At the midpoint of the NFL season, it’s time to overreact to how the last 8 weeks have gone and look ahead to the second half of the season and beyond.
This blog is all about the AFC; the NFC’s younger, sexier little brother.
Let’s break it down by division:
KC Chiefs (7-1):
Imagine you just won a Super Bowl, didn’t lose anyone of importance, and then added an electric rookie RB and a disgruntled Pro Bowler to an offense that’s been shitting on every team it’s played for two years. Start getting ring sizes for CEH and Le'Veon Bell, because it’s hard to see Kansas City not repeating. Sometimes the world just isn’t fair. Andy Reid’s one challenge this year was figuring out how not to fog a covid faceguard mask. Now that he’s accomplished that? Who’s beating this team? No one.
LV Raiders (4-3)
Sexy new city, sexier stadium, and the sexiest Tight End in the NFL in Waller. This is a team on the rise. People doubted Chucky (Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper *COUGH COUGH*), but no one can question he’s created HIS kind of team in the desert. Vegas can beat almost anyone on any given Sunday, but don’t expect it to look pretty or consistent. If the NFL expands to a 16 game playoff this year as has been discussed, there is NO #1 or #2 seed that wants any part of the Raiders in a playoff game. Dangerous, just like a Raider team should be. Al Davis would be proud.
Denver Broncos (3-4):
I want to like the Broncos, I really do. Every year you wonder, “is this the year they take the next step?” and every year they find a way to break John Elway’s equine like melon… This team beats up on good teams all game, only to somehow find a way to lose by a field goal in the last second. If the Broncos could get healthy and play like they drive (drunk it appears), they might be able to seriously compete in this division just based on just their running game and defense alone. Unfortunately for Denver, this looks more like a team ready to compete next year than this one.
LA Chargers (2-5):
NO CHANCE Anthony Lynn survives this season after the Bolts have squandered 17 point leads in three games this year. Were it not for the Falcons epic failures, this would be much bigger news. This offense is electric but it’s a team with no killer instinct (except the team doctor) and that’s going to make for a long season in L.A. At least they found Phil Rivers' successor in Justin Herbert, who is the human version of a lightning bolt if that lightning bolt was a painfully shy introvert. Best part about this season is that the Chargers are used to stadiums with no fans, so it's like any other Sunday.
Buffalo Bills (6-2):
The biggest beneficiary of the death of the Patriots dynasty are the Bills. It appears we have a new leader in the clubhouse ready to take the Bill by its horns. The division is firmly in sight despite the fact that this offense is about as consistent as starting Julio Jones on your fantasy team. Let’s be real. The Bills are good, not great. The defense is meh; giving up first downs 50% of the time on 3rd down which is almost dead last in the league and suddenly struggling to run the ball with the 29th rushing offense in the league. How far can they go? If Josh Allen continues to throw ACCURATE bombs to Stefon Diggs that Mickelson would be proud of, maybe further than people think.
Miami Dolphins (4-3):
This time last year I wrote: “You know who has no shot? The Miami Dolphins: Whether its #Suckfortheduck or #Tankfortua they are in full rebuild mode.” And 365 days later… the Miami Dolphins are actually … good? WUT? I’m as surprised as you, but this defense is LEGIT. Four first half turnovers forced against the Rams last week is a product of a hungry defense that’s getting better game by game. How improved are the Fins? They benched poor Ryan Fitzpatrick for rookie Tua Tagovailoa despite the fact Fitzmagic has the #5 QBR in the entire NFL. They might just fuck around and compete for the division if they keep playing like they have the first 7 games.
New England Patriots (2-5):
Well, well, well. Remember when every Pats fan was RAVING about the Cam Newton signing like he was a better, more mobile version of Tom Brady? LOL. Unless you’re a Patriots fan, it’s very hard not be stoked to watch Brady bolt New England and the Pats absolutely suckkkkk. And when I mean suck? They are fucking awful and everyone pretty much loves it. There is no joy like seeing the douchiest bully on the block get his ass whooped every week, and with Cam playing like the second coming of Scott Zolak, it’s only going to get worse. Belichick seems so lost that Pats fans are clinging to the desperate hope that somehow he’s tanking the entire season. You know how bad it is? For the first time in Barstool history, the Pats are going to have a losing record. We’re gonna need multiple wellness checks on the folks at HQ before this season is over. And now, “on to Cincinnati” might just mean the road to another L.
New York Jets (0-8):
HC Adam Gase stated this week, "I'm doing this job to win, not to get my face stomped in," which is very funny because getting their teeth kicked in is what this team does best. Halfway through the season, the New York Jets are not just bad, but historically bad, which is actually hard to do for a franchise best known for the Butt Fumble. Just how bad are things? After just 32 games, Jets fans have moved on from Sam Darnold and are #tankingforTrevor. 50-50 chance Gase survives the season; 100% chance the Jets get the #1 pick.
