Adam Gase, Andy Dalton, Atlanta Falcons, Blake Bortles, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Danny Amendola, Dede Westbrook, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, LA Rams, Leonard Fournette, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Nathaniel Hackett, New Orleans Saints, NFL, Rugby, Ryan Tannehill
We really are at the business end of the season now, and believe it or not the next time I post we’ll be in December – a scary thought! Thursday night will see the start of Week 13, meaning that most teams have just 5 games to either seal their position in the play-offs or at the very least finish the season on a high. But that is going to be a little easier for some than others…
Sunday started for me with a trip to the Rugby – I’m not a huge fan but my wife is a Leicester Tigers season ticket holder so I went to keep her company. And while there I did the hilarious thing that I always do… I referred to Tries as Touchdowns and time periods in Quarters rather than halves. I still don’t understand why when they kick the PAT they get 2 points rather than 1! So as you can imagine, I wasn’t particularly in her good books.
I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned this on the blog, but my wife is also a Cincinnati Bengals fan, so just imagine how little she must have enjoyed Sunday night’s pretty one-sided affair between the Bengals and the Browns, given that I’d already given her the raging hump! To their credit, the Browns looked good on Sunday night, but you do get the feeling that the Bengals season is very much on life-support, if it’s not already called it a day. This, largely, is due to the impact that the loss of Average Andy Dalton [How many times has Ryan Tannehill got your Dolphins to the playoff? – Ed.] is going to have on the team.
Luckily the Dolphins, while not able to get the W on Sunday against the Colts, have just got their Quarterback back under Centre, so I feel a little more optimistic than the Black and Orange half of this blog, but not by a huge amount. Miami played well in one of the later games on Sunday. In fact, I seriously think if it wasn’t for some poor play-calling in the last couple of drives, we would now have a winning record rather than a losing one. I do feel that for the first time this year, some of the blame for this weekend’s loss has to sit with Adam Gase and his coaching team. In the ‘fins final drive, with just a couple of minutes on the clock and the game tied at 24, we were backed up behind our own 15 yard line. Instead of really going for it, we played a couple of short inside runs, a throw for no gain, and I think there was even a loss of 5 yards through a Penalty. This unfortunately lead to us having to Punt it back to the Colts, giving them the opportunity to drive down the field and win the game with the last kick, which the did successfully.
It’s a frustrating one, because I actually thought other than that we looked pretty good. But with 13:36 remaining in the game, we were winning by 10 points. For me, we need to be a lot smarter with play calling in that situation. Tactically, surely we should have either tried to run down the clock and played for overtime, or go for it and try to win! The very last thing we should have done would be to turn the ball over. As it happened, we did just that, giving them the ball with 2:38 left on the clock, all of their Timeouts, and none of ours, and made it far too easy for one of the best (if not THE best) kickers ever to have graced the league to win them the game.
There was a bit of a scary moment too – once again with too many receiving targets already sat in the medical room, Danny Amendola took a serious knock which looked like it may have ended his game, but luckily he managed to shake it off and return to the field.
Oh and we scored on our first drive, and got our first Offensive touchdowns since Week 8!!
Elsewhere, the Vikings got the win over the Packers, and the Buffalo Bills got themselves a Win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The latter of those two games has seen the announcement of some mid-season changes in Florida. Nathaniel Hackett has been relieved of Offensive Coordinator duties (a move which WR Dede Westbrook has said that the Offence need to take responsibility for), Blake Bortles has been announced for the bench next week in favour of Cody Kessler, and Running Back Leonard Fournette has been suspended for a game for Unsportsmanlike Behaviour and Unneccesary Roughness calls on Sunday night which saw him ejected from the game. Not a good time to be a Jags fan.
For the first time in 6 or 7 weeks now, the Rams aren’t the favourites for the Super Bowl in terms of betting odds – that position has been taken by the New Orleans Saints who to be fair are looking fantastic after another win this week over the Falcons. All in all, this makes the betting chart look like this:
So what’s coming up this week? Well, Rams/Lions will be a good game. The Rams are just being The Rams having lost just one game so far, and the Lions 4-7 record really doesn’t reflect how well they’ve played to this point this season. And the Vikings/Patriots match will be an entertaining affair too, I think – both good Offensive teams which should make for a good game.
And of course, I’ll score 6 in the Picks – because… that’s what I do at the minute.
Which games are you looking forward to? How are you feeling about your team going into the back end of the season? Drop me a line on twitter and lets have a chat!
Until next time…