Impressions from Week Eleven of the 2015 NFL Season

Not to sound like I’m piling on here, but OH MY GOD WHAT A HORRIBLE WEEK OF OFFICIATING! Has it always been this bad? Is this what people have been seeing week after week? If that’s the case, I don’t know how people can continue to not think the game’s fixed. Goodness gracious.

But controversial subject matter aside, this week somewhat shifted the power in both conferences, as teams that were once the underfoot of the NFL are suddenly becoming the teams to beat, and vice versa. A number of teams are on long winning streaks and long losing streaks. The end of the regular season should be an interesting one.

TENN @ JAX

Tennessee at Jacksonville

  • (Watched, incorrect)

To put it frankly, Tennessee just played far too conservatively in the fourth quarter. They were only up a single possession and they decided to run, run, run, when their running game was ineffective the entire game. Phil Simms or Jim Nantz, I don’t recall who, said something about coach Mularkey’s philosophy of sticking to the run throughout the entire game. This is fine and dandy… if your running game actually did something and your offensive line wasn’t awful. It just doesn’t make sense to me to run the ball when you had much more success passing it. Run it to set up some play action or something. Why run it so predictably on first and second down drive after drive?

A lot of people think that Blake Bortles is something of a work in progress. A quarterback that’s continually on the rise as an NFL starter. I… don’t see it. Sure, he’s thrown a lot of touchdowns and for a lot of yards, but a lot of it was in garbage time against teams with huge leads. His completion percentage is also well below average despite having a decent amount of weapons to his credit. To be fair, his offensive line doesn’t seem to give him a lot of time to work with. Time will tell, but I don’t see it.

It’s so weird seeing Jacksonville being included “In The Hunt” for the playoffs. What a wondrous time to be alive.

STL @ BAL

St. Louis at Baltimore

  • (Watched final Baltimore “drive,” incorrect)

Joe Flacco’s ironman streak ends after about eight seasons after he tore his ACL and MCL in this game. It was a good run, but the elite have to fall sometime.

And the hot topic for this week is St. Louis (again)! Last week, one of their players gave Teddy Bridgewater a knockout blow to the cranium as he was sliding and everyone but Jeff Fisher called him out for it. This week, Case Keenum, the starting St. Louis quarterback (for this week), suffered a very obvious concussion, but was not called out for it by Jeff Fisher. It’s almost like Jeff Fisher and staff don’t care! But that’s enough controversy, let’s get to the game recap:

I heard it was ugly and unenjoyable to watch. Glad I missed it.

WAS @ CAR

Washington at Carolina

  • (Watched one Washington drive before Halftime, correct)

Not much to say here, only that whoever picked Washington to win this looks awfully silly. Carolina’s a complete team, if not for their lack of weapons on offense for the passing game. Washington just looks inconsistent.

DEN @ CHI

Denver at Chicago

  • (Watched, incorrect)

Chicago had every opportunity to win this game. They missed open receivers in the endzone and their defense made the Denver offense punt what seemed like seven times during the game. They gained a lot of yards on the Denver defense through the air. They came close to tying it, until a questionable play call on the two-point conversion lost them the game.

Brock Osweiler had a good game. Not a great one, but good enough to rely on his defense to get the job done. There were times when I thought he faltered under pressure too quickly and other times when he was a little inaccurate. He came up big in the red zone, though. All in all, better than Manning’s played since, well, debatably 2014.

Would Jay Cutler have scored any touchdowns had he any weapons to work with? Sure, he has his tight ends, but they can’t be open all the time. He had inconsistent wide receiving threats the entire game. I’m sure he would’ve loved him some Jeffery.

DAL @ MIA

Dallas at Miami

  • (Did not watch, correct)

What’s that? Tony Romo comes back and Dallas wins? You don’t say? It’s almost like Tony Romo’s good or something. Hardy curse. Pssh.

He certainly didn’t play well to begin the game, though. Completed just over 50% of his passes (to start out) with 2 interceptions in the game. He’s shaking off rust, alright. Their defense has really stepped up, though. I would’ve expected more points from Miami on their own turf. Then again, the weather was not in their favor, which may have attributed to the lackluster games by each starting quarterback.

