Huddle Up Week 1: The Ravens and Texans make an Opening Week Statement By Jason King

There were some intriguing games in Week one of this new NFL season.  Packers/Saints, Lions/Buccaneers, and Cowboys/Jets were all exciting non-divisional games.  The two divisional games of importance were the Colts/Texans and of course Ravens/Steelers.  Neither was close as the Ravens and Texans both handled business respectively.

The Ravens/Steelers rivalry has been one of the NFL’s best over the last four years.  In that time frame no Ravens/Steelers regular season game was decided by more than 4 points.  Yesterday afternoon that changed.  It was clear from the very beginning of the game that the Ravens wanted to make a statement.  They demolished the Steelers 35-7.  Baltimore put their stamp on this win by forcing seven Pittsburgh turnovers.  They also ran all over the “vaunted” Steelers defense piling up 170 yards rushing yards (5.5 YPC).  Joe Flacco was 17-29 with 224 yards passing and 3 touchdowns.  He beat Ben Roethlisberger for the first time in his NFL career.  Flacco needs to thank his defense for that.  Baltimore’s blitzkrieg pressured Big Ben all day long forcing him into five turnovers (3 INT and 2 fumbles lost).  They never letPittsburghget into any rhythm offensively. Baltimoremade a statement loud and clear that the collapse in last season’s playoffs is behind them.  It’s only the first week of the season, but this was a big game psychologically for the Ravens.  Roethlisberger had won seven straight starts against the Ravens, but that run is now over.  The Ravens have to be feeling confident about themselves.  It is still early, but this was a great win for the Ravens.  On the other side, you can bet Mike Tomlin will have his team prepared for next week’s game against the Seahawks. Continue reading

AFC South and AFC West Preview by Jason King

 

The AFC South and AFC West are looking for their first team, other than the Indianapolis Colts, to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl — last time Oakland Raiders in XXXVII.  Right now, you would have to think both divisions are up-for-grabs in 2011, especially with Peyton Manning iffy (neck) for the start of  the 2011 NFL regular season.

AFC South Preview

 The AFC South belongs to the Indianapolis Colts.  Since the division was created in 2002, the Colts have won 7 division titles (2 straight) and the Titans won the other two.  The Colts have been in the playoffs for 9 straight years.  Could the Houston Texans win their first AFC South division title?  Could the Colts be in for their first losing season in 9 years?  Is Chris Johnson the best player in the division?  There are a lot of questions to be answered in the AFC South this season. Continue reading

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – Wildcard Round Preview

In the Taking It to the House NFL Wildcard Round Preview Podcast The 2010 NFL Playoffs are finally here and teams can either “Win” or “Go Home”.  One of the bigger match-ups will be the Philadelphia Eagles hosting the Green Bay Packers

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – Wildcard Round Preview

NFL Insider Lloyd Vance and Host Mark Gray give you their “Pick 4” for the 2010 NFL Playoffs Wildcard Round including the Philadelphia Eagles looking for “Week 1 Revenge” against the visiting Green Bay Packers

2010 NFL Week 14 – Power Rankings

The San Diego Chargers and WR Ledegu Naane will be looking to rebound against the AFC West division-leading Kansas City Chiefs in Week 14’s marquee game

I am calling Week 14 of the 2010 NFL season, “Do or Die Week”, as several “on the bubble” teams can either join the push toward the playoffs or start planning for their off-season this week. 

With only 4 weeks left in the regular season, the intensity has definitely picked-up around the league. And despite the New England Patriots (10-2) being able to clinch a playoff berth with a win in Week 14, there is still an infinite number of other playoff scenarios to be played out in the league’s regular season championship rounds (December and early January). 

Hopefully in the next four weeks, we will start to see the remaining 24 NFL teams with records ranging from 5-7 to 10-2 self separating into “Contenders” and “Pretenders” as they fight it out for the NFL’s 12 coveted playoff berths. 

