Five weeks into the NFL's 2012 season, there have been many surprises, disappointments and dramas. Some teams are overachieving, others have yet to show up and a few are difficult to characterize at all.
Here are the songs that embody the emotional state of every team after Week 5 action.
"Time" by Hootie and the Blowfish
Despite receiving encouraging play from rookies Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden, the Cleveland Browns are off to a 0-5 start and have now lost 14 of their last 15 regular season games. Browns fans must now feel like time is melting away, as the team is likely heading for its ninth losing season in the last 10 years.
"Bad Moon Rising" by Credence Clearwater Revival
The 2012 season has not been kind to the Chiefs, whose only win through five games came in overtime against the New Orleans Saints. But things are about to get even worse. With Matt Cassel out with a concussion, Brady Quinn, who has a career quarterback rating of 67.3, will be taking the snaps this Sunday when the Chiefs head to Tampa Bay.
"Where Are You Going" by Dave Matthews Band
If the Jaguars' 1-4 mark is not troubling enough for the Jacksonville faithful, the team's last place ranking in the league in passing yards must be even more concerning. The Jaguars used their 2011 and 2012 first-round draft picks on a quarterback and a wide receiver. With an ailing passing attack, fans must be questioning the direction of this Jacksonville offense.
"Don't Let Me Get Me" by Pink
Chris Johnson's monstrous contract requires the Tennessee Titans to pay him a half million dollars for every regular season game in 2012. After he gained a mere 210 yards through five games, the Titans organization has now paid almost $12,000 per rushing yard this year. The Titans are now trying to understand what they were thinking.
"What I've Done" by Linkin Park
It was about a year ago when the Raiders sold out for quarterback Carson Palmer. Thinking he was the missing piece to their playoff puzzle, they sacrificed a first-round pick in the 2012 draft and a second-round pick in 2013. Yet since awarding Palmer the starting job, the Raiders are 5-9 and crippled in multiple NFL drafts. Oakland must now be wondering what it has done to a team that very recently seemed to be on the rise.
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2
Cam Newton's career with the Panthers began roughly, as is expected with any rookie quarterback. But the success the Panthers found late in 2011 is a distant memory now that the team has accrued a 1-4 record to begin 2012. Although Newton is certainly no Jimmy Clausen, Newton's 4:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2012 is starting to show some concerns that the Panthers once again failed to draft a franchise quarterback.
"In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins
All of the 1-3 Buccaneers' games this season have been decided by one score. But this likely would not have been the case if Tampa Bay could defend the pass. The Bucs defense ranks fourth in the league in rushing defense but last in passing defense, including the 510 yards Eli Manning hung on them in Week 2. For Tampa Bay to reach the playoffs in 2012, it is clear what needs to improve, and its next game against the Chiefs may just be what its secondary needs to turn it around.
"U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer
The Bills' 2-3 record in 2012 simply does not tell the whole story. Their two wins, although both by multiple scores, have come against arguably the two worst teams in the league (Chiefs and Browns). And their three losses have all come against playoff-contending teams that each hung 45 or more points on the Bills.
A couple weeks ago, everything seemed great in Buffalo. The Bills were 2-1 and held a halftime lead against the Patriots. Forty-five points later, the Patriots showed clearly that the Bills still cannot touch the top the of the AFC East.
"Only Time" by Enya
Powered by the Stafford-Megatron connection on offense and anchored by the superhuman Ndamukong Suh on defense, the Detroit Lions made the playoffs a year ago for the first time since 1999. Returning most of the same star-studded lineup for 2012, Detroit expected much of the same. Its early struggles show that only time will tell whether this is an emerging power in the NFC North or just a one-season wonder.
"Wake Me Up When September Ends" by Green Day
No song better embodies the Saints' season than this. It is simple. The Saints were 0-4 in September in the wake of the bounty scandal suspensions. Yet when they needed a win the most, the Saints pulled through and tallied their first win last week against the Chargers. It will undoubtedly be a terribly difficult path to the playoffs, but at least September is behind them.
