to soak in that glorious revenge win. In case you didn’t know, the Professor is a huge Bears fan, and that was one blowout I did not turn off until the very end. And then I immediately watched the highlights. Maybe we get a third battle between these two in the playoffs? I sure hope so. But enough about Bears-Lions, there was also plenty of other crazy action throughout the league, so let’s get down to it.
FIRST AND GOAL
The four biggest stories in football this weekend. As always, use the comments section below to answer my questions!
PATS ARE STILL THE TEAM TO BEAT IN THE AFC EAST
The Bills have fallen apart, the Dolphins could end the season on a nine-game winning streak and still not have double-digit wins and the Jets…well, the Jets fell apart at home on Sunday night and now we stand where we always seem to be standing: with the New England Patriots alone in first place in the AFC East. Tom Brady returned to form with 3 TD passes, but it was a revamped Pats pass rush that helped halt the Jets three-game winning streak. New England cobbled together a season-high-tying five sacks, which led to two interceptions, including a game-clinching pick six. With Brady on offense, the Pats were always going to contend. With a top-flight defense, they are on the short list of Super Bowl favorites. What do you think: have the Pats returned to Super Bowl contenders or was this just an off game by the Jets inconsistent offense?
TEBOWMANIA IS SWEEPING THE NATION…AND THE AFC WEST
Tim Tebow is 3-1 this season as a starting NFL quarterback. I’m as shocked as anyone to type those words, especially after I type these words: Tebow only completed 2 passes on Sunday. What is going on here?! I thought this was the pass-happy NFL of 2011?! The Broncos have already won as many games this year as last and Tebow has the team within one game of first place in the anything-can-happen AFC West. What do you think: will the league catch up with Tim Tebow or will he continue his winning ways and lead the Broncos to the playoffs?
THAT’S SO RAVENS
Let me know if you’ve heard this one before: the Ravens pull off an impressive victory over a formidable foe only to follow it up with an embarrassing loss to an inferior opponent. If you’re from Baltimore you know the storyline by now, because it’s happened three times this season. The most recent example came on Sunday, when the Ravens followed up a season-sweep-sealing victory over the hated Steelers with a flat loss to the lowly Seattle Seahawks. To begin the year, the Ravens followed their season-opening blowout over the Steelers with a loss to the Titans. They also followed a mid-season win over the Texans with a Monday Night flameout against the Jaguars. Don’t worry Ravens, the good news is, if you do make the playoffs, you won’t have to face the Titans, Jaguars or Seahawks. What do you think: can the Ravens turn it on when they face good competition or are they too inconsistent to take seriously against the league’s elite teams?
HEADING SOUTH IN THE NFC SOUTH
Atlanta may have lost their shot at a playoff spot on a dubious call from their coach in overtime. Facing a fourth and inches from their own 29-yard line, Falcons head coach Mike Smith went for it. Despite having the human bowling ball, running back Michael Turner, on their team, Atlanta came up short. The Saints got the ball and promptly kicked the game-winner, grabbing a commanding lead in the NFC South. Between the Giants in the East and the Bears and Lions in the North, wild card spots will be hard to come by in the NFC. Winning the division may have been the only way for the Falcons to get into the post-season. With the loss, Atlanta fell two games behind New Orleans, with only Week 16 meeting left on the schedule. What do you think: was coach Smith’s gamble the right decision or did he throw away the Falcons season on a bad call?
HEROES AND ZEROES
Who excelled and who came up short this week. Nominate your own in the comments below!
Tony Romo, QB, DAL: 23-for-26,270 yards, 3 TDs
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI: 7 catches, 146 yards, 2 TDs
Andre Carter, DE, NE: 4.5 sacks, 5 tackles
Matt Cassel, QB, KC: 13-for-28, 93, 1 TD, 4 sacks
Robert Malone, P, DET: why is anyone still punting to Devin Hester at this point?!
Anyone who’s played quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts this season: 53.8% completion percentage, 7 TDs, 8 INTs, 67.9 QB rating