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

NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Eleven; 2015)

STL @ BAL

St. Louis at Baltimore

  • Favorite: Baltimore (via NFLPickWatch.com)

Case Keenum is starting to shape up like Ryan Fitzpatrick: starting every season for a different team when they weren’t supposed to be. But with how ineffective Nick Foles has been (especially after seeing evidence of it last week), the change is definitely warranted. Case Keenum has won 100% of his starts as a quarterback since 2014. It was only two games, but c’mon! 100%!

Baltimore seems to be getting the short end of the stick lately. The officials inadvertently enabled Jacksonville to beat them on the final play of the game last week, which shouldn’t have even been run. To be fair, if they were the team they wish they were, they would’ve blown out Jacksonville at home. And for that, I think it’s hard to give Baltimore the edge here.

Case Keenum is a bit of a wild card here. I can’t really say if he’s an improvement over Nick Foles or not, and I can’t say that St. Louis would take care of business here if Nick Foles were starting. I think the defense (granted it plays okay) of St. Louis is the deciding factor here, along with the reason I think St. Louis will prevail.

Winner: St. Louis

WAS @ CARWashington at Carolina

  • Favorite: Carolina

Carolina is the favorite here, but a few are staking claim that Washington could upset them on the road this week. Carolina has to lose sometime, right? Peeking at the rest of their schedule, they have four divisional games in the last five weeks of the season, along with facing a Romo-led Dallas team on the road and New York (Giants). There are some teams in the mix that has a chance to upset them. Could Washington be the first?

After all, Washington just came off a 47-14 romping of New Orleans. Kirk Cousins has been playing better as the season goes on. Washington’s defense has been better than anticipated. They’re not a bad team by any means. But against a 9-0 team at home? I doubt it. But hey, I’ve been wrong before (many times).

I like the idea of an upset here, but I think Carolina will lose to a more complete team. There are still some question marks with this Washington offense, despite their last win against an atrocious defense. Carolina will take care of business.

Winner: Carolina

DEN @ CHI

Denver at Chicago

  • Favorite: Chicago

A match-up almost as intriguing as St. Louis at Baltimore. Peyton Manning has been ceremoniously benched in favor of longtime back-up Brock Osweiller, who will make his first career start versus Chicago on the road. Y’know, I remember the last time Chicago went up against a team that had a one point back-up starting in favor of an injured star. All the way back in 2012, when they got throttled by Colin Kaepernick in his breakout game for San Francisco. Will Osweiller do the same? The situations are certainly similar.

Though, one could make the argument that Lovie Smith was still the head coach at that point, and the defense was on the decline. Now, Chicago looks to be a revitalized team under John Fox and co. Oh, and John Fox also coached Denver between 2011-2014. He has a little motivation for this game.

I’ll pick this game the same way I picked the game between San Francisco and Chicago back in 2012: with Chicago winning. Again, I don’t know what to expect of Osweiller, as this is his first career start. All I know is that Chicago’s been playing well recently, and Denver’s defense is starting to crack a bit. No Alshon Jeffery, no Matt Forte, no problem. Chicago will find a way to win.

Winner: Chicago

DAL @ MIA

Dallas at Miami

  • Favorite: Dallas

Dallas fans, take in a collective breath. Tony Romo is back in the line-up.

This should be an interesting match-up. Tony Romo is back from breaking his collarbone in what seems to be the 700th injury of his career. Will he play well in his debut game? Or will the rust of sitting on the sidelines handicap him? All I know is that Dallas can’t afford to play catch up. It’d most likely be better to ease Romo into playing again with a balanced offensive attack of quick passes and bruising runs. Kinda like last year, but with Darren McFadden rather than DeMarco Murray.

Miami had a good win against a Philadelphia offense that couldn’t get anything going, especially once Bradford got hurt. Their defense played well and gave their offense about 20 tries to score points. I don’t know if that’s a compliment to their defense or an insult to Philadelphia’s offense. Nevertheless, Miami got the win, but it wasn’t all too convincing. Now they have to face off against an offense that isn’t as inconsistent, especially now with Romo in there.

Basically, I trust a Romo-led offense. I don’t trust Miami’s validity as a team. Maybe if they win here, it’ll turn the tides, but not a lot of people expect them to win. Except the people who believe in the “Hardy Curse.”

Winner: Dallas

OAK @ DET

Oakland at Detroit

  • Favorite: Oakland

Oakland’s the favorite here, but it’s a 71-29% divide, which puzzles me. Are people that confident in Detroit after taking down Green Bay on the road? I see it more as Green Bay being buried in issues as opposed to Detroit actually being a good team. After all, they didn’t perform well that game, either. It looked like two old injured dogs having one last scuffle before they kneel over and die.

Oakland came close to closing the gap against Minnesota last week, but two interceptions from Terence Newman ruined their plans. Minnesota’s defense is not to be trifled with. Detroit’s, on the other hand, will let you trifle, ruffle, and bombard them with touchdowns aplenty… assuming you aren’t a struggling Green Bay team.