Miami, like Washington, looks to be an inconsistent team. One week, they’re alright, the other, they may as well be hitting a wall. They can’t seem to get anything going on either side of the ball. It’s a tragic thing, really, that seems to happen to Miami year after year. Is it too late to give Shula his job back?

OAK @ DET

Oakland at Detroit

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

I, uh, I’m not really sure what to make of this match-up.

Oakland is 0-3 against NFC North teams. That’s kinda bizarre, isn’t it? And had Chicago won on Sunday, they’d be 4-0 against AFC West teams! That’s really odd. Regardless, Detroit held Green Bay (at Lambeau Field) and Oakland (at Ford Field) to under 20 points. So… are they good now? I honestly can’t tell. And quite a few people saw this coming, too.

What happened to Oakland’s fans? Where’s all that enthusiasm around this up and coming team? Now it’s “hehe same old RAIDERS LOL!!!” And fans say the media flip flops too often. Calm down, people.

I will say this, though. Calvin Johnson is being utilized more. The defense is playing better, despite two starting corners being injured. Matt Stafford isn’t playing lights out, but good enough to win. It looks like this Detroit team is finally putting two and two together. I still think Jim Caldwell should be fired, but he’s wrapping up a “good finish” resume.

And Oakland. Yeah. I’m not really sure what’s going on here. Bad defense, according to some football commentators. Let me look at the time of possession for this game… 23:54 to 36:06. Not horrible, but Oakland could’ve had the ball longer, definitely.

NYJ @ HOU

New York at Houston

  • (Watched final New York drive, incorrect)

FitzMagic is hurting. He hasn’t played well since he injured his thumb and it’s definitely showing. You know what else is showing? New York’s defense is starting to crumble. They’re giving up way too many big plays. The team’s not what it used to be.

I had a gut feeling that Houston would win here, despite T.J. Yates starting, but I didn’t pull the trigger. And wouldn’t you know? They won. Houston is starting to look pretty good defensively. It makes me nervous to pick against them. Then again, New York is struggling and Cincinnati was, well, you know. They’ve won three in a row. And people were calling for Bill O’Brien’s head, too. Some people can’t seem to wait to jump on the “Fire _______!” bandwagon.

IND @ ATL

Indianapolis at Atlanta

  • (Watched final Atlanta drive, incorrect)

I feel really good for Matt Hasselbeck. In what very well may be his final season, he’s leading a team to victory… kinda.

This game was won by the defense. Hasselbeck, in reality, played somewhat shitty. If it wasn’t for Matt Ryan’s continuing offensive funk, Atlanta could’ve put this away by two scores. D’Qwell Jackson’s pick-six helped tremendously.

There’s not much else to say about this game. Indianapolis, against all odds, is finding ways to win. Atlanta, despite a great starting quarterback and great #1 wide receiver threat, and a good tight end in Jacob Tamme, find ways to lose 4 of the last 5 games. The grass was definitely greener on the other side of the regular season for Atlanta. And by that I mean the first five weeks of the season.

TB @ PHI

Tampa Bay at Philadelphia

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

My dilemma was not just pessimism, it seems. Tampa Bay throttled Philadelphia last Sunday, though according to those who watched the game, the Tampa Bay offense wasn’t as efficient as the stat sheet would suggest. Nevertheless, there’s one thing about the stat sheet that’s apparent: Mark Sanchez is clearly a back-up quarterback.

Props to Jameis Winston for a five touchdown performance. He’s proving himself to be a worthy #1 overall pick. And he’s just a rookie, too. It’s all uphill from here… unless he pulls an RG3. And how about Doug Martin? After a few forgettable years he’s starting to become the force he was in his rookie year. Things are finally coming together for Tampa Bay, it seems. Let’s just hope for them that Lovie Smith doesn’t fuck it up.

