This weekend brought us incredibly bizarre results that left some fans scratching their heads, while other now believe their team is unstoppable. Here are my five takeaways.
1) Adrian Peterson deserves the MVP
There are fairly easy arguments for Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady. But I don’t want to talk about them because what Adrian Peterson is doing this season is unbelievable. He current has 1,812 yards, which makes him 297 yards shy of the single season record of 2,105 set by Eric Dickerson in 1984. In six of his last eight games he has rushed for over 150 yards (over 100 in all eight), and in six of his last seven games he has had at least one run of over 50 yards. Peterson isn’t getting a ton of help from his 32nd ranked passing attack led by Christian Ponder and in five of the Viking last eight games the team has rushed for more yards than it has passed for. If the Vikings make the playoffs, there is a 100% chance the Peterson is named the MVP, but even if they miss it and if Peterson does not break Dickerson’s record (which I think he will) he is still deserving of the MVP.
2) The Ravens have some serious issues
They have the 21st ranked total offense and the 26th ranked total defense. Yes, this is the Ravens we are talking about. The Ravens have now lost three straight, two of which were at home, and their schedule does not get any easier playing the reigning Super Bowl Champs next week and ending the season in a potential division deciding match up with the Cincinnati Bengals. This team is too injured and too old. This forces the team to rely on quarterback Joe Flacco even more. For example, in this last match up against the Broncos, Denver went up so fast that it essentially took Ray Rice out of the game. This team is going to have serious problems in the playoffs because of the 6 other potential playoff teams, the only one the Ravens defense may be able to stop is the Pittsburgh Steelers (who right now look to be the one team left out).
3) So much parity!
In the NFC, no one has any idea who is the best. The Falcons beat the Giants and Broncos, but lost to the Saints and Panthers. They will likely get home field advantage, but despite their decisive victory over the Giants, no one seems to have much faith in them. The 49ers have beat the Patriots and but have lost to the Rams during the Kaepernick QB era. They have a dynamic offense and an unbelievable defense, but how far can Kaepernick take them? The Packers have lost four games (Seattle?), potentially to four playoff teams. Now they are finally clicking on all gears and are getting healthy at the right time. Don’t want to mess with Aaron Rodgers who is head and shoulders above any other QB in the NFC playoff hunt. The Redskins????? Would be the four seed if the season ended today. What? They even put a beating on the Browns without Robert Griffin III. They just seem to believe in themselves which has allowed them to win 5 straight. The Seahawks are beating up on bad teams (two straight 50 point games), but they could be big shakers if they beat the 49ers on Sunday night. The Cowboys don’t win pretty, but Tony Romo is doing everything he can to get them to the playoffs. The Vikings, I mean Adrian Peterson, still are in it but finish up tough with the Texans and Packers. The Giants have beat the 49ers and Packers, but can’t even get a winning record within their division. The Bears, who started 7-1, are still alive despite losing 5 of their last 6. The NFC playoff picture is fascinating.
4) The Jets should clean house
Wow. Anyone else wish they had watched something better than Jets vs. Titans last night? That may have been the worst football game I have ever seen, with the most comedic ending (19 yard punt to give the Jets the ball just outside the red-zone down 4… first play fumble. Game over) Mark Sanchez isn’t good, he doesn’t deserve a shot anywhere as a starter. Rex Ryan randomly decided to put in Tebow for a series after failing to utilize him all year, keeps talking a big game without doing much the last two years. Mike Tannenbaum doesn’t understand how to build a team that can sustain success (Hint: it all starts with the QB). The team looked like it put next to no effort into the game last nigh and the Jets are an embarrassment to themselves for talking so much and achieving so little. Time to start fresh.
5) College Football is better than Ever
Yes I know this is about the NFL, but just look how well prepared young players are in the NFL.
Three of the twelve playoff teams could have rookie quarterbacks (Robert Griffin III-Redskins, Andrew Luck-Colts, Russell Wilson-Seahawks). While another three could have second year quarterbacks ( Colin Kaepernick-49ers, Andy Dalton-Bengals, Christian Ponder-Vikings)
Two (Alfred Morris & Doug Martin) of the top five running backs are rookies and Trent Richardson broke the Browns’ rookie record for touchdowns in a season with 11.
Second year wide receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Green are making strong cases for the pro bowl.
Defensive player of the year is between three second year players in J.J. Watt, Aldon Smith, and Von Miller.
Keep it coming NCAA, as some of the best players in the game have long careers ahead of them.
Hope you enjoyed. Please comment and follow me on Twitter @Alex_Rosenbaum