Eagles head coach Andy Reid  said of the last part of the NFL regular season, “It’s that time of the year, the last quarter”.  Big Red added, “If you’re still in the hunt, things get a little faster, guys play a little faster and so on.  That’s the nature of the game.  That’s where we’re at.  It’s important that we keep practicing the way we’ve been practicing and preparing the way we’ve been preparing. The guys have been very focused the past few weeks.”

A common trend that I will be interested in seeing, if it will hold true again in 2010, is the number of new teams making the playoffs after missing them the prior year.  In 2009, for the 14th consecutive NFL season, five or more teams qualified for the playoffs that were not in the postseason the year before (Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, and Cincinnati Bengals).  This year the Chiefs, Rams, Seahawks, Steelers, Bears, Falcons, and Buccaneers are all strong contenders to make the playoffs after missing out on them in 2009.

Speaking of the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams, they are both trying to continue a very interesting recent NFL trend – trying to make 8 consecutive seasons where a team has gone from worst to first in their division.  In 2009, the New Orleans Saints won the NFC South making it the seventh consecutive season that a team has gone from “worst-to-first” in its division, the longest such streak in NFL history.   

  • In looking at the current NFL standings here’s the breakdown: The “Elite” – Patriots (10-2), Falcons (10-2); The “Almost There’s” — NY Jets (9-3), Bears (9-3), Steelers (9-3), Saints (9-3), and Eagles (8-4); The “Contenders” — Packers (8-4), Chiefs (8-4), Ravens (8-4),  and Bucs (7-5); “Stuck in the Middle” inconsistent teams, who still have a playoff chance but are stuck in the NFL’s parity-filled middle — Colts (6-6), Chargers (6-6), Seahawks (6-6), Raiders (6-6), and Rams (6-6); The “Pretenders”, who are only a shade away from the league’s bottom rung – Redskins (5-7), Browns (5-7), Texans (5-7) Vikings (5-7), Niners (4-8), and Cowboys (4-8); and lastly the “Ugly” (All in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes called the 2011 NFL Draft) – Broncos (3-9), Cardinals (3-9), Lions (2-10), Bengals (2-10), Bills (2-10), and Panthers (1-11)
  • The division standings also are very tight heading as the 2010 NFL Season’s 4th quarter begins. Eagles/Giants (NFC East —  3 game lead over WAS), Falcons (NFC South — 1 game lead over NO), Bears (NFC North — 1 game lead over GB), Seahawks/Rams (NFC West — 2 game lead over SF), Jags (AFC South — 1 game lead over IND), Steelers (AFC North — 1 game lead over BAL), Patriots (AFC East — 1 game lead over NYJ), Chiefs (AFC West — 2 game lead over SD)

However, “Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves” as there is still is a lot of football left to be played and nothing has been guaranteed in this crazy topsy-turvy season.  If I have learned anything from my years covering the NFL it is that nothing is predictable about the world’s most popular league.  So buckle-up as the 2010 NFL regular season is entering it’s 4th quarter. 

I also want to remind fans to vote for their favorite players as balloting for the 2011 Pro Bowl will conclude soon http://www.nfl.com/probowl/ballot

Now on to the rankings for this week.

1.  Patriots (10-2); LW1 – Brady and Belichick were all smiles as they dominated – ran the score-up on – the J-E-T-S on MNF, turning the “Game of the Year” into a laugher.  Next-up is another playoff-worthy game as the Patriots will look to stay at the top when they travel to the Windy City to take-on the defensive Chicago Bears

2.  Falcons (10-2); LW3 –  It wasn’t pretty, but Matty “Ice” and his team showed they could win outside of the Georgia Dome as they outlasted the scrappy Tampa Bay Bucs in an NFC South showdown game.  The Falcons and stout head coach Mike Smith should move another step closer to the NFC South crown when they travel to Carolina in WK14.

