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Wednesday, November 7, 2012
NFL musical midseason report: Part 2

By John Clayton
ESPN.com

John Clayton

John Clayton continues his headbanging musical midseason report with teams who reside on the bubble:


ESPN.com NFL Midseason Report:
Musical Midseason, Part 1  |  Musical Midseason, Part 3  |  Super Bowl prediction Video
Clayton's All-Pros and NFL Nation's All-Division teams  |  Playbook: Midseason logo spoofs
SportsNation: Rank the teams  |  Vote for MVP  |  Rank the QBs  |  Your predictions


CLASSIC ROCK


11. Seattle Seahawks (5-4)

Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman are drawing sellout crowds for their play at cornerback. The Seahawks had three defensive backs make the Pro Bowl last year, and Sherman has emerged as one of the best corners in the game. If the Seahawks win all eight home games, they have a great chance to get 10 wins and make the playoffs as a wild card.

Arrow is pointing: up



12. Indianapolis Colts (5-3)

This is the best story of the year. The team is playing for a coach, Chuck Pagano, who is fighting leukemia. Andrew Luck is living up to his billing as one of the best quarterback prospects to hit the league in decades. Reggie Wayne stayed in Indy because of Pagano and is having his best season. The Colts are in the playoff hunt.

Arrow is pointing: up



13. Detroit Lions (4-4)

The Lions are starting to overcome an inactive offseason thanks to their star players. Matthew Stafford is getting hot. Calvin Johnson is fighting a knee injury but just rebounded with a strong game. Despite injury problems in the secondary, the defense is solid. With a tough closing schedule, the Lions might fall a game or a tiebreaker short of the playoffs, but right now they are back in the fight.

Arrow is pointing: up



14. Miami Dolphins (4-4)

Heading into the season, Ryan Tannehill might have felt he was a solo act like Sting. General manager Jeff Ireland said during the preseason he wasn't sure if the Dolphins had No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 wide receivers. The Dolphins' receiving corps might not have turned the offense into "The Police,'' but this band is in the hunt for a wild-card spot.

Arrow is pointing: up



15. San Diego Chargers (4-4)

Philip Rivers hasn't played like an elite quarterback at times, but he also doesn't have elite receivers. To catch Peyton Manning and the Broncos, Rivers has to get hot and win in Denver in Week 11. Norv Turner's job is on the line, and so are a lot of veterans' jobs, if the Chargers don't make the playoffs.


Arrow is pointing: sideways



ONE-HIT WONDERS


John Clayton

16. Cincinnati Bengals (3-5)

The Bengals are like the song "Macarena" by one-hit wonders Los del Rio. Their recent history has been to make the playoffs one year and fall backward the next. In the midst of a four-game losing streak, the Bengals don't appear to have what it takes to beat the Steelers and Ravens in the AFC North. Andy Dalton is struggling against inside pass-rush pressure. The running game isn't running. The defense has holes.

Arrow is pointing: down



17. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)

The Beatles broke up, and now the Eagles -- the team, not the group -- are set for a similar fate. The Eagles' Monday night loss to the New Orleans Saints was another indication Andy Reid is losing this team. Michael Vick has been dead in the red zone. The defense turned fourth-quarter problems under Juan Castillo to whole-game problems with Todd Bowles. This Eagles team has landed.

Arrow is pointing: down, down, down



18. Dallas Cowboys (3-5)

I still don't understand why many Cowboys fans treat Tony Romo like Vanilla Ice. Sure, he's a one-hit wonder in the playoffs with only one postseason victory. But he's an accurate thrower and has a strong arm. But this team seems to self-destruct in the fourth quarter, whether it's because of play calls or mistakes. It's more than Romo that's the problem.

Arrow is pointing: down



19. Washington Redskins (3-6)

Robert Griffin III is the one hit for the Redskins. Unfortunately, he's the only hit. The defense isn't good. The offensive line is shaky. Receivers drop too many passes. the team can't seem to win at home. RG3 is good enough to win a bunch of games, and he has a bright future ahead of him ... as soon as he gets a better supporting cast.


Arrow is pointing: up



20. Minnesota Vikings (5-4)

The 5-2 start drew good reviews, but the schedule gets tough and the wins are getting tougher to come by. Unfortunately, Christian Ponder is getting worse each week. But the fact the Vikings won two more games in the first half of this season than they did in 16 games last year offers optimism.


Arrow is pointing: up


ESPN.com NFL Midseason Report:
Musical Midseason, Part 1  |  Musical Midseason, Part 3  |  Super Bowl prediction Video
Clayton's All-Pros and NFL Nation's All-Division teams  |  Playbook: Midseason logo spoofs
SportsNation: Rank the teams  |  Vote for MVP  |  Rank the QBs  |  Your predictions