NFL Summation: Week 12

Summationweek12It is long overdue for the NFL to make officials full time employees. I realize they at most work 24 games a year, but how is this not as great an integrity issue as potentially deflated footballs? Would it be crazy for me to suggest that because the Broncos went for the field goal instead of the TD and cut the lead to 4 when the spread was 3, that any official who may have bet the Bronco’s plus 3 had a vested interest in seeing the Bronco’s score again?

Officials aren’t allowed to bet you say? Of course they aren’t, but that doesn’t mean they don’t. Anyone remember NBA official Tim Donaghy betting on games he was officiating? And he was a full time official. It’s not like betting is something that you can do a Google search and find out if someone is doing it. Making the NFL officials full time makes them more of a partner and allows you to control their training. Would it be cheap? No. Will it solve the problem of the human element being involved? No. Will it make it look like the NFL cares more about their product and how it is officiated. Yes. Will it be a step toward “protecting the shield” sure because you can hold these officials more responsible for misconduct and poor calls.

Will it have an impact on ratings? Not in the least. People are watching the NFL with reckless abandon that is why the NFL doesn’t give a shit. All that “protect the shield” and “integrity of the game” crap is just that, crap spewed by the mouths of NFL officials to try and satisfy the media and fans crying out for a more perfect on field game experience. The NFL would only be interested if a perfect on field game experience if it somehow made them more money, and I can’t see a way to do that, so Goodell will go on with his bullshit “integrity of the game” propaganda. The NFL is a Leni Riefenstahl film away from convincing Americans that they can’t do wrong.

 

Thanksgiving
PHI (4-6) @ DET (3-7) CAR (10-0) @ DAL (3-7) CHI (4-6) @ GB (7-3)
Sun 1pm
NO (4-6) @ HOU (5-5) STL (4-6) @ CIN (8-2) MIN (7-3) @ ATL (6-4)
NYG (5-5) @ WAS (4-6) TB (5-5) @ IND (5-5) BUF (5-5) @ KC (5-5)
OAK (4-6) @ TEN (2-8) SD (2-8) @ JAC (4-6) MIA (4-6) @ NYJ (5-5)
Sun 4pm
ARZ (8-2) @ SF (3-7) PIT (6-4) @ SEA (5-5)
Sun 8pm
NE (10-0) @ DEN (8-2)
Mon
BAL (3-7) @ CLE (2-8)

GAME NOTES – THANKSGIVING EDITION

Lions (3-7) 24, Eagles (4-6) 13
Lions (4-7) 45, Eagles (4-7) 14

As well as the Lions are playing I still don’t think Jim Caldwell is a good coach. I think there is a pride switch the Lions as players switched on. Maybe it has to do with them wanting to get paid or keep jobs going forward. Maybe is has to do with them taking pride in their work. One thing is for sure, they weren’t as bad as they played earlier and the other is that they aren’t as good as they’ve looked of late. Caldwell should still be replaced.

Eagles fans want Kelly gone, but he still has a 24-18 record as an NFL head coach. The 4-6 record as a GM is what is troublesome. That can be fixed though. If Kelly brings in someone to help him get control of the personnel and one of those personele is a QB that fits the Kelly offense this team can be good again quick.

Panthers (10-0) 38, Cowboys (3-7) 24
Panthers (11-0) 33, Cowboys (3-8) 14

I don’t know why the spread was where it was, and I almost signed up for every site that was giving the Panthers points to make that bet. I ended up not doing that, but I should have. I wouldn’t be rich right now, but I could have paid some bills! The Panthers are shaping up as not only the number 1 seed, but the team no one wants to play, which is something that isn’t always true.

Tony Romo lost again. Hard to say what you can expect from the Cowboys now. Do they tank and go for a high pick? That doesn’t sound like something Jerry Jones would be all about, but he is smart enough to realize when he needs to make adjustments, and he needs to make adjustments here. I don’t think this is all coincidence either. Karma has fallen the Cowboys in the wake of the Greg Hardy signing and all the weight of that bad karma has fallen directly on Romo’s collarbone.

Packers (7-3) 34, Bears (4-6) 24
Bears (5-6) 17, Packers (7-4) 13

Oh how the mighty have fallen in Green Bay. They won their must win game against the Vikings last week and then stunk away a game against a Bears team that while they have steadily gotten better, week in, week out (something I said would happen) and have gotten much better (another thing I said would happen), still don’t have the talent the Packers do. The Packers should win that game going away, especially at home.

