The NFL Bandwagons: Week 5 Edition
Five weeks have come and five weeks have gone, and we are still waiting on a couple of things to happen for the first time in this young NFL season. For starters, both the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons are undefeated at 5-0. On the flip side, the Cleveland Browns are hoping that they can pull out a victory before LeBron James adds another ring to his resumÃ©. And last and definitely not least, Terrell Eldorado Owens (that's his real middle name, folks) is still anxiously awaiting a phone call from a general manager that he'll probably never receive.
Unless your surname happens to be Owens or Ochocinco, its very possible that your good or bad fortunes can turn around in the time it takes you to say "Roethlisberger." For example, there's a better chance of former Saints Head Coach Sean Payton returning to the sideline this year than there is of the Texans or Falcons running the table. The Falcons, despite the fact that Matt Ryan is carving up defenses with the same intensity that Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid must have when he carves up turkeys, still has to play the Saints twice, as well as the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles. The Texans, a team that seemingly has no weakness whatsoever, get the Packers and Ravens in the next two games.
As for Cleveland? Their next two weeks entail the Bengals and the Colts, whose starting quarterbacks are 24 and 23 years old, respectively. Browns rookie QB Brandon Weeden, who is older than both the telegraph and the automobile, turns 29 this Sunday. Even if his birthday bash is ruined via a couple of losses, there is absolutely no way this team goes all 2008 Detroit Lions on us and finishes 0-16. When they do win, by the way, let it be known that I'll be cheering jubilantly on the couch next to Mr. Owens himself. Heck, I may even supply the popcorn for T.O.!
For now, enough talk about the future and about changes that I anticipate will take place soon enough. Let's get right down to business and check out the NFL bandwagons for Week 5.
Hop on the Bandwagon, Quickly:
1. Percy Harvin: I am well aware that I often dress like a stud and can occasionally knock down the three-point jumper, but after a while I grow weary of all the "M-V-P" chants I receive daily. Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin must finally understand my pain, albeit for much more impressive skills. In a Week 4 win over the Lions, Harvin began the game with a 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. This past Sunday, the legitimate MVP candidate caught eight balls for 108 yards and two scores (one rushing TD). Harvin is just one reason why Minnesota isn't going anywhere this season, except possibly to the playoffs.
2. Drew Brees: It was almost too easy to jump off the Drew Brees bandwagon prior to Week 5. Sean Payton is still walking around the city drunk and barefoot, the defense had no pulse as of press time and the last time New Orleans won a game they were paying players to take out opposing quarterbacks. That all changed Sunday night. Brees, going up against a Chargers team with which he started 58 games, threw for 370 yards and four TD's in a 31-24 win. He also now holds the all-time record for the most consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass (48). My crystal ball tells me the Saints are about to get on a roll, with Brees being the main catalyst.
3. Rams Special Teams: Rookie punters not named Matt Dodge (curse you!) rarely get any publicity for their job, and it's even more uncommon that the publicity requires kudos. Rams punter Johnny Hekker does not mind being the exception. Hekker ranks fifth in the NFL in punting average, has a 68-yard boomer this year, and even got to throw a touchdown pass. The only problem is that he has been outdone by teammate and fellow rookie Greg Zuerlein. Zuerlin, a kicker from Missouri Western State (oh, that powerhouse!), is a perfect 13-13 on FG's and is clearly not a fan of the chip-shots. In Week 4 against Seattle, he nailed kicks of 58 and 60 yards.
Be Aware of the Nearest Emergency Exit:
1. Chicago Bears: Since Chicago's Thursday night loss to Green Bay in Week 2, this team has gone straight bananas. In dominating wins against the Rams, Cowboys, and Jaguars, the Bears have outscored their opponents 98-27. The defense alone has accounted for five touchdowns in the last three weeks, thanks in large part to the incompetence of Tony Romo and Blaine Gabbert. Also, it would be a sin to go without mentioning wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The Cutler-Marshall love affair (282 yards, two TD in last two games) is beginning to look more powerful than Kanye and Kim.
2. Andrew Luck: He may not stare back at you every time you turn on the TV (RGIII), and has yet to show off a lady-friend that even comes close to Ryan Tannehill's wife, but Andrew Luck is undoubtedly the best-looking rookie QB that the NFL has seen in decades. Luck is showing poise beyond his years, makes Reggie Wayne feel like he's young again, and seems to have a flair for the dramatic. Even sweeter than beating Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in your fourth NFL game? Being able to deliver the game ball to head coach Chuck Pagano, who earlier last week was diagnosed with leukemia.
Get Off at the Next Stop
1. Matt Cassel: It's abominable that Cassel's touchdown to interception ratio (5:9) is lower than his completion percentage (58.5 percent). Nothing can be worse than that, right? Well, after seeing highlights from Sunday's Chiefs game, I stand corrected. After Cassel got destroyed on a hard-hit in the fourth quarter and lay motionless on the ground, Chiefs fans began to applaud the hit and relish the fact that Cassel was done for the afternoon. Stay classy, KC.
2. Arizona Cardinals Offensive Line: What does Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb have in common with potatoes? They've both been sacked a little too much in the last two weeks. In fact, for Kolb, the exact number is 17.
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