Mid-season NFL Award Predictions

Much like I did earlier this week with changing my preseason playoff picks, I am taking a look at who I had winning various awards across the NFL and making some edits.

I think I did much better on this than I did initially on my preseason picks, but there were still plenty of changes to be made. Half of the season has already gone by for at least every team. Some teams have played only eight games while others have played nine so I will stick to per game averages when comparing stats.

MVP
Preseason pick: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Mid-season pick: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Runner up: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

Tom_BradyFor everyone who really wants to see Cam Newton here, sorry. He is not an MVP candidate. Yes he has provided a ridiculous chunk of his team’s offensive production but his completion percentage and interception numbers are far from MVP-caliber. No, instead we have to give the award to the no-brainer on the list. Tom Brady has picked up right where he left off last season and dominated the league. He leads the league in touchdown passes and ranks second in yards per game. He has thrown an interception on only 0.6 percent of his throws, which is the best mark in the league by a considerable margin. He has posted a healthy 8.3 yards per attempt average, not to mention that he is undefeated this season. This conversation is not completely wrapped up yet, as there are a couple of people who could outperform Brady down the stretch, but that is unlikely.

Offensive Player of the Year
Preseason pick: LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
Mid-season pick: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Runner up: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

Julio_JonesI thought that McCoy would seamlessly transition into the stout Buffalo running game and I think he has. However, hamstring injuries have limited his effectiveness all season and the emergence of Karlos Williams has stolen much of his scoring production. Instead, we now shift our attention to Atlanta, where Julio Jones has simply torn it up this season. Jones leads the league in receptions and receiving yards. He is second in yards per game only behind the oft-injured Alshon Jeffrey. He is second in yards after the catch, only behind Danny Woodhead. And he is second to only DeAndre Hopkins in first downs. Jones continues to be the most reliable target in the league, picking up big chunks of yardage and catching the majority of balls thrown his way. He is explosive as well, with 13 receptions of 20 yards or more. He may not lead the league in touchdowns (he has six), but he scores enough to be considered the best offensive weapon we have seen this season.

Defensive Player of the Year
Preseason pick: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
Mid-season pick: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
Runner up: Josh Norman, Carolina Panthers

JJ_WattI honestly think that if he had stayed healthy, Cameron Wake would have won this award in 2015. But he didn’t so I must consider other candidates. Josh Norman has evolved into a shutdown corner. He is second in the league with four interceptions and he brought two of them to the house. His 13 pass deflections are good for third in the league as well. However, Watt has been nothing short of remarkable. He is second in the league with 8.5 sacks and leads all defensive linemen with five pass deflections. He has racked up 40 tackles to this point, which is a good season for some linemen. In addition to his pass rushing abilities, he has excelled at stopping the run, with nine run stuffs on the year. Watt hasn’t been the same flashy, touchdown scoring machine he was last year but he still having a major impact on the Texans defense. It will be a much closer race than last season, but as of right now, Watt is still my pick for defensive player of the year.

Offensive Rookie of the Year
Preseason pick: Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers
Mid-season pick: Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams
Runner up: Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders

Todd_GurleyOnce again Amari Cooper finds himself the runner up to a running back in my selections. Although, I wish I had never put Melvin Gordon in as my selection. As soon as I watched him play this preseason, I knew he was in for a rough year. But I digress. Instead, Cooper finds himself behind the phenom that is Todd Gurley. Gurley has easily been the most dominant rookie back to this point, despite only playing in six games. Gurley leads the league in yards per game and yards per carry among all backs to touch the ball at least 75 times. He hasn’t been much of an asset in the passing game but right now, Gurley is the source of the Rams offense. St. Louis has the league’s worst passing offense in terms of yards per game. Opposing teams know that Gurley is going to be getting the ball and they still can’t stop him.

Defensive Rookie of the Year
Preseason pick: Leonard Williams, New York Jets
Mid-season pick: Leonard Williams, New York Jets
Runner up: Marcus Peters, Kansas City Chiefs

Leonard_WilliamsI nailed this one. I am keeping both my preseason pick and runner up selection the same. Peters is having a great rookie campaign, with three interceptions, including a pick-six, to his name already. The man they call Big Cat is proving to be a lot to handle though. Williams has been the most dominant defensive lineman to this point in the season in terms of rookies. He might not be much of a pass rusher but he has been a mammoth in run defense. He has 32 tackles already and six run stuffs on the year. If Peters ends up snagging a couple of more passes this season then he might be in line for the award but for right now the dominant run stuffer is my pick going forward.

