Five Up ……. And Five Who Now Appear To Be On The Way Down ….If Not Out

Five Up ……. And Five Who Now Appear To Be On The Way Down ….If Not Out …….

Well week five of the NFL schedule awaits and we shall see which teams are set to make a move in order to stave off what appears to be a mediocre season . Clearly for the likes of the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins at 0-4 there now seems to be a real belief that these two teams are in the midst of abyss that neither seem able to retrieve themselves from .

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In large part we all knew that once the decision was made by the Colts’ front office to curtail Peyton Manning’s season this team would be in for a rough time . The four time league MVP winner having yet to fully recover from off season surgery has since been told that he will have to undergo further surgery for nerve damage in his neck . The injuries that have befallen the roster makes the Colts’ chances of even being in with a remote chance of winning the AFC South seem with all the more unlikely . Kerry Collins’ performances have left a great deal to desired and with backup Curtis Painter having been installed as the incumbent quarterback it now seems things will remain with regard to the anemic performances we have seen from the team.

Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff knows that they are in for an arduous season ahead if this team is to have any chance of turning things around . Though there are a number of fans who state it would in the organization’s interest to “tank their season” in order to be the prime contender for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes who’s viewed as the consensus number one overall pick for the 2012 NFL Draft. Should that scenario arise then it would be very interesting to see how team owner Jim Irsay and GM Bill Polian will choose to address the matter. With Peyton Manning having signed a 5 year contract extension that has been widely publicized ___ the player is due a roster bonus of $28 million including incentives due in April 2012 . Chances are Irsay and Polian will have a number of tough decisions to make concerning their Pro Bowl quarterback .

If the Indianapolis Colts’ season is said to be on the verge of going up in smoke then for Tony Sparano and the Miami Dolphins theirs’ is a season that is instantly being flushed down the toilet with such speed that the fecal matter that one could as the team’s performances have already begun to stink up the entire NFL . GM Jeff Ireland and owner Stephen M Ross now have ti gauge not only the performance of their beleaguered head coach but also his staff but the entire roster. Starting quarterback Chad Henne is now injured having left Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers . That 26-16 loss mirrored much of the malaise that has become the core of the Miami Dolphins’ numerous problems and seemingly Tony Sparano doesn’t seem to possess any answers for his team’s anemic performances.

Acquiring Reggie Bush as via a free agent acquisition does not seem to have added one iota of real assertiveness to this team and they seek to make their presence felt within the AFC East . Winless and it does not appear that the Miami Dolphins’ fans can continue to endure this madness. Chad Henne has shown that he is simply no more than adequate backup quarterback at best but given what we have seen by a number players at the lower echelons of the quarterback rankings .

The Miami Dolphins’ draftees for the 2011 season seem to be a work in progress and it clearly shows that the coaching staff has a great deal of work on their hands. Vontae Davis perhaps one of the team’s best young players has been one of the omnipresent reasons why this ball club has been so slow out of the gate . But it certainly hasn’t helped also that there does not seem to be anyone that you could simply as a vocal leader on this franchise. Reggie Bush still remains an enigma and a conundrum all rolled into one. With a bye week coming up for the team it will give the injured players on the roster time further to recuperate.

Well the Minnesota Vikings remain a team that you can no longer make excuses for . All this talk about Donovan McNabb looking to prolong his career and at the same time viewed as still being productive . Coach Leslie Frazier in conjunction with his coaching staff have yet to indicate he has this team heading in the right direction. Clearly not , when one considers the travails of this team last season and their subsequent free fall within the NFC North . Even with this 22-17 loss to a listless Kansas City Chiefs’ team I have to wonder what we are now seeing from the large majority of these ball clubs from the inaction caused by the NFL lockout or simply from the fact that the brand of football we have been seeing is unduly bad ! Off-season training amongst the players at a neutral site doesn’t seem to have added anything for a number of franchises and as we know there’s so little that we can gauge from the preseason .

