Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Week 15 results

What happened? I - like many - was stunned at some of the results this weekend. I ended up 10-6 for my picks this week because of some frankly shocking turn ups for the books. That leaves me 146-81 now after 15 weeks. Only two more weeks of the season to go :(

The first thing I was surprised to see was Tony Romo not blowing a Cowboys game... (alright, that was a low blow). I was more impressed with Felix Jones's running. Over 100 yards for a change. Then we had Reggie Bush putting up over 200 yards against the Bills! Reggie Bush. Running. For over 200 yards? That's just a little mind boggling for me.

The Seahawks dumped on the Bears as Chicago found new and interesting ways to turn the ball over. The loss of Cutler and Forte has basically crippled their offense. The Texans know that feeling too, as without Matt Schaub they look markedly worse on offense, though credit to Carolina who made some plays on defense for a change.

Then we have two of the WTF results. The Colts winning without Peyton Manning? And they looked surprisingly good in the process. Dan Orlovsky's time with Houston has obviously served him well, coupled with running back Donald Brown finally having a game worth talking about. Meanwhile the Packers self destructed, with drops plaguing their afternoon. A lot of people have pointed to the rushing touchdown that was actually a fumble and Mike McCarthy not challenging it, but for me that's just running away from the fact that the Packers hit a wall precisely at the worst possible moment, what with the playoffs just a few weeks away.

That's also not being fair to Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali who had three sacks to cap a great game. Hali is an excellent player and took advantage of a worn down Packers O-line, which is going to be a huge story of the next few weeks and could put their chances of repeating in trouble. Just one of the many reasons why it's so hard to repeat as Super Bowl champions, because even when you're playing great a rash of injuries can ruin a season. We'll see.

Drew Brees was his usual self, destroying the Vikings with 412 yards and 5 touchdowns. That guy is having an unbelievable season. The Vikings defense was showing its flaws though. The secondary needs a major over haul, as does the interior pass rush. No good having Jared Allen and company screaming off the edge when you leave so much space up the middle for Brees to comfortably shuffle into.

Then Eli Manning lets me down again. Three picks and three sacks were costly in a tight game. I can't believe the Redskins won that one. Rex Grossman was solid but by no means spectacular and the Giants really should have won it. Some of the officiating appears to have left a hell of a lot to be desired.

The Bengals handed the Rams another loss. Not overly convincing in the win, but they did enough to get the job done. Now I know the Rams were missing Sam Bradford, but they still look bad. I think Steve Spagnuolo is going to have a hard time keeping his job next year if things don't markedly improve, if he even makes it that far.

I think Jim Schwartz is safe though. For now at least. The Lions still look less than impressive to me. They trailed badly against the Raiders after a poor initial showing, but somehow Calvin Johnson kept finding himself loosely covered, if covered at all, and picked up 214 yards and 2 touchdowns. Matthew Stafford continues to look sketchy. The near 400 yards and 4 touchdowns belies the fact that the Lions were chasing the game right up until the dying minutes of the fourth quarter and that Stafford had to throw 52 times, missing on 23 of those.

Arizona struggled past Cleveland in over time, with John Skelton pulling out another win... somehow. The Browns pass rush was in much better shape this time, but sadly the offense was still very lacking.

For once though, that wasn't the Broncos problem. Well... kind of. The offense played much better, the receivers actually caught a few of the passes this time and the Broncos put up 23. But fumbles, including two from Tebow really messed things up and the defense can't be expected to contain Tom Brady when you turn the ball over three times. Although Elvis Dumervil did get a satisfying hit on Brady, knocking him down flat, while doing a good job of keeping his head down and not giving up a penalty.

The Eagles did me proud this week in the picks by finally getting a win over the Jets. I'm still a little stunned as to how they did it. They fumbled the ball 5 times, losing three of those, and Vick threw an interception for good measure, but luckily for them the Jets are horrible right now, especially on offense. LeSean McCoy's three rushing touchdowns were a highlight for the Eagles, along with Jason Babin putting another 3 sacks on the board. The linebacking play for the Eagles was a bit better and you know, next season they may just have a shot. May.

Baltimore getting blown off the field by San Diego was a stunner. I couldn't believe my eyes. The Chargers actually looked pretty good for a change and Baltimore were pretty horrendous. Antwan Barnes filled his boots with four sacks and the Chargers running game actually got going for a change. Ray Rice wasn't so lucky for the Ravens; just 10 carries. Still, he turned them into 57 yards. It's a worrying trend for the Ravens offense, what with the lack of touches for Rice, and honestly I'll be surprised if Cam Cameron is still OC in Baltimore next year, especially as the pressure in the press and even among the team itself has been building. It really is unacceptable for your best player to have so few touches.

And finally, I have no complaints about the Monday Night game. Even though I blew a pick and the power demands at Candlestick blew two generators, as a 49ers fan I loved it. The defense was fantastic, not least because the Steelers O-line looked horrible. Roethlisberger actually played well at times despite his injury and put up over 300 yards, but the turnovers were crucial. Aldon smith had another great game and just generally I couldn't be anymore pleased. Well I could have, if I'd taken the 49ers. But I didn't and it doesn't matter. We're going to the playoffs and might even have a shot at the big game, albeit a slim one. Alex Smith still sucks.

Right, that's that done. Hopefully tomorrow or Thursday I'll do some diagram drawing again, this time looking at the three step drop, and if I can find enough time in the run up to Christmas then I also want to take a quick peek at next years Free Agent list.

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