Comeback Player of the Year
Preseason pick: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Mid-season pick: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
Runner up: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

Carson_PalmerI went into the season expecting AP to dominate the league. He has played very well up to this point but he hasn’t made his return quite like I thought. In any other year, I think he would be a lock to win the award but Carson Palmer is coming off a major ACL injury and has been phenomenal in his return. As I mentioned before, Palmer is definitely in the MVP conversation. He has the second most touchdowns and the best yards per attempt average in the league. His completion percentage is only average but he ranks fifth in yards per game. Palmer has also thrown a touchdown on 7.7 percent of his passes, which is the best mark in the NFL. His six interceptions are roughly average as well. After we saw how quickly Arizona fell apart last season without Palmer at the helm, it is clear that his value to this team is immense and he absolutely deserves this award.

Coach of the Year
Preseason pick: Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Mid-season pick: Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Runner up: Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers

Mike ZimmerI understand that the Panthers are undefeated and that Ron Rivera has coached his butt off to get his team to where they are now. However, Mike Zimmer has taken one of the youngest teams and turned them into a top four team in the conference. Getting Adrian Peterson back certainly helps but managing to find a balance between run and pass for a second-year quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater has been extremely difficult. Yet, Zimmer has accomplished that and constructed one of the best defenses in the league. Minnesota ranks seventh in yards per game against and second in points allowed per game. Zimmer has done an extraordinary job turning the Vikings into a playoff contender one year after finishing under .500.

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NFL Power Rankings: Week 10

Patriots Logo

1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
Another week, another win for New England. Losing Dion Lewis is a major blow though. He might not have been a bell cow runner but he filled the role that Shane Vereen vacated when he signed with the Giants. Speaking of the Giants, that’s who New England plays this week in what could be a high-scoring affair.

Bengals Logo2. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 2)
That was much more convincing for the Bengals. Cincy blew out in-state rival Cleveland on Thursday night and bottled up Johnny Manziel once again. We are only halfway through the season but the Bengals are my pick to win the AFC.

Panthers logo3. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 4)
It looked like the Panthers had all but wrapped up the game yet again but ended up letting the Packers back into the game. However, Carolina won and now holds a two game lead over everyone else in the NFC. Cam Newton has this team as the team to beat in the conference.

Denver_Broncos4. Denver Broncos (Last week: 3)
It was supposed to be the storybook return. Many circled this game on their calendars early in the season as one to watch because it was supposed to be the one where Peyton broke Brett Farve’s career passing record in the stadium where he started his career. Instead, Manning came nowhere close and the Colts ended walking away with a win. That stingy defense finally seemed to break.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)5. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 6)
A week off for Arizona ended up working out pretty nicely. The Packers fell, as did St. Louis. The Cardinals seem poised for a deep playoff run this year. They have all the right pieces on offense to put up points and Bruce Arians is a mastermind. The desert has a true contender this year.

Vikings logo6. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 7)
Another hard-fought win for Minnesota moves them into a tie atop the division with the Packers. Even though Green Bay is trending downward, they are still the team to beat in the North. Especially if Teddy Bridgewater misses any time with his concussion.

Packers logo7. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 5)
Brutal back-to-back schedule for the Packers. After facing the league’s top defense, they headed to Charlotte for a matchup with the stingy Panthers. In years, that would be when Green Bay made a statement and showed that they were the class of the league. This year has been different and the Packers can’t seem to figure out why.

Jets logo8. New York Jets (Last week: 10)
It wasn’t always pretty and it was closer than the Jets probably hoped but it got them back on track for the second half. New York is never catching the Patriots at the top of the division but they do looked poised to snag a wildcard spot with a favorable schedule in front of them.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo9. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 11)
Mike Tomlin has to be shaking his head at this point. Le’Veon Bell went down for the season last week and no Ben Roethlisberger will miss a few weeks with a foot sprain. Yet, the Steelers are still winning games with a third-string signal caller and a 32-year old running back. Stranger things have happened.

Raiders logo10. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 9)
Tough loss for the up and coming Raiders this week. The offense played pretty well but the biggest takeaways from this game for Oakland have to be the four turnovers and allowing Antonio Brown to run all over the secondary. That is not a winning brand of football.

