The Laguna Beach NFL

While Major League Baseball may have always been the nation’s favorite pastime, the National Football League has become the “Laguna Beach” to baseball’s “Survivor.” The iPod Nano to baseball’s iPod mini. The Kanye West to baseball’s P. Diddy. While the NFL’s popularity has eclipsed that of baseball in the past few years, this young season has proven to be as unpredictable and exciting as any before it.


The Indianapolis Colts, the only remaining undefeated team, is known for having a top notch offense with Peyton Manning triggering touchdowns tosses to receivers that make NFL defenses look like high school Pop Warner. However, it is the Colts defense that has raised them above the rest. Allowing an incredible 5.8 points per game, the Coltsdefense has finally come together and might be ready to take them to the Super Bowl.   


Cincinnati, Tampa Bay and Washington, previously undefeated teams, had their first losses of the season as they prepare for a run at the playoffs. And with last year’s two Super Bowl contenders, barely one game over .500, all bets are squarely off.


Cincinnati’s playoff drought may finally be quenched with the impressive start to the year. After years of being the butt of every joke in the NFL the “Bungals” under coach Marvin Lewis have steadily built themselves into genuinely talented team.


Carson Palmer is beginning to play like a first-overall draft pick, with a league leading 70.7 pass completion percentage. The porous defense of last year is a thing of the past, thanks to the additions of David Pollack and Odel Thurman, great rookie playmakers out of Georgia.


The Bengals’ first loss came from the Jacksonville Jaguars in a down to the wire game where Carson Palmer fumbled in the last drive of the game. That all added up to inexperience and the Bungals of the past could show a newer, fiercer Bengals of the future.


Tampa Bay’s defense is as strong as it was when they won the Super Bowl in 2002. Highflying linebackers led by Derrick Brooks have shut down the run, allowing only 61.6 yards per contest. The Buccaneers have a solid third-ranked defense. With dramatic games ending in defensive stops, the Buccaneers also have a chance to return to glory. Their first loss came because a young offense hasn’t clicked yet.


Second-year receiver Michael Clayton is having problems when teams double him, conversely rookie running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams has been driving over defenses with his mix of power and speed. The Cadillac, a centerpiece in the Buccaneer offense, was injured in week four and was unable to compete in last weekend’s game against the Jets. Back and itching to hit the gas, Williams looks to have a strong showingin this Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. If Tampa’s offense can play like its defense, they could make a deep run at the playoffs.


Coach Joe Gibbs is trying to resurrect another season in Washington. After the loss of starting quarterback Patrick Ramsey to a neck injury in Week 1 against the Bears, the Redskins bounced back, and their defense held them through. The Redskins defense is fifth in overall yards allowed per game, and most of their games have been won or lost by field goals.

With Patrick Ramsey out, they have relied on back-up Mark Brunell, who has led the Redskins in two fourth-quarter come from behind wins. The Broncos barely got by a Redskins fourth quarter comeback, only to have the two-point conversion be incomplete giving Denver the win. However Washington has its Gibbs’ swagger back, so look for their defense and exciting fourth quarter offense to be a presence in every game this season.


It would be a travesty for anyone to miss a single game this season. Most of these teams, except the Colts, were barely a blip on the radar last year, and now they are the teams with the best records.