I do these recaps every year and this year is one where it’s easy to find intriguing subplots throughout the league. Aside from the shenanigans of 2 perennial offensive weapons, injuries and lack of depth have significantly effected the production of certain teams. The Seahawks suffered back to back losses including’s Sunday’s loss to the Rams, despite Russell Wilson rushing for 107 yards. Watching Victor Cruz go down in the end zone after a hard division loss to Philly was the pinnacle of my apathy with this season. And I can honestly say, when you have no dog in the fight, football is that much more enjoyable to watch every week (except for these terrible Thursday night games smh)
Let’s take a look at some story lines through the year’s 1st half
The rise and fall of Brady’s Patriots: After being dominated by the Dolphins and barely beating the Raiders at home, everyone outside of Foxboro was calling Tom Brady washed. They were saying his arm has lost its strength. He doesn’t have all day to throw behind this current O-Line. And he’s stuck with slightly-less-than-average wide receivers. Couple that with the revolving door of inconsistent running backs and many of us were ready to write off the Patriots as a typical weak AFC East winner. We all were relishing in the struggle of the Patriots! But Tom Brady is Tom Brady. In the AFC, it’s relatively easy to get into the playoffs. The running game might become more fluid with Ridley out because Shane Vereen is pretty good out of the backfield. November will be a telling month on whether Brady is washed or not considering he will face Denver and Detroit’s tough defenses and Aaron Rodger’s Packers at Lambeau.
Will the rookies please stand up?: This time last year, 2013 rookie Eddie Lacy had 669 rushing yards and was running through linebackers. Keenan Allen had 527 receiving yards.
(My, how they’ve fallen off now though) Thus far, the 2014 rookie class is hard to judge. JaDaveon Clowney has been out due to injury. Odell Beckham Jr., who was out for several games as well, now has a chance to step up with the loss of Cruz. Sammy Watkins made a huge splash yesterday with 2 touchdowns, including 1 in the final second vs. the Vikings. In Tennessee, Bishop Sankey is dominating carries but it’s the Titans. So no one really cares! With Adrian Peterson out, Minnesota’s 3rd round pick, Jerick McKinnon has had the opportunity to flourish on the ground. He has yet to find the end zone, but he’s looked decent given the situation he was thrust into. Who I think will finish as offensive rookie of the year? Carolina’s Panthers 1st round pick, Kelvin Benjamin.
JJ Watt for MVP: This is how you’re supposed to play after a signing a massive contract. He had an 80 yard touchdown from an interception vs. Buffalo. He lined up as a tight end and scored vs. the Raiders. And then scored again off a fumble recovery vs. the Colts. He’s literally doing it all for the Texans. He has more touchdowns than Megatron. Michael Strahan, Charles Woodson, and Jason Taylor are all defensive players I can remember watching put together MVP worthy seasons. I mean Strahan had 3 touchdowns in his 15 year career. JJ Watt has 3 touchdowns this season alone! The MVP award notoriously goes to either a quarterback or a running back. So it’s not looking promising for Watt to win. Especially since Peyton Manning is officially the record book’s #QBGod.
Is Julius Thomas Denver’s best kept secret?: The 2 Thomases are comparable to what the Splash brothers are for the Warriors. Having a tight end like Julius Thomas allows Denver to have such a balanced passing attack. He was a 4th round pick in 2011 but then fell behind the depth chart because of injuries. While Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker became Manning’s favorite deep-ball targets, Julius was often a guaranteed touchdown in the red zone. He’s the league’s leader in touchdowns, despite being targeted 3rd on his own team. It’s a weird conundrum. But he’s 1 of the more reliable offensive weapons when it comes to usage. Both Thomases are free agents after this season. It’ll be interesting to see if Denver can hang onto both of them.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Did I miss anything?