Director of Sports Media WGMU
September 28, 2015
Photo Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports
As I watched this past Sunday’s game. I began to reflect on how the season has played out so far. I came to the realization that the NFL has been all over the place in terms of how teams have been performing. I mean, the Colts could have easily gone 0-3 to start the season had it not been for Andrew Luck finally understanding that Frank Gore is the “inconvenient truth.” Denver goes 3-0 on the season after I had predicted them to miss out on the playoffs this year. With Big Ben out for 4-6 weeks, it remains to be seen how my Super Bowl predicted champions will fair in his absence.
Frank Gore– The running back out of Miami was traded to the Indianapolis Colts over the off-season in order to make room for Carlos Hyde in San Francisco, where Gore spent 10 seasons as the feature back. Now in Indianapolis, Andrew Luck finally has a work horse running back he can rely on to take pressure off from the passing game.
During the first two games of the season, the Colts offense could not get Gore, or their running game in general going. Their lack of success on the ground made the Andrew Luck and that offense predictable. If they can keep feeding Frank Gore the ball, perhaps the defense will be able to stay off the field.
This reminds me of last year’s Dallas Cowboys. Their defense had lost key players on the defensive side of the ball and with Tony Romo at the helm alongside Demarco Murray, the running game was what made Dallas so good by keeping its defense off the field. So as Sandra Bullock put it in her film “The Blind Side,” RUN THE DANG BALL!
Denver Defense? Or Peyton Manning?- Prior to the beginning of the season, I predicted on my show, “The Box Score” that Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos would miss out on the playoffs. I think Peyton must have heard what I and many other have been saying all off season long about how old and one he is.
Don’t get me wrong, the defense won the game week 1, but since then, Peyton Manning has taken over. I was skeptical to see how Gary Kubiak would use Manning due to Kubiak’s style of running the ball and using play action plays. That was not what I wanted to see out of Manning. In fact, It seems as if Kubiak has realized that in order for his team to win, you let Peyton Manning do what Peyton Manning does best.
The absence of a run game is overshadowed by Manning’s legacy and with the stout defense, it may be looking like yet another playoff run for Manning and the Broncos.
The Pittsburgh Steelers- This is a tough one to measure. With Big Ben out for 4-6 weeks with and MCL Sprain and bruised knee, it will be up to Michael Vick to keep handing the ball of to Le’veon Bell and throwing to Antonio Brown.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said on Michael Vick,” This is not his first rodeo.” For those who laughed at the Steelers for picking Vick up, now it does not seem like such a bad move now does it?
This injury could not have come at a better or worse time. Granted, any injury is look upon as a negative factor, but since this was so early in the season, the season is not lost for the Steelers. But with Bell finally back from suspension and Martavis Bryant soon to return, it was looking like the Steelers were about to be at full strength.
Not all is lost for the Steelers campaign this season. If Vick can win half the games, I believe that Big Ben and the Steelers will have what it takes to make a playoff push.
The Arizona Cardinals- Carson Palmer seems to get better with age. After sustaining a season ending injury, the 35 year-old has bounced back in 2015. Palmer is a current comeback player of the year candidate and front runner.
We all saw what the Cardinals looked like without him under center last year. The defense carried the team into the playoffs where they lost to a 7-9 Carolina Panthers team.
That being said, there are several factors that will determine whether or not the Cardinals are the real deal. Those are the defense plays lights out. The running game continues to be productive and most importantly, Carson Palmer remains healthy throughout the season.
If all of these factors come to fruition, look for the Arizona Cardinals to make a deep playoff run.