2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Texans, Falcons go from top to basement

    2013-12-02 16:17

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer

Three-quarters of the way to the NFL playoffs, the Texans and Falcons have taken charge - of the chase for the top overall draft pick.

A year ago, they both were 11-1 and thinking Super Bowl.

For anyone who believes pro football is predictable, citing the presence of the Patriots and the absence of the Bills in the postseason each year, a look at the 2012 standings through 12 games is enlightening.

So let's look.

AFC EAST

The Patriots (9-3) have the same record as in `12, and just as much command of the division. They're aiming higher: home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. If they win out and Denver slips, they'll get it, even with a banged-up team and more weaknesses than usual.

Just as in last December, Miami, the Jets and Buffalo don't have winning records. The Bills will miss the playoffs for a 14th straight season, almost unimaginable in league where year-to-year turnover in the standings is the norm.

AFC NORTH

The Ravens (6-6) were 9-3 and two games up, but about to hit a slump they obviously overcame to win the division and, eventually, the Super Bowl. Cincinnati was tied with Pittsburgh, two games in arrears, but now the Bengals are 8-4 and with a shot at a first-round bye if they can sweep their final four games. The Steelers are 5-7 and struggling to stay relevant, something they couldn't do down the stretch in 2012.

Cleveland is 4-8 again. With QB issues again.

AFC SOUTH

Here's where things get a bit absurd. The Texans were 11-1, had clinched a playoff berth and were headed for the AFC's best record. Then they got routed at New England, won only once more and wound up in the wild-card round.

They can only wish for a similar position now. Instead, the Texans (2-10) have dropped a franchise-record 10 straight games, saw their coach suffer a mini-stroke at halftime of a loss and lost star running back Arian Foster to a back injury.

Indianapolis, 8-4 again, has a three-game lead over Tennessee (5-7), which has actually improved by one win from last year. The Colts can clinch the division this weekend.

Jacksonville (3-9) lost its first eight games this year. It was 2-10 last year in Mike Mularkey's lone season as coach.

AFC WEST

Denver owned the division at 9-3 and was in the midst of an 11-game winning streak to close the season. The offense wasn't nearly as prolific, 464 points to 349 a year ago, but the defense was far better.

Speaking of far better, the Chiefs have gone from 2-10 to 9-3. Yes, they've lost three in a row, but can anyone in Kansas City really complain after the distressing, even tragic 2012 campaign?

Just like last year, San Diego and Oakland are also-rans.

NFC EAST

Washington, already eliminated from playoff contention this year, was 6-6, headed to 10 wins and the division crown. The Giants had the lead at 7-5, opposite of their current record, and were in the middle of a fade out of the postseason picture.

Dallas and Philadelphia are tied for the lead at 7-5, a Texas showdown looming on the final day of the schedule. That's pretty heady for the Eagles, who were 3-9 on the way to 4-12 and seeing coach Andy Reid's 14-season tenure end.

NFC NORTH

Detroit (7-5) has a one-game lead on Chicago in what has been a mediocre division. Every team except the Lions, who were 4-8 at this point in 2012, has gotten worse this season.

Injuries have taken a huge toll on the Bears (6-6) and Packers (5-6-1), who were tied atop the North at 8-4 last year. Both lost their starting quarterbacks, with Aaron Rodgers' absence in Green Bay perhaps the most devastating loss in the entire league.

Minnesota (3-8-1) is playing out the string instead of surging to the playoffs behind Adrian Peterson's 2,097 yards rushing in an MVP season.

NFC SOUTH

No division has seen more flux. Atlanta, ravaged by injuries, with a lack of blocking on offense and little pass rush on defense, already had won this group in 2012. The first team eliminated from contention in the NFC, the Falcons made star tight end Tony Gonzalez's decision to play one more season a waste.

The Saints were 5-7 with coach Sean Payton suspended for the bounty scandal, and now are in the division lead. Carolina, which was 3-9 at the beginning of last December, is 9-3, has won eight in a row, and looks formidable for the stretch run.

Tampa (3-9) had twice as many wins a year ago, and a lot less turmoil.

NFC WEST

All Seattle, which has become even stingier on defense and has a solid lead on San Francisco. The Niners controlled the division at 8-3-1 last year, but already have four losses in 2013 and must play the Seahawks on Sunday.

Arizona, under new coach Bruce Arians - the 2012 NFL Coach of the Year in an interim role in Indianapolis - has gone from 4-8 to 7-5 and in the playoff mix. St. Louis (5-7 after 5-6-1 last year) has been a tough out even minus starting QB Sam Bradford.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Tramaine BrockOct 1 08:53p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe) is likely out another week. He was able to start on-field rehab work with the team's strength and conditioning staff. He has [ More ]

Vernon DavisOct 1 08:53p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (back) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. He said he is experiencing some back spasms, and is listed a 'day to day.'