3.  Steelers (9-3); LW6 — In a tough physical Northeast-style football game, Big Ben overcame injuries (broken nose and persistent foot problem) to lead Pittsburgh over the Ravens, of course Troy Polamulu helped too.  The Steelers will need to jump on the reeling visiting Bengals early as sometimes rivalry games easily turn into “Trap Game” loses.

4.  Saints (9-3); LW4 – Fueled by a great goalline stand, the champion Saints continued to fly under the radar by outlasting the falling-apart Bengals in WK13.  With an eye on continuing their winning streak before their highly-anticipated WK 16 showdown with the Falcons, New Orleans will need to take care of business against the NFC West leading St. Louis Rams.

5. Bears (9-3); LW7 – This team rightly or wrongly, continues to get no respect around the NFL.  Chicago stayed in the playoff hunt by pulling out a skin-of-their-teeth victory over the host Detroit Lions.  We will now see if the Bears deserve to be near the top of the NFL Power Rankings as they host No. 1 New England Patriots in a “Statement Game”.

6.  Eagles (8-4); LW8 –  After jumping out to big early lead, the Eagles needed to put together 14 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to defeat the Houston Texans in the NFL Network Thursday Game.  In a possible letdown spot, QB Michael Vick and the Eagles will need to be on their “P’s” and “Q’s” when they travel to Dallas for a huge NFC East rivalry game against the resurgent Cowboys on SNF.

7.  Ravens (8-4); LW5 – On Sunday Night Football, the Ravens were in control of the Steelers until they were undone by a huge turnover in their end of the field.  In a “playoff push” kind of game, Baltimore and QB Joe Flacco will need to forget about their Steelers’ loss and concentrate on the host Houston Texans on MNF.

8.  Chiefs (8-4); LW10 – It wasn’t even close as the upstart Chiefs continued their climb from worst to first in the AFC West by dominating the falling-apart Broncos.  After the loss…Yes, HC Todd Haley shook Josh McDaniel’s hand (later in the week, Boy Wonder was canned).  In a total shocker, quarterback Matt Cassel will not be part of the Chiefs big game against the Chargers (appendectomy) in Week 14.

9.  NY Jets (9-3); LW2– I t wasn’t even close as the J-E-T-S were no match for the Patriots on Monday Night Football as Sanchez floundered in a big spot (3 INTs).  HC Rex Ryan needs to preach to his team that the season is not close to being over as New York must re-group when they host division-rival, the Miami Dolphins.

10. Packers (8-4); LW9 – I thought this one would be closer, but the QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers dominated the Niners even though they seem to have injuries everywhere (Clifton, Woodson, and others).  Green Bay will need to continue getting a running game behind rookie James Starks when they travel to Detroit for an NFC North black-and-blue special.

11.  New York Giants (8-4); LW13 – The G-Men continued to stay right in the middle of the NFC East division crown hunt by thumping the error-prone Redskins.  It is “Do or Die” time for Tom Coughlin’s team as they have 3 out of 4 road games to end the season including traveling to Minnesota in Week 14.

12.  Jaguars (7-5); LW15 –  People better start changing their thinking of the Jags as QB David Garrard continued his resurgence in a rather-easy win over the struggling Tennessee Titans.  In a game that will have huge playoff implications, the Jaguars will host the Raiders in Week 14.

13.  Buccaneers (7-5); LW14 – It looks like next year may be the year (if their isn’t Labor Unrest) for the upstart Bucs as they suffered a very close loss to the Atlanta Falcons.  The next 4 games will tell us everything we need to know about Raheem Morris’ team and it all starts this week in the Nation’s Capital.

14. Raiders (6-6); LW19 – Don’t bury the Raiders just yet as Al Davis’ team continued their unlikely climb from their over 7–year slumber (Super Bowl Hangover) by spanking the Chargers.  Everything will be on the line as Oakland travels to J-ville for a huge game with playoff implications.

