One thing's for sure about NFL – Nothing's for sure

November 16, 2010|Peter Schmuck

Maybe it was while the Ravens were backing into first place on Sunday night -- or maybe it was when the Dallas Cowboys were crushing the New York Giants a few hours earlier in the reverse lock game of the year -- that this finally dawned on me.

I don't know anything about football.

Oh, sure, I know that you need to get 10 yards to make a first down and I know that Brett Favre will probably come back next year if a Canadian team will have him, but this past weekend just reinforced how ridiculously unpredictable the NFL has become … and how foolhardy it is to try to figure it out.

If you had told me that Jon Kitna would turn the Giants into Lilliputians on Sunday at the Meadowlands, I would have told you that the chances of that were just slightly better than me getting a date with Jennifer Aniston and my wife being OK with it.

C'mon. Jason Garrett and his family found Baltimore too hostile -- and he was offered the chance to coach the home team -- but he takes the Tony Romo-less Cowboys into the heart of Soprano-land and bullies a two-touchdown favorite that a lot of people felt was emerging as the best team in the NFL?

Am I missing something here?

So, I guess that means the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles are going to play in the Super Bowl this year, right?

The Patriots just went to Heinz Field and made the Steelers look like 57 Sauce on national television, which boosted the Ravens back into a tie atop the AFC North standings. Tom Brady might not look that tough with his Prince Valiant hairdo, but the guy makes the Steelers quiver like so many star-struck schoolgirls.

Since the Patriots have now beaten both the Ravens and the Steelers, they've got to be the best team in the AFC.

This week.

The Patriots, of course, are the same team that lost badly to the Cleveland Browns last week and also took a decisive beating from the New York Jets earlier in the season.

It must be the Jets then, since they're tied for the best record in the AFC (7-2) with the Pats and have that 28-14 win in Week 2 to break the tie, except that they barely beat the Detroit Lions two weeks ago and would have lost to Cleveland on Sunday if the Browns had not turned the ball over in range of a sudden-death field goal.

My head is starting to hurt.

Can we get a vote for the Ravens? They're coming off a loss Thursday night that again exposed their inconsistent offense and sketchy secondary, but they're undefeated at home and have beaten all the teams they were supposed to beat. I guess you could say they should have beaten the Bengals in Week 2, but who knew that at the time?

The Falcons might be the best team in the NFC, so it was no great disgrace to lose to them on the road, but when they drive 80yards in 45 seconds to beat you, it's hard to not to wonder how formidable the Ravens will be against Brady or Ben Roethlisberger or, gasp, Peyton Manning in the playoffs -- if they get that far.

My over-arching point is that you could make a case right now that there are 11teams in the AFC with a credible chance to make the playoffs, and that list includes -- drum roll, please -- the first-place Oakland Raiders. There are fewer viable teams in the NFC, but the Giants' lopsided loss and Michael Vick's amazing performance against the Washington Redskins on Monday night have left room for similar reassessment in the other conference.

The Ravens are looking pretty good. If you dismiss the likelihood of two teams coming out of the AFC West, the two wild-card spots will likely come down to the second-place team in the North and the Tennessee Titans or Miami Dolphins. Since the Ravens already are past the toughest part of their schedule, you have to feel confident they will cruise into the postseason.

I still think they're one of the four best teams in the AFC, even with the warts, but I don't know anything about football and -- after this past weekend -- I'm not sure anybody else does, either.

Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon Fridays and Saturdays and at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays with Brett Hollander. Also, check out his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here," at

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