We have arrived at the halfway point of the season, which means it’s a good time to reflect on how the first half has gone thus far. It’s also a good time to keep in mind that I’ll be increasingly more despondent with each week that passes, lamenting the fact that the NFL season is going by much too fast.
I mean, HALFWAY. It’s just too soon for that!
At any rate, it’s been a great first half of the season so far. Unless you’re the Jaguars.
1. New England Patriots (6-2)
The Patriots are ruling the roost once again in the AFC East, despite the fact that almost no one from the original starting roster still plays for the team. Starters? Recognizable names? Hands in the shape of hands? Who needs ’em?!
2. New York Jets (4-4)
The Jets season has been considerably better than anticipated thus far – the all-out demolition the Bengals unleashed this past Sunday notwithstanding. And whenever a Jets season includes a win against the Patriots, it’s a good season. There’s a fair chance Rex Ryan may even earn himself Coach of the Year honors if they keep this up.
3. Miami Dolphins (3-4)
Those three wins came in the first three weeks of the season…a time of joy and optimism that feels so long ago for Dolphins fans.
4. Buffalo Bills (3-5)
I feel like I’ve said this a lot in the past few years…but the Bills aren’t as bad as their record indicates. There is a lot of talent on that roster, and they are consistently “in” games. And, once they get starting QB E.J. Manuel back, they have a chance to develop something special. Probably for next season.
1. Cincinnati Bengals (6-2)
That the Bengals two losses have come against the Bears and a legit Browns team and their wins have included outplaying powerhouses like the Patriots and Packers says something about their trajectory for the rest of the season. And having the ultimate clincher, Mike Nugent, at kicker doesn’t hurt either.
2. Baltimore Ravens (3-4)
In my opinion, the best thing the Ravens have going for them this season is the Mighty Wings commercial, which cracks me up every time. (If you’ve never seen the original NFL Bad Lip Reading do yourself a favor and watch it right now.)
3. Cleveland Browns (3-5)
Remember when the Browns traded their best player and everyone felt like the sky was falling? It seems a sad twist of fate that Cleveland was finally making progress in the AFC North after that and had found a spark at quarterback…and then lost him for the season. Still, this is another group that isn’t (quite) as bad as their record indicates.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-5)
The Steelers are every bit as bad as their record indicates. And if I were Shaun Suisham, I’d probably start running right now. In whichever direction Mike Tomlin is not. (Although, to his credit, he did kick a nice game-winner against the Ravens the week prior.)
1. Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
This Colts defense is scary good. As is Andrew Luck. I picked the Colts as my pre-season Super Bowl pick (against the Seahawks, with the Hawks winning it all) and right now I’m still feeling pretty good about that pick. They might not have the best record in the AFC but they sure do seem to have all of the components of a team poised to go all the way.
2. Tennessee Titans (3-4)
Look for the Titans to build on the good momentum they had going earlier this season before Jake Locker got hurt. Their next two are extremely winnable (at St. Louis and home against the woeful Jags) before they are tasked with facing Indy twice in three weeks to follow.
3. Houston Texans (2-5)
What happened, guys? You used to be so good! But defensive beast J.J. Watt is still so good – SO GOOD! – both on and off the field. He is the hope in Houston.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8)
There is no hope in Jacksonville. Only 190 days until the Draft, Jags fans. Hang in there.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (8-0)
The Chiefs are the only unbeaten team in the NFL right now, and the only team to have gone from dead last the previous year to uncontested first the next. The addition of Andy Reid as head coach and the always-reliable Alex Smith at quarterback seems to have given their crazy talented roster the boost it needed to make the most out of all that talent.
2. Denver Broncos (7-1)
It looks like it’s going to be a fight to the finish between the Chiefs and the Broncos this season. They go head to head on Sunday, November 17th, and, spoiler alert, I can already tell you that will be the Normal Girl Game of the Week. It promises to be a great one!
3. San Diego Chargers (4-3)
The Chargers are far from out of playoff contention, although they will almost certainly have to fight for a wildcard spot if they do get in since this division is all Chiefs and Broncos. The key for the Chargers will be to stop losing games in the second half. It’s uncanny how frequently this happens to them.
4. Oakland Raiders (3-4)
When your quarterback can run a touchdown in from 93 yards out, you’ve got a fighting chance to win games in unconventional ways. Which is the method in which the Raiders might have to win the rest of their games.
Any AFC fans out there? Who’s your team and how do you feel about the season thus far? Playoff predictions? Let’s hear it!