Mid Season Review
As we sit at the midpoint of the 2014 NFL Season, it was not so long ago when the Buffalo Bills were in first place, the New England Patriots were in the division cellar, there was parades in Miami, and the Jets were a few plays away from being undefeated.
My how times have changed….. So let’s take a quick, highly biased look at where we have been and where things could be headed.
2014 Standing: 5-3 (2nd Place)
2013 Standing through 8 games: 3-5 (4th Place)
2012 Standing through 8 games: 3-5 (4th Place)
What’s happened so far? After a strong 2-0 start, which included pounding the division rival Dolphins, the bottom fell out of the Maid of the Mist and EJ Manuel came crashing down to reality. In a surprisingly bold and highly unpopular move with the TSR Bills bloggers, Buffalo turned to 31 year old Kyle Orton (yes Kyle F’king Orton) to lead them for the balance of the season. Since making the switch at Quarterback, the Bills have gone 3-1 including a huge road win at Detroit.
What can we expect? The Bills have a fairly solid roster on both sides of the ball and as long as they continue to get decent performances out of Orton, they will put themselves in a nice position to make a playoff run. Injuries to CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson are significant but with games against division softies like the Dolphins and Jets, the Bills could be the surprise team of 2014 and finally break their seemingly endless playoff drought.
2014 Standings: 4-3 (3rd Place)
2013 Standing through 8 games: 3-4 (3rd Place)
2012 Standing through 8 games: 4-4 (2nd Place)
What’s happened so far? After dominating the Patriots on opening day, the parade floats were out like it was the early 70’s again. How did the Dolphins capitalize on their big victory? By losing three of their next four games including a heartbreaking loss to Green Bay. Ryan Tannehill has shown brief flashes of looking like a serviceable quarterback but his overall performance has been shaky at best and offensive coaching issues seem to be a reoccurring theme with this team.
What can we expect? The Dolphins are 1-3 against teams with a winning record this year. With games against San Diego, Detroit, Buffalo, and Denver, the Dolphins could put themselves in a horrible position for a Wild Card spot before Thanksgiving even gets here.
New England Patriots:
2014 Standing: 6-2 (1st Place)
2013 Standing through 8 games: 6-2 (1st Place)
2012 Standing through 8 games: 5-3 (1st Place)
What’s happened so far? For a team that many fans expected to contend for the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots got off to a terrible start. The offensive line looked awful, the defense was not living up to expectations, and every media outlet had written Tom Brady off as being washed up and too old to play. All of these issues came to a head in Week 4 when the Patriots were crushed by the Chiefs on Monday Night Football to the tune of 41-14. After the Kansas City game, however, the Patriots seemed to steady the ship and won their next four games. For the moment anyway, it seems that New England has found some offensive rhythm with Rob Gronkowski getting healthier and the emergence of WR Brandon LaFell as an outside receiver option.
What can we expect? For the second year in a row, the Patriots lost Jerod Mayo. For a defense that was already was struggling to stop the run, this will be an issue for the Patriots to deal with for the rest of the season. With games against Denver, Indianapolis, Detroit, Green Bay, and San Diego, everyone will know, with some certainty, if the Patriots are a legitimate Super Bowl contender or not.
New York Jets:
2014 Standing: 1-7 (4th Place)
2013 Standing through 8 games: 4-4 (2nd Place)
2012 Standing through 8 games: 3-5 (3rd Place)
What’s happened so far? After barely beating the Oakland Raiders on opening day, not much has gone right for the Jets. Everyone knew the Jets defensive front seven would be the strength of the team, but no one realized how bad the rest of the team was. The offensively challenged coaching staff has not been up to the task to put their offensive personnel in a position to be successful and the defensive staff have not figured out a scheme to mask the deficiencies in the defensive secondary.
What can we expect? For the second year in a row, the Jets are already on the clock at the halfway point of the season. In a very desperate and overdue move, New York finally benched the turnover prone Geno Smith and will turn to the veteran Michal Vick. Unfortunately, Marty Mornhinweg and Michael Vick already failed in Philadelphia with much better skilled personnel so the Jets could very well be 1-9 by the time they get to their bye week. At this point it probably is a foregone conclusion that Rex Ryan will be fired…whether that is at the bye week or the end of the season only time will tell.