Another short week, and three games on Thursday means 10 & Out: Holiday Edition 1.0 comes at you early, and none too soon as it were because Sunday night was a barn burner and Monday night was, well, not good for RGIII.
What I learned this week…..
Tony Romo has the best 4th quarter QB rating in the NFL and since the start of the 2011 season no QB has more 4th quarter or OT wins than Romo. Look it up.
Brady > Manning, P., not that I didn’t have it that way before. Manning was badly outplayed by Brady. This now makes Tom Brady is now 10-4 against Peyton Manning. He has more Super Bowl rings, more AFC Titles and more division titles than Peyton has. He holds the single season records for TDs (for now). Peyton outpaces Brady in the League MVP department, 4-2. But regular season accolades aren’t why the game is played, if the were than the 16-0 2007 Patriots wouldn’t be an afterthought nowadays. It comes down to this: are you a Marino guy or a Montana guy? Talent/skills/gaudy numbers and master of your craft your thing? Or do wins matter? Do titles matter? Does competing no matter the odds matter? If so, it has to be Brady.
Belichick isn’t the only Wile E. Coyote genius in the NFL. Check this from Marc Trestman, from a week ago.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugh
Good: Tom Brady, again. Is this dude trying to make me think he’s not done or something? 34-55 for 344, 3 TDs and 0 INTs. And that’s mostly into the wind. (17-23 for 73.9% completions, 201 yards, 2 TDs, 8.7 yards/attempt for a QB Rating of 129.1. But who’s counting?) Every time he has to hear that someone might be better than him (ahem, Andrew Luck) he makes it his point to ramrod that dude. In the pivotal 3rd quarter (aren’t they all?) Brady was an eye-popping 12-14, with 162 yards and 2 TDs. Obviously the weather was a factor (because Stevan Ridley never fumbles like that) but the side-by-side the stats of the two QBs is staggering. The stats are weighted partly because the Broncos were running so effectively, but when he did throw Peyton was only 19-36, 150 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. They each had 23 attempts into the wind. Brady’s QBR was 129. Manning’s, 55.
Ugh: More Referees – in just four days since the Saints-49ers game was undeniably altered by a call late in the game (one that now constitutes a foul under the new rules of the NFL) a more obvious foul by a defender, this time Saints DE Akiem Hicks, was NOT called. SMH. Meanwhile, four days later in Foxboro, the refs again showed that they don’t even understand their own application of the rules, when Aqib Talib was called for defensive holding after a pass, uncatchable by definition since Talib picked it off short of the intended receiver, was thrown. Deductible reasoning leaves me with this: a ball can be “uncatchable” if its intercepted before it ever would’ve gotten to the intended receiver, even when that receiver is interfered with (pass Interference being a harsher penalty). But, if the receiver was deemed to have been touched before the ball was released, then the “uncatchable” ball that gets intercepted is no longer deemed such because the illegal hands (the lesser of the two infractions) kept it from being so. Is that about right? Oh, ok, got it.
W2W4: This Thursday is the greatest day on the calendar, and that’s coming from someone who often uses a replica American Flag as a blanket. First of all, stuffing is a ridiculous side. Its cornbread and sausage and oysters and leaks stuffed inside of the world’s most delicious chicken. Then, the NFL delivers to you many more blessings, this time in the form of Packers @ Lions, Raiders @ Cowboys (a HIT for the older gentleman sat on the couch ) and the coup de grace, Ravens vs. Steelers. And this is our Game of the Week, for this simple reason: the winner probably makes the playoffs. Consider this: coming into Week 13 there are six AFC teams at 5-6. Figuring 9-7 probably makes it in, you now need to find four wins for one of these teams. The schedule is as follows:
Expected wins in BOLD
Ravens: PIT MIN @DET NEP @CIN – Could easily end losing 3 in a row for 6-10/7-9
Dolphins: @NYJ @PIT NEP @BUF NYJ – a split with NYJ and maybe, 1 more
Steelers: @BAL MIA CIN @GB CLE – Cincy & GB are missing such key players…
Jets: MIA OAK @CAR CLE @MIA –Jets are a shipwreck now. Maybe beat Oakland?
Titans: @IND @DEN ARZ @JAX HOU – Titans could lose 3 straight real fast, end 7-9
Chargers: CIN NYG @DEN OAK KC – can SD get a 3rd? Where? Even with 4/5 at home.
Whichever team can get the leg up on Week 13 with a W Thursday and 10 days to prep for what should be a win may have the advantage of only needing one more win in the last three weeks to get to the playoffs.
Looking at that schedule, you’re trying to find four wins for one of those teams. Eliminating Miami & Tennessee, who are more likely to go 1-4 than 4-1, you look at New York, Pittsburgh, San Diego & Baltimore. I just have no faith in San Diego to beat Cincy, Denver & KC without losing that Oakland trap game sandwiched in there. It’s just how they’ve always been. Its what got Norv fired. So forget them. Could the Jets sweep Miami and win out at home? Sure, they could. I could drink water in between beers and glasses of wine on Thursday. Each is about as likely as the other. So I’m left with Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Either could also lose any of their remaining games, they certainly each have a tough road test, but each could also beat any team left to be played. Whichever team can win Thursday, get a head start on Week 13 and hang an L on the other, well my friend, that’s the way you wanna be.
