NFL Week 11 Recap: 5 Things I Think
The easy headline from a strange Week 11 is probably the dominance of Minnesota against fellow NFC stalwart Los Angeles, but that wasn’t a particularly interesting game so I don’t feel compelled to write about it. Here are five items I am mulling over on Thanksgiving Monday though:
1- Brad, Chris, and Danny are CLEARLY to blame for Kansas City’s struggles the last month and a half
Early season NFL darlings, the Kansas City Chiefs, played their worst game of the season yesterday losing a dreadful OT game to the Giants in which they failed to score a touchdown. With their fourth loss in five outings, we’re all left wondering, “What’s happened to KC?” The answer is simple: SportsIntel happened. In the last few weeks on the site we have talked about Kareem Hunt for ROY, Alex Smith for MVP, and even entertained the notion that they might be Super Bowl bound. We sincerely apologize to the Chiefs and their fans. We promise to start lavishing more praise on the Patriots, Steelers, and Eagles to try and even things out.
2- The best team in the football-happy state of Florida is . . .
Having had the pleasure of writing a few paragraphs of pregame analysis on the Miami-Tampa match up this week, I feel confident in pronouncing the Jacksonville Jaguars the best team in Florida (unless it’s the Miami Hurricanes . . . kidding!). Jacksonville struggled but finally won a two-score game over the Cleveland Browns on the road this week. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I saw anything in that game that tells me the Jags are destined for greatness, buuuuuuuuut they did show me that they can win ugly and that their defense is going to travel. If KC continues to slide and Jacksonville wins the 3rd seed in the AFC, they would likely host someone like the Chargers or Bills in the Wild Card round and then hit the road for a game at Pittsburgh in the divisional round. For extra credit, who can tell me what happened in Week 5 when the Jags played at the Steelers? Jacksonville intercepted Big Ben FIVE times, Fournette ran for 181 yards and 2 TDs, and the Jags delivered the worst whooping of the season for the black and gold (30-9 at home; it seriously happened). I get that a playoff game would be different, but you have to admit that the Jags would go in with at least a little confidence. I’m just sayin’ . . .
3- Altitude, the kicking game, and the current odds-on Super Bowl match up
I wish I had been counting the number of times Nantz and Romo talked about the altitude in Mexico City on Sunday. I admit that I fell into it too in my Week 11 picks, but man, sports media really ran that narrative into the ground. The Patriots are the Patriots everywhere and the Raiders could have trained at the top of Mount Everest all week and it wouldn’t have mattered. Other than the ease with which Vinatieri drilled that 62-yard field goal and the ease with which Belichick let him attempt it, I don’t think the altitude really factored in that much. While we’re on the kicking game, the Eagles have me convinced that we don’t need kickers anymore. What’s more fun? Watching Vinatieri kick 3-pointers from the other side of mid-field or watching the Eagles go for it every single time like some teenagers playing Madden? I think we all know. By the way, it’s convenient that these two squads were polar opposites in the kicking game this week, cause it kinda looks like they’re on a Super Bowl collision course.
4- The Ugly, The Bad, and The Good – Quarterbacks Edition
In the spirit of positivity, we’re going in reverse order here. “The Ugly” goes to Buffalo rookie Nathan Peterman. For some reason the Bills decided to give the young’n his first career start: 1- in a road game, 2- as underdog, 3- against a team with a fierce pass rush. He attempted 14 passes, completing 6 to his own team and 5 to the Chargers (mericfully the other three fell harmlessly to the ground). With a tragic QBR of 17.3, he was benched in the second half of the 54-24 blowout loss. When asked after the game if he regretted the decision to start Peterman, Coach Sean McDermott said, “I don’t regret the decision. I regret the result.” Well said, Coach.
“The Bad” goes to the person that Green Bay started under center this week (have not been able to confirm that he is actually a quarterback). Brett Hundley looked completely lost in tossing three INTs and taking SIX sacks against the Ravens at Lambeau Field yesterday. The Pack were shut out at home for the first time in exactly 11 years. At 5-5 the Packers aren’t out of the Wild Card race, but with Hundley as their signal caller, the ceiling seems extremely low. In fact it’s starting to feel like 6-10 is in play so maybe the biggest remaining goal is NOT to lose at Cleveland in Week 14. Get well soon, A-Rod.
There were some dynamite performances yesterday by the usual suspects so I am going off the board for “The Good” pick. Tom Savage, this one is for you, buddy. He turned the ball over twice, but other than that he played a damn fine game as the Texans got a home win against Arizona. Indeed he played the best game of his career posting a 97.1 QBR, keeping the team in manageable down and distance situations, tossing two TD passes, and avoiding the soul-crushing mistakes he had come to be known for.
5- “All a prevent defense does is prevent you from winning.” -John Madden
Some people are gonna blame Gruden while others blame a losing mentality on defense. I don’t know where the fault lies or if it’s even that simple a thing to assign. What I do know is that when you have a 99.6% win probability in the 4th quarter, you HAVE to win that game, no excuses. As a matter of fact, there really is no narrative we can generate that says more than the jaw dropping numbers, so please see below. YOUCH!
Lucky Week 11 BONUS! The old Georgia Dome was demolished today marking the second largest implosion in Falcon’s team history. (Stole that joke from Twitter, but it’s good and deserves all the run it can get!) Farewell to the only facility in history to host the Olympics, the Super Bowl, AND the Final Four.