Your Team Sucks Unless It's The Seahawks by Brian Phillips

I've seen enough. Let's start passing judgement on all 32 NFL Teams. I'll be your guide. I'm Brian Phillips and yes, I am a life long Seahawks fan. (In the interest of accuracy I pre-date the Seahawks.) As a child I remember attending the Seahawks' first win ever, a thrilling come from behind 17-16 win over San Diego in the late great sewer pipe The Kingdome.

Mercury Morris was playing for the Chargers. Fortunately I was in the upper deck and did not pick up a contact high. My hero Jim Zorn threw the winning touchdown pass as I remember it, which makes no sense because it was a preseason game and he should not have still been in the game. Maybe it was Matt Leinhart. He's tried to make it with so many teams perhaps he traveled back through time or something.  

AFC North

Cincinnati (6-2)

The Bengals look to be in good shape in this middling division. A 49-9 beating of the Jets notwithstanding Cincinnati can be a bit hard to figure. A huge come from behind win at home over the Packers was followed immediately by a bizarre 17-6 loss in Cleveland. The Bengals also struggled to beat an undermanned Buffalo squad in overtime. From here on out the schedule seems to shape up in their favor.... 

Final Record: 11-5

Baltimore (3-4)

The modern salary cap NFL means you live for today. The Ravens' today was last season. Their well documented talent drain puts the onus on Joe Flacco, reupped at $52 million bucks guaranteed. The results thus far have been uninspiring... Baltimore sits in the middle to lower half in major offense categories, but it's not all on Flacco. Ray Rice has seen his production fall off a clilff this season, another reminder that running backs age quickly. Rice, at only 26, should have some more good years in front of him though. At 2.8 yards per carry as I write and only 24 catches they'd better hope so. Any shot at the playoffs is predicated on Ray Rice turning his year around.

Final Record 8-8

Cleveland (3-5)

The Gods are cruel. The Browns trade Trent Richardson and then win three in a row to leap to the top of the division at 3-2. While winning game number three though break through quarterback Brian Hoyer tore up his knee, and Cleveland came, like a lost Soviet satellite, crashing back to earth. After a slow start in Kansas City Jason Campbell played well to give Browns' fans another dose of false hope.

Final Record: 5-11

Pittsburgh (2-5)

The Steelers' 0-4 start had me wondering about how bad it could get. Would this team rival the last truly awful Steeler team? You'd have to go all the way back to the 1969 squad that went 1-13 to find a Pittsburgh team rivaling the way this one looked. Since then though the ship had begun to lurch in the right direction with two straight wins... and then they went to Oakland, gave up 197 yards rushing, and managed only 35 themselves. That's not Steelers football.

Final Record: 4-12

AFC East

New England (6-2)

Is there any more deceptive record than the Pats'? It's truly being done with mirrors. The injuries seem never ending.... Gronk (now returned) Amendola (in and out as usual and always great in theory) Wilfork (they may end up missing him most of all) Mayo, Vereen, etc. And yet in two of the past three weeks they've come back from the dead to win (New Orleans and Miami). Their upcoming schedule leans a bit on the favorable side, Gronk will get ramped up, and Vereen is in a soft cast now. Despite Tom Brady being down right mortal another division title seems likely.

Final Record: 11-5

 New York Jets (4-4)

Hockey season is here so how about a hockey related stat: The Jets have a plus/minus of -68. 143 points for, 211 against. The defense has been good, at least until a 49-9 thrashing at the hands of Cincinnati. Geno Smith is a better option than Mark Sanchez, but the .500 mark is more fluke than anything.

Final Record: 6-10

Miami Dolphins (3-4)

Well what happened.... A 3-0 start is quickly forgotten on South Beach with three losses in a row capped by a big lead evaporating in Foxboro Sunday. The Dolphins allowed another 6 sacks, and Ryan Tannehill turned the ball over three times. The defense isn't what we thought it was either, at least not since that third win.

Final Record: 7-9

Buffalo Bills (3-5)

I think Bills fans can feel it... Good times are drawing nearer... Just not this year. Still this is a fiesty bunch, almost knocking off the Bengals and then beating Miami with scrap heap quarterback Thad Lewis at the helm. E.J. Manuel will return and he's going to be a solid pro. The C.J. Spiller/Fred Jackson combo may be the best 1-2 backfield punch in the league. Statistically the defense has been middle of the pack, but they have some good players, and rookie MLB Kiko Alonso was a steal in the second round. He's a future all pro.

Final Record: 6-10

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (8-0)

I'll give Scott Pioli this... he assembled some kick ass talent for Andy Reid to coach. Pioli is gone now because by all accounts he's an asshole. That wouldn't be a problem if at some point his Chiefs were 8-0. What the Chiefs are missing is a franchise quarterback. Alex Smith is decent, but sometimes he seems like he'd rather get sacked than risk any chance of a pick. That's great and all, but with the Chief's talent base on offense, he ought to live a bit wilder. Dwayne Bowe is starving out there. Jamaal Charles is having a career year though, and that defense is feasting. The schedule gets rougher now however, and two games with Denver still await. 

