by Ryan Meehan and Coach Ryan
Week eleven gave us some really good matchups, and allowed us to see what the middle of the playoff pictures were in each conference. When we entered the weekend, the playoff picture was crowded. Little did we know that when we left it, it would be almost twice as confusing as it was beforehand. We’re still about a week or two away from teams getting mathematically eliminated, so in the meantime let’s just enjoy what we saw and talk about what happened in week eleven in the NFL.
Colts 30, Titans 27
The Colts fell fourteen points back in this one, but were able to get back into the swing of things. For a while, it appeared that they were experiencing flashbacks from last week, but they got back in it and won by about as much as we said they would. While I was giving a buddy a ride Thursday night I had him bring up some app to check the score it was a fantasy app, and he soon informed me that he couldn’t see the score from the app and had to open a different one. This shows just how out of control this fantasy stuff really is, that there wouldn’t even be the score of the freaking game on the screen. Anyway, Fitzpatrick’s stats are going to look better than Luck’s will. Neither threw a pick, but Fitz had a TD and went 22/28. The Colts needed to get out of there with a win, and that’s exactly what they did. It wasn’t pretty, but it didn’t have to be. They’re still a shoe-in to win the division easily so the Ws are all that counts.
Buccaneers 41, Falcons 28
Words can’t describe how funny I think this is. Just when we though Atlanta couldn’t possibly play any worse, they lose by 13 points to the Tampa Bay Bucs. And the game wasn’t even nearly that close, as Tampa waved the white flag the second they went up 41-13. Wasn’t I just saying last week how Matt Ryan is beyond overrated? Not to toot my own horn here, but 19 of 36 with 2 interceptions isn’t exactly the type of numbers you’d expect for a franchise QB who makes that much money. Especially when he puts up half of the passer rating that some guy named Mike Glennon who’s probably making league minimum does on the other sideline. My obsession with calling the Falcons on their bullshit continues, much to my entertainment. They were one step away from the Super Bowl last year, and they just got planked on by a team whose coach probably spends a majority of his free time trying to tie his shoes with his teeth. I can’t wait to be back here next week bagging on the Falcons even more. It’s becoming my favorite part of these wrap-ups – Ripping on teams like the Jaguars is so predictable and tired, but tearing Atlanta a new one seemingly never gets old.
Bills 37, Jets 14
Did Dan Fouts fall asleep in a helium chamber before he called this game? Seriously…I get the feeling that the new trend amongst broadcasters is going to be taking years off of your voice. I mean, good for him for being able to go through puberty twice but seriously that’s creepy. his was the game that was being aired in our area because hell has opened up at Soldier Field and it was starting to look like the scene from the end of the original Ghostbusters. Anybody who thinks that the Jets can still make the playoffs is insane. Their tendency to get blown out in games like this one is turning into more of a theme and this game was no exception. Three picks for Geno, and their postseason hopes are almost completely gone.
Bears 23, Ravens 20
This game was delayed due to pretty severe weather conditions. I was actually very impressed with the way that the authorities were safe about this. I was reading all sorts of social networking garbage during the delay, and all I have to say is you have to be safe. At the beginning of the year,. I didn’t feel that way because I didn’t think the weather in those situations were that severe. But I saw the pictures of Pekin, IL on my local news server and pretty much then I accepted that this game was going to stay put for a while. Officials were ordered to suspend play from 12:30 to 2:30 and rightfully so.
When the game continued, the Bears got back into it slowly but surely. They eventually took the lead and would not trail the remainder of the game. All that being said, the Bears make themselves appear overrated. They think they’re “Rock Lobster” but they’re really “Love Shack”. If they were anything close to “Raining Blood”, Dallas Clark would have never made this catch and this game doesn’t even go into overtime. I was very disappointed by the play of both teams really…It was a super boring game and didn’t get over until about 5:20PM Central time. The one thing I have noticed about Chicago is Marc Trestman is going to be a good NFL head coach. It may not be in Chicago, but somewhere he will go on to huge success.
