NFL Snark Rankings: Week 8
After watching the action during Week 8 in the National Football League, it’s bittersweet that this column is reserved for the antithesis of power rankings.
So, you won’t read about Aaron Rodgers- brain-surgeon-like precision cutting of the Minnesota D, Calvin Johnson’s 329 receiving yards, or the Kansas City Chiefs' chastity-belt-tight defense that basically won the game for them at Arrowhead Stadium.
Instead, you’ll be treated to reviews of the 49ers-Jaguars game of gridiron played abroad in Jolly Olde England and another paycheck-cashing, timeclock-punching performance by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Who has the over/under at Week 10 for Greg Schiano getting fired? After Tampa travels to Seattle next week, there's your first coaching domino of the 2013 NFL season.
Once again, we find some new contenders on this list along with some fresh faces, too, after just a top-notch stellar performance of American football. I thought the Jaguars were auditioning for the Wembley Stadium crowd to be the new anchor tenant. The English national team -- the one that plays football by actually using the feet -- needs to practice on Monday, boys.
- Jacksonville/London Jaguars – It’s like a broken record. The Jags aren't going to relinquish this spot unless Chad Henne can summon that Michigan QB magic like so many others before him and Maurice Jones-Drew stops running like Craig 'Ironhead' Heyward. The 49ers were up, 28-0, in about 23 minutes. That’s more than one point per minute, which is astounding in the NFL except when JAX/LHR is the opponent. Clearly, the San Francisco players' body clocks were well adjusted to the time difference and the magnitude of this game was not lost on them. The Jaguars, on the other hand, could’ve used Wayne Rooney on offense. The last time the Stereophonics played at Wembley, they drew a more enthusiastic crowd. then again, they played with passion. It’s LHR, LAX, or bust for Jacksonville!
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Their season just gets stranger by the day, doesn’t it? During the week, a local Tampa radio station paid for a billboard showing flames and the words “Fire Schiano.” After the Bucs' performance on Thursday night, many agree with said billboard. They now get to make the 'accumulate frequent flyer miles' trip to Seattle, where opponents have to battle the NFL's ripoff of Texas A&M's 12th Man in addition to the Legion of Boom, NFL referees, and about 52 degrees, overcast, and drizzle. Unless they can get Florida International on the schedule, Bruce's Boys don’t really have a winnable game the rest of the year unless the Bills are feeling charitable in Week 14. DT Gerald McCoy had to defend his head coach this week by stating: “Don’t disrespect Schiano as a man; he has a wife and kids.” Hey McCoy, this man is a well-compensated NFL head coach. If he can't handle the heat, time to get out of the kitchen and let his wife give it a go. Right now, the fans would probably prefer it. So would the kids.
- Minnesota Vikings – Okay, so we might get to review how Aaron Rodgers dissected the Vikings defense like the Battle of Edington. Only an opening kickoff return for a TD by Cordarrelle Patterson kept the Vikings even remotely in this game. Mason Crosby proved he's the choice for NFC Pro Bowl kicker and Jordy Nelson went off after being moved to the slot position, formerly held by Greg Jennings. After the game, Jennings was photographed talking with Aaron Rodgers at midfield, where he was probably submitting his résumé to come back to Green Bay. Leslie Frazier is competing with Greg Schiano for the first coach to be fired in 2013. Gus Bradley should be safe in northern Florida, although the Seahawks lost patience with Jim Mora Jr after one short, disastrous season.
- Washington Redskins/Bravehearts/DCers – All week, the storyline was Mike Shanahan’s return to Denver, where he led the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998. Well, things are different when you have John Elway, Terrell Davis, Rod Smith, and Shannon Sharpe. Once again, Denver proved to be a dominant second-half team, scoring 31 points in the fourth quarter, and that was after losing all-star TE Juluis Thomas. Luckily, Damaryius Thomas had a big game as well as K Matt Prater. (So far in this column, we’ve determined both kickers for the Pro-Bowl. This is the kind of cutting-edge journalism you crave, huh?) The most important stat: Peyton Manning threw 3 INT’s. Perhaps he was spending too much time with his brother this week.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Some of my avid followers may have expected the Rams to hold down the No 5 spot this week, but they actually played the Seahawks tough at home. Perhaps all the talking heads who thought half the city would be at the World Series game instead of Monday Night Football gave the Rams some extra motivation. Meanwhile, back in the Steel City, those 'Terrible Towels' sure are earning that moniker this season. They went on the road to Oakland and lost to the Raiders, 21-18, and gave up the longest rushing touchdown ever by a quarterback as Terrelle Pryor scrambled 93 yards for a score. Pittsburgh travels to New England in Week 9, so expect them to remain in the Top 5.