Good week of football last week, and as we round the final turn you’ll see the contenders distance themselves from the pretenders. These late-season division games almost give you a playoff vibe. Lots of teams playing each other for division crowns, almost like its set up that way.
What I learned this week…..
Jacksonville Jaguars are 4-1 in their last 5. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs are 0-3 in their last three. They really haven’t beaten anyone good this season. In fact, their opponents’ win percentage is near the bottom in the league, at 47.3%.* And they’ll probably win a playoff game. What a world.
Don’t look now but the New York Giants have won 5 of 6 and have the 11th best defense in the league, yardage wise, and climbing. Too bad they now go to San Diego before getting Seattle and Detroit.
After you sort out the trades, trades on trades and trade ups and trade downs on draft day, the Broncos essentially traded Jay Cutler to Chicago for what turned out to be Kyle Orton, Demaryius Thomas, Tim Tebow and Eric Decker. Ouch.
This just in…Chip Kelly‘s offense works. Dummies. If Nick Foles threw 50 consecutive interceptions his passer rating would still be higher than Geno’s. BTW Geno Smith is so bad he’s gotten himself first-name-only status. That is VERY tough to do while being benched for Phil Simms’ other kid. Kudos, Geno.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugh
Good: Josh “Flash” Gordon, Cleveland Browns. Dude set a record last week: no one has ever had back-to-back 200-yd receiving games. (Paging Doctor Tron…Doctor Mega Tron…”) In the last three games he’s had more than 600 yards receiving. That’s bananas. When the Browns traded Trent Richardson for a first-round pick (and were mocked for doing so by some) they also fielded calls on Gordon. Guess they know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. Honorable mention – Eric Decker, 4 TDs. Job well done but somebody was catching those TD passes.
Bad: I can’t even do it anymore. I just can’t. At the end of the Redskins-Giants game the refs botched something so bad I didn’t think it was real. You’ve no doubt seen or heard about it by now. Driving late in the game, on 2nd down, RGIII-IX completes a pass right at the marker. One ref tells Shanahan its 1st down, no measurement needed. Another ref, the one in charge, doesn’t tell him anything, he just signals its actually third down. The gd sticks had actually changed to read “1” and the chains were moved. Shannie calls a seam pass for 20, another 1st down, but wait, its dropped. No biggie, stops the clock for 2nd down, right? Nope. It’s now actually 4th down. In the end the Redskins barfed it away anyway, but if this had happened in Madden you’d all break your controllers. This happened IN REAL LIFE. I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: there is too much at stake to allow confidence in the game to erode. MAJOR reform needs to take place.
Ugh: The Buffalo Bills never seem to disappoint, do they? Not only did they fumble away the win in regulation (is anyone tiring of Stevie Johnson sitting there miffed that he rrrrrralphed the game away?) but after giving up the tying score and going into OT, they did it again, treating the football like a greased butterball on its way to the deep-fryer. Just once I’d like the Bills to shock me. Just once.
FWIW…. Last year the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans were a combined 25-9, won their respective divisions, and hosted AND WON playoff games. As it stands now, they’ve got 5 wins between them. Adios, Kubes. Can Mike Smith be that far behind?
the General Lee
Is there any doubt… now that the Seahawks are the team to beat? I can’t stand them, really I can’t. I can’t sort out how they can be so arrogant after having won literally nothing. And if you can find me a Seahawks fan that knows anything about who Curt Warner is (nope, not that one) I’d be amazed. None of the ones I’ve met shudder with proper respect when I bring up Derrick Thomas either. But that’s neither here nor there. Fact remains, these Seahawks put an absolute beat down on the Saints. A beating so bad it may actually carry over into this week’s Saints-Panthers game. (By the way folks, feel free NOT to make a PTSD joke when you’re talking about Brees facing these two defenses, okay? I’ve read like three already and they’re just misplaced. Find another angle.) The Seahawk defense was flying (pun intended) around like I haven’t seen since the 49ers a few years back in the playoffs were hell bent on physically intimidating these same Saints at Candlestick. Now, Pete Carroll is as phony as they come (sorry Seattle fans, I remember the Patriots and Jets days) but he had these guys believing that because half of their starting defensive backfield was suspended, it was them against the world. The path to the Super Bowl now will have to zag northwest, and as you can see that’s no place anyone wants to be. This year, be thankful if your team is in the AFC.
