Mid-Season Review.

We are past the half-way point. It is sad but true. So we thought now would be a good time to review what we have seen so far. I asked all the Gentlemen (apart from Russ who is busy being Married) a number of questions and recorded the answers.

At the Half Way Point….

Team of the Season So Far?

Dan: The Saints. What they have done this season is unbelievable. They have a brand new 3-4 Defence which has been fitted with almost no issues and with some young players to run the scheme. Drew Brees has been playing out of this world and Jimmy Graham is…well Jimmy Graham. Even Pierre Thomas is having a good season!

Duncan: The Broncos have stolen the limelight but for me with an 8-0 record, it is the Chiefs. Consistently not allowing opponents to score and still putting points on the board, with some lovely smart set plays (such as Smith’s rushing TD in week 7), my team of the season.

Jon: I think this has to be the Kansas City Chiefs. Yes, the Broncos have a considerably more adept QB in Peyton Manning than Alex Smith, and the Offense is not lighting up the field in as spectacular a way as the 49ers, Saints or Seahawks. But the proof of the pudding is the results chart and the Chiefs are unbeaten. Dogged, methodical and with a phenomenal Defence they keep pulling wins out of the bag, where even the Broncos have faltered.

Charlie: The team of the season is the Saints. Consistent on both sides of the ball. Amazing what Sean Peyton does for this team.
MVP So Far?

Dan: Jamaal Charles. Just consistently being the difference between a win and a loss for a team that is 8-0 is what puts him at the top of my list. Will he be here at the end of the season? It really depends if he makes it. He does have a history of injury issues and the Chiefs do have a lot of tough games coming up. Right now however he is unstoppable.

Duncan: Hmmm this is a bit of a toughy and I think just because his start was so strong I am going for Peyton. Admittedly I have not caught up with the Redskins game but he does lead the team well to victory. However, Jamaal Charles, Dez Bryant and Andrew Luck are all in the mix.

Jon: Andrew Luck is every inch the franchise QB for the Colts, and he’s been instrumental in driving a solid half-season effort from the Colts, with every indication that this is the beginning of an elite career. And if you’re in any doubt, the guy has great taste in board games, “If I had to guess what would be one of Andrew’s ideal nights out,” said Hasselbeck, “it would be hanging with a small group of friends and playing Settlers of Catan.”

Charlie: Hard to argue it’s anyone other than Manning. Look at the numbers he is churning out each week.
Game of the Season… so far?

Dan: Broncos @ Cowboys. Yeah it’s an obvious choice but it could be one of the greatest shoot-outs the games seen. Manning going point for point with Romo who eventually throws an interception, which then garners the attention of the media despite the Defence allowing 51 points.

Duncan: Yeah ok I am going for the Broncos @ Colts game, just because it was the Broncos getting toppled. Yeah it was a home game for the Colts, but the fans gave Peyton a warm welcome and still love him. The Colts set out to play a slightly different game, went behind then Luck lead them to victory with the defence playing to their best and showing teams that it is possible to sack Peyton. Admittedly the Broncos/Cowboys game ranks equally as high just for the to and fro of the game. Ok what I will boldly say is the game of the half season is the Broncos/Colts game, but the game of the season will be the Broncos/Cowboys. Or vice versa.

Jon: Week 7, Broncos @ Colts. Inter-team banter on twitter, the return of Peyton Manning to Lucas Oil Stadium and Andrew Luck’s best chance to finally step past his predecessors reputation; this game not promised to be a corker, it delivered on that promise with the Colts breaking the undefeated Broncos winning streak and taking their place amongst the elite of the NFL.

Charlie: Broncos vs. Cowboys. The shootout of the season. Both teams played out of their minds. This is a game that will be talked about for years.
Rookie of the Season So Far?

Dan: Tavon Austin…nope that was a joke. Tyrann Mathieu. He has vastly improved a Defence that really needed a shot in the arm. With his ex-LSU team mate Patrick Peterson, the Cards have now got one of the best secondaries in the game.

Duncan: Ah another difficult one. It is a quieter season for Rookie QBs and if Manuel wasn’t injured I think he would be giving Geno a run for his money. But yes it is the rookie wide receivers who have stolen the limelight. Kenny Stills showed what he is capable of and I think may get used more. Keenan Allen has the second most receiving yardage in the Chargers and has been most impressive. But my toss up is between Terrance Williams and Kembrell Thompkins.

