The Indianapolis Colts are the lone winless team left in the NFL. The Colts lost to the Atlanta Falcons at home on Sunday, 31-7. The Colts are looking to be only the fifth team in NFL/AFL history to go winless. The first team was the 1960 Dallas Cowboys, when they went 0-11-1. Next was the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who went 0-14, and then the 1982 Baltimore Colts went 0-8-19, thanks to a strike-shortened season). The only team since the turn of the century to go winless was the 2008 Detroit Lions, who finished 0-16.
The Colts’ season is going so badly that some fans have adopted a slogan of “Suck for Luck,”meaning that if the Colts do go winless, they’ll earn the top draft pick and be able to draft prized Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
I can only remember two other times when a team that already had an elite quarterback drafted another one. One was the Green Bay Packers in 2004, when they drafted Aaron Rodgers and he became a backup to Brett Favre. Three years later, Rodgers became the starter. And then this year the New England Patriots drafted Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett. Why would they do that when they had Tom Brady, the best quarterback in the league right now?
Gearing up for the 2nd half of the season
The AFC North: The AFC North is tight division that probably won’t be solved until the final week of play. The Pittsburgh Steelers, the Baltimore Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals, and even the Cleveland Browns are all contenders. Yes, the Browns. If they could get a couple of wins together and win their division games, they could be in mix at the end of the season. But my prediction is the Baltimore Ravens will win the division. It would be their first division championship since 2006 and be their 3rd playoff appearance in a row.
The AFC East: The AFC East looks like it will come down to the wire as the Buffalo Bills, the New York Jets, and the New England Patriots are separated by one game. The Miami Dolphins are already out of it with a 0-7 record. Even if they win out, they probably wouldn’t make the wild card. My prediction is that the Bills will win the division for the first time since 1995 and make their first playoff appearance since 1999.
The AFC South: The AFC South has turned into a slop division this season on account of many reasons. Some players left or got hurt or just aren’t playing up to par. The Indianapolis Colts are winless halfway through the season (last year the Colts went 10-6 with a playoff berth, but lost in the first round to the New York Jets). Even if the Colts were to win out (yeah, right) they wouldn’t make a wild card spot because an 8-8 record won’t cut it in the AFC. The Tennessee Titans aren’t playing like they did in some games last year. One big reason is that Chris Johnson isn’t playing up to his full potential. Last year he had 316 attempts for 1,634 yards and 11 touchdowns, but this year he has 107 carries for 302 yards and 1 touchdown. The Jaguars are just playing typical Jacksonville football. They aren’t really a good team. So if you are a Jaguars fan, you’d better find a new team because I don’t think that they are going to get better for a long time. And finally the Houston Texans – they’re the only team in the AFC South with a winning record in their division (3-0). They are my prediction to win the division. And if they do win the division, it would be their first in franchise history and the team’s first playoff appearance ever.
The AFC West: The AFC West has a three-way tie for the division lead. The Kansas City Chiefs, the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders are tied at 4-3, with each having a loss in the division. The Chiefs are looking to get back to the playoffs and go further than they did last year. The San Diego Chargers are looking to rebound after their disappointing season last year. And the Raiders are going strong for the late Al Davis. My prediction is that the Oakland Raiders will win the division. It would be their first since 2002 and their first playoff appearance since 2002 as well.
The NFC North: The NFC North was looking like it would come down to a couple of games at the end of the year. But now it looks like there will be only one team. The Green Bay Packers have just played true Vince Lombardi football. The Packers are 7-0 and coming off of a bye, so they are ready to play. The Detroit Lions were looking good until they suffered their first loss to the San Francisco 49ers and then lost again the very next week. The Lions do have to play the Packers twice this year, so they could make up those two losses. But I don’t look for it. The Chicago Bears aren’t going to make some noise unless they start winning those division games. They’re 1-2 in the division on the year. And the Vikings are just out of it; they should have started Christian Ponder sooner. I don’t care how many times I will have to say it: If you don’t win your division games, then you won’t win your division. My prediction is the Green Bay Packers will win the division. It would be the Packers first division title since 2007. Then the Packers will look to repeat their Super Bowl victory from last year.
The NFC East: The NFC East is probably the closest it has been in a while. The gap between first and second is one game. The New York Giants are looking good. Eli Manning is actually living up to the remark he made at the beginning of the season that he was Tom Brady caliber or better. You decide; is he or not? The Philadelphia Eagles are starting to come together as a team. At the beginning of the year, they weren’t looking that good. But now they are actually looking like the Dream Team that quarterback Vince Young proclaimed at the beginning of training camp. The Dallas Cowboys are looking like they normally do; they just can’t seem to hold a big lead at all. In so many games this year, the Cowboys blew a lead and the other team has come back and won. But if the Cowboys want to try to make a playoff run, then Tony Romo will have to stop making stupid decisions while in the pocket. And Rob Ryan’s crew will need to stop doing the normal blitz and start pulling out some new stuff. Finally, the Washington Redskins are looking a lot better than last year, but is it true or not? My prediction is that the Dallas Cowboys will make a run deep in the season and win their division. It would be the Cowboys first division title since 2009, and they’ll try to go further than they did then.
The NFC South: The NFC South is looking as if it is going to come down to the last couple of division games. The New Orleans Saints are rebounding after the disappointing loss to the St. Louis Rams, but this week they might have their luck cut out for them as they play division rival the Atlanta Falcons. The Atlanta Falcons are keeping pace behind the leaders, but if they want to make the playoffs, then they have to start winning the division games. The Carolina Panthers have already beaten their record from last year, and they’re actually looking good with a rookie quarterback leading the way. But it will take a couple of years for them to get up there and start battling for the division title. Lastly, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking like they did last year. They’re playing well and haven’t had that bad of games when they lost (besides the San Francisco 49ers game). My prediction is that the Buccaneers will get back to the playoffs this year. It would be the Bucs first division title since 2007, and they’d be looking to go further into the playoffs than they did that year.
The NFC West: The NFC West only has one clear winner in it this year, and that team is the San Francisco 49ers. They’re off to the best start ever, statistically. They’re 6-1 and coming off a win against the Cleveland Browns. Although there are other teams in the division, I don’t think the same division will produce another team with a losing record again for the second year in a row. My prediction is that the San Francisco 49ers will win the division. It would be the first since 2002.
Last week was a good week for me. I went 10-4 and am now 71-47 on the year. That’s a winning record of 0.643. And now I offer my winning picks in green.
Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers
Washington Redskins @ Miami Dolphins
Buffalo Bills @ Dallas Cowboys
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
Tennessee Titans @ Carolina Panthers
Houston Texans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
St. Louis Rams @ Cleveland Browns
Baltimore Ravens @Seattle Seahawks
New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
New England Patriots @New York Jets
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
I just have one thing to say to the person who schedules the games. How is the Green Bay Packers vs. the Minnesota Vikings a worthy Monday Night Football game?