John Fox succeeded Josh McDaniels as the coach of the Denver Broncos but I seriously doubt that he would have thought that this team would be so inept . Analysts were of the opinion that incumbent starting quarterback Kyle Orton gave the franchise the best chance of winning and improving over the course of time. There has been little evidence if any of that to suggest that they are in fact even heading in the right direction. Orton if anything has been abysmal and his backup Tim Tebow considered a work in progress seems to be showing that he is still not ready to be considered an NFL ready quarterback . His game still more suited to his college playing career and certainly cannot matriculate to the NFL in its present form and it is clear that this draft choice made by McDaniels in 2010 could be considered a bust were it not for the fact that beyond Tebow the only alternative left to the coaching staff is to have Brady Quinn be thrown into the lion’s den. That option at present doesn’t seem to be the one which favors the fans or quite possibly the front office of the Broncos led by John Elway .

Clearly what would appear to be less than viable options for Elway are the only ones at his and the coach’s disposal. The franchise now faces a daunting task , do they stick with Orton in the hope he can regain some semblance of consistency or do they make the switch to Quinn or Tebow and see what the players makes of the opportunities given to them ? At this juncture there does not seem to be all that much to lose given the team’s woefully inept start to the season and their on field performances .

At 4-0 the two unbeaten teams this season now seem to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the NFL . The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions are off to very fast starts and appear to be viable candidates for the the postseason should they continue with their present form. Matthew Stafford as the starting quarterback for the Lions is healthy and playing with a great deal of authority and leadership. But it has been the productivity of the team as a whole that has been impressive but even more so from Calvin Johnson the team’s talented wide receiver. With the defensive prowess being shown by Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley it is now easy to see why this Lions’ squad has been so successful this season under Jim Schwartz and his staff .

As defending Superbowl champions it has been said …..”winning the title is easy defending it is even tougher ” . For the Green Bay Packers they are proving that it is their intention to make a successful defense of that title . Aaron Rodgers seems to have left from where he stood last season and quite possibly can be now held in the same esteem as the elite quarterbacks within the NFL . Certainly his play this season bears this out as he and the team make a mockery of the NFC North and conference .

It is now becoming abundantly clear that all roads to the Superbowl within the NFC will have go through the Green Bay Packers if they continue to maintain their present form . It has become so scary to see how good this team actually is , and that is with due credit to the performances of the Detroit Lions .

The Baltimore Ravens remains an an enigma for me ! Here is a very good regular season team led by a good young quarterback in Joe Flacco . But come the postseason when the franchise happens to be part of that ensemble they just don’t seem capable of proving themselves worthy of that privilege . John Harbaugh either has to get tough with his players or they have to hold themselves accountable . One would have thought that with such seasoned veterans as Ed Reed and Ray Lewis as a part of this roster that would not be a problem . Somehow it does seem that is the biggest obstacle that the team faces and that’s proving their worth as a legitimate contender . With the team’s offseason acquisitions in line with their draft choices of this year things now appear to be looking up for the franchise . Over the course of this season however , we shall see whether or not the Baltimore Ravens can finally be viewed as a perennial contender within the NFL .

Cautiously optimistic perhaps would be the best way to describe the play of the Buffalo Bills at present . At 3-1 within the AFC East the team shares the divisional lead with the New England Patriots . Bills’ coach Chan Gailey has to pleased with the play of his quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and in particular with the defense of the team . But it has been Fitzpatrick whose solid leadership , maturity and play that seems to be a real confidence booster for the Bills , that now seems to have their fans harkening back to the days of the Marve Levy led Bills’ teams that made their way to four consecutive Superbowls ( SBXXV, SBXXVI, SBXXVII & SBXXVIII ) . Are the Buffalo Bills in their present guise capable of even making the postseason much less a Superbowl appearance remains to be seen . Over the course of the season we shall no doubt find out .

