With all the talk about the NBA lockout circulating among the press, it's getting tougher and tougher to remember that the NFL went through its own labor strife just a few months ago. It's amazing what a few weeks of great NFL games can do to one's memory.
Nearly halfway through the season, it has become the season of the quarterback in the NFL. Every football fan knows that you can't win unless you have a great quarterback, but few seasons have had as many storylines that have centered around the QB position. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees have separated themselves as the best. The Colts have been awful for one reason: Peyton Manning's injury. Cam Newton and Andy Dalton have had better-than-expected seasons as rookies. A handful of teams have been awful, sparking a "Suck for Luck" conspiracy in which teams are tanking to get Stanford QB Andrew Luck in the draft.
Oh, and did I mention all the fervor about Broncos QB Tim Tebow? Did you hear that he inspired the latest craze that will take over for planking? Well, he did; it's called "Tebowing."
And that doesn't nearly cover all the quarterback stories. I can't wait to see what the rest of the season has in store. Here are the Week 8 NFL Game Power Rankings:
1. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots
Average Ticket Price: $231.96
The Steelers and Patriots have developed a fierce rivalry over the last decade, albeit one that has been dominated by Tom Brady and the Pats. In Brady's seven career games against Pittsburgh (regular season and playoffs), he has a 6-1 record while throwing for 2,807 yards, 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Wait, I thought I said this was a rivalry? (As a Patriots fan, I'm pretty sure I just jinxed them.)
2. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys
Average Ticket Price: $180.86
Call this one the "Battle of Two Disappointing NFC East Teams." A bit long winded, but it gets the point across. The Eagles did win their last game, but a 2-4 record can't be described as anything other than disappointing. As for the Cowboys, their disappointment lies in the fact that they held late leads in all three of their losses and could be 6-0. This should be a good game, unless of course it… well, disappoints.
3. New York Giants vs. Miami Dolphins
Average Ticket Price: $159.30
The Dolphins have been in the news a lot the past couple days with their players speaking out against the "Suck for Luck" campaign and with speculation of big name coaches Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher possibly joining the 'Phins next year. When it comes to play on the field, not many teams have been as bad as Miami.
4. Baltimore Ravens vs. Arizona Cardinals
Average Ticket Price: $137.51
The Ravens have been up and down all season long, and last Monday was definitely a down, as they lost 12-7 to the Jaguars. The team's offense was so bad that Ravens DE Terrell Suggs decided to give some pointers. Let's see if the offense takes his advice this week against the Cardinals.
5. Buffalo Bills vs. Washington Redskins
Average Ticket Price: $128.22
Many people still don't believe that the Bills are legit playoff contenders and the only way for Buffalo to change their minds is to keep winning. Coming off their bye week, they should be well prepared to take on the struggling Redskins.
6. Denver Broncos vs. Detroit Lions
Average Ticket Price: $126.21
Do you have Tebow fever? It's sort of like having Bieber Fever, except it makes you much more irrational. Tebow led the Broncos back in the last five minutes from being down 15 against the Dolphins last week and Tebow supporters wanted to crown him the next great NFL quarterback. Somehow they forgot that he was awful for the first 55 minutes of the game, in which the Broncos scored zero points.
7. Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts
Average Ticket Price: $115.54
Remember when I said not many teams have been as bad as the Miami Dolphins? Well, the Colts have been as bad if not worse. Last week, the New Orleans Saints embarrassed the Colts, winning 62-7. Ouch.
8. Carolina Panthers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Average Ticket Price: $91.01
Four NFL teams are currently using rookies as their starting quarterback, Minnesota and Carolina being two of those teams. Panthers QB Cam Newton has been the talk of the league, throwing for eight touchdowns while running for seven more. Meanwhile, Vikings QB Christian Ponder is making his second career start.
9. St. Louis Rams vs. New Orleans Saints
Average Ticket Price: $82.21
Saying the St. Louis Rams have not had the season they were hoping for would be an understatement. After going 7-9 last year, many thought the Rams would take a step forward in 2011. But due to injuries and poor play, the Rams are 0-6 and on the brink of going 0-7 as they play the very difficult Saints this week.
10. Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Average Ticket Price: $78.38
After missing the first two weeks of the season, Texans RB Arian Foster has amassed 725 total yards and three touchdowns, which has made his fantasy football owners quite happy (myself included). He could have another big game this week, although it won't be easy as the Jags’ defense held Ravens RB Ray Rice to just 28 yards last week.
11. Seattle Seahawks vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Average Ticket Price: $66.14
The Bengals seemed to try to clear out some of the "bad eggs" from their roster this year and they have been successful so far. Building around rookies Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, the Bengals are a surprising 4-2 and look to have a bright future.
12. Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers
Average Ticket Price: $50.82
Whatever the records happen to be for these two teams, it always seems to be a close game. In the first meeting between the Chargers and Chiefs this season, San Diego barely escaped with the win. The Chiefs will be looking for their revenge with this week's game in Kansas City.
13. San Francisco 49ers vs. Cleveland Browns
Average Ticket Price: $50.49
The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the pleasant surprises in 2011 and plenty of NFL pundits have jumped on their bandwagon. The Niners will have to be careful not to get to full of themselves or Colt McCoy and the Browns may come into San Fran and steal the game.
Come back next Thursday for the Week 9 rankings!
Rankings are based on the average price of tickets sold on the TicketNetwork Exchange as of 10/27/2011 at 3 p.m. EST.