Steelers 37, Lions 27
Whoever it was at 5dimes that decided this line would be fine at one obviously saw something the rest of us didn’t. What a bizarre turn of events this was – The Lions get smoked right out of the box, then score all 27 of their points in the second quarter, and subsequently vanish after halftime. To give you an example of how poorly the Lions played in the second half, we’ll go to our weird stat of the week – Matt Stafford had 327 yards passing in the first half but finished 19 of 46. How shitty does your locker room speech to your guys have to be in order to blow this one? When Jim Schwartz loses his job (which he will if they don’t get to the conference championship game) it will be because of games like this one. I want to point out the entertaining juxtaposition of the music that the stadium DJ was playing during the game next to the poor weather conditions. I understand that it’s your job to get people fired up but if you’re playing “Nothin’ But a Good Time” by Poison and “Everybody Wants Some” by Van Halen while a bunch of brainless morons carrying yellow towels sit there wearing ponchos in a heavy mist, if I see and hear that on television you van bet I’m laughing my ass off at it. The Lions aren’t dead in the water yet (they swept the Bears so they’ll own the tiebreaker should both of those teams finish with the same record) but as of right now Pittsburgh is not a place that they like to go – they haven’t won there since 1955.
Eagles 24, Redskins 16
This game right here is the perfect example of who you would want quarterbacking your team and who you would never want quarterbacking your team. And would you believe that the guy with all of the endorsement deals is the second of the two? Listen, the Robert Griffin III experiment may be seriously headed South from here. The Redskins are an inexcusable 3-7 in a division full of pushovers, and they have a decent running back so there’s no reason they should find themselves in this situation. So it was only fitting that he would face a team like the Eagles, who occasionally experience similar problems. Foles and RG3 suffer from the same general problem, but produce entirely different results. Both of them have less protection than a Zambian sex education class, yet for some reason Foles is able to hang in there and do his thing. If you ask me, it’s not even a decision who is the starter in Philly – it ain’t Vick.
Dolphins 20, Chargers 16
The Dolphins got back on track and beat a team that in my mind always deserves it in this theoretically existing football game. Rivers and Tannehill put up essentially the same numbers, but once again when it came down to it Rivers couldn’t finish the job. But the real question is, who made those fish tacos in the picture?
Bengals 41, Browns 20
In one of the uglier games this season the Bengals were able to able to rout the Browns after Andy Dalton’s suburb day of passing for 3 touchdowns and a total of 93 yards. The theme of the day was mistakes as it seemed that almost every of the games 61 points came off of turnovers or ugly special teams play. The Browns went into the second quarter with a 13-0 lead after Dalton threw two interceptions to Joe Haden who completely shut down AJ Green during the course of the game. It seemed at the time that the Bengals were lucky to only be down by 13 points but that was before they were able to rally off 31 straight second quarter points all but putting the game out of reach. Hearing stats like that you would think that Dalton went off on some sort of historic passing run but the points came off an interception by Jason Campbell, two consecutively blocked punts (one returned for a touchdown), and a fumble by Chris Ogbonnaya that was returned for another touchdown. It’s one of those games that could be a rallying point for the Bengals and one that leaves the Browns dazed and confused. The Bengals who desperately needed to win this game now can rest going into their bye while the Browns will welcome their hated rival Steelers into Cleveland.
Saints 23, 49ers 20
So this game has brought significant debate fodder to the table because the 49ers actually should have won. They got nailed for a flag late that end up allowing the Saints to come down the field and tie the game, and eventually do the same thing on their next drive with Garrett Hartley kicking the game winning field goal. This was an important game decided by a questionable call, but as I’ve said before anytime you are playing a marquee name you have to let your defenses know that they are going to get flagged for everything. In this case it was a little bit different because the OT was the one who pushed the DT into Brees, but we all know how the league is when it comes to protecting the quarterback. This was a huge win for the Saints – not only did they beat a beefy 49ers team that jut got Vernon Davis back from that concussion, but they are still only one game behind Seattle in the race for home field advantage in the NFC. The 49ers losing of course is significant because…
Cardinals 27, Jaguars 14
Now the Arizona Cardinals (whom every sportswriter in the country had left for dead) have the same record as San Francisco, making the NFC West a total mess. Carson Palmer had a hell of a day (400 yards) but most importantly he didn’t throw an interception. This one was close at halftime, and it looked like the Cards might let it slip away from them but they regrouped at halftime and stuck it to J-ville like so many teams that have come before them. I want to believe that they can make the playoffs, but I know it’s just the current NFC playoff picture clouding my judgment. They won’t, and that’s a shame because it would make for a great story. Although I still find it hard to root for Carson Palmer because he seems like kind of a dick, I’m hopping on the Cardinals bandwagon and holding on for dear life until they kick me off with metal cleats and there’s so much blood on my hands that I no longer have the grip and get dropped by the side of the road.
