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Thursday, 20 December 2012

December Power Rankings

With 2 weeks left in the regular season here's what you've all been waiting for; our December power rankings!

Some teams have found themselves on huge winning streaks, but against soft opponents. Others have gone downhill faster than Bradley Wiggins on a bike. As ever, this isn't just a "who has the best record" list. We use on-field performance and future considerations as well as the final score board to rank the teams individually before putting them through the TPL calculator to get our number 1-32.

If you think your team is too high or too low, please leave a comment!!

1. San Francisco 49ers: (TD = 1, PG = 1, GS = 1)
Last month = 8th

That first half against New England was perhaps the best football that's been played all year. All the controversy about Jim Harbaugh switching Quarterbacks to Colin Kaepernick has been put to bed after his 4 touchdown display in prime time. And as for the defense? Well Aldon Smith is just 3 sacks away from taking the new single season record, although in Justin Smith's injury keeps him off the field in the last 2 games he might struggle to get free consistently. - Toby Durant

2. Denver Broncos: (TD = 3, PG = 3, GS = 2)
Last month = 7th

 Some wondered whether or not Peyton Manning will ever play again, let alone at anything near the same level as he had with the Colts – myself included. Well, Manning's stunning level of play this year hasn't so much silenced his critics as torn out their tongues and sewn up their lips like sadomasochistic sexplay gone horribly wrong. Manning has simply been remarkable this year, and though it clearly took a while to get fully on the same page as some of his teammates – as evidenced by three losses in the first five weeks – Manning has led the Broncos to nine straight wins and in the driving seat for a first-round bye in the playoffs. As spectacular as Manning's been, he's undoubtedly had some help, particularly on the other side of the ball. Denver have the best pass rushing twosome in the league in Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, and it's not even close. Accounting for 25 of the teams 42 sacks, the Miller-Dumervil combo, or, as I prefer think of them, the Mile High Manglers, will be a particularly fearsome threat in the playoffs, where it has seemed over the past few years that, as long as you have a strong pass rush and a great QB (and, despite Toby's inevitable objections, there is none better right now than #18), you will come out on top more often than not. The Broncos are going from strength to strength to strength, be it both the arm and the sheer football genius of Manning, the Mile High Manglers, or even their newly-rediscovered running attack, Denver look more and more dangerous every week as they march on to the post-season, and – just maybe – their first Lombardi since the last all-time great signal caller was under center for them. (Gur Samuel)

3. New England Patriots: (TD = 2, PG = 5, GS = 3)
Last month = 5th

I very nearly put them at number 1 after the stunning comeback they launched against the 49ers, but they were seriously outplayed, and outcoached, in the 1st half. Tom Brady has very quietly (for him) had a fantastic season with 30 TD's to just 6 INT's. 5 of those picks have come against the NFC West who have managed to go 3-1 against New England. One of the biggest reasons New England were on a 7-game win streak and were able to handle the Houston Texans so easily is the play of Aqib Talib at cornerback. Since coming across in a trade with Tampa Bay he's given the Patriots many more coverage options in the secondary and it's paid dividends. With Rob Gronkowski on the way back the Patriots offense, in range of the single season scoring record, will be even more dangerous in January than they are right now. - TD

4. Atlanta Falcons: (TD = 4, PG = 2, GS = 7)
Last month = 2nd

When a teams is sitting at 11-2, it's generally hard to doubt them. That cannot be necessarily said about the Atlanta Falcons. Yes, they dropped clangers to the struggling Saints and Panthers, and had other tricky scrapes against bad teams (their first meeting with Carolina, the Raiders and the Cardinals), and they have truly manhandled one of the better teams once all year (the hot-and-cold Giants), but they're still sitting at 11-2, can boast two 1000 yard receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones with a good possibility of Tony Gonzalez joining them, have improved on defense and still have a quarterback who, when he's good, is very very good (and when he's bad, almost loses to the Cardinals). Still, the fact that they haven't had many truly dominant performances this season calls into question how confident one can be in the Falcons, because the fact of the matter is there is still a positively King Kong-ian monkey on their back. This team can be as good as anything during the regular season, but ultimately people will not – and cannot – truly believe in the Falcons until Matt Ryan, and the Mike Smith regime, get a playoff win. They've had three opportunities so far, and haven't just failed in their attempts, but quite frankly played so poorly they looked like they had no business whatsoever being in the playoffs. They could go into the post-season 14-2 with the #1 seed, as they did in 2010, and get similar results – one-and-done. If they find themselves ejected from the post-season with similar abruptness this year, that monkey hanging so heavily on “Matty Ice”'s back will grow that much heavier. (GS)