W2W4: The Saints and the Panthers start their season series this weekend; first at the Superdome, and then two weeks later in Charlotte. Carolina comes in having won 8 in a row, and are 9-3. In their 9 wins they are only allowing an average of 11 points per game. Meanwhile, New Orleans, also 9-3, returns home with the 3rd best passing game in the league. Not surprising. What may be surprising is they also have the 4th best passing defense. Too bad for them the Panthers are a run first, run second team. Know what else? These two teams have the two highest opponents’ winning percentage (can you tell its my stat of the week?) #1 Carolina: Opponents Win %: .543, #3 New Orleans: Opponents Win % .539 It’s your Sunday Night game of the week (shocker) and it caps what should be a great weekend of football.
Locks of the Century of the Week…Not bad at all. 3-2 and my first winning week in two months. Column came out a little late this week because I’d like to try to build on that and so I was waiting on some late week injury news to starters, mainly QBs. Still getting conflicting reports on Green Bay packers QB Aaron Rodgers, so we’ll stay away from that one. If he plays, I like GB.
CLE +12 @ NEP I like the Patriots more and more each week, and they’ve got a schedule they can really take a run at over the last month. I’m not saying they’ll lose, they’re something absurd like 4o games over .500 in the last month of the season (my researcher quit, whaddya want from me), but 12 is a big number. Browns are 5th on Defense against both the pass and the run. Not my strongest play but the Pats have had random tough games against Cleveland before and with Campbell back, he can get Gordon the ball. Browns +12
CAR +3 @ NO I like the
Saints Panthers here. Changed my pick. Saints really kinda need this win to get back on track and this is the toughest game to date for Carolina, but we’ve been saying that for a few weeks now. I think the Cats defense and run game plays on the weaknesses in the Saints. Brees may have a game but we saw in Seattle what happens when he is consistently harassed. Saints win but don’t cover. Panthers +3
NYG +3 @ SD God I hate taking the Chargers. (changed my pick again. I do what I want.) The Chargers are basically perennial disappointments. Any stat you knew about them in December you can toss because almost that entire team and their coaching staff are all gone. They can play well at home, and the Giants, coming off of two consecutive emotional games have had let downs this season, but the Giants narrative you still remember is all but dead. Like I said before they’ve won 5 out of 6. And as any northeasterner knows, a good trip to San Diego when the weather turns really puts a pep I your step. If Eli wants to play the interception game, he’s got a challenge though: nobody does it like Phil Rivers. Giants +3
BUF +3 @ TB FACT – Mike Glennon has the third highest passer rating in the last 6 weeks. Go ahead, look it up. That’s got to change, right? I love the way the Bills are playing with EJ Manuel back under center, and I love getting points playing the Bucs. Love. Buffalo boasts the 4th best running game in the NFL. Too bad they couldn’t hang on to the ball last week. Disgraceful, yes, but unlikely to happen again. Bills +3
SEA @ SF -2 The 49ers are 7-2 in their last nine. They have hitters. Real big ones. And their defensive front seven is playing lights out ball. This is the toughest test for Russell Wilson to date. I’ll take the 49ers -2
*Worst opponents’ Winning Percentage? Denver, .430. Huh.
NFL Week 13
Topics: 10 & Out, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Chip Kelly, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, EJ Manuel, Gary Kubiak, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jay Cutler, Josh Gordon, Kansas City Chiefs, Mike Glennon, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, NFL, NFL News, Nick Foles, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seat, Tampa Bay Buccaneers