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At the Quarter Pole

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Who's more surprising, the Niners or the Lions? Tebow or Newton? Who's the biggest bust, the Colts or the Eagles? CJ or Desean Jackson? As the NFL nears the final quarter, PSR takes a look at how the league has unfolded.

SURPRISE TEAM: San Francisco 49ers.
With incoming rookie head coach Jim Harbaugh making the leap from college ball to the big stage, and the Niners coming off a 6-10 season, no one expected San Fran to open up 8-1 to start this season. At the midway point of the season, only one team had more wins than the 49ers – the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

SURPRISE PLAYER: Cam Newton.
After so much speculation and debate on his capability to perform at the next level, Newton has excelled this season, although the Panthers continued to struggle to win games. Newton showed he was a game-changer on opening day when he threw for 422 yards against the Arizona Cardinals, then followed that game up the next week with a 432-yard performance against the defending champion Green Bay Packers. Newton is a presence on the field not only with his arm, but also with his mobility, and he has scored 7 touchdowns with his legs to add to his 11 through the air this season.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Indianapolis Colts.
After losing their star quarterback Peyton Manning to a season ending neck injury, the team has fallen apart in the most spectacular fashion imaginable. After finishing their 2010 season at 10-6 and claiming the AFC South divisional title with four pro bowl players, the 2011 Colts entered Thanksgiving at 0-10. It was to be expected that the Colts’ offense would falter having lost their cornerstone, but what is most interesting about Indianapolis’ decline is that their defense, ranked 15th overall only one season ago with one of the best home records in the league, is now at dead last in the standings, averaging 30 points per game allowed.

BIGGEST BUST: Chris Johnson.
After holding out through training camp and negotiating a new contract that guarantees him $30 million, the production seen from CJ for the Titans this season has to be the most disappointing personal performance thus far. Johnson’s 2010 season statistics may have been worth the raise, as he totaled 1,364 yards and averaged 4.3 yards per carry with 11 touchdowns on the season, but ten games into the 2011 season, Johnson was averaging xxx yards per carry with only xxx total yards and xxx touchdowns.

LOOK OUT FOR: St. Louis Rams.
Despite their 2-8 start, the Rams face five divisional games against weak teams and could end the season on a high note.

LATE SEASON REVIVIAL: Johnson.
Hold out hope for Chris Johnson. He'll recover in the second half of this season. He is showing signs of life.

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