We’re seven weeks into the 2013 season and the league picture is coming into focus. Unlike America, which seems bent on destroying the middle class, the NFL, which prefers parity, has a solid block of middle class teams.
In the Upper Class, we’ve got the 49ers, Seahawks, Saints, Patriots, Bengals, Colts, Chiefs, Denver, and maybe the Packers.
In the Lower, some would say Poverty level, Class, there’s the Giants, Vikings, Jaguars, Raiders, Steelers, and Buccaneers.
Everyone else is farting around with upward mobility notions or downward mobility fears. And in the end, it won’t matter because they just aren’t good enough to truly matter this year. The Panthers seem to have the most realistic hopes of moving up. Great defense and a QB who’s finally learning to manage the game. Maybe the Ravens. Maybe Detroit. Maybe the Falcons will rally. Dallas has won a whole two games in a row, which is enough to get their followers dreaming of SB trophies, but the rest of us remain a great deal more skeptical.
The 49ers will be playing the aforementioned Panthers in two weeks and what looked like an easy win when the schedule came out, now looks to be a tough contest. But the following week’s game at New Orleans will perhaps be the last regular season game this year where the team will be an underdog. The Saints should be undefeated so far this year, except for some bonehead plays in the waning moments of their game against the Patriots.
Indianapolis has had a strange year. They’ve beaten Seattle, San Francisco, and Denver, while losing to Miami and San Diego, who were beaten by the Raiders. They also look ready to replace New England as the dominant, year in, year out AFC powerhouse. But it’s doubtful they’re ready to do so this year, especially with the loss of their leading WR, Reggie Wayne.
The 49ers have a BYE next week, but it could be an interesting week nonetheless. Aldon Smith will likely re-join the club and have a couple of weeks to get back in shape. Quinton Dial has already been activated from the PUP/NFI lists, and Tank Carradine, Mario Manningham, and Eric Wright will joining the active roster soon, too. The trade deadline is also approaching, with persistent rumors that LaMichael James will be dealt. If he is, knowing Trent Baalke, it will be for a draft pick and that would mean only two guys on the current roster would have to pack their bags. Most likely, Nnamdi Asomugha and Marlon Moore.
Manningham and Carradine are the two players most of us are anxious to at last see in action. It could even happen this weekend against the Jaguars. If that game goes to form, there will be some serious garbage time minutes in the fourth quarter that would accommodate a peek-a-boo at the new guys.