Eagles Logo11. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 15)
He still didn’t look like the version of him we saw last season but DeMarco Murray played much better this time around and the Eagles earned a much-needed divisional win. This team is far from perfect and Chip Kelly still has a lot of work to do with Jordan Hicks now out for the rest of the year but Philly is still very much alive.

Rams logo12. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 12)
That could have been a season defining win for the Rams had they pulled it off. Instead, St. Louis remains on the outside looking in at a playoff spot. It isn’t impossible but they just made their road to the postseason a lot tougher.

Seahawks logo13. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 13)
Seattle got the week off to reevaluate the first half for themselves. It hasn’t been pretty but the Seahawks are still alive with plenty of playmakers on both sides of the ball. Only two games back of Arizona with two meetings on the schedule means that the Pete Carroll has to like his chances.

Falcons logo14. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 8)
Umm…well then. Atlanta seemed like they were off to a flying start under first-year Head Coach Dan Quinn. Now, the Falcons are losing to teams confined to the league’s cellar. Already two and a half back to Carolina, Atlanta really only has a shot at a wildcard spot, which they are quickly losing their grip on.

Colts logo15. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 17)
The good news: Indy pulled off a stunning upset of the previously undefeated Broncos. The bad news: Andrew Luck got hurt again. However, you have to wonder how much that will actually hurt the Colts going forward. Hasselbeck is 2-0 this season without a turnover. His poise and control might be just what the Colts need to put together a bit of a run.

Giants Logo16. New York Giants (Last week: 16)
The playcalling in New York has been under scrutiny all season long but the Giants are still finding some ways to win. They shut down Doug Martin this week and forced Jameis Winston to beat them. Big Blue sits atop the NFC East but Philly is right at their heels.

Bills logo17. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 18)
Sammy Watkins certainly made it clear that he was back. A dominant performance from the second-year receiver gives a .500 Buffalo squad some momentum going into tonight’s critical game with the Jets. Rex will be gunning for his old team in a game that the Bills must have to keep their playoff hopes on track.

Saints logo18. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 14)
The Saints losing to the Titans is the epitome of why we love football. Both teams were headed in such opposite directions but New Orleans crumbled down the stretch. A win would’ve put them only a game behind the Falcons for a playoff spot.

Chiefs Logo19. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 19)
The second half begins for the Chiefs on an upswing. Kansas City probably does not have a legitimate shot at a playoff spot but this is a time for the front office to see what they have in some youngsters like Charcandrick West, Marcus Peters and Eric Fischer. Building for next year is vital for the Chiefs.

Bears logo20. Chicago Bears (Last week: 25)
Jay Cutler is now the Bears leader in career touchdown passes and the Bears got themselves a big, come from behind win on Monday night. That’s even more impressive when you consider that they did it without Matt Forte. It doesn’t mean much for Chicago but it certainly instills some confidence in that locker room.

Washington made up logo21. Washington (Last week: 20)
About what you expected from Washington in a matchup with the undefeated Pats. There offensive line kept Kirk Cousins clean, only allowing one sack but failed to open any holes for Matt Jones and Alfred Morris. Washington’s 3.6 yards per carry ranks them 29th in the league. Looking for places to improve? That’s where I would start.

Dolphins logo22. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 21)
The Dolphins are now 0-3 in the AFC East. For a team that some expected to come in a challenge the Pats at the beginning of the year, this has to be a disappointment. Miami spent big this offseason but poor draft history and inconsistent play have this team looking at a top-10 draft pick.

Titans logo23. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 31)
One week after firing your head coach always means that you walk out of the SuperDome with an overtime victory right? Well Marcus Mariota certainly made that happen. 371 yards, four touchdowns and no turnovers is the way to make that happen. This is a win that Tennessee would never have pulled off a year ago and shows positive signs in this rebuilding process.

Jaguars logo24. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 23)
A solid effort against the Jets made Jacksonville look good but it counts for nothing. The Jags had plenty of opportunities to win against the in New York. Those are the types of games that Jacksonville needs to start winning to get this team moving in a positive direction.

Buccaneers logo25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 22)
Touchdowns were at a premier for Tampa this weekend in New York, as they only mustered one. However, the game was a lot closer than the scoreline shows (it was a one-possession game until 24 second left in the fourth quarter). Winston took care of the football, avoiding turnovers but the Bucs couldn’t play a complete game.

