Pierre Garcon of the Indianapolis Colts
As Week 8 of the 2010-11 NFL season is complete, we can safely say that this year has been as crazy as ever. From unexpected superstars to surprising struggles, this season has been packed with excitement from Week 1. Here is a look back at some things that we all may have doubted before the start of the season:
Brandon Lloyd currently leads the NFL in receiving yards.
While being out for almost a whole game and shaken up for the majority of this season, Antonio Gates has 9 touchdowns through 7 full games played.
T.O. has crawled his way back to the top 5 in league receiving.
Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall, Greg Jennings, Marques Colston, Desean Jackson, Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson have one thing in common: they are not in that top 5.
DeAngelo Hall recorded 4 interceptions in a single game this season.
Ahmad Bradshaw of the Giants is the league's third-leading rusher.
Randy Moss will not be a Patriot all season.
Randy Moss was a Viking at some point this season.
Randy Moss is now a member of the Tennessee Titans.
Kyle Orton is the league's second-leading passer.
The Kansas City Chiefs will be 3-0, and then 5-2, the Dallas Cowboys will be 1-6, and the St. Louis Rams will have a .500 record.
I think we all get the point. Many unexpected patterns have formed, and many more likely will. Here's my shot at getting some of them right for the 2nd half of the season.
Garcon (85) reeling it in between two Texans defenders.
It wasn't until the end of last regular season and the playoffs that Garcon and Austin Collie became relevant in the NFL. Then, Peyton Manning and the Colts realized they could transform these shady receivers into superstars, to give the offense more options than Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark.
Collie was incredible this year while Garcon was injured. Now, Collie is injured and Garcon is back. Whether Collie comes back soon or not, I say Pierre Garcon will become a huge deal and be extremely successful for the Colts.
Arian Foster (23) of the Houston Texans
Arian Foster has been good, but he was only really phenomenal in Week 1, when he posted 231 rushing yards and three TDs against the Colts. I feel, though, that as of late, teams have discovered that they're not dealing with Jim Brown or Barry Sanders; Foster is not yet proven.
Not that he won't still be an asset to the Texans, but don't expect any more 200-yard games or many more multiple touchdown games.
Before I get into future team trends, this guy needs to be discussed. He's quiet because of the emphasis on Hakeem Nicks and a stacked defense, but let's look at Bradshaw's stats.
He averages about 19 carries per game, and averages 5.3 yards per carry. He's currently the NFL's third-leading rusher. With some inconsistencies, he still averages over 100 rushing yards per game, and has reached at least 126 rushing yards in his last four games. Though Brandon Jacobs is usually the goal-line back, Ahmad should continue to rack up a lot of yards.
I would love to say that they're going to win the division, but in light of their respective schedules, it seems the Colts are the favorite. I do believe the Titans will do well in the playoffs, and are capable of beating the Colts in a head-to-head match up. Here's why:
Randy Moss Helps Everyone Except Himself
He draws attention; that's what he does. When Randy Moss came to the Vikings, defenses needed to plan around him. This gave Adrian Peterson a larger advantage, because the pass was more of a threat. Now, instead of AP, Chris Johnson will take the same advantage. In addition, with Moss double-covered, Percy Harvin got open looks. Yes, Justin Gage and Nate Washington, it may be your time as well. The Titans have the potential to put up A LOT of points.
(On a side note, the strong defense of the Titans shows no sign of decline.)
And next season, they may well may get nine or ten. Bradford has potential, he's already showing it, and he'll be a superstar one day. I have a feeling that his time will come soon.
There are skeptics, but keep in mind that he doesn't have much to work with. His current Nos. 1 and 2 receivers are Danny Amendola and Danario Alexander, arguably the worst one-two punch in the league, and Bradford has helped Amendola to perform fairly well.
With Bradford at the helm of this offense, hopefully for a while, the players and staff will be motivated to build a good franchise around him. This is the start of an era.