5. Houston Texans: (TD = 5, PG = 6, GS = 4)
Last month = 1st

They still have a tight grip on the AFC number 1 seed, but the way in which Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have been able to shred their defense has lead to a lot of questions about their ability to hang with the elite QB's in big spots. What hasn't been questioned however, is the incredible play of 2nd year defensive end JJ Watt. Tied for the sack-lead with 19.5, he's a constant menace in the opposition backfield and has helped cover up for the absence of Brian Cushing and Brooks Reed. Staying at home for the playoffs will be big, but if Brady or Peyton Manning come to town, will they have enough at the 3rd time of asking? - TD

6. Green Bay Packers: (TD = 7, PG = 4, GS = 5)
Last month = 3rd

The Packers began slowly, their defense as bad as always but their offense not clicking well enough to cover for the other side of the ball. Going 2-3 the first few weeks, the Packers have been their usual dominant selves since, dropping just one game since. At some points during the season, it looked like it was going to be a pretty neck-and-neck affair between the old rivals Green Bay and Chicago for the division crown, but, securing the NFC North last week, the Pack are in position to challenge for a first-week bye in the postseason. To be frank, since getting things going in Week 6, this side is pretty much the same old Packers we've been used to the past few years, with the same strengths – namely, Aaron Rodgers – and weaknesses – the defense and the non-existent run game, with no running back having reached 500 yards – as they always do. Whether or not that will be enough to see them deep into the playoffs is another matter, but regardless, they've secured their place at the post-season dance, and having done so, you never feel comfortable betting against Aaron Rodgers & co. (GS)

7. Seattle Seahawks: (TD = 6, PG = 7, GS = 6)
Last month = 9th

There isn't a hotter team in football right now. Back to back 50 point games hadn't been done since 1950, but Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and an aggressive defense (not to mention great special teams) have them firing on all cylinders. The decision to break up the suspensions of cornerbacks Richard Sherman & Brandon Browner was a shrewd move, and while the NFC West title seems out of reach this year, 2013 could be a different matter with a young defense and a guy like Wilson calling the shots and frustrating defenses with his legs. If you can't defense the QB zone read, you're going to have a very long day against Seattle, as Buffalo found out in Toronto. - TD

8. Washington Redskins: (TD = 8, PG = 9, GS = 9)
Last month = 24th

Remember when Mike Shanahan declared a Week 9 home game against the Carolina Panthers a “must-win” game for his then-3-and-5 side? Remember how, after that loss, Mike Shanahan said in post-game conference “now you're playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come... now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we're at”? The obvious inference being, of course, that the 2012 campaign was lost, and it was time to build for the future. But remember how Mike Shanahan went on to say, “Obviously, we're not out of it statistically...”? Turns out, that last quote was the only thing he said right in that press conference. Following their Week 10 bye, the 'Skins have gone on to win five straight, find themselves top of the NFC East, and, crucially, control their own destiny – win out and they're in the playoffs. Who saw that coming? RGIII has lived up to every expectation placed upon him, Mike Shanahan has found his new Terrell Davis in Alfred Morris, and the defense... well, they've not been good, but they've overcome significant injuries and a bad secondary to at least not throw games away. The team paid a high price to trade up in the draft to be in position to take Griffin, but so far, the cost seems more than justified. Don't get me wrong, this team still has weaknesses – they need some major changes on the back end of the D, and they've not yet found a plug for their perpetual hole at right tackle on the O-line, but this team is not far away at all from being very dangerous – and they may get the opportunity to prove that come January. (GS)


