NFL Round Table, 2012: Week 5

Welcome to week five of the NFL season. We’re going to shake up the format this week and do some questions and answers about this week’s games.

Arizona 3, St Louis 17

The Rams straight punched the Cardinals in the mouth in this one, sacking Kevin Kolb nine times. There was ample opportunity for St Louis to collapse in the second half of this one but the defense managed to hold on. Is it possible that Jeff Fisher has brought an end to the era of embarrassment?

Dave: Is it possible? Sure it is! Will they make the playoffs? No, probably not. San Francisco is much better than them.

Kevin: I think The Mustache (i’m really trying to get this nickname going) has righted the ship. They’re clearly much more competitive than the last few seasons. That defense is good enough to keep them in games. Now it’s up to Bradford to show he was worth that ridiculous contract. Without much of an O-line that’s going to be tough though.

Cleveland 27, New York Giants 41

The Browns are utterly terrible and have a new owner so it’s likely that Mike Holmgren and Pat Shumur will be shown the door at the end of the season. If you were running the Browns who would you hire to be your next coach?

Dave: I totally forgot Holmgren was in Cleveland. Their next coach won’t matter, they need players. Richardson seems decent but they’re still a QB, offense and defense lines, and well, you get the idea before they’ll be any good. I saw some stats on how awful Cleveland’s professional teams have been and it’s dreadful. We like to talk about how bad we have it in Chicago, we’ve got NOTHING on Cleveland.

Kevin: I was excited when this game was 14-0 Cleveland. 2 hours later it was a blow out. Screw the NFL for subjecting me to this crappy, crappy early game.

Philadelphia 14, Pittsburgh 16

Michael Vick fumbled the ball away two more times in this one and the Eagles lost to a team that got beat by both the Broncos and Raiders. How terrible are the Eagles? What will their final record be?

Dave: The Eagles are really bad, they had no business winning the games they did. My prediction is 8-8, their schedule’s not too bad, but I don’t see them making the playoffs.

Kevin: Agree with Dave. Also, can we all agree that Vick basically had one good season (culminating in the @ Green Bay playoff win), a bunch of highlights, but was otherwise a pretty average QB during his career?

Green Bay 28, Indianapolis 30

After the news last week that Chuck Pagano had Leukemia you knew the Colts would be dangerous this week, but the Packers were up big early before ultimately collapsing. So was this a “win one for the Gipper” win or is Green Bay in real danger of missing the playoffs?

Dave: Obviously, I was a huge fan of this outcome. I think Green Bay could easily miss the playoffs but a big part of that will come down to how good the Vikings really are.

Kevin: Yeah I think this was a mixture of emotional game + Green Bay is a year older. That defense wasn’t good last year (except against the Bears) and it’s certainly not good this year (except against the Bears). As much as I feel for the Colts fans losing their coach like this, they just had a decade of Manning and now they’re starting a decade of Luck. He’s legit and Reggie Wayne can still run and catch. That’s a pretty dangerous combination. I think finishing around .500 would be a pretty good season for them and might be doable.

Atlanta 24, Washington 17

After this win Atlanta head coach Mike Smith said he knew his team wouldn’t get any respect until the win in the post season. Do you agree, are the Falcons just the new Chargers, regular season paper tigers?

Dave: Short answer, yes. Until they win a playoff game, Smith is right, no one will respect them.

Kevin: Yep, gotta win when it matters. They’ve been the sleeper Super Bowl pick for a few seasons now and can never put it together, so I’m not convinced yet (and let’s remember it took a miracle play for them to beat Carolina last week).

Miami 17, Cincinnati 13

In the battle for worst uniforms in the league take your pick between turquoise, coral, and a helmet wearing dolphin or animal print pants.

Dave: The animal print pants are easily the worst. Now, if a little movie called Ace Ventura: Pet Detective didn’t release during my formative years? This might be a harder question.

Kevin: “Who’s laughing now bitches?” – Ryan Tannehill. I’m a sucker for the “nobody believes in me/us” storyline, so after watching Hard Knocks and hearing about what an awful decision it was to let this guy start, well, good for him. Two solid but not spectacular weeks for the rookie is better than the disaster everyone predicted.

Baltimore 9, Kansas City 6

Every bit as dull as its score would indicate, the only highlight in this game was when the Kansas City crowd openly cheered the injury of their starting quarterback. Is Matt Cassel as bad as Chiefs fans think? Is Brady Quinn the answer? Is there a phone ringing in Hattiesburg?

