Monday, September 8, 2008

Changing of the Guards

So the first week of the NFL season is almost done with only 2 games left this evening before the week is in the books. If this Sunday was any indications, there is a wind of change blowing across the AFC. The Indianapolis Colts looked like shadows of their former selves against the Chicago Bears, a team that they beat in the Super Bowl just 2 years ago. The New England Patriots lost their leader, their franchise player in a winning effort against the Kansas City Chiefs. Tom Brady is said to be out for the season with a torn ACL and going along with him is the Super Bowl hope for the Patriots nation. Two teams that have dominated the AFC for the last decade, now making the playoff doesn’t look like a given anymore. The Colts are sitting prettier than the Patriots are though, seeing as they still have Peyton Manning running their offense. This is the first time since the 2004 season that the Colts is going to start the season not going 7-0, a fantastic accomplishment in itself. The lost was not the worst news for Manning and the Colts, to add insult to injury, no pun intended; they lost both Joseph Addai and Dallas Clark in a losing effort. As for the Patriots, they were so desperate for a signal caller, that they brought in Chris Simms for a tryout. I guess they don’t have much faith in Matt Cassel who completed 13 of 18 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown, in the 7 points win. The irony here is Tom Brady was on the injured list all year last year and as soon as he was taken off the list, he goes out and gets a season ending injury.

The season is far from over and anything can happen between now and February. The Colts might just need some adjustments and the Patriots might get by with a game manager since the talent is still there. Cassel or Simms, they still have Randy Moss and Wes Welker to throw to. I don't have any doubts that Bill Belichick can formulate a decent season. They might just have to run the ball more often than they want to, but football is a game of adjustments. As for the Colts, Peyton is Peyton, he’ll find a way to win some games, but will it be enough this year? For years now, teams have been closing in on the Colts in the AFC South, and after their showing Sunday night, the conference looks to be wide open. The same can be said about the AFC East with Tom Brady going down and both the Jets and the Bills winning their respected games.

Who will finally de-throne the Colts and the Patriots? Who has what it takes to be crown AFC champion? The smart money would be on the Pittsburg Stealers now and after the showing they had against the up and coming Houston Texans, it’s hard to argue that. They have all the tools necessary to not only make it out of the AFC, but are also a Super Bowl favorite. They got the running back, the quarterback, the wide receiver, and the defense. The only team that might be able to stop the Stealers this year is the Stealers themselves. The Chargers is another team that’s been knocking on the door of the AFC championship and even with the lost to the Panthers, they have to be happy with the way Philip Rivers played. He’s really coming into his own and looks ready to take the next step, leading his team to the AFC crown. The Chargers are the most talented team in the NFL, but they are also the most inconsistent team as well. The biggest knock on this team was they can’t win in the playoffs, well last year they took it to the Patriots without their star running back LaDainian Tomlinson and an injured Philip Rivers in the AFC title game. So who will it be, who’s ready to take the mantel? I don’t know, but I sure am excited to find out. This might be a season for the ages, coming off of last year's historic season. To answer my co-blogger's question, yes I am ready for some football.

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