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Friday, October 7, 2011

NFL – One quarter mark

Four weeks of the NFL season are in the books. There have been no bye weeks, to date. Therefore every NFL team has completed one quarter its season. With one chapter of the season in the books, here is The Daily Hat Trick’s one paragraph or less summary on all 32 NFL teams.


Detroit Lions (4-0) – This season is long and they have only played four games. However, they keep finding ways to win when many teams would often check out. Ndomukong Suh is going to be the fly in every opposing offense’s ointment.

Green Bay Packers (4-0) – Aaron Rodgers is making a strong case that he is the best quarterback in the NFL, better than Tom Brady and with no opposition from Peyton Manning this season. The Packers look as good as any team in the NFL, this year. Their pass defense may be a cause for concern, later in the season, if it cannot tighten up soon.

Chicago Bears (2-2) – Jay Cutler will be made into veal cutlet if he is not protected better. Running back Matt Forte has been worth his weight in gold as a safety valve for Cutler and a means of keeping the opposing defense honest.

Minnesota Vikings (0-4) – I often remark, when I see an average man with a very beautiful woman, that he must have done something good in a former life. Donovan McNabb must have done something sinister to warrant his fate over the past two seasons.

Ndomukong Suh: Be afraid. Be very afraid! 2


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) – Raheem Morris really believes that his team is the best in the NFC. So far, they are in position to prove it. Quarterback Josh Freeman has one of the fastest rising stocks among NFL quarterbacks.

New Orleans Saints (3-1) – Not that they looked unimpressive last season, finishing 11-5, but through four games, this team appears to have the same potent fire power that the team that won super Bowl XLIV had in 2009. While I bleed black and gold, I am still not totally sold on the defense yet. I would like to see more forced turnovers.

Atlanta Falcons (2-2) – You are what your record is. I am not convinced that the Falcons that the Falcons will be a .500 team at the end of the year. I am not convinced they won’t be either. They’re an enigma. But their defense has to keep more points off of the board as the Falcons are sixth from last in the NFL in points allowed.

Carolina Panthers (1-3) – The Panthers have demonstrate that they are capable of competing every week. For that reason (a last place team that plays tough) I think the NFC South is the toughest division in football. This just in: quarterback Cam Newton is only going to get better. So will the Panthers.

The sky is the limit! 1


Washington Redskins (3-1) – I am still not buying their stock. This team has been exceptional at disappointing their fans, over the past decade, with promising starts but bitterly underachieving finishes to a season. It is really hard to get behind the Rex Grossman train.

New York Giants (3-1) – You play to win the games and the Giants have won the games that they are “supposed” to win. I would have more confidence in them if they beat a team with more than one win on the season. Their schedule, combined with what I thought was a passive strategy in free agency this past offseason is a recipe for another Giant(s) collapse in the second half of the season.

Dallas Cowboys (2-2) – This team is going as far as Romo will take them. So far, he’s taken them to .500.

Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) – The “Dream” is over. I am sure Vince Young rues the day he uttered the term, “Dream Team”. It was not without merit, however. The Eagles have an abundance of talent and have lost games more than they have been beaten, per se. For all of the turmoil, the Eagles are just two games back of first place with three quarters of a season to go. Mike Vick’s head appears to be screwed on properly screwed on. These Eagles aren’t ready to land from their Super Bowl hopes yet.

The Eagles must provide better protection for Mike Vick if they want to restore the "Dream". 3


San Francisco 49ers (3-1) – The 49ers are 3-1? REALLY? Alex Smith led a 20 point comeback against the “Dream Team” Philadelphia Eagles? REALLY? The 49ers are unbeaten in regulation? REALLY? That’s why the season is 16 games long. The 49ers defense does deserve credit, however, for being #4 against the run. When you have a workhorse running back like Frank Gore and can take away your opponent’s running attack, you always have a chance to win.

Seattle Seahawks (1-3) – Is it too late to pull the plug on the Tarvaris Jackson experiment? Is it too soon to have Andrew Luck fitted for a Seahawks uniform? The Seahawks will face stiff competition for Luck within their own division, though.