9. Indianapolis Colts: (TD = 11, PG = 8, GS = 8)
Last month = 12th

The 3rd rookie-lead team in a row! Andrew Luck's passing stats (20 TDs, 18 INTs, 75.5 rating) aren't that great, but he's put a 2-win team on his throwing arm and gotten them to 9 wins and a potential playoff berth. Should the Colts win one of their remaining games then Andrew Luck would become the first QB taken number 1 overall to take his team to the playoffs in his rookie year, which would be a fantastic achievement given head coach Chuck Pagano's illness, possibly the worst defense in the NFL and a horrible offensive line. The Colts also seem to have struck gold at the back end of the draft as well as at the top, with rookie running back Vick Ballard providing spark on the ground and speedster TY Hilton proving to be a good foil to Reggie Wayne. 2012 and 2013 might be a bit soon for this team to compete, but not a single Colts fan is upset that they didn't keep Peyton Manning. And that says a hell of a lot. - TD

10. Baltimore Ravens: (TD = 10, PG = 11, GS = 10)
Last month = 6th

It's quite amusing, really – coming into Week 13, the Ravens were 9-2, needing a win against the rival Steelers (whom they had defeated just two games previously) to wrap up the division, allowing them to began preparation for the post season. Coming into Week 16, they're still looking for that one win to seal the division. While it seemed almost unthinkable back then, there's now a reasonable good chance that the Ravens will be entering the playoffs not as AFC North champions, but as a wildcard team. When a team on track for a first-week bye in the postseason fires its offensive co-ordinator in December, then it is a team that clearly has more questions then answers. What exactly the Ravens have in Joe Flacco? How is a once-terrifying defense currently ranked 26th in yards allowed? Most importantly of all, do the Ravens have it in them to win another game? Their last two regular season matchups comes against a desperate Giants side and, assuming they beat the Steelers in Week 16, a Bengals team who know that a win in Week 17 will hand them the division? Their place in the playoffs is assured, but if they don't find out the solutions to those questions in a hurry, this Baltimore side who play best at home may find their potential path to the Superdome in February leads through the stadiums of other teams. (GS)

11. Minnesota Vikings: (TD = 9, PG = 12, GS = 14)
Last month = 13th

Adrian. Peterson. That is all it takes to compete for a NFC wildcard apparently. No need for even the vague threat of a passing game, just a cyborg sent back in time to embarrass defenses. I could talk about NFL tackle leader Chad Greenway, impressive rookie kicker Blair Walsh or everyone's favourite punter Chris Kluwe. But really all you need to do is see Adrian Peterson at work and try to pick your jaw up from the floor. - TD

12. New York Giants: (TD = 14, PG = 10, GS = 12)
Last month = 10th

There is a problem with teams who are used to 'turning it on' late in the season to rally and win the division – sometimes they leave it too late to recover. It is something – call it an attitude, or an institutional problem, or just coincidence – that has come back to bite the Chargers the past few years, and it now appears to be claiming the Giants. Sure, it was a pattern that saw them lift the Lombardi twice in five seasons, but it may also lead to them missing out on the playoffs. For whatever reason, the Giants have won just two of the six games since November, and have gone from holding a comfortable lead in the division to being tied with the Redskins and the Cowboys for first place – and ending up third in the division once tiebreakers are applied. Super Bowl hangover or not, this season has not gone according to plan for the Giants, from being the first defending champions to lose the NFL Kickoff game to Eli's “tired arm”. Last year, Big Blue were able to go on a hot streak and win the division in Week 17 – but now that they no longer control their destiny, they may have waited too long to 'turn it on'. (GS)

13. Cincinnati Bengals: (TD = 12, PG = 14, GS = 11)
Last month = 15th

Someone getting criminally low attention this season is monster defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who is dominating up front for Cincinnati and in any "normal" year would be getting serious defensive player of the year consideration. As it is he has to put up with the "Oh and also..." tag after everyone's done talking about JJ Watt, Aldon Smith and Von Miller. On the other side of the ball AJ Green has already muscled his way into "Best receiver in the league" talk after scoring a TD in 9 straight games. And even though teams have started trying to take him away he's been a huge reason that Cincinnati are on a 5-1 run and in range to snatch the division from a free-falling Ravens squad. - TD