15. Chargers (6-6); LW11 – Holy Crap… the Chargers’ 18-game December winning streak is over and of all the teams to stop it, the Raiders answered the bell against their AFC West rival.  San Diego and high-flying quarterback Philip Rivers must play with less mistakes against a Kansas City Chiefs team looking to move closer to an improbable AFC West crown.

16. Vikings (5-7); LW20 – New Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier is now a sparkling 2-0 after backup Tarvaris Jackson and powerback Adrian Peterson led Minnesota to dominating win over the Buffalo Bills.  Looking to become the NFL’s biggest spoiler, the Vikings will host the playoff-minded New York Giants and everyone is wondering if Brett Favre (shoulder, ankle) will play…he will.

17.  Rams (6-6); LW22 – Wow… it is incredible the precipitous fall of the reeling Arizona Cardinals as the Rams dominated them to claim the top spot in the NFC West.  In a “Show Me, Something” game, the Rams and Rookie of the Year candidate QB Sam Bradford will travel to New Orleans to play the surging Saints.

18.  Seahawks (6-6); LW23 – I don’t know what to make of this inconsistent team as HC Pete Carroll’s team stayed at the top of the dreadful NFC West by dominating the host Panthers.  Well someone has to win the NFC West, right?? And we will start to get some answers when the Niners host the Seahawks in Week 14.

19. Colts (6-6); LW12 – What in the world has happened to the perennial 12-win Colts?  It was another Pick Parade for Indy QB Peyton Manning as the upstart Dallas Cowboys fought back to win in overtime at Lucas Oil Stadium.  The Colts will need to win-out from here if they want to win the AFC South and make the playoffs and it all starts in Week 14 against the Tennessee Titans on NFL Network Thursday Night Football.

20. Browns (5-7); LW18 –  In a boring ugly game, the Browns continued their climb back to respectability as they outlasted the offensively-challenged Dolphins.  In the “Lake Erie” bowl, the Browns and rhino running back Peyton Hillis will travel to Buffalo for a frigid battle with the scrappy Bills.

21.  Dolphins (6-6); LW17 – There was a ton of Wildcat as QB Chad Henne was awful in a close home loss to the Browns that showed Miami’s offensive struggles.  We will see if kicker Dan Carpenter can kick another 60-yarder when the ‘Phins travel to the New Meadowlands to face an angry NY Jets’ squad.

22.  Texans (5-7); LW16 – Two words, “No Defense” and clearly it was evident on Thursday Night as the host Eagles and comebacking QB Michael Vick rode their offense to a 10-point win.  Sure the Texans can move the ball, but they will need to win-out to equal last year’s win total and Houston has a tough game on MNF with the angry Baltimore Ravens.

23.  Cowboys (4-8); LW26 – Some say it is new interim head coach Jason Garrett (now 3-1) as the Cowboys surprised the Colts in OT.  But I think this team had too much talent to begin with to continue their losing ways. Now Dallas is the NFL’s toughest spoiler team and they will line-it-up against the Eagles in a huge NFC East battle on Sunday Night Football.

24.  Redskins (5-7); LW21 – This team is in total disarray as the G-Men took advantage of no Hayensworth (over 150 rushing yards) and turnovers (6) to thump Washington.  With their playoff hopes hanging by a thread, the Redskins and veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb will host the upstart Tampa Bay Bucs.

25. Niners (4-8); LW25 – San Francisco looked very cold and disinterested as the Packers thumped them at Lambeau.  Hard to believe…the Niners still have a chance for the weak NFC West crown.  But they can’t have a single misstep in their last 4 games including a Week 14 battle with the Seahawks.

26.  Titans (5-7); LW24 – Hard to believe after a 6-3 start, Tennessee has totally collapsed including an embarrassing loss to the Jaguars in Week 13.  Next-up, the Titans will have little time to pick-up the pieces as they host the Colts in a crucial AFC South battle on Thursday Night Football.