"Who Are You" by The Who
Five games into the season, and it is still difficult to nail down what kind of team the Dolphins have. Their two wins were nothing special, coming against league bottom-feeders. And their three losses: all against potential playoff teams, two of which came in overtime. It will definitely take a few more weeks to know whether this team can contend for a playoff berth.
"The Show Goes On" by Lupe Fiasco
For more than a decade, Peyton Manning was the face of the Indianapolis Colts franchise. Upon his departure, the Colts welcomed one of the most heralded NFL prospects in college football history, Andrew Luck. Despite having his fair share of rookie mistakes, Luck has quietly engineered a 2-2 start and shown that there is actually life after Peyton in Indy.
"Irreplaceable" by Beyonce
Everyone knew Tim Tebow would be a constant topic of conversation around the Jets organization. But few anticipated how much the poor play of Mark Sanchez would contribute to the buzz. Although Rex Ryan has announced Sanchez as the starter for this weekend, it seems to be just a matter of time until Sanchez is kicked to the curb Beyonce-style.
"Mister Big Time" by Bon Jovi
Despite leading the Redskins to just a 2-3 start, Robert Griffin III has reinvigorated the Redskins fanbase and shown moments of brilliance just a short time into his professional career. How he will fare once he begins the grueling NFC East schedule remains to be seen, but the first five weeks have clearly shown that RGIII is ready for the big stage.
"One More Time" by Daft Punk
After a surprising playoff run in 2011, Andy Dalton and company have shown that the Bengals were no one-hit wonder. Similar to last year, they are off to a very quiet 3-2 start. By taking care of business and beating the teams they are supposed to beat, the Bengals could very well be in the playoff picture again this year at season's end.
"What's Left of Me" by Nick Lachey
After making the playoffs in 2011, the Denver Broncos hoped their acquisition of Peyton Manning would enable them to make a deep run into the playoffs in 2012. But following multiple surgeries, many questions have arisen regarding Manning's physical ability to throw the ball with the same velocity as he could previously.
One thing is certain, though: Manning will give the Broncos everything he has left in the tank.
"Stuck in a Moment" by U2
To be clear, the Green Bay Packers' issues run much deeper than replacement officials. But in the highly competitive NFC North, it is easy to imagine how the Packers' eventual playoff picture will be greatly shaped by that fateful call in Seattle back in September.
Even though the Packers will have 15 other opportunities this year to prove their playoff worthiness, it will be tough for them to get rid of that Monday night nightmare against the Seahawks.
"Airplanes" by B.O.B.
The last time the St. Louis Rams had a winning record in the regular season was 2003. After a solid rookie season, Sam Bradford was expected to return St. Louis to prominence. But things went sour last year en route to a 2-14 mark. Now, the Rams are 3-2 and coming off back-to-back wins over divisional opponents and making fans hope that this is a sign of great things to come.
"It's the Same Old Song" by Four Tops
While some things change, some just stay the same. The Dallas Cowboys are fluttering around .500. They impressed by opening the season with a victory over the defending champs, but followed that up with a 20-point loss to Seattle.
Tony Romo has oscillated between brilliant performances and complete ineptitude, prompting simultaneous conversations about Romo's "elite" status and whether the Cowboys should draft a quarterback in 2013. Clearly, the 'Boys are up to their old tricks.
"Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
The Seattle Seahawks are up to their old tricks as well. While Seattle has always been a very difficult place to play, this season has so far shown this to a greater extent. Despite recording victories over the Cowboys and Packers at home, the Seahawks have gone 1-2 away from Seattle, with losses to the Cardinals and Rams.
"Float On" by Modest Mouse
It is just another year in Pittsburgh. No quarterback controversy, no earth-shattering offseason acquisitions. It is just Big Ben and Troy Polamalu back in business. Its 2-2 start has not been highly impressive or disappointing. But one can be sure that the Steelers will be entrenched in the playoff discussion once December comes.
"Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding
The San Diego Chargers are off to a solid start in 2012, and they could be the team to beat in the AFC West. But Otis Redding might best exemplify the Chargers' morale at this point. The Chargers have frequently played the favorite in their division, only to underachieve in the long run.