49ers Logo26. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 30)
Where did that come from? Some unusual names made big plays for the 49ers this week. Blaine Gabbert tossed two touchdowns to Garrett Celek in a stunning win for the Red and Gold. The real focus should be on the defense though, which held Donta Freeman, the league’s leading rusher until this week, to just 12 yards on 12 carries. This was old school 49er football and definitely brings some hope to this struggling franchise.

Cowboys logo27. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 24)
He won’t fix everything but Dallas needs Romo. Sunday was the Cowboys seventh straight loss since losing their quarterback to a broken clavicle. At this point, the Texans might have the best chance of the teams in the Lone Star state to make a playoff run.

Texans logo28. Houston Texans (Last week: 27)
The Texans have a whole week to prepare for a Monday night clash with the Bengals. I don’t know if any amount of planning will be enough to get Houston the win but right now, the Texans are still very much in the hunt for the AFC South title.

Browns logo29. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 28)
It wasn’t quite as ugly as I expected but Cleveland still came nowhere close to winning this game. Offensively, Manziel showed that he still does not have a lot of trust in his teammate and would rather scramble. The defense did not have an answer for Tyler Eifert either as he scored three touchdowns. The Browns have a couple of pieces in place but there is still a lot they need to do.

Ravens logo30. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 29)
A bye week lets Baltimore hash out what the plan is going forward without Steve Smith. Baltimore’s playoff chances are all but none existent at this point and they have to start prepping for next season. That begins with finding a new number one receiver. This is the chance to see if that guy is on the roster right now.

Chargers logo31. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 26)
Phillip Rivers leads the NFL in passing yards per game. Melvin Gordon is 31st in rushing yards per game and has four fumbles to go with no touchdowns on the year. When you are drafted in the first round, it comes with the expectation that you will be an impact player right away. San Diego can wholly blame all of its woes this season on its absolute lack of a ground attack.

Lions Logo

32. Detroit Lions (Last week: 32)
A lot of changes going into the bye week isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it gives the floundering Lions a chance to work things out. There is a lot of talent on this offense but the team as a whole looks lost.

Mid-season NFL Playoff Picks

This is painful. I looked back at my preseason playoff picks for the 2015 NFL season and it was ugly. I had the Colts winning the AFC and the Chiefs making it as a strong wildcard team. In the NFC, I had Dallas as the third team in and the Carolina Panthers are nowhere to be found.

Obviously, I made some major gaffes in picking my preseason playoff field. Some of it was due to unexpected injuries. Others were me buying into the hype of some offseason moves. All in all, I have a laundry list of excuses (similar to the one I have for why my fantasy team is so bad this year).

Here we are now though in the middle of the season with every team having played at least eight games. With the second half of the season about to get underway, it is time for me to predict how the season will end. Hopefully, this head start will allow me to do a bit better with these.

AFC Playoffs
1. Cincinnati (14-2)
2. New England (14-2)
3. Denver (13-3)
4. Indianapolis (8-8)
5. New York (10-6)
6. Pittsburgh (9-7)

NFC Playoffs
1. Carolina (14-2)
2. Green Bay (13-3)
3. Arizona (12-4)
4. New York (9-7)
5. Minnesota (12-4)
6. Atlanta (11-5)

For the AFC, Cincy wins the conference because it wins the tiebreaker over the Pats for record in common games. Denver slips up just a little bit too much to earn the first round bye. The Jets take advantage of a fairly easy schedule down the stretch to make it back to the postseason for the first time since 2011. Pittsburgh, despite all of their injuries, has games against the Browns (twice) Colts and Ravens. That allows them to sneak into that last spot.

Over in the NFC though, things are much tighter. The Giants don’t really belong but a Week 17 win against the Eagles locks up the division for them. Carolina continues its dominance on its way to the top spot. Green Bay manages to rebound down the stretch and takes the first weekend of the playoffs off. Arizona outlasts the rest of the rugged NFC West to advance to the postseason once again, this year hopefully with Carson Palmer. Minnesota and Atlanta prove to be the best of the rest and lock up wildcard berths.

