The 7 Biggest Surprises of the NFL Half-Season

So we’ve reached the midway point of the 2012 season, and the preseason prognostications can finally be assessed.

This has certainly been a surprising season so far – whether its the emergence of rookies, the late-career blossoming of certain defenders, and the outright collapse of some stalwarts.

And today is as good a time as any to assess what exactly has gone on during the first half of the 2012 season.

Surprise! Peyton Manning is back!

For a guy who looked so done that it was kind of a bummer for everyone, Manning has outplayed the expectations of fans, medical professionals, John Elway, and probably even Peyton himself.

Did anyone see this coming?

Eli knew – he actually had a dream that Peyton came back better than ever, and he ran out of the bedroom to his parents room, but he was wearing his jammies with the feet and he slipped on the hardwood floor and cried until he got to watch The Lion King on VHS while his mommy put ice on his boo-boo.

He quarterbacks my favorite team, PS. Nothing wrong with The Lion King, but still.


Peyton is a top contender for MVP, and the Broncos are top contenders for the AFC West and may even get a first-round bye. Seriously, they might win 11 games when it’s all said and done, and in a weak AFC that might be enough.

But will Peyton win the top player hardware? Not if this guy says anything about it…

Surprise! Matt Ryan is great at football!

It’s so weird when a Northeast guy from a Boston school becomes an NFL quarterback. It’s like Doug Flutie, Matt Ryan, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, and I can’t think of anyone else.

Anyway, this one isn’t so hard to figure out: he’s in a passing system, he’s got tons of weapons around (they do play in the South, after all) and he’s completing like 69% of his passes.

He’s made a big leap this year, in his fifth year, which should give hope to Jets fans worried about Mark Sanchez. Just kidding.

Surprise! Rookie QBs are Good! Or Bad. Or… Both?

The conventional wisdom with rookie QBs has swung back and forth like a pendulum in recent years.

At first, it was all: don’t let those youngins’ play! They gotta stand with a clipboard and ABSORB, like a millionaire sponge!

Then it was all: Throw ’em all in and let God sort ’em out! And now it’s all: We don’t know! We’re not Nate Silver!

But a defining storyline this season has been how the top two QBs from the 2012 draft have fared.

Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have been excellent at times, and bad at others, and in general the scale on both tips toward “Hey, these guys are pretty good. Why can’t the Chiefs/Cardinals/Eagles figure this stuff out?”

It’s not that easy to just wind up with a top pick and draft a transcendent player. Ask the Rams – they got Sam Bradford with the top pick, saw him win Rookie of the Year, and are still floundering. They even had a shot to take RGIII this year and willingly gave the pick up.

Would they be that much better with Griffin over Bradford? Honestly, who knows. The Redskins are a mess at 3-6, and they’d be a bigger mess without the exciting Griffin.

The Colts, on the other hand, went from a dumpster fire to a reasonable, controlled fire with the addition of Andrew Luck and a new coaching staff.

Is it an exact science? No. Russell Wilson is good but short, Ryan Tannehill is mediocre but tall, Brandon Weeden fought in the Civil War, etc.

I think the surprise this year has been that teams can contend, seriously contend, with a rookie QB, given that it’s the right rookie QB.

Surprise! The Bears are real good!

I felt like this was an under-the-radar team coming into the season. They had a .500 record last year, and there was nothing sexy about them except the addition of Brandon Marshall (mental health issues are sexy) and a pouty QB who everyone just straight-up hates. He’s the anti-Tebow.

Now their fairly old defense is producing touchdowns at a record-setting rate, and they are cruising toward a playoff spot. They score points in bunches, on both sides of the ball – they’ve scored 41 twice, and 51 this past weekend.

This is a team no one should want to play in the post season – you have to be afraid of a big-play defense at all times. But they are also prone to injuries in the backfield and have a big ol’ meanie-pants QB in Jay Cutler.

Surprise! The other universally loathed QB is struggling!

Michael Vick has had just an abomination of a season. There’s part of me that feels he is physically washed up, and part of me that feels that the team he is playing for is being coached off a cliff.

This story has been done to death, but it doesn’t make it any less… surprising.

It’s weird to see athletes “lose it” in real time, but Vick is the anti-Manning this year. Maybe he’ll come back next year with a different team – he’s done it before – but won’t it be strange to see him in a Cardinals uniform or a Bills uniform or a Chiefs uniform?

Surprise! The Saints!

So this is weird.

