NFL Midseason Confusion: 10 Teams That Aren't Who We Thought They Were
The regular season is pretty much halfway over. Most teams are about to play their eighth game of the year, and some are playing their ninth.
There is always a lot of preseason hype about teams, and there are always experts picking teams to make the Super Bowl.
This year the Super Bowl will be played in Dallas. That is good for every team in the NFL except the Cowboys, since they appear to be the only team who can't win a game in their new stadium.
The following list is made up of teams that have surprised us and teams that have let us down.
There are playoff teams from last year that are already eliminated from the playoffs this year, and there are teams who picked in the top 10 in last year's draft who might win their division.
Let's take a look at the teams who aren't who we thought they were.
"America's Team" Is 1-6
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Do you remember when we all listened to all the experts talk about the Cowboys and how they could be the first team in history to play in a Super Bowl in their own stadium?
The Cowboys have one of the most talented teams in the league and are 1-6.
This preseason Super Bowl contender was out of the playoff race before the Rams, Raiders, Chiefs and Bucs.
Jerry Jones needs to find a coach who can put this talent together on the field. Remember when a drunk Jones said Tim Tebow would never get on the field with the Cowboys?
I'm sure Jones would give anything to have a quarterback that has actually won games that matter now that Tony Romo is out. Then again, has Romo every really won a game that matters?
St. Louis Rams 4-4
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Before the season started, Tim Tebow was the most talked about rookie quarterback in the NFL. He was selling more jerseys than any NFL player in the league.
Eight games into the season after they actually started playing football, Sam Bradford is showing everyone why they should have been talking about him.
He has led the Rams to a 4-4 record, and they are now a half game behind the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West.
Bradford has been playing pretty impressively considering the fact that he has lost his top two receivers to season-ending injuries.
Steven Jackson is also doing a fine job this year. As long as the Rams never play the Lions again, they should be in the NFC West title picture.
Minnesota Vikings 2-5
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The Vikings were one game away from making the Super Bowl last year. This year they have as many controversies as they do wins.
Brett Favre has been a gunslinger his whole career, but he is also allegedly a photographer as well.
The Vikings made headlines when they brought back future Hall of Famer Randy Moss in a trade with the Patriots.
They made bigger headlines when they released him four weeks later.
This isn't the same team as last year, and at 2-5 their season could very well be over. They still have some life, but with Moss gone, I don't see them going anywhere.
Next year this team could look very different with a new QB and head coach.
Oakland Raiders 4-4
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The Raiders have literally been the black hole of the league the last seven years. No team in the history of the NFL has had a worse record in a seven-year stretch.
The Raiders now sit at 4-4 and could be 5-3 had Sebastian Janikowski not missed his final two field goals in the fourth quarter against Arizona.
The Raiders are 2-0 in their division and host the first place Chiefs next Sunday. This game could give the Raiders the confidence they need to finish the season strong and win the AFC West.
The Raiders haven't just been winning lately; they've been dominant. They've outscored their last two opponents 92-17 and have eclipsed over 500 yards of total offense in their last two games.
They have a powerful running game with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, and their defense is playing championship-caliber defense when their offense stays on the field.
Don't look now, but the Raiders may be the front runners to win the AFC West.
San Diego Chargers 3-5
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
The Chargers are sitting at 3-5 after eight games. I realize they do this every year and then bounce back late in the season to win the AFC West.
This year is much different. The Chargers played one of the softest schedules in the league to start the season. Five out of the eight teams they have played so far picked in the top 10 in last year's draft.
They are still alive in the race, but they aren't the clear-cut favorites to win the AFC West anymore. They will need many things to go their way if they want to win the AFC West.
Kansas City Chiefs 5-2
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
The Chiefs are alone in first place in the AFC West. Who cares that they haven't beaten a team with a winning record or that they needed every second of overtime to beat the winless Bills at home?
A win is a win, and you take them in any way possible.
The Chiefs are a team that I was expecting to do well last season, but they let me down. This year they did a great job of adding championship coaches to their staff, and so far their play is showing it.
It doesn't matter who you beat; eventually you start winning and you can't stop. The Chiefs are in the driver's seat for the AFC West title. It's theirs to lose, and they could make a big statement by beating the Oakland Raiders this Sunday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-2
Harry How/Getty Images
The Bucs are the best team in the NFC...according to head coach Raheem Morris.
At 5-2 they can at least argue that they have the best record in the NFC. This team is not who we thought they were going to be.
Their surprise start and the play from their young offense is making people change their minds about the Bucs.
Nobody really knows if this run will last, but it doesn't matter. They've already exceeded expectations.
If Tampa Bay can continue their pace in the second half of the season, nobody will question Morris when he says, "We're the best team in the NFC."
San Francisco 49ers 2-6
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Remember when the 49ers were the popular pick to win the NFC West? Kurt Warner was gone, and the 49ers were on the rise. I picked them to win their division; now I'm trying to figure out how they beat the Raiders.
This team has all the talent in the world but doesn't have a quarterback and could use a better coach.
This team is underachieving, and most people thought they were more likely to be 6-2 than 2-6.
Eight games into the season, the 49ers are still in denial. Coach Mike Singletary still believes they can make the playoffs.
Maybe they can—I've seen crazier things in my life—but this one is pushing it.
Philadelphia Eagles 4-3
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The Eagles made this list because they are not who we thought they were, and their record has nothing to do with it.
They traded Donovan McNabb over the offseason to kick off the Kevin Kolb era. Eagles fans were excited and nervous about Kolb taking over.
A concussion later, Mike Vick came in, and the Eagles were a new team that was hard to beat.
Vick did miss some time with a rib injury, and Kolb was back as the starter but couldn't keep the job
The Eagles are now Mike Vick's team, and they are much different than most people expected.
If Vick leads the Eagles to the playoffs, this would be sweet redemption for Vick and the Eagles.
Cincinnati Bengals 2-5
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The defending AFC North champion is in last place in the division with a 2-5 record.
Perhaps the play of Carson Palmer is hurting the Bengals, or maybe their lack of a running game is doing it.
The Bengals have flopped this year, and the most exciting part of their team this year has been Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco's show off the field.
The Bengals' show on the field is getting lower ratings than Jay Leno's show in prime time.
For a team that has a lot of weapons, they aren't playing very well. I thought they had a chance to repeat, but they look more like a top 10 pick than they do a title contender.
For more NFL News and Notes follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Elias_Trejo