06 October, 2011


Good Wednesday to you, Fanz! It’s time for the first quarterly report of this MOST exciting and surprising 2011 NFL season. Can you believe we’ve finished Week 4 already? It feels like preseason just finished! Some things I predicted back in August are holding to form, and there’s some surprises. Here’s my feelings about the state of the league, conference by conference, record by record.


Of these six, I am certain that ONE of these teams miss the playoffs, and perhaps two. New Englandland’s defense will be it’s albatross for the season, but its All-Pro offense will certainly score enough points to offset it in most of their games. And they get a revenge game against the Bills to close the season – AT HOME. The loss at Cincinnati really hurt the Bills. If you are going to challenge for a division title, you MUST beat the lesser teams. Last Sunday was a lost opportunity. I have this feeling that opportunity will grow wings on the Bills a few more times. I’m surprised at the tenacity and ferociousness of the Raven’s defense – I had felt they had gotten old during the offseason, but that “honor” now belongs to their new non-rivals, the Squeelers. Since the demise of Indianapolis, it’s a no-brainer that the Texans would have the opportunity to seize the division – and they’re doin’ a great job so far. Good news- Arian Foster doesn’t seem to be the worse for wear – Bad News – Andre Johnson’s hamstring. They will need their dynamic receiver for the stretch run. I still think that Houston has little resistance to not only securing their first playoff spot, but their FIRST division title! Tennessee’s 3-1 record is a mirage. Count on it. San Diego should have little problem with their division as well, other than two games with the Raiders.


Of this group, I could only see the Browns and Raiders making any serious playoff movement. If the Jets’ offense doesn’t find it’s bearing, they will find themselves staring at a sub .500 season. So far, QB Sanchez and the offense has been terrible, but the defense has been carrying this team. The Bungles’ defense has also carried their team. .500 is as good as they could aspire to. If the Browns can put a string of good games together, they could challenge for a wild card. They DO have the talent. The Squeelers HAVE gotten old. Their play so far this season illustrates this to perfection. The line play has been deplorable, and I guarantee they will get Worthlessberger hurt worse than he is now. They could conceivably be looking at a high draft pick next year. The Raiders have been impressive on both sides of the ball. I DO see them in contention for most of this season.

These three have little hope for a winning season. Jacksonville is lacking talent on both sides of the ball, and is starting a struggling rookie QB. I fully expect this to be Jack Del Rio’s last season as a head coach. John Fox is looking down the barrel of a full-blown QB controversy of his own. What I don’t understand is why Broncoid Nation feels Timmy Terrific would be a savior at the all-important position! Folks, he’s as bad as Jimmy Claussen! And what will suck for Foxy is his boss, John Elway, will probably push him hard to sit Orton down for him! Simply amazing. It will take at least two seasons for Fox to get his “guys” on the team before they start challenging the division. The Chefs are simply out of talent, and luck. They just MIGHT finish high enough to miss the first overall pick in the draft.


Of these two, I think Miami is the more woebound franchise. If Matt Moore couldn’t carry the Panthers in a full season, I SURE don’t think he can do it on a team with less talent. There’s enough talent in Indy to be competitive, and I think they will avoid the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. I’ve been impressed with Curtis Painter so far, and I think Indy’s female population will be sure to swoon all over this fair-maned fella.

So far, with the exception of the Jets, Squeelers and Ravens, my season predictions are holding to form.


Ohhhh, how fun this Norris Division is going to be! These two teams have been greatly entertaining to watch – especially the NEW Cardiac Kitties! How, game after game, the Leos are able to crawl out of a seemingly insurmountable hole is a testament to the belief the players have in one another, and the coaching staff. Circle THESE two dates – November 24th, Thanksgiving Day – these two tee it up against each other for the first time, and for the final time to close the regular season an January 1st! What a way to start the new year! I don’t see any reason why these two games wouldn’t be for serious playoff positioning!


You could make a serious argument for all but one of this quintet making the playoffs – The G’ints have been keeping it together even with multiple injury issues, and Brotha Manning has been quite poised. The Saints have been as strong as they’ve ever been – stronger than I’d forecast. I thought the Suckaneers would be performing better than they have statistically, but 3-1 is still a great start. Jim Harbaugh’s Niners are doin’ it with grit and heart – in THIS weak division, it’s definitely plausible for them to take early control of this division. I’m sorry, Skins fans. NO TEAM with Wrecks-Grossman as your starter is going to go far. I’ll admit the defense is playing very well. It will likely keep them from the bottom of the standings.


Despite absolutely BLOWING a sure-win game last week at home, I still believe the Cowboys have enough talent, drive, and coaching to have a say about what happens in their division. I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but I’m going to defend Tony Romo. He’s starting to grow up quite significantly, and he’s shown the kind of heart that’s going to win not only games, but championships. Just not this year. They’ve got a few pieces they are going to need to return to the NFL’s upper suites, notably – CENTER!!!
The Bears should be 1-3, for real. Carolina gashed that “vaunted” Peppers-Urlacher led defense for 550 yards! If Forte doesn’t run for 200 yards on a bad defense, they lose that game. Chicago will be lucky to get to .500 this season. There’s no real talent on that offense, and I just indicted that overrated defense. Remember when Jake Delhomme got shell-shocked by the Cardynoles in January ’09? Yeah, I’m trying to forget it too, But the Panthers were never the same after that game. I think the same thing may have happened to the Duckies after their absolute disintegration against the Packers in the Georgia Indoor Duck Pond. They don’t come close to resembling the juggernaut they were last year ESPECIALLY on defense, which I will admit brings me great joy. Now that Carolina has found teeth and claws in its offense, the NFC South will be a gauntlet the Duckies may not survive.


Almost as much as the media is slathering all over Detroit and Green Bay, the Iggles are taking some serious heat nationally for their underwhelming performance, and Michael Vick is showing why he’ll never be the leader other quarterbacks are. As gloomy as 1-3 looks in Philthytown, 1-3 looks comparatively nova-bright in Carolina! Cam Newton has been so much more than ANYONE had ever thought he would – AND getting the attention of the whole country! This team, without question, is going prime time next year! This new offense has been piling up yards for the ‘Cats in record numbers, and injury notwithstanding, I see no reason why it wouldn’t continue throughout the season. The only thing keeping the Panthers from .500 or better is that wretched run defense. They’ll load up in the draft next year, and then the rest of the division will have to take notice. Seattle is a train wreck, but I think the Cardy-noles will come around enough to challenge the Niners.


How a team with Adrian Peterson can be 0-4 mystifies me. Can it be coaching? The defense? McSnabb? All of it and more? It’s time to give Christian Ponder the keys, because looking up even the Bear’s ass tells me the season could be close to over. The botched Brett Favre experiment has yielded the bitterest fruit for this franchise. It will take a player like Luck to re-energize this team, much like Newton’s done for the Panthers. I’m also mystified by the Lambs. They had it goin’ on last season, which led me to think that with another season, Sam Bradford would materialize into a top tier QB, with Steven Jackson carrying the mail – Injuries and underachieving performances have put Sad Looey into a hole I don’t think they’ll be able to get out of.

This is the conference I’ve missed BIG with – I was certain that Philthydelphia and Sad Looey would be stronger than they are, but I was laser-precise with Green Bay, Detroit, and Carolina. The Bears still have time to suck more, as do the DeadSkins.

There’s my quarterly report, Fanz! Stay tuned. I feel a pre-game rant coming up, along with the Week 5 picks, sure to be up before Saturday Night. Thanks so much for following your PantherFanz Rantz!

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