Rant Sports 10 NFL Debates Through Week 5 of 2012
Rant Sports Debates 10 NFL Topics for the 2012 Season Through Week 5
There is certainly no shortage of story lines for the 2012 NFL season and they've only gotten better as the season has worn on. All the preseason predictions for these story lines have been tossed down the drain because, as is typical for the NFL, there have been more surprises than anyone could have ever thought possible. The best part? We're only five weeks in.
By the time this season is over, there could be 20 first-time Pro Bowlers and several snubs that will leave the football world speechless. Let's not forget about the Super Bowl; this year's title race is as wide open as it's ever been (literally) and the postseason picture will likely be even more unbelievable by the time the playoffs actually roll around.
So with just over a quarter of the season gone, Rant Sports' own Chicago Bear Jew, Jeric Griffin and Dan Parzych have gotten together to debate some of those story lines with five weeks of football off which to base their opinions. Here are 10 such debates and some of the answers from these three writers are as crazy as the stories they're discussing:
Which rookie QB is having the better season, Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck?
CBJ: Andrew Luck. He's taken over a difficult situation and turned it into roses. The Colts are making serious vibes as a wildcard team in the AFC. Robert Griffin III holds onto the football too long and doesn't quite get the speed of the game. RGIII is more flashy, but Luck is a once-in-a-generation quarterback. I'm not as in love with RGIII as everyone else. On the other hand, Luck appears to be an elite quarterback.
Jeric: It's got to be Luck (no pun intended). He's been every bit as good as advertised from Day 1 and he's improved each and every game with the Indianapolis Colts' big comeback win over the Green Bay Packers being his greatest accomplishment thus far. If his best performance is continually the past week, this former No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup won't be a contest much longer.
Dan: RGIII was off to the hotter start, but Luck has proven over the last few weeks why he was the No. 1 pick. His 362-yard, three touchdown (one rushing) performance against the Packers was nothing short of phenomenal and the Colts appear to have what it takes to contend for a playoff spot in the AFC with him under center.
Have the Denver Broncos or Peyton Manning gotten the better deal thus far?
CBJ: Peyton Manning was a risk, but the Denver Broncos think they can win now. I respect that and there's no price tag you can ever put on winning. Plus, Manning sells jerseys. So, it works for both sides.
Jeric: Truth be told, it's the Broncos. Denver may be 2-3, but it's not because of Manning. As Mark Stringer recently pointed out, two of the Broncos' losses came against the only two undefeated teams in the league. Aside from a bad first quarter in Week 2, Manning has been lights out and better than anyone thought he would be. Back to back 300-yard, three-touchdown performances the past two weeks definitely means he's earning his check.
Dan: The Broncos can't blame their disappointing start on Manning considering his only poor performance was Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons (three first quarter interceptions). Look how well he played against the New England Patriots--it was the defense that failed to come through in Week 5. So Manning has certainly received the better end of the $95 million deal so far.
Who's had a better comeback season, Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles?
CBJ: Adrian Peterson really didn't miss much time. Jamaal Charles did. Let's go with Charles but Peterson will probably win the award. It's kinda unfair considering he really didn't miss much time.
Jeric: Up until Week 4, it was Peterson by a landslide, but then Charles bursted onto the scene. Looking back, it was most likely because the Kansas City Chiefs weren't using Charles and then got a clue and Charles has been dominant the past two weeks. So for the season, it will likely be Charles. However, Peterson was too good and too consistent before injuring his ankle in Week 5. For this debate, it's Peterson.
Dan: No question on this one--Peterson. Charles deserves all of the credit in the world for the type of numbers he's displayed over the first five weeks, but it's hard to deny Peterson when his injury occurred in Week 16 of the 2011 season.
At 5-0, who has the better shot to win it all, Atlanta Falcons or Houston Texans?
Jeric: They're very similar in that they have dynamic, balanced offenses and solid defenses. However, the Falcons have the edge because they have a quarterback who can put them on his back. Matt Ryan can take Atlanta from being just a playoff contender to a Super Bowl contender. Matt Schaub can't do that for the Texans.
Dan: The Texans have one of the best overall teams in the NFL and may even have the league's best defensive player in J.J. Watt. The Falcons have been impressive so far, but let's not forget this is a team that tends to struggle once they do get to the playoffs--which Houston had no problem with in the first round last year.
Which Harbaugh brother's 4-1 team is a bigger threat to win the Super Bowl?