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0):
Remember how bad things looked for Pittsburgh a year ago? Ben was on his shoulder’s death bed, AB and Lev Bell were GONE and James Connor struggled with injuries all year. It appears those reports of Roethlisburger’s death have been greatly exaggerated. He looks FRESHHH. The Steelers have been slept on all year after beating the Ravens and the Titans, it’s about time to give this 7-0 their respect. They’re not as sexy as the other teams but they’re built to go deep. How deep? So deep they’ll put her ass to sleep. They’re going to wreck shit until they see Mahomes.
Baltimore Ravens (5-2):
The Ravens are good, but can they get over the hump? (read: Chiefs and Steelers, both of their losses this year). Lamar is deadly as a samurai sword, but I have less big truss in him than I did this time last year. It’s obvious this team can score points, but the defense has given up 62 points in their two losses. The Ravens are a team that needs to beat elite opponents to get their proper respect and until they do? Wild Card team at best. And if they do go out early, expect fingers to start pointing at players, beginning with Lamar. Madden Curse, anyone?
Cleveland Browns (5-3):
Only the Browns can go 5-3 and still leave their fan base despondent. This was supposed to be the most exciting team in the NFL and are currently the fourth most exciting team in their own division. OBJ is out for the year, Chubb is on IR, Baker’s play has been spotty, and a season that started out with a ton of promise all of a sudden has become kinda Brown-like. The defense has given up 30+ points five times this year, and the offense has averaged under 17 in its last 3 games. A favorable schedule will probably save a playoff spot (they have the Jaguars, Giants and Jets coming up) but no one’s going to be afraid of playing the Browns in January.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1):
Here’s a tip: BET THE BENGALS (6-2 ATS and 5-3 overs). This team is on the rise and with Joey Burrow under center, they’re going to keep scoring all year. The problem of course is that other than safety Jessie Bates III the secondary is trash and will keep getting toasted. But Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and a rejuvenated A.J. Green will continue catching balls and when Joey learns to not make rookie mistakes, look out, because they’re going to beat people. Cincinnati is one step from being good. Seems weird to see that in print.
Tennessee Titans (5-2):
Good news, bad news. The Titans have been TESTED (and I don’t mean just for COVID). In every game except against the Buffalo Bills, their wins have come down to the last possession. In his second year under Vrabel, Ryan Tannehill finally looks more like a QB than a receiver but with LT Taylor Lewan out for the year, you might confuse him for a running back. They’ve lost both games since Lewan went down, which is V concerning. We won’t know who this team is til the postseason because if they lose to the Bengals (no disrespect to the Bengals) and almost lose to the Broncos, they could get bounced FAST.
Indianapolis Colts (5-2):
Another team people aren’t really watching just yet… The Colts have a Bears-like defense, a ridiculous offensive line and Philip Rivers at the helm, which is …sorta kinda like being the Chicago Bears. And we all know what a recipe for winning THAT is (obligatory double doink reference). This is the quietest 5-2 team in the league right now. Why? They don’t have a win anyone can respect (sorry Chicago). But they’ll get the chance to show IF they’re for real SOON. Next four games: Ravens, Titans, Packers, Titans. If they can come out of that stretch 2-2 we can reevaluate their chances.
Houston Texans (1-6):
There is no more disappointing team in the NFL this year than the Houston Texans. The first four games were an absolute shit show before Bill O’Brien FINALLY got fired about a year too late. They sold all of Watson’s toys and even up until this week, tried to ship out Will Fuller. Since then, Deshaun and the Texans have been slightly better, but the damage is done and 2020 is a wash. Like the Broncos, the Texans are the fly in the ointment; the team that on any day can will their way into beating a superior opponent. Despite O’Brien’s attempts to strip the team of all of their pieces, the Texans are like a wounded lion, they WILL bite.
Another year, another reason to turn the Jags off. Much like Gardner Minshew’s fingers, this team is broken, and shows no signs of improving. They are the only team unaffected by Covid because they’re used to playing in front of empty stadiums and there’s nowhere for them to go on their off days. The lone bright spot has been the emergence of rookie James Robinson as an elite level running back. He’s currently the 11th ranked rusher in the league. The good news? They’ve lost their last five against the spread. The bad news? The New York Jets will keep this 1-15 team from getting the #1 pick in the draft. Bad luck to be grotesquely bad and STILL not bad enough to get Trevor Lawrence. #BustinForJustin??
That covers the AFC! Check in tomorrow for overreactions to the entire NFC …