Written by John Edward Betancourt
There’s a strange calm that comes with Week 11 in the NFL, only because it seems that fans and franchises alike, are beginning to settle in as they better understand their fate. Some teams are now looking toward 2018 with their playoff hopes dashed this year, while other squads are comfortable with their talent and success and know that they will be able to handle whatever adversity comes their way in the next few weeks, and as for those teams on the bubble? Well, they’re ready to fight and give it their all for a chance to reach the playoffs. All of these elements make for some fascinating stories to say the least and without further ado, here are the top stories we will be keeping an eye upon this weekend.
Can the Dallas Cowboys with without Zeke?
Regardless of your opinion and thoughts on Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension, I think that there is one thing we can all agree upon, that his absence last week had a profound impact on the outcome of the game. The Cowboys were simply unable to run the ball against Atlanta and the end result of that little problem was a meager 7 points on the board and a loss and well, one has to wonder if they can win without Zeke and honestly, I’m not sure they can. The Dallas offense is designed to be a one two punch when it comes to the run and pass game and without the run element, it becomes quite difficult for the Cowboys to put up points, and considering the fact that they’re going up against the league’s best team on Sunday, if they cannot generate any yards on the ground without their star back…then expect the game to end with another loss for Dallas.
Los Angeles at Minnesota is full of playoff implications.
I think at this point, it’s a forgone conclusion that we will see both the Rams and the Vikings in the playoffs and with the two of them facing off on Sunday, this game has a lot more riding on it than just a win. Because at this point, both of these teams, and the Saints, are a game behind the Eagles in the NFC, which means the winner of this one, could help their playoff position when the tournament arrives. Which means the outcome of this game will simply come down to who wants it more. So, expect this game to be one heck of an epic battle as both of these teams do their best to try and secure the number two seed in the NFC.
Will Nathan Peterman provide the Bills with the spark they need?
It wasn’t that long ago that Buffalo was the talk of the town thanks to their hard-nosed style of play and surprising run of upsets. But the NFL season is a long one indeed and after losing two games in a row and seeing their once prolific offense sputter, the Bills made a change at QB and have handed the reins to Rookie signal caller, Nathan Peterman, and I think everyone is wondering, can he lead the Bills back to glory? Sadly, the only way to answer that question is with an enthusiastic shrug because no one ever quite knows what you get in a rookie when they take the field. He could come out and light up the scoreboard and be anointed as the second coming of Jim Kelly. Or, he could look like a rookie. Either way, it should be fascinating to see what this kid can do, and kudos to the Bills for making a change regardless to send a message to their team that subpar play will not be tolerated.
Will the Oakland Raiders play the spoiler this weekend?
Speaking of teams that started out hot before sputtering out, the Oakland Raiders are another team looking to change their season’s fortunes with a big win against the Patriots, and you know they would love nothing more than to be the team to topple the defending champions, but the question is…can they? Well, I’m honestly skeptical when it comes to their ability to make that happen. They’ve been a disorganized squad on the field and the Patriots love to feast upon teams that make mistakes. So, if the Raiders play some lights out football like they did earlier on this season, there’s a fair chance they can pull off the win. But if they show any signs of confusion or weakness, expect the Pats to go 8-2.
Do the Atlanta Falcons have their mojo back?
I’ve made it no secret that I firmly believe that the Atlanta Falcons are not a mentally tough team and that they let their mistakes and past issues haunt them at just about every turn. But they deserve some serious credit for getting their heads back into the game when it comes to their victory over Dallas last week and now I’m left wondering as to whether or not this team has found the proverbial mojo that made them so successful last year and that question, will be answered come Sunday. Because if Atlanta is able to maintain a high level of play against the always scrappy Seahawks, then we’ll know they’ve finally worked through their issues at last. But if Seattle gets them to regress, because you know they’re not going to back down in the slightest to this team, then we’ll know that last week was merely a fluke and this team will need to spend their off season doing a little soul searching.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
While Week 10 in the NFL often provides a special level of excitement, thanks to the fact that the playoff race is underway, it unfortunately comes to an end in bittersweet fashion. After all, there are some teams who see their season slip away further or end altogether and for some fans, it’s tough to get over the fact that a season that started with hope has gone south. But others of course, rejoice in the fact that their squad is likely headed to the playoffs and how these players and coaches respond to the weekend’s results, teaches us a lot about who they are and how they will finish out the season. So, without any further delay, let’s discuss what we learned from all the wins and the losses from this weekend’s slate of games.