Justin SmithOct 1 08:43p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe), OT Anthony Davis (ankle, knee) and DE Justin Smith (non-injury related) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. FS Antoine Bethea (ankle), DE [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 1 08:23p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion), DE Robert Geathers (toe), DE Margus Hunt (shoulder), OG Mike Pollak (knee), DT Brandon Thompson (knee) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) were unable [ More ]

Andre EllingtonOct 1 08:23p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (foot) has seen improvement with his foot injury, although he is still not at 100 percent. However, he is able to practice more, and [ More ]

Dave ZastudilOct 1 08:23p

Arizona Cardinals OG Paul Fanaika (knee), LB Alex Okafor (thihg), DE Frostee Rucker (calf) and P Dave Zastudil (groin) were each listed as limited participants for practice Wednesday, Oct. [ More ]

Alfonzo DennardOct 1 08:23p

New England Patriots FS Nate Ebner (finger) and OT Cameron Fleming (finger) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB Jamie Collins (thigh), CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder), LB [ More ]

Kendall JamesOct 1 07:33p

The Houston Texans signed free-agent CBs Charles James (Giants) and Kendall James (Vikings) to their practice squad Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Shiloh KeoOct 1 07:23p

Chicago Bears LB Terrell Manning and WR Rashad Ross, Houston Texans S Shiloh Keo and Jacksonville Jaguars DBs Deion Belue and Winston Guy cleared waivers and became free agents Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Derek CarrOct 1 07:03p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (ankle, knee) said he expects to play against the San Diego Chargers in Week 6 following the team's bye week.

Dashon GoldsonOct 1 06:43p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE Larry English (hamstring), SS Dashon Goldson (ankle), DE Michael Johnson (ankle) and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. [ More ]

Carson PalmerOct 1 06:43p

Updating a previous report, Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) isn't being ruled out for Week 5 against the Denver Broncos by head coach Bruce Arians. Arians said Palmer [ More ]

Anthony SpencerOct 1 06:33p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (thigh) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DT Henry Melton (hamstring) and DE Anthony Spencer (knee) were limited, while LB Rolando McClain (groin) practiced in full.

Dez BryantOct 1 06:33p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (shoulder) had his first full practice Wednesday, Oct. 1, since injuring his shoulder in Week 2. He has caught nine passes for 133 yards [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 1 06:23p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (neck), RB Erik Lorig (ankle) and CB Corey White (foot) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. OT Terron Armstead (concussion), [ More ]

Joe ThomasOct 1 06:23p

Cleveland Browns WR Marlon Moore (illness) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Desmond Bryant (gluteus, wrist) and OT Joe Thomas (non-injury) were limited, while LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder) [ More ]

Brandon MarshallOct 1 06:13p

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall (ankle) practiced without restrictions Wednesday, Oct. 1, for the first time in a while. 'It was good to get him (Marshall) back out there [ More ]

Roberto GarzaOct 1 06:13p

Chicago Bears LB Lance Briggs (knee), S Ahmad Dixon (hamstring), LB Shea McClellin (hand) and LB D.J. Williams (neck) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Jared Allen (illness), [ More ]

Louis VasquezOct 1 06:13p

Denver Broncos S Quinton Carter (knee), TE Virgil Green (concussion), LB Danny Trevathan (knee) and G Louis Vasquez (rib cage) were full participants in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB [ More ]

Terrell SuggsOct 1 05:53p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (illness), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), OT Eugene Monroe (knee) and LB Terrell Suggs (thigh) all did not participate in practice Wednedsay, Oct. 1. CB [ More ]

Tamba HaliOct 1 05:53p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (groin) and S Eric Berry (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB Tamba Hali (knee) and CB Sean Smith (groin) were limited, [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 1 05:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) said he's feeling good, but he has no timetable for when he might return. He wants to make sure he's fully healthy [ More ]

Dee MillinerOct 1 05:33p

New York Jets WR David Nelson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. OG Willie Colon (knee), C Nick Mangold (shoulder), CB Dee Milliner (quadriceps) and SS Calvin Pryor [ More ]

Tavon AustinOct 1 05:33p

St. Louis Rams WR Tavon Austin (knee) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Shaun HillOct 1 05:33p

St. Louis Rams CB Trumaine Johnson (knee), C Barrett Jones (back) and CB Brandon McGee (foot) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. QB Shaun Hill (thigh) fully practiced.

Dwight FreeneyOct 1 05:33p

San Diego Chargers LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring), C Richard Ohrnberger (back), LB Manti Te'o (foot), LB Reggie Walker (ankle) and CB Shareece Wright (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Oct 1 05:23p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) will be a part of the game plan heading into the team's Week 5 game. Beckham did everything in practice Wednesday, [ More ]

Marvin JonesOct 1 05:03p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) is not participating in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1, because of a possible ankle injury. The injury does not appear to be related to his broken foot.

Andre JohnsonOct 1 04:53p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Julio JonesOct 1 04:53p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Roy MillerOct 1 04:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Dwayne Gratz (concussion), WR Marqise Lee (hamstring) and TE Mickey Shuler (illness) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Ryan Davis (shoulder), DT Roy Miller (ankle) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 1 04:53p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant (illness), LB James Harrison (illness), DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Mike Mitchell (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury), LB Ryan Shazier (knee) and CB Ike [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group