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The NFL Bandwagons: Week 6 Edition

NFL Columnist

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 17:08

I opened up a dictionary this weekend for two reasons, first, I looked up the words “collapse” and “bum.” To no surprise, I was directed to another page: “see Rivers, Philip.” I also looked up “parity” because, if there was one word to characterize the NFL season to date, it would be just that. The best way to describe parity is “equivalence, as in status or character; similarity.”

Parity is a term that floats around often in sports. It’s what makes March Madness, specifically the men’s NCAA Tournament, so popular. It explains how the St. Louis Cardinals (and the New York Giants, for that matter) are able to barely squeeze into the playoffs, get hot at the right time, and end up being the ones to hoist the trophy. Parity loves the underdog, strikes fear into the hearts of the heavyweights, and lives for the classic at-the-buzzer type finishes. It makes sure that no high seed is ever comfortable and that no low seed ever loses hope. As sports fans, we embrace and welcome parity. That is, unless you’re the Packers hosting Eli and the boys last January, or Duke getting matched-up with 15-seed Lehigh in the first round in the NCAA’s.

As is usually the case, all 32 teams in the NFL have conformed to the law of parity at some point this season. Only the Atlanta Falcons remain unblemished (6-0), and they’ve needed some magic to defeat both Carolina and Oakland at home. Aaron Rodgers made the previously invincible Texans look very mediocre, this coming just one week after Green Bay blew an 18-point lead against the Colts. Remember when Arizona and Philadelphia were the class of the NFC? Man, that was so September.

The point that I am trying to make is that, once again, the Lombardi Trophy is totally up for grabs. Parity reigns supreme in football, and this explains why seemingly dominant teams fail to show up on certain Sundays (What’s good, Alex Smith?) and also why blind squirrels like the Cleveland Browns (Happy 29th birthday, Mr. Weeden!) find an acorn every once in a while. Get used to it. Similar to Andrew Luck, parity isn’t going anywhere.

Let us now turn to the NFL bandwagons for Week 6. This just in: Philip Rivers threw another interception.

Hop on the Bandwagon, Quickly:

1) A.J. Green: The Bengals star wide receiver is a fantasy owner’s dream. The man has great size (6’4”, 207) and hands, he capitalizes in the red zone, and Cincinnati seems to play the Browns or the Jaguars every other week. The schedule gets a lot tougher for Cincy going forward (next three opponents: Steelers, Broncos, Giants), but then again that just means QB Andy Dalton is going to have to throw even more. Green is averaging an absurd 105 yards and a TD per game this season, almost equaling the offensive production of the Kansas City Chiefs.

2) The Manning Bros: Eli can now call three stadiums in the league home: MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Cowboys Stadium, and Candlestick Park. The Giants 26-3 thrashing in San Francisco on Sunday was so ugly that the younger Manning attempted just 10 passes in the 2nd half. Peyton’s first three drives after halftime on Monday night, meanwhile, looked something like this: a perfect 13 completions on 13 attempts, 190 yards, and three touchdowns. Archie, we thank you.

3) Jordy Nelson: One too many haters must have told Packers WR Jordy Nelson that he’s nothing more than a Wes Welker wannabe. Whether that’s factual or not, Nelson’s week six performance (nine catches, 121 yards, three TD’s) clearly shut some of the naysayers up. With Greg Jennings obviously more interested in starring in Old Spice commercials than nursing his injured groin, Nelson’s reemergence as a star in this league is just what Green Bay needed.

Be Aware of the Nearest Emergency Exit

1) Russell Wilson: Kind of like how you can perform otherwise unimaginable acts in Amsterdam, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and his team can do whatever they want at CenturyLink Field (formerly Qwest), their home venue. Seattle has already knocked off the Cowboys, Packers and now the Patriots there this year. On Sunday, Wilson (293 yards, three TD’s) outplayed Tom Brady and showed off his arm strength via some gorgeous deep balls. As distinct a Christian as Tim Tebow, the rookie sensation may want to tweak the well-known verse from the Bible (Philippians 4:13) and simultaneously give a shout out to the home fans: “I can do all things through the 12th man who strengthens me.”

2) Miami Dolphins: Sure, I’ve given some props to Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill in previous articles this season, but I believe the whole team deserves a collective pat on the back right now. For a group of men that had “double-digit loss season” written all over them during HBO’s Hard Knocks, Miami is 3-3 heading into the bye week. They suffered devastating overtime losses to the Jets and Cardinals and, by leaning on an underrated defensive unit (Cameron Wake is 3rd in the NFL in sacks with 6.5), beat the Rams on Sunday despite a pathetic 17 rushing yards out of running back Reggie Bush. I’m not saying the Fins are about to shock the world and make the playoffs, but look at some of the rather opportunistic games remaining on their schedule: Jets, Colts, Titans, Jaguars, and the Bills twice. Boise State would call this schedule “easy.”

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