Entries in chicago bears (7)
At the end of every season, we like to take a look back at the ten best teams of the year. While some make the playoffs and others don't, that's not necessarily an indication about the real pecking order.
For example, Denver was in the final 12 by making the playoffs, but you'd be drinking too much wheat grass if you ranked them in the top 10.
Likewise, last year, we ranked Pittsburgh out of the top 10 best teams (we had them at 11), even though they were in the Super Bowl. In our opinion, they shouldn't have been there.
Without further ado, the Top 10 NFL Football Teams of 2011.
#10: The Philadelphia Eagles
Seasons like this happen sometimes. All the pieces and none of the pieces.
Surely, most of us expected a better overall campaign from Michael Vick, even though most anticipated that his style of play would get him hurt.
The Eagles were much maligned for the Juan Castillo decision. Andy Reid got death threats. It was ugly.
But ultimately, they didn't have the linebackers.
Castillo actually did a great job of tinkering, and as the end of the season neared, the entire defense picked up their play.
But there were too many distractions. We're big DeSean Jackson fans, but he was in a funk, and looked like he gave up on some key plays.
LeSean McCoy, though, was a thing of Barry Sanders-like beauty. Jeremy Maclin runs great routes and will be productive for years to come. This team has a lot of weapons, and is close to being able to trade real body blows with people.
In the end, the whole league breathed a sigh of relief when the Eagles didn't sneak into the postseason. Even with all of their ills, they had the talent to beat anyone on any given day.
With a few adjustments, they'll be hungry and dangerous next year.
Just Missed: The Chicago Bears
Last years Bears team played great defense, and before Jay Cutler was injured they seemed to have a line on the playoffs.
Matt Forte was amazing and Jay Cutler continues to improve, but he has no real receiving threats and as long as they don't have a marquis receiver, this team will never be in the money.
The promotion of Mike Tice to offensive coordinator doesn't bode well for next year, though saying goodbye to Mike Martz' playbook won't cause any tears in the Windy City.
There are lots of needs and an unhappy Matt Forte to contend with, not to mention playing in what is now one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.
Lots of holes. But they have pieces, and defense wins championships.
Just Missed: The Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers didn't make our to 10 last year either.
There's just something "not quite right" about this team. They have some amazing, eye-popping young talent, but all of their identity has seemed to have been eroded away, by a combination of moving away from the run game, Big Ben's long history of injuries and off-field distractions and the aging defense being seemingly targeted by the league as being dirty.
Despite things like that, great teams rise above. The Steelers couldn't.
Case in point: How do you lose to the Broncos? The Patriots CRUSHED them and the Steelers beat the Patriots earlier in the season. Certainly Pittsburgh has enough talent. So how did the unthinkable happen?
Now there are rumblings of unhappy tidings. Can the Steelers afford to keep Mike Wallace this offseason and still pay Antonio Brown after next year? That's a lot of your budget on two guys.
And the firing of Roethlisberger favorite Bruce Arians, clumsily described as a retirement, combined with the hiring of devil-spawn male warlock Todd Haley? That's not an offense primed for companionship.
Although, I'll say this: Todd Haley knows how to get his QBs to sling it. That's for sure.
Add to that rumors about Mike Tomlin not having the final say in Pittsburgh about his own staff and a potential desire to look around for other opportunities. He's under contract through 2014, so this is all mild hogwash, but it still points to a disempowered head coach.
Until the Steelers get it right, they can't be included in the top tier of NFL teams.
Tomorrow: #9, a team that was soooooo close...
What if I told you that, seeing as your quarterback is injured for what's probably the rest of the season, I could offer you your old quarterback (that you traded away) for just $2.5 million dollars, and that you don't have to give up any of your current players? Is that something that you might be interested in?
Did you hear me, Chicago? Is Kyle Orton something you might be interested in?*
Week 11 has come and gone. And we've got some new additions to the FINISHED LIST (below - but don't skip everything else, or I'll cut your fucking finger off. Kidding! xoxo), we've got some revelations and we've got some Turkey Day sandwiches to look forward to. And thank God, for the first time in years, some games that actually matter.
What We Know
Green Bay got a scare. Maybe they got a little lazy. Maybe not lazy - but there were some moments of complacency. This is how good I think this team is. But come on people, it doesn't matter.
Was Cleveland - Jacksonville the least cared about game of all-time? I'll say yes.
The Oakland Raiders are winning w/out star running back Darren McFadden. Carson Palmer's getting more comfortable every game. And Michael Bush could care less about D-Mac - he's making all his money for next year, this year.
Baltimore feels more and more like a house of cards. 49ers should be rude awakening. Andy Dalton threw for 373 without his favorite WR. Who throws for 373 against Baltimore? As a rookie? Without their #1 WR?
Seattle has a pretty easy schedule rest of the way. Lots of home games. They could play kingmaker, they could cause some upsets. At least it's something to hang your hats on!
The Philadelphia - New York game featured four quarters of terrible, terrible football. These teams are toast. I got a feeling Tom Coughlin's calling it quits after this season.
It just goes to show, you can only throw Tom Brady off his game for so long before he figures out your bullshit and unloads.
What We Don't Know
There's never been a question as to whether the Detroit Lions can put up points. And the defense has become much better. The question, I think, is whether they can do it consistently enough to get into the playoffs and win some big ballgames.
What the fuck is with Matt Moore? I mean - not a lot of yards. But it's not easy to find the end zone. He's doing it well. Maybe they don't want Andrew Luck, after all. That's fine. I mean, I didn't want him. But if you don't. I guess I'll take him. Whatever. Probably just stash him on the bench, have him carry some pads, make some hot tea (begins furiously jerking off…)
I just can't wrap my head around the Atlanta Falcons. Lots of weapons, but - man, I don't know. Can't put my finger on it. Maybe there's no swagger here. I don't know. Ehh.
How you feelin', Bears fans?
Can Matt Leinart still play football? Could he ever? Are Houston fans terrified?
Can the 49ers win it all? I'd love to see a San Francisco - Green Bay NFC championship game. God. I think I have a boner.
Some new additions to the FINISHED list. Remember, if you find your favorite team here, it's time to stop cheering.
Jacksonville (welcome to Los Angeles!)
MY FANTASY UPDATE
Home for Thanksgiving break? Now's a great time to stop by your hometown bar and tell your high school ex you're gonna put it in whatever hole you want. She'll love it!
For Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for my wife, my family, Viagra, RedTube, Chick-fil-A breakfast and lunch sandwiches, Bruce Springsteen's upcoming tour and the Redskins ever-improving draft position. Franchise quarterback, here we come.
*And yes, I say "something", and not "someone", because former Chicago Bears quarterbacks are not people. They are memories. They are, for the most part, losing records. They are, in the eyes of many fans, legends of discontent. And you better believe Kyle Orton is legendary.