Oct. 26, 2016
NFL Week 7 Postdictions
Welcome back to another edition of Postdictions with your host, Troy Hates Flags, Jr. III esq.
This week, football happened. There were 15 games, each game occurring with match-ups between two teams. The offensive unit of one team squared off with the defensive unit of the opposing teams in a game of American football to determine who would win that particular football game. Good plays happened, and bad plays happened as well. Good teams made some good plays, and bad teams made some bad plays. Also, some of the good teams even made bad plays, and some of the bad teams made good plays. All in all, this week in the NFL featured a lot of football.
It's all about word count, ladies and gentlemen. The professor is going to eat that up.
Around this time of the season, a lot of the moving parts and momentum swings of the earlier weeks typically start to settle down. Teams have fully identified themselves, and their records begin to actually reflect where they stand as a team. That's what makes it so surprising that the jury is still out on a great number of teams. Just to name a few, the Falcons, the Lions, the Redskins, the Giants, and the Bills are now all sitting at 4-3, and yet the overall feeling on the quality of each of those teams is wildly varying.
So how did we get here? What happened in week 7 to put us where we are? Well, Howard, I'm glad you asked. Let's give you some answers.
Week 7 Postdictions
Giants at Rams (Wembley Stadium): I know it was at the end of the game, and I know there was a lot of other significant stuff that happened in this game as well. But good gracious gravy almighty, what the hell was that last interception? Miscommunication is one thing, but Case Keenum looked like he was trying to hit an airplane with that ball, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie actually seemed a little bit unsure of what to do with such an easy pick. That interception was Keenum's 3rd of the last 12 and a half minutes of the game, and 4th on the day overall. After an early 10 points from the Rams, Keenum threw his first pick to Landon Collins, who returned it for the Giant's first 6 of 17 unanswered points. A punt-a-thon then ensued, until the fourth quarter when New York took advantage of Rodgers-Cromartie's first interception to score the deciding touchdown. For a team that ended the game with fewer than 200 yards passing and a bleak 36 yards rushing, these Football Giants found themselves quite blessed with turnovers. When was the last time that Eli Manning started in a game where a quarterback threw 4 interceptions and it wasn't him? I don't have a statistician, so if you know one, get him on that stat and comment down below. #FanInteraction 17-10 Giants
Vikings at Eagles: That's it. The season's over. The '72 Dolphins are safe once again, and the Vikings are well on their way to a top 5 draft pick... Okay, maybe not. But they didn't instill much hope in the Skol Squad coming off of their bye week. Statistically, the Vikings actually ended up much better overall than the Eagles. Philadelphia averaged more yards per play and had more overall rushing yards, but Minnesota won out in nearly every other category. Sam Bradford even somehow outplayed Carson Wentz, statistically speaking. But again, the base statistics are often deceiving, and this game is a perfect example of that. This game was all about timing and opportunity. Each team committed 4 turnovers in this game, but the Vikings were uncharacteristically incapable of taking advantage of their turnovers until the game was all but over. None of the Eagles first three turnovers yielded the Vikings any points, and the fourth Eagles turnover came in the 4th quarter with a little under 5 minutes to play. By that point, Minnesota was already down 18 points. Meanwhile, Philadelphia ended up yielding two scoring drives off of Vikings turnovers and scoring the game's first, and most significant, touchdown on a kickoff return. The Vikings were forced to play from behind for virtually the entire game, which they have not been accustomed to doing. Add on to that the fact that the Eagles' defense was playing with an enormous chip on its shoulder, and you've figured out most of the reasoning behind how Minnesota managed to lose this game. Philly was more opportunistic and effective when it mattered. 21-10 Eagles
Browns at Bengals: A.J. Green is a bonafide, grade-A superstar. He just has this presence about him on the field where he always feels like a threat, and maybe that's because he always is. One bobbled hail mary catch in the end zone and another incredible catch down the sideline contributed to his 8 catches for 169 yards. Andy Dalton asserted himself even further as a true stud, and the Bengals running game just had themselves a spa day. Jeremy Hill posted up a 74 yard scurry, and averaged 11.75 yards per carry without even taking that run into account. The Bengals running backs totaled 271 rushing yards by game's end. And Cleveland... Well, Cody Kessler went down with a concussion, and the Browns were so starved for a quarterback that they substituted in the man, the myth, the maniac: Hulk Hogan. At least I think that's who it was, I only ever caught the last name. Pretty weird that after all of his racism scandals, the Hulkster would end up signing with, of all teams, the Browns. Oh, how did they play, you ask? Crowell was good, that was it. Same old. Cleveland sucks all kinds of inappropriate things. Nothing new. 31-17 Bengals
Ravens at Jets: You know that one football team from New York? No, not the Giants, the other one. The one that had that one quarterback who threw 6 interceptions in one game? Yeah, the Ravens lost to that team. I know, right? No, they benched him, but the guy they benched him for got injured and they-- oh, sorry dude, gotta go.