Dave: Cassel is bad but cheering when he gets injured? Philly fans, someone is challenging you for your title as biggest assholes. I can’t wait to see what they do to take back the title next week. Burning Any Reid in effigy? Killing baby kittens to intimidate the Lions? Throwing their own feces at Matt Stafford? Anything is in play.

Kevin: Welcome back everyone to the “Professional Refs Are Awful Too” segment of the show.[ed.- sigh]┬áThis week we’ll feature the two controversial calls that really screwed KC out of a victory. The first was arguable – in the fourth quarter Dwayne Bowe had a TD called back when an offensive pass interference was called on a KC player “picking” a Ravens defender (close call, I’d argue it wasn’t intentional as the rule requires, but whatever). The really bad one was Flacco getting sacked and fumbling the ball which was picked up by the KC defense and returned for a TD. But wait! Before Flacco was even down a ref came in and called the play dead, negating KC’s ability to challenge the fumble and ensuing TD. KC had no business winning this game with all of the suckiness of Cassell, but those were two really tough calls to take.

Seattle 16, Carolina 12

The Seahawks are competent and the Panthers have shown no improvement over last season, which of these things is more surprising?

Dave: To me, it’s the Seahawks, even though I can see them crashing back to earth these next four weeks. (New England, @San Fran, @Detroit, Vs. Minnesota).

Kevin: First, fuck Seattle and that cheating POS Pete Carroll. Way to leave Dodge as the shit storm arrives you dirtbag. I don’t buy for a second that this Seattle team is any good. Second, to answer your question, I’m more surprised Carolina hasn’t taken a step. Cam Newton has clearly regressed. They had a play on like the 3 yard line to score a TD and take the late game lead that was perfectly called, but Newton missed badly. His receiver was wide open but he left the pass about 5 yards short. Last year he makes that play. They’re going nowhere in a hurry.

Chicago 41, Jacksonville 3

As the season continues the Bears are beginning to look like one of the steadier teams in the NFC North, what do they need to do to stay in playoff contention?

Dave: Without being a dick and just say keep winning, I’ll be slightly less of a dick and say avoid injuries. With the schedule they have the rest of the way (Houston and @ San Fran are the only two truly scary games) unless Cutler completely craps the bed (always a 50/50 shot!) they should make the playoffs easily.

Kevin: “Playoffs? You talking about playoffs?” I agree with Dave they need to stay healthy, especially that defense. They’re playing out of their minds but we all know the odds of that happening over 12 more games isn’t likely. HOWEVA, the Bears are 9-1 in their last 10 (with Cutler) scoring an average of 31 ppg. So, yeah.

Tennessee 7, Minnesota 30

Despite the wins it’s difficult to shake the feeling that the Vikings are illusion waiting to dissipate, what can the Vikings do to prove to you that they’re the real deal?

Dave: Win more games! Really though I won’t take them seriously until they beat the Bears. They play twice in three weeks towards the end of the season and who would have thought those might be very meaningful games?

Kevin: Let’s see how they’re doing later in the season now that teams know they’re not the worst in the league as expected. Still though, look at that schedule. Until the last 5-6 games, they have a lot of winnable games – Redskins, Bucs, Lions, Cardinals, Seahawks, etc. The last month and a half is brutal though: 2 against Chi, 2 against GB, @ St. Louis and @ Texans. If they get to the playoffs, they earned it with that finish.

Denver 21, New England 31

The Broncos defense had no answer for the Patriots in this one, will Denver be able to beat any good teams this season or just Pumpkins like the Raiders? Do you still think they can make the playoffs?

Dave: If you don’t think Denver makes the playoffs you have to believe in one of the other AFC West teams. Oakland? Nope. Kansas City? No chance. That leaves us with San Diego. And believing in San Diego is depressing and terrible.

Kevin: They’re in by default because everyone else in that division sucks. On a depressing note, NE the last two weeks has looked pretty unbeatable. NE and Seattle need to play and everyone can root for the meteor.

Buffalo 3, San Francisco 45

Every team in the NFC West has a winning record, the first time that’s happened since divisional realignment, are the 49ers still your front runner for division winner?

Dave: Yes, without a doubt. Their only loss was a let down game to the Vikings who we just discussed might be pretty good.

Kevin: Yeah far and away the best. I think the rest of the teams are just average. I bet everyone else in that division falls off as the season progresses.

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