Upon further reflection of this weekend’s events, a question comes to mind: what does Russell Wilson have to do to win Rookie of the Year?
Without question, the three rookies in contention for 2012 are, in no particular order: RGIII, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson. Actually, there is SORT OF a particular order involved there; I would say Luck & RGIII are in the top 2, with Wilson a distant third. Some stats:
- Luck: 279/503 (55.5%), 3,596 yards, 17 TDs (+5 rushing TDs, 216 rushing yards), 16 INTs, 76.1 rating, 8-4 record
- RGIII: 218/325 (67.1%), 2,660 yards, 17 TDs (+6 rushing TDs, 714 rushing yards), 4 INTs, 104.4 rating, 6-6 record
- Wilson: 201/317 (63.4%), 2,344 yards, 19 TDs (0 rushing TDs, 298 rushing yards), 8 INTs, 95.2 rating, 7-5 record
If the award were to be decided today, I think you’re looking at a landslide RGIII victory. He’s got comparable overall yardage numbers to Luck, comparable touchdown numbers, and he’s got a whopping 12 fewer interceptions. I would say they both mean just as much to their respective teams’ overall success this season. Luck does have the advantage of currently leading his team to a 5th seed in the AFC (while RGIII is on the outside-looking-in on a playoff spot), but RGIII has ALL of the late-season momentum. Back-to-back nationally televised games (Thanksgiving win over Dallas, Monday night victory over Giants last night) has RGIII firmly entrenched in the minds of football viewers across the nation.
So, how do we get Russell Wilson in on some of that action?
The problem with Wilson is, all of his nationally-televised games happened early in the season. Washington might be finished with the night games, but this week’s matchup with Baltimore will be heavily scrutinized. And their week 17 matchup with Dallas could very well be flexed to the night game if it turns out both teams are in contention for a Wild Card spot. Likewise, Indy has no more scheduled night games, but they have two games against Houston in the final three weeks of the season that’ll get some real publicity, especially if Luck finds a way to lead the Colts to victories. Seattle, on the other hand, only has the game against the 49ers in Week 16. There’s a CHANCE that game gets flexed, but it’s not likely. Not with San Francisco already scheduled to play the Sunday Night game the week before in New England.
With that kind of a disadvantage, it’s going to take quite the effort for Wilson to wedge his way into the discussion. First and foremost, the Seahawks will have to go 4-0 to close out the season, and he will have to look good doing it. If he can throw for another 10 touchdowns in the next four games, that would be a big plus. I would say at least another 1,000 yards would be required too. If he can finish the season with numbers like this:
- 3,300 yards, 30 TDs, 500 rushing yards, 10 INTs, and somewhere around a 100 passer rating
That would be a good start. He’s also going to need some help. For starters, we don’t want Washington anywhere near the playoffs. A loss to Baltimore, a loss to Dallas, and some poor performances in between would do the trick. I don’t know if there’s any way to keep Indy out of the playoffs, with their pisspoor remaining schedule, but if we can keep Luck around a 1:1 TD:INT ratio, we’re on the right track.
In short, it’s going to take Wilson being perfect the rest of the way and it’s going to require the other two guys to fall back down to Earth. A long task, to be sure. Even then, it’ll take some arguing.
For starters, that schedule for Indy needs to come into question. I know they’ve played the same divisions as Seattle (NFC North, AFC East), but when you factor in their other conference games (Cleveland, Kansas City) vs. Seattle’s (Carolina, Dallas) and the calibre of the NFC West vs. the AFC South (Arizona and St. Louis have problems, but are leaps & bounds better than Tennessee & Jacksonville), I think there’s an argument to be made. Also, factor in performances against common opponents (outlined in Sando’s piece HERE) and I would say that Wilson should get more credit for what he’s accomplished.
When you look at the schedule for Washington, I think they get a little more benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, there’s something to be said for how shitty & overrated the NFC East is in general. Prior to the season, you could’ve made an argument for any of the big three (Giants, Eagles, Cowboys) to make the playoffs and possibly do some damage. Now, look at where they are & how for they’ve fallen. Inconsistent doesn’t even BEGIN to describe this division.
The fact of the matter is, regardless of any argument, I think the odds are super long for Wilson. I think he’ll end up third no matter what happens. By this point in the season, so many people have already made up their minds on who they’re going to vote for, any kind of late-season push is only good for Sports-Talk Radio & Television, but in the real world, it’s already a done deal.
Still, it’ll be interesting. Especially if Seattle takes the NFC West and earns a #2 seed.
