As the calendar turns toward Turkey Day, things begin to take shape in the National Footbal League (say it loudly and emphatically, like Ron Jaworski, who we swear must get a residual from Roger Goodell every time he says that). Early season pretenders are snapped back to reality, while those teams with talent start gettign it together and gearing up for a playoff run.
So what did we learn thus far after the near completion of Week 12?
The Jets are for a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
If you're around Jet fans, you know how much their collective stomach turns when they see a sentence like that. They rival, to a degree, Chicago Cubs fans when it comes to pessimism and gloomy doomy expectations. Strangely, we haven't heard much of that after yesterday's 31-13 whipping of previously unbeaten Tennessee. Brett Favre seems really comfortable right now, the offensive line is playing as a cohesive group, and Thomas Jones has returned to feature back/workhorse status. Not to mention the play of the defensive line (Kris Jenkins, take your bow). The AFC is still a bit wide open for the first time in several years, but to not see the Jets as the potential team to beat down the stretch is not being realistic.
The Colts are Back
Meanwhile, Indy keeps quietly stringing together victories and is poised to be the Team Nobody Wants To Play in the playoffs. While still having some issues on defense, recall that the team that won the Super Bowl was ranked last against the run before winning as well. These guys have experience and can find a way.
Dallas Isn't Going Away
As much as the rest of the league wanted them to go inot the toilet, it looks as if the 'Pokes are in for the long haul. Romo's back, and T.O. just had a big game which will keep his trap shut for awhile. This could be the NFC version of the team everyone will dread facing in Round one.
The Rams, Chiefs, Bengals and Lions simply aren't very good
The battle for the #1 pick is as hot as ever! Rams players voiced support for interim coach Jim Haslett last week, then promptly went out and were humilated by teh Bears 27-3. The Chiefs undid four weeks of apparent progress by allowing a team record 54 points to a Buffalo team which was struggling mightily. Cincinnati puts up some game efforts, but can't seem to buy a win. The Lions head into the annual Turkey Day game winless, putting an emphatic excalmation point on the suckiness that was the Matt Millen Era. (Side note: Michigan has to be one of the most depressing places to be if you're a sports fan, right? The Tigers massively underachieved, the Lions are perpetually awful, Big Blue just lost it's 9th game, oh and the whole automobile industry about to go belly up. Um, go Pistons?)
The Road to The Super Bowl will go through Jersey
The Giants continue to methodically do whatever it takes to pile up win after win. This does beg the question, how the hell did this team lose to Cleveland, and by a lot?
We Still Suck at prognosticating
Even though we're headed for a 9 win week if Nawlins can cover tonight, we're still below 50%. Only a few weeks of miracles can save this pathetic season. Luckily, we don't "gamble" with "money".