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Added November 8th, 2010 by Chalk
NFL

What NFL Week 9 Taught Us

The number one thing Week 9 has taught us is that it’s still really hard to tell who the best team in the NFL is. With the Patriots losing by 20 to the lowly Cleveland Browns, there are five teams with 6-2 records — and probably six if the Steelers don’t stumble against the Bengals on Monday night. Let’s review, shall we?

Could the 3-5 Browns suddenly be that good? They also did a number on the Saints in Week 7, then had two weeks to prepare for the Patriots, who head coach Eric Mangini always seems to be able to play tough. So was the beating New England took a fluke, or should we assume that if the Pats can lose by three touchdowns to the Browns they can lose to anyone? It’s probably somewhere in between.

What about the other 6-2 teams? The Jets didn’t impress anyone barely surviving in overtime against the Lions. The Giants blew out a Seahawks team playing with a no-name quarterback. The Falcons won a tough battle with the surprising Buccaneers, and the Ravens blew out the Dolphins, who had already lost badly this year to the Jets and Patriots. No one there really stands out. Nor did we really learn anything about the 6-3 teams, the Packers and Saints, who blew out 1-7 teams.

Of the 1-7 teams, the Cowboys continue to look completely outclassed with Jon Kitna with quarterback, and the firing of head coach Wade Phillips seems more like a how soon than an if. Speaking of head coach firings, since Brett Favre can still torch bad defenses, Brad Childress seems safe for at least another week.

The 5-3 Eagles got Michael Vick back and got a big win over the 5-3 Colts — both of those teams look like contenders but not necessarily favorites.

The 5-4 Raiders won their third straight with an OT win over AFC West leading 5-3 Kansas City, but the resurgent 4-5 Chargers look like they might be the favorite to win that division still.  After the Texans (4-4) lost to the Chargers, they seem doomed to yet another year of mediocrity and getting close but not close enough to a playoff spot after their impressive start.

The 5-3 Bears barely beat the 0-8 Bills, who played well but quite well enough for the third straight week. If you figure someone has to make the playoffs from the NFC West, currently led by the 4-4 Seahawks and idle Rams, the Saints and Falcons and Giants and Eagles probably make the playoffs, that leaves the Bears needing to catch the Packers to make the playoffs.  I don’t see it happening.

 
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