|Posted by Radatz on December 4, 2017 at 12:15 AM|
And just like that, this so far fairly forgettable season is 3/4 over. Five, maybe six divisions feature unpredicted leaders. The AFCW, once considered the strongest division in the AFC if not the NFL, has sunk into mediocrity with the one team not considered seriously having the momentum. Only in the AFCE and the AFCN does some degree of normalcy reign. A few familiar and heretofore stumbling forces, one in each conference, reared their ugly heads in a cry for normalcy too. Where's Warren Harding?
Change of the power ranking guard on top? Prince Harry had highlights but made a big mistake (as did his coach) while Case won a big road matchup and Brady rolled in a typical divisional uglyfest. Pitt will be expected to hold serve on Monday and that'll be 4 teams at 10-2. Guessing the Champs get the nod this week. That bears some mention. Compare the team to that which won the Super Bowl 10 months ago. No Ninkovich, Hightower, Ryan, Long, Sheard, McClellin, Coleman, Cannon, Edelman, Bennett, Hogan, Blount, Mitchell, Garoppolo, Brissett... plus many more. Either hurt or gone. That's a lotta turnover. Records at this point? Identical.
NO 31 CAR 21: A late score made it look close. The onside kick that followed was grabbed by Funchess... but out of bounds. Rivera disagreed, but the 9th Circuit Court wasn't available to reverse the decision. Ron apparently thought the NFL was going to job everybody for him like they did the Jets. Quite the RB show by NO, but they won for three basic reasons: first, Brees is better than Newton. Second, Payton is smarter than Rivera. Third, Carolina isn't really all that great. Saints are 9-3.
NE 23 BUF 3: BB didn't mention Brady after an average game in the wind but he was good enough, the running game was good and the defense was better. Tyrod, who marched the Bills near the goal line on the first series before tossing a pick to old Buffalo practice squader Lee (who subbed for Flowers and starred for NE), watched the end from the sidelines with a bum knee. A NE flurry in the 3rd removed any doubt. The whole story for the paparazzi was Gronkowski drilling White. NE goes to 10-2. Amazing stat of this game? Brady is now tied for the most wins since 2001 by a QB --- in Buffalo. Including QBs who played for Buffalo. The one Buffalo QB in that span with 14 wins (like Brady) is old teammate Drew Bledsoe.
LAR 32 ARI 16: I had no doubt what would happen here, did you? The Rams are the NFC's stealth juggernaut at 9-3. Still a game up in the NFCW. Can they hold on? Next week it's Philly. Then at Seattle. We'll see, that's for sure.
NYJ 38 KC 31: Alex will probably get some blame but 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 136 QBR, 31 points? What else do you need to beat the Jets? A defense? Coach perhaps? Alex may have a tinge of Clutch Disease, but so do his teammates. We know the host of that pathogen. Still in first on a tiebreaker. Doesn't seem possible.
BAL 44 DET 20: After spotting Baltimore a 20-point lead, the Lions fought back but not enough. Sound familiar? Sound like they need a coach? They need something. The Stafford Era is just about drawing to a close. What a waste. And he got his hand stomped on. Meanwhile, the Ravens are looking more like their old selves lately and are in the wild card as of now. Probably for good. Who's gonna take them out? Nobody but themselves.
DAL 38 WAS 14: Well, we learned Washington was a mirage. The Boys? They're a mirage too. Just a better mirage. The wildcard situation says too little too late.
MIN 14 ATL 9: No mirage here. Except maybe Atlanta. The team nobody was going to beat this year. Still good. but not that good. Minny goes to 10-2 with Case. Atlanta? 7-5 and out of the wildcard as of right now.
SF 15 CHI 14: Was that a typo? Trubisky continued to progress but ran into Garoppolo. Maybe he'll actually make a difference, against Da Bears at least. Both teams finally have some promise it seems. Biggest question for most was whether Garoppolo would survive a good Bear D without getting hurt. He did.
GB 26 TB 20: The return of Winston. Gets beat by Hundley. What you draw from that is a topic for conjecture. The Pack is with the Boys --- 2 games out of the WC.
JAX 30 IND 10: What you draw from this is simple. The Jags are better than the Colts. Surprise. Blake went over 300 yards. Breakout or just the Colts? More conjecture there. Tiebreakered out of first, JAX leads the WC pack.
MIA 35 DEN 9: Denver scored one TD, courtesy of Cutler. He wasn't so magnanimous the rest of the way. Has Elway given the tank order? Maybe he doesn't have to.
TEN 24 HOU 13: Savage threw for 365 to Mariota's 150. You'd think it should have been closer. Tennessee still stinks. And is still in first place. And is somehow 8-4.
OAK 24 NYG 17: By the end it was obvious that Eli would have won the game, but with this typically unimpressive performance the Raiders actually moved into a 3-way tie for first in the increasingly tepid AFCW.
LAC 19 CLE 10: This was anything but a tour-de-force for the Chargers but they won, give 'em that. And (as mentioned above) it moved them into a 3-way tie in the now officially lousy AFCW. They're actually the hottest team in that mediocre fire drill which has diminishing hope of producing a WC.
SEA 24 PHI 10: So much for the unbeatable Eagles. The Homehawks sliced through the defense, and Philly gagged on two huge plays --- one with Wentz barreling into the end zone and having the ball knocked loose for a touchback, the other on an obvious Wilson forward lateral late in the game for a first down when Philly needed a stop --- and didn't challenge?!? An easy clinching TD followed, and the shield was tarnished. Seattle buffers its hold on a WC (at least). Philly stays in first in the NFCE by a mile but now barely trails Minnesota for top seed, with those early close wins over the NYG and LAC (plus the loss to KC) looking less like ancient historical anomalies.
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