Red Rifle Jammed
The Cincinnati Bengals are in the midst of one of their most successful seasons in recent memory, so it was only natural that something would go wrong. Instead of waiting until the playoffs to be disappointed, Bengals’ fans skipped ahead and watched as their Pro Bowl quarterback Andy Dalton broke his thumb attempting to make a tackle after throwing an interception early in last Sunday’s contest. While Dalton’s return for the playoffs is still a possibility (and now he has a built-in excuse in case they lose), the Bengals will turn to backup AJ McCarron, who appears to be more than confident in his ability to lead this team. McCarron’s likened his situation to that of Tom Brady when he was thrust into the limelight after Drew Bledsoe suffered an injury many moons ago. Obviously, the media and fans jumped on McCarron fro making that comparison and sure, he could have said that he would be like Matt Hasselbeck coming in for Andrew Luck. Instead, he opted to compare himself to the juggernaut, and if you are a Bengals fan you have to appreciate that moxie out of the gate.
No Moore Problems
After third year defensive lineman Damontre Moore was cut by the New York Giants, it was fairly obvious that the team was getting out in front of a brewing story. Nobody gives up on talented linemen with a year left on their rookie deal unless something major occurred. Soon it was revealed that Moore was given the heave-ho over a locker room dispute involving free headphones. Star receiver Odell Beckham was handing out the high-priced devices and fellow defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins helped himself to more than his allotted share. While Jenkins did his best Grinch impersonation to claim all of the gifts, Moore took it upon himself to save Christmas. Well, let’s just assume that was Moore’s defense because that’s the only thing that I can think of that slightly defends two professional athletes fighting over a free gift. In the end, Moore was sent packing as this incident was the last straw in a string of transgressions. This marks the second locker room fight in the city of New York this season.
The melodrama that surrounded Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly and his former running back LeSean McCoy should now finally be put to rest after Philadelphia beat Buffalo this weekend. Let’s all hope so, because the petty disagreement between the player and his former coach quickly devolved into the aftermath of a high school breakup. Kelly, of course, spoke of shaking McCoy’s hand after the game, which led to a stern rebuff from his former star. Throughout the week, Kelly attempted to further explain his more than apt reasoning for deciding to move on from LeSean McCoy and his contract. This, of course, was a very unprecedented attempt by a coach to bring levity to a still bubbling situation. To further quell the fire, Kelly even attempted to reach out to McCoy prior to the game but upon answering the phone and hearing Kelly’s voice, McCoy promptly hung-up the phone. While Kelly’s contingency plan in DeMarco Murray hasn’t quite worked out as well as he hoped, I don’t think many people can blame Kelly for moving on from McCoy after this week.
Mom Knows Best
The Carolina Panthers are roaring their way through the 2015 season and as evident on and off the field, they are having a great time doing it. Of course, it’s easy to have fun when you don’t have a loss on your record with three more weeks of regular season action. Things weren’t always so pleasant in Carolina and this team faced its fair share of adversity last year. Coach Ron Rivera has turned his critics into believers, one of which is his own mother. Rivera told The Black and Blue Review that “My mom’s always been my hardest critic. I’m serious — she knows the game. She’ll go, ‘You know, in that red zone, you guys were playing a lot of zone.’ I’ll say, ‘How do you know that?’ She goes, ‘When I see guys facing the ball. You guys have to match better.’” I know a team in the NFC South that recently fired their defensive coordinator that might be able to use Momma Rivera.
Well, it was bound to happen. After New England Patriots’ hero Tom Brady publicly declared his support for his buddy Donald Trump, we all knew at some point that Brady was going to have to answer to all of the antics of the Trump campaign. It’s always a delicate situation when mixing politics with sports so we shouldn’t be surprised that Brady addressed his Trump affiliation with the right does of measured support and dismissiveness. After all, going full Trump isn’t going to make the Patriots games on Sunday any easier, but it’s not like Brady could abandon his friend. That would have been an even bigger distraction; one Bill Belichick and the Patriots definitely don’t want any part of. After Sikh fans were initially denied entrance to a San Diego game and reports of other patrons being accosted and questioned if they were refugees, I miss the days of hating strangers for simply wearing a different jersey.
- Carolina Panthers (13-0), last week 1: Are there any small children in Carolina that don’t have a game ball yet?
- New England Patriots (11-2), last week 2: Another week, another round of injuries but Tom Brady remains healthy which is all that really matters.
- Arizona Cardinals (11-2), last week 3: Arizona had a bit more trouble with Minnesota than expected but continues to cruise.
- Cincinnati Bengals (10-3), last week 4: Andy Dalton is jammed and now it’s AJ McCarron’s turn to lead the way.
- Denver Broncos (10-3), last week 5: Suddenly Peyton Manning is feeling better. It’s weird how that worked out.
- Green Bay Packers (9-4), last week 6: After dispatching Dallas, Green Bay is finding its groove.
- Seattle Seahawks (8-5), last week 7: This team is poised to win out.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5), last week 8: After knocking out Andy Dalton, it was easy sailing to victory in Cincinnati.
- Kansas City Chiefs (8-5), last week 9: Kansas City held on for a tough win over San Diego and are now set up to join the playoff party.
- New York Jets (8-5), last week 10: In Ryan Fitzpatrick they trust.
- Minnesota Vikings (8-5), last week 11: This team needs a non-playoff bound team to beat up on. Oh, hello, Chicago.
- Indianapolis Colts (6-7), last week 12: The Colts are running out of (Andrew) Luck.
- Philadelphia Eagles (6-7), last week 18: Philadelphia has a huge test this Sunday against Arizona before wrapping up with two division games (vs. Washington, at New York Giants).
- Buffalo Bills (6-7), last week 13: With last week’s loss, Buffalo’s chance at the playoffs is now likely over.
- Atlanta Falcons (6-7), last week 14: This team is on life support and fading fast.
- Houston Texans (6-7), last week 15: The Texans weren’t up to the task of taking down New England so they could control their division.
- New York Giants (6-7), last week 20: The Giants look to hand Carolina its first loss of the season.
- Washington (6-7), last week 19: While the division rivals face tough tests, Washington has a prime opportunity to go up a game with a win over Buffalo.
- Chicago Bears (5-8), last week 16: It’s time to start thinking about next year in Chicago.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7), last week 17: Jameis Winston couldn’t take advantage of the cake matchup.
- Oakland Raiders (6-7), last week 21: That was huge win for the future of the franchise.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8), last week 26: Jacksonville demolished Indianapolis in a must-win and is now a game back.
- Miami Dolphins (5-8), last week 22: It almost looks like the Dolphins are throwing games at this point.
- Dallas Cowboys (4-9), last week 23: Even owner Jerry Jones needs to admit that the playoff dream is over now.
- New Orleans Saints (5-8), last week 24: No (Mark) Ingram, no problem.
- San Diego Chargers (3-10), last week 25: I might be starting at wide receiver for the Chargers this week.
- Baltimore Ravens (4-9), last week 27: It’s time to start planning for next year.
- St. Louis Rams (5-8), last week 28: Todd Gurley showed why he’s the next stud, then exited early.
- Detroit Lions (4-9), last week 29: After a brief sign of life, the Lions are back to their losing ways.
- Tennessee Titans (3-10), last week 31: If it wasn’t for Marcus Mariota catching a pass on a trick play they get shut out.
- San Francisco 49ers (4-9), last week 30: In the battle of who could care less, the 49ers won.
- Cleveland Browns (3-10), last week 32: Johnny Manziel won and played decent enough but there is a long way to go.