Speaking of fucking it up, Chip Kelly looks to have fucked up his team by trading away or releasing all of his talented players. I will say this though: ever since Jordan Hicks went down, this defense hasn’t really been the same. You could make the case that the offense’s ineptitude puts more pressure on them, and that looked to be the case against Miami last week. But 40+ points to Tampa Bay? That’s just pitiful. They need Bradford back quick if they want to close the bleeding wound. It doesn’t look good for Kelly’s job.

KC @ SD

Kansas City at San Diego

  • (Did not watch, correct)

I once made a joke that Kansas City was “the prettiest girl in the bar,” sneering at the fact that they won a game when I still wholly expected them to go 4-12 at best. Now, at 5-5, they might not be the prettiest girl at the bar, but they’ve got admirers. And a knock-out defense to boot.

Philip Rivers doesn’t have any pretty girls to pick up.

GB @ MIN

Green Bay at Minnesota

  • (Watched, incorrect)

I didn’t think it’d be a 30-13 blowout. I thought it would be much closer than that. This game was a lot like Week One when Minnesota faced San Francisco: Adrian Peterson couldn’t get going and the defense couldn’t stop the run. Teddy Bridgewater played better in this game than that game, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the awful offensive line struggles. Bridgewater was sacked more than my ex-wife (Haha, I’ve never been married).

Aaron Rodgers looked fine, if not for the pass rush and the constant drops by his receivers. Randall Cobb seems to be having a massive down year… as if the rest of the Green Bay offense. Despite this, thanks in part to Eddie Lacy’s big day, the offense roared to life against an elite Minnesota defense. At least, they were before they faced Green Bay.

SF @ SEA

San Francisco at Seattle

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Well, at least we know Blaine Gabbert is better than Jimmy Clausen. And Kaepernick. That must really sting.

In other news, I don’t think Lynch will be in Seattle after 2015. Not with how well Thomas Rawls has been playing.

CIN @ ARI

Cincinnati at Arizona

  • (Watched, correct)

HAHAHA CINCINNATI CAN’T WIN IN PRIMETIME HEORHORHORHOR!!!!!

No.

They played a hell of a lot better in this game than they did against Houston last week. They simply lost to a better team, as I’d hardly call Houston a better team than Cincinnati. Carsom Palmer, despite a shaky start, played his heart out and delivered knock-out throw after knock-out throw, as his running game was effectively disrupted.

Andy Dalton shook off his demons and played well, too. Giovani Bernard is such a useful tool, almost like Dion Lewis for New England before he was injured. As much as I feel A.J Green is overrated, he played a strong game, as well. Tyler Eifert is still a red zone threat. Overall, no problems with Cincinnati’s offense.

This was just a good game overall. If not for the officiating, I’d have no major complaints whatsoever. Two good teams duking it out with little to no major injuries.

BUF @ NE

Buffalo at New England

  • (Watched, correct)

Man, I was as frustrated watching this game as Brady was with his protection. Just blitz after blitz after blitz. Or fake blitzes. Rex Ryan had a lot of fun playing hide and seek with his rushers.

New England’s shuffling around offensive linemen like Tom Landry used to shuffle quarterbacks. It seems almost desperate. Goodness. If it wasn’t for New England’s strong secondary, this game may have tilted in Buffalo’s favor. It doesn’t help that Amendola got injured during the second half, either, leaving only Gronk as a reliable receiver, who was well covered the entire game. Buffalo seems to have the blueprint for knocking Brady off balance. An ugly offensive performance, on both sides. Strong defenses, though.

Then, we have the officiating. Oh, boy. The “inadvertent whistle.” The “Sammy Watkins giving himself up on the final play” play. The “The previous play is under review” call that came on determining whether or not a receiver in a two-minute drill made a first down or not with only a yard difference. Like it fucking matters! Everything involved with a catch. Pass interference. Holding. Anything subjective. Just… really, really bad. We need new refs.

An interesting week, a week full of “I should haves.” Teams regretting decisions and me regretting who I picked, especially during noon games. Nevertheless, it was fun and it paved the path to a more clear view of who the contenders and who the pretenders are. Next week, however, should be far more interesting.

  • Week Eleven Pick ‘Em record: 6-8
  • Overall Pick ‘Em record: 95-65

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s