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

Kapri BibbsOct 23 07:02p

The Denver Broncos have declared OG Ben Garland, RB Kapri Bibbs, OT Michael Schofield, DL Mitch Unrein, RB Montee Ball, S Omar Bolden, LB Steven Johnson inactive for Week 8.

Manti Te'oOct 23 07:02p

The San Diego Chargers have declared CB Steve Williams, RB Ryan Mathews, CB Brandon Flowers, RB Donald Brown, LB Manti Te'o, LBs Jeremiah Attaochu and Cordarro Law inactive for Week 8.

Perry RileyOct 23 05:49p

Washington Redskins LB Perry Riley (knee) will start as soon as he is healthy enough to do so, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

John SullivanOct 23 05:46p

Minnesota Vikings C John Sullivan (concussion) is still in the testing phase to be cleared for a concussion, but he has not been cleared to this point. Head coach [ More ]

Justin TuckOct 23 05:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), CB Keith McGill (groin), DE LaMarr Woodley (bicep) and FS Usama Young (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. OT Khalif Barnes (quadriceps), [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 23 05:42p

Pittsburgh Steelers OT Marcus Gilbert (concussion), DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), DT Steve McLendon (shoulder) and SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) didn't practice Thursday, Oct. 23. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 23 05:42p

Chicago Bears DE Jared Allen (rest), S Danny McCray (knee) and WR Chris Williams (illness) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. LBs Lance Briggs (ribs), Jonathan Bostic (back), CB [ More ]

Quentin GrovesOct 23 05:42p

Tennessee Titans LB Quentin Groves (ankle) and CB Coty Sensabaugh (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. DE Ropati Pitoitua (hand) and TE Taylor Thompson (knee) were limited.

Zach MettenbergerOct 23 05:34p

Tennessee Titans QB Zach Mettenberger has been named the starting quarterback for Week 8, according to head coach Ken Whisenhunt. QB Jake Locker will serve as the backup quarterback.

Sharrif FloydOct 23 05:32p

Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (hernia) and S Antone Exum (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. LB Gerald Hodges (hamstring), C John Sullivan (concussion), DT Sharrif Floyd (ankle), [ More ]

Nick MangoldOct 23 05:32p

New York Jets OT Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), OG Willie Colon (knee), LB David Harris (shoulder), LB Trevor Reilly (knee) and WR Greg Salas (wrist, ankle) [ More ]

Dashon GoldsonOct 23 05:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Brandon Magee (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. LB Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), OT Anthony Collins (knee), FS Dashon Goldson (ankle) and CB Keith Tandy [ More ]

Daryl SmithOct 23 05:22p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (wrist) and LB Daryl Smith (non-injury) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. OT Eugene Monroe (knee) and OG Kelechi Osemele (knee) practiced in full.

Colt McCoyOct 23 05:22p

Washington Redskins QB Colt McCoy will start Week 8, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Josh McCownOct 23 05:12p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) was limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 23.

Brandon ThompsonOct 23 04:52p

Cincinnati Bengals OT Andrew Whitworth (rest) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. OG Clint Boling (rest) and CB Leon Hall (back) were limited, while TE Kevin Brock (neck), LB [ More ]

A.J. GreenOct 23 04:52p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) sat out of practice for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 23.

Morgan BurnettOct 23 04:42p

Green Bay Packers S Morgan Burnett (calf) and CB Sam Shields (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. DE Datone Jones (ankle) was limited.

James StarksOct 23 04:42p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) was limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 23, after not practicing Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Thomas DavisOct 23 04:33p

Carolina Panthers CB Bene Benwikere (ankle), LB Chase Blackburn (knee), WR Philly Brown (concussion), OG Nate Chandler (thigh), OG Amini Silatolu (calf), OG Trai Turner (knee) and RB Fozzy [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 23 04:32p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (knee, ankle) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. CB Keenan Lewis (knee, shoulder), LB Ramon Humber (ankle) and [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 23 04:22p

New Orleans RB Pierre Thomas (ribs, shoulder) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23.

R. Griffin IIIOct 23 04:22p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) is unlikely to be ready to play Monday, Oct. 27, against the Dallas Cowboys, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Gruden said [ More ]

Mario WilliamsOct 23 04:22p

Buffalo Bills WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) and LB Ty Powell (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 23. WR Marcus Easley (knee) and FS Aaron Williams (neck) were [ More ]

Rashad JohnsonOct 23 04:12p

Arizona Cardinals S Rashad Johnson (knee) underwent an MRI exam on his patellar tendon Monday, Oct. 20, that came back negative. Head coach Bruce Arians said Johnson is dealing with some tendonitis.

Jack CrawfordOct 23 04:12p

Dallas Cowboys DE Jack Crawford (calf), OT Doug Free (foot) and S Jakar Hamilton (non-injury) all did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. LB Bruce Carter (thigh) and DE Anthony [ More ]

Alan BallOct 23 04:02p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Alan Ball (biceps) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 23, and is considered highly unlikely to play in Week 8, according to head coach Gus Bradley.

Toby GerhartOct 23 03:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Denard Robinson will start at running back in Week 8 even if RB Toby Gerhart (foot) is active, according to head coach Gus Bradley. Gerhart will [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 23 03:32p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 23.

John BoyettOct 23 03:32p

The Denver Broncos released FS John Boyett from their practice squad Thursday, Oct. 23.

Gosder CherilusOct 23 03:32p

Indianapolis Colts LB Erik Walden (rest) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 23. TE Jack Doyle (knee) was limited during practice, while CB Darius Butler (ankle), OT Gosder [ More ]

Brice ButlerOct 23 03:22p

Oakland Raiders WR Brice Butler could receive more playing time moving forward after making a big play in each of the last two weeks. Butler said he has not [ 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