December 5, 2012
With less than a handful of weeks left in the 2012 NFL season, the playoff picture begins to become clear and individual records start to become threatened. This season is no different as fans everywhere will be glued to their televisions until the waning seconds of the season as history will be made.
The current climate in the playoff picture is far from clear, meaning that every snap counts, ensuring fans excitement until zeros read across the clock in the final game of Week 17. Right now, there are 22 teams still in contention for the playoffs and even the teams who are out of the picture thrive on playing the spoiler for the fortunate ones.
The AFC has more separation than the NFC in terms of sure bets for playoff locks, but anything goes with only four games remaining for most teams. The teams that execute well, avoid mistakes and strike it lucky by winning the war of attrition will be rewarded. Right now the Cincinnati Bengals are 7-5 and have the best shot of getting invited to the party, but the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets still have a shot at 5-7. Things may not be too bright for those teams, but crazier things have happened.
The NFC is where things are the most interesting. 12 teams still have hopes of making the playoffs and right now only one team, the Atlanta Falcons, are a sure bet. Three teams that are also in at the moment, the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants and Chicago Bears all have four losses. The Seattle Seahawks are currently the caboose at 7-5 while the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings are nipping at their heels at 6-6. The St. Louis Rams and New Orleans Saints still cling to the dream with five wins a piece. The battle in the NFC will go down to the wire and be a delight for all football fans.
On an individual level, there are a few guys that are must-see TV the rest of the way.
First of all, watch rookie quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III whenever you can, it’s simply a must. Luck is going to break the rookie record for passing yards and already has five comeback wins while RG3 is as efficient as they come. Both kids are phenoms—Luck is more of a gunslinger at the moment and RG3 just doesn’t make many mistakes. Right now the Redskins rookie has a quarterback rating of 104.6, which ties him with the Denver Broncos‘ Peyton Manning and is only .4 away from the league leader, Aaron Rodgers. A rookie has never earned the highest rating and that is something a rookie may never do again. The maturity of both RG3 and Luck is something this league has never seen.
Can you believe that Vikings running back Adrian Peterson leads the league in rushing with only four weeks remaining?
Me neither, but Peterson’s 1,446 yards thus far are 308 more than Marshawn Lynch, who is currently second in the NFL. Face it, Peterson won’t be caught and believe it or not, he’s going to flirt with 2,000 yards. Right now he’s on pace for 1,928 rushing yards, but he’s had six, yes six straight games with 100-plus yards. He may not surpass Eric Dickerson’s all-time record of 2,105 yards in 1984, but the 2,000-yard plateau has only been eclipsed six times in history. Considering Peterson had major knee surgery in January, one can’t help but root for him. He has to average 138.5 in the final four games but considering that he’s averaged 157 yards/game over his last six, the landmark isn’t out of reach yet.
There’s a pair of teammates in Detroit that may both make history by season’s end. While the Lions season has been a disappointment, quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson are something special. Stafford’s 3,742 passing yards currently lead the league and he’s on pace for 4,989. That’s dangerously close to 5,000 yards, which he accomplished last season. Stafford is one of only four quarterbacks to ever reach that number and if he has a second-straight season reaching that golden mark, he would become the first quarterback ever to do it in back-to-back season.
Stafford’s teammate and go-to-guy, Johnson is on track to break some ridiculous records. Currently he’s had five consecutive games with at least 125 receiving yards. A sixth-straight game would put him in a class all by himself. Something else that could set Megatron apart from the field is the fact that he’s on track to have the most single-season receiving yards in NFL history. He currently has 1,428 yards and is on pace for 1,904, which would put him past NFL legend Jerry Rice, who set the record in 1995 with 1,848. Once a record thought never to be broken, Johnson is ready to smash it. This is something that can’t be ignored. Although the Lions may not be in the hunt, Johnson sure is.
August 30, 2010
The day has finally come, again, to all woefully hopeful Detroiters. Day by day as we approach the start of the NFL season we attempt wash away the stench of another abysmal losing season. The only thing statistically easier than shortening up our memory to exclude our past embarrassments is to actually win one football game in a season. I mean you have to at least win one, right? RIGHT? …I digress.
The level at which the Detroit Lion fan base is able to shake off 2nd half meltdowns, commit inexcusable penalties and show a sub-collegiate performance that happened mere months ago is beyond human comprehension. With 2 wins in the past 32 games, some in this fan base aren’t hoping for a .500 season, they’re talking playoffs! They will all tell you that something is different this year, and I don’t necessarily have the capacity to remember back to when something was actually different.
Well, you’ll never win the lotto unless you play, but it seems like this team actually does have something different about them. The strides that Matthew Stafford has made and the potential he has shown entering his sophomore year is something that even the hardest Motown critic can’t help but get starry-eyed at. The GM, Martin Mayhew, was able to successfully overhaul a roster build during an 8 year span where logic failed to penetrate the front office. Jim Schwartz has a winning pedigree and doesn’t ‘Mariucci’ himself out of direct questions with the press. Most importantly, the fans aren’t left scratching their heads at the end of draft day and can get excited about the talent they have because many of their draft picks gain national appraise.
Don’t put your deposit down on playoff tickets yet boys; we still have a ways to go. Don’t lather yourselves up in Honolulu and get ready for a ‘Suh’per Bowl, but enjoy the flashes of what you’ll see this year, the second year of what an actual rebuilding period looks like. You won’t clinch an NFC championship, but you could gain some national respect. You won’t sniff the playoffs but you don’t have to be overpowered with the stench of what you left out on the gridiron last year. Enjoy this time of year Leo fans. It is undeniably, historically and statistically the best time of the year to be a fan of the Detroit Lions.