Raiders 28, Texans 23
Seattle may have gained ground on San Francisco today, but at the same time they have to be pissed because the Saints are still just one game behind them in the overall race for homefield advantage in the NFC. Holy lord can the Seahawks run the ball…How many other times do you see a team whose starting quarterback has only eighteen attempts run up forty-one points on the scoreboard? This is why they are so good and 10-1: Because they have so many different ways to beat you. Hopefully for their sake, they will polish the deep ball stuff because that’s the type of stuff they are going to need if they end up playing the Saints in a shootout at the end of January. The Vikings got another landmark 125 yard performance out of Christian Ponder, who is slowly becoming the NFL’s longest running fart joke.
Giants 27, Packers 13
I watched this one pretty intensely and I can honestly say that save a few stupid mistakes, the Giants look to be returning to some sort of form. Now, I’m not sure if that shape is anything that will fit into a playoff hole, but I was very impressed at their play in this game. They were playing against a guy who was a greenhorn to say the least, but they had their shit together and won their fourth straight. This means they ARE in fact still in the NFC Least race, and it will be interesting to see how long they can keep this streak going. As for the Packers, they were a team that was held together by their leader and when that leader fell so did the quality of play on the rest of the team. Aaron Rodgers was “The Glue”, the Phil Hartman of the SNL 90’s era that “held the show together”. His skill level and leadership abilities allowed the rest of that team’s holes to plug themselves for just long enough for them to win games against teams like Detroit and Baltimore. Without him, they are completely lost.
Broncos 27, Chiefs 17
It’s that time again…time for the 1972 Miami Dolphins to crack the champagne open because once again they will remain the only team in the Super Bowl era to go through an entire season undefeated. This was the Chiefs’ worst nightmare – it was on the road, and they never led or full had control. The problem with running such a low risk offense (of course) is having a low reward threshold. They didn’t really get things going until it was too late and couldn’t punch it in from the three yard line. And that’s the difference between these two teams – in those situations the Broncos get 7 or 8 and the Chiefs only get three. The Broncos may not win the 2nd matchup at Arrowhead, but they are by far the better team.
Panthers 24, Patriots 20
On paper the Pats beat the daylights of out Carolina. But the final score didn’t really translate, as the Panthers came out ahead and improved to 7-3. Finally the Panthers were able to win in a close game, but the story you’ll be likely hearing all week is how the Patriots were decimated by injuries. So while the real story is how Carolina has a .700 winning percentage, you’re probably not going to hear a lot about that. The Patriots played pretty respectable in the second half, but questions still remain as to whether or not their defense can hold up when it really counts. I’m going to say that Koz isn’t happy with the officiating, but I think if the final call was interference you could make a pretty strong argument that they got it right. Carolina has Miami next, which has to have them foaming at the mouth. For New England, is doesn’t get any easier as Denver comes into town on Sunday night.
Bonus comment of the week:
Meehan: I do understand that the weather in the Bears game had a lot to do with the condition of the field in the time that followed the delay. However, this is the one area where baseball has the upper hand over the NFL. This would never happen in an MLB game, and somebody needs to speak up about the conditions of some of these natural surfaces. I’m tired of hearing the whole “rough and tumble”/gridiron argument with regards to this as well. There were chunks of the field that were completely missing during the Baltimore/Chicago game and there’s no way that you can sell me on the idea that you’re not asking for two locker rooms full of guys with ankle and hip injuries if that’s the surface you’re going to allow the players to play on. I didn’t see one person come out and attempt to attend to any part of the field during the breaks, and the NFL needs to work on that because the other three sports are mopping the floor with their asses in that department.
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Meehan and Coach Ryan