In spite of their terrible, awful start, and terrible, awful defense, the Saints are 3-5. They’re technically just two games back of Seattle for the final Wild Card spot. It’s a long shot, and they have a tough schedule (two vs. ATL, @NYG, vs. 49ers) but they are still kinda in it.

I don’t know if there’s a sixth-best team in the NFC this year, unless you really like Minnesota or Detroit or think Tampa will come on at some point. Basically, it’s the Seahawks’ spot to lose, and the Saints can help their own cause by taking one from Atlanta and maybe surprising the all-of-a-sudden-vulnerable Giants. Nine wins might do it.

Surprise! The Dolphins!

The Dolphins are like the Nebraska of the NFL: you vaguely remember they were awesome at some point in the past, before cell phones or the chicken pox vaccine.

People definitely got chicken pox and used land lines and were like “Wow, have you seen the Dolphins/Cornhuskers this year? They’re great, but like, is that name supposed to be fearsome? I don’t get it. I gotta go watch The Cosby Show probably.”

Uninformed Picks

I missed last week’s Snapshots because of the Hurricane – and a hearty “Screw you!” to people who deny climate change – so let’s give this whole week’s slate a try. Winners in bold.

  • Colts vs Jags
  • Giants vs Bengals
  • Titans vs Dolphins
  • Lions vs Vikings
  • Bills vs Patriots
  • Falcons vs Saints
  • Chargers vs Bucs
  • Broncos vs Panthers
  • Raiders vs Ravens
  • Jets vs Seahawks
  • Cowboys vs Eagles
  • Rams vs 49ers
  • Texans vs Bears
  • Chiefs vs Steelers

That’s a lotta picks! Unless some are wrong, in which case ignore those ones.


  1. Just wish to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your post is
    simply spectacular and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject.
    Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please carry on the rewarding work.

  2. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this
    superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking
    and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will share
    this site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  3. I have read so many posts about the blogger lovers
    except this article is in fact a fastidious piece of writing, keep it up.

  4. Good day! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content.

    Please let me know. Many thanks

  5. Hey there! I realize this is certainly somewhat off topic nevertheless i was wondering
    which blog platform have you been using for this site? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and
    I’m checking out alternatives for the next platform. I
    might be awesome should you could point me toward a good platform.

  6. When you explore one craigslist, your research location and visited links are saved.

  7. egZSgO Really informative blog article.Really thank you! Cool.

  8. place at this weblog, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.

  9. I really relate to that post. Thanks for the info.

  10. Many thanks for sharing this good article. Very interesting ideas! (as always, btw)

  11. Very good information. Lucky me I came across your website by accident (stumbleupon). I ave saved it for later!

  12. This awesome blog is without a doubt entertaining as well as diverting. I have picked a lot of useful things out of this blog. I ad love to go back every once in a while. Thanks a lot!

  13. I truly appreciate this blog.Thanks Again. Awesome.

  14. I really liked your blog.Really thank you!

  15. Really informative blog.Really thank you! Great.

  16. It as not that I want to copy your web page, but I really like the style. Could you let me know which theme are you using? Or was it especially designed?

  17. I truly appreciate this blog post.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

  18. wow, awesome blog.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

  19. Hey, thanks for the article.Thanks Again. Want more.

  20. pretty helpful stuff, overall I believe this is really worth a bookmark, thanks

  21. Just what I was searching for, appreciate it for putting up.

  22. It as not that I want to copy your web site, but I really like the style. Could you tell me which theme are you using? Or was it tailor made?

  23. Shannon Vine Photography Blog

  24. Hello, I do consent your points you’ve present on this post. Toilet issues are always nasty but you have to do, also the repair rate is not cheap. Sometimes I prefer to do the job by myself. Do you still have any other posts about this title?

  25. This blog was how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Thanks a lot!

  26. Really informative blog article.Really thank you! Cool.

  27. I think you have observed some very interesting details , regards for the post.

  28. Wow, great blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

  29. Thanks-a-mundo for the article post.Really thank you! Great.

  30. Many thanks for submitting this, I ave been in search of this info for your whilst! Your weblog is magnificent.

  31. News info I was reading the news and I saw this really interesting info

  32. Utterly composed written content , thanks for selective information.

  33. wow, awesome post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  34. Very neat post.Thanks Again. Really Great.

  35. Thanks so much for the blog article. Awesome.

  36. Really appreciate you sharing this article.Thanks Again. Really Cool.

  37. I?аАТ’аЂа†ll right away grasp your rss as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you ave any? Please allow me recognize in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  38. Ita??a?аАа’аАТ‚аЂ s actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  39. It’s remarkable to pay a quick visit this site and reading the views of all colleagues about this piece of writing, while I am also zealous of getting knowledge.