And on to the rankings:
- Atlanta Falcons (11-1): Division Clinched. You get a gold star! You also get a nice little gold star for getting the New Orleans monkey off your back. They’re about two weeks away from clinching the #1 overall seed in the NFC. Next two games: @Carolina and vs. the Giants. I’d say we’re already there. (Last Week: 2)
- Houston Texans (11-1): A whatever win over the Titans locked up at least a playoff spot. Now the showdown: @New England. Monday night. You gotta like the Texans’ chances against a banged up Patriots squad. (Last Week: 3)
- Denver Broncos (9-3): Division Clinched! This is some kind of run they’re on. As long as they don’t sleep on Oakland this Thursday, they’ll have a nice 10 days to prepare for Baltimore. Well on their way to a #2 seed if they can get past the Ravens. (Last Week: 5)
- Baltimore Ravens (9-3): Boy, does my prediction of the Ravens going to the Super Bowl look Super Shaky. They can help out their own cause – and that of the Seahawks – by beating the Redskins this Sunday. (Last Week: 4)
- San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1): Boy, does my prediction of the 49ers going to the Super Bowl look Super Shaky. Are you kidding me? Winless against the Rams? I was ready to write them in as a Top 2 seed, now I’m trying to figure out if the Seahawks can steal the division from them. What the FUCK? (Last Week: 1)
- Green Bay Packers (8-4): Uh, you’re welcome Packers. Ooo, the Seahawks stole a game from you on Monday night with a completed touchdwon pass! Well, we just took out the Bears and handed you the division. YOU’RE WELCOME, BITCHES! Jeez, how about a little fucking gratitude … (Last Week: 9)
- New England Patriots (9-3): Division Clinched! Everyone is REAL down on the Patriots. Probably with good reason. I still can’t believe they let the Dolphins hang around for so long last week. Doesn’t get much easier for them the next two weeks (Houston & San Fran), but 3 of their final 4 are at home. (Last Week: 7)
- Seattle Seahawks (7-5): Well, the hard part’s over. Now, all you gotta do is win out and the playoffs are yours! (Last Week: 14)
- Chicago Bears (8-4): I can’t remember why I was so high on the Bears earlier this season. Thus far, every loss they’ve had has come to a team currently in the playoffs (if the season ended today). Their most impressive win was a Week 1 blowout at home over the Colts when Andrew Luck was playing in his first-ever NFL game. I gotta say, them falling completely out of the playoffs isn’t out of the question. 3 of their last 4 are on the road, their only home game is against the Packers … not looking good. (Last Week: 6)
- New York Giants (7-5): Remember when the Giants were 6-2 and had seemingly beaten the curse of the Super Bowl Champ? Me neither. (Last Week: 8)
- Indianapolis Colts (8-4): I’ll give them credit: they managed to have the ball last in Detroit. Pretty much every game involved with the Lions ends up with the last team with the ball winning the game. I still don’t think they’re a Top 10 team and I still guarantee they lose their first and only playoff game. (Last Week: 11)
- Cincinnati Bengals (7-5): Remember when the Bengals were 3-5 and left for dead? Me neither. (Last Week: 12)
- Washington Redskins (6-6): A 3-game winning streak against the shitty SHITTY NFC East and all of a sudden they’re world-beaters. Haaaaaaaaaaave you met their defense? (Last Week: 15)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6): There, that’s more like it. Two consecutive losses and we can all calm down about the Bucs. Of course, they could still win out and make our lives a living hell, so don’t get too comfortable. (Last Week: 10)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5): Just an amazing win in Baltimore. The Steelers had no business even being in that game, but there you go. The Ravens will constantly disappoint. (Last Week: 16)
- Dallas Cowboys (6-6): They’ve won 3 of 4 against Cleveland and Philly. In other words, this is still a shitty team who won’t have a winning record at season’s end. (Last Week: 18)
- New Orleans (5-7): Going winless until week 17: still on the table. (Last Week: 13)
- St. Louis Rams (5-6-1): I mean, I just don’t know what to tell you. The Vikings were able to beat the 49ers this season too; that’s not saying a whole lot. The Rams won’t make the playoffs, but they could still figure out a way to have a winning record. I’m seeing 8-7-1 in their future. If they figure out a way to play their cards right, they can go into Bufflo and Tampa and win. Minnesota at home could be a pushover too. (Last Week: 20)
- Miami Dolphins (5-7): This team’s scrappy, you gotta give them that. If they can manage to go into San Francisco this week and come away victorious, I might even sing their fight song. (Last Week: 21)
- Minnesota Vikings (6-6): Oh how the mighty have fallen! Losers of 4 of their last 5, they’re sinking faster than … a yak in heat! (Last Week: 17)
- Buffalo Bills (5-7): I know they’re pretty bad, but they’ve got 3 of 4 at home the rest of the way. It’s not IMPOSSIBLE they win out! Here’s the schedule: StL, Sea, @Mia, Jets. That’s about as soft as soft gets. (Last Week: 24)
- Detroit Lions (4-8): Falling. Apart. (Last Week: 19)
- Cleveland Browns (4–8): Yeah, you beat the Raiders, BFD. (Last Week: 26)
- San Diego Chargers (4-8): Norv Norv Rivers Norv Fired Norv Buttplug Dan Fouts. (Last Week: 22)
- Tennessee Titans (4-8): Can somebody get Locker some fucking talent to play with?! He went to the University of Washington for five years, he DESERVES some talent at this point! (Last Week: 23)
- New York Jets (5-7): It does seem odd that Rex Ryan waited until Tebow was injured and unavailable before he benched Sanchez. You’re telling me Sanchez NEVER deserved to be benched before this past weekend? Really! Not one time all season! Ryan must REALLY hate having Tebow on his team, is all I’m saying. (Last Week: 25)
- Carolina Panthers (3-9): You ran into the buzzsaw that was a team in turmoil following a tragedy. Those teams tend to come together and rally for a win, even if they’re quarterbacked by Brady Quinn. What are you gonna do? (Last Week: 27)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10): Even a rejuvenated Chad Henne can’t get you a win in Buffalo. Pity. (Last Week: 28)
- Arizona Cardinals (4-8): Yes, your defense is still solid. But, this weekend, you vill lose. (Last Week: 29)
- Oakland Raiders (3-9): Just the fucking worst. (Last Week: 30)
- Philadelphia Eagles (3-9): Except for these guys. (Last Week: 31)
- Kansas City Chiefs (2-10): And, I guess these guys (no kicking-them-when-they’re-down guy). (Last Week: 32)