14. Dallas Cowboys: (TD = 13, PG = 13, GS = 15)
Last month = 16th

Hold on to your hats people – Tony Romo has led the Cowboys to win every single one of their December games so far this year! Yes, the Cowboys, always one of the most (over)hyped teams of the offseason, are on something of a roll, having won three straight and five of their last six. They currently are tied for first place in the NFC East (though coming out second in tiebreakers), Dallas are very much in play for a postseason appearance – something not many saw coming when they were 3-5 as November rolled around. Of the three teams tied for first in the division, the Cowboys have perhaps the hardest remaining schedule, and though they will be disappointed if they do miss out on the playoffs, Jerry Jones may now feel the pressure of “closing windows” easing a little, as there is certainly good reason for optimism – as long as Jerry Jones doesn't do something too Jerry Jones like this offseason and try and sign too many “name” players. Which, let's face it, is pretty damn likely to happen. (GS)

15. Chicago Bears: (TD = 19, PG = 15, GS = 13)
Last month = 4th

What on earth has happened to Chicago!? After starting 7-1 the wheels have fallen off once again. Partly because Jay Cutler missed time, but also because the turnovers have dried up from a defense that is seeing more and more players drop out with injury. A strong defensive line rotation has been weakened by Henry Melton, Shea McClellin and now Matt Toeaina getting hurt, Tim Jennings has missed the last game and a half with a concussion and defensive QB Brian Urlacher, in the last year of his current contract, has been sidelined with a hamstring injury and may have played his last game in a Bear uniform. The pressure is on to get into the playoffs with winnable games in Arizona and Detroit left, but they need help. - TD

16. Pittsburgh Steelers: (TD = 15, PG = 17, GS = 16)
Last month = 11th

After a relatively strong start (overlooking clunkers against the Raiders and the Titans), losing four of the last five have turned the Steelers from 6-3 contenders for the AFC North title to a quickly collapsing 7-7 squad who are hanging in the playoff race by the skin of their teeth. Losing Ben Roethlisberger to a life-threatening rib injury (if you're unsure how a rib injury could be life-threatening, try sticking a jagged bone into your heart and see how you fare) certainly didn't help, nor did myriad injuries on defense. Even with the return of Big Ben, the Steelers are not the same team as they were earlier on in the season, and though they could still compete with any team in the league for at least most of a game, the damage has been done, and the odds are that Pittsburgh will be left to watch the playoffs from their couches, pondering the “what ifs” of this season, aware that many of their cornerstone players, already greying, will be a year older in 2013. The Steelers began the process of rejuvenation last year with a purging of some of their veterans, and there will surely be more to come this year – there may be a tumultuous few years ahead for the team. (GS)

17. New Orleans Saints: (TD = 17, PG = 16, GS = 17)
Last month = 17th

This was always going to be a tough season without Sean Payton, and at times Drew Brees has looked totally lost. His 54 game streak with a TD pass came to a calamitous end in the Georgia Dome, but then just as you think they're done for the year they come out and put the hammer down with a 41-0 drubbing of Tampa Bay. A lot of work will be needed to get them back to the Super Bowl contenders they were in 2011, with a lot of deadwood requiring trimming, particularly on the disappointing defense. But with Payton back (probably) in 2013, it wouldn't be unexpected if they did make it back to the playoffs. - TD 

18. Carolina Panthers: (TD = 18, PG = 21, GS = 23)
Last month = 27th

One recent topic of debate in the TPL Facebook group (what do you mean you're not a member? Join it now!) is whether or not Cam Newton suffered the dreaded “sophomore slump” this year. In terms of how he has held himself off the field, and in terms of living up to the leadership role that comes with being the “face of a franchise”, there's no question he has failed to make any progress, and if anything has regressed – and at times, horribly so. Yet, on the field, statistically not much seems to have changed from 2011 – which, if anything, brings into question whether the sports media over-reacted considerably to Newton's achievements, especially in light of what Andrew Luck and RGIII have done with defenses that were not much better at all than Carolina's was last season. The Panthers have heated up considerably the past few weeks, though it's too late to deliver this team their first winning season in five years – still, the future is considerably brighter now than it was even a few weeks ago. (GS)

19. St. Louis Rams: (TD = 16, PG = 18, GS = 19)
Last month = 21st

When the Rams landed what many considered to be the top coach available in the preseason, people were expecting Jeff Fisher to bring immediate changes, and that has certainly been the case. While hardly setting the world alight, the Rams are (at least mathematically) in position to have their first (technically) winning season since 2003, while the defense has leapt from 22nd to being ranked in the top 10. For all that good, though, the truth is the Rams still don't know exactly what they have in third-year QB Sam Bradford. Bradford, former Offensive Rookie of the Year, is ranked 18-20 in almost all the major statistical categories for a QB – completion percentage, touchdowns, yards-per-game and passer rating (and interceptions, though being below average in interceptions, at least, is a good thing). As always, this is far from just being down to the quarterback's play – injuries on the offensive line and to his receiving corp plays a significant role – but the fact is that you cannot say with confidence at this point that the Rams have a QB who could one day lead them to the playoffs – but if they can lead them to a winning season this year, then that'd certainly be a start. (GS)

