Thoughts about week 15 of the NFL
The 49ers with Kaepernick are for real.
The win over the Pats was very impressive. Kaepernick put the team in position to blow out the Pats but the D struggled to keep up the pressure on Brady. It was the D that gave up the 4 TD lead but Kaepernick ended the game with a TD. This team is nearly ready to go for it all. The change from Smith to Kaepernick should have been made earlier in the season.
The Jets are a joke that is not funny.
The issue with the Jets is not only QB Sanchez but the roster’s lack of talent. Mike Tannenbaum Jet’s GM has blown drafts and free agent signings. HC Ryan is not the best coach in the league but deserves better players.
Sanchez was never a favorite of mine because he had only one year of starting at USC. If he could not beat out John David Booty who was a 5th round pick, what made Tannenbaum think he was worth a top 10 pick?
The Browns are not and never were a hot team.
The Browns’ three game winning-streak was against the Steelers with a 97 year old QB that was sitting at home watching the league on TV a week before he started and two of the worst teams in the NFL. This team is badly coached and hopefully for the fans that will be resolved after the season by the new owner Jimmy Haslam. However, in my opinion Lombardi is not a quality candidate for the GM spot.
Watch out for the Seahawks.
QB Wilson is the real deal. I told you that in the middle of the 2011 college season and often since. He has the arm, head and mobility to take this team all the way unless the coaching gets in the way. The D is solid and when they get their CBs back is as good as any. At home this team is nearly unbeatable.
The Giants are in trouble.
The Skins are playing well. Even the Cowboys seem to have overcome some QB and HC issues to become a contender rather than the pretender we have seen for several years. If WR Bryant can stay on the field and be even close to effective, this team will challenge for a playoff spot.
The Giants on the other hand are suffering with below average QB play and a boatload of injuries. Even some of the best coaching in the league cannot save this season. QB Manning has suffered from a lack of protection and drops by usually reliable receivers.
The Bengals are in at this point and the Steelers are out of the playoffs.
The Cincy D is playing well and QB Dalton has solved his footwork issues for the most part. He is playing consistent ball and living within his limitations of arm strength. This is not a Super Bowl team yet but it can make the playoffs for a second consecutive season. That has not happened in a long time.
The Steelers are in serious trouble. They have to beat the Bengals and that will be a problem. QB Roethlisberger is back but he is not healthy. The team has an injury plagued D and a running game that is fumble prone. Even if they back into the playoffs, they will not be a factor.
The Falcons need the home field advantage more than any other team.
The Falcons are as inconsistent away from home as any team in the league. That is in part due to an average D that plays better at home. If the Falcons get HFA throughout the NFC playoffs they will have a shot at the Super Bowl. If not they will lose again.
The Texans are capable of great or terrible games.
When the Texans lean too much on the passing game they get in trouble. They have one of the top 2 RBs in the league. They have to keep the ground game going to keep winning. QB Schaub is good but can’t carry the team alone. They need to keep running with Foster. The D is good enough to win it all but this team may not get there this season.
The Broncos are my choice as the best team in the AFC IF…
The IF is can Manning stay healthy? If so, the team can go far and win both at home and on the road. If not the team is done. He has made the WRs much better and helped a less talented OL look good.
Coaching changes to look for after the season
The Cardinals will fire Ken Whisenhunt which is a shame. I doubt it was his choice to staff the QB position with duds. It is the GM that should be canned. Whisenhunt is a good coach and will not be unemployed long.
The Browns will fire Shurmur and the staff. Only DC Jauron may stay but that is doubtful. My preference would be a vet NFL coach but that is not likely to happen. No top drawer coach will want to come unless Haslam charms him with his great personality.
The Jags and Chiefs will change coaches as well. Both teams have under produced and the Jags new ownership wants progress. Chiefs’ coach Crennel is a nice guy but is not head coach material. He will get a job as DC somewhere.
The Eagles have already made it clear that HC Reid is gone. That has more to do with the team tuning out his voice than his coaching ability. He made a couple of critical staff mistakes that hurt and the fall of Mike Vick did not help. Reid is a solid coach that will resurface as soon as he wants to work again.
The Chargers will replace HC Norv Turner. He was lucky to have kept his job this long. He has coached his way out of the league.
The Bills may change coaches as well. Chan Gailey has been the coach since 2010 and has not won much since. He has been struggling with QB Fitzpatrick but so far the QB is inconsistent. The team brought in FA DE Williams to help the D but that has not resulted in wins. The GM Nix’s job is in jeopardy as well. When you trade for QB Tarvaris Jackson you need QB help and that is not it.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.
He edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.