“Showdown Sunday” has come and gone, and I managed an almost respectable 3-3 on my predictions. I’m supposed to tell you that I know more about the league and the season after yesterday’s games, but let’s be honest…there doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason for some of these teams to destroy their opponents or shit the bed. Case and point, the Seattle Seahawks have scored fifty points in back to back games. If you would have told me that was going to happen a few months ago, I might have had you committed. I’m just a man writing about the stuff I saw on the TV.
The blowout/comeback/”just kidding we got this” game
Coming into Sunday night’s game in Foxboro, the Patriots were at the top of almost everyone’s power rankings. Which, given the nature of this league, of course meant that they’d be losing 31-3 at home a few minutes into the third quarter. Then came four straight possessions where it looked like Tom Brady basically said, “I realize you’re a great defense, but WATCH THIS”. When the game was tied, I don’t think anyone in the stadium or watching at home thought the road team had a chance. Tom didn’t look too pleased that all of his hard work was erased by a one play 49er possession, but if he had played better in the first half the hole wouldn’t have been so big in the first place.
Kaepernick only completed fourteen passes on Sunday night, but four of them were for touchdowns. It was an efficient and at times masterful performance from the second year QB, and people like me that thought Alex Smith should have kept his job are looking more and more foolish by the week. But to me the big story is what this 49er defense is able to do to elite offenses. While they did let the Pats get back into it in the second half, something I’m sure the San Fran coaches are going to look at this week, there were times in this game where New England looked utterly incapable of moving the ball at all. The 49ers make even the most explosive offenses in football play the game in a phone booth because with that pass rush no one has time to get too far down field it seems.
The NFC East
When I predicted the Giants would win on Sunday, I didn’t have a rational reason for it. I think Matt Ryan is playing better than Eli, and I think Atlanta’s offensive balance could keep New York’s pass rush off balance. But whenever I analyze a game and feel like the Giants are the weaker team in a big spot, they always come out and take care of business. I was sick of being wrong. So, given the nature of this league, of course they lost 34-0 on Sunday. The Giants missed three fourth downs in Falcon territory while the game was still reasonably close, and their secondary got absolutely torched on a number of big plays down the field. For the last few seasons it seemed none of us could predict when the Giants were going to lay one of these eggs, and now it seems like they don’t have any control or understanding of it either. With the Cowboys and ‘Skins on their heels, they had everything to play for yet still looked like the team they share a stadium with.
Speaking of those two teams, they both won on Sunday. The Redskins, without RG3, defeated a tough Browns team while the Cowboys beat the Steelers in overtime. As a result New York has somehow squandered their division lead, a result that I don’t think many saw coming a month and a half ago. If both Dallas and Washington win next week, the Giants will have no chance to win the NFC East. Just the same, we’ve seen this before and New York usually finds a way to sneak into the playoffs. It won’t be easy though. They finish at Baltimore, and at home against Philadelphia. The latter is one of the better rivalries in football, and their records aside I’m pretty sure the Eagles would love to play the spoiler in that game.
If you aren’t a huge Brandon Marshall fan, you might enjoy this.
After a week of talking shit, the Bears wide out was almost reduced to tears during his postgame press conference on Sunday. The Bears started 7-1 while their bitter rival came out the gate sluggish this season. Yet, they still had to watch the Packers celebrate their second consecutive NFC North title on Sunday. The Cutler to Marshall connection has been absolutely devastating this season, as Marshall leads the league in receptions and is second only to Megatron in yards. But it is the rest of the offense that should take the blame for this collapse. The defense carried the team for much of the season, but as that proud unit sustained injury after injury down the stretch, the offensive line could not protect Cutler (causing him to miss one and a half key games) and none of the other wide receivers ever stepped up.
-In the last eight games Adrian Peterson has rushed for 1,313 yards. Yes, you read that right. As you might imagine, that’s an NFL record.
-The Ravens’ gameplan on Sunday of turning the ball over, not giving the ball to Ray Rice enough, and generally sucking balls sure looked familiar. Are we sure they actually changed offensive coordinators?
-The Houston Texans clinched the AFC South on Sunday, beating a Colts team that still looks to be a year or two away from being a serious contender. While they are a great feel good story this year, they only have one good win (Green Bay) on their resume and have not fared well against good teams this season. Just the same, those players and coaches should be immensely proud of the fact that they are likely going to the playoffs.
-The Pete Carroll dick move of the week was a fake punt while up thirty against the Bills on Sunday. And, like I said last week about the Seahawks/Cardinals game…anyone who is raging over this, or defending it, are equally annoying in my book. It happened, it was stupid, let’s move on.
-We are finally starting to see the Cam Newton that wowed the league last year, it’s a shame that the team is too far out of contention for anyone to notice.
-After the player’s suspensions were vacated in the bounty gate, it seemed appropriate that the Saints finally looked like themselves Sunday in their throttling of Tampa Bay. Imagine what could have been for this team if it was not for mistakes made by the players, coaches, and the league. The latter shoulders more of the blame than anyone in my book for their epic mishandling of all of this.
I will be live tweeting Jets/Titans tonight, because I’m one sick asshole. Have a great Monday everyone!