Aaron Rodgers, AJ Green, Andy Dalton, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, DeVante Parker, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Josh Allen, Kiko Alonso, LA Rams, Miami Dolphins, Mike McCarthy, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, NFL, Shady McCoy, Steven Hauschka, Xavien Howard
It’s been an eventful week this week in the NFL. We’ve seen firings, injuries, releases and believe it or not, even some games! So, where do I start…
As per usual, I’ll start with the games – most specifically, the Dolphins game. I’ve decided that I’m not going to tell my doctor that I support Miami. As a man with high blood pressure, I think it would be seriously frowned upon, especially given the way our last few games have finished. That being said, we picked up a win this week, which takes us back to a .500 record at 6-6, but as I mentioned to Gee (while trying to somehow empathise with him in his pit of Black and Orange misery), we really made it difficult for ourselves, especially towards the end.
We started well, getting a first drive touchdown for the second week in a row, which is amazing given that we got none in the previous 20 games! De’vante Parker made an 18 yard grab, which was our longest for the game, and the defence did a really good job of keeping the Bills at bay, especially Shady McCoy, who usually causes Miami all sorts of problems, but was held to just 52 yards on Sunday. This was the first time I’d seen the Bills this year (I hate getting this far into the season without having seen teams, but time hasn’t been as kind as it usually is this year), and I was hugely impressed with Josh Allen at Quarterback. I know he started the season poorly, but he offers something I LOVE in a QB: a rushing option. And boy did they make the most of that! He bagged himself 135 yards on the ground, which was more than double what the whole of the rest of the Dolphins managed.
The Bills will be really kicking themselves. They lost the game by just 4 points, and having missed a PAT kick and a Field Goal try, you’ve got to think that kicker Steven Hauschka can’t be the most popular guy in the locker room this week.
Before I move on to talk about the rest of the week’s events as I saw them, I’ve got to call out Xavien Howard who once again intercepted 2 balls (taking his total for the season up to 7), and defended 17 throws! He’s having a real standout season so far and along with Kiko Alonso and even Minkah Fitzpatrick to a certain extent, they’re doing a good job of keeping games close for a team who aren’t exactly free-scoring. And all of a sudden, people are mentioning us with in the conversation about Wildcards again. With trips to Minnesota and Buffalo sandwiched by the visit of New England (who historically we do well against at home) and Jacksonville in our last 4 games, I think we might actually have a fairly decent chance… with a bit of luck and a prevailing wind.
Injury-wise, I found myself in deep sympathy for Gee this week who I think has well and truly written of the Bengals season after Sunday’s game, which saw AJ Green hit the Injured Reserve list, meaning his season is over. The positive is that he’ll be back next year, but between him and Average Andy (I said I feel sympathy for Gee, but not enough to let a poke like that pass me by!), I think there’ll be a lot of face-saving going on for the Bengals in the remaining 4 games.
The Packers struggled this week, losing a close one to the now 3-9 Arizona Cardinals, and as a result, Mike McCarthy was relieved of his Head Coaching duties, having arrived in Green Bay back in 2006. He’s pretty much the only head coach who Aaron Rogers has played under as a pro, and I think it’ll be interesting to see what they manage for the remainder of the season.
The Rams made it to be the first team to officially qualify for the post-season, with their win on Sunday night over the Lions, which as you’ll imagine, I was delighted about! That’s made my chart look like this:
Picks and Trivia-wise, it was a poor week for me. I committed the cardinal sin of changing one of my picks after I’d submitted them (in changing from the Giants to the Bears) which predictably lost me a point. And then having REALLY wanted to change again on Monday night, I decided not to tempt fate again, and as such, lost another point, so all in all, pretty bad! I think I’m too far behind to come out on top now – I’m thinking of going completely against my instinct this week to see if that gets me more points.
And I don’t think I can really finish this week without talking about the league’s biggest problem by far in SOME of it’s players attitudes towards women. I won’t go too far into it as I have a feeling that Gee will cover this in detail, but we’ve seen Kareem Hunt fired by the Chiefs this week having been caught on camera ‘shoving’ a woman. There’s far too much of this kind of thing going on, what with Ezekiel Elliot last year and a whole string of others who have been punished for this kind of behaviour. It’s worrying, and it’s about time the league and the teams involved stepped up and educated their players against this kind of behaviour. I’m sure every sport has it’s share of this kind of thing, but the NFL seems to be especially affected.
On the positive side, it’s Christmas just around the corner, and we’ll soon be seeing the other side of the league’s players who will no doubt once again be busy delivering food and toys to those less well off – it’s one of the things I’m most proud about when I see that being reported around the festive period.
So with just a few weeks left to go, who do you think will be making the playoffs? Can you seen any surprises sneaking in there? Say hello on Twitter and lets have a chat!
Until next time…