If being conceited were a virtue then no other coach in the NFL would be clearly representative of that than Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots . Granted, we all know of his actions during the “Spygate Affair” and the rather lax disciplinary action taken against the coach by the NFL . As an avowed fan of the team I found it utterly reprehensible that the league hierarchy chose not implement a much harsher sentence for the Patriots’ head coach ! His actions were totally dishonest , disadainful and definitely harmful to the image of the league. But there again the very same actions that Belichick was reprimanded, for is still being practiced within the NFL ___ it was simply the fact that he got caught while others have gone unpunished .

Fast forward to today , and this Patriots’ team once again seems to playing up to the usual level we have come to expect from the organization. However, if they do have a flaw and that is the defense has been uneven and often sporadic in its play . I know that the likes of Albert Haynesworth brought in to add stability , depth and leadership for this young unit has yet show its strength in that department . For the coaching staff and in particular the defensive line coaches this will have to be a situation that needs to be addressed urgently if the Patriots are to have a season that has some semblance of normalcy much less success to it . .

Now while the New England Patriots have struggled defensively the offense has been sensational with Tom Brady leading the way for the team in that aspect with his productivity . With the weapons at Brady’s disposal such as Benjarvus Green-Ellis , Wes Welker , Danny Woodhead , Julian Edelman , Rob Gronkowski and Deion Branch it is understandable that the team would always be considered amongst the leading favorites to make it to the postseason.

The New England Patriots find themselves tied atop of the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills with a 3-1 mark within the division. Seated beneath both teams are the New York Jets (2-2) and Miami Dolphins . With Rex Ryan’s Jets off to an inauspicious start to their schedule I seriously doubt that he will allow his team to languish amongst the lower depths of the AFC . He’s (Ryan) far too irascible a character and no doubt will place his foot firmly up the ass of any player he feel that is not carrying their weight , including his young quarterback Mark Sanchez .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? And which of the teams mentioned do you believe will have a successful season or quite possibly not live up to perceived expectations ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

E mail rapptu@gmail.com

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Linebacker Jason Taylor (99) of the Miami Dolphins walks off the field after the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……..

(2) Quarterback Chad Henne (7) of the Miami Dolphins throws a pass against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……

(3) Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers pats Von Miller (58) of the Denver Broncos on the chest after a game at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Matt Ludtke /Getty Images ….

(4) Kyle Orton (8) of the Denver Broncos is sacked by Desmond Bishop (55) of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Broncos 49-23. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …….

(5) Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens scrambles against the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium on October 2. 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Jets 34-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images) ……

(6) Sergio Kindle (94) of the Baltimore Ravens rushes Mark Sanchez (6) of the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium on October 2. 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Jets 34-17 . Photo by Larry French/Getty Images ……

(7) Oakland Raiders fans in the Black Hole cheer on their team during their game against the New England Patriots at Oakland Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

(8) Tom Brady (12) hands off to BenJarvus Green-Ellis (42) of the New England Patriots who ran in for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …..

(9) Wes Welker (83) of the New England Patriots tries to run away from Chimdi Chekwa (35) of the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

(10) Stevan Ridley (22) of the New England Patriots runs in for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. The Patriots would go on to defeat the Raiders 31-19 . Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

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NFL news

NFL standings by division

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NFL standings by league

NFL player stats thru’ week 4

NFL teams stats thru’ week 4

Week 5 schedule

NFL player injuries

NFL transactions

Teams with byes in week 5 : Baltimore Ravens , Cleveland Browns , Dallas Cowboys , Miami Dolphins , St Louis Rams & Washington Redskins

15 thoughts on “Five Up ……. And Five Who Now Appear To Be On The Way Down ….If Not Out

  1. Great article, as usual bud. I think the team I least believe in is the Lions. Comebacks may be a sign of maturity but to have to come back like that is not a good sign in the first place. You can’t keep doing that and win games. They haven’t been dominating games in the slightest bit which I think is the tell-tale sign of a team that isn’t quite up there with the big boys yet. I’d love for them to prove me wrong though. Great feel good story.