  40. Muchos Gracias for your article.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

  41. Thank you for your blog.Thanks Again. Really Cool.

  42. Network Advertising is naturally incredibly well-liked because it can earn you a lot of income inside a really short time frame..

  43. just beneath, are quite a few totally not connected web-sites to ours, even so, they may be surely really worth going over

  44. Thanks again for the blog post.Really thank you! Much obliged.

  45. You are my breathing in, I possess few blogs and sometimes run out from to brand.

  46. They might be either affordable or expensive (but solar sections are certainly worth considering) based on your requirements

  47. in the early hours in the dawn, because i love to gain knowledge of more and more.

  48. Thanks for the blog article.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

  49. A big thank you for your blog.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

  50. Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I ave been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thanks

  51. Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog article.Much thanks again. Great.

  52. Very good blog article.Really thank you! Great.

  53. Rattling fantastic information can be found on weblog. I believe in nothing, everything is sacred. I believe in everything, nothing is sacred. by Tom Robbins.

  54. I truly appreciate this blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

  55. Thanks for sharing this fine article. Very interesting ideas! (as always, btw)

  56. I value the blog article.Thanks Again. Awesome.

  57. Very good article.Thanks Again. Will read on

  58. Looking forward to reading more. Great article post.Thanks Again. Really Cool.

  59. Sn xut tng chn nui ong vi phng php truyn thng

  60. Ultimately, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the very last numerous hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

  61. I am so grateful for your article.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

  62. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I ave joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  63. Very good blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  64. YouTube consists of not simply comical and humorous video tutorials but also it consists of educational related movies.

  65. This unique blog is obviously interesting additionally amusing. I have chosen helluva useful tips out of this source. I ad love to come back again and again. Thanks!

  66. I will immediately take hold of your rss feed as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service. Do you ave any? Kindly let me recognize so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  67. Really appreciate you sharing this article post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

  68. I wanted to thank you for this fantastic write-up, I definitely loved every little bit of it. I ave bookmarked your web site to look at the latest stuff you post.

  69. You are a great writer. Please keep it up!

  70. Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog.Really thank you!

  71. This is a really good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate information Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!

  72. my brother has a gambling problem and he just burned a thousand bucks in one night-

  73. Thank you ever so for you blog.

  74. Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I ave read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you ave got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this blog.

  75. This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your excellent post. Also, I ave shared your web site in my social networks!

  76. look your post. Thanks a lot and I am taking a look ahead

  77. Just Browsing While I was browsing today I saw a excellent article about

  78. Really appreciate you sharing this post.Much thanks again. Cool.

  79. Im thankful for the article.Much thanks again. Really Great.

  80. Yo dude! Look up at the skies NATO is spraying fake clouds that are very toxic most clouds are not natural anymore, please research you will thank me for bringing this to your attention. PEACE.

  81. It as not that I want to replicate your website, but I really like the layout. Could you let me know which style are you using? Or was it custom made?

  82. Really appreciate you sharing this blog article.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

  83. There are certainly a number of particulars like that to take into consideration. That may be a nice point to bring up.

  84. There is perceptibly a bundle to identify about this. I feel you made various good points in features also.

  85. you ave an incredible blog right here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?

  86. Thank you ever so for you blog post.Thanks Again. Much obliged.

  87. Looking forward to reading more. Great article.Really thank you! Awesome.

  88. This is one awesome article post.Thanks Again. Really Cool.

  89. this I have discovered It absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads.

  90. Sick! Just received a brand-new Pearl and I can now read your blog on my phone as browser, it didn at operate on my old one.

  91. Woh I like your blog posts, saved to bookmarks !.

  92. pretty practical stuff, overall I feel this is really worth a bookmark, thanks

  93. You could certainly see your skills in the work you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  94. Thanks again for the blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

  95. Really informative post.Much thanks again. Will read on

  96. That is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very precise information Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

  97. Regards for helping out, fantastic information.

  98. Major thanks for the article.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

  99. Thanks so much for the article.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

  100. I am so grateful for your article.Really thank you! Fantastic.

  101. Thanks again for the blog post.Much thanks again. Will read on

  102. Appreciate you sharing, great blog. Great.

  103. It as the little changes that make the biggest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

  104. online. Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for new

  105. Steel roofing is roofing your own house made of metal,

  106. Your article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to take a note of your blog and keep checking for


  1. […] Midwest Sports Fans and their 7 Biggest Surprises of the NFL Half-Season. […]

Speak Your Mind