News, Notes and Rumors for Week 8 of the NFL Season

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Bill Smith


What have we learned so far this NFL Season?

The current leaders for a bye week in the playoffs in the AFC are the Steelers and the Bills.
The Steelers got the top spot after the win over the Pats Sunday.  They have a HUGE game this week with the
Ravens in Pittsburgh.  Beyond that they have an easy schedule the rest of the way.
They face the Browns and Bengals twice.   The only games that seem to be a challenge now are road games at the
Chiefs and the 49ers.

The Bills have a tougher schedule ahead of them.  But their win last week over the
Redskins is a good sign for the D.  They face the Jets twice and close with a game at the Pats.

The other playoff teams at this point of the season would be Texans (AFC South), Chargers (AFC West) and the wild cards Bengals and
Pats.  Despite being ranked 5th overall in the AFC, the Ravens would be out of the playoffs if the season ended today.

In the NFC things are just as surprising.

The top team is the Packers which will not surprise anyone.  But the 49ers are 2nd overall at 6-1.  The Giants and Saints
would be the other division winners and the wild cards would be the Lions and Bears.

While the 49ers have the toughest schedule they are also in the easiest division.  They will face the Steelers and Ravens from the AFC and the Giants out of the NFC East.  The 49ers will win their division easily.

The Lions have to face the Pack twice as well as the Saints and the Raiders.  The Lions will be a playoff team IF they can keep QB Stratford healthy.  Otherwise the WC will go to the Bears.  The Bears have already lost to the Pack once and face the resurgent Eagles, the Lions and the Pack once in their remaining games.

The Cowboys are again struggling at RB because they are using a light Felix Jones too much.   He is hurt again and they cut RB Choice before their game Sunday.

The Cards have discovered what most of us have known for a while—QB Kolb is not an NFL quality starter.  He has really struggled
in the last couple of games and they are considering going back to Skelton.



Teams that want Stanford QB Luck were rooting for the Rams to get the top pick.  That is the only team that would be inclined to trade either the pick or their current top pick QB Bradford.  The win by the Rams over the Saints hurt their chances of getting the pick.

Right now after week 8 of the season the Dolphins are leading the race to Luck.  They have not had a quality QB since Dan Marino retired and would love to “suck for Luck.”  The Colts are in 2nd but they will not get Luck even if they get the top pick.   To find out why check out my article WhyStanford QB Luck will not be a Colt in 2012 on the subject right here on

The Colts have kept QB Manning on the active roster.  However, he should not even think about coming back to the team this year.
The season is lost and the offensive line is … offensive.

The NFL Player Safety Committee will study the situation with Charger G Dielman who suffered a seizure after having a second
concussion Sunday.  It was a very scarysituation to see him stagger and fall to the ground after a hit.



Former HC Cowher denied rumors that the Dolphins had talked with him about becoming their HC.   Thank heavens for Caller ID.  He
avoided the call by seeing it was the Dolphins on the line.

The Saints loss to the Rams was a major upset but also indicates an issue with the team.  They have struggled to protect the QB and with their O so totally dependent on Brees passing, it puts doubt in the minds of many that the team is a serious contender for the title.  The
Rams won without their starting QB Bradford.

The Madden Curse strikes again.  This time it is RB Hillis that is the primary victim although the entire Browns’ group of RBs have also suffered from the Cover Curse.  Backup Hardesty is now down with a torn calf muscle and they are looking for anyone that can run the ball.

The chance of Hillis being on the Browns next year is said to be close to 0 but he may have to come back because no one else will
make him an offer.  He has said he does not want to be distracted by talking more about a new contract.  He will get very little interest unless he
gets back on the field and has a solid last half of the season.

The rumor is that the Texans are a dirty team.  HC Kubiak defended his team Monday in his news conference.  The truth is that Kubiak
started the rumor himself to make his team look tough.  Anyone that has seen this team over the last couple of years knows it is anything but tough in either their minds or physical play.  The D is doing better this year but the only reason the Texans may stumble into the playoffs is the
injury to Colt QB Manning.

Sometimes a big payday can make a player soft and he will fail to ever regain the performance that got him the check.  That is not the case with Titan RB Johnson.  While he has suffered from a lack of conditioning because of the lockout and his holdout, that is not the issue.  The fact is that the O line of the Titans has not opened holes like they it has in the past.  With a passing game that is among the worst in the league, teams are putting 30 guys in the box and making sure that Johnson cannot get outside.  RB Ringer is a better inside runner and will split time with Johnson.