Sorry about that, guys. Anyway, yeah, the Baltimore Ravens found a way to lose to these Jets. So it's now official: bad team. I mean, they had already lost 3 straight, but this was the rusty nail that sealed the coffin and gave tetanus to the corpse inside. Baltimore somehow allowed both Geno Smith AND Ryan Fitzpatrick to have good performances against their defense. Combined, Smith and Fitz were 13/22 for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns. Additionally, the Jets offense was allowed to post 155 yards rushing, which is the most that the Ravens have allowed all season. As a contrast, Baltimore's rushing game produced a grand total of... 6 yards. Yeah, the Ravens ran the ball 12 times for 6 yards. Pitiful is a good word in this situation. Joe Flacco also threw two interceptions, both of which led to Jets points. Baltimore's bye week couldn't have come at a more opportune time, unless it had come for each of the last 4 weeks. John Harbaugh's got quite a few serious chats to have with his team if they expect to bounce back from this slump. And as for those j-e-t-s jets jets jets, be wary of this Fitzpatrick fella. He is quite upset that he was not trusted by management after his horrendous start to the season, but with Geno Smith now solidly out for the season, he's all you've got. Make him prove his worth. Final side note: has any announcer, to anyone's knowledge, made the terrible "Buster Skrine busted up that screen" joke yet? I think of it every week, and I hate it. 24-16 Jets
Bills at Dolphins: All NFL announcers and analysts must subconsciously hate that Jay Ajayi is now an elite running back. What an awkward name to need to pronounce on a weekly basis. Unfortunately for them, there's no avoiding him now: he's playing the best at that position in the NFL right now. Ajayi became the first player to rush for 200 yards in consecutive games since his Miami Dolphin dreadecessor, Ricky Williams, did it in 2002. His longest run of 53 yards was more than all of the Buffalo Bills running backs rushed for in the entire game combined. Ryan Tannehill also had a perfectly serviceable game in the air, with 204 yards and a touchdown pass. Tyrod Taylor played well all things considered, but his offensive line gave him quite a few things to consider. Taylor was scrambling in and out of the pocket all day long and fell victim to 4 sacks from the ruthless Miami defensive line. The Dolphins front men accumulated 7 tackles for loss in this game, and stifled most of Buffalo's offensive production in doing so. Buffalo's defense was uncharacteristically ineffective, which I'm sure ol' T-Rex Ryan won't be too happy about. Ryan insisted that his team was not focused on a potential playoff berth down the road, and was instead focused on the Miami Dolphins. Didn't seem like it. 28-25 Dolphins
Raiders at Jaguars: This game included a "throat slash" call on Michael Crabtree. 1. I didn't even know that that sort of call existed, and 2. all that Crabtree did was move his hand slightly towards his collarbone after he scored a touchdown. It's a good thing that the officials are finally cracking down on these rowdy, unruly players. On the topic of penalties, even the head official was laughing by the end of the game about just how frequently penalty markers seemed to be showering the field. Each team had over 110 yards worth of penalty yardage to their names, and it was particularly annoying to watch all of this towards the end of the game. In terms of actual football, the Oakland's defense, of all things, was what clinched this game. Apart from giving up one 42-yard run to Chris Ivory, the Raiders held Jacksonville to a mere 63 yards rushing over the course of this game. Blake Bortles threw 2 interceptions in an otherwise average showing, and Derek Carr had a slightly below normal day, but by his standards, that still equates to a mid-80's Joe Montana good day. You see, guys? I told you it was fine. Everything's fine. 33-16 Raiders
Saints at Chiefs: I never noticed it until this game, but Alex Smith's voice is way deeper than it has any right to be. He looks like he should sound about half an octave higher than where he actually is, which is somewhere around what Nick Nolte would sound like if his voice squeaked. I guess that Smith has just matured so well as a quarterback that he reached some kind of football puberty, which would make sense given how well he played against New Orleans this week. The Kansas City offense has been surprisingly dangerous recently, particularly due to the breaking out of RB Spencer Ware. Ware put up 131 yards total between his rushing and receiving, and scored the Chiefs' first offensive score of the game on a quick pass and run. Defensively, Kansas City found enough ways to stop Drew Brees early that he was forced to bring his team back from behind for most of the game. The Chiefs did struggle to stop him as effectively in the second half, but an untimely Mark Ingram fumble put just enough momentum back in KC's favor that they were able to kill a bit more of the clock and set the game out of reach. Brees nearly orchestrated a wild comeback drive in the last 30 seconds, but his receiver Michael Thomas wasn't able to get out of bounds when there were 2 seconds left on the clock, and the game ended on a flat not for the Saints. Which is frustrating, because if they had been able to score the winning touchdown with the extra point, I would have predicted another game to exactitude. Dammit, Michael. 27-21 Chiefs
Colts at Titans: We here at Troy Hates Flags are all about bringing you the most insightful, unique football commentary out there. That's why for this game, all I've got to say is this: in the NFL, timing is everything, and you can't turn the ball over. That's it from here, good night folks!