San Francisco, finally won its first game of the year.
It has to be demoralizing for a team when they come so close to a win only to have it snatched away by a poor decision or a mistake and I’m honestly not sure how the Niners have endured this long with having that happen to them on a regular basis. But the patience their coaching staff has preached, and the work they’ve put in practice wise finally paid off since the 49ers secured their first win of the season over the Giants on Sunday. Sure, they’re still 1-9, and sure, they have a lot of work to accomplish before winning is a culture there. But with new a front office and coaching staff in place, this is a big deal to this struggling franchise and hopefully getting this monkey off of their back leads to more wins down the road.
The NFL needs stricter penalties in place for its Concussion Protocol.
By now you’ve already heard about the mistakes made by the Seattle Seahawks when it comes to Russell Wilson and his early exit from Concussion Protocol and whether or not the league finds any wrong doing on the matter, I think it is high time the NFL puts forth stricter penalties on both the players and the teams when it comes to violations of said protocol to prevent something like this from happening again. After all, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a player run back out onto the field when they’re in the protocol and if the players don’t care and the teams aren’t going to sit them down, then let stiffer fines and suspensions perhaps put an end to that kind of problem so that the league demonstrates that they are truly committed to keeping their players safe.
Where do the Denver Broncos go from here?
Five straight losses. A defense that has lost its swagger. An offense that cannot score and a special teams unit that is anything but. Those are really the best ways to describe the 2017 Denver Broncos and after the disaster that was Sunday Night Football…it’s obvious that from this point on, this team has to make some serious changes on every side of the ball. As to what those changes are exactly, well we won’t cover them today, because that’s a five-thousand-word essay/blog in its own right. But at the very least, it’s high time Head Coach Vance Joseph elicits a little more fire and accountability from his team since they’ve developed some lazy and bad habits and if he cannot get this team to dig deep and play with some pride, then expect an unhappy and impatient John Elway to step in and make some serious changes to get this football team back on track.
The Giants need to make a decision on the future of Head Coach Ben McAdoo sooner rather than later.
It’s been quite the up and down week for New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo, who weathered all kinds of rumors surrounding his dismissal only to get a pseudo vote of confidence shortly after an ugly loss to the 49ers and really at this point, the Giants need to make a decision now as to what they want to do with their embroiled coach. Because if the Giants lose again, and they will, the fan base will continue to call and call loudly for his head. So, they either need to can him now, and move on, or flat out commit to him for the length of his contract and put the matter to bed because they either think he’s the guy or not, and while it is commendable for the Giants to try and handle this in low key fashion and push it off to the end of the season, they also run a business and there’s nothing wrong with making a business decision one way or the other.
The Cleveland Browns might go 0-16 this year.
Make no mistake about it, the Cleveland Browns are a bad football team. They’re so bad in fact, it would require another five-thousand-word essay/blog to discuss their flaws on every side of the ball, and when a team is this awful, one has to wonder what their final record will be at the end of the season and I hate to say it, but I think the Browns could go 0-16. They can barely get anything going on offense, and if they do establish a lead they manage to blow it and that defense gets run over week after week and when you have a team without leadership, and top tier talent for that matter, you lose games in embarrassing fashion and I just don’t see where or how the Browns could win a game this year, so don’t be shocked if they pull off a winless season as they maintain their status as the worst team in the NFL.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
There are really three specific occasions in the NFL season where everything is a touch more exciting than football fans are normally used to. The first one is Kickoff Weekend, the second is the beginning of the Playoffs because…it’s the playoffs and really, the third is Week 10 because that’s when the Playoff race gets underway. Suddenly the games are a whole lot more exciting as teams do their best to secure a berth in the tournament and really, that’s what we are going to be focusing on today. Games that are going to feature some serious competition as teams do their best to reach the postseason.
Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3)