The NFL has created a series of problems that it doesn’t seem to know how to, or want to fix. Announcers, people around water coolers, columnists, radio hosts and beat guys are all talking about no one knows how to define a catch anymore. It started a couple of years ago and was a once a month thing, but not defensive backs rake at the ball as best as they can as soon as it hits the WR hands knowing that even the slightest movement could cause enough of a question that the ball will be ruled incomplete. It’s smart coaching, but when every fan of the NFL is guessing on what is a catch and when every questionable catch goes to review that is a problem and whether they want to or not the NFL needs to solve it.
Same idea, but the number of penalties has become ridiculous. The multiple points of emphasis this season seem to be a joke and in years passed, when a hold happened away from the play it was often disregarded because it didn’t impact the play. Now every play seems over officiated. Which not only hurts the pace of the game, but the flow for a viewer. Despite Ed Hochuli dreaming about America needing to see his face every minute or so the real demand for Hochuli to be on screen is best left to the demographics of his immediate family. The rest of us just want to see football, good football where they let them play for the most part.
|BUF (4-4) @ NYJ (5-3)|
|DET (1-7) @ GB (6-2)||DAL (2-6) @ TB (3-5)|
|CAR (8-0) @ TEN (2-6)||CHI (3-5) @ STL (4-4)|
|NO (4-5) @ WAS (3-5)||MIA (3-5) @ PHI (4-4)|
|CLE (2-7) @ PIT (5-4)||JAC (2-6) @ BAL (2-6)|
|MIN (6-2) @ OAK (4-4)||NE (8-0) @ NYG (5-4)|
|KC (3-5) @ DEN (7-1)|
|ARZ (6-2) @ SEA (4-4)|
|HOU (3-5) @ CIN (8-0)|
GAME NOTES – THURSDAY NIGHT EDITION
The Bills asserted themselves and beat the team they are likely to come down to battling for a playoff spot with. They and the Jets when completely healthy are probably fairly evenly matched. The Bills are a little deeper and can survive more injuries, which proved out. Still too many penalties on Rex Ryan’s club, that needs to be addressed, but as aware of it as Rex seems, he doesn’t seem to care.
Jets defense was supposed to be good this year and the offense was supposed to be decent. On average it has indeed been decent, sometimes very high functioning and sometimes awful. I expect more of the same, even if this surgery helps Ryan Fitzpatrick have better use of his non throwing hand.
- 1-0 for the week, 80-53 for the season.
GAME NOTES – 1 O’CLOCK EDITION
There are problem in Green Bay. The protections are off the WRs look bad (and it’s not just the loss of Jordy Nelson) and the play calling seems to be leaving Aaron Rodgers unsettled. Theoretically I understand what Mike McCarthy is trying to do in getting one of his guys experience in calling the offense, but it has Rodgers looking more awkward and out of place than the night he slid down the draft board and the cameras just kept showing him in the green room.
The Lions has no right to win that game, neither did the Packers so there was a large part of me hoping for a tie. This Lions team is ugly to watch and I don’t know what is going on with Calvin Johnson, but there is a chance he is on the quick sliding downside of his career mountain.
Matt Cassel goes back to the bench and it’s probably a week too late to save the Cowboys season. I called for the defense to win a game on its own with limited help from the offense and it looked like they were going to do just that until they gave up the only TD of the game with under a minute to go.
It’s not going to look pretty in 2015 for the Bucs, but they are in the playoffs if they started today. With the middle and bottom of the league being so mediocre and so seemingly incapable of playing winning football, Jameis Winston, looks like a huge investment just for being able to keep his team in games and for knowing how to at least try and go for the win.
The Panthers are excellent, but they are wearing their defense down. Are they going to be able to hold up in the long run of the rest of the regular season and playoffs? I’m not sold on that fact. Also the Cam Newton diving for TDs is putting your biggest asset on offense, and in reality the one guy you can’t lose, in a perilous (potential cheapshot) situation far too often for my liking.
The Titans are a mess from the ownership down and that simple fact isn’t going away until there is some clarity at the top. Can they win some games? Sure against really bad teams who have an even larger dearth of talent, but even in league where the talent is in a seemingly downward trend, there aren’t a lot of teams with less talent than the Titans.
I’ve said all year that the coaching in Chicago is too good to not see week to week improvements. I didn’t think the talent on defense would be good enough to keep them out of shoot outs, but a funny thing happens when your offense becomes explosive, it becomes easier to defend against the expected pass plays. They aren’t in the very crowded playoff picture in the NFC at the moment, but I don’t think anyone wants to try and defend them, especially when Matt Forte gets back from injury.
The Rams blew a game they should have won at home. They benched their starting QB today, but I’m not laying that loss on the heels of Nick Foles. The defense gave up 2, TWO, 80+ yard screen TDs, and one of them was to a TE. THe defense was just as much a coconspirator in losing to what is a far less talented team.
The Redskins could make wild card weekend very easy for an opponent or very hard. Depends on who they would have to play, IF they sneak into the playoffs. I don’t think they deserve to be there mind you based on both their collection of talent, or the way they have played, but that’s just how it is in the NFL today.
