Pocket Change – The Weekend in Football


My goodness the NFL season is serving up some incredible finishes this year.  If things continue this way the playoffs will be like nothing we’ve ever seen.  There are seven teams in the league with ten or more wins and we’re likely to see at least two more before the end of the regular season.

If anything can be learned so far it’s that ending the season with double-digit wins guarantees nothing.  Lowly St. Louis rose up and knocked off a very explosive Saints team, Jacksonville found magic on a Monday night and stopped Baltimore, and Kansas City somehow found a way to eek-out a win in Chicago.

This has turned into one of the most unpredictable and exciting seasons in recent memory.  My only hope is that the playoffs live up to the expectations – given the great games and fantastic finishes we’ve had to this point.

Let me first say this: as an objective observer, I am NOT sold on the “Tebowmania” thing.  At least not yet.  OK, with that out of the way…In the games since Tebow has started this season, the Broncos have been in every game except one: the Lions game. As it appears now, that game is the aberration rather than the norm, and every team takes it on the chin from time to time. That’s just football.  The Broncos are 7-1 since he has been in the starting lineup this year, and in 5 of those games they have held the opposition to 15 points or less.  Two other games they played were high scoring games (vs. Oakland and Minnesota) and they were able to keep up on offense and win both.  That has to count for something.

On that note, one of the games to watch this week will definitely be the Patriots traveling to Denver to take on the Broncos.  With the New England defense being as leaky as it has been, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this be a high-scoring game. Denver’s secondary took a couple of hits last week and so that could play a role in the final score being higher than it normally would be. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a shootout in this one, and if it’s close in the fourth quarter I wouldn’t put it past the Broncos to somehow find a way to pull the game out.  They’ve already shown that they’re up to the challenge in that regard.

Is it just me, or does it seem that this season in particular there are a lot of younger quarterbacks having more success than ever before?  Between Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Matt Stafford, Matt Ryan, Tim Tebow, and TJ Yates (filling in admirably I might add) it looks like the next crop of great NFL signal callers has arrived.  Add in the potential of college superstars Andrew Luck, Landry Jones, Kellen Moore, Matt Barkley, and Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, and we could be looking at what could be the greatest generation of quarterbacks that have ever played in the league at one time.

That’s not to say that guys like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Eli and Peyton Manning, and Big Ben are on their way out – absolutely not – those guys are the current standard, but it sure looks like every team in the league will soon be able to have one of these guys on their team.  There could potentially be eight to ten Hall of Famers in that group after it’s all said and done, and it could rival the quarterbacks of the mid-80s to mid-90s era: Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, John Elway, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, and Brett Favre.  Of course, they still have to prove it on the field, but so far the early returns look good.

We’re knee-deep in the race to the playoffs, and it looks like it’s going to be a fight to the bitter end to make the post-season.  Some pre-season favorites will have a tough road to make it.  Time to gear up for the frantic finish!