I didn’t think it would be possible this season for any division to sink below the depths of the dreadful AFC South, that hell hole of a football hades where teams with 2-7 records were still in contention. The Tennessee Titans?! Egads.
But lo and behold, in the last couple of weeks, the Colts have turned things around and the incredibly bad Houston Texans have turned into the incredibly slightly above average Houston Texans. Not only is the AFC South going to put an over .500 team in the playoffs, right now they’ve got an extra team in contention for one of the wildcard spots. Holy muncroli!
In its place, the NFC East has quietly surpassed the AFC South in SUCK. The consensus worst team in the division, the Washington RacialSlurs, who have a borderline NFL player at quarterback in Kirk Cousins, are now in first place. The Cowboys are in total freefall, granted it’s because of injury, but they may not win again. They’re only made to look acceptable by the even more dreadful Philadelphia Eagles, who WILL NOT win again this year.
Even the New York Giants, the presumptive winners by default, have found multiple ways to blow game after game. The 5-6 Giants could easily be 9-2, having blown late leads against Atlanta, Dallas, Philadelphia & New England. That they also lost to garbage Washington isn’t even factored into the equation. Someone shoot the NFC East and put it out of its misery. Please?! In the alternative, this is a continuation of my previous argument about either getting rid of or contracting NFL divisions. These teams do not belong in the playoffs.
This Week’s Sucked And Won
Frank Gore, RB (IND): The Colts win over the Bucs was closer than the 25-12 final score might indicate, and a big problem for Indianapolis was the futility of their running game, highlighted by Gore’s 24 yards on 19 carries. You certainly can’t accuse them of not sticking with the run, it just never worked. At all.
Remember John Madden giving out the turkey leg from the Madden Cruiser on Thanksgiving every year. If he was still around doing games, this year’s recipient would definitely have been Lions LB DE Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, who recorded 4 tackles and 3.5 sacks in the Lions’ blowout win over the Eagles.
Shocking Realization of the Week
When his Seahawks beat the Steelers on Sunday 39-30, it marked the first time Russell Wilson has won a game in which his defense gave up 25 points or more. He was 0 for the previous 13 occasions.
This week’s catch of the day doesn’t go to a receiver at all. Instead, Panthers LB Luke Kuechly gets the nod for his over the shoulder interception of Tony Romo in the first half of Carolina’s win over Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. That was way too pretty a catch for a linebacker to make, but it was just 1 of XXXX interceptions by Kuechly, who was apparently trying to show off his finer skills instead of just tackling the hell out of people.
This Week’s Great But Lost
Odell Beckham Jr., WR (NYG): Beckham’s 9 catches for 142 yards and a TD edges out equally stellar numbers from the Bills’ Sammy Watkins, because of his remarkable touchdown catch, which featured full extension fingertip control of the ball and then maintaining possession as he slammed into the ground. As my son pointed out, it was like a great catch by a baseball outfielder, only barehanded and with a big, oblong, difficult to handle ball.
Word out of New England is that Rob Gronkowski’s injury, which looked awfully bad when he was being carted off the field in the 4th quarter of the Patriots’ loss to Denver on Sunday, is actually not that serious, and Gronk will probably only miss a game, maybe two. That’s especially good news for Tom Brady. If you take a look at Brady’s numbers in 2013, when Gronkowski was sidelined for 9 games with injury, you’ll see that his passer rating was 10 points lower than in the year before and after. Similarly, he had more touchdowns and fewer interceptions in both the year before and after. While his yardage totals were roughly the same, Brady also took a significantly higher number of sacks in the year Gronk wasn’t there. That’s because Gronkowski’s demands attention from the best athletes the defense can put on the field, meaning those guys aren’t rushing the passer.
Mark it down here, if Gronkowski DOES wind up missing significant time, it will completely take apart the Patriots offense. They will have no better chance without Gronk than they would if Brady himself went down.
Thursday Pick: Green Bay (-3) @Detroit (Westgate Superbook)
How convenient that both of these teams played last Thursday as well. For once the NFL did something smart and allowed two teams to match up evenly in terms of rest. Meanwhile, the Packers are poison right now. You can’t pick them, they’re in a dreadful slump and can’t beat anyone. You can’t pick against them either. At any moment, they could break out of this and torch somebody for 50 points. I wouldn’t bet this game. You shouldn’t either.
Green Bay Packers 27 Detroit Lions 21
“Jim Bob and I have a good relationship. He’s a smart guy. He communicates well with the guys on our offense. He’s young in his job, but he’s not afraid. He’s aggressive. That’s fun. That rubs off on guys when a guy is aggressive and trusts us to go out and make good decisions.”
— Lions QB Matt Stafford, on sometimes maligned offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. For the record, this also is probably the first time ever that someone with a name as dumb as “Jim Bob Cooter” has been called “smart.”
“I get it. We’re at their place. That’s what the referee said to me and I can’t argue that. If it would have been at our place, it wouldn’t have been a big deal.”
— Panthers CB Josh Norman, on a late game celebration penalty he drew against Dallas.
“It felt good, it really felt good and the way it happened, it was like a walk-off home run.”
— Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders, on CJ Anderson’s 48 yard game winning touchdown run in overtime.
“It’s always nice to go on the road and clear out a stadium.”
— Vikings LB Chad Greenway, on his team’s impact on the Atlanta crowd.
“This is not a good goode decision by Eli Man Penguin Boy.”
— closed caption transcript of Darryl Johnston’s commentary during the Washington/Giants game. Can we PLEASE all start calling Eli Manning “Penguin Boy?” PLEASE?
“Anyone implies that it’s an effort then they issue can kiss my ass. There is no effort problem with this team. That’s what happens when you lose four in a row. People say it’s effort. It’s not an effort issue. It’s execution.”
— Rams coach Jeff Fisher, after a blowout loss to Cincinnati.
“I’ve been in this league long enough to know if you win in November and December, you give yourself a chance.”
— Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson, on Kansas City getting hot at the right time.
“Right when we were about to go on the field, the docs started checking him out. I don’t know what they were saying, but for like, brain stuff it’s better to be more safe than sorry.”
— Steelers backup QB Landry Jones, explaining how starter Ben Roethlisberger was unable to finish Sunday’s game at Seattle because of, like, brain stuff.