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SAM FARMER ON THE NFL

The bad outweigh the good in the NFL

While there are three teams that are undefeated through the first seven weeks, there are eight that are struggling mightily. Here are the reasons and the mind-sets.

October 30, 2009|SAM FARMER | ON THE NFL

The Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints are all 6-0, marking the first time in the modern-era NFL there have been this many undefeated teams through the first seven weeks.

So it's clear the league has some very good teams this season.

But it has many more bad ones.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are the egregious eight, the eight teams that each could be considered the NFL's worst. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Cleveland (1-6)

Things are getting better: Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley has four sacks and, if he gets to Jay Cutler at Chicago, will have one in three consecutive road games.

Things are getting worse: The Browns have lost 12 of 13 and have only four offensive touchdowns over that span.

Stinking thinking: Quarterback Derek Anderson on his statistics: "I honestly know they're garbage, and I haven't looked at them since I started playing."

Detroit (1-5)

Things are getting better: Calvin Johnson, who could be returning from a knee injury Sunday, has 13 touchdown receptions since 2008, tied for third in the league.

Things are getting worse: The only team with a worse record than the Rams since 2008 are the 1-21 Lions.

Stinking thinking: Linebacker Larry Foote: "We've got to come to play, you can't feel sorry for yourself because this league doesn't care what your record is. Every week they're going to try to kick our face in."

Kansas City (1-6)

Things are getting better: In consecutive weeks, the Chiefs took Dallas to overtime before losing and won at Washington.

Things are getting worse: Kansas City has gone 34 consecutive quarters, plus part of an overtime period, without scoring a rushing touchdown. That's the league's longest such streak.

Stinking thinking: "I'm not talking till Thursday," running back Larry Johnson told reporters, then followed that with a slur that landed him a two-week suspension by the team.

Oakland (2-5)

Things are getting better: Four days after the fact, JaMarcus Russell acknowledged making some mistakes in the loss to the Jets. Was he the last to know?

Things are getting worse: If they lose to the Chargers, the Raiders will be 2-6 at the midway point. Then again, they've only been better than that once in six seasons.

Stinking thinking: "I don't think we could've beat an Oakland high school team today," defensive lineman Richard Seymour said after a loss to the Jets -- less than a week after Seymour predicted the Raiders would make the playoffs.

St. Louis (0-7)

Things are getting better: In last Sunday's loss to the Colts, Steven Jackson rushed for 134 yards -- but is still without a touchdown this season.

Things are getting worse: Since the start of the 2008 season, the Rams are 2-21.

Stinking thinking: Quarterback Marc Bulger: "Unfortunately, when you are getting to the process of where you want to be, you get a couple of butt kickings like we have been."

Tampa Bay (0-7)

Things are getting better: Buccaneers fans will finally get a good look at first-round pick Josh Freeman, who has been named the starting quarterback.

Things are getting worse: Six of Tampa Bay's final 10 games are against teams with winning records, including two against New Orleans.

Stinking thinking: Center Jeff Faine: "The problems here are not just limited to the quarterbacks."

Tennessee (0-6)

Things are getting better: Before the open date last week, Chris Johnson led the AFC in rushing with 596 yards.

Things are getting worse: The Titans were among the league's best teams in turnover differential last season. This year, they're at minus-10, worse than everyone but the Raiders (minus-10) and Panthers (minus-14).

Stinking thinking: Linebacker Keith Bulluck before a 59-0 loss at New England: "We put in the work in the off-season. We put in the work in the preseason and we've failed five tests. It's like you study, you study and you keep failing tests. It's hard when you're failing your favorite subject."

Washington (2-5)

Things are getting better: The Redskins have proved they are capable of beating bad teams, collecting home victories over St. Louis and Tampa Bay. But they also lost to Detroit on the road.

Things are getting worse: For the fourth time since 2001, the Redskins have lost five of their first seven games.

Stinking thinking: Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth: "Urgency, heart, 'want-to,' whatever . . . These last few weeks have shown maybe our true colors."

--

sam.farmer@latimes.com

twitter.com/LATimesfarmer

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