Adrian PetersonWildcard
Denver over Pittsburgh
New York over Indianapolis
Arizona over Atlanta
Minnesota over New York

Pittsburgh made the postseason but for the second straight year, not having LeVeon Bell proves to be too much for the Steelers to overcome. The Jets pick up their second win over Andrew Luck and Co. on the year behind a dominant ground game and an opportunistic defense. The Cardinals prove to have way too much for that Atlanta offensive line to handle as Matt Ryan has a rough day on the road. Adrian Peterson runs all over the Giants and the Vikings defense finds a way to limit Odell Beckham Jr. enough to get the win.

Peyton_ManningDivisional
Cincinnati over New York
New England over Denver
Carolina over Minnesota
Arizona over Green Bay

Andy Dalton finally gets his first playoff win as the Jets offense sputters on the road. The game is close but Tyler Eifert ends up being the deciding factor. After beating New England at home in the regular season, Denver fails to take round two in Foxborough. Tom Brady does not lose to Peyton Manning twice in one year. The Carolina defense bottles up Peterson and forces Teddy Bridgewater to beat them with his arm. The Vikings offense is simply not made for that. Despite going on the road, that Arizona defense causes some issues for Aaron Rodgers and the lack of a Packers running game shows.

Tom BradyChampionship
New England over Cincinnati
Carolina over Arizona

The AFC Championship game comes down to some simply math. Tom Brady is greater than Andy Dalton and the 37-year old out-duels the Red Rifle to return to the Super Bowl. The defense manages to bend but not break against the Cincy offense. Super Cam continues his super season. He ends up coming nowhere near the MVP award but he is closing in on the Lombardi trophy. Carolina’s offense runs through him, Jonathan Stewart and Greg Olsen. The real reason that the Panthers are Super Bowl bound is that defense though. It managed bottled up the Cardinal running game and pressured Carson Palmer all day without having to truly blitz.

Cam_NewtonSuper Bowl
Carolina over New England

In a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVIII, Carolina and New England meet with the Lombardi Trophy on the line. This time though, its the Panthers who walk away having earned a ring. Carolina is able to pressure Brady without truly having to blitz, which is the same way the Giants beat him in the Super Bowl in past years. The Panthers are so deep along their defensive line, especially after getting Charles Johnson back midseason. The Patriots find themselves missing change of pace runner and pass-catching specialist Dion Lewis as they fail to generate much of a ground game. Cam Newton’s running abilities prove to be something New England struggles to contain as well. Julian Edelman has a big game but the Panthers limit Rob Gronkowski en route to the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl win.

Enough is Enough: Domestic Violence in the NFL has Reached a Breaking Point

For anyone who reads this blog regularly, you know how I feel about Greg Hardy. I have called for him to be punished by the league. I have questioned whether or not he actually learned anything from his domestic violence case. He seems to still think he is completely innocent. With our legal system, you remain innocent until proven guilty. Up until now, nothing grabbed the public’s attention enough to make them think he was clearly guilty.

Well there is finally proof. Deadspin released photos on Friday of Nicole Holder, Hardy’s ex-girlfriend, the night of her fight with Hardy. The photo’s are pretty gruesome and disturbing but they are undeniable proof that Hardy did everything he was accused of.

Yet, Hardy still walks around a free man. Completely untouched by the law or the league for his actions. He even still plays in the NFL and his general manager/owner/billionaire football fan Jerry Jones wants to give him a contract extension. Jones has even gone as far to call Hardy a leader on the Cowboys.

That statement is simply laughable after Hardy accosted special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia when Dallas gave up a kickoff return touchdown against the Giants. That blow up was quickly followed by a verbal argument with star wide receiver Dez Bryant on the sideline. Not exactly screaming leadership right there.

Bottom line, Greg Hardy does not deserve to be in the NFL. Probably for a number of reasons, but most importantly for the fact that he assaulted a women and threatened to kill her. I don’t care how good you are at football. When you do something like that, you don’t deserve a second chance.

I don’t want to hear well everyone deserves a second chance nonsense either. This isn’t Josh Gordon smoking pot or Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg. This is Hardy beating a woman to the point where she asked him to just end it and kill her.

The Cowboys should cut Hardy right now. I don’t care how good of a pass rusher he is. Ray Rice is no longer in this league because teams refuse to sign him. Obviously, Rice is a different caliber player than Hardy, as in he wasn’t as highly valued but that should not matter here. The league as a whole took a stand by not signing him. It was publicly blown up just how horrible a thing Rice did to his then-fiance. The video of Rice punching his wife in the face and knocking her cold made its rounds on the internet and no one had any sympathy for him after that.