Jeric: This was my Super Bowl pick before this season and I'm sticking with it. I picked John Harbaugh's Ravens then, but now I'm going with Jim Harbaugh's 49ers. The word "dominant" doesn't even begin to describe San Francisco in four of their five games. In fact, the 49ers have looked unbeatable other than their blip in Minnesota. It's close, but Jim's is the better bunch.
Dan: When looking at overall teams, the advantage has to go to the 49ers. They entered the year with one of the top defenses and the fact that Alex Smith is having his best season so far (finally throwing for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns in Week 5) gives them an advantage to be the bigger threat.
Which Falcons receiver are you taking first, Roddy White or Julio Jones?
CBJ: Julio Jones. Loved him in college and see even more upside with him. Roddy White loves playing in the dome, and disappears towards the end of the season.
Jeric: This one really depends on who you talk to, but I'm all about consistency and White is as steady as the day is long. Jones is a fantastic talent and he's a rising star in the NFL, but right now White is the better option. White has more catches and more yards and he's caught at least four balls in every contest while it's feast or famine with Jones. If I'm picking a receiver for my fantasy team or my real football team, I'm taking White over Jones.
Dan: He may have struggled at times so far this season, but Jones is going to be the bigger wide receiver in the end. His ability to play the slot and blazing speed makes it difficult for any defender to cover and he's a No. 1 wide receiver playing as the No. 2--which means he could be in for bigger numbers.
Are the Arizona Cardinals for real at 4-1?
CBJ: Wins count and the Arizona Cardinals win. So yes, they're for real.
Jeric: No. They started off the season 4-0, but other than their demolition of the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3, all of their wins came in those bizarre, ugly games that almost seem typical for the Cardinals. This team has no real quarterback and while Arizona's defense is good, it's not nearly good enough to carry them into the postseason, much less very far into it.
Dan: The defense has looked phenomenal so far this season, but it's hard to imagine the magic lasting throughout the entire season. Defense certainly wins championships, but the Cardinals' offense is what may hold them back from living up to their true potential.
Who will be remembered as the greater QB, Peyton or Eli Manning?
CBJ: Peyton gets the love, but Eli wins. Eli may get another ring or two. I've been saying Eli for two years, and I don't waiver from it.
Jeric: A lot of folks seem to have forgot about the elder brother during his year off, but in my book, Peyton is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. Now that doesn't mean Eli can't make his own claim with another Super Bowl ring and a few records of his own, but that's unlikely. Plus, who's to say Peyton is done winning rings and setting records?
Dan: As crazy as it sounds, it's going to be Eli. It's difficult to take away what he's done for the New York Giants over the last two years with two Super Bowls and it's going to be even more difficult for Peyton to earn another ring--so Eli will have the advantage in this one.
Are the New Orleans Saints done contenders with their current core group of players?
CBJ: Yes. They've had their run. Now New Orleans Saints a team trying to stay above water. Bountygate was a distraction they'll never overcome.
Jeric: Yes. They simply rely too much on Drew Brees and their defense is atrocious. During their Super Bowl run a few years back, the Saints' defense was almost as talented as their offense, if that's even physically possible. That's not the case anymore. Brees may throw for 5,000 yards in every season for the rest of his career, but that won't translate to wins for this team in turmoil following Bountygate.
Dan: It's still way too early in the season and hopefully last weekend's win over the San Diego Chargers was just the type of spark they needed to finally get things rolling. This team could easily go on to win 10 of the next 11 games and make the playoffs--so I'm going to go with yes on this one considering how many weapons they have on offense.
Who should start at QB for the New York Jets, Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow?
CBJ: What choice will shut Rex Ryan up? In all seriousness, I'd go with Tim Tebow. Mark Sanchez reminds me of Alex Smith under Mike Singletary. He needs a change of coach and/or scenery. Tebow keeps the Jets relevant.
Jeric: Tebow, but only for financial, future planning reasons. The Jets moronically gave Sanchez a new five-year deal worth almost $60 million in March, so they're stuck with him through the 2016 season. However, Tebow is only under contract through 2014 and he's still a solid trade option because of his name if for no other reason. The Jets need to see what he can do for the rest of this wasted season to find out if he's going to be a part of their future plans so they can regroup for 2013 instead of just show up for another circus act.
Dan: Sanchez has completed less than 50 percent of his passes in each of the last four weeks and has been given plenty of time to prove himself as a starting quarterback--so Tebow deserves a shot with the way things are going in New York. He provided a spark in Denver last year and he could certainly do it again for a Jets' offense that ranks 28th overall through the first five weeks.