Halfway Home! 5 Questions That Need To Be Answered In The Second Half Of The NFL Season
That certainly went by quickly, didn’t it? It seems like just yesterday that the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints were kicking off the NFL season. Yet, here we are at the halfway point of the season with all 32 NFL teams having played at least half of their games. There have been plenty of surprises—New York Giants? San Francisco 49ers? Cincinnati Bengals?—a few things we expected (hey, the Packers are really good!) and, of course, plenty of great action on the field.
But, even with half of the NFL games this season in the can, we still get the feeling that the best is yet to come. In fact, during the second half of the season, there are plenty of questions left that still need to be answered. So we thought we’d come up with five questions that we have for the season’s second half. We can’t wait to find out the answers.
1. Can the Bengals beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and/or the Baltimore Ravens?
We’ll begin to find out the answer to this question this weekend when Cincy hosts Pitt in their first of two games this season. The Bengals have easily been the most surprising NFL team of 2011. They currently sit in second place in the AFC North and they’ve looked good so far. But they still have a total of four games against their division rivals, meaning they could very easily slip right back into the middle of the pack soon. Their ability to beat these two teams will define their season.
2. Are the Giants good enough to win the NFC East?
Just about no one had the G-Men listed at the top of their NFC East projections at the beginning of the season. The Philadelphia Eagles were the popular pick. And anyone looking to pick an underdog went with the Dallas Cowboys. So far this season, both of those teams have struggled while the Giants have played pretty steady football considering all of the injuries that they’ve had to overcome. They’ve got an absolutely terrible schedule from now until the end of the season, though. So, will they be able to hang on to the NFC East’s top spot?
3. Are the Eagles are bad as they’ve looked during the first half of the season?
Most people automatically put the Iggles into the Super Bowl this year after all of the free agents that they picked up. However, Philly has looked pretty average for most of the season and doesn’t appear to have what it takes to win the NFC East, let alone the NFC Championship Game. They still have some time to recover, but they better act quickly. Or else they’re going to be on the outside looking in once the playoffs start.
4. Are the 49ers for real?
It’s amazing that the Niners basically have the exact same team that they had last year and, yet, they’re remarkably improved. New coach Jim Harbaugh has a lot to do with the sudden turnaround. But he’s going to need his team to prove that they’re for real by sustaining a winning record throughout the second half of the season. It should be pretty easy considering that they’re 7-1 right now and that the second place team in the NFC West is 2-6. But the Niners need to prove that they’re not going to fall back into their old habits if they want to make any noise in the playoffs.
5. Can anyone stop the Packers from going undefeated?
Ah, the question that everyone wants to have answered. The Packers are 8-0 this season and, just this week, cornerback Charles Woodson revealed that the team has already contemplated going undefeated. But, can they really do it? They’ve got the offensive firepower. But we say that they’re going to stumble sooner or later. Going undefeated requires a certain amount of skill and luck, which makes it so difficult to do. But it’ll sure be fun watching them try.