Well here is your smoking gun. We finally see just what the result of Hardy’s outburst was and it honestly might have been worse than what Rice did. He left Holder wanting death, covered in bruises and abrasions.

Unfortunately, Holder understood that these professional athletes are just about untouchable. They, time and time again, get away with domestic violence issues without being put away. It is not just contained to Rice and Hardy.

One of the first incidents I could find of domestic violence in the NFL dates back over a decade ago to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Michael Pittman. Pittman reportedly rammed his car into another one that held his wife, then two-year old daughter and the child’s baby sitter. He was charged with aggravated assault and domestic violence charges. Those were dropped though when he plead guilty to endangerment charges instead. He received a 30-day jail sentence, of which he served 14 days before he was released. The NFL also gave Pittman a three-game suspension to open the 2004 season. In 2011, Pittman was arrested again for a physical altercation with his wife. Clearly, he learned a lot from his initial punishment.

It continued with Dwayne Carswell, a former Denver Broncos tight end, later that year. Carswell was arrested for picking up his girlfriend by the neck. He pleaded no contest and the NFL gave him a one-game suspension. However, that wasn’t the first incident in which Carswell was accused of grabbing his girlfriend by the neck, yet both times he managed to avoid jail time.

Fast forward to 2011, when Chris Cook of the Minnesota Vikings was charged with felony assault for beating his girlfriend. The NFL suspended him indefinitely and he missed the rest of the 2011 season. Cook’s girlfriend had a perforated eardrum, a bloody nose and marks on her neck that were consistent with strangulation. He said he was provoked though when his girlfriend threw a shoe at him. Somehow, Cook got off on all charges and returned to the Vikings the following season, never facing any jail time or further suspension.

There have been two other players not named Greg Hardy suspended for domestic violence in 2015 as well, and like Hardy, neither of them served any jail time.

From what I was able to find, eight NFL players in the last 11 years have been suspended for domestic violence and none of them have spent more than 14 days in jail. Pittman was the only one to ever serve any jail time. Everyone else inexplicably got off with probation or community service.

I’m not saying that no one deserves a second chance, but these players do not. They have not earned the right to represent the NFL any longer. Players who do their time at least deserve to be considered for a return.

I mentioned Burress earlier. He never harmed anyone but himself and he spent 20 months in prison. Michael Vick was involved with a dog fighting ring and earned himself 17 months in prison. I’m not saying that Burress and Vick didn’t deserve their time in prison, I’m merely pointing out that these guys actually paid for the crimes they committed. And when they returned, they still faced ridicule and questions about whether or not they deserved to be back.

It seems a little disproportionate to me that a man who shot himself in the thigh and a man who organized a dog fighting ring spent a combined 37 months in prison while eight men arrested on varying levels of domestic violence and assault charges have totaled just 14 days behind bars. Those numbers are simply baffling and no one has done anything to change that.

NFL players continue to be excused for assault and remain in the league most of the time. Rice is the first noticeable example of a player not allowed back for domestic violence. And that wasn’t due to a policy the league enacted, it was simply due to the public backlash that would have came with signing him. The consequences for not properly punishing them are clear as well as we have players like Pittman and Carswell arrested on multiple occasions for the same reason.

Actions speak much louder than words. It is clear that these players have not learned anything from their respective instances. Hardy already is acting like a bully off the field and making sexist comments about opponent’s wives.

Getting these players to understand that their actions are unacceptable needs to be part of the process. So far, nothing that the legal system or the league has done has had too many lasting effects on those players responsible for domestic violence issues. There needs to be an overhaul.

The NFL should not allow these cowardly men to return to the league. They are a disgrace to football as a whole and they are a very poor representation of the game. No man should ever harm a women. I have no tolerance or respect for those who do. As a fan of the NFL, I sincerely hope they aren’t around much longer.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 9

Patriots Logo

1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
New England keeps on rolling. Miami was hot coming in but cooled off very quickly. The Patriots offensive line buckled a little but the defense shutdown the Dolphins ground attack. Hosting Washington should be a bit of a gimme for the king of the hill.

Bengals Logo2. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 2)
That was really rough. The Bengals were lucky to escape Pittsburgh with a win. All day long, the defense held the Steeler offense in check, only surrendering 10 points. However, Andy Dalton had a week to forget. In the past, that used to cost the Bengals the game. They have taken a huge step forward by winning ugly.