27. Lions (2-10); LW27 –  If nothing else, Detroit is an entertaining team.  But the name of the game is wins and the Lions just can’t get any including a tough Week 13 loss to division rival, the Chicago Bears.  However we are all waiting for the upset-minded Lions to surprise someone and possibly it could be in Week 14 when QB Drew Stanton leads his team against the visiting Packers.

28.  Broncos (3-9); LW28 –  After an embarrassing loss to the Chiefs and a million of other factors, Denver owner Pat Bowlen mercifully pulled the plug on the Josh McDaniels’ era.  Now we will see if interim HC Eric Studesville will have the same magic as Frazier and Garrett when he leads his team against the equally awful Cardinals in this Week’s Toilet Bowl.

29.  Bills (2-10); LW29 –  Surprisingly, the scrappy Bills had no fight in them as the host Vikings annihilated them in the Metrodome.  We will see who the kings of Lake Erie are when the Bills host the Browns in an anticipated snowy battle.

30.  Cardinals (3-9); LW30 –  You know Larry Fitzgerald is still looking for Kurt Warner to walk in the door as the Cardinals lost –again—this time to the Rams.  It will be a Toilet Bowl special when the Cardinals host the equally putrid Broncos in Week 14.

31.  Bengals (2-10); LW31 – Marvin Lewis’ team did everything but win the game against the surging Saints – “They Let  Them Off, The Hook”.  With not much else to play for but pride, the Bengals will travel to P-Burgh to face the playoff-minded Steelers.

32.  Panthers (1-11); LW32 –  I hope they are scouting Stanford QB Andrew Luck, because the Panthers are at the bottom and it showed against the Seahawks.  Next-up, look for the host Panthers to get thumped by the NFC South leading Atlanta Falcons.

 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

2010 NFL Season – Week 12 Power Rankings by Lloyd Vance

Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate safety Eric Berry and the Kansas City Chiefs are looking to stay at the top of the AFC West as the 2010 NFL Season enters it’s 4th quarter

With only six weeks left in the NFL Season, the intensity has surely picked-up around the league.  With America’s holiday, Thanksgiving , upon us there are 23 teams with records ranging from 4-6 to 8-2 hoping to be thankful for one of the NFL’s 12 coveted playoff berths come this January. 

But there is still is a lot of football left to be played and nothing has been guaranteed in a season where “perfection” left the door in Week 5.  If nothing else, this has been one topsy-turvy season that has many scratching their heads (can you say Cleveland Browns thumping the New England Patriots in WK9).  So every NFL team better be prepared weekly as our separation of teams into “Contenders” and “Pretenders” continues.

In looking at the current NFL standings here’s the breakdown: The “Elite” – Patriots (8-2), Falcons (8-2), NY Jets (8-2), Eagles (7-3), and Saints (7-3); The “Contenders” — Bears (7-3), Packers (7-3), Ravens (7-3), Steelers (7-3), and Bucs (7-3); “Stuck in the Middle” inconsistent teams, who are caught in the NFL’s large parity-filled middle and need to either join the playoff hunt or fall back — Colts (6-4), Chiefs (6-4), Seahawks (5-5), Raiders (5-5), Redskins (5-5), Chargers (5-5), Browns (4-6), Texans (4-6) and Rams (4-6); The “Pretenders”, who are only a shade away from the league’s bottom rung – Vikings (3-7), Cowboys (3-7), Broncos (3-7) and Niners (3-7); and lastly the “Ugly” (See at the 2011 NFL Draft) – Cardinals (3-7), Lions (2-8), Benglas (2-8), Panthers (2-8), and Bills (2-8)

The division standings also are very tight heading into the 4th quarter of the 2010 NFL Season. Philadelphia Eagles (NFC East — 1 game lead over NYG), Atlanta Falcons (NFC South — 1 game lead over NO/TB), Green Bay Packers/Chicago Bears (NFC North — 4 game lead over MIN), Seahawks (NFC West — 1 game lead over STL), Indianapolis Colts/Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South — 1 game lead over TEN), Pittsburgh Steelers/Baltimore Ravens (AFC North — 3 game lead over CLE), New England Patriots and NY Jets tied (AFC East — 2 game lead over MIA), Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West — 1 game over OAK/SD)

Now on to the rankings for this week.

