Our Russian mail-order Naughty Nurse checks the statistical vital signs of each NFL team after each season. She breaks out her pigskin probe and uses her soothing, healing hands to take the temperature, and maybe a few liberties, with all our patients. See each team’s overview here (alphabetical order).
– The Cardinals rode several remarkable John Skelton- and Patrick Peterson-led fantastic finishes to close the season with an 8-8 record, including 4-2 in the division. The Cardinals were the only NFC West team that proved the equal of the 13-3 division champ 49ers.
– The four-year history of the Mike Smith/Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons is starting to get baked into a hard crust: four pretty nice performances in the regular season, zero playoff wins and two bad losses in the past two postseasons.
– Perhaps no team was better top to bottom in 2011 than the Ravens. Problems? Joe Flacco underwhelmed and missed opportunities cost the team a shot at the Super Bowl.
– The Buffalo Bills either suck all year or tantalize fans with brief whiffs of success, only to pull the rug out from under them to maximize pain. Our Naughty Nurse re-assesses 2011 and wonders if these chronic ills will change in 2012. You know our advice: Bring back Flutie!!
– The Panthers did the unthinkable in 2011. They hired well, they acquired new talent, they played above expectations, and they developed into a damn scary team by season's end.
– The Bears look healthy in many ways, but the penetrating pigskin probe of our Naughty Nurse reveals plenty of problems, too, for a team that imploded in the wake of Jay Cutler’s injury.
– The Bengals made great strides in 2011 but also proved they were not ready yet for the big time: 0-8 vs. playoff teams, 9-0 vs. everybody else.
– The Browns have a Super Bowl-caliber defense and an offense so bad it belongs in the IPU: the Intensive Pigskin Unit. Bend over, Cleveland. This will hurt you more than it hurts us.
– Our Russian mail-order Naughty Nurse's probing fingers of pigskin find that Dallas's problem in 2011 was not its divisive quarterback but its porous pass defense.
– The Denver Broncos have the outward appearance of a handsome, charming, and morally intact team after a thrilling 2011. But a closer look by our Naughty Nurse reveals plenty of health issues heading into 2012.
– The Detroit Lions had their Matt Millen removed four years ago and the their vital signs have improved dramatically since then. In fact, our Naughty Nurse of analysis took the former sad-sack franchise off of life support in 2011.
Green Bay Packers
– The defending champs were knocked out of the 2011 playoffs before they realized the fight had started. A quick whiff of smelling salts and Eau d'Ho from our Naughty Nurse has the Pack back up off the mat and looking like contenders again in 2012.
– The Houston Texans lit up the AFC South in 2011. But our Naughty Nurse reminds the team that lighting up is not always good for you. Houston suffered critical in-season losses and more in the off-season. The window of opportunity is closing fast.
– The Colts flat-lined early last season without Peyton Manning and behind the likes of QB Dan Orlovsky. Our Naughty Nurse says the franchise needs more than a little TLC. They need to be reincarnated in the image of the 1998 Colts.
– The Sound of Music
is 174 minutes long, which puts it on comparable terms with the length of a NFL game. Our Naughty Nurse says the movie is also probably more entertaining than any game the Jacksonville Jaguars played in 2011 and then offers to do a lobotomy on the NFL's most boring team.
The Kansas City Chiefs needed far more than a Naughty Nurse during their 2011 season. A full-fledged battlefield triage unit would have been much more fitting. But the team finally found itself on the mend by the end of the year.
– The last three years may have been the darkest days the Dolphins have since their pre-Don Shula expansion years in teh 1960s. But the team came on strong at the end of 2011, winning six of its final nine games, and there are signs of hope for a team mired in futility.
The Minnesota Vikings collapsed so quickly in 2011 that our Naughty Nurse had to rush in with a crash cart. We should have taught her that the paddles go over the heart, not the ears. In either case, the Vikings have a long road to recovery after a 3-13 season.
– Our Naughty Nurse says the New England Patriots suffer a bad case of bi-polar disorder: frighteningly good on one side of the ball, but frighteningly deficient on the other. She can even trace the onset of the problem to a single game.
– The Naughty Nurse checks the statistical vital signs of the New Orleans Saints and finds a hormonally imbalanced NFC juggernaut whose locker room rants may have cost the team another division title in 2012.
– Our Naughty Nurse was ready to treat the New York Giants for numerous ailments back in December. But thanks to another super and unexpected playoff run, the 2012 prognosis for the Super Bowl XLVI champs is rosy-cheeked and robust.
Eagles fans continue to wake up in cold sweats after Philly's "Dream Team" season turned into a nightmare in 2011. But if the defense can cut down on blowing fourth-quarter leads and Michael Vick can stay healthy, this may be at least double-digit win team.
– The Pittsburgh Steelers have a sour taste in their mouths after a strong season was book-ended by historically bad losses. Our Naughty Nurse offers a few breath mints while diagnosing a very bad statistical lesion that appears in the postseason.
– The Bucs were 4-2 at one point last season and even beat up NFC South power Tampa. But the team flatlined at the end of the 2011 season, losing 10 straight games, most of them in the ugliest fashion imaginable.
– The Titans once stood for gritty, hard-nosed football. But even our Naughty Nurse of analysis doesn't know who they are anymore. The 2011 Titans marched in place to a 9-7 record, leaving little sign of where they’re headed next.
– The Washington Redskins suffered through another disappointing season in 2011. Can Robert Griffin III cure the ills for a team whose problems begin at the head of the organization?
Still to come: