Around the League

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Olin-d'oh! Newton needs Panthers teammates to step up

Every Sunday night, Around The League takes a closer look at four of the day's most interesting subplots. We call it The Filthy Four ... mostly for alliteration purposes.

Olindo, we hardly knew ya

We won't pile on here, because we're of the opinion that your average NFL placekicker has a job quality that rivals a parolee on Port-a-Potty detail at The Gathering of the Juggalos festival.

But Olindo Mare, you needto make that kick. You must make that kick!

Cam Newton is already showing us that he has the talent to rule this league for an extended period of time, he just needs a little cooperation from his Panthers teammates to help raise his visibility in a small market. It's losses like Sunday's to the Vikings that will make it easier for Newton to accept Jerry Jones' check for $1 trillion in 2017.

CJ2'Hey, you're ruining my freakin' fantasy team'

We wish Robert Stack were still with us, because Chris Johnson's season deserves its own "Unsolved Mysteries" episode. The Artist Formerly Known As CJ2K struggled yet again in the Titans' 27-10 win over the woeful Colts, managing just 34 yards on 14 carries. After the game, Tennessee coach Mike Munchak said Johnson will continue to split carries with Javon Ringer moving forward.

If motivation is the issue for Johnson, how about we all agree to change his name to CJ700 if he keeps up his current pace? We're sure he'll start scaling mountains in Russia in preparation for 2012 if he gets dealt that Scarlet letter.

Tebowmania dealt a blow

Those of you who don't imbibe the Football Jesus Juice were no doubt pleased to see the 45-10 spanking the Lions administered to Tim Tebow and the Broncos. At some point this week -- probably around the time Tebowing started trending -- we lost perspective on what the second-year QB pulled off in Miami last week. An unlikely comeback, yes, but we can't forget that the Dolphins actively seek new ways to lose each week. Even Tony Sparano is on board at this point.*

Facing an actual football team on Sunday, Tebow was lost, completing just 18 of 39 passes with two turnovers that led to Detroit scores. Tebow has effectively replaced Brett Favre as the league's polarizing lightning rod, but he hasn't proven he has the chops to play at this level.

*This is (probably) untrue.

Pennsylvania proud

Remember when everyone was writing off the Steelers and Eagles back in September? Each had statement wins on Sunday -- Pittsburgh beating the Patriots and Philly thumping the Cowboys -- and both have quickly regained their footing as contenders in their respective conferences. The early-season trashing of the Steelers was particularly egregious -- does anybody remember the ridiculous narrative that Pittsburgh was too slow and old to compete seven months after a Super Bowl appearance?

As for the Cowboys, they stink. Dallas is banned from this space until they have a winning record ... or Rob Ryan gets a haircut. We don't figure either will happen any time soon.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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