The No Figuring League by Paul Lambeth

Every single season the NFL continues to become more hyper competitive, the old adage goes that on any given Sunday one team can beat another. However in no other season in memory is the distance between the best and worst teams in this league ever been more finite, especially in the AFC. Except that would be for the Raiduhs, who have concocted new and exciting ways to show ineptitude.

The difference between teams that succeed in today’s NFL and those who fall by the wayside comes down often to a single bounce of the ball or the result of one play. Of course nowadays a team can look like a world-beater one week and a complete cupcake the next, and never have I noticed the perceptions of so many teams change for better or worse during the course of the season.

The contenders in the NFC wildcard race, Philly, The ATL, and Giants should slug it out to the finish. I would be real surprised if the Panthers or Minnesota make any real noise down the stretch. If the Falcons find a way in they could be a true x-factor because of Michael Vick. Though this team should change their name to the Forrest Gumps, or perhaps the Whitman Samplers because like a box of chocolate you never know what you are going to get.

Among the division leaders no one looks particularly powerful. The Seahawks are in a bad division. Dallas looked great, until last Sunday. The Saints are America’s darling and the best story in the league, but reality will set in once the second season starts. As for the Bears, to quote Denny Green, they are what we thought they were, and going into Chicago will be the last thing anyone in the NFC is properly prepared to do. Rex Grossman however has the potential to be such a liability that by no means should we start working on a remix of the Super Bowl Shuffle.

In the AFC it’s incredibly wide open. Cincy and J’ville control their destiny for the wildcard slots. The Jets could be right in contention but they blew it last week in getting blown out by Buffalo. Kansas City is just not playing well right now, and the move to Jay Cutler in Denver smacks of surrender far as this season is concerned. The Steelers are surging, alas it just will be too little too late. Same with Tennessee, though Vince Young is proving all the pundits who said he couldn’t play on this level wrong.

The Pats will win the East again by default, but the Dolphins might be the best team in that division right now. The Colts are coming apart right on cue, and I am just not quite sold on the Chargers just because Marty Schottenheimer has never done well in the playoffs. However one cannot get totally behind the Ravens either, whoever makes it thru this maze will be battle tested as this years playoffs on both sides of the bracket might just see some serious surprises.

Paul Lambeth