Good on the Bears and John Fox. They have really developed some nice system players and could sneak into the playoffs. I don’t see them running the table to get to 10 wins, but they should beat the 49ers, the Redskins (at home, Redskins stink on the road), Bucs and Lions. That’s 4-1 in their last 5 and a 9-7 season. Leaps and bounds better than most thought they could achieve.

  • 2-1 for the week, 97-68 for the season.

GAME NOTES – 1 O’CLOCK EDITION

Pick
Actual

Texans (5-5) 34, Saints (4-6) 16
Texans (6-5) 24, Saints (4-7) 6

The Texans were as dead as a knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, but apparently they felt it was just a flesh wound, and have all climbed on JJ Watt’s back and rode him back not only to AFC South relevance, but to serious AFC playoff contention in the sense that NO opposing team wants to see Watt leading the Texans out of the tunnel in January.

WIthout any real settlement of the ownership situation and the competency of the owner, plus Drew Brees being a free agent and Sean Payton seemingly wanting out of time the Saints have lots to do ahead of 2016, but how do they go about that? It should be fairly fascinating and if they can get some draft picks for Payton they should in a heartbeat because there is a dearth of talent all over the Saints roster.

Pick
Actual

Bengals (8-2) 31, Rams (4-6) 10
Bengals (9-2) 31, Rams (4-7) 7

The Bengals did what good teams do, and they have failed to do only once this year, take care of business at home against a bad team with a bad QB. It also is starting to look like not being able to move the ball against the Texans wasn’t the indictment that it looked like in the moment. They have a path to the #2 seed in the AFC if they can beat Denver at home in week 16.

The Rams have some great pieces on defense and some nice play makers on offense, but they have no QB and that is killing their ability to do anything very well. I’m putting a lot of this at the feet of Jeff Fisher who loves to troll Washington about getting all those pics for Robert Griffin III, but guess what, Redskins are leading their (horrible) division and the Rams have 1 QB with a winning record since 2003. And that’s a kid who is 4-1. Terrible history.

Pick
Actual

Vikings (7-3) 27, Falcons (6-4) 13
Vikings (8-3) 20, Falcons (6-5) 10

The Vikings went into a place that should have been hostile and dominated. They eviscerated the Falcons defense with Adrian Peterson avenging his poor performance against Green Bay the prior week and Teddy Bridgewater doing enough to move the chains consistently. The Vikings defense was stout against what can be an explosive offense and turned them over multiple times in multiples ways. A solid top of the conference performance for the Vikings who again took hold of the NFC North.

It has been a terrible month and a half for the Falcons and I don’t know what they can do to fix it. Even when Devonta Freeman was running all over opponents they still weren’t winning. The defense is ok, but can’t stop elite talents. They have no chance to catch the Panthers so they need to stay in the wild card race with a win next week against the Bucs, but that is no small task.

Pick
Actual

Giants (5-5) 44, Redskins (4-6) 38
Redskins (5-6) 20, Giants (5-6) 10

Well the Giants of the beginning of the season showed up and threw away a division title they could have waltzed to. Eli Manning threw 2 tipped INTs that are hard to hold against him and 1 bad INT. He also threw into double coverage multiple times to guys no named Odell Beckham Jr. The crazy part was ODB was in single coverage on those throws. Ridiculous. The NFC East has become such a sad dog fight that even Michael Vick wouldn’t bet on it.

The Redskins got up and then stopped scoring. Not to be mean, but despite being the NFC East leader they aren’t good enough on defense to sit on leads and it almost cost them. While the Giants never really got a chance to throw the ball into the end zone, after the catch ODB made, had they had a chance I’m guessing that kid comes down with it, because why would you bet against that?

Pick
Actual

Buccaneers (5-5) 24, Colts (5-5) 17
Colts (6-5) 25, Buccaneers (5-6) 12

I was disappointed with the Bucs performance here. Maybe Jameis Winston has started to hit the rookie wall. Maybe Lovie Smith has reverted back to his poor coaching ways. Either way the Bucs defense let them down and can’t expect a rookie QB to bail them out each week.

