Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 11/2/12
If it weren’t for the NFL’s penchant for stupidly reaching for unworthy QB’s in the draft, I’d drop all these clowns. It just doesn’t seem like these guys are top overall pick type players, even though I happen to like them all a great deal. However, with two of my three “Favorites” needing a QB, you can bet at least one of these guys gets his name called at or very near the top of the draft. On the plus side, at least there’s drama in the draft his year! Let’s see where things stand through seven weeks:   The Prizes (QB’s only)   Third Prize:  E.J. Manuel, Florida State Stats:  8-16, 282 YDS, 2 TD in 48-7 W over Duke Season Stats:  2315 YDS, 16 TD, 4 INT, 70.0%, 10.1 Y/A Breakdown:  Manuel has remained a fairly under-the-radar prospect, with the majority of scouting sites ranking him as a second round prospect at best. That’s fine, I guess, but while Geno Smith and Matt Barkley have been putting up stinkers and “meh” performances over the past few weeks, the E.J. Manuel train has been rolling right on down the tracks. His efficiency has not only improved in his senior year, it’s off-the-charts crazy! If not for a series of blowouts and Jimbo Fisher’s balanced offensive attack, Manuel’s numbers would easily put him at or near the head of every Heisman list. More and more, I’m thinking Manuel is the best bet to be the top QB taken in the draft. Second Prize:  Geno Smith, West Virginia Stats:  Bye Season Stats:  2414 YDS, 26 TD, 2 INT, 74.2%, 8.3 Y/A Breakdown:  A much needed bye for Geno and his reeling Mountaineers. We’ll see if they can bounce back against a stingy TCU defense this coming Saturday. If not, Geno might see his star fall even further.   Grand Prize:  Matt Barkley, USC Stats:  31-49, 493 YDS, 3 TD, 2 INT in 36-39 L to Arizona Season Stats:  2266 YDS, 25 TD, 8 INT, 65.3%, 8.7 Y/A Breakdown:  Another up-and-down performance from Barkley, though in this particular case I feel he’s being unjustly vilified. One of his INT’s came off a tipped pass put right in the hands of a WR, and it’s certainly not Barkley’s fault that USC RB’s can’t stop putting the ball on the ground. Besides, it’s not like he had anything to do with the 26 points the USC defense allowed in the second half, especially since Barkley was turnover free from the mid-2nd quarter onward. I watched this game and thought he performed exceptionally well. His deep ball has certainly improved and his accuracy and poise are evident, but he’s got to clean up the mistakes and make better decisions. Still, nobody else has jumped up and taken the bull by the horns in this race, so it’s still Barkley’s game to lose. Now, onto the NFL side of the race:   Dropping Out   Detroit Lions Record:  3-4 Last Game:  Won 28-24 vs. Seattle Seahawks Current Starter:  Matthew Stafford Season Stats:   YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 2108 8 7 63.3 6.7 82.1 Breakdown:  Their stay on this list always seemed temporary, but it was certainly less temporary than I could have ever imagined. It’s time now, though. For the first time this season, Stafford looked like last year’s Matt Stafford, and that is certainly no way to hang around in the Sweepstakes. Adios, Detroit.   Miami Dolphins Record:  4-3 Last Game:  Won 30-9 at New York Jets Current Starter:  Ryan Tannehill Season Stats:   YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 1472 4 6 59.1 7.3 75.8 Breakdown:  The Miami Dolphins are officially off the list after only eight weeks. What were the odds on that? Even crazier, the Dolphins kinda look like a playoff team in the crappy AFC. I guess I’ll believe that when I see it, but it’s an undeniable reality as long as they continue to get decent QB play, whether from Tannehill or Matt Moore.   Indianapolis Colts Record:  4-3 Last Game:  Won 19-13 at Tennessee Titans Current Starter:  Andrew Luck Season Stats:   YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 1971 8 8 55.6 6.8 74.6 Breakdown:  Do I think the Colts are a good team? Absolutely not. In fact, I still think they’re bad. Just look at their roster! But as we should all know by now, there’s always room for at least one ‘good bad team’ in the NFL. This year, it looks like the Colts and Dolphins are those teams. Thank God those two teams play this week…(not really, there’s no way you could make me watch that game)   Courtesy Listing   St. Louis Rams Record:  3-5 Last Game:  Lost 7-45 vs. New England Patriots Current Starter:  Sam Bradford Season Stats:   YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 1797 8 7 61.4 7.2 82.4 Breakdown:  Well, London didn’t necessarily work out so well for the Rams. Then again, not much has worked out for them over the past decade, has it? Still, despite getting walloped by the Pats, I’m no less excited about the Rams Sweepstakes prospects than I was before. The two game handicap seems like a bridge too far at this moment, especially with the Jets, Cards, Bills, and Bucs still left to play.   Cincinnati Bengals Record:  3-4 Last Game:  Bye Current Starter:  Andy Dalton Season Stats:   YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 1831 13 10 64.2 7.5 87.7 Breakdown:  Basically rinse and repeat what I said about the Rams. Two game handicap, the presence of some actual quality players, and several potential wins left on the board (including KC!) make the Bengals a fraudulent contender.   Tampa Bay Buccaneers Record:  3-4 Last Game:  Won 36-17 at Minnesota Vikings Current Starter:  Josh FreemanSeason Stats: YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 1800 14 5 55.2 8.1 93.3 Breakdown:  Just a few short weeks ago, the Bucs were legit contenders for the Sweepstakes thanks to Josh Freeman and their predictably awful defense. What happened?  Josh Freeman built a time machine and went back to 2010, Doug Martin stopped looking like Ray Rice and started playing like Ray Rice, and Gerald McCoy turned into the second coming of Warren Sapp, that’s what happened! Suddenly, the Bucs are once again an exciting young team on the fringes of playoff contention. With Oakland, San Diego, and Carolina coming up, my guess is we’ll have seen the last of Tampa Bay on this list.   