Halfway through the season and we’re right where we started. Okay, maybe the Cowboys, Bills and a few other teams have sucked their way out of contention but well over 20 teams still have a chance at playoff contention. The top of the heap has no separation — there’s no ’07 Patriots or ’09 Colts and Saints running towards destiny. Instead, a bunch of flawed contenders trade big wins with shocking losses.
The Philadelphia Eagles exemplify this schizophrenic season, although some of this has to be pinned on their quarterback exchange. With Michael Vick back behind center this week and DeSean Jackson back running all over the field, the Eagles took out Peyton and the Colts. The game wasn’t without controversy as Peyton floated one over the middle for Austin Collie in the second half, leading to this devastating hit and fumble:
Of course in an effort to go along with Roger Goodell and the No Fun League’s paternalistic crackdown on defensive hits, Philly was assessed a 15 yard penalty. Yes, this hit was brutal and Collie probably lost a year off his life because of it, but the rules are the rules. You can’t throw flags and fine people hard earned cash just because the result looks ugly.
Elsewhere in the NFC, the Giants and Saints took big steps back towards the Super Bowl with road blowout wins. Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks ended Seattle’s hopes to be taken seriously by putting up 40 points on the West Coast. The Saints meanwhile had an even easier time of it against the hapless Panthers, as the Saints D held the Panthers to under 100 yards passing. Of course, New Orleans still has to navigate the NFC South, where they find themselves a game and a half behind the Falcons. Atlanta beat a frisky Tampa team in the Georgia dome thanks to a 100 yard game from a rejuvenated Michael Turner. After <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Raheem-Morris-says-Bucs-are-the-best-team-in-th?urn=nfl-279604">proclamations of greatness</a>, I guess coach Raheem Morris will have to settle with the Bucs being the third best team in the division.