WEEK 14 RECAP – ANNUAL WAKE UP CALL

Greg Brown
12 December 2017
Smokin Jay

WEEK 14 RECAP – ANNUAL WAKE UP CALL

Well there it is, my annual reminder that I am far too emotionally invested in a sport that realistically has no tangible effect on my actual life. It happens at least once a year. Last year it was the Sunday night loss to the Seahawks. Two years ago it was the loss to the Brock Osweiler led Broncos in the snow. Each time I come to the realization that yelling at my TV does nothing to affect the outcome of the game. I realize that getting irritable with my loved ones for talking too loud when the Patriots are on offense doesn’t help Brady get first downs. And each year I tell myself that I will change, that I’ll spend less time watching ESPN and NFL Network and spend more time with my friends/family. But then I realize we are living in the Brady era and the playoffs are right around the corner. I’ll start ignoring the Patriots when they are 4-9. That said, this game was fairly brutal to watch:

Positives

  1. Gronkowski didn’t get injured (that we know of).  Despite taking a beating, Tom Brady didn’t get injured (he was looking exceptionally pliable this week). At the end of the day the Patriots still control their own destiny and they came out of the week no more injured than they went into the week.
  2. Despite playing like dog shit pretty much the entire game, they only lost by one score. Granted, Jay Cutler did all he could to hand the Patriots extra drives in the 4th quarter but the defense made enough stops in the second half to give Brady a chance to win it.
  3. Ornery Belichick was in classic midseason form in the post-game presser:
Belichick press conference

Negatives

  1. The injury issues on defense (particularly with the front 7) were pretty apparent. You knew at some point the defense was playing above their pay grade and it was a matter of time until it showed on the field. Never thought I would say “man, I wish Kyle Van Noy was out here tonight” but I did. Quick look at the starting LBs against Miami compared to those from 2015:
    Patriots top 3 LBS 2015:
    • Dont’a Hightower (263 career tackles)
    • Jamie Collins (275 career tackles)
    • Jerod Mayo (535 career tackles)
    Patriots top 3 LBs vs Dolphins:
    • Eric Lee (6 career tackles)
    • Elandon Roberts (59 career tackles)
    • Marquis Flowers (9 career tackles)
    I am all for “In Belichick We Trust” but yikes, that is a staggering lack of experience. Good thing they have a cupcake matchup against the Steelers offense next week to work out the kinks.
  2. Kenyan Drake had an absolute field day on the ground and in the air (193 total yards). That powerful, athletic back with great hands that you saw was a backup in college. Nick Saban really is a sonofabitch to be able to recruit a player like him to play second string at Alabama (although he was drafted in the 3rd round). That was the most carries he has had in a game since high school.  It’s no wonder Alabama is perennial powerhouse when they are an absolute RB factory. Since 2011 they have produced Mark Ingram, Eddie Lacey, TJ Yeldon, Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake and of course who could forget future hall-of-famer Trent Richardson. Not to mention Bo Scarbrough is projected to be a top 15 pick in next year’s draft.
  3. Games like this remind you how important Edelman is to the offense and specifically to Brady. The Patriots were 0-11 on 3rd downs. Cooks and Hogan are great deep threats but when Gronk is out Brady really doesn’t have that go-to guy in crunch time. Anyone else think they should kick the tires on Austin Collie? Dare I mention preseason MVP Cody Hollister?
  4. Jay Cutler had a QB rating of 112.1 compared to Brady’s 59.5. Jay Cutler, the man who perpetually looks like he just rolled out of bed. The numbers don’t lie either; Brady missed a bunch of throws and never really looked like he was in rhythm. I would say Cutler played well, but I just can’t bring myself to type the words.

Other Week 14 NFL Notes 

Carson Wentz tearing his ACL is bad for the league. Pretty much every young QB in the league has some sort of knock of them whether it be injuries (Watson, Wentz, Luck), inconsistent play (Goff, Prescott, Winston) or black eye liner (Derek Carr).

Week 14 is when most fantasy leagues playoffs starts which therefore it bears reminding that nobody cares about your fantasy team. Nobody cares that you are upset that the Bengals backup TE isn’t getting enough targets in that blowout loss to the Bears. You may say that this is sour grapes because of another disappointing 3-10 season from “The Tittsburgh Feelers” and you would be correct. But at some point it isn’t the GM’s fault, the players on the field have to earn their paychecks.

Cannot wait for the Los Angeles Chargers to make the playoffs and break the hearts of all 12 of their fans with a first round playoff exit. At least we know Philip Rivers will handle it maturely and not throw a  hissy fit on national television.

Some pro gambling advice: when you are texting your buddy your 5 game parlay picks you should stay away from picking two opposing teams (i.e. Houston and SF). And if you do, make sure the rest of your picks don’t hit. That one’s free, next one will cost ya.

Shitty picks

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