Going into this contest between a 10-2 Minnesota Vikings team and the 9-3 Cincinnati Bengals, many felt that we'd finally get to see the true identity of both teams. And regardless of what side you were cheering for, it's hard to argue that we didn't see exactly that.
1. Carson Palmer Isn't an Elite Quarterback
It's not because he threw for a measly 94 yards and couldn't move the ball effectively this Sunday, but more a combination of all of his unspectacular performances, all rolled into one. Sunday was just the culmination of him being revealed for what he is.
Take away Palmer's five-touchdown destruction of an inept Chicago Bears defense, over a month ago, and the guy has just 12 throwing scores on the season.
Any way you look at it, for whatever reason, he simply isn't playing elite football.
2. Cedric Benson Is Top Notch
The Williams Wall wasn't willing to admit it coming into this game, but it has to be a fact now; Benson is the real deal.
No nagging injuries, inept passing offense, or tough defensive match-ups can truly stop him. If he gets the carries, he will eventually produce.
It's just now coming to light that this Bengals offense can and will be successful only if he has the ball in his hands.
3. Cincinnati's Defense Is OK
They're a solid unit that has easily benefited, much like other "elite" defenses, from facing weak competition for most of the season. Don't get me wrong, they had excellent performances against the Broncos, Ravens, and Steelers earlier this season, but it's clear they can only do so much.
What we learned on Sunday is that they cannot effectively stop a team that can both run and pass the ball on an elite level. And the saddest part was the Vikings still weren't at the top of their game.
4. Jonathan Joseph Is Damn Good
Give the guy some respect, because like it or not, he's the only true dynamite performer on this over-rated defense.
He prevented an easy leaping touchdown grab by knocking the ball out of Sidney Rice's hands, and ended the day with three passes deflected.
5. Outside of Chad Ochocinco, the Receiving Corps Stinks
We've probably already guessed that, but it was even more visible on Sunday. Antoine Winfield's return probably didn't make it any easier on Laveranues Coles and co. to take the pressure off of Chad Ochocinco, but let's face it; they weren't doing that great of a job before, either.
Even before Chris Henry went down a few weeks back, this receiving corps left a lot to be desired. This clearly plays into Carson Palmer's under-whelming play, as well, and directly effects the success of the ground game against elite defenses.
1. Brett Favre Isn't Fading
You can look at it in two ways. Either the Bengals pass defense isn't very good, and Favre's late-season slide is beginning right on time, or he just played decently against a very good pass defense...