The Saints don’t deserve to even utter the word playoffs with that defense. But again they are hanging around, well most of them are, Rob Ryan was fired, it seemed like twice yesterday. They have replaced him with Dennis Allen who was apparently calling the coverages already, but weren’t the coverages the problem? I also feel that Sean Payton has 1 foot out the door and doesn’t really much care about one final hurrah in New Orleans because of the state of the owner’s health.
It was way too many points to give a finesse Eagles team against a physical Dolphins team. I don’t think the Dolphins are good, or playoff bound, or even good enough to retain Dan Campbell as the head coach, but they have weapons on both sides of the ball and will play spoiler for many a team hoping to get into the playoffs.
Just had the Dolphins play spoiler in their playoff quest. They aren’t good, Sam Bradford doesn’t fit the offense (and now is hurt) and Mark Sanchez is the king of the timely turnover, well not so timely if you are trying to win.
Apparently the Jags shouldn’t have even won, because the refs missed a call. Regardless that was a nasty face mask by the Ravens and a well earned and extremely stupid penalty, so hardly one the Ravens can bitch about too much. This win sets up the Jags for a serious run to the division title in my opinion, more on that tomorrow!
Everything involved in the Ravens season the rest of the way has to be with an eye towards 2016. They have a solid core, but have uncharacteristically drafted poorly the last 2 or 3 years and it is obvious in their lack of depth and talent in certain areas.
- So that’s 5-3 for the 1 o’clock games, 6-3 for the week and 85-56 for the season.
GAME NOTES – 4 O’CLOCK EDITION
I said in the NFL:64 that if Adrian Peterson puts this team on his back for the second half the Vikings can get themselves a first round bye in the playoffs, and Peterson responded with a 200 yard game including an 80 yard TD run to ice the game. Big week ahead versus the reeling Packers could result in a changing of the guard in the NFC North.
The Raiders were probably playing a little over there head, but only a little. I still like them a lot as a team and I think they just ran into the best defense they have faced in a few weeks and they couldn’t keep it going. That is going to happen to young teams here and there, they should be able to rebound the next two weeks against the Lions and the Titans. With the sudden problems in Denver the Raiders have to feel optimistic that they can control their own destiny and get into the playoffs.
It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but an important one in terms of experience building. Brady needed to throw that bad interception late. This team needed to remind themselves of the fact that they aren’t infallible even during the Tom Brady fuck you tour. They overcame not only the adversity that the Giants gave them a hell of a game, but that they lost Julian Edelman and figured out how to still move the ball enough to let Stephen Gostkowski ply his trade.
A hard loss for the Giants that they should have won. Some poor decision making down the stretch, but aggressive decisions and if you are going to go for the knockout, I say go for the knockout. They are still the odds on favorite for the NFC East and I’m not entirely sure they aren’t a serious contender for the NFC title after seeing their pass rush come to life against the Pats.
It’s ironic and awful that on the day Peyton Manning achieves an amazing career record he has a performance he would like to forget ASAP as he was benched. The defense was also a shell of the unit that had previously kept the Broncos in games while it’s offense struggled. A simple loss, even a blow out, wouldn’t cause as much alarm in me as these two back to back losses and the potential loss of Peyton Manning for the season. Maybe Brock Osweiler is the man, or at least better than hurt Manning, but I don’t see him taking the Broncos to the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs are coming and coming strong. Alex Smith is running for first downs at a very effective rate. The defense is forcing mistakes like they were expected to when the season began and they have made up some nice ground to get back to playoff relevancy.
- So that’s 2-1 for the 4 o’clock game, 8-4 for the week, and 87-57 for the season.
GAME NOTES – SUNDAY NIGHT EDITION
The Cardinals went into Seattle and shut up the 12th man. Not for the whole game, but for long enough to take a commanding lead of the NFC West. Plenty to work on, but plenty of time to do it while getting ready for the playoffs.
Paying for all that talent has left them without the depth that allowed them to maintain the defensive intensity that has been the hallmark of their dominance the past few years. (I feel like I’ve typed a sentence like that every week for the Seahawks.) The offense needs some sort of overhaul and Russell Wilson is starting to look like he wasn’t worth the money. I think that is a function of the offense as a whole, but it has to be a bit unsettling if you are a Seahawks fan who felt you were entering a golden age.
- So that’s a win on Sunday night, 9-4 for the week, and 88-57 for the season.
GAME NOTES – MONDAY NIGHT EDITION
Well the Bengals have had a hiccup. Drops, a fumble on what should have been a first down catch that would have allowed the Bengals to take 4 shots to win the game and some very poor offensive line play. There were downs it looked like the offensive lineman just gave up. On one screen late in the 4th the center was so slow to get to his assignment that he blew the play up for a 4 yard loss. To be clear the center wasn’t tied up blocking someone to get the pass off, he just hadn’t moved at all and the guy ran right by him. If you are an offensive lineman and you don’t block a single soul on a screenplay you should be benched immediately.
The Texans defense is starting to look like the defense that everyone expected to see early on and that must be a scary proposition going forward for the Colts and Jags. I don’t know that the Texans offense is worth a damn, but if they find some lightning in a bottle they could pretty easily win that division.
- So the Monday night loss makes me 9-5 for the week and 88-58 for the year.
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