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I don’t often get a chance to opinionate on what’s going on around the NFL, but with this being midseason and the Dolphins not playing until Monday night, this seems like as good a time as any.
So sit back, pour yourself a nice cup of coffee – I love it with Heath bar gourmet creamer – and let’s take a trip around the league, visiting what I believe are 20 interesting storylines (in no specific order) from the first half of the season.
1. Should the ’72 Dolphins be worrying about the ’13 Chiefs? Don’t think so. While I am impressed with what Andy Reid has done in Kansas City, and I believe they will make the playoffs, they have put together a 9-0 record against teams with mostly losing records. The meat of their schedule approaches with two games against Denver and one against Indy.
2. What the Denver Broncos are doing on offense is beyond crazy. I figured Peyton Manning had at least another good year left. But this good? You look at his supporting cast, the endless stream of playmakers, and you’ve got to ask: Can anybody slow them down?
3. Go West Young Man: The power in the NFC seems to clearly reside in San Francisco and Seattle. Jim Harbaugh seems poised for another shot at the Super Bowl and Pete Carroll is loaded to stop him. I’ll go with whichever of the two has the home field advantage.
4. I’m done writing the Patriots off in the preseason. I’m done wondering how far Tom Brady can carry this team by himself. As long as Brady is playing at this level, the Patriots will always contend. Not sure, for instance, if they can win in Denver in late January, but I wouldn’t rule them out either.
5. More surprising to me than the elite teams are the ones that have slipped so dramatically. The Falcons? The Texans? The Giants? The Steelers? The Ravens? In most instances, I really never saw this coming. The balance of power in this league has clearly shifted.
6. Looking for an early long shot to cause havoc in January? Check out what the Carolina Panthers have been doing lately. They will go as far as Cam Newton can take them, which could be quite a distance.
7. Did anybody catch Adrian Peterson’s 11-yard touchdown run against Dallas last Sunday? You will never in your life see a better 11-yard run.
8. Don’t you have to be concerned about the physical toll it takes to be a head coach in this league? How scary was the sight of Gary Kubiak collapsing to the ground at halftime of the Sunday night game against Indy? This just after Denver’s John Fox was hospitalized in need of a heart procedure. Makes you really appreciate how Don Shula made it through 33 years as a head coach.
9. As much as I hate to give them credit, the Jets defense is far better than I thought it would be, especially up front.
10. The Steelers give up 55 points and 630 yards in one game? Never thought I’d live to see that day.
11. So you can’t hit the quarterback in the head. You can’t hit him in the knees. I’m all for player safety, but isn’t this taking it a little too far?
13. So I thought the Cleveland Browns were cleaning house when they traded Trent Richardson to the Colts. Instead they were putting their house in order.
14. Jacksonville or Tampa Bay? Who wins first? I’m going with Tampa Bay, just not Monday night against the Dolphins.
15. I am now convinced: There is very little luck to Andrew Luck. He is special.
16. I’m still not sure that Chip Kelly’s offense in Philadelphia is going to revolutionize the sport. Then again, Nick Foles just throws for seven touchdowns in three quarters against the Raiders.
17. So you think the head coach doesn’t make much of a difference? Check out the New Orleans Saints. They are far better, far more imposing, with Sean Payton on the sidelines.
18. These blocking in the back penalties on kickoffs are taking away from what is left of kickoff returns. Can’t this be coached better? It’s gotten to the point where on every kickoff, I just keep waiting for the flag.
19. There is Calvin Johnson and then there is everyone else.
20. Finally, who’s going to freeze in New York on the first Sunday of February? Press me today and I’ll have to go with San Francisco and Denver. Just keep an eraser nearby.
On Monday, AC in the AM previews the game against Tampa Bay.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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