NFL news of November 10, 2002

There have been a number of the midseason NFL rankings around in the last week or so. Any similarity between them and the final ratings is purely coincidental, given the mercurial changes in team’s fortunes from the quarter point to the middle of the season.

Four weeks ago, the Patriots were considered one of the elite teams. Today they’re 4-4 and one win removed from a five-game losing streak. The Raiders were considered the class of the AFC after four games but they haven’t won since. Tim Brown‘s whining about Jerry Rice, who’s complaining he’s not getting the ball enough. Quarterback Rich Gannon is getting snippy at everybody. That’s a crotchety crew Ancient Al has out there. Just a bunch of grumpy old men looking to regain their rhythm.

The Panthers were 3-0. Now they’re 3-5. Chicago opened with victories over Minnesota and Atlanta. They haven’t won since, losing their last six.

Pittsburgh was 1-3, with the only victory coming in overtime against Cleveland. Now they’re 5-3 and, given their remaining schedule, they appear to be a lock to win the AFC North.

Former mate Tennessee is now in the AFC South. After going 1-4 and having owner Bud Adams publicly wonder why Jeff Fisher and his staff were being outcoached by the opposition, the Titans have won three straight and are now tied with Indianapolis in the AFC South.

Speaking of which, the Colts started out 4-1 under new coach Tony Dungy. They’re now 4-4 with Edgerrin James out with a hamstring injury and Peyton Manning struggling almost as much as Ray Lucas.

In Miami, the Dolphins were the team at the quarter mark, but they’ve lost Jay Fiedler as well as two straight and are now 5-3.

In Green Bay, the Packers are the only team with only one loss and they seem to be doing it with mirrors and magic. Brett Favre is the midpoint MVP and head coach/GM Mike Sherman is legitimate candidate for coach/executive of the year.

— Kevin Mannix, The Boston Herald “NFL Notes: So far, it’s half-crazy; Wild season tough to call.”

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