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We love the NFL: our midseason review

Jim Harbaugh is all smiles this season, as his 49ers hold a five game lead in the NFC West.

Nooo!!!! Only eight weeks left of NFL regular season football. Hook it to our veins. To this point, the NFL season has produced a bunch crazy storylines that no one expected.

There are more bad teams this season than at any point in recent memory. The Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, Dolphins and Colts are all ridiculously terrible.

While the upper echelon feels like 1995 again, with the 49ers, Lions, Packers and Bills riding high.

In 2011, young quarterbacks are stealing the show and proving everyone wrong. In April we thought Cam Newton would make Jamarcus Russell look like a first ballot hall of famer. Yikes. Remember when rookie quarterbacks used to suck? Take a look at Peyton Manning's rookie stats: 28 picks, 70.1 rating. Now we have Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton, Blaine Gabbert and the aforementioned Newton headlining what may go down as the greatest quarterback class of all time.

SURPRISE TEAM (good):

Nolan: San Francisco 49ers. 7-1 Did anyone see this coming? Half way through his first season, Jim Harbaugh is living up to the Bill Walsh billing. One quick look at their record, and their five game lead in the NFC West (yes, they have a five game lead, eight games in – the largest such margin in NFL history at this point in the season), and critics will quickly point to the weak NFC West competition. But here’s the kicker, the 49ers have only played one game against their anaemic division rivals. Their schedule has been nothing less than daunting. It reads: road games against the Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and the first place Cincinnati Bengals and home games against the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks. Not exactly the little sisters of the poor.

Shane: Detroit Lions. Nolan, the 49ers are in the weakest division in the NFL. Possibly the weakest division in all of sports. Our old flag football team could get wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks this year. The Detroit Lions are having a resurgence in the hardest division in the NFL. Detroit’s 6-2 record puts them in second place in the NFC North, a division that also contains a talented Chicago (5-3) team, a talented (but sub-par) Minnesota (2-6), and the defending Super-Bowl champs in Green Bay (8-0). Matthew Stafford was likely the runaway best steal pick of any NFL Fantasy draft. If Calvin Johnson was not injured, the Lions would still be as dangerous as any offence in the NFL today.

Nolan: Perhaps you missed that line where I say the 49ers have only played one game against the NFC West thus far. I’m an ornery, sensitive 49er fan. I said ornery.

SURPRISE TEAM (bad):

Nolan: Indianapolis Colts. Shocking pick, I know. Check out the Colts record’s since 1999: 10-6, 14-2, 12-4, 13-3, 12-4, 14-2, 12-4, 12-4, 10-6, 6-10, 10-6, 13-3 . For an ungodly total of 138-54. And now they’re 0-9. And it’s not a good 0-9 – not like the Titans horrendous start a couple years back. It’s a ‘they’re going to winless’ 0-9. On defence they’ve given up 50 more points than the next closest NFL team. And on offense, Curtis “I wish I was surfing’ Painter is starting. Now it turns out the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL was actually underrated. No one in the history of sports has sat out a year and solidified a legacy of greatness like this before. The Colts only realistic shot at a victory comes this weekend at home to the Jaguars.

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