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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    NFL Midseason Report

    What’s with all the appendectomies in the National Football League (NFL)’ this year? Did Big Ben make that the cool thing to do? By my count, Bengals offensive guard Bobbie Williams makes’ three players who have been sidelined with the condition at some point, including Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

    The mention of Roethlisberger brings up another point: whether it was on or off the field, this year has been a quarterback bloodbath. Big Ben had his motorcycle crash, then the appendix problem, and finally a concussion. Miami’s Daunte Culpepper may not play again this year, feeling pain in the knee that was reconstructed 1 year ago. Jacksonville’s Byron Leftwich’s ankle still isn’t right, and he’s contemplating season-ending surgery. Trent Green, of Kansas City, is just coming back from his major concussion earlier this year. So much for protecting quarterbacks.

    The NFL needs to get a grip. Fining coaches for criticizing officials? Honestly, they’ve gotten out of control in the past couple of years. How about getting some competent officiating? Besides, yelling at and complaining about the officials are age-old traditions, which we’ve come to expect in any sport.

    The rash of penalties for touchdown celebrations is about the only thing worse than the fines for criticizing the officials. The NFL seems to be a little too concerned about ‘image.’ While some celebrations were just plain obnoxious, most of them were amusing. If I wanted to see ‘sportsmanship’ and people with a certain ‘image,’ I’d watch gold, not football.

    Enough of the rambling, though, let’s go over each division. Note that this was written just prior to week 11’s games.

    AFC East: The Jets have a shot at overtaking New England. Both teams have Chicago, but otherwise nothing but bad teams remaining. Clearly, neither team can afford to make any stupid mistakes. If the Jets can avoid injuries, they’ll probably get into the playoffs, even if only as a wild card.

    AFC North: This is Baltimore’s to lose. They’re 3 games up with 7 to play. Cincinnati has been disappointing all year. Don’t even get me started on Pittsburgh. They’re like the Boston Red Sox: win the title one year, miss the playoffs altogether the next.

    AFC South: Indianapolis has a good shot at an undefeated regular season. The best teams they have left are 5-4. They’ll clinch the division within a few weeks. Tennessee has been terrible, and coach Jeff Fisher probably has to go.

    AFC West: This will be the division to watch. I can very easily see either Denver or San Diego winning it. At press time, they were tied atop the west, and about to play each other. By the time you read this, one of them will be leading the division. The other will have some work to do. They play each other again in December, and their schedules are almost identical. Kansas City might be able to play spoiler for either team. They’re probably more likely to spoil Denver, as they play Thanksgiving night, with Denver coming off a Sunday night game. If Denver’ quarterback Jake Plummer can go these next 6 weeks without any mistakes, I give it to the Broncos.

    NFC East: It’s still (almost) anybody’s division. Joe Gibbs’s Redskins have disappointed, but Philadelphia and Dallas are within one game of the Giants. Looking at the schedules, I give the division to the Giants, the only one of the three that doesn’t have a game with Indianapolis. If they don’t win, it’ll be Dallas, now that they’ve come to their senses about Drew Bledsoe.

    NFC North: Chicago’s the hands-down winner here. It saddens me to say this, but Brett Favre is well past his sell-by date. Minnesota is floundering (again). Detroit never ceases to amaze me. They signed Jon Kitna, and they still stink. Can I volunteer to lead the next ‘Millen Man March’? I can’t believe they continue to let him build the team.

    NFC South: As far as I’m concerned, nobody should win this division. These teams are all pretty weak, and none of them will make it through’ one playoff game. That being said, the Saints will win the division, but look for Atlanta to capitalize on any mistake by New Orleans. Atlanta’s biggest weakness is quarterback Michael Vick, who should probably be a running back.

    NFC West: If Seattle can get healthy, they’ll get to the Northern Football Conference (NFC) title game. For now, they’ll have to settle for stumbling into a division title, simply because everybody else stinks. Clearly, Arizona is way too talented to be 1-8. Dennis Green must go.

    Playoffs: In the Asian Football Confederation: Patriots, Ravens, Colts, Broncos, Jets (Wild Card), Chargers (WC). Manning still doesn’t deliver, though, and the Broncos get to the Super Bowl. In the NFC: Giants, Bears, Saints, Seahawks, Falcons (WC), Cowboys (WC). The Bears crush everybody, and get to the Super Bowl. As for the big game, I’ll take the Bears over the Broncos, but it’ll be a close one.

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