1.  Patriots (8-2) – Even after their hiccup in Week 9 against the Browns, Bill Belichick’s team continues to look like the NFL’s top playoff contender.  In Week 11, the Brady Bunch followed-up a solid win over the Steelers by doing just enough to get by the scrappy Colts in an AFC playoff type game.  This week on Turkey Day, the Pats will hope to feast on the better than their record host Detroit Lions.

2.  NY Jets (8-2) – Don’t give me that this team is “Living on a Prayer”.  There is no way that Rex Ryan’s team is not one of the NFL’s best, especially with the way QB Mark Sanchez is playing.  In Week 11, it was the Houston Texans turn to experience the ice-water in WR Santonio Holmes veins.  In the Thanksgiving nightcap, the J-E-T-S will host the floundering Bengals in a 2009 playoff game rematch.

3.  Falcons (8-2) –  Though I saw my hometown Eagles beat the Falcons earlier this year, Mike Smith’s team is starting to make a believer out of me.  In an entertaining game, the NFL’s new triplets (Ryan, Turner, and White) led Atlanta to a solid win over the pesky St. Louis Rams.  In a game that could have huge playoff implications, the Falcons will look to go 19-1 under Ryan in the Dome as they take on the NFC North leading Green Bay Packers.

4.  Eagles (7-3) – Head Coach Andy Reid continues to ride the MV7 Express as QB Michael Vick’s redemption story is getting more compelling by the day.  In an NFC East slugfest, the Birds fed off NY Giants’ turnovers (5) to sloppy home win that put them in first place.  In a crucial road game that could have playoff implications, the Eagles will go back to Chicago – this time without McNabb – looking for a big win over the NFC North leading Bears.

5.  Saints (7-3) – The champs have overcome a ton adversity in their title defense season – including using 9 different RB’s – and they are still right in the middle of the NFC South division race.  QB Drew Brees continued his comeback from some early season interception woes by leading the Saints over the reeling Seahawks.   In Week 12, the Saints will travel to Dallas on Thanksgiving looking for some revenge from last season.

6.  Steelers (7-3) — Even though Roethlisberger’s jaw is not looking that stout, the rest of Pittsburgh’s team is looking like they are ready to fight to get back in the playoffs in 2010.  In Week 11, the Steelers dominated their former 70’s rival, the Oakland Raiders, in a good home win.  Next up for the Men of Steel is a potential “Trap Game” special as Mike Tomlin’s bunch shuffles off to Buffalo to take on the rising Bills.

7.  Ravens (7-3) – As the weeks click by, the anticipation is growing toward the Ravens-Steelers grudge match in Week 13 that could decide the AFC North crown.  After a slow start, QB Joe Flacco led Baltimore to an easy win over the putrid Carolina Panthers.  In Week 12, Head Coach John Harbaugh will need to get the ball more to WR Anquan Boldin as the Ravens host the looking-for-respect Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

8. Packers (7-3) – Wow that was easy!!  In a tale of two teams headed in separate directions, the Packers moved into an NFC North first-place tie by humiliating their host, the Minnesota Vikings.  Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers will look to continue his march toward the 2011 Pro Bowl as the Pack heads to Hotlanta to face the Falcons in a possible playoff battle.

9. Bears (7-3) Though I am still not sold on Lovie Smith’s team, the Bears continue to maul whomever is in front of them.  In an extremely ugly Thursday Night Football Game, Chicago’s defense showed their teeth in a dominating win over the floundering Dolphins.  In a sure to be Black-and-Blue special, the Bears will host the rising Philadelphia Eagles and SI Cover player, QB Michael Vick.