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  2. Chris Ross

    With the Lions I think it all comes down to the fact that they haven’t been relevant in several years and now all of a sudden they appear to be unto something . Now it goes without saying that until they make the postseason and Stafford wins a couple of games of relevance then the jury will still be out on this team . For me however they are one of the few bright spots to what has been something of a dull season so far .

    They have been playing great but when you’re not necessarily blowing people out but merely facing teams that haven’t really tested you , as a fan you can’t really be sure what you’re actually witnessing . For me the true test of this team will be to see how they handle the adversity of trying to erase a deficit in order to win a game ! That will ultimately tell us all how good a team (Detroit Lions) they really are .

    “Megatron” Johnson has been exceptional and has to be now viewed as “an elite wide receiver “ in the NFL .

    tophatal ……………

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    1. aero

      There use to be a time when I dreaded watching the Thanksgiving Day games . Especially when it involved a woefully inept Detroit Lions’ team. That being said the Dallas Cowboys as being part of that tradition haven’t exactly been source of enjoyment over the last five to ten years to say the least !

      Now that the Lions under Matt Stafford are playing well it will be interesting to see how they’ll fare against the Green Bay Packers in that game !

      Week 12 schedule including 3 games on Thanksgiving Day 24th November 2011

      Those games should prove to be a great spectacle if all of the participants are playing at an optimum level in terms of their play overall .

      Plenty of food , plenty of booze and if the games aren’t that exciting then I can always devote my time to other forms of entertainment !

      tophatal ………………. 😉

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    2. aero

      It was somewhat remiss of me not to include the Seahawks amongst the teams stinking up the joint in the NFL at present . I can’t believe that the team’s owner Paul Allen can pay Pete Carroll $7.5 million (per year) for the coach to come up with the crap we are now witnessing with the team. The same too with Haley’s Kansas City Chiefs and it’s hard to believe that both made the postseason last year which in effect shows how dubious the divisions that they reside in are !

      tophatal …………

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  3. The Colts are on the way to a long hard season. John Fox is not a good coach. Just look at his record. Jets and the Eagles are in huge trouble. The Pats-Jest game should be a close one. I think the Jets will come out firing and they may win it

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    1. Bobby Gee

      I know they (Colts ) will tough it out but in the off-season front office will ultimately have to make a serious decision about Manning . They’re on the hook for $28 million due as a roster bonus as part of his most recent deal . At the same time if they’re seeking to enter the Andrew Luck sweepstakes let’s see what they intend to do .

      Well that’s a given concerning the Pats and Jets as their most recent games have always been competitive and contentious . There’s no love lost between these two teams .

      With the inconsistency of the Jets at present and with Namath calling out Mark Sanchez it will be interesting to see what transpires this weekend at Gillette Stadium , Foxboro , Mass, .

      ” I don’t care if he’s Hispanic … he shouldn’t be playing in the NFL ! Look at me look at him ? I’m “Broadway Joe” for Christ’s sake and I gave this organization their lone Superbowl win . Doesn’t that count for something ” ? Joe Namath “Joe I’m just a fat guy doin’ my job take it up with Woody Johnson .” Rex Ryan

      tophatal ……….

      .

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    1. al clements

      As good as the Detroit Lions are until they beat one of the top ranked teams in the league I will continue to have my doubts about them ! Fairley , Suh , Johnson and Stafford have been great this year but here’s the caveat to this all the moment the quarterback gets injured then we’ll see how this team handles real adversity . Stafford has yet to play an entire season in the league since he was drafted (2009) and that’s a fact .

      tophatal …………

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    1. Chris Humpherys

      Can’t go wrong with that quintet at all ! The Baltimore Ravens are playing with a great deal of confidence having recovered from that early season loss . Flacco seems to have found his rhythm and Reed is playing like a real Pro Bowler .

      As for the bottom 5 nt well there's not much left that can be said at all . Cream always rises to the top , whereas as the fecal matter merely sticks in the bowl and continues to stink up the joint .

      tophatal …………..

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