By Hamish Girvan
With something more than football distracting America at the moment, Week 8 is in the books, and maybe the biggest story so far are injuries. With no preseason and limited training, the number of star players having lengthy or season ending injuries is a still growing list than it has been in previous seasons.
Cleveland’s Odell Beckham Junior, Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott and Baltimore’s Ronnie Stanley are all star players who are finished for the season.
In the NFL the cream seems to always manage to rise to the top with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Big Ben at the helm, they are the only unbeaten team at this this stage of the season with a 7-0 record. Having beaten last seasons two AFC playoff teams, the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens over the last two rounds they are a force to be reckoned with, even though they do not seem to have played at the top of their game quite yet. On the other side of the league the Seattle Seahawks are 6-1 with still MVP favourite, Russell Wilson, running their offence extremely well.
At the other end of the spectrum are the New York Jets. How coach Adam Gase is still employed is beyond anyone’s guess after still being winless in 2020. The odds of not winning a game this season are looking good and the Jets could go back to equalling the last winless team’s season, the 2008 Detroit Lions. There must be some photos on his iPhone of someone in the Jets management however there could always be the strategy of tanking the season so as to get the best possible draft pick in 2021. Quarterback Sam Darnold, their no.3 pick in 2018, has never really convinced so maybe that’s the direction they are heading. Jets fans will be livid.
The other perennial winner (and more despised outside of New England then the Canterbury Crusaders in this country) the New England Patriots, are finding out what life is like without a superstar quarterback. Having a 2-5 record is a reality check from hell for head coach and big game mastermind Bill Belichick. His prodigal son Tom Brady, now at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is starting to show that a class quarterback can make all the difference, and his new team are clicking going into second half of the season.
Then there is “America’s Team” the Dallas Cowboys. Totally mismanaged at the coaching level by Mike McCarthy, they lost their quarterback Dak Prescott to a season ending broken leg in week 5. The players then seemed to give up on both the coaching staff and also back up Quarterback Andy Dalton (himself an ex playoff player at the Bengals). Their 2-6 record could easily be 2-15 by the season end as currently their 3rd string quarterback is now under centre due to Daltons concussion in his first start post Dak. The NFC East division can only be described as a dumpster fire as the Cowboys have a realistic chance of winning it. Dysfunctionality and Texas go together at the moment (Please see the Houston Texans situation)
The incompetence team of the season so far is the Los Angeles Chargers. From a medical injury in puncturing their starting quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, lung just before the third game of the season they found gold with their rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. Unfortunately the Chargers made NFL history this past round by blowing 4 leads of 16 points or more in their last 4 games. They did manage to just squeak a win of one of the games (against the second worst team in the NFL) and blow the other three. The 24-3 lead against the Denver Broncos half way through the third quarter ended up in a 31-30 loss. Hardly a great start to Herbert’s NFL career and totally not on him. Expect a coaching change there soon. Inexcusable.
If the end of the season playoff berth races are as competitive as the current presidential race NFL fans are in for a hell of a second half of the season
Week 9 Pick of the week – the key state of Arizona’s home team, the Cardinals just over a team from Florida in the Dolphins.
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