For me, this game isn’t even close. Even if the game becomes close, I think Oakland will close the deal in the end. They’re a much better team.

Winner: Oakland

NYJ @ HOU

New York at Houston

  • Favorite: New York

Y’know, if you showed me this match-up two weeks ago, I would’ve picked New York in a heartbeat. With the way last week played out, however, I feel a little more hesitant. New York isn’t as stable as a team as I thought, and Houston seems to have some defensive talent. Then again, Houston’s defensive performance could’ve been attributed to Cincinnati’s awful offensive performance. Nevertheless, this is a tricky match-up reeking with upset, if you can consider Houston beating New York an upset.

FitzMagic just had surgery on his thumb a week ago, so that’s an interesting factor to consider. Houston is starting their back-up quarterback T.J. Yates, who has been there a total of less than a month (this year), which is another interesting factor. Brandon Marshall, as talented as he is, has dropped some easy passes this year (which led to an interception last week). DeAndre Hopkins seems to be the second-coming of Andre Johnson.

I think defense will be the deciding factor to this game: which defense will play harder? Cause more turnovers? I like New York’s chances more than Houston’s.

Winner: New York

IND @ ATL

Indianapolis at Atlanta

  • Favorite: Atlanta

Does everyone remember Atlanta losing to a Blaine Gabbert-led offense two weeks ago? Apparently not, because Atlanta’s an 87-13% favorite. Sure, Matt Hasselbeck is starting, but he played well against… Houston. Okay, I think I see the point.

Still, though, with as inconsistent as Atlanta’s offense is, despite having the league’s second-leading scrimmage yard holder on offense, it’s hard to imagine them blowing Indianapolis out. Their defense is solid, though, and should prove Hasselbeck’s first real test of the season. I don’t think Matt Ryan will struggle with Indianapolis’s defense, especially with Mike Adams out.

This game, along with New York at Houston, reeks of upset. Part of me wants to pick Indianapolis because I believe in Hasselbeck. But on the other hand, Atlanta looks like the better team on paper. If only they played like they’ve looked on paper. Don’t let us down again, Atlanta.

Winner: Atlanta

TB @ PHI

Tampa Bay at Philadelphia

  • Favorite: Philadelphia

Philadelphia is an 85-15% favorite here, but I could see this game going either way. Jameis Winston and co. have been playing good football in the past couple of weeks (excluding Mike Evans’ performance against New York) and the defense has been stout. It looked good against Dallas last week, but Dallas is Dallas. Anyone could hold them to 6 points… except Philadelphia.

This is my dilemma: I want to pick Philadelphia. I want to feel confident that Philadelphia will put this game away easily, but they’re starting Mark Sanchez against an offense that can score points when needed. Mark Sanchez starting is not a good sign. Philadelphia’s defense can only do so much. I would even argue that Tampa Bay’s offense is better than Miami’s. Their records may be the same, but in terms of Pick ‘Em percentage, this match-up not only reeks of upset, but screams it, too.

In the end, I still like Philadelphia to win, but only because I trust their defense more than Tampa Bay’s offense. Mark Sanchez may not move the ball much, but I don’t think he’ll make any major errors. Then again, Tampa Bay’s pretty good at forcing turnovers…. Mrmm.

Winner: Philadelphia

KC @ SD

Kansas City at San Diego

  • Favorite: Kansas City

After a five-game losing streak, Kansas City has won three in a row. Their defense is starting to become elite force and Charcandrick West is looking to be a fitting replacement for Jamaal Charles. Alex Smith just has to not play like Alex Smith and they’re golden.

I feel bad for San Diego. I really do. They may as well change their logo from a lightning bolt to the Red Cross, because they have so many substantial injuries it’s ridiculous. Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd, Johnnie Troutman, Chris Watt, Branden Oliver; all out indefinitely. At least they may be getting some starters in King Dunlap, Orlando Franklin, and Manti Te’o back from injury this week. That should help this struggling offensive line to a degree.

I expect to see a lot of Antonio Gates and Danny Woodcock in this game. Philip Rivers simply doesn’t have many else to throw to. And with Kansas City’s rising defense, I don’t see a very offensive game from San Diego. San Diego’s defense could allow 20+ points from pretty much anyone.

Winner: Kansas City

GB @ MIN

Green Bay at Minnesota

  • Favorite: Minnesota

A 52-48% favorite, might I add. This game has experts very divided, much like Denver at Chicago does. For me, with as badly as Green Bay’s offense has been performing in the last three weeks, I’m both surprised and not by how close people are picking this game. I’m surprised because Minnesota is clearly the better team at this point. I’m not surprised because this game will inevitably be a close-knit game between fierce division rivals, with Minnesota running and Green Bay throwing. It’ll be a test for both defenses to show what they got. I’m really looking forward to it.

