For the first time in NFL15 it’s the National Conference that’s looking boss.
Besides defending champ New England, who at 10-0, still ride atop the American and most team rankings, about the only other AFC Super contender appears to be Cincinnati who went down to defeat to Arizona in W11 action (34-31) but did so with gallantry.
Though Denver sit’s at 8-2 they’re a bit shaky with Peyton injured even as Brock gutted out a win in Chi-Town on Weil-power (17-15), while the rest of the playoff possibles, including KC, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, the Jets and Houston feel far from safe enterprises in which to invest your dreams of Santa Clara (SB50).
Leading both conferences to start Week 12 in key offensive categories of yards and points scored per game (#1) and a run attack that’s been strong with the firm of Johnson, Ellington and Johnson, defensively the Cards look pretty spiffy too in yards (3) and points allowed (13). Where AZ could use some spit & polish is in the press-dept (18sk), tight-end corps where touches trend a bit low (29r) and a few more 50+ tries to test-out kicker Catanzaro for playoff readiness.
Three of Arizona’s next four games are roadies (@ SF, @ STL, MIN, @ PHI), the final two toughies (GB / SEA). The plan: Beef-up on the so-sos then tone-up (no benchings if healthy) on the top-talent to enter the post-season well-tuned.
Standing at 10-0, many, including this fan, can’t seem to get behind the Cats as NFC’s top dog. When Green Bay’s down, it’s the Cardinals on top. When AZ stumbles, we look to the fickle G-Men of Meadowlands or the slow-starting Seahawks, rather than Cats of Carolina. Even the media hems & haws.
Why? NFL’s largely about offense, creating and sometimes stopping it. That’s not the side of the ball which we’ve come to think of Carolina. They’ve had scorers, season’s where points piled-up but it’s always been the D-side (#4 (yapg) / 6 (papg)) that’s defined the Coastals. One concern: A complete return to form of linebacking star Luke Kuechly who sat W2-5 from concussion.
Presently, Cats yardage at #18 and #3 in pspg. That means they capitalize and are opportunistic. Good traits but not always reliable, like that offensive scheme that will matriculate with consistency (See; GB, AZ, SEA, Romo, NYG, NO).
And it’s the QB at the core, fueling offensive expansion or contraction, depending much on his leadership and skill, though, the men in the trenches (OL) are key in keeping the core whole (20sk).
Cam’s in his 5th year, a critical campaign in a career marked by highs & lows. He’s a 1-2 PS mark, the sole win coming against a hobbled AZ club. Hamster is back to regular rabbit (9 runs per) and if not for a 5td tally versus 4-6 Redskins (W11) would have a pedestrian ratio (20-9) on top of lowest C% (57) of his tenure.
Green Bay Packers
Nothing cures Green Bay blues (0-3 W9-11) like an intra-division game in the old Black & Blue. Enter the cure for what ails the Packers, the purple-pumped Minnesota Vikings riding a 5g winning streak. The result: Same old, same old. Pack breezes to a win on Norseman’s UoM turf, 30-13.
When Minnesota needed to match Packers 10 points in 2Q, Bridgewater, Zimmer & Norv Turner laid a goose egg: 0. With Ted’s limited range, defenders key on Peterson (13-45y) and you can pretty much close the book on Vikings’ offense. On the other side, only intense pressure on Rodgers stifled the master-matriculator and all Vikes could muster were 2 sacks while green & yellow got to Ted six times.
Only W16 match-up in Arizona looks daunting for the Pack, while a Thanksgiving feast on Chicago, followed by a leftover gobble in Detroit (W13) and Green Bay’s losing streak lemons will get turned into lesson-learning, playoff-prep lemonade.
Wild & Woolly
Seahawks: Finally finding their stride with boost from Mr. Rawls (6.0 ypc), Seattle is best of the rest and with a slightly favorable remaining slate could jump to Super class by Week 17’s end.
Falcons: Explaining Atlanta’s slide is simple enough. Three loses by a total of seven pts: 23-20 (TB (OT)), 17-16 (@ SF), 23-20 (IND). Sometimes lucky breaks just don’t come, especially when TOs come in bunches. As the remaining schedule is not formidable, Mr. Quinn should have A-Birds flying again.
Giants: With Romo revitalizing Dallas, Cousins looking capable and Eagles not as bad as media has decreed, NFCE may be most competitive of the lot, even if nary one club gets party invite. Giants are as fickle as antebellum “Scarlett O‘Hara (See Also: STL, CHI, NO, TB, etc),” so deciding where they end up is for “another day.”
Vikings: With so much on the line versus GB, Vikings played minny and appear the classic case of pretender. Ahead in the wild card chase, the Purple may squeak into the playoffs but won’t last for long.
Houseman MVP Meter: Ranking “old fashioned way,” leader’s gotta “earn it.”