Arizona Cardinals (1-3) – You are what your record says you are, but it is hard to ignore that all three Cardinals losses have been by four points or less. As long as Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt can keep his team’s morale up and Kevin Kolb remains healthy, this team is FAR from being out of the division race.

St. Louis Rams (0-4) – Teams are literally running all over the Rams. This nullifies all of the potential of quarterback Sam Bradford and proven talent of running back Steven Jackson. Still, in the NFC West, no team is really out of contention until they are mathematically eliminated.


Baltimore Ravens (3-1) Year in and year out, the Ravens are a contender. This is the best they have looked, to me, since their Super Bowl championship following the 2000 season. Does Ray Lewis ever age?

Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) Rookie quarterback Andy Dalton is developing nicely. The Bengals are, quietly, remaining competitive in every game with stingy defense. Cincinnati has allowed fewer than 300 yards per game through the first four games of the season. With winnable games on their schedule against Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Seattle, Cleveland, Tennessee, St. Louis, and Arizona, the Bengals may be able to salvage a respectable season (and head coach Marvin Lewis' job).

Cleveland Browns (2-2) This was a team that showed signs of improving toward the end of last year. Four games into the season, it looks like the Browns will be tough in games against weaker opponents, but may have some trouble with the big boys.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) How tough the Steelers will be down the stretch may depend on whether Ben Roethlisberger's foot injury keeps him out of the lineup. If it does, how long? If it does not, how will it affect his play?

Ray Lewis is a baaaad mother...shut yo' mouth! 4

Houston Texans (3-1) The offense remains strong in spite of time missed by running back Arian Foster. Add to that a little bit of defense and voila! A real playoff run is long overdue for this team and the city of Houston.

Tennessee Titans (3-1) And...Houston's former team would be in position to ruin the Texans' hopes and dreams. To say the Titans have exceeded expectations is an understatement. Rookie coach Mike Munchak, a stingy defense, and a rejuvenated quarterback Matt Hasselbeck have the Titans in a tie for first place, one month into the season. Chris Johnson has yet to break out this season and standout wide receiver Kenny Britt is lost for the season, though. The former needs to break through soon to help make up for the loss of the latter.

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) Rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert has a L..O..N..G learning curve. Jags fans are in for a L..O..N..G season. That L..O..N..G drive to Los Angeles is imminent if this continues.

Indianapolis Colts (0-4) Peyton Manning really thinks he can come back this season. Interestingly, the Colts' schedule does soften up over the next two months, including games against the Chiefs, Bengals, Jaguars, and Panthers. The odds are stacked against Indy, but aren't horseshoes supposed to be lucky?

Sitting on the sideline has got to be killing Peyton Manning. It is certainly killing the Colts. 5


Buffalo Bills (3-1) This is another team proving that it can find ways to win games. It can find ways to come from behind. The wagons are being circled again in Buffalo.

New England Patriots (3-1) The Pats' defense has been a visible weakness since Opening Day. It did not become a topic, however, until their come from ahead choke job against the Bills, followed by a 504 yard torching at the hands of the Oakland Raiders, in spite of the win. This Patriots defense did not really shut opponents down last season and I expect no differently in 2011. The key will be whether or not they can take the ball away from their opponents like they did in their 14-2 regular season of 2010.

New York Jets (2-2) Consistency is key in any championship run and quarterback Mark Sanchez has produced none of it, yet.

Miami Dolphins (0-4) You are in trouble when Chad Henne is your starting quarterback. You're totally screwed when he is out for the season. Stick a fork in 'em; they're done. Expect coach Tony Sporano to go "Sopranos" and get whacked.


San Diego Chargers (3-1) San Diego leading this division is not surprising. Three wins for the Chargers in September, no matter who the opponents were, is ahead of traditional expectations.

Oakland Raiders (2-2) The Silver & Black is back. With a versatile battering ram in Darren McFadden in the backfield, the Raiders will be capable of controlling the ball and the line of scrimmage in every contest. In the AFC West, a playoff run for the first time in nine years is not out of the question.

Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) No passing game plus no more Jamaal Charles equals no hope for this season.

Denver Broncos (1-3) Bad news: Tim Tebow is not the answer. Good news: Andrew Luck might be.

Run DMC 6

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