3-0 on Thanksgiving. 97-68 on the year.
3 Things the NFL Needs To Stop Doing Right Now
1) Referees that like being on television: I know it’s Thanksgiving, and you miss your family, but this rundown is inexcusable:
Green Bay at Detroit – 18 accepted flags for 136 yards
Miami at Dallas – 17 accepted flags for 124 yards
San Francisco at Baltimore – 10 accepted flags for 110 yards
370 yards of accepted penalties in 3 games. Really? If a defender is fighting for the ball, let him fight for the ball. Let lineman block, and if you have to eject somebody, eject somebody, and let that be that. It’s really impressive how disruptive to the flow of a game a referee really can be if he wants to get on the mic and wave hi to his kids. I want Hochuli in my fantasy league next year. He’s a lock for 80 yards and a negated touchdown every week. Did you know that Ed Hochuli is an attorney in the offseason? I don’t know what gives it away.
2) Taking forever to blowing plays dead late when you’re bitching about concussions and player safety: Say whatever you want about concussions, player safety and the violence of the routine play. NO PLAY is more violent, chaotic, and dangerous than the scramble for a fumbled ball (and whatever allegedly goes on until possession is declared) and referees increasingly over the past few seasons are using the replay system to allow plays to continue past when they should knowing they can nip the play at whatever point they wish upon review. It’s disgusting, irresponsible, and unsafe, and it needs to end. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t complain about the game being too violent (a result of poor tackling technique way more than anything else) and let this go on. Be a man and call what you see. Better a play be too short and no one get hurt than unnecessarily long with knees and helmets flying more chaotically than they do at any other point in a contest.
3) Kissing Tony Romo’s ass for beating bad teams: Because I’m tired of it, and you are, too. Beating the Redskins and Dolphins by a combined 4 points and needing an overtime session to do it is no reason to stockpile praise on him. When he faces a D-line that knows how short he is, and an offense that knows how to exploit their godawful secondary we’ll be back to overly shitting on him in December. It’s coming. You know it. I know it. Why ride this rollercoaster? Tony Romo’s a very good quarterback. He has a quick release, mobility, some leadership skills, and he even holds for his kicker. He’s just too short, too mistake-prone, and not at an elite level of accuracy to compensate for it to win a title. Drew Brees is the best undersized quarterback we’ve seen in perhaps 15 YEARS, and look how hard it is EVEN FOR HIM to put up huge numbers in some weeks against teams you wouldn’t think he struggles against. You need stereotypical size most of the time to win a title at QB, and if you don’t, you’d better be pretty freaking awesome at one aspect of the position to make up for it.
Let’s get to the matchups
Bills at Jets – At stake? The Jets’ playoff chances in a wide-open AFC, and my fantasy season’s hopes on Mark Sanchez’s throwing arm (I know, I know.) and C.J. Spiller’s legs (…..I know…). While the scenery has changed, the Jets being an absolute physical mismatch for the Bills didn’t. Revis and Cromartie can force Fitzpatrick into the middle of the field, where the quick release can invite linebackers to pick him off time and time again, and ooh even a tipped ball from time to time. Sanchez is RESPONSIBLE and DOESN’T FORCE THE BALL WHEN HE DOESN’T HAVE TO WHILE SPREADING THE BALL AROUND to keep the occasionally opportunistic Buffalo DBs off-balance. UNDERSTAND, MARK?!?!?! Jets 27, Bills 10.
Bears at Raiders – This week’s good game in disguise, and the hardest game to call this week. Do you buy into Caleb Hanie not picking things up right away in a bad environment, or do you buy into the Bears defense shutting down Carson Palmer with the onus on them and being total bros for Hanie? This smells like one that’s going to go down to the wire, and though I’m slightly higher on the Bears than I am the Raiders (I’m inordinately high on both), I think the home team takes the chink in the armor to a victory. I might be kicking myself for this one, but as the only human being on Earth who likes Carson Palmer (largely because I don’t gamble), I feel like I have to make a stand. I owe it to Carson for not picking him in the Thursday night Charger game when I wanted to. Raiders 24, Bears 23.
Patriots at Eagles – Yet another “do I believe what I saw last week?” game, and for both sides. Can the Patriots D do to the Eagles’ backup QB what they did to the Chiefs’ backup QB? Can Andy Reid exploit what we know is a bad Patriots defense with just about ANY quarterback he can get his hands on? Lost in the hype of this matchup is how badly beat-up the Eagles’ secondary is. No DRC, Asomugha not 100%, Jarrad Page cut, and all of Asante’s tricks in Mr. Personality’s playbook add up for a favorable matchup for Welker and Gronkowski. In fact, Rob Gronkowski could easily have another 2TD performance in this one. No one on that defense can cover him. Patriots 34, Eagles 24.
Texans at Jaguars – On the more favorable side of the first-matchup-for-a-backup-QB slate is Matt Leinart, whose whole offense now has to adapt to a southpaw. I think that’s going to take more than a bye week and all the right answers in press conferences to fully adapt, but thankfully, the Jaguars possess absolutely no aerial attack whatsoever to steal this one in the final minutes. Lots of run run run run run run from both sides, but Houston has the better run game, the better defense, and the better team. Bye bye, Jack! Texans 20, Jaguars 18.
Buccaneers at Titans – I’m coining this the “Trying Too Hard Bowl”. Both teams think they’re far more balanced on offense than they actually are, both have decent defenses if their offense wasn’t putting as much responsibility on them as they are, and their coaches are both still in that “I gotta prove something” phase and will mismanage their skill players to show change in the system as justification for their existence (but hey, at least Chris Johnson got paid). Tampa has lost 4 of their last 5, 3 of their 4 road games, and have been collectively outscored by 86 this season. The Titans are 3-2 at home, and have outscored their opponents by 8. Take the home team, and the better quarterback. Titans 27, Bucs 20. Tampa’s bad, man.
Atlanta, Cincinnati, Carolina, Arizona, Seattle, San Diego, Pittsburgh.
Stephen feels the need to be completed, and feels the Vikings need a sign to show their fans that their time in Minnesota is coming to an end. He takes MIN-ATL
I think nothing creates the offensive futility needed for a tie like running your offense outside the box. With Tennessee and Tampa Bay both with their season’s on the line, I smell desperation and bad passing in the air. TB-TEN