Jon: Plenty to go on here, from Tyler Eifert to Geno Smith but perversely my pick is Kembrell Thompkins. In a Patriots team decimated by injuries the rookie WR has needed to learn and learn fast, and there has been a big weight on his shoulders for much of the season so far with Gronkowski, Vereen and Amendola out for the majority of the games so far. Consistency is still a big issue, but his crucial, level-headed touchdown catch to seal the game against the Saints in Week 7 is proof of how he’s matured.

Charlie: Eric Reid has fitted straight into the shoes of Goldson and you wouldn’t even know he was a rookie. He hits harder than a freight train.
Coach of the First 8 Games?

Dan: Andy Reid. Fired by the Eagles. Finds a perfect home in the Chiefs. Would really like to be saying Chip Kelly, but it really hasn’t gone that way. Honourable mention to Mike McCoy and Bruce Arians.

Duncan: Andy Reid just for turning the Chiefs around and bringing them together as the unit they are.

Jon: As above, Andy Reid’s direction and acumen have done wonders at Arrowhead, and forged an excellent partnership with QB Alex Smith.

Charlie: Andy Reid after getting sacked last year he now has the team with the best record in the league.
Moment of the First 8 Games?

 

Dan: Tom Brady winning the game against the Saints…actually just Rob Ryan’s face.

Duncan: Actually possibly Peyton Manning scoring a “rushing” TD.

Jon: A close contender for game of the season so far, the Cowboys and Broncos game in Week 5 became a marathon shoot out with both teams keeping pace, and it looked like the Cowboys might be the one to knock the Broncos off their perch. After playing out of his skin for four quarters and making up for any number of mistakes from his own Defence, a single interception with 2 minutes to go allowed the Broncos to make a game winning field goal. The media had a field day.

Charlie: Andrew Luck dethroning Manning in Indy.
Worst Team of the Year So Far?

Dan: A lot of contenders this year as no one seems to want to win the NFC East. But my choice is from the AFC South. The Jags. When we cheer that they lost by less than 20 points, they have a problem.

Duncan: Ooh well yeah the Bucs for me are actually worse than the Jags just because they are in more disarray and early on could have won games but just couldn’t.

Jon: I suspect I won’t be the only one here to point out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. From squandering the talents of Darrelle Revis to providing a text-book example of how not to go about the difficult task of easing out Josh Freeman at QB without alienating the team, Coach Schiano is on the footplate of a sustained slow motion train wreck.

Charlie: We all knew the Jags would be bad but the worst team of the year is The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Spent all that money and are worse than ever at least the Jags know they are rebuilding.
Most Disappointing Moment of the Year So Far?

Dan: Watching the ‘home team’, Jags get decimated by the Niners at Wembley. We could be in for a rocky ride watching the possible future London team.

Duncan: Brian Hoyer leaving the field injured and allowing Weeden back in. The Browns rose briefly only to fall.

Jon: Perennial under-achievers the Cleveland Browns finally started to make some solid gains with backup QB Brian Hoyer at the helm, but his injury left the door wide open for Brandon Weeden to blow yet another shot at the starting position, and Cleveland’s chances.

Charlie: Watching RG3 have a sophomore slump whilst recovering from a major injury.
Surprise of the First 8 Games?

Dan: The Chargers. No-one saw the resurgence of Phil Rivers and no-one believed that Ryan Matthews would actually be serviceable Running Back. Now this team could actually make the play-offs.

Duncan: I like the Chargers at the moment and feel they are playing better than they did last year, Philip Rivers being a surprise all on his own, Jake Locker also is a lovely surprise, but my surprise is probably the Raiders. We thought the Raiders/Jags game was the wooden spoon game, but turns out it probably wasn’t. They have caught teams off guard and Tyrelle Pryor is really showing promise, providing a good anchor for the team and making the AFC West really exciting.

Jon: Both Oakland (better) and the Giants (worse) have surprised a-plenty this season, and the Trent Richardson trade caught everyone by surprise. But my pick is the 4-3 San Diego Chargers for looking considerably more Super than most people would have guessed at the start of the season.

Charlie: Alex Smith and the Chiefs are unbeaten!