10. Colts (6-4) – I find it absolutely incredible, what QB Peyton Manning is doing with probably the NFL’s most beat-up team.  The Colts more than held their own in a tough road loss to their old nemesis, the New England Patriots…BTW bad pick at the end of the game, Peyton.  However I caution everyone to not bury No. 18 and his team just yet as they will look to rebound against resurgent San Diego Chargers in a huge NBC Sunday Night Football game.

11.  Bucs (7-3) – Sorry Raheem Morris, but I still need more evidence to think that your young team is a playoff contender.  However right now, you have to think Morris is a leading candidate for NFL Coach of the Year.  The Bucs stayed in the exciting NFC South race with the Falcons and Saints by embarrassing the host Niners.  In one of Week 12’s most anticipated games, Tampa wants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T as they travel to the Charm City looking for respect against Ray Lewis and Ravens.

12.  Chiefs (6-4) – Another team that is battling the Nation’s impression that they are not a fraud.  KC currently leads the AFC West after a rather easy win over the struggling Cardinals.  If the Chiefs want to continue to show their mettle they will need in Seattle against former AFC West rival, the Seahawks

13. Chargers (5-5) – Don’t look now, but Norv Turner’s team is making their usual late season run.  In Week 11, San Diego further buried the underachieving Broncos.  Next up is huge road game against the playoff tested Colts.

14.  Jaguars (6-4) – Another week, Another win but the questions abound about Jack Del Rio’s team.  The Jaguars outlasted the tougher than their record Browns.  Next up is a huge respect battle with the host New York Giants.

15.  New York Giants (6-4) – The NFC East is no longer solely the G-Men’s playground as the Philadelphia Eagles took control of the division’s top spot in a big SNF win.  Next up is a Contender/Pretender match-up with the Jaguars.

16. Raiders (5-5) – Still trying to prove their awful play from the 2000’s is behind them. Next up Oakland hosts the .500 Dolphins

17.  Redskins (5-5) – Don’t bury Shanahan and McNabb just yet.  The .500 ‘Skins will look to stay in the playoff hunt as they host the Vikings

18.  Texans (4-6) – The not ready for Prime Time Texans lost another close one, this time to the NY Jets.  Next up is a huge AFC South showdown with the Titans.

 19.  Dolphins (5-5) – On Thursday Night football, Miami was awful as they were embarrassed at home by the Bears. Next up are the Raiders in a “Get Over .500” Special

20.  Seahawks (5-5) – Probably the NFL’s most inconsistent team as they were thumped by the Saints.  Next up is a surprise division leader battle the Seahawks host the Cheifs.

21. Browns (4-6) – Cleveland now has a quarterback but not much else.  Next up is a Toilet Bowl special with the equally putrid Carolina Panthers.

22.  Titans (5-5) – No more V.Y to kick  around (thumb surgery), but Tennessee has bigger problems.  Next up is an AFC South “Loser Leaves Town” match with the Texans

23.  Rams (4-6) – What a resurgence for Steve Spagnuolo’s squad!!  Next up is road test against the struggling Broncos

24.  Cowboys (3-7) – Jason Garrett looks like the real deal after two consecutive wins.  But now the Nation’s Eyes will be focused on Big D on Thanksgiving as the Cowboys host the Saints.

25. Vikings (3-7) – Bye, Bye Brad Chidress as the Vikings lockerroom got their wish to remove their unpopular former head coach.  Now Leslie Frazier takes over and his first game will be against the upstart Redskins in DC.

26. Niners (3-7) – After an ugly home shutout loss to the Bucs, everyone is wondering if Iron Mike Singletary will be the next head coach out.  It will be incumbent on QB Troy Smith to lead his team as the Niners face the Cardinals on Monday Night Football.

