With week eight of the 2011 NFL season winding down, it's time to look at some big winners and big losers of the weekend.
Poor Tim Tebow.
The second-year quarterback out of Florida has a great story, but his performance against the Detroit Lions gave his critics some more material to bash him with.
To be very fair, much of the blame for the 45-10 loss cannot be put on Tebow. He was 18 of 39 for 172 yards, a touchdown and a pick-six while adding 10 rushes for 63 yards.
Though those numbers are not very impressive, he did not have much help from his players and had to play against a defense that is notorious for slicing through offensive lines and getting to the quarterback.
Nevertheless, the Broncos have a whole heck of a lot to work on before they get back to where they were just a few years ago with Mike Shanahan. Tebow could be a start, but that's obviously still up in the air.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the St. Louis Rams have finally joined the winner's club!
Not only have the Rams finally put a "W" in the win-loss column, it came against a team — the Saints— that completely demolished another winless team a week ago—a 62-7 thrashing of the Indianapolis Colts.
The Rams defense was generally able to contain Drew Brees and the powerful Saints offense, while Steven Jackson carried the team to the win with 159 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Backup quarterback AJ Feeley performed well in Sam Bradford's absence, and the Rams can now build on the confidence they gained from the big upset.
As good a performance as the Rams had today, the Saints were unbelievably bad.
The Saints very likely overlooked the winless Rams after demolishing Indianapolis a week before, because this team is much more talented than St. Louis and would not normally lose a game like this.
New Orleans is a very good team, but they won't go very far in the playoffs if they continue to play so inconsistently—that is, if they even make it to the playoffs.
Breathe a sigh of relief, Detroit fans. Your Lions are alright.
Obviously a win over a team like the Denver Broncos isn't something to get too excited about, but the 45-10 whipping was a great way for a team that had lost two straight to get back on track.
Detroit still needs to find a running game if they want to go anywhere in the playoffs (assuming they make it). But at 6-2 and with Jahvid Best likely returning within a couple of weeks, the Lions should feel decent about their prospects.
With Cliff Avril leading the way, Detroit harassed Tim Tebow into an awful day and made the Broncos look like a college team.
Calvin Johnson continued to dominate and Matt Stafford didn't show any signs of the injury he sustained last week. Look for this team to continue to be a threat in the playoff race.
The Washington Redskins are on my "losers" list for the third straight week.
The latest setback, a 23-0 blanking by the Buffalo Bills, dealt a major blow to the 'Skins once promising playoff hopes.
Washington continues to implode, and Mike Shanahan cannot get good quarterback play or good play in the running game regardless of who he puts in the game.
The Redskins started the season hot, but at this point, not only do they have very slim playoff hopes, but they've probably already won too many games to be a Suck for Luck candidate.
Houston's offense looked decent against a defense that has been surprisingly stout lately, and the Texans defense looked great once again.
Jags quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed just a third of his passes for less than 100 yards while throwing two interceptions, and running back Maurice Jones-Drew averaged just 3.5 yards per carry on 18 carries.
Houston now firmly controls its very weak division, and at 5-3 with wins over each of its division rivals, it would take a major collapse to miss the playoffs this season.
But their loss to the Steelers coupled with the Buffalo Bills' win over the Washington Redskins puts both teams at 5-2, with the tiebreaker going to Buffalo in the division.
At this point, it's still hard to see New England losing the division to Buffalo, but in reality, all the Bills have to do is take care of business and avoid a collapse, and they could take the division from the Patriots.
New England needs to find some sort of running game and shore up their pass defense. Otherwise, their playoff hopes could potentially be in jeopardy.