Week 5 – (3 UP and 3 DOWN)
1) New york Jets – It seems each week they keep rising up and up on this list. These self proclaimed Superbowl bound Jets defeated the Minnesota Vikings, who just added Randy moss to rejuvenate the passing game and came into the season with high expectations. Week after week the New York find a way to win, even with their early schedule being arguably the hardest in the NFL so far this season, and still post a 4 – 1 record. They look like 1 of the best teams in football, with the strong running game, stronger defense, and turnover free passing game. Mark Sanchez is looking prophet like with his week 1 statement… 15 – 1 isn’t so bad.
2) Over the Hill gang – Coming into the season WR Terrell Owens and RB LaDanian Tomlinson were thought to be on the lower end of their hall of fame careers. Each dons a new uniform from the previous year, with TO leaving the miserable cold of Buffalo for Cincinnati, and LT leaving his legacy in San Diego for championship aspirations in NY. Even thought the Bengals have been on the losing end more than the winning, TO is posting huge numbers as a receiver for the Bengals. He has become Carson Palmer’s #1 target, racking up 102 yard receiving this passed week and is solidifying his Batman role to WR Chad Ochocinco’s Robin role. LT started the season as Jets RB Shonn Greene’s backup, and was not even promised a huge role. This past week he started against the Minnesota Vikings and ran for 94 yards against a consistently stout run defense. While others feel these players have found the fountain of youth, I feel they have just found better teams than the 1’s they were apart of last year.
3) Josh Freeman – A forgotten piece of the 2009 NFL draft, this 2nd year QB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is really showcasing the skills that the Tampa organization raved about last year. Against the Cincinnati Bengals, Freeman led the Bucs to 2 scores in the final 2 minutes of the game. His final pass was a perfect laser to Micheal Spurlock on the sideline to set up the game winning field goal. After 5 weeks of football, Josh Freeman has guided the Bucs to a 3-1 record, good enough for 2nd place in the NFC south. Be on the lookout, this young star is silently guiding his team to become a contender.
1) Pre-season Superbowl “favorites” – Before the start of the season there was buzz surrounding a number of teams as Superbowl favorites for this year. The Dallas Cowboys were atop of the list, because they did nothing but improve their positions of need through the draft. There was also extra motivation with the Superbowl being held in their stadium. After 5 weeks however, the Dallas Cowboys are 1-3. The defending champion New Orleans Saints were still favorites coming into this season, since they were fielding a healthier team than they did last year. Their 3 – 2 record is not a lost season, but the wins were not convincing and are currently in 3rd place in their division. Minnesota Vikings have a 1-3 record coming out of the NFC as well. From the AFC, the San Diego Chargers are 2-3 after losing to the Oakland Raiders this past week.
2) Carolina Panthers – I couldn’t even dedicate this to just 1 person or aspect of this team. The whole organization makes the down list. The defense was able to get 4 INTs against the Bears, yet the team was only able to post 6 points. A year a ago, they fielded 1 of the most feared running back duo in football, with RBs DeAngelo Williams and Johnathan Stewart. This year neither has been able to get off, and last week only posted 81 combined yards. Last week the Panthers passed for 61 yards, in a game they were behind the whole time. Although it was against a very good defense, at some point in the game there has to be some glimmer of hope. QB Jimmy Clausen is leading this team, and if this is the QB of the future, the whole Carolina franchise is in serious trouble.
3) Passing wins games – 4 out of the top 5 passers for last week lost their games. The lone winner, Donovan McNabb barely won his game. The non threat of a running game really weighed heavily on the losing teams. Phillip Rivers was the top passer with 431 yards and a loss. Tony Romo was 2nd with 406 yards and a loss. Kyle Orton was 4th with 314 yards and a loss. Alex Smith rounds out the top 5 with 309 yards and a loss. Can’t even really say that defense wins championships since it doesn’t seem like much defense was there for the winning teams.