Detroit Lions and 5 Heart Attacks Waiting to Happen Every NFL Sunday
The Cleveland Browns of Bernie Kosar were the NFL's real cardiac kids, but so far, 2012 has offered its share of heart attack-inducing insanity.
Boneheaded plays, exhilarating overtime games, great comebacks.
We've seen it all through four weeks of football.
But some teams, coaches and players rank a little higher on the electrocardiogram of NFL craziness than others.
Our list, for your consideration:
Philadelphia Eagles Keep It Close and Chaotic Every Week
The Philadelphia Eagles got blown out in Week 3, but their first three wins of the year came by one, one and two points.
Michael Vick led the Eagles (3-1) to their third nerve-wracking win in four weeks Sunday, a 19-17 victory over the New York Giants.
With that win, the Eagles became the first team in league history to have its first three wins in a season decided by two or fewer points.
To put that in perspective, Philadelphia hadn't won three games in an entire season by two or fewer points since 1990.
With a passing offense that continues to struggle to put up points, don't expect the Eagles to stray far from the top of our cardiac countdown.
At this rate, perhaps they should rename their halftime show after Lipitor.
Detroit Lions Weak Defense Makes Every Game Interesting
The Detroit Lions defense can't stop a JV team and their offense is misfiring often enough that it actually needs the defense to show up this year.
The Lions needed an 80-yard drive and a last-minute touchdown to win their season opener against the Rams.
Against the 49ers, despite being out-muscled on both sides of the football, they kept it a one-score game.
Detroit fell behind by two touchdowns in their Week 3 matchup against the Tennessee Titans before scoring twice late in the fourth quarter to tie the game, only to lose in overtime.
And, finally, on Sunday at home against Minnesota, their offense sputtered throughout the fourth quarter—threatening, getting into the red zone three times, and only coming away with one score.
The Lions, with their dynamic offense, should keep most every game close this year. That's good news for Detroit fans but not so good for the faint of heart.
New York, Always Under-Performing, Makes It Painful to Watch
The defending Super Bowl champions have not been in nail biters, but they continue to frustrate Big Blue loyalists with their Jekyl and Hyde persona.
The Bad Giants show up for the first half of the season opener against Dallas then the good Giants show up to make a game of it.
Eli Manning looks like Brandon Weeden for a half against the Buccaneers, only to throw three touchdowns and bring his team back in the fourth quarter.
The Giants gave their fans a breather in Week 3 with a rout of the Panthers before falling back into their old habit of making life difficult for themselves with a sloppy performance against the Eagles Monday night.
New York fans have come to expect this. That's why rooting for Big Blue requires a strong heart, a bottle of Kaopectate and some understanding in-laws.
New England Keeps Delivering Late-Game Heroics
After an easy opening day victory over the Tennessee Titans, the Patriots have been in one nail biter after another.
While the Eagles have racked up three wins by two or fewer points, the Pats lost their first two games by two and one point respectively against the Cardinals and Ravens.
If that didn't keep Patriots fans reaching for a defibrillator, the first half of Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills did.
At one point Tom Brady and the Patriots were down by 14 points before going on a 45-point tear.
Perhaps that monstrous second half is a harbinger of things to come for New England, but in recent seasons the Pats have gone the way of the Giants, playing down to the level of the competition.
Expect a few more gut wrenching games before the midpoint of the season.
Bengals and Redskins Play Inconsistent but Exciting Ball
Through one fourth of the season only two teams in the NFL have allowed exactly as many points as they have given up.
Point differential in their four games thus far: zero.
Those two teams, the Washington Redskins and the Cincinnati Bengals, boast aggressive offensive attacks and developing defenses that keep them in most games.
The Redskins two wins came by a combined 10 points, their two losses, by—you guessed it—a combined 10 points.
The Bengals have surprised this year, with a staunch defense, and improved play by quarterback Andy Dalton.
They are unpredictable, a bit edgy and a lot of fun to watch. And, well, they're the Bengals, so even when everything is going their way, their fans are waiting for the bottom to fall out.
That, by itself, is enough to keep your heart pumping.