Final Record: 12-4

Denver Broncos (7-1)

You might have heard something from ESPN about Peyton Manning returning to Indianapolis just over a week ago, and the Colts beating the Broncos. All the hype had nothing to do with Denver losing, but the game was instructive. The Broncos missing their two offensive tackles will be an issue going forward. With Von Miller back, their pass rush was sparked to life against the Redskins Sunday. Manning has a couple of bum ankles now, but with all those weapons on offense they will have their way most weeks.... and hey the playoffs are a long way away.

Final Record: 15-1

San Diego Chargers (4-3)

It's pretty simple: New head coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator (former Cardinals head man) Ken Whisenhunt have designed an offense to save Philip Rivers' career. Get it, get rid of it. In that sort of scheme ex-Patriot Danny Woodhead has been a huge addition for the Bolts. Ask Tom Brady about that. Let's not get too excited though. This squad seems a bit schizoid. Not a ton of scoring for all those yards, and the defense is middling. (their great effort against Indy not withstanding.) The remaining schedule is a bit rough.

Final Record: 7-9

Oakland Raiders (3-4)

Well... three wins ain't bad, and they did give the Colts a scare week one. Former Buckeye Terrelle Pryor looks here to stay behind center. Yeah.... When Al Davis died he left behind a lot of old guy hair goo and a big pile of cap misery. All shitty teams need to treat draft picks like gold, but Davis Jr. traded two of them to Seattle (a team that values every draft pick) for QB Matt Flynn.... a man they've cut. 

Final Record: 5-11

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts (5-2)

The Colts had quite possibly the widest range of pundit predictions coming into the year. It makes sense.... Two games vs the Texans (more on them below), four against the NFC West, etc. So much for that as the Colts beat the Seahawks, 49ers, and Broncos through the most brutal stretch of their slate. Hopefully for their sakes they won't look back too ruefully on losses to Miami and San Diego. Andrew Luck? The real deal. They made the right choice and it has nothing to do with beating the Broncos.  A winner in every sense. The Richardson trade looks stupid thus far, but I understand why they did it. Losing Reggie Wayne could be the difference in the negative.

Final Record: 11-5

Tennessee Titans (3-4)

Do not sleep on the Titans. Sure they've dropped three in a row, but two of those games were without Jake Locker. and they had to stand off against Kansas City, Seattle, and San Francisco (Combined record: 18-3). Locker is quietly becoming an effective pro starter. If they can keep him on the field, and figure out the enigma that is Chris Johnson they might be able to scratch themselves out a wild card slot. The defense has been good, especially against the run. They still have two against Jacksonville too....

Final Record: (8-8)

Houston Texans (2-5)

It's simple to trace the end of Houston's season, and it's not that disastrous 4th quarter meltdown against Seattle in week four. It's the prior week, when the Texans went into Baltimore and were completely dominated by a mediocre Ravens team. Matt Schaub is done as starter in Houston, but coach Gary Kubiak will be first to leave town, probably the day after the season ends. The Ravens took advantage of their window, the Texans' has already closed.  Arien Foster is injured, and stud MLB Brian Cushing is now done for the year (again). Maybe if their fans hadn't cheered their quarterback being injured I might feel sorry. Thanks though Houston! I will always remember Richard Sherman dashing off for that pick six.

Final Record: (6-10)

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8)

Ugh... I feel horrible for former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. The Jags are so far away from even mediocrity that he probably destroyed his head coaching career even taking this gig. I feel awful for Maurice Jones Drew too. He's beat up now, and will never cash in on how great he was. Fortunately he's a smart dude, and has his pick of TV gigs waiting for him on the other side. The draft is quaterback rich, and they'll take one as Gabbert and Henne are no answer, but you knew that. Their new uniforms have a Sunbelt Conference feel to them. I got nothing. This is one of the worst teams to ever take the field. (Fyi Houston at Jacksonville is Thursday night football on December 5th..... Holy shit.) Bonus: I have Cecil Shorts on both my fantasy teams and he's a weird source of cheap points in a PPR league. We Shorts owners call him "Garbage Time." Maybe he's sitting around on your waiver wire I don't know. 

Final Record: 0-16

NFC North

Green Bay (5-2)

Simple: With Aaron Rodgers the Packers will be there at the end. Losing Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley is not good to be sure, but on the other hand Green Bay found that long elusive running game in rookie Eddie Lacy. The schedule from here on out is very favorable. 

Final Record: 13-3

Detroit Lions (5-3)

Well, these kids can chuck the ball around the lot. Stafford, Megatron, Bush... It's all fine. The defense should be better, but there doesn't seem to be a ton of discipline on that side. Playoffs in 2011, 4-12 last year.... Whack job team, hard to figure. That drive to knock off Dallas yesterday was something! Schedule ain't bad from here on out.

Final Record: 9-7 (And that's a wild guess. I have no stinking clue with this bunch.)

Chicago Bears (4-3)

This Bears squad had it all figured out. Jay Cutler looked great and wasn't doing nearly so much stupid shit. Matt Forte is having a career year. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey are dynamic weapons. The defense isn't your typical Bears unit sure... and then Cutler rips a groin muscle. He's out at least a month, but having never ripped any muscle let alone a groin, I'm guessing it's going to be longer and enough for 2013 to float away from da Bearsssss.  