For Pete’s Sake..Dating back to last season the Seattle Seahawks have had what’s been regarded as the league’s best secondary. In that same time they’ve had three members of that secondary suspended for violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. (Richard Sherman’s December 2012 suspension for use of PEDs was subsequently overturned on appeal). While awaiting the ruling on CB Walter Thurmond’s suspension for non-PED substance abuse (likely four games) the Seahawks found out that DB Brandon Browner has been popped for a second time in less than a year, and this time PEDs will cost him a year or more. In all, the Seahawks have been slapped with eight suspensions since 2012, by far a league-high, including DE Bruce Irvin (PEDs), Allen Barbe, John Moffitt, Winston Guy and Browner. All but Barbe remain on the team. Well, its not as if Pete’s teams have a record of success in the shadowy corners of the rulebook…
Locks of the Century of the Week…Woo hoo a 2-2 week! I’m really rolling in it now. (Don’t ask what “it” is.)
DEN -3 @ KC I’d like to see the Chiefs win. Like to see the split and have massive-twelfth tie-breaker scenarios come into play for all the top seeds. But I can’t see it happening. Last week we told you the Chiefs had zero sacks in their last three games. Well, make that one sack in their last four. And this one was by Eric Berry on a safety blitz. Their front seven is getting zero push, let alone their front four. And now it looks like they’ll be without Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. Those two combined for 20 of the Chiefs 37 sacks on the season. Without any pass rush Manning can pick you apart. I guess watch the weather but I’d go with Denver to cover the 3. Broncos -3
TB +9 @ CAR You can’t help but wonder if the Carolina Panthers are starting to believe their (self-created) hype machine and with a date in the Superdome against New Orleans for what could make a 9-game winning streak, I can’t help but wonder if CamCo™ is overlooking the lowly Bucs. Remember, the last time anyone was talking Tampa football they were the dregs of the league. It took racially-charged workplace hazing charges to make people forget. Since their oh-so-close Week 9 loss to Seattle Tampa has won three straight. Glennon looks a bit better each week. He’ll certainly need to be against what is now the best defense in the NFL, but I’m getting 9 in a league where you rarely get that many this late. It’s a division game, and all the pressure is on the newly-crowned Panthers. I’ll take the points & wait for a special teams TD. Buccaneers +9
ARZ +3.5 @ PHL I wrestle with this one, which usually means I should stay away. But the trends and the bets are rarely in line with one another. You just knew the Eagles losing streak at home had to come to an end, and once it did the numbers would swing back in the other direction. Now that they’ve won at home Vegas seems to think the streak was an anomaly. But 3.5 is a strange number in the NFL. I like the way Carson Palmer has played lately, and there’s nothing about the Eagles defense that scares me. As I said last week, I like the Cardinals on D too. They did nothing to shake my confidence either, allowing only 80 rushing yards to the Colts. They face a tougher run game this week in Philly, with the refreshed Eagles coming off of a bye (that came at the worst time for Philly) but that FG is odd, and I’ll take the hot hand and the veteran coach. Cardinals +3.5
STL @ SF -7.5 Short week, yea, but Kellen Clemens seems to be himself again, and the 49ers offense has gotten back on track a bit after barely scoring in losing two straight. I’ll take the running game, the home-cookin and some desperation on the part of the home team. Niners -7.5
NO +5.5 @ SEA Game of the week for a lot of folks. Seattle is a notoriously tough place to play, albeit seemingly only when they have a good team. Still, the last time the Saints were in the Great Northwest, things did not go to plan. You can bet Sean Payton and staff will be reminding their team of that. Oh yea, the Seahawks secondary is missing a few people too, as discussed earlier. Gimme points and Drew Brees whenever he has reason for that chip on his shoulder. Even in Seattle. Saints +5.5
What I’m Thankful for…..
Joseph Fauria’s Dancing…Andy Reid’s refusal to have Rex-band surgery…visors…Refs who know what the eff they’re doing…This Bears fan…The last few years of Brady-Manning…Chip’s signal-calling…And, always and ever, this great moment…Happy Thanksgiving everyone…Remember those that don’t get to go home for Thanksgiving and donate to a Food Bank, shelter, my favorite, www.FeedOurVets.org
NFL Week 12
Topics: 10 & Out, Andy Reid, Aqib Talib, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Brandon Browner, Cam N, Carolina Panthers, Carson Palmer, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Drew Brees Saints, Joseph Fauria, Marc Trestman, New England Patriots, Nfl Referees, Nfl Suspensions, Pass Interference Rules, Pete Car, Peyton Manning, Pittsburgh Steelers, Richard Sherman, Ron Rivera, Sean Payton, Seattle Seahawks, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Day Game, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Walter Thurmond