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (TD = 20, PG = 19, GS = 22)
Last month = 14th

There was a 3 week stretch when Josh Freeman and the Tampa Bay offense simply couldn't be stopped. But the offensive line has been ripped apart by injuries, and that mid-season magic has gone. Still, the investment in Vincent Jackson has been a good one and he's bringing the best out of Josh Freeman, while Gerald McCoy is becoming one of the more underrated DT's in the league. For all the talk Ndamukong Suh gets, McCoy deserves just as much. - TD

21. Miami Dolphins: (TD = 22, PG = 20, GS = 20)
Last month = 20th

Miami is a tricky team to nail down. They've put up some very one-sided victories against bad teams (35-13 against the Raiders, 30-9 against the Jets, 24-3 against the Jags), but lost equally badly to a bad team (a 37-3 drubbing by the lowly Titans). They've narrowly beaten some contenders (beating the Seahawks by 3, beating the Bengals by 4) and narrowly lost to others (losing to the Colts by 3, losing to the Pats by 7). Rookie signal caller Ryan Tannehill has put up the kind of numbers you'd expect from a typical first-year QB with a dearth of weapons (58.7% completion, 10 TDs to 12 INTs, averaging 209.2 yards a game and sporting a 75.9 passer rating on the year), and while there's room to grow, he's shown enough for the team to now build itself around him at least for a few years. Defensively, the switch to a 4-3 scheme has delivered a top-10 run defense, but a bottom-10 pass defense, in total giving up right about the league average in yards (4884 vs. the NFL average of 4884.5), but coming up where it matters most, with allowing a red zone touchdown in a league-best 38.78% of RZ trips. All in all, this a team that can both beat and lose to good and bad teams equally, and while they're far from usurping the Patriots as the team to beat in the AFC East, with a few key additions this team could find itself competing for a wild card spot as soon as next year. (GS)

22. Cleveland Browns: (TD = 21, PG = 22, GS = 22)
Last month = 30th

In the Year of the Rookie Quarterback, it was almost inevitable that it would be Cleveland's who is lagging behind. And obviously, he's the one who doesn't have the time to sit, learn and mature. Around Brandon Weeden however, are the shoots of recovery in Cleveland. Trent Richardson is a monster, Joe Haden is one of the elite cover corners in the NFL, their defense sits 17th in Football Outsiders DVOA. If they could just get some consistent QB play... - TD

23= Tennessee Titans: (TD = 23, PG = 24, GS = 25)
Last month = 22nd

2012 was meant to be the year where Jake Locker, who was impressive in (very) limited snaps during his rookie year, would take hold of this team and take them to the next stage, having finished 9-7 and narrowly missing out on the playoffs in 2011. After a lackluster start by the team, which saw one narrow win and four blowout losses,  this team appeared to get itself together, initially spearheaded by an injury-induced change at QB. Since Locker returned to the field, the Titans have been relatively competitive, winning two and only losing one game by more than a score, and that to the Texans (though losing, even by less than a score, to the Jaguars, is hardly something to be proud of). Still, the fact that they've at least been competitive recently (even if it is against sometimes unspectacular competition) at least gives fans something to feel mildly positive about for next year, but there's no mistaking that this team has taken a big step backwards. (GS)

23= San Diego Chargers: (TD = 25, PG = 23, GS = 24)
Last month = 19th

With AJ Smith closing the door on many of his better weapons and supporting players (Darren Sproles, Vincent Jackson and Mike Tolbert to name a few), is it any surprise Philip Rivers is struggling? With Rivers throwing for fewer yards per game than any season since 2007, and the lowest (marginally) TD% of his career since he became a starter, and a running back corps averaging just 3.7 yards a carry, the offense has fallen just short too often this season, with five of their losing efforts being decided by a single score. With a defense, which only two years ago was ranked #1 in the league, languishing around league average, the Chargers haven't been so much 'bad' as 'misfiring' all season long – and, as for our 28th-ranked team, the only cure for the funk that seems to have set in is wide-ranging change throughout the organisation. (GS)