Matt Hasselbeck is 4-0 as a starter in 2015. This is ridiculous. If he was capable of being 4-0 as a starter why wasn’t he bucking for a starting job in Houston, Cleveland, St. Louis, New York Jets, in the off season. Regardless Hasselbeck has the Colts in position to win their division and the question becomes does Andrew Luck get his job back in 2015? In no way do I think the future QB of the Colts is anyone but Luck, but who makes them better in 2015 has become a legitimate question.

Pick
Actual

Chiefs (5-5) 24, Bills (5-5) 10
Chiefs (6-5) 30, Bills (5-6) 22

I thought the Chiefs would play a little better, but they might have found themselves looking past the Bills a bit. The defense got their act together and held Sammy Watkins more in check and the offense was able to move the ball almost at will in the second half. They are on the fast track to the playoffs now and I’m fairly certain that no one want to play a Chiefs team that has Alex Smith throwing downfield to Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce.

My Friend Craig is a mess over how poorly the Bills have been playing. He thinks the Rex Ryan and Tyrod Taylor pairing was a mistake and while I’m pretty sure he is right, they will both be back next year unless something crazy happens as the season comes to a close. They are severely depleted on the defensive line and that has a lot to do with their inability to control the clock like they did in the first weeks of the season. So Rex and Tyrod will start 2016 together, but if they are bad they won’t like be around long.

Pick
Actual

Raiders (4-6) 24, Titans (2-8) 10
Raiders (5-6) 24, Titans (2-9) 21

The Raiders are back on the win wagon. Is it too little too late? I’m not sure. It probably is and we will see a lot better Wednesday when we break down the playoff pictures. They bounced back against a bad Titans team who pushed them to the edge but a 4th quarter victory, even against a bad team, is a character builder.

There were some bright spots for the Titans. I mean not a lot and it has to be a bit discouraging to know that you are going to be picking at the top of the draft 2 seasons in a row.

Pick
Actual

Jaguars (4-6) 35, Chargers (2-8) 17
Chargers (3-8) 31, Jaguars (4-7) 25

The Jaguars red zone issues cost them this game. There is a huge problem somewhere along the offensive line because the Chargers give up running TDs like they are free lollipops at the bank. Also only 9 carries for your RB? Twice your QB gets called for illegal forward passes for throwing the ball past the line of scrimmage at on inside the 5 yard line? I know the Jags aren’t “there” yet, but they have played much better than this in 2015.

Not a lot to cheer for in San Diego even the powder blue uniform tops and the Super Chargers songs is doing anything for Chargers fans. Philip Rivers played well as did Antonio Gates, the defense was ok and very good in the red zone, but I don’t know if that is them getting better or that Jags being terrible. It doesn’t really matter, all this win did was cost them draft position.

Pick
Actual

Dolphins (4-6) 24, Jets (5-5) 20
Jets (6-5) 38, Dolphins (4-7) 20

The Jets came out firing against the Dolphins and the Phins couldn’t do anything to stop it. While it wasn’t a very pretty win for the Jets, it was effective and keeps them solidly in the playoff hunt. Ryan Fitzpatrick looked very good again and as streaky as he is this could be a sign of him heating up. It is also no coincidence that the team is better when Brandon Marshall is heavily involved in the offense. The defense was pretty good even without Darrelle Revis, although Jarvis Landry did have his way with the Phins.

The Dolphins had looked ok and I thought they were in a place to make their season count. Turns out somewhere in the organization how to attack opposing defense differed and they have no fired their original head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator. I smell a lot of Mike Tannenbaum’s influence here in these decisions and while I don’t think Dan Campbell is ready to be the head man permanently, if you could bring in someone with a great depth of head coaching experience and scheming for Campbell to lean on, they could make it work because he does strike me as capable in terms of motivating men. I don’t know who that is, but maybe a guy like Mike Smith could come in, run the defense and be the assistant head coach.

  • So that’s 5-4 for the 1 o’clock games, 7-5 for the week and 103-70 for the season.

GAME NOTES – 4 O’CLOCK EDITION

Pick
Actual

Cardinals (8-2) 42, 49ers (3-7) 14
Cardinals (9-2) 19, 49ers (3-8) 13

The Cardinals got scared and shut down by the 49ers. They did enough to win, but that was barely it. The RBs leaving hurt, but they should have been able to spread and throw the ball with ease and they stumbled around, even forcing Carson Palmer to scramble for a TD. It wasn’t a pretty sight. After winning in Seattle they need to be sure this was a simple blip on the road and not a sign that they can be beaten away from the Arizona desert.

