The quest for the ring

In the AFC EAST you have the New England Patriots looking to regain divisional dominance as the Jets have gone into a tailspin, as their bye week couldn’t have come soon enough. New England enters the real heart of their schedule to decide whether they are contenders or members of the elite. Tom Brady and company’s next five games consist of Miami, Indianapolis, New York(Jets), New Orleans, and Miami again. Three divisional rivalry games with two undefeated match-ups against the two best teams in football. Not to be overlooked Miami has come back from dropping its first three games by sweeping the Jets season series and is currently undefeated within the division (3-0).

The closest and most exciting divisional race that the NFL has offered so far this season. The Pittsburgh Steelers(5-2) seem to have regained their usual form despite some early bumps in the road, while the Baltimore Ravens(4-3) finally have found an offense to speak of, putting up 199 points which is good enough to be the most in the AFC. The Cincinnati Bengals(5-2) have decided to join the party tallying more wins at the half-point than their entire ’08 season. In a division that prides itself on defense, the Bengals have allowed 128 points, the fewest in the AFC NORTH. The Bengals have quietly risen to the top by beating both division rivals. With all the talent jam packed into the AFC NORTH it’s hard to see this race being anything but a photo finish.

In what seems to be a bit of a run away the Indianapolis Colts(7-0) have remained undefeated, but that may be the only time you hear the word “run” positively when speaking of the Colts. Indianapolis has struggled trying to run the ball, with Joseph Addai unable to provide a 70+ rushing yards in a single game this season. The Tennessee Titans(1-6) have been banished from there previous high place coming off an ’08 season with the best record in football. Although they did show some spark with Vince Young at the reigns winning their first game against the inconsistent Jacksonville Jaguars(3-4). Indianapolis may have the division to lose, but with growing injuries on defense and a seemingly non-existent run offense, Indianapolis has a lot of holes to fill in order to keep their pace.

The Denver Broncos(6-1) and first time head coach Josh McDaniels have forced there way into the spotlight. McDaniels who was the offensive coordinator for New England has faired well since his departure, unlike Matt Cassel quarterback for Kansas City(1-6). The San Diego Chargers(4-3) are still well in the race. Denver and San Diego will have a lot to prove as they head into grueling schedules ahead of them.

The New York Giants are learning the hard way, the bigger you are the harder you fall. Losing the past three games straight has knocked New York and the NFC EAST into a frenzy. The Dallas Cowboys(5-2) have quietly rebounded and been picking up steam, thanks in part to the add from wide-receiver Miles Austin. The Philadelphia Eagles(5-2) routed New York showing that when they are playing to their potential they are the best in their division, but with consistency problems, like a lose to Oakland is keeping them from being clear front-runners.

Adrian Peterson remains the most dangerous player when holding a football, while Jared Allen has quickly become one of the most dangerous players if you are holding a football. The Minnesota Vikings(7-1) are looking like one of the best teams in the NFC. In their sole lose Favre attempted 50 passes, a mistake that should not happen again. The Green Bay Packers(4-3) have allowed Aaron Rodgers to be sacked 31 times in 7 games. This staggering statistic is a must fix if Green Bay wants to get back on track.

The New Orleans Saints(7-0) lead by Drew Brees are the best team in football. Well-rounded and showing that they can get it done in clutch by coming back from being down 3-24 against Miami. The Atlanta Falcons(4-3) are a dangerous team especially now that Michael Turner is turning it on. My biggest concern is their disparity between home and road games Undefeated at home Atlanta is only 1-3 on the road.

The Arizona Cardinals(4-3) are considered the best of the west with their high flying receivers, but look again carefully. The San Francisco 49er’s(3-4) have improved dramatically this year even if it hasn’t exactly translated into wins yet. Despite their record the 49er’s have won the important games to be undefeated in the division(3-0), while half of their losses are non-conference.



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