1. Blaine Gabbart and Cam Newton both are not going to get better
Blaine Gabbart is just not a good quarterback. The verdict has been out on him ever since he came into the league and once again he has done nothing to change that. The story on him has always been that if injuries don’t get to him, inept play will. He lead some to believe his preseason showed some signs of improvement, but once again when the regular season hit he reverted back to the same quarterback we have seen all too often. He was 16 of 35 for 121 yards. He had 0 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Cam Newton is a totally different case than Gabbart. Cam Newton took the league by storm, and since has consistently regressed. Although he is in a new offense, I do not believe he is in a situation for him to improve. He does not have enough weapons around him, nor the offense for him to improve. I think Cam Newton is now not a quarterback who we are waiting to blossom, but now just what we are seeing now…an average quarterback on a bad team.
On a stage where he was supposed to compete with Russell Wilson it was clear how outgunned Cam Newton was. While Wilson passed for 300+ yards, Newton came nowhere close to that. Unfortunately a player that had such high hopes has become just another QB that will come nowhere close to expectations.
2. The 49ers were the best team to play on Sunday
When the 49ers took the field against the Green Bay Packers Sunday evening, San Francisco showed that they were not only the superior team to the Packers, but to any team to have played all day Sunday. Green Bay will be one of the top teams in the league, but San Francisco won a game in which the Packers did things they wanted to do. Green Bay went into the game looking to take away the option, and actually did that for the most part. What makes the 49ers one of the best 2 teams in the NFL is that they took the Packers apart with their plan B. Colin Kaepernick passed for over 400 yards against a Green Bay defense that seemed oblivious to the fact Anquan Boldin was on the field. Denver may have a valid argument for the best team in the NFL, but San Francisco may be the only team that also has an argument for top spot.
3. The Steelers have issues
In Pittsburgh, things started out so great. The stadium was rockin, the players were amped, and the ball had just been kicked off. Before anybody could look up, the Steelers already had points on the scoreboard. The Tennessee Titans kickoff returner Darius Reynaud mistakenly stepped out of the end zone to field the kickoff before taking a knee, resulting in a safety and two points for the Steelers. Things could not have started off any better. Soon after this things turned horrible. Their pro-bowl center Maurkice Pouncey got rolled up on by teammate David DeCastro and tore his ACL, resulting in him being out for the season. They also lost linebacker Larry Foote to a torn biceps and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling also to an ACL.
All of this was trumped by the Steelers performance on the field that had fans leaving even while the Steelers were attempting a comeback. The Steelers lost 16-9 in a game that was not as close as the score indicated. The patchwork offensive line could not keep the Titans away from Ben Roethlisberger as he was sacked 5 times. The offense could not reach the end zone until almost the end of the game. In Pittsburgh they might not know whether to be concerned about the people who are on the field or being taken off it.
4. Mark Sanchez should not play another down for the Jets
Geno Smith and the New York Jets may have won the award for luckiest team on Sunday, but still the fact remains that Smith did get the Jets the win. Smith did look like a rookie at times, but he came through in the 4th quarter. Smith ended the day with decent numbers (256 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int) and showed a lot of promise. That, combined with the fact that Mark Sanchez has an injured shoulder that may require surgery should be all the Jets coaching staff needs to make the decision Mark Sanchez will not be playing anymore for the Jets. They can put him on injured reserve and forget about him, or release him. If Sanchez recovers quickly maybe the Jets can even deal him for a late round pick, but they need to move forward with Geno Smith.
5. The Bears, Cowboys, Chiefs, Dolphins, and Ravens will battle for wildcard spots
I lumped all these teams together because I feel I can describe these teams collectively. These five all could make noise in the playoffs and possibly make it to a conference title game, but they all have to overcome some sort of transition. Whether this be new coaches, offenses, or players on the roster, they all have to adjust on the fly. If any of these teams play to their potential, they could play in the Super Bowl, but they all have to overcome the injury bug. All of these teams are one key injury away from missing the playoffs altogether. Lastly, and the most logical reason to put all of these teams together would be that all of these teams are in divisions where they have a superior team above them, resulting in second place finishes. These five teams should be fighting for playoff spots during the last couple weeks of the season.