32 Questions: Midseason musings

Michael Silver
Yahoo! Sports

With its 17-week schedule and seemingly random placement of byes, the NFL does not do midseason organically. But given that those of us who cover the league (and, more important, our editors and producers) are really into landmarks, and it's a little more than halfway through the 2007 season, this seems like as good a time as any to reflect on what's gone down and look boldly toward the future.

Conveniently, the Patriots just won the de facto First-Half Super Bowl, pulling out a 24-20 victory over the Colts in Indy to improve to 9-0. They'll now make a run at perfection while squashing any prospective challengers, beginning with this Sunday's trip to South Florida to throw eggs at Don Shula's house.

Two other teams may mount a run at immortality: The 0-8 Rams and the 0-8 Dolphins, who tragically won't meet this season in a game that some enterprising scribe would dub the Sucker Bowl. If and when the latter of these terrible teams secures its first victory, the proud members of the 1976 Buccaneers will gather that night at a 7-Eleven on Dale Mabry and chug Ripple in the parking lot to celebrate.

If there's one writing device editors love even more than landmarks, it's predictions, and here were mine at the start of the season. They've changed, naturally – I prefer the word "evolved" – but before you start emailing me about my lack of clairvoyance, remember these redeeming facts: I picked Tennessee and Washington to make the playoffs, I was all over Adrian Peterson from the start, and I was the only Yahoo! NFL writer who picked the Patriots over the Chargers in the AFC.

You know what Tom Petty said: Even the losers get lucky sometimes.

Before I give you my midseason list of questions, from top to bottom, here are some alterations to my preseason picks.

Teams I'm throwing out of the playoffs: Chicago, Philadelphia, San Diego, Cincinnati, Denver (that's right, I'm sticking with the Cardinals to the bitter end).

Teams I'm putting in instead: Green Bay, Giants, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Cleveland (though I do think the Bills, along with the Jaguars, will give the Browns a run for their money).

Revised Super Bowl pick: Nah.

1. New England Patriots: After watching them gut out a fourth-quarter comeback, rather than blow out an overmatched team, don't they somehow seem even scarier?

2. Indianapolis Colts: Hey, Bill Polian – are you sure you don't pump in cr-, pump in cr-, pump in cr-, pump in cr-, pump in crowd noise through the stadium loudspeakers?

3. Dallas Cowboys: Isn't it weird that Terrell Owens returning to Philly and shredding the Eagles was the NFL weekend's 15th biggest story?

4. Tennessee Titans: When Vince Young starts balling, can this team make a run at Indy?

5. Pittsburgh Steelers: How many mai tais will James Harrison be enjoying poolside at the Ihilani Resort and Spa next February?

6. Green Bay Packers: With apologies to the tough and valiant Donald Driver, will Greg Jennings end up being the Packers' best receiver since Antonio Freeman?

7. New York Giants: Can they stop Tony Romo this time?

8. Detroit Lions: In addition to being a genius when it comes to Halloween costumes, is Jon Kitna psychic?

9. New Orleans Saints: When did Marques Colston return and tap his body-double on the shoulder?

10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Are the Jags becoming the new Bengals?

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Now that Earnest Graham is hot and Larry Johnson is hurt, wouldn't it be nice if the Bucs and Chiefs could undo that Michael Bennett trade?

12. Washington Redskins: Having told Joe Gibbs he's ready to carry the team, how sore will Clinton Portis (36 rushes, 196 yards against the Jets) be every Monday between now and January?

13. Cleveland Browns: Will they show up this time against the Steelers?

14. Kansas City Chiefs: Anyone need a Priest?

15. Seattle Seahawks: Could this team go 7-9 and win its division?

16. San Diego Chargers: Yeah, they're 4-4, but who have they beaten?

17. Buffalo Bills: When will fans start showing up to Ralph Wilson Stadium with removable gold teeth to go with their No. 23 jerseys?

18. Baltimore Ravens: I know they went 13-3 last year, but can we all stop pretending that this is a good team?

19. Carolina Panthers: Hey, Marty Hurney and John Fox – would you buy a used Carr from this man?

20. Chicago Bears: Hey, Lovie – any second thoughts about that decision to not retain Ron Rivera?

21. Arizona Cardinals: Will they rise up and defeat the Lions, or are they destined to embarrass me once again?

22. Houston Texans: This is purely speculative, and based solely on naming sensibilities, but what are the odds that Sage Rosenfels' parents could have passed NFL drug tests at the time of his birth?

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Yo, Donovan – does the road to the No. 6 overall pick in the '08 draft go through Philly, too?

24. Minnesota Vikings: Is Adrian Peterson better than Prince (that other purple-clad Twin Cities superstar) in his prime?

25. Denver Broncos: Has this franchise's tragic run of misfortune finally caught up to it, or are its fans just paying for all the Rockies favors they cashed in with the sporting gods?

26. Oakland Raiders: Is Josh McCown actually Cade McNown, or does he just play that way?

27. Cincinnati Bengals: At some point, given his exceptional ability and work ethic, doesn't Carson Palmer have to start carrying this team back to respectability?

28. Atlanta Falcons: Hey, Arthur Blank, did you like that football that DeAngelo Hall presented you on the sidelines after his interception – and can you kindly give him his $100,000 back in return?

29. New York Jets: Who is David Harris, and how the hell did he make 20 unassisted tackles against Washington?

30. San Francisco 49ers: If he has to keep watching his team's offensive ineptitude, will Mike Nolan soon petition the NFL to allow him to wear a straitjacket on the sidelines?

31. St. Louis Rams: Hey, guys, about that bye week … why not just take the rest of the season off?

32. Miami Dolphins: Yes, I know you're mammals, but can we all agree that you sleep with the fishes?

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