I usually wait until Tuesday mornings to put up my takeaways from the past week in the NFL, but out of pure disrespect for the Indianapolis Colts, and the fact that they are more than likely going to get spanked, I thought I would do it prior to Monday Night Football. I could talk about the Patriots dismantling another opponent, but its starting to get too vanilla. A lot of injuries occurred this week that could majorly shake up the NFL, but we will evaluate them as we get a better understanding of just how serious they are. We will switch it up this week. Lets get right into it...
1. Peyton Manning Does In Fact Still Have It, Exposing the Suddenly-Alarming Packers
Let me start out by saying, I am sorry to all of Packer Nation. For some strange reason, we have a pretty large following in Green Bay and they were not too happy with me after I proclaimed that the Packers may by a little overrated. Overrated may have been the wrong word. Ill-prepared? Out-coached? Man-handled? The Packers are a damn good football team; they will probably make it out of the NFC and onto the Super Bowl, barring any catastrophic injuries. However, they were exposed on Sunday Night Football.
Give the Broncos credit; they stayed in their lanes rushing the quarterback and played well in coverage, forcing Aaron Rodgers to hold onto the football to try and make a play. A-Rodg finished the day 14-22, with 77 yards and 0 TDs. On the other side of the football, we saw a glimpse of the old Peyton Manning, as he threw the ball all around the field for 300+ yards.
If you're a Patriots fan, you have to feel good about both teams after Sunday night. More to come on this later in the week...
2. Can We Safely Say The Steelers Are Done?
If Andy Dalton is clutch, then the Pittsburgh Steelers' uniforms are gorgeous. Nevertheless, Cincy continues to find ways to win when it matters, as they improve to 7-0.
But thats not the story. They will fizzle out when it matters like they always do.
The bigger story is the state of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Going into this game, things didn't look terrible for the Bumblebees. Big Ben was returning, they had arguably the best running back in the NFL, and an elite receiving core. Unfortunately, Le'Veon Bell tore his MCL "badly," and will be out for the rest of the year, and Ben Roethlisberger looked everything but elite in his return. The high-powered Pitt offense may not have the necessary tools to threaten the Patriots anymore, but they could still make some noise in the playoffs if their QB can get his head on straight.
This team is now completely on the shoulders of Roethlisberger, which is a scary position to be in. Fresh off a major-injury scare, Big Ben has to lead a ship treading water in a conference that looks to be wrapped up.
3. The Poopy Jets Are Back
Things are just getting worse for the Jets after losing a heartbreaker to New England last week. Yesterday against the Raiders, a team that you would think they should easily handle if they are in fact a contender, they were embarrassed in more ways than one. While their on-field performance speaks for itself, the more concerning storyline may be the fact that they lost both of their quarterbacks.
On a sidenote, how Jets is it to have both of your crappy QBs injured in the same game?
Anyways, Ryan Fitzpatrick, the supposed starting QB, has torn ligaments in his non-throwing hand and will likely need to take some time off. Geno Smith, fresh off of getting socked in the jaw by his ex-teammate, was hurt pretty quickly after taking a shot to his shoulder and abdomen. It was so bad, that at one point Fitzpatrick had to come back out, torn ligaments and all, just to finish the game. The Jets are in an interesting position as they evaluate their quarterback play and position. The right move, which may be picking up a QB before the Trade Deadline, could keep them right in the playoff hunt. The wrong move, which may be sticking with Geno Smith, could put them right back into mediocrity.
By Pete Packowski