Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SI praises Titans' Karl Klug for playing like 'the Tasmanian Devil'

Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints is sacked by Karl Klug #97 of the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 11, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Saints defeated the Titans 22-17.

December 12, 2011

Fine Fifteen

1. Green Bay (13-0). I'm not trying to minimize the loss of Greg Jennings, if he is lost for the rest of the regular season. But the Packers' next game of consequence is either 33 or 34 days from now, in their first playoff game. If they win one of their final three games, they clinch homefield throughout the NFC playoffs and would have time for Jennings to rehab even an injury of medium severity, like a torn MCL.

2. Baltimore (10-3). Terrell Suggs: three sacks, three forced fumbles. The only questions about Suggs and the All-Pro team is wondering if he'll be classified as an outside linebacker or defensive end. Either way, he's an All-Pro.

3. New England (10-3). I bet Tom Brady really wasn't all giddy and happy with Bill O'Brien, the way it appeared in the postgame presser, for biting his head off when he threw the bad interception late in Washington . But I also bet Brady appreciates a normally placid coach going freakazoid too, because a throw like Brady's shouldn't be acceptable.

4. New Orleans (10-3). I don't know how you throw a better ball than Drew Brees' second TD pass to Marques Colston Sunday in Nashville . So perfectly thrown that if Colston had been sleepwalking, it would have nestled softly into his hands in the end zone and he never would have felt it.

5. Pittsburgh (10-3). In Ben's Rehab They Trust.

6. San Francisco (10-3). Blew a 12-point lead in the second half. To John Skelton. Not good.

7. Houston (10-3). Pinch yourself, Houstonians. You're going to see NFL playoff football in your town for the first time since 1993.

8. New York Jets (8-5). These Jets remind me of last year's Jets. Stumbled late, then built up enough steam to be a factor in the playoffs. Here comes momentum.

9. Denver (8-5). At some point you just have to go along for the ride, sit back, enjoy it and realize you're witnessing one of the greatest stories we've seen in the NFL in a long, long time.

10. Atlanta (8-5). Amazing. For a team that has played so inconsistently all season, these Falcons are on the way to 10-6, at least ( Jacksonville , at New Orleans , Tampa Bay ), with a good shot at the fifth seed in the playoffs.

11. New York Giants (7-6). Any team with a quarterback as good and as clutch as Eli Manning is going to be one heck of a tough out in the playoffs. Now the Giants just have to get there.

12. Tennessee (7-6). The most impressive loser of them all Sunday. My Lord, where did this Karl Klug come from? (From Iowa . Fifth-round rookie. Another great and underrated product from the Kirk Ferentz School of NFL Development.) Plays like the Tasmanian devil. Six sacks bounding inside and outside.

13. Detroit (8-5). The mystery team of the next three weeks. Could see them go 0-3, 3-0 or anything in between (at Oakland , San Diego , at Green Bay ). I mean, predict that.

14. San Diego (6-7). Not saying I believe, but the Chargers have won two in a row by a 75-24 composite score, and Philip Rivers has completed 76 percent with six touchdowns and no picks. Here come the wacky Chargers again.

15. Chicago (7-6). The Bears have a path to the playoffs, but it would be best if Caleb Hanie drove the bus there instead of playing quarterback.

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