November 16, 2015, Queens, NY Welcome to the wacky world of the NFL where the only predictable aspect is the unpredictability. It’s hard to make sense of this season which is why the NFL continues to be the most compelling and frustrating of all sports in this country. And, the numbers (as in ratings) don’t lie.
There were nine upsets yesterday. Some of them completely confounding. Our seven experts had a devil of a time picking winners. Let’s start with the Dallas Cowboys, Kool Moe Dee’s favorite team. He’s picked them virtually every week which has been his undoing in terms of the picks. Even though Tony Romo and Dez Bryant went down due to injury, you would think the Cowboys could muster at least one win.
The defending NFC champs, Seattle Seahawks, appear to have all the parts, but something is preventing them from getting into the win column regularly. The Seahawks vaunted defense, featuring the Legion of Boom, have become pretty adept at blowing fourth quarter leads. What about the Raven who are 2-7? They lose Terrell Suggs, and their season goes down the toilet. Indianapolis is leading the division with a 4-5 record. The Houston Texans have been bitten by the curse of “Hard Knocks,” the behind-the-scenes reality show focusing on a team during the pre-season. Also at 2-7 are the San Diego Chargers. The Jacksonville Jaguars have a better record. Washington was supposed to be the bottom feeders of the division, and they find themselves a game behind the first-place New York Giants who aren’t exactly setting the league ablaze with their 5-5 win-loss tally.
On the NFC side of the ledger, the world beaters known as the Green Bay Packers are very mortal. Very. They find themselves one game behind the Minnesota Vikings. New Orleans is 4-6 and looking worse than their record. The 49ers are a tattered franchise that went from perennial Super Bowl contenders to one of the worst teams in the league.
Suddenly, the New England Patriots don’t look so unbeatable. The Carolina Panthers are winning, but they are the least respected 9-0 team in the history of the NFL. The Cincinnati Bengals are the Rodney Dangerfields of the league. No respect. They can go 16-0. Their season doesn’t begin until the playoffs begin. The last time the Bengals won a playoff game, there was no internet. George H. W. Bush was president, and there were no DVDs (players or discs) available to the general public. The year was 1991, almost a quarter of a century ago.
Welcome to the Wacky World of the NFL where the Wackier the season, the better. And we haven’t even gotten to concussions, domestic violence, PEDs, substance abuse, arrests, Deflate Gate, the possible dissolution of fantasy sites (i.e., FanDuel and Draft Kings who advertise heavily during NFL games and other NFL-related programming), subpar officiating, etc.
Welcome to the NFL where Wacky Works.
Professor Clifford Benton can be reached at @cliffordbenton.