Well, we just finished week 10 in the NFL and the playoff picture that we had from week 9 has been obscured. A few things remain the same like: Kansas City and Carolina don’t have a chance and Houston is quite possibly the real deal. However, there were several surprises.
New Orleans and Atlanta
After the first or second week, anyone could have told you that New Orleans has no chance of beating Atlanta this season but the only team that the Chiefs have beaten, beats the only undefeated team. In a game ruled by tight ends, New Orleans stuns the Falcons. What happens next, New Orleans goes to 4-5 on the year but has a tough hill to climb because Tampa Bay is hot and a game ahead. In the remaining 7 games, New Orleans plays only two teams with a losing record (the Raiders and the Panthers) and they have to play Atlanta at home. Atlanta who is 8-1 and four games ahead of New Orleans has a lot easier schedule. The Saints only hope to make the playoffs is a wild card spot and with the Buccaneers doing good that will be difficult but there are 7 more games.
This was the week of injured quarterbacks. Michael Vick ( concussion) and Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder) both went out of their games but these two are no strangers to injuries. Jay Cutler and Alex Smith also were taken out of their games fairly early on, both suffering concussions. Alex is hearty and doesn’t get injured that much but who knows with Cutler and his temperament. The 49ers may have Smith back next week and the Bears are ok as well. Why? Both of these teams have fairly competent back up quarterbacks in Colin Kaepernick (did good Sunday and was superb at Nevada) and Jason Campbell (didn’t do too bad in a receiver-less Oakland and Washington). Where there is the most worry is at Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Nick Foles came in for Vick Sunday against Dallas and did not fare too well (but it wasn’t terrible for his first time). Now Philadelphia is out of the playoff hunt basically this so this injury doesn’t hurt them too bad but for long-term consideration, it doesn’t look good for the Eagles. Big Ben may be out a while in Pittsburgh. This isn’t good because Byron Leftwich may not have what it takes to lead a playoff contending team to the playoffs. The Steelers are 6-3 and have a scary schedule over the next four weeks (especially since they barely beat the Chiefs last night) that include: Baltimore, Cleveland (don’t count the Browns out), Baltimore, then San Diego. Right now head coach Mike Tomlin lists Ben as questionable for next week but other sources say that the injury is more significant than that and that Ben may miss a couple of weeks. If Ben misses these four weeks, I have the Steelers going 1-3 and that’s best case scenario.
Coaches in the Hot Seat
There were a few coaches that needed to win in week 10 that didn’t and there are a few coaches that are just doomed. Some of these coaches are newer and may need time but there are a few that have been at their program a while and it may be time for a change.
- Andy Reid- This year and last have been hard for Andy both on and off the field. This year the Eagles started off 3-1 and haven’t won a game since. Last year was a disappointing season as well. Andy has been in the hot seat for at least two years and they have almost no chance of making the playoffs this year so I believe that he will be let go at the end of the season. Andy has certainly had some highs at Philadelphia since his start in 2001. Andy has taken the Eagles to four NFC championships and one Super Bowl in that time. I don’t think Andy will have any trouble finding a new head coaching job.
- Norv Turner- Norv took over in San Diego in 2007 and has an overall record of 53-35 there which isn’t bad. The problem is that they can’t win in the playoffs. It hasn’t been hard winning the AFC West division and they came in first Norv’s first three seasons but have come in second the last 2 years and have not made the playoffs. Norv and the Chargers are 3-3 in the post season but have never been to the super bowl. With the AFC in the crapper, the Chargers may have a chance to make the playoffs this year via wild card because Denver is on a roll. I think Norv keeps his job if they go to the playoffs but if they don’t I’m not so sure.
- Rome Crennel- Rome picked up the Chiefs HC job after Todd Haley was fired with two games left in last season. Romeo was the defensive coordinator and has produced some good defenses but can’t seem to produce an offense with the Chiefs. There are many offensive weapons at Kansas City but they aren’t clicking. The Chiefs are 1-8 but should have won last night and a few others. I believe that Romeo will probably lose his job possibly sooner than the end of the season. There will be probably be a cleaning of house for the coaching staff.
- Mike Shanahan- Mike took over the Redskins last year and has yet to turn the team around. I, along with a few other gullible football fans, thought RG3 was the Redskins’ key but, like Cam Newton, he just runs around and they won’t finish with a winning record. I think Shanahan stays but maybe not for long.
- Cleveland and Jacksonville coaches- I don’t take time to learn these coaches’ names because I don’t think they’ll be there very long. These are two perennial disasters. I can remember when Jack del Rio took the Jaguars to a playoff every now and then but those days are gone.
- Ken Whisenhunt- Ken has been with the Cardinals for a few years and has had some success. -This year he started 4-0 and lost 5 straight. The excuse can be made that the injury at quarterback has been the reason for their fall from success this season but some of the blame always falls on the HC when a team does bad. I have no idea where Ken will end up but I hope he stays because he has done good things for the Cardinals.