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Quick Inside Slant: Week 10

Impressions of the 2014 NFL Season as perceived by a Creative Writing graduate student, part-time amateur stand-up comedian and collegiate intramural flag football legend.

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By: Dustin Fisher

Grades

Last week, I handed out mid-term grades for half of my oversized class of 32 students. This week, I’m kinda forced to do the other half. And there are some parent-teacher conferences I’m not looking forward to.

Mid-Term Report Cards – NFC

NFC East:

Philadelphia (7-2) – Chip Kelly has proven that he has created a quarterback-proof offense. If I hadn’t actually seen Mark Sanchez panic so horribly, that he ran directly into a grown man’s butt, I’d probably think he was an all-star. And yes, Darren Sproles really screwed up whatever fantasy owner took McCoy first overall, but I’m pretty sure the division-leading Eagles don’t care much. They’re just thankful they don’t have to play the NFC West for another few years. A-

Dallas (7-3) – They’re really making it tough on themselves to finish with an 8-8 record this year, but if any team can throw a good start down the toilet when games start to matter, it’s the Cowboys. They’ve somehow managed to stumble upon the league’s best rusher by over 400 yards, and made a pretty functional defense out of duct tape and chicken wire, but they are in a decent position to either win the division and get to the Super Bowl, or lose five of the next six games and go .500 for the fourth year in a row. A-

New York Giants (3-6) – I’m tired of this team. The enjoyment of seeing Eli’s face after he throws a pick isn’t even enough for me to want these guys around anymore. They’ve gone from public enemy to a complete waste of my brain waves. They need to get rid of Coughlin and Eli, change their logo and come back as a new team. Is anyone surprised that they’re 3-6 and Eli has a completion percentage lower than two Washington quarterbacks? D

Washington (3-6) – Speaking of teams that need to change their logo… And yes, they’ve started three different quarterbacks this season, and for that, maybe I should give them a pass. But they’re likely to always have to start three quarterbacks in a season with RGKnee under center. I did enjoy seeing him rush back to action after Colt McCoy won two games in a row, but I think we’re living in a world where we can now accept that 2012 was the anomaly and not the other way around. C

NFC North:

Detroit (7-2) – The Lions were given the division on a silver platter last year and managed to trip on the corner of the rug and break it into pieces on the dining room floor. There’s a good possibility they do the exact same thing this year. But they’ve certainly put themselves in a position to make that collapse an impressive one. They also made blowing out one’s ACL celebrating a sack so popular, Chicago decided to try it. A

Green Bay (6-3) – Yes, the Packers are capable of losing a couple games every year, and yes, they played the most cowardly game of football I’ve ever seen to start the season by literally not throwing it to Richard Sherman’s entire side of the field once, but they have reached a Patriot-like status of being penciled in as division winners every year, as long as Discount Double Check is healthy. I just hope they win another Super Bowl with Rodgers so the world can officially be done with Brett Favre. B-

Minnesota (4-5) – For all those people who cringed their way through drafting Adrian Peterson late in the second round two years ago and piled up victories as he ran for over 2,000 yards, this is karma. And say what you will about whether or not what he did was child abuse, but they way the Vikings handled it as a franchise shows just how little league owners care about anything other than public perception and advertising revenue. Still, they’re somehow only a game under .500 and I’m not even sure if they use a quarterback. B+

Chicago (3-6) – You really find out who you are as a team when one of your defensive linemen tears an ACL celebrating a sack. Unlike Detroit, the Bears seem to have fallen to pieces. This is bordering on a historic waste of talent. Some people picked these guys to go to the Super Bowl. They were losing by six touchdowns at halftime the week after their bye. If this was an intramural season, I could pretty much count on this team to stop showing up to the rest of their games. F

NFC South:

New Orleans (4-5) – If such a thing as karma actually exists, New Orleans will win the division with seven wins and host a playoff game that no one thinks they deserve to have, and they’ll play a 13-win Seahawks team in the Wild Card round and Mark Ingram will eat up eight Seahawks players on one play, earning the nickname “Feast Mode.” C-

Carolina (3-6-1) – I occasionally have to have a friend remind me that these guys were 12-4 last year, because sometimes it doesn’t even look like they want play football this year. Fortunately for them, their friends are just as bad. C-

Atlanta (3-6) – Seriously, folks. All it takes is seven wins. The luster of rooting for the team that was featured in Hard Knocks has long since worn off. Now I just want to see the Falcons make the playoffs to prove Steven Jackson isn’t cursed. C-

Tampa Bay (1-8) – They’re the worst team in the worst division in football. But at least I don’t have to see what thuggish nonsense Greg Schiano has to do every week. Apparently the Lovie Smith/Josh McCown tandem wasn’t the answer. C-

NFC West:

Arizona (8-1) – They won ten games last year, so this shouldn’t knock people out of their shoes, but it’s refreshing to see Seattle and San Fran looking up at somebody this year. If the Cards can even just go .500 down the stretch without Carson Palmer, Bruce Arians will win his second Coach of the Year award in three years. A+

Seattle (6-3) – They have their Super Bowl rings already. And that’s exactly how they’re playing this year. C

San Francisco (5-4) – I never really drank that Jim Harbaugh/Colin Kaepernick Kool-Aid. Sure, that Kool-Aid has made it to the last three NFC Championship games, but it’s too bitter for me. This is how good I think they should be. And watching Arizona walk away with their division title is karmic retribution for allowing an alleged wife-beater to play while awaiting his trial, when EVERY OTHER TEAM IN THE LEAGUE DIDN’T. D

St. Louis (3-6) – It’s like they don’t even prepare for anyone outside of their division. Despite having the least wins in their division, they have the most wins within their division. Unfortunately, this isn’t college basketball. However, it isn’t always the record that makes the team. Sometimes history is more important, and between drafting Michael Sam and that punt return against Seattle, this is a storybook season. A++

Dustin Fisher is a writer, comedian, storyteller, and stay-at-home dad. Follow along with his dad blog at http://daddyneedsanap.com/ or buy his first book, Daddy Issues.

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Dustin Fisher is an amateur standup comedian, storyteller, freelance writer, and stay-at-home dad, all of which are just better ways of saying “unemployed.” He worked in the area of collegiate recreation for the previous 14 years at UMBC, Miami University and the University of Baltimore. There, he became somewhat of a folk legend on the flag football field and actually got paid to play fantasy football. Dustin is currently in the MFA program at the University of Baltimore seeking a Masters degree in Creative Writing. He has made contributions to various publications including The Good Men Project and the Baltimore Fishbowl. For more about Dustin, check out his stay-at-home dad website, Daddy Needs a Nap. Dustin lives with his wife and daughter in New Carrollton, MD in a house surrounded by too many trees to get the Dish Network.

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