Marcus Mariota fumbled the ball on the first play of Tennessee's most crucial 4th quarter drive, and the Colts pounced on this opportunity to recover the fumble, score a return touchdown, and put the game out of reach. Mariota's fumble was the only turnover for either team, and both offenses were running pretty smoothly up until that point. Andrew Luck carried the Colts as always, while the Titans relied on DeMarco Murray and a mix-and-match of different sorts of play calling. These two teams still play in the worst division in professional football, but not for lack of offensive flavor. Well, Houston sort of lacks offensive flavor, but everybody else is fine in that department. I should have known that the AFC South would re-calibrate itself to "lackluster" after this game, it was silly of me to think otherwise. Both of these teams now sit at a poultry 3-4, yet both are still very much in the hunt for the division title. Hooray for football. 34-26 Colts
Fleshpelts at Lions: At Ford Field this past Sunday, Dan Snyder found out the hard way that you can't skin a lion quite as easily as you can skin a Native American human. The Skinnermen lost two fumbles, one in the first quarter and another in the third, that derailed their attempts to gain momentum. Detroit was content to just take what they were given and not blow anybody away by being too reckless. Matt Stafford was his normal, efficient self, and Detroit's ground game looked better than it has in quite some time. Washington's defense had difficulties neutralizing the middle of the field and were not able to consistently get pressure on the pocket. Kirk Cousins and the Fleshpelt offense were just as productive as they usually are, but their mistakes prevented them from turning their productivity into many points. This game was honestly pretty dull until the last few wacky minutes. The animals conquered the hunters. Mother nature hath taken her revenge. 20-17 Lions
Buccaneers at 49ers: Do you ever wonder to yourself, "Troy? I know that completion percentage is important, but just how important is it in determining how good a quarterback is?" Well if you ever do, I'm here to help you out. You see, whenever you see the comparisons of how a quarterback did in one half versus the other or one quarter versus another, the completions and completion percentage are a big part of what is used to determine a player's productivity at any given point. The reason I bring this up is because I had seen one of these comparison gimmicks popped up for Colin Kaepernick in this game. The thing is, not all completions are equal. I know that Colin Kaepernick is going to have an enormous problem with this, equality is his thing, but it really is true. Colin Kaepernick completed 16 passes in this game, but that does not mean that if Tom Brady also completed 16 passes in his game, the two of them performed at an equal level. Many of Kaepernick's passes, and for that matter, a good percentage of Jameis Winston's passes, were thrown behind the receiver, thrown ahead of the receiver, or just plain thrown wobbly. Thus, their completions are deceiving. Two of Winston's 3 touchdown passes were, in my judgment, poorly thrown footballs. Colin Kaepernick's touchdown was even worse.
