What We Learned: NFL Week 8

The SportmeistersAnalyst INovember 2, 2009

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 01: Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings passes the ball during the first quarter of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on November 1, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

The NFL season has hit the halfway mark. What are the big stories of the week, and who is in prime position heading down the stretch?


Giant Disappointment

Once again, the New York Giants are the top story and, once again, it’s because of another loss. This time, it was at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, 40-17.

For the Eagles, the result marked two straight divisional wins, putting them in a spot to take total control of the NFC East should they win against Dallas next weekend.

The Giants, on the other hand, have some soul-searching to do.

Since starting the season 5-0, they have lost three straight to playoff-quality teams. Eli Manning has thrown four interceptions and completed a mere 31 percent of his passes. Watching the game, it looks like the plantar fasciitis that he suffered earlier in the season is affecting him.

The Giants have a game against San Diego this weekend before going on a bye.


As Young As You Feel

Let’s look at two “young” quarterbacks at different points in their career; Vince Young and Brett Favre.

With the Tennessee Titans fading fast, and owner Bud Adams bringing the heat, coach Jeff Fisher decided to give the embattled Young another shot.

What became of it was the Titans' first victory in 2009, a 30-13 thrashing of Jacksonville Jaguars. Don’t give too much credit to Young. He managed the game, going 15-of-18 for 125 yards and a touchdown. But he gave them the spark they needed, and will most likely stay in the role until he shows he is not able to handle it.

As far as the other “young” quarterback in the NFL, Brett Favre is still slinging the ball around at 40. Wearing Purple for the first time at Lambeau Field, Favre showed his former fans that he still has the magic.

He threw four touchdowns for the 21st time, tying the NFL record held by Dan Marino.

Simply put, Favre is doing well in Minnesota. And with a dome over his head, he shouldn’t suffer too much of those nasty northern winters that affected him before. That, and he has two weapons in Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin.


Mid-Season Award Winners

Granted, these aren’t all the awards, but here are a few of my mid-season picks.

MVP: Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts. With apologies to Drew Brees and Brett Favre, it’s hard to argue against Manning. He has thrown for over 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns already, including over 300 yards in six of his seven performances. He has Indy running on all cylinders right now.

AFC Rookie Of The Year: Brian Cushing, LB, Houston: Cushing is in a league of his own right now, and not one rookie can hold a candle to him. With 66 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in just half a season, Cushing has the bar set high for rookies.

NFC Rookie Of The Year: Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota: Harvin has quickly become Brett Favre’s favorite target in Minnesota, and it shows. He has 28 catches for 369 yards and three touchdowns already, not to mention his ability to return a punt or kickoff back with relative ease.

Coach Of The Year: Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis Colts: The first rookie head coach to start 7-0, Caldwell has kept the synergy and efficiency brought on by his predecessor, Tony Dungy. While it's easy to win with Peyton Manning, Caldwell deserves his fair share of praise.

When the season winds down, look for a complete list of all my winners.


Contenders and Pretenders

Midway through, whose sun is shining and whose sky is cloudy?

The Dallas Cowboys have quietly won three straight, putting them in a tie for first in the NFC East. An interesting matchup against Philadelphia for sole control of first is on the line this weekend.

The Houston Texans have also won three straight to bring them to a 5-3 record. With Indianapolis on the forefront, Houston will need to play perfect games if they want to take the AFC South.

While some teams are perfect, others are perfectly inept.

The New York Giants are struggling, and unless they win this weekend, panic-time might set in during the bye week.

The Cleveland Browns' descent into mediocrity is moving right along. They now sit at 1-7, thanks to a 30-6 drubbing at the hands of Chicago.


By Ryan of The Sportmeisters