With Tom Brady collapsing into the annals of unfortunate knee-acronym casualties, there is a buzz that the AFC is open for the taking. The same buzz suggests a Favre-led New York Jets team may be the takers.
Pardon my insouciance, but really? One game does a season make?
Yes, the Indianapolis Colts fell to what will likely pan out to be a middling Chicago Bears team. Kudos to the Bears' resurgent defensive efforts, but the loss of Jeff Saturday and Peyton Manning's knee may have kept the Colts from posting the victory.
And let's face it, Marvin Harrison is not the dependable Marvin Harrison of 2006's Super Bowl year. He's the gun-toting, ball-dropping Marvin Harrison of late 2007.
Yes, San Diego crumbled in the face of what I believe will prove to be a tough-if-healthy Carolina Panthers team. But need I remind you that the Chargers are coached by Norv "I Can Still Lose Games After A 14-2 Year" Turner?
I can't, for the life of me, figure out how Turner continues to get hired, having never posted a playoff-caliber season and consistently doing his best to lose.
I expect a good deal of losses from a Chargers team that has, more or less, rested on the laurels of its past Martyball days. That said, the Chargers still have LaDainian Tomlinson, which is enough to keep them competitive all year.
So while I agree that there is more latitude in an aging AFC, the Jets are not the second coming. Not yet, anyway. They may be the second coming of the 2006, "Cover Your Eyes and Throw," Favre, but not the 2006, "How'd they go 10-6?" Jets.
While they made some improvements with the Bill Parcells recruits, Pennington included, they have a weak receiving-corps to compliment a below-average offensive line. Not to mention the loss of Jason Taylor means they have a weaker defense.
2. The Jets barely beat a marginal Dolphins team. Did anyone else hold their breath on the Favreian toss-up in the second quarter with seven minutes left on 4th-and-13?
Favre, under pressure, didn't look to the dump off, didn't look for the sidelines, and instead tossed up a prayer of a pass, hoping the right colored jersey came down with it. Doing it now, and the announcers get to say, "He's just having fun out there."
Do it all season, and the announcers get to say, "Another 20-pick season for the gun-slinger."
3. Favre was sacked three times, despite the addition of highly-paid captain, Alan Faneca. I don't think this will necessarily be the norm, but it does make you wonder how long it will take some of the new additions to totally gel.
The running game was successful, but if Favre keeps getting hit, injury is sure to follow.
4. The Dolphins almost won.
That's right, Pennington's last-second pass was just as Favreian, but not as lucky. One foot forward and it's a totally different headline. Not to mention Jake Long's multi-penalty, drive-killing afternoon.
I'm not saying the Jets can't be the team to beat. I'm just saying they're not.
The Patriots, Colts, and Chargers still have the chops to take it all in the AFC this year. Not to mention a Pittsburgh Steelers team that's strong, and maybe even a Denver Broncos team that's on the rise—still early on that one, too.
Incidentally, the Jets are favored by 1.5 points in Vegas this week over the Patriots. My money's on the Pats.