Once again, San Diego fields an offense with Philip Rivers and Darren Sproles and has the potential to be very potent. Whether it can finally meet its potential remains to be seen. But if it cannot, expect apathy to reach a maximum in San Diego.
"This" by Darius Rucker
Perhaps the story of the young season has been the surging Arizona Cardinals. This team, that some pegged before the season as the worst in the league, set aside a preseason quarterback controversy to storm out to a 4-0 start. Even now at 4-1, Cardinals fans must be shaking their heads at the series of events that have led the Cardinals to their surprising division lead.
"No Hands" by Waka Flocka Flame
The two stories dominating the Philadelphia Eagles' season so far have been the horrific offensive line play and the turnovers. Yet even with the Eagles', and more specifically Michael Vick's, inability to hold onto the football, Philadelphia is 3-2 and at the top of the NFC East. If the Eagles can protect the football better, the rest of the league better watch out for the frightening stable of skill-position players Philadelphia possesses.
"We Are Family" by Sister Sledge
The 3-2 Giants' 2012 campaign has been going just as they hoped it would, except for their games against their most familiar opponents. Outside of their division, the Giants are 3-0 and playing like the defending Super Bowl champions, scoring 41, 36 and 41 points. But inside the division, in the most important games, against the teams that know them best, the Giants have sputtered to two losses, only managing 17 points in each game.
"Moment for Life" by Nicki Minaj
The NFC North, like last year, was billed as a three-horse race. No one expected the Minnesota Vikings to make much noise in 2012, nevertheless to lead the division after five weeks. But the Vikings should enjoy this moment because the schedule only gets more difficult as they finish the season with five divisional matchups in their last seven games. And one of the other two is none other than the 5-0 Texans. It may be time to live for the present, Minnesota.
"Super Bowl Shuffle" by the 1985 Chicago Bears
The Super Bowl is a long way away, and the chances of the Bears getting by the Falcons, 49ers and others to reach it is a long shot. But through five weeks, the Bears are indisputably the class of the NFC North and disputably the best team in the conference. The rest of the season will show whether this team can actually achieve that level of greatness, but who can resist referencing the best video to come out of the 80's?
"All I Do is Win" by DJ Khaled
The New England Patriots are a well-oiled machine and it is apparent that their success will continue into 2012. They have looked solid through five weeks, but perhaps more important is the quality of the rest of the AFC East. The Patriots rolled the Bills a couple weeks ago, the Jets are minutes away from a quarterback change and the Dolphins are working with a rookie quarterback.
The Patriots may not be the favorite in the AFC, but they will waltz to a divisional championship in 2012.
"Steady as She Goes" by The Raconteurs
The Baltimore Ravens have won at least one playoff game every year since 2007. And after a 4-1 start, the Ravens appear to be on the same trajectory in 2012. There are no secrets to their success, as they are still led by Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco and Ray Rice. The core of this team is intact and will provide the leadership to keep the Ravens on the winning path.
"We Takin' Over" by DJ Khaled
Jim Harbaugh has started a new culture in San Francisco and given the 49ers the swag they have not seen in years. Their 4-1 start has shown that last year was no fluke. The 49ers have outscored their opponents 79-3 in the last two weeks.
Harbaugh has sculpted Alex Smith into a true professional quarterback and has created a terrifying defensive force. Fans have to believe that Harbaugh's 49ers are here to stay on the NFL landscape.
"What Hurts the Most" by Rascal Flatts
The Falcons are 5-0 and are looking like the team to beat in the NFC. But fans have seen this before. They have seen the Falcons look very impressive and consistent throughout the season, only to fall apart come playoff time. The Falcons have been very close to doing something great in recent years, but Atlanta has to be wondering whether this is the year the Falcons do more than just get close.
"It's a Great Day to be Alive" by Travis Tritt
Simply, life is good for Texans fans. For the first years of this franchise, Texans had to watch their team act the punching bag for the AFC South. Well, their time has come. The Texans have a dominating defense and star power on offense. And the only thing that seemingly could upset this great season for Houston is another injury to Matt Schaub. Look for the Texans' season to extend well into January.