Denver_Broncos3. Denver Broncos (Last week: 4)
It was only one week, but Peyton Manning finally showed up. He didn’t throw any touchdowns but he didn’t have to. The Denver running game got going and punched in three touchdowns. That defense continues to smother even the best offenses in the league. If the Broncos continue to play like this, they will be true contenders.

Panthers logo4. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 5)
Carolina seemed like they were in cruise control Monday night against Indy. Then they let the Colts crawl back into the game and force overtime. The Panthers still managed to pull of a big victory showing that they can win through adversity. They need to clean up the drops and the fumbles but the fact that they keep winning without playing at the top of their game.

Packers logo5. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 3)
What on Earth just happened? The Packers had an awful outing in Denver. Aaron Rodgers had only 77 yards passing and the ground game sputtered. That is the worst performance we have ever seen out of Green Bay offensively with Rodgers taking all of the snaps. This week isn’t any easier with a trip to Carolina on the line. Green Bay needs to get back on track quickly.

Arizona_Cardnals_logo_(1994-2004)6. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 7)
An early scare for the Cardinals saw them go down 20-7 to the Browns. Arizona turned things around in the second half and dominated Cleveland en route to a second half shutout. Carson Palmer continues to be an MVP candidate as he is tied with Tom Brady for the most touchdowns in the league.

Vikings logo7. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 10)
That was not pretty. Actually, it was downright terrifying. Minnesota went down 20-13 at Chicago with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter. They then scored 10 points in the final minute and 49 seconds to pull off a stunning comeback win. The Vikings were fortunate to win, but they still won.

Falcons logo8. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 8)
The Falcons looked like they had completely left last year behind them during their 5-0 start. Now, it seems like their 2014 form returned though over the last three weeks, losing two out of three to the Saints, Bucs and Titans. Atlanta is falling well behind the rival Panthers and looking at a wildcard spot as the only possibility for the postseason.

Raiders logo9. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 12)
Oakland has gone from a team that no one thought could make the playoffs to the fifth seed in the AFC field in just two weeks. Beating the Jets, and beating them convincingly, is a big step in the right direction for this young Raider team.

Jets logo10. New York Jets (Last week: 6)
The hangover from the loss to the Pats continued with a rough loss to the Raiders. Todd Bowles will be pressing this team to have a better response this week after he counted 21 missed tackles on film from this past game. For a team who’s defense is supposed to be its strong point, they need to turn themselves around after allowing 30 plus points in consecutive weeks.

Pittsburgh_Steelers logo11. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 9)
The Steelers have not been able to stay healthy this season. Big Ben finally returned this week just in time for LeVeon Bell to suffer a season-ending injury. Pittsburgh is not completely out of it with DeAngelo Williams ready to take over but it is certainly a blow to this high-octane offense.

Rams logo12. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 15)
The offense is middling outside of Todd Gurley but boy is that Gurley kid good! Gurley has the most yards per game this season among all running backs. That defense looks like it is the real deal as well with the fourth best scoring defense to this point. If they can hold up then St. Louis might be able to snag a wildcard spot.

Seahawks logo13. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 13)
Richard Sherman shutdown Dez Bryant this week, but Dez was coming off a serious foot injury. The fact is, the Seahawks were very fortunate to win this game. Seattle’s offense has looked average at best this season and their record shows it.

Saints logo14. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 19)
Don’t look now, but the Saints are back to .500 and very much in the wildcard picture. There is still some work to be done as they are behind Minnesota by a game and a half and the rival Falcons by two games but with only two games left on the schedule against teams that currently have winning records, New Orleans has to feel good about its chances.

Eagles Logo15. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 14)
A week off for the Eagles hopefully did them well as they prepared for their rematch with the Cowboys. DeMarco Murray will have a chance to play in front of the fans who cheered him on last season. Philly needs to win this one if they have any hope of challenging for the division title.

Giants Logo16. New York Giants (Last week: 11)
Talk about a shootout! Eli Manning threw six touchdown passes against the Saints this weekend. The only problem was that Drew Brees threw seven. Very tough loss for the Giants and the offense looked stellar all game. Steve Spagnolo needs to sit down with his defense and figure out who is willing to actual cover guys this week in Tampa.