If the Cowboys don’t make the playoffs, look for big changes in Big D.  Owner Jones is not patient and the coaching staff is not the only change that might be made.  QB Romo is going to have to become a consistent guy particularly in the 4th quarter.

Cowboy DC Rob Ryan is confident he will be a HC soon.  He indicated that his brother Rex got his chance already.  Rob, here is
some advice.  Not only do you have to have your own charges play better but unless Rex gets his act together he may
be an ex-head coach soon as well.



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 is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at

He edits .




What have we learned from the first 2 weeks of the NFL?

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National Football League

National Football League

The 2-0 teams:

The Bills are 2-0 but had to pull a miracle to win vs.  Oakland.  They are not as good as they  looked last week vs. KC because the Chiefs are TERRIBLE.  They face the Pats this week.

The Pats are showing more urgency than in the last few  years.  They are a threat for the Super Bowl.

The Jets are 2-0 but do not look like a top team.  I still don’t trust QB Sanchez in a big  game.  We will know more when they play
the Pats.

The Texans are also 2-0 but have yet to beat anyone.  They will win the division but then choke as  usual but this time in the playoffs rather than against the Colts.

Washington struggled to win at home vs. the Cards.  They have Grossman at QB and are Wine and  fools’ gold.   The Skins are a mess and
HC Shannahan has made the mess worse rather than fixed it.

The Pack is 2-0 but gave up 23 points to CR.  The pass D is a problem and might cost them  big in the playoffs.   Unless the pass D
gets better, this team will not win a 2nd consecutive title.

The Lions look like the real deal at 2-0.  They have outscored their opponent by 52 points  and the D is outstanding.  There is one
caution.  IF QB Bradford can stay healthy  they will be a playoff team

0 – 2 TEAMS:

Over the last 10 years, only 12% of the teams that started  out 0-2 made the playoffs.  Those are not  good odds.

The Dolphins are 0-2 and face a must win at Cleveland this  week.  The coaching staff is hanging on  by a single stand of a spider web.  They
have to win to keep their jobs.  They  will not do either.

The Colts are 0-2 and that was a bad loss for them at home  last week vs. the Browns.   Worse yet,  they face the Steelers at home this week and go to play the Bucs next.  They will be 0-4 and looking for a shot at  the top draft choice (QB Luck) in the 2012 draft.  It is clear that Payton is the brains behind  the O and HC Caldwell should be gone along with the GM for the mess they have  made of this team.

The KC Chiefs are a mess as well.  When OC Weis left so did any semblance of  offense.  HC Haley pushed Weis out and  now we see that the former is not capable of handling the job.  QB Cassel has been miserable and RB Charles is  out for the season with an injury.  Haley
will be gone when this team takes the field next year.  The only scrap of good news is that the team  will play other inept organizations  like
the Vikes and Colts in weeks 4 and 5.

The Vikes are looking for a QB and did not find one that  works in McNabb.   In recent years they could depend on wins  against division foes like the Bears and the Lions.  But the Lions have gotten a lot better and  the Bears are fighting for their coach’s job this year.  The Vikes will have a top 5 choice in 2012.

The Seahawks are also 0-2 and depending on a college coach  to bail them out of this mess.  He won’t  and the team continues to spiral downward out of control.  Any judge of talent that thought that QB  Jackson could be an NFL starter should lose his job.

Two teams that are not in as bad shape as those above are  the Rams and the Panthers.

The Rams have had some critical injuries but have turned the  ball over too often to beat NFC East teams the Eagles and Giants.  They will likely win the NFC West but are a  couple of players from being competitive against the best teams in the  conference.

The Panthers are breaking in a new coach and new QB.  QB Newton is far from a quality NFL starter  but has shown some good things.  The team  has some very solid players including one of the best centers in the league in  Kalil, a solid RB in Williams  and star  WR in Smith.  They have added some good  defensive rookies and is turning the team around.  They are in a tough division but will be  better as the season wears on.

That is 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 is a senior writer for and edits He  has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at

He edits .
Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear  his sports show Monday-Friday 6-8 PM EST on  or .
You can be part of the show by calling  our Herbalife Hotline at 216-539-0607.

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