The two game handicap… Tennessee Titans Record:  3-5 Last Game:  Lost 13-19 vs. Indianapolis Colts Current Starter:  Jake Locker Season Stats:   YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING Dead Dead Dead Dead Dead Dead Breakdown:  What a stupid loss for the Titans. A win – which they easily should have had – would have brought them all the way back from their horrific 1-4 start and would have given them a leg up one of those wild card spots. Instead, they blow a fourth quarter lead and lose despite moving the ball well and committing zero penalties. But hey, Matt Hasselbeck is just a winner, isn’t he? Nevertheless, the Titans incompetence isn’t nearly on par with the current Sweepstakes leaders. They’ll need a monumental collapse to get back in this, including losing not one, but two games against the Jaguars. Which is to say, this is impossible.   Buffalo Bills Record:  3-4 Last Game:  Bye Current Starter:  Ryan Fitzpatrick Season Stats:   YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 1435 15 9 61.0 6.6 86.1 Breakdown:  If I were Bills management, I would have spent the bye week infecting Fred Jackson’s and C.J. Spiller’s lockers and their contents with mono. Gotta knock them out for awhile without doing long term harm to their careers.   New York Jets Record:  3-5 Last Game:  Lost 9-30 vs. Miami Dolphins Current Starter:  Mark Sanchez Season Stats:   YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 1736 10 8 52.9 6.4 72.8 Breakdown:  Congrats to Mark Sanchez, who somehow managed to lower his completion percentage, Y/A, and QB Rating despite already being exceptionally low in all three categories. Congratulations, sir! Still, the Jets are in the same boat as a lot of teams. Three wins already on the board and the means to trash out a few more. Not a great place to be.   Oakland Raiders Record:  3-4 Last Game:  Won 26-16 at Kansas City Chiefs Current Starter:  Carson PalmerSeason Stats:   YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 1941 9 5 60.2 7.2 85.7 Breakdown:  Facing the Jaguars and Chiefs in consecutive weeks is a death sentence in this sort of contest. It’s just not fair, really. Did I mention they still have New Orleans, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Carolina left to go?   The Dark Horses New Orleans Saints Record:  2-5 Last Game:  Lost 14-34 at Denver Broncos Current Starter:  Drew Brees Season Stats:   YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 2310 20 8 59.7 7.3 93.0 Breakdown:  So much for my elaborate conspiracy theory. The Saints just flat out suck, no way around it. As crazy as it sounds, they have to be taken seriously in this contest.   Cleveland Browns Record:  2-6 Last Game:  Won 7-6 vs. San Diego Chargers Current Starter:  Brandon WeedenSeason Stats:   YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 1912 9 10 55.2 6.4 70.8 Breakdown:  In case you needed any more proof that God hates Cleveland, I present to you Sunday’s win over the Chargers. In any normal day, the Chargers probably would have lit up the Browns horrendous pass defense en route to an easy win. But no, the winds had to be howling and near freezing rain had to be falling, essentially giving the game to Cleveland since they possessed the superior running back. On the bright side, Browns fans, it looks like the top five or six prospects in this draft are all approximately worth the same.   The Favorites Carolina Panthers Record:  1-6 Last Game:  Lost 22-23 at Chicago Bears Current Starter:  Cam Newton Season Stats:   YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 1701 5 8 57.1 8.0 75.2 Breakdown:  OK, things are officially getting fishy in Carolina. I’m not calling them out for tanking or anything, but if they were tanking they’d be doing a darn good job of it. Seriously though, they’re practically inventing new and innovative ways to lose football games. The fourth-and-one against Atlanta, the defensive TD this week…being a Panthers fan right now seems a lot like being a Cowboys fan, except without any expectations of winning. I’ll still be surprised if Carolina ends up with the top pick, but their accomplishments up to this point absolutely must be recognized.   Jacksonville Jaguars Record:  1-6 Last Game:  Lost 15-24 at Green Bay Packers Current Starter:  BADGABMAXULTRASeason Stats:   YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 1209 7 3 55.6 5.8 78.0 Breakdown:  BADGABMAXULTRA had what very well might have been his best game ever…and the Jags still only scored 15 points en route to another loss. They’ve still got six winnable games left, but even those are against teams either much higher up on this list or just taken off this list. They’ll have a tough time getting past two wins.   Kansas City Chiefs Record:  1-6 Last Game:  Lost 16-26 vs. Oakland Raiders Current Starter:  Brady QuinnSeason Stats: YDS TD INT COMP% Y/A RATING 213 0 3 59.1 4.8 43.1 Breakdown:  I made the comment last week that Sunday’s game against Oakland was “perhaps their most winnable game left.” They lost. By double digits. Granted, I miscalculated how bad the Panthers were, which makes the Chiefs Week 13 home tilt against them their most winnable game, but you get the point. Basically, I can’t come up with a scenario involving the Chiefs getting another win this year. Not a single one. They’re just so awful in every way imaginable. Romeo Crennel, Brady Quinn starting, the defense, it’s just all so unbelievably terrible.   Games Matt Barkley Might Want to Watch This Week Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers – Since the Chargers are playing poorly, I guess the Chiefs technically have a chance.   Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins – Winnable game for the Panthers, though I’m sure they’ll find some crazy way to lose. Also, if the ‘Skins do manage to lose, then they’re right back in contention.   Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Oakland Raiders – Winner is out of the Sweepstakes. Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints – We knew this game would be relevant…just not for this reason.   Be sure to check out other great articles at It's Boris Diaw Time!. var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});
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