27. Lions (2-8) –  What a  season so far in 2010 and things should only get better as players like Suh continue to mature.  You know the drill, since it is Thanksgiving then the Lions should be giving you indigestion as they lose on Turkey Day to the Patriots

28.  Cardinals (3-7) – What a disappointment for Arizona!  Not even in the very bad NFC West, can the Cardinals stay above a .500 winning pct.  Next is a Monday Night Football stinker as Arizona meets the Niners.

29.  Broncos (3-7) –  This team looks to be sinking fast as the Chargers dominated Broncos on MNF.  Next up is a potential season changer against the St. Louis Rams.

30.  Bills (2-8) – Great stats for QB Fitzpatrick and WR Stevie Johnson or not… the Bills have a ton of work to do in the off-season.  You know that Buffalo would love  to get a shot at “possible” 2011 first-overall pick, Stanford QB Andrew Luck.  Next up is a home battle with the “angry” Steelers.

31.  Bengals (2-8) – Marvin Lewis’ team truly are the Bungles as their 2009 season success is long over.  Look for the NY Jets to make the Bengals, the main course as they host Cincy in Thanksgiving’s last match-up.

32.  Panthers (2-8) – You are next John Fox!! The Panthers are putrid and it will take a miracle for them to win more games in 2010.  Next up is a game with the Browns on the road in Cleveland, which I am dubbing the “Toilet Bowl”.

 

Lloyd Vance is a NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – Week 5 Preview

In the NFL Week 5 Preview Podcast — All eyes will be on Indianapolis to see if WR Austin Collie and the Colts can pin a first loss on the surprisingly undefeated Kansas City Chiefs

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – Week 5 Preview

NFL Insider Lloyd Vance and Host Mark Gray breakdown Week 5′s upcoming games including the Indianapolis Colts (2-2) trying to shutdown the surprisingly undefeated Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)

Johnson is trying to “Tweet” his way out of KC

Larry_Johnson

LJ is trying to aggravate beleaguered Chiefs head coach Todd Haley even further with his recent comments on  Twitter

Things just went from bad to worse for volatile running back Larry Johnson in Kansas City.  The one time NFL rushing leader and workhorse has definitely slowed down since his heyday of about 4 to 5 years ago.  Time, off the field problems, and injuries have definitely caught up with Johnson (30 on Nov. 19th). 

The former Penn State power back only had 874 yards on 193 carries with a 4.5 ypr average and 5 TDs in 2008, but you know he would be more than happy with those mediocre type numbers this year.   After another pedestrian effort (16 rushes for 49 yards with a long of 9 yards) on Sunday in a 37-7 loss to the Chargers, Johnson got on the offensive via Twitter against Chiefs head coach Todd Haley. 

Though Tweeting is sometimes unconfirmed for some athletes, I am pretty sure it was Johnson pulling his Blackberry on Haley.  Just read the following excerpts and you will see what I mean.

“my father got more credentials than most these pro coaches….google my father!!!”

“My father played for the coach from “remember the titans”. Our coach played golf. My father played for redskins briefly. Our coach. Nuthn”

It is never a good idea to jump-on your head coach, but doing so in a public form only fans the flames even more.  Johnson’s alleged tweets are pretty inflammatory stuff and you can only expect things to get more heated between Haley, Johnson, and overall Chiefs organization.    

The Chiefs are pretty downtrodden right now with a record of 1-6 and Johnson isn’t doing much better (132 rushes for 358 yards, 2.7 ypc, and 0 TDs).   Also remember it was the fiery Haley who was the coach that got into it verbally with Anquan Boldin last year on the sidelines during the Cardinals’ Super Bowl run. 

 So expect some kind of fine, suspension, or some other disciplinary action to be coming Johnson’s way.  If I were backups Kolby Smith and Jamaal Charles, I would be getting my legs ready for more running after the Chiefs’ bye week.