09 November 2010

Tuesday Football: Halftime!

Next week, the Packers, Saints, Raiders and Chargers take the week off. When the final gun has sounded next Monday night, every NFL team will have played nine games. In short, the 2010-11 season has reached its halfway mark. As such, it's time to take stock of some things I hold dear about the league.

Bearing up or down?  My beloved Chicago Bears currently stand at 5-3, good for second place in the NFC North and a tie for the last wild-card spot.  All's well, right?  Not so fast.  Their only quality win came against Green Bay at home.  Jay Cutler has actually gotten worse from last season.  He hasn't thrown so many interceptions, but now he just looks lost.  Setting himself as a better man than his linemen hasn't helped.

At the same time, nor has that horrible offensive line, recently dubbed the "Yahtzee Line" by a radio commentator.  The Bears seem to be tossing five big men onto the field every week and hoping for the best.  No offensive coordinator, including legendary Mike Martz, can rescue a situation like that.  The O-line disarray will, in time, doom the Bears, along with the terms of Martz and head coach Lovie Smith.

Left:  Jay Cutler.  Right:  Lovie Smith.
It's the Yahtzee Line that explains why I've never hated Coach Smith as much as my fellow Bears fans.  Back when he reached Super Bowl XL, it was with a strong offensive line and a powerful defense.  Last year, both those units muddled through at about half strength.  This year, the defense is healthy, but the offense remains a mess.  Pretty standard Bears football, if you ask me.  Coach Smith, on balance, is just average.  Barring a deep playoff run (not likely), he's not good enough to stay on in Chicago past this season, but nor are the Bears' problems all his fault.

Fantasy update:  This week, it's the Fluttering Horde that's floundering.  I spend all week researching just who can take over for Jacksonville WR Mike Thomas (bye), the Dallas defense (must I explain?) and Carolina RB Johnathan Stewart (fired, 'cause he -- sing it! -- suuuuuuuuucks).  The solutions?  The Patriot defense, Houston WR Jacoby Jones and Arizona RB Laron Stephens-Howling.  Jones and Stephens-Howling worked beautifully, but the Patriots (sing it!) suuuuuuuuucked so hard on defense, they actually cost me a point.  Andre Johnson and Peyton Manning are no help, so the Horde falls, 104-81, to the Purple Dragons.  It's the third loss in a row for the Horde (5-4), which falls to the middle of the table.

Happily, with DeSean Jackson back, the Middlemen (6-3) won their game, defeating the Techno Vikings, 98-84.  The public league has turned into a four-team scramble for the top.  It may be time to trade Michael Vick (whom I don't really need) for more wide-receiver power, now that Miles Austin is fizzling.

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