One has to think that Aaron Rodgers will turn it around, right? He’s better than what the last three weeks have seen out of him, so what’s the issue? Well, recent reports say he’s injured. Others say that his receivers simply aren’t getting separation. His offensive line hasn’t been all too good recently, which is also affecting Green Bay’s running game. So, essentially, he’s become a lesser Philip Rivers in a much colder environment; the product of injury and a bad offensive line.

Minnesota, on the other hand, has no issue with Teddy Bridgewater, as he’s typically not a flashy number guy by any stretch of the imagination. Their offensive line is “eh,” okay enough to let Adrian Peterson be the league’s leading rusher (that may say more about Adrian Peterson) and to protect Bridgewater when it counts. Still, though, with Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, that’ll be put to the test quickly.

My favorite game this week. I’m picking the logical choice based on this year’s evidence for the outcome, which points to Minnesota. They’re at home, they have an elite defense, and they have Adrian Peterson. They look to take a two game lead in the division.

Winner: Minnesota

SF @ SEA

San Francisco at Seattle

  • Favorite: Seattle

Seattle is a 100% favorite. I would laugh really hard if San Francisco upset them, but I don’t expect that. Much like everyone else.

Seattle let the game get away from them last week against Arizona. Their defense can’t seem to handle offenses with high-powered passing games like they used to. Still pretty good against the run, though, which is basically 70% of San Francisco’s offense. The only thing is with San Francisco’s defense, which is okay normally, but teeters a tot on the road. Seattle’s offense can be okay, assuming they play a balanced game and let Russell Wilson attack the defense with both his arm and his legs. One can’t be very confident with their offense the way they’ve played throughout the season, though, even with Jimmy Graham.

In case you forgot, San Francisco is also starting this guy:

bwaine gabbert

  • 6-22 starting record
  • 25/26 TD/Int ratio
  • 53.4% career pass completion
  • 67.1 career quarterback rating

Winner: Seattle

CIN @ ARI

Cincinnati at Arizona

  • Favorite: Arizona

People don’t have a lot of confidence in Cincinnati after they lost horribly to Houston a week ago in PRIMETIMEI’m the same. Had Cincinnati taken care of business against Houston in convincing fashion last week, I probably would have picked them to beat Arizona this week. However, it would seem Cincinnati’s struggles at night continue to haunt them and are no longer favorites when it comes to big games like this. Oh well.

Arizona beat Seattle last week the way Cincinnati should’ve beaten Houston last week. There was always talk about Arizona only being good against teams with bad defenses, but they disproved that against Seattle on the road. Though, some are convinced that Seattle’s defense has softened considerably this season. Fact of the matter is Carson Palmer shredded the Legion of Boom for three touchdowns and 363 yards through the air. While I don’t expect the same type of game against Cincinnati, I expect him to perform well.

And that’s the only thing that’s preventing me from throwing all of my chips on the table in favor of Arizona: Cincinnati’s defense. They’ve played very well this season and can turn the tide. I don’t expect this game to be a blowout by any means, but unless Cincinnati’s offense plays the way it did last week, the combined score shouldn’t be much more than 40. A fascinating game, to say the least. This week’s slate of afternoon/evening games are all enticing (not counting Tennessee at Jacksonville).

Winner: Arizona

BUF @ NE

Buffalo at New England

  • Favorite: New England

New England is playing at home and they’re New England. Rex Ryan or no Rex Ryan. Julian Edelman or no Julian Edelman. Offensive line or no offensive line. New England doesn’t lose at home. I don’t expect them to this week. Or any week.

Winner: New England

Quick Pick: Tennessee at Jacksonville (Week Eleven; 2015)

TENN @ JAX

  • Favorite: Jacksonville (via NFLPickWatch.com)

Time for another rendition of “Never Pick the AFC South!” Only this time, both teams are a part of the AFC South, so I’m somewhat trapped here.

I will say this, though: my fascination with Tennessee has not gone away. Leaving Fasano aside, there are a lot of good players on this team, but the team altogether can’t seem to quite get over the hump of finishing games. To give Mariota some credit, he’s 2-5 as a starter, with his back-up losing 2 games in his absence. Their defense, most notably their pass defense, is actually decent. Again, they just can’t finish games. If one side of the ball plays well, the other doesn’t.

I think 3-6 might be the best start Jacksonville’s had since, what, 2011? Before then? That’s almost humorous to think about. But this looks to also be a team on the rise… maybe. They have the Super Allen Bros. on offense, who are both on pace for Pro Bowl-like seasons. T.J. Yeldon isn’t… terrible. Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith are sturdy, tackle-happy linebackers. The only glaring thing (other than its secondary) is their offensive line, which is on pace to give up 50 sacks on the season. Blake Bortles hasn’t been playing all too well this season, but the o-line may be a factor as to why. It’s almost impressive to see him play as well as he has.

Personally, I could see this game going either way. I’m sure many would agree, though Jacksonville seems to be the experts’ final choice. I like it going the other way. I think Tennessee is an overall better team, only perhaps a bit more patched up than Jacksonville.

And I’m still not okay with these “Color Rush” uniforms.

Winner: Tennessee