It is very interesting that at week 10 there are teams like the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys who have better records than the “juggernaut” San Francisco 49ers or the "prowling" Carolina Panthers. What went wrong? These two teams who were last year considered being top three among the NFC. Another team that can be questioned is the Seattle Seahawks, but that is for another time. What caused the success of these teams that even myself thought (besides the Cardinals) were going to be mediocre as they usual are. (Sorry Cowboys and Browns fans, that is the truth about your teams usually.)
The success of Arizona Cardinals is not as surprising as one could think.They went 10-6 under Bruce Arians last season and missed the playoffs because of silly rules. The Arizona Cardinals addressed a lot of positions in the offseason, mostly via the draft. The biggest acquisition, in my opinion, would be rookie Wide Receiver John Brown out of Pitt St who has 234 receptions for 326 yards and four touchdowns. Now besides John Brown, the success of Arizona has been with offense and defense. Granted, the Cardinals have one of the best rushing defenses in the NFL allowing a maximum of 89 yards to a player in 9 games and a total of 637 yards on the ground. Only allowing three rushing touchdowns as well. That is impressive. Arizona also is succeeding because they are not turning the ball over with a +10 turnover ratio. The Arizona Cardinals are playing a smart game right now and if they keep it up they will win the NFC West without a second thought.
Demarco Murray has been the driving force for the Dallas Cowboys, if he gets injured and Tony Romo has to be relived on if he stays healthy that is. They are doomed. But since Murray for now is healthy, they are going to give him the ball as much as they can. Murray leads the league in rushing yards and fumbles. Murray has 1133 yards rushing on 225 attempts (that is a five yards per carry average.) Seven touchdowns and five fumbles that were all turnovers. The success and failure of the Dallas Cowboys are partially Murray’s fault. His fumbles were costly, and sometimes as a fan you want to say: “Go down you idiot!” If the Cowboys keep on trucking they surely will be successful and possible make a playoff run!
Enough of about success, what happened to the San Francisco 49ers… it is as if they aren't the team they once were. Maybe it is Penguin’s (Colin Kaepernick) fault. But, when you go deeper into the investigation of the crumbling of Harbaugh, the evidence shows that the 49ers lack a lot of defensive depth. Let’s face it, it is nearly impossible to replace Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, and Navarro Bowman. But, the 49ers knew that Bowman was going to be out for a majority of the season most likely with Smith as well due to his lack of respectable character. An organization cannot address everything. But, the 49ers lack to win games has felt sad. Kaepernick was figured out. He is an amazing athlete, but as a fan you have to realize he isn't a QB like Russell Wilson is. The main problem for the 49ers has been offense and lack of defensive depth. Once they address that they will hopefully be a contender in the NFC West again. Also, another problem is giving Kaepernick a huge deal, If I were the ownership. I would've given him a huge deal in the offseason when he deserved it and make him work for the money.
The Carolina Panthers problems are quite simple, they don't have any receivers besides Kelvin Benjamin, Greg Hardy is out for a while (if he ever comes back) due to a domestic violence trial. The defense they once had has crumbled and Luke “Skywalker” Kuechley cannot do it all anymore. The Carolina Panthers need to establish a offense and defense to help Cam Newton, they will not succeed at the same level until they do so.
The NFL is an ever changing league, it is nearly impossible to predict who is going to make a run at the Super Bowl and who will go 0-16. Eventually, maybe even the Oakland Raiders will have a couple winning seasons, but that is in due time. These franchises that have had a slight decline can make a change to become dominate again, but the problem is teams are usually to stubborn to do so. Hopefully, the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers will change their teams and succeed in 2015.