This is the NFL. It doesn’t stand for National Football League. It stands for Not For Losers.
Harsh as it sounds, the NFL is the one league where every game really counts. Sure, division leads and postseason seeding can come down to a single game in baseball, basketball, and hockey. But think about: football is the only major sport in North America (or the world for the matter) that plays less than 20 games in a regular season. Why do you think there’s so many more tie-breaking procedures here than in other sports? Because the aforementioned sports play more 80+ games a year. Hell, the MLB runs a 162-game season!
Hence, football is the only sport where it’s a proven fact that every game really does count.
It’s unlike running from a bear where all you have to do is run faster than the guy running the slowest. In this league, you either win all the games that you can, or you fall out of meaningful existence.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns are both 1-5 on the season, effectively making them irrelevant in terms of the postseason. But…what if they win all of their games from here and each go 11-5? Then what?
Especially for the Chiefs, if they win out their games in a mysterious AFC West, they could be in contention for a wild card spot in the playoffs.
Clearly, that isn’t going to happen. That shit cray, yolo #wutup.
But, my inner hipster and my real self digress.
With the Patriots, 49ers, and Texans losing their games in Week 6, Atlanta barely beating a no-better-than-mediocre Oakland Raiders team, and Baltimore taking some huge injuries into the remainder of their season, five of the projected Super Bowl contenders are looking less than super.
1) With the 49ers loss to a rejuvenated New York Giants team, they drop to 4-2 and are tied in the NFC West for number one. They steam-rolled their last two opponents, but this one loss hung their division lead in the closet for the time being. If they lose to the Seahawks at home on Thursday, they could be fighting for a simple second place for the next few weeks. No one knows how the season will pan out for the three other teams in the division, but they all have the same thought in mind: can’t lose. Just like the rest of the NFL.
2) The Texans are now 5-1 after an embarrassing loss (and their first of the year) to the back-to-2011-look Green Bay Packers. Now the questions may begin to spring up as to whether Brian Cushing’s season-ending injury is the reason for looking like a baby whose lollipop was taken from their infant mouths in a game that they should have won. OK, Aaron Rodgers is last year’s MVP, fine, got it. But he hasn’t played like it recently (gives me hope for Seattle, even though they didn’t quite win, still held them to 12) and Houston, at home, should have been able to contain him. If this is the defense we’re going to be seeing, say hello to a number 2 seed, and a number 1 break down. Asylum style.
3) The Falcons look like the comeback kids. So amazing, dat kick! So incredible, dat pass, against Carolina! Bullshit. All of it. Will looked at the schedule that Atlanta faces for the rest of the season, and even he said they must’ve rigged the schedule (Weekly Chat: Two Idiots). They can’t help who they play, but at least dominate if that’s what they’re saying. 3 INT’s after having only two all year? Against the RAIDERS? Come on, Matty Ice. This team is going to kick the bucket in the postseason if they can’t beat teams who don’t have the prospects of reaching .500.
4) Baltimore’s defense was already not at its best this season, giving up more yards per game than they did in their previous three seasons. Now, they may have to live without Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, and definitely Lardarius Webb after a win against Dallas. Having three injuries, one to each of the levels of your defense is a coach’s worst nightmare. If they can win their next game, Harbaugh will be praised for his ability to find gold in his wallet. If they lose, all hell will have broken loose in Baltimore.
5) New England is the best off of any of these teams to win a Super Bowl. Their 3-3 record is a little strange for the spoiled ones, but they’re the best 3-3 team in the NFL. They’re in a four-way tie for the AFC East division lead and are in full control of their destiny. But the fact that they made so many mental errors in Seattle (WOOHOO) is concerning. It’s not the same team when you’re miffing clock management when you can put yourself two possessions ahead before halftime. Get better fast, or we may have to get Paul Revere to let Boston know that “THE DOLPHINS ARE COMING! THE DOLPHINS ARE COMING!…ALONG WITH RYAN TANNEHILL’S HOT WIFE.”
So, who are the teams that we can include in this group of Super Bowl contenders? I’ve got a list of possibles after these five. The:
1) New York Giants
2) Chicago Bears
3) Pittsburgh Steelers
4) San Diego Chargers
5) Denver Broncos
6) Seattle Seahawks
7) Philadelphia Eagles
8) Minnesota Vikings
9) Cincinnati Bengals
10) The NFLPA/NFLRA (No politics, just old guys duking it out in pads. Could make for a hilarious Pro Bowl activity though. Ed Hochuli would kill a man).
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