Good Spots W11
GB 30 (5sk) @ MIN 13: Pressure Packed
GB wins coin-toss, defers to MIN; outcome: Vikes punt (GB 41)
NE wins coin-toss, defers to BUF; outcome: Bills punt (25)
DEN 17 (8 penalties) @ CHI 15 (0): Weil-power
Brock Osweiler (DEN): 20-27, 250, 2 (1st GS, 8tgt)
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU): 5r-118y, 2t
Julio Jones (ATL): 9-160
Jameis Winston (TB): 19-29, 246, 5tp (5tgt)
Cam Newton (CAR): 21-34, 246, 5tp
Russ Wilson (SEA): 24-29, 260, 3
US Department of Labor Disses on Pro-Choice
For throwing an NFL-themed party but requesting no Washington Redskins attire be worn by attendees. Not too clever, and kinda’ snooty too, but the DoL bandwagoneers did manage to make the news wire.
It’s the low-level topicality where this non-issue is at with media & political sects who’ve caved to PC bullies and those interests who energized this topic (2012), when, by chance, Nike ascended NFL uniform throne and most everyone, likely most attending this “party,” were silent on the claimed “disparaging” aspects of Redskins historical logo. The general public, PepsiCo et al and most aboriginal Americans (Indians), I suspect, are not buying bully-line. We know it to be artful. So let’s go polling, eh?
Ill-effect of Seattle’s SB49 play calling lives on. Bears’ head coach Fox and OC Adam Gase, maybe fearing backlash from fickle fandom for going pass rather than running for a closing 2-pt. conversion attempt that would’ve tied it at 17 versus Denver, chose to keep it on the ground.
Result: Conversion attempt failed as rookie Jeremy Langford was stopped cold. Though JL had just previously scored the TD from 2y out, his digits on the day were not too impressive, going 13a – 25y (1.92).
“Nothing to fear but fear itself (FDR),” Mr. Fox. Besides, those SB49 cry-babies were all wet.
Redskins: 5 TOs (1i – 4fl)
Redskins: 12 carries – 14 yards
Cowboys (10) @ MIA (9): 19 penalties
Jason Myers (JAX) K: 4-4 (38), 1-1x
Matt Darr (MIA) P: 7 (5 < 20), 38.1
Matt Prater (DET) K: 3-3 (51), 1-1x
Graham Gano (CAR) K: 3-3 (48), 5-5
Dustin Colquitt (KC) P: 5 (4), 40.6
Mason Crosby (GB) K: 5-5 (52), 1-1
♫ Here, There & Everywhere ♫
Damon Harrison (NYJ): 9t, 3a
J.J. Watt (HOU): 8, 2sk
Kelvin Sheppard (MIA): 10, 4
Tamba Hali (KC): 5, 2sk
Rob Ninkovich (NE): 4, 2, 1.5sk, 1ff
Darren McFadden (DAL): 29-129
Doug Martin (TB): 27-235
Tom Rawls (SEA): 30-209, 1
Eddie Lacey (GB): 22-100
“Rex Ryan!” Bills celebrity coach was part of a Tom Brady line-call in early 1Q action of Patriots MNF game versus long time rival, Buffalo (20-13). The mind of Belichick can work in mysterious ways. But when you’ve won four Super Bowls, played in six, it’s not crazy, it’s “eccentric (The Rockford Files).”
Cherry Picks Week 12
PHI (4-6) @ DET (3-7); 11.26 Fox 12:30: Lions win
Cats (10-0) @ DAL (3-7); CBS 4:30 (GTW3): ‘Boys win
Bears (4-6) @ Packers (7-3); NBC 8:30: Pack wins
Saints (4-6) @ HOU (5-5); 11.29 Fox 1:00: NO wins
Rams (4-6) @ Cincy (8-2); Fox 1:00: Bengals win
Vikes (7-3) @ ATL (6-4); Fox 1:00 (GTW4): Falcons win
New York (5-5) @ Redskins (4-6); Fox 1:00: Giants win
Tampa Bay (5-5) @ Indy (5-5); Fox 1:00: Colts win
Bills (5-5) @ Kansas City (5-5); CBS 1:00: KC wins
Raiders (4-6) @ Titans (2-8); CBS 1:00: TEN wins
Dolphins (4-6) @ Jets (5-5); CBS 1:00: NYJ win
Cardinals (8-2) @ San Fran (3-7); Fox 4:05: AZ wins
Pitt (6-4) @ Seattle (5-5); CBS 4:25 (GTW2): SEA win
NE (10-0) @ DEN (8-2); NBC 8:30 (GTW): DEN win
Record: 54 – 57
Photo credit: Cardinal-mascot, wc.cca, DM.Gibson, 4.21.09; C.Palmer, wc, 9.3.15, J.Beall; colby, wc, 12.30.10, jeffthequiet; T.Brady, 8.29.09, wc, K.Allison; M.Crosby, wc, 10.7.07, P.Cutler; cherries-on-cloth, wc, 2011, picdrome; NFL-symbol, wikiproject.
Posted: 11.25.15 @ 11:57pm EST; Copyright © 2015