Colts logo17. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 16)
This is just brutal. Indy lost again as Luck threw two picks and got beat up most of the night. The Colts seemed to find themselves late in the fourth quarter and even forced overtime but another costly mistake by the offense sent them home empty-handed. Yet, Indy still leads the AFC South with just three wins.

Bills logo18. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 17)
The Bills took a break this week after their trip across the pond. With the Dolphins and Jets losing this week, Buffalo has to feel like they are still in a good place, only one game out of a playoff spot. They have to start winning though. Their next three games are all in the division which gives them a chance to make up that ground.

Chiefs Logo19. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 23)
The Chiefs might request to play every game in London soon. They blew out the Lions, which most teams do, and it was probably the best the Kansas City offense has looked all season. Charcandrick West is showing people that he too knows how to pound the rock behind that KC offensive front.

Washington made up logo20. Washington (Last week: 20)
Coming off a bye, Washington has to be delighted that it is only a half game back of the division lead. They would lose the tiebreaker to the Giants and this week they play the Patriots but there is still some optimism.

Dolphins logo21. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 18)
Well, Miami came back down to Earth. Fast. The Patriots demonstrated once again that they are still the bully in the AFC East and the Dolphins cannot contend with them yet. It was a blowout in every sense of the word. One that makes you wonder if those two straight wins were just a fluke.

Buccaneers logo22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 31)
Tampa Bay is fresh off a shocking upset of the Falcons. The Bucs are still a couple of years away from being a playoff team but this is a good sign. The defense played very well, flustering Matt Ryan early and often. Now they have a big game with the hapless Giants defense. Mike Evans might be in good shape for a huge week.

Jaguars logo23. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 25)
Jacksonville has two wins on the season and is only one game behind the Colts for first place. That is simply unbelievable, especially given how poorly the Jaguars have played. If the offense centered around Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson and T.J. Yeldon can play consistently, the Jags have as much of a shot at this as anyone else.

Cowboys logo24. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 22)
Right now, Cowboys fans are praying for forgiveness for the number of times they made fun of Tony Romo. It is pretty clear now that Romo makes or breaks this squad, who has lost five straight games since his injury.

Bears logo25. Chicago Bears (Last week: 24)
It looked like the Bears would upset the Vikings. Then it looked like they were headed for overtime. Then the Bears lost. It was almost inexplicable really, yet Chicago made it happen. Now Matt Forte is expected to miss a couple of weeks with a knee injury. Things are really at a low point in the Windy City.

Chargers logo26. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 21)
The Chargers rank number one in the league for passing yards per game. They also rank number 29 for rushing yards per game. Giving Phillip Rivers some help on the ground is key going forward for San Diego, especially with leading receiver Keenan Allen now done for the year.

Texans logo27. Houston Texans (Last week: 32)
It seems that every team I drop into the cellar wins the following week. The Texans continued that trend with a solid win over Tennessee. Houston is actually tied with the Colts for the AFC South lead but without Arian Foster, I don’t see the Texans making a playoff push.

Browns logo28. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 26)
For a little while there, it looked as though Cleveland would shock the Cardinals as they lead 20-7. Then they stopped scoring, for the rest of the game. Now the Browns gear up for a divisional battle with the undefeated Bengals with Johnny Manziel at the helm. This could get really ugly, really fast.

Ravens logo29. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 29)
Well it looks like that break for the Ravens hasn’t come yet. Steve Smith tore his Achilles and will not return this season. Now, the leading receiver for Baltimore is Kamar Aiken. That definitely spells trouble.

49ers Logo30. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 28)
The 49ers needed to make a change. I don’t know if benching Colin Kaepernick was it. Kaepernick hasn’t been great but he doesn’t have much to work with. The defense has been miserable as well. This team seems struggle no matter what situation they are in.

Titans logo31. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 27)
Turns out that moral victories weren’t enough to save Ken Wisenhunt’s job. Tennessee has lost six straight since its impressive opener. Marcus Mariota hasn’t been healthy but that is far from the only issue. Finding a running game is the next step for these rebuilding Titans.

Lions Logo

32. Detroit Lions (Last week: 30)
A new era is underway in Detroit. The Lions fired their team president and general manager this morning. Already this year, Detroit dismissed their offensive coordinator. It is going to be a long rebuild where no one is safe. Definitely not Matt Stafford.