|EDITOR’S CORNER: Top-five NFL surprises no one ever saw coming|
|Written by Ashley Schrader, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Monday, 29 November 2010 19:17|
As week 12 of the NFL schedule has come to a close, and the season is 70 percent complete, unexpected turnouts have taken a front seat in the caravan known as professional football.
Although there have been countless surprises for football fans this season, I can narrow it down to the top-five turnouts no one would have anticipated, not even the best ESPN analysts.
1. A decline in the Petyon Manning & Co. era
After a 14-2 record last season and the taste of Super Bowl experience on their tongues, the Indianapolis Colts were expected to be a dominant force in the entire league this year.
However, Peyton Manning and the rest of the guys in blue and white have fallen short of all expectations, posing a 6-5 record, making this season the first time since 2002 that the Colts will not win 12 or more games.
No one, and I mean no one, would have expected Manning to throw nine interceptions thus far, no one would have expected Pierre Garcon to have only one touchdown and no one would have expected the entire Indianapolis crew to lose to five teams.
And after the Chargers dominated the Colts, 36-14 on Sunday, Indianapolis certainly holds its head low.
“Our execution needs to improve,” Manning said in an interview after the game Sunday. “It’s not one specific area. I think everybody just needs to step it up a little bit.”
Just a little bit, Peyton?
2. Bear down, Chicago Bears
As a huge Bears fan, even I was skeptical about the 2010 football season for Chicago, and I won’t lie, I thought the Packers were going to absolutely dominate the NFC North.
And after a couple weeks and several injured Chicago players, I was still prepared for heartbreak. But thankfully, my heart is intact (at least so far). And like many, I largely underestimated the Bears, especially Cutler, Urlacher and Hester.
Posing a 8-3 record and standing in first place for the NFC North, the Bears are showing their dominance in the league, especially after walking over Michael Vick and the Eagles.
3. America’s not so brave team
I’m not going to tiptoe around it: I despise the Dallas Cowboys more than any NFL team. The much-to-large big screen, the money driven tactics of Jerry Jones and the ridiculous attention Tony Romo receives drives me crazy. But despite my dislike of the ‘Boys, I was sure they would make it all the way to the Super Bowl this season. Yet how wrong I was.
No one could have expected Dallas to fire its head coach midway through the season, no one would could have anticipated Romo would hand the reigns to Kitna due to injury and no one could have expected the Cowboys to have a 3-8 record after week 12.
4. A taste of reality for two Bengals stars
Despite the questionable choices made by Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco to make their love lives public on VH1, the two have talent and expectations were high when the dramatic duo each suited up in orange in black.
Maybe it’s karma, or maybe the Bengals were just overrated, but a 2-9 record after week 12 with players like T.O, Ochocinco and Cedric Benson on the team is certainly shameful.
No one could have anticipated Cincinnati would be two games behind the Browns and last place in the AFC North.
5. All hail the Chiefs
A lot of people forget about Kansas City, including myself. The Chiefs were expected to fare pretty well in the league, but definitely not first in the AFC West.
With a 7-4 record, the Chiefs are ranked first amongst the entire NFL in rushing yards (174.3) and seventh in opposing rushing yards (96.5), not too shabby for a heavily underestimated team.