Life from the 49ers shows up in confusing and unexpected places in 2015. The defense shows the intelligence of Eric Mangini at times but is horribly inconsistent, much like his uneven teams in New York and Cleveland. The offense is the disappointing part. Which should be unexpected at this point with the lack of skill at the stud positions. Colin Kaepernick and Carlos Hyde has turned into Blaine Gabbert and Shaun Draughn. It’s not the same in anyway, shape, or form and it wa evident.

Pick
Actual

Seahawks (5-5) 24, Steelers (6-4) 21
Seahawks (6-5) 39, Steelers (6-5) 30

I thought this would be the game of the day and it certainly was. Two storied franchises best known for defense shooting it out each scoring in the 30s. The Seahawks held off the Steelers thanks in large part to Richard Sherman showing up at just the right moments, something he hadn’t done yet in 2015. Losing Jimmy Graham hurts the 2015 prospects as he finally showed up and made some great plays, but the Seahawks will go as far as the defense is able to take them.

The Steelers offense was great, but the defense allowed Doug Baldwin to break a tackle and run for a long TD to ice the game. It was a disappointing end to a game that a neutral observer wanted to see the Steelers vertical passing game have a chance at a last final drive to win. I’ve said it before, no one wants the Steelers walking through their door in the first round of the playoffs.

  • So that’s 2-1 for the 4 o’clock game, 9-5 for the week, and 104-70 for the season.

GAME NOTES – SUNDAY NIGHT EDITION

Pick
Actual

Patriots (10-0) 21, Broncos (8-2) 17
Broncos (9-2) 30, Patriots (10-1) 24

To be clear, I don’t care that the Patriots lost a game, I care that the game wasn’t played on a level playing field. And while I understand there is a modicum of evidence in some of those calls, specifically the 4th quarter Rob Gronkowski and the Patrick Chung pass interference calls, neither should have been called. It was over officiating. The Chung call was amazingly egregious because not only was the sack already in progress, but there was a safety playing cover 2 zone underneath the route Demaryius Thomas was running. Brock Osweiler was never throwing there because of the safety, it had nothing to do with the coverage by Chung. It was also a half assed route by Thomas.

It’s a great win for the Broncos in terms of team building because they can build on it, and it makes the defense feel that Osweiler can do enough for them to win. I still don’t know if this offense is any good though. They exploited the Pats beat up linebacking core and the weather by running sweeps, a very smart and effective strategy, but it doesn’t mean they can move the ball against good defenses.

  • So that’s a win on Sunday night, 9-6 for the week, and 104-71 for the season.

GAME NOTES – MONDAY NIGHT EDITION

Pick
Actual

Ravens (3-7) 38, Browns (2-8) 28
Ravens (4-7) 33, Browns (2-9) 27

I know the Ravens are decimated by injuries, but the distractions and poor organization of the Browns was too much for me to not take the points, let alone not think the Ravens would win outright. matt Schaub still isn’t a good QB, and he lived up to his pick 6 status by throwing another, but I felt he should be good enough to beat the Browns. Let alone that John Harbaugh is far superior coach to Mike Pettine.

Well now that Josh McCown has caught the Tony Romo broken collarbone disease the Browns again have to decide if they should play Johnny Manziel. At 2-9 they should indeed just play. He can’t embarrass your organization anymore unless he pulls a Greg Hardy or Rae Carruth and even the police didn’t think there was anything to his side of hte road arguement with his girlfriend. He is a party guy. Mickey Mantle, Joe Namath were the same type of guy, but they played in different eras when everyone didn’t have a video camera in their pocket and was looking to get paid by selling some video of a famous person doing something stupid for a few bucks. I mean honestly Mickey Mantle, (for my money the greatest complete baseball player of all-time considering his injury history both on the field and in the bars) never would have gotten a shot in this generation. And that is a shame. Was he a troubled individual with an addiction certainly, but he was still performing at the highest level and Yankees fans got to enjoy it despite his off field antics. Johnny Football is never going to be as good an NFL QB as Mantle was a baseball player, but in his last start he started to show some signs of being a capable NFL QB. I’m not condoning his lying to the Browns, but 22 year olds are stupid, and don’t want to get in trouble. Give him a shot Cleveland, what do you have to lose?

  • So the Monday night loss makes me 10-6 for the week and 105-71 for the year.

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