Final Record: 8-8 

Minnesota Vikings (1-6)

And here we have a squad that I swear to God made the playoffs last year. Any team on their third starting quarterback in seven games is probably 1-6 if they're lucky. 19th in the league in rushing is just the capper. Trading for Josh Freeman and paying him 3 million bucks? Stupid. Lose with the ones that brought ya! The Vikings defense isn't good either. They should have at least kept punter Chris Kluwe. At least he was interesting. 

Final Record: 3-13 (exactly where they were two years ago)

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys (4-4)

In yesterday's 31-30 loss at Detroit the Cowboys surrendered 623 yards of total offense. 623! If Dez Bryant were stomping around the sidelines because of that I'd have his back. Jerry Jones has built a decent Big 12 team here, and they'll probably stumble into a division title. Good for them.

Final Record: 8-8

Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)

We knew Michael Vick wouldn't make it through the year without injuries. If Vick and Nick Foles can't answer the bell Sunday in Oakland the Eagles will lose again. I'm not going to pass judgement on Chip Kelly in the NFL yet because he doesn't have enough good players. They need them on both sides of the ball.... it could take awhile.

Final Record: 5-11

Washington Redskins (2-5)

Working his way back from a very serious knee injury RGIII finally started to look like his old self in a 41-38 win over Chicago. And then the Skins went out to Denver and let the second year man get the shit beat out of him. Part of it is on RGIII. Get rid of the ball kid. Get rid of it. Mike Shannahan is a terrible coach. The Redskins were running the ball in the first half in Denver, and then just quit. Alfred Morris should have run it 15 more times. Stupid.

Final Record: 5-11

New York Giants (2-6)

A 15-7 win over the Eagles thanks to five field goals and all of the sudden they're crowing about being in the race out East. Not if you can't score even one TD against the Eagles at home dudes. 

Final Record: (3-13) 

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks (6-1)

This team is built so well it's difficult to find things to quibble about. The biggest flaw I can think of is the lack of a big time number one outside receiver. Someone in the mold of a Megatron, A.J. Green or Larry Fitzgerald. Percy Harvin looks to begin playing soon, but that's not his role. The offensive line has been leaky, but considering the Hawks have had to run out up to three back ups at a time it hasn't been so bad. The toughest part of the schedule is now past with only the Saints and 49ers posing realistic challenges. Russell Wilson is the real deal, and seems to have the stuff to take this bunch to the promised land.

Final Record: 14-2

San Francisco 49ers (6-2)

The Niners got off to a bumpy start because they got away from what got the to the Super Bowl last year. They've settled in again by pounding the ball, and letting Colin Kaepernick do what he does best. Some day he may be more of a pocket passer, but for now, as freaky an athelete as he is you just gotta turn him lose. The defense has been good as expected, though you can run on them. The Seattle/San Francisco rematch is going to be epic. 

Final Record: 13-3

Arizona Cardinals (4-4)

I had something else entirely written before yesterday's easy win over Atlanta. Rookie Andre Ellington ran for 154 yards (ok 80 on one play) and took some pressure off Carson Palmer. With Palmer only having to throw 18 times, and their stout defense doing it's job, the Cards may have turned a corner. They're not there yet however, and should look for someone in next spring's quarterback rich draft around whom to build. 

Final Record: 7-9

St. Louis Rams (3-4)

Look, without Sam Bradford, who really has been pretty lousy this year, these guys are done. They know it, and did even before they called Brett Favre. You can't put it all on Bradford. The Rams have no running game, and their defense has been surprisingly leaky. I really thought that would be a strength this year. They've taken a big step backwards. 

Final Record 4-12

NFC South

New Orleans Saints (6-1)

We all know the offense is great, but what makes this team intriguing going forward is the vast improvement on defense. Rob Ryan has these guys playing well.... 4th in scoring defense, 9th against the pass.... The rush defense remains a concern as they look to the toughest part of their schedule. Seattle, San Francisco, and two games against division rival Carolina all post a stern test there. Jimmy Graham's foot issues may limit his snaps in the second half as well.  

Final Record: 13-3

Carolina Panthers (4-3)

Unbelievable.... This marks the first time the Panthers have been over .500 in the Cam Newton era. It would be nice for them if they could find a better passing game. They're 8th in rushing though, and seemingly getting better. Their defensive numbers indicate a team that can win more than they lose in the second half. Top ten in the major categories. They're getting close in Charlotte.... 

Final Record: 10-6

Atlanta Falcons (2-5)

It turns out if your best players are hurt you don't win. Missing both Roddy White and Julio Jones is obviously not good, and without Stephen Jackson Atlanta sit dead last in the league in rushing. The defense has been middling. Hard to fathom how fast things have gone south. This is a lost season.

Final Record: 5-11

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-7

And now Tampa Bay's first regular season win ever, almost two seasons into their history. 

Their first win of 2013 will probably come at some point.... after Greg Schiano is fired.  

Final Record: 1-15