25. Detroit Lions: (TD = 28, PG = 27, GS = 21)
Last month = 18th

2011 feels like a long time ago. Wide receiver injuries, and stupidity, have left them with Calvin Johnson and not much else. Sounds fine but even Calvin can't beat triple coverage, especially when Matthew Stafford looks like he's hiding an injury. His technique, never a strong point, has gone to crap while the defense has struggled as ever. A 4-win season might just be the end Jim Schwartz. - TD

26. New York Jets: (TD = 26, PG = 25, GS = 26)
Last month = 29th

To write about the Jets is to acknowledge them as a football team and not a farce. I refuse to indulge in legitimizing this joke as an actual NFL franchise. I think that's only fair. (GS)

27. Buffalo Bills: (TD = 24, PG = 26, GS = 30)
Last month = 23rd

But for CJ Spiller, the Bills would be much lower. As good as their draft, with cornerback Stephon Gilmore & left tackle Cordy Glenn, turned out to be this season has once again hinged on a terrible run D and Ryan Fitzpatrick's limitations. For all the money spent on Mario Williams Buffalo's front 7 hasn't produced anything like they thought it would and the Bills offense is among the most predictable in the league. Chan Gailey is hanging by a thread. - TD 

28. Philadelphia Eagles: (TD = 27, PG = 29, GS = 28)
Last month = 26th

Sometimes, the status quo is so established that the only way to escape it is by changing everything – and so it is that this will be the final season of Andy Reid's long tenure with the Eagles. What went wrong, exactly? The team brought in a ton of supposedly top-flight talent in 2011 in order to push the team over the edge – an effort that was all for naught. Sure, it didn't help that there was no offseason to speak of to help the new additions jell, but when owner Jeff Lurie issued an unspoken ultimatum, claiming that last year's 8-8 campaign was unacceptable, this should have been the year for Reid to utilize the talent on his roster and take this team far. Instead, the team has fallen apart, more and more people have been jettisoned (by both Reid and Lurie) in an effort to make something happen, from players to coaches to front office staff, but it seems that the status quo is too established, and the only way to escape it is by changing everything – and that will start with Reid. (GS)

29. Oakland Raiders: (TD = 29, PG = 28, GS = 29)
Last month = 28th

As Oakland continue to recover from some disastrous cap management and JaMarcus Russell they have actually had some bright spots this season, running Atlanta close and beating Pittsburgh. But they've also been shocking at times as well. There's no depth on the team, Darren McFadden had become horribly unproductive before his injury and Carson Palmer is dodgy as ever. - TD
 
30. Arizona Cardinals: (TD = 31, PG = 30, GS = 27)
Last month = 25th

Talk about smoke and mirrors... at 4-0, we were wondering how long they could continue their run of good form; turned out, not long at all. After a hot start that saw them a defense-led potential contender, the Cards are now primarily notable for being the only team whose QB situation the Jets can make jokes about. A nine-game losing streak, due in no small part to one of the worst OLs in the league (sorry Daryn!), turned a once-promising season into a joke, though at least they clawed some pride back with a pretty dominant win over the Lions last week. Still, far too little, far too late for the Cardinals. Expect considerable changes in the offseason. (GS)

31. Jacksonville Jaguars: (TD = 30, PG = 32, GS = 32)
Last month = 31st

The Blaine Gabbert era was short and horrible. Chad Henne might get a shot at the starting job in 2013, but it's more likely that they trade for someone or go back to the draft to find a starter. I wonder if they could draft some fans too? - TD

32. Kansas City Chiefs: (TD = 32, PG = 31, GS = 31)
Last month = 32nd

It was clear from early in the season that the Chiefs were going to be in the mix for the #1 overall draft pick, and not much has changed. What must be particularly worrying is that, even though they haven't had a multi-turnover game since Week 9 (having given away the ball at least twice, and as many six times, in every game to that point), they've only finished within seven points of their opponents twice, including their second win of the season. Yeah, this team has problems, and it'll take more than the #1 overall pick to fix them. (GS)

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