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Necessary Roughness Week 9: Halfway House

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We’re officially halfway through the regular season. GAH! Where does it go?! Before you know it, I’ll be begging Vin to let me start contributing to his NHL column. While it seems premature, the NFL app has a “playoff picture” view of the standings, and if the season ended today, both the AFC West and NFC East would be sending three teams to compete for the Lombardi Trophy. I need this in my life. Let the coasts battle for supremacy once and for all!

Let’s take a look at the league division by division real quick, shall we?

NFC East

This weekend warmed my blackened heart for obvious reasons: the G-men flexed some muscle on the Eagles early allowing my dad and me to talk a ton of shit to my brother-in-law. Of course, they couldn’t close the door and we almost experienced another Miracle at the Meadowlands thanks to Conor Barwin’s ever-present meat hooks. Speaking of meat hooks, how great would it have been if JPP hauled in that interception? The Giants are now sitting pretty in second place behind the Cowboys. The ‘Boys more-or-less had another bye this week, beating up on the poor Browns all afternoon. I personally can’t wait for the impending quarterback controversy down there. This is the Giants true path to success. Washington’s standing benefited from the bye. Thanks to the Giants, they’re in third place (and the NFC’s second wild card spot!).

NFC North

Woof. Guys, what the hell is going on out there? The Vikings looked indestructible a few weeks back but after a tough loss to Philly they’ve turned back into pumpkins. This division is anybody’s… except the Bears. The Lions are looking damn good as the season progresses. If they keep letting Matt Stafford throw it 40 times a game and Golden Tate keeps making plays like this, they’re gonna be scary in December. The Pack are riddled with injuries. I don’t know if they have what it takes to make any kind of a run. For a division that is so classically tough, this hasn’t been a great year. I hope Minnesota gets back on track; I don’t know why, but I always find myself pulling for Sam Bradford and now that AD is out, it’s a little easier to root for ’em.

NFC South

Cam! Where the hell you been, dude? 13-10 vs the RAMS?! I haven’t watched a single Panthers game all season so far, and I don’t know if I want to. What happened to these guys? Can anyone in the comments help me here? This division very clearly belongs to the Falcons at this point. All they have to do is go out and score 300 pts a game and they’ll be fine! The Saints are proving to be more competitive than anyone expected, but that’s an incredibly low bar to clear. Here’s an interesting read about how their GM has set them up for failure for years and years to come. Sorry, Saints fans, you’re screwed. The Bucs… uh… Jameis Winston seems pretty good! Also holy shit, Mike Evans:

NFC West

Another powerhouse division crashing back to earth. All I keep reading about is how bad the Seahawks line is… they may be able to win the division, but if they have to play someone like the Vikings or even the Giants in the playoffs, that shit ain’t gonna fly. I think HBO’s Hard Knocks does a really great job of convincing me whatever garbage team they feature isn’t actually garbage. Just watching any group of pro football players work out for four weeks has me convinced any group of 53 guys can win a Super Bowl. That is not the case. The Rams blow. The Cardinals were my frontrunner and not-so-guilty pleasure last year. It’s a shame they couldn’t get over the hump because that was a fun season with a fun team full of “old guys.” The 49ers are who we thought they were. Carlos Hyde is cratering my fantasy team.

AFC East

Unsurprisingly, Touchdown Tommy is running the table again with his merry band of misfits. Gronk is healthy, he has a non-murderer counterpart in Martellus Bennett and once again all is right in the Empire. Turns out the Bills aren’t as good as I hoped they were a few weeks back. Rex and Rob Ryan are too busy playing air guitar at the end of this column to give Tyrod Taylor a shot at winning something before he gets his head taken off by Rob Ninkovich. The Dolphins are on a roll! I caught most of their game against the Jets yesterday and they looked pretty damn good. I think this is closer to what they actually are than their atrocious start. A commenter here suggested that Jay Ajayi forced Arian Foster into retirement and I laughed that off at the time. I was wrong to do that. Ajayi is a BEAST! Holy crap, he runs hard and fast. The Jets are Jetsing everything up. Bright spot: Bryce Petty is sitting on a 106.2 passer rating after going 2/2 for 19 yds yesterday.

AFC North

With the Ravens and Steelers duking it out for a 9-7 first place finish I am predicting whoever wins this battle will go deep into the playoffs. I think the Steelers are the better team, although they didn’t prove that yesterday. Both teams are historically resilient and crafty and I’m going to hate watching Joe Flacco throw for a million yards when they back themselves into the playoffs. Cincinnati’s three wins have all come against sub-.500 teams while they’ve been beaten pretty soundly by any real competition. I think the shine has worn off the Red Rifle and co. Poor Marvin Lewis… This has to be the end for him, right? The Browns… man. Read this, it might make you feel better.

AFC South

AFC West

More like “AFC BEST” amirite? Holy shit the Raiders, Chiefs and Broncos are all great! I watched as much of the SNF game as I could before playing a show. I’m writing in Jack Del Rio for President tomorrow. How badass would he look in Air Force One drawing up all kinds of wild shit to defeat terrorists and save the economy and whatever the hell else a President does? Derek Carr hung tough despite Von Miller’s best efforts to take his life. The Broncos will be really good as long as the D stays healthy and Siemian keeps playing competently. I had completely forgotten that the Chiefs had Nick Foles! While the Alex Smith situation is kinda weird (he’s not hurt, but he’s too hurt to play) it must be nice knowing you have someone competent backing him up. Neither is Peyton Manning, but I know a few thousand Jets fans that would give an organ just to have two quarterbacks who can walk and chew gum at the same time. You know what? The Chargers are pretty damn good, too! That brings me to…

Fantasy Pimp Of The Week

Melvin Gordon! 261 yds from scrimmage, and a TD. After a disappointing season last year, this guy is running like a man possessed. The entire Chargers offense looks pretty good, too! They’re putting up a lot of points and could play spoiler later in the year…

Rob Ryan’s Shit Kickin’ Jam Of The Week

rob-ryanRob Ryan is the NFL’s resident longhair. Look at that mane! When I feel like I have no more riffs to give, one look at this maniac gives me hope. This is where I’m going to put a track that I like to imagine Rob and Rex drinking beers and smoking weed to every week. This week we have “Flirtin’ With Disaster” by Molly Hatchet. I bet Rob thinks he looks like the guy on the album cover when he’s 11 beers and 34 wings deep at Duff’s on Sunday night.

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