The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is a weekly NFL primer. Nothing is sacred, not the players, not the coaches, and certainly not the betting lines.
The Good: New York Giants.
That's right, I said it, and I won't apologize for it: the New York Giants are good football team. Some may point back at last year, when at this time the Giants were equally impressive on paper, leading the division and starting out on fire. The difference of course is the taste it left in everyone's mouth. While yes, they were winning, they had some serious hemorrhaging going on at the team and coaching levels. Eli wasn't really playing well, and the team was winning in spite of him instead of beside him. Beyond that, you could see the beginning of another late season collapse under what everyone considered a lame duck coach.
Fast forward a year, and the team is going in the complete opposite direction. There's been no player mutiny, so really, that puts them well ahead of last year's success pace. The defense, thought to be crappy is coming together, and they now possess the most feared third down defensive line in the league. Offense hasn't been pretty at times, but they're one of the few teams to really pile up points on the Herculean (or they'll have you believe) defense of the Cowboys. Sure, they're winning so everyone is smiling, but it's more than that - people are healthy. They seem to be really clicking and now get a vacation to England only to play a Junior Varsity team between the hash marks. What was once seen as a disaster, by yours truly included, at the beginning of the season has turned out to be a healthy surprise for their fans and the league. It's hard to imagine that this would be said in the pre-season, when players were holding out, and there was havoc in the office.
The Bad: This weekend's games.
Looking over the schedule, I've yet to find a good game that I would even pay to watch. The parity that has created a whirlwind of love for the NFL has faded this year, and introduced another wave of dominant teams. There are currently two undefeated teams in the league (Colts, Patriots) and another one loss team that seems to be dominating it's own conference. This weekend provides a lack of interesting games to watch, and it would really kill the NFL if not for gambling. That's right, how about we make the games interesting by trying to win money. I like money.
Money makers: It's a home underdog league. Disclaimer, lines will change.
MINNESOTA +1 vs. Philadelphia. Purple Jesus all the way folks. Ever since he got significant playing time, he's set the world on fire, and he hasn't gotten hurt yet. All this with a quarterback as ineffective as the head coach.
SAN FRANCISCO +3 vs. New Orleans. This Saints team is completely Jekyll and Hyde, and this is their second cross-country trip in as many weeks. They haven't figured anything out, the win was a one-week aberration.
CAROLINA +7 vs. Indianapolis. Yeah, I know: undefeated, have Peyton Manning, playing equally awesome to Patriots. Here's another thing: looking ahead. Colts are still injured and are resting for the Patriots, and have never looked all that great on grass.
You'll thank me later.
The Ugly: Miami Dolphins.
There's nothing uglier than the Miami Dolphins right now in the history of the NFL, and it gets uglier by the week. They are winless on the year, and are being outcast to another country because no one wants to watch them here. The fun question and possibility to toss around right now, is whether the Dolphins could accomplish the unimaginative and completely uninspiring winless season. Of course the irony of even bringing this up, is the fact that the only team to have an undefeated season (so far) is your grandpa's Miami Dolphins. Their biggest competition for an unbeaten season and the first pick in the draft is St. Louis, who is so miserable that I can't even name healthy player on that team. In fact, while having a winless season would be a huge badge of inadequacy, the only thing worse is to win a game at this point only to lose out on the #1 pick in the draft. Seeing Miami's luck lately, I wouldn't put it by them.
How bad is it getting in Miami? Well, if there's a sign of being in the basement of the NFL, it's trying to bring back Ricky Williams to be your featured back; that is of course after their featured back left his ACL on the field. There's nary a real starter on any position on the field. In fact, to fill sports at safety, the Dolphins signed a player that was working out at home, solely because he has a passport and can travel overseas. If that's how you fill your roster, fellas. Things aren't looking up, they play an aggressive Giants front that will cause havoc in the backfield, which as we've seen is devoid of any playmakers. How's that Ted Ginn pick looking now, Cam? Really though, not his fault since he shouldn't have been hired to begin with. Pick anyone playing against the Dolphins no matter the spread. They're the anti-Patriots.
Is Ricky Williams the answer for the Dolphins? [Yahoo! Sports]
Ronnie Brown out for the season [Yahoo! Sports]