Could this NFL season be any better? Honestly, what else could we ask for? We have witnessed the greatest offensive explosion in league history with transcendent play from three Hall of Fame quarterbacks while watching the rebirth of a storied franchise under the direction of what once was a “#1 Pick” bust and an up-and-coming coach (49ers) and one of the most exciting and divisive stories in the history of sports (Tim Tebow). My goodness. In addition to a full breakdown of past, present, and future NFL Playoff games, I also spend some time on the College National Championship game, Tim Tebow’s future, the current state of the NBA, and I certainly take a poke at the tackiness of Hank Haney’s upcoming book on Tiger Woods.
There has been a great deal of talk about the quality of quarterback play in the NFL this year. Oddly enough, much of that chatter has revolved around a player that plays the game in a very unconventional way somewhat taking away from three quarterbacks that are having one of the best seasons in NFL history.
Tom Brady – 4,593 yards, 66.2% Comp (351-530), 35 TD, 11 INT, 106.7 RAT
Drew Brees – 4,780 yards, 71.5% Comp (417-583), 37 TD, 11 INT, 109.1 RAT
Aaron Rodgers – 4,360 yards, 68.1 Comp (322-473), 40 TD, 6 INT, 120.1 RAT
My goodness. All three players are having transcendent years, and all three players have a chance to (Brady and Brees will absolutely get it) shatter Dan Marino’s 27 year old passing record for yards in a season (5,084 yards). Brees could very well break it with 304 yards or more this Sunday with one more game to play, and Brady and Rodgers have a great chance to do so the last week of the season if everything continues as it already has.
Of these three players, Rodgers has certainly received the most attention because of his unbelievably hot start and the full year undefeated streak of his Green Bay Packers. Many have said for weeks that he has already earned the league MVP this season. It is hard for me to debate such a thing when you see the yardage he has amassed and his other-worldly TD:INT ratio, but don’t you think it’s important for us to reference the weapons they all have access to? Don’t you think it’s important for us to measure not just their quality of play, but also the value (Most VALUABLE Player…get it…VALUABLE is part of the name of the award…) they bring to their team?
Rodgers clearly has the best talent around him with Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, Randall Cobb, and Jermichael Finley. The success Brees experiences mostly comes because of the comfort level he enjoys with his receiving corps because of how long they’ve played together. He does have a new and very good security blanket in Joey Graham as well. And Tom Brady continues to primarily throw to a 5’9″ (probably 4.7 sec 40 speed….maybe) receiver that isn’t beating anyone with his athleticism, an obviously lost a step Deion Branch and Chad Ochocinco, and two tight ends that most of the league overlooked because of their less than overwhelming physical skills.
I’m by no means saying that Brady deserves the MVP over Brees and Rodgers, but hasn’t he carried the heaviest load of the three quarterbacks this year (mediocre running backs, horrendous defense)? Isn’t he the most valuable player to his specific team right now? Hasn’t he done the most with the least? The Patriots continue to be the Miami Heat of the NFL…each week you can tell that the team across the ball from them has prepared especially hard to stop them. That game is their Super Bowl, but Tom Brady continues to come out and carve up any type of secondary or blitz packages you throw at him. Young and Montana had Rice. Manning had Harrison and Wayne. Brady has had….Wes Welker?
Regardless of who wins the MVP, there are three incredibly deserving players, and we know we have a must watch postseason ahead of us. Picture this…Packers v. Patriots on the turf in Indianapolis…could it get any better than that?
Goodness gracious the NFL is having a great year. I feel like I can’t take my eyes off of a game even when the Jags, Chiefs, or Seahawks are involved. Anthony Dinwoodey Morris brings his unmatched expertise to discuss the NFL playoff picture, pick our favorite teams for the Super Bowl, and to discuss the tragic current state of the National Basketball Association.
As I sat down to think through who the five best teams in the NFL are today, the #1 team was super easy to decide upon. After that…not quite as clear…
1- Green Bay Packers (9-0) – This offense is filthy. The defense is good enough to make plays when plays need to be made. Their schedule down the stretch isn’t anything crazy (Tampa Bay, @Detroit, @NYG, Raiders, @Chiefs, Chicago, Detroit). They’ll handle TB and Detroit on the road, but at the Giants and the home game against the Bears are going to be tough. No question this is our Super Bowl favorite. And thank you for the thumbs up fist pound. Very refreshing.
2- San Francisco 49ers (8-1) – An overtime loss against a good team away from being undefeated. Each week shows that they’re more of a complete team than we all expected. They came out this last week against the Giants planning to throw the ball, basically just to put a middle finger out there so everyone knows that they can do more than run Frank Gore 35 times per game. This team could beat the Packers in a cold game at Green Bay in the playoffs. Tough games against Baltimore and Pittsburgh remain, but they also get Arizona and St. Louis twice by season end. Expect a first round bye.
3- New Orleans Saints (7-3) – Let’s just pretend like the loss to the Rams didn’t happen. Other than that disaster, the Saints have proven to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Brees looks as good as ever, and his dynamic backfield of Ingram, Sproles, and Thomas makes them even more dangerous. Sean Payton always makes me feel like he knows something that no one else does. They’ll win the NFC South.
4- New England Patriots (6-3) – Everyone made a big fuss after the Pats lost two straight (reminder – they lost on the road to a great Steelers team, and a close one to a pretty good Giants team and a surging Eli Manning…did I just say that?), and their only other loss came in dramatic fashion against the Bills when the Bills weren’t playing like they are now (at least Fitzpatrick’s beard is disgusting/awesome). Here’s the deal, the Pats have maybe the easiest schedule in football down the stretch (Chiefs, @Eagles, Colts, @Redskins, @Broncos, Dolphins, Bills) and we know this team can beat any team when the chips are on the table. This is my pick to come out of the AFC.
5- Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) – After a 2-2 start, the Steelers have proved that they are just as good as they were last year. Impressive wins against the Bengals and the Patriots sandwiched a tough close loss to the division rival Ravens. Big Ben is proving that he can throw the ball to win them games now (How about him doing a pretty solid job in cleaning up his image? The guy has been a saint since he made an idiot of himself.). If they get Mendenhall running the ball well, this is going to be a really tough team to beat. They’ll edge out Baltimore and Cincinnati for the AFC North crown.
On the fence – Bears (slowly starting to prove that they’re the real deal), Ravens (one week they look like they’re the best team in football, the next…they lose to the lowly Seahawks or Jags), Giants (they’ll be lucky to make the playoffs with the schedule they have left), Texans (Matt Leinart as the starting QB?)
Twelve games this weekend in the NFL were decided by 7 points or less (hint…there were 16 games). The season is off to an electric start and there are no signs of a slow down. Can Tom Brady throw for 6000 yards (all-time record – Dan Marino, 5084 yards)? Can the Lions and Bills keep this up? Should the Eagles be worried about their slow start? Who are the five best teams in the league today? Nate Stevens makes his first appearance on the show to answer these questions and to confirm who has the most athletic body in the NFL today.