Matt Ryan (QB) of the Atlanta Falcons
A great deal of amazing scenarios have already launched through the prior part of the NFL season. From the breakout of Hillis and the resurgence of Vick to the downfall of the Cowboys and surprising injuries, the season has been action-packed thus far, each and every week.
Through Week 12, there is a three-way tie for a league best 9-2 record. This feat doesn't belong to the Saints or Colts, but rather the Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets and New England Patriots. Some could call Mark Sanchez' clutch performance over the last few weeks luck, but is it too great of a coincidence? Has the youngster moved his way up the ranks to an official clutch performer?
Through five vital weeks left in the regular season, here are 10 possible scenarios that can keep all of America on its feet come playoff time.
Frank Gore was having an outstanding game Monday night against the 49ers before he went down in the fourth quarter. By the end of the night, it was reported that Gore would miss the rest of the season with a fractured hip. Detrimental as this was, it was great news for (the ailing?) Brian Westbrook.
For years, he was one of the most electrifying and exciting players in the league as an Eagle, but all good things must come to an end...or do they?
After having a great game as a backup against the Cards, he'll test his worn out body as a starter for the rest of the season in San Fransisco.
As much as everyone has their reasons to hate Randy Moss and his cocky attitude, there's no denying his prodigious skills as a wide receiver. Even as a Jets fan, suffering as Randy Moss hauls in 23 touchdown passes from Tom Brady in a single season, the second he left the team, I realized just how exciting of a player he was.
Now, I'm not saying I have any respect for so many of the actions he's performed in the past, but it would be nice to see the superstar make some of the plays that his career has been founded on.
Sure, they don't get wins, but the offense based on Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson and Steve Johnson is certainly exciting. Steve Johnson has been out of this world this season, and disregarding a TD drop, they just about beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With offseason work, a key defensive draft pick and some high quality management, the Bills could potentially be in for a bright future, even if just a dim one.
For now, however, let's just hope for these exciting games for the rest of their hopeless season.
Todd Heap (TE) Of The Baltimore Ravens
Between the Steelers and Ravens, that is.
Roethlisberger is back and is finding a way to get his team wins.
Flacco is looking like a veteran, and he, too, has posted eight wins for the Ravens.
Rashard Mendenhall and Ray Rice are putting up similar numbers and contributing to their team's success.
Going into a Sunday night battle, both teams are 8-3.
The frightening Ray Lewis covers one defense and the deadly James Harrison awaits the other offense.
Do I need to say anything else?
The Jets have been one of the most exciting stories this season. It all started with some questionable offseason pickups by Rex Ryan that ended up working out phenomenally. Antonio Cromartie gets better every week, and Santonio Holmes has been unreal. With Sanchez in sync, they have a 9-2 record.
The Patriots are simply rejuvenated. Whomever Tom Brady works with, he is able to greatly succeed, even with Deion Branch as his biggest threat. With an intense matchup on Monday night, let's hope this divisional closeout becomes the fascinating scenario it can become.
Josh Freeman (QB) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Falcons are 9-2, the Saints are 8-3 and the Bucs are 7-4. This would be outstanding because of how rarely three teams from a single division make the playoffs, but a lot of things has to happen. The Packers are 7-4 and still trailing the 8-3 Bears for their division title.
The crazy NFC East has the Eagles and Giants fighting for the better closeout.
This should truly be an amazing finish.
Patrick Willis (52, LB)
With last week's win over the Cardinals, the Niners looked very good.
Troy Smith is looking mobile, is escaping pressure and even making some decent throws. If Crabtree and Vernon Davis can step up, and Westbrook succeeds in filling in during the absence of Frank Gore, the 49ers are still just one game out of the lead for their division. And remember: It's not the best records that make the playoffs. If you win the division, you're in.
The Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints aren't looking bad, but a combination of them not performing the way they did a year ago and their divisional rivalries looking better than they have all decade, the Colts and Saints very well may find themselves out of the playoffs come January.
Even if they do make it there, how far will they really go? The Colts have five losses and the Saints have four. They've lost to teams that you wouldn't have guessed at the beginning of the season, and they don't currently look as Super-Bowl caliber as several other teams around the league.
Phllip Rivers (17) of the Chargers
Once again. They should really rename November and December "Charger Time."
Once again, the Chargers have started the season in a slump and are on a four-game winning streak. Though the Chiefs are hot, it is possible they will lose, and the Chargers are becoming one of the hardest teams to beat, as per usual circumstances in the final weeks of the season.
My only real question is, when will the Chargers be the best team in the league at the BEGINNING of a season?
Rivers is a huge plus, making the most of an offense lacking receivers besides Antonio Gates.
Vick could always run. That was never the issue. A common thought was that if Vick could pass like a Peyton Manning-type player, he could escalate to superhuman status. The Falcons never got him there.
Now, as the face of the Philadelphia Eagles and the whole entire NFL, he looks far better than he ever has in his pass. He's become a standard NFL quarterback, making throws from the pocket, but still is likely the most elusive quarterback in the league.
By avoiding sacks, escaping the pocket and either scrambling for a vital gain or making an incredible throw for a first down, he has made the Eagles one of the most fun teams to watch.
With the speedy DeSean Jackson in sync with Vick, Jason Avant acting as a safety blanket, Jeremy Maclin playing like a superstar and LeSean McCoy playing like a tier one running back, the times are very good to be a Philadelphia Eagles fan.
Now, let's see them do it when it matters most.