Long story short, Colin Kaepernick sucked as a quarterback, Jameis Winston sucked less than Colin Kaepernick as a quarterback without being all that great, and the Bucs won. Panning shots of the crowd showed people in creamsicle uniforms supporting Tampa Bay. This made me tear up a bit. I want those beauties back. 34-17 Buccaneers
Chargers at Falcons: I don't know who the lead announcer was for this game, but it was so satisfying every time that he said the name "Williams." The way he oh-so-nearly rolled the L's just tasted good in my ears. It was nice of Tyrell Williams to have a good game and allow me to get my fill of his name. Williams had 7 grabs for 140 yards receiving, and he was Philip Rivers' top receiver. Rivers actually outperformed Matt Ryan in this game, posting 371 yards to Ryan's 273 and averaging more yards per completion as well. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones did not miss a step in the slightest, connecting 9 times for 174 yards. San Diego's ground game did not produce as much yardage as Atlanta's, but Melvin Gordon scored each of the Chargers' three touchdowns out of the backfield. The Falcons offense was rolling like a duck on ice for just about the entire game, but during the second half, the Chargers seemed to figure out how to stall them just enough to keep points off the board. Atlanta made their most crucial, and frankly only, mistakes on the drive immediately before San Diego tied the game. Once in Chargers territory, two false start penalties set Atlanta back for a 1st and 20, on which Matt Ryan proceeded to throw the game-changing interception to Denzel Perryman. Up until that point, the Falcons had not made any major mistakes beyond failing to finish a drive or two. From there, San Diego drove down to tie the game, stuffed Atlanta on an overtime fourth down, then kicked the game winner. What a world we live in where the Atlanta Falcons offense was held to 3 points in the final three periods, and the San Diego Chargers completed a 17 point comeback to win on the road. Not even an #UltimatePredictorian could have seen that coming. 33-30 Chargers (OT)
Patriots at Steelers: Landry Jones seemed determined to not be the worst starting quarterback on the face of the earth this week for the Steelers, and I think that he managed to get the job done. Though he was asked to throw the ball nearly 50 times on the day, Jones did convert about 62% of his passes for 281 yards and a touchdown. Jones did also, however, throw an early interception that led to the Patriots first touchdown of the day, and coming on the heels of a rare New England turnover that put his offense in terrific field position, that interception set the tone for a disappointing day. Pittsburgh also failed to capitalize on a second forced fumble, missing a field goal on the ensuing drive. While the Patriots made more mistakes than they have in some time, Bill Belichick made sure that his players did not allow the Steelers to make them pay for it. New England's defense continues to be one of the best tackling units in football, and they did a good job of preventing plays from getting out of their control. Tom Brady was Tom Brady, as he almost always is. This was a much closer game than it had any right to be, but New England still emerged the winner, as expected. 27-16 Patriots
Seahawks at Cardinals: There is a lot that I could say about this game, but I think that I'll just keep it simple. I'm going to list each team's drive chart and let you decide what to make of this game.
Arizona: Punt, punt, punt, blocked FG, field goal, halftime, turnover on downs, punt, punt, blocked punt, punt, field goal, missed field goal. Seven punts, including a string of three straight and a second string of four straight.
Seattle: Punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, field goal, end of regulation, field goal, missed FG. Nine straight punts, no points scored until the 4th quarter.
I lied, I'm not going to let you decide what to make of this game. It was wretched and ugly, and you shouldn't spend any time watching it, considering watching it, or thinking about it. I'm glad that neither team won, neither earned the win. Can't wait for round 2, oh boy. 6-6 Tie
Texans at Broncos: I think that it's now fairly safe to say that Denver doesn't miss Brock Osweiler all that much. I mean, sure, Trevor Siemian is no Johnny Unitas, Peyton Manning, or Derek Carr, but he's certainly plenty good enough for the Broncos to be more comfortable with his level of performance than they would be with the less consistent and exponentially more expensive level of performance from Mr. Rottweiler. To be fair, Brock didn't make all that many horrible throws in this game. Houston's offensive gameplan was designed out of respect to the Denver defense, so Osweiler wasn't made to throw too many dangerous balls. But the thing is, if you're going to implement a gameplan designed around short, safe throws, they've got to eventually add up to enough yardage to move the chains. And past the first two Texans drives, there was little of that going on for Houston here. Oh yeah, and there was that weird fumble in the fourth quarter as well, just to confirm that Osweiler really wasn't playing all that well. Both teams had successful running games, though Houston's was mostly carried by a couple of big runs early in the game. C.J. Anderson had a very impressive day for the Broncos, averaging almost 7 yards per carry and amassing over 100 yards for the first time on the year. Not to be outshined, Devontae Booker put together an 83-yard performance of his own out of the backfield, and between those two, Denver nearly eclipsed 200 yards rushing as a team. Houston was simply outmatched here, and they continue to fail every major test that is put in front of them. They're probably good enough to win their bad division, but anything beyond that requires a higher level of play than they put together on Monday night. 27-9 Broncos
There you have it, dudes and dudettes. Week 7 is now in the rear view mirror, as we continue to drive the football car to Super Bowl Town. Not the best metaphor, but you get the idea.
I'll be back once again tomorrow for the State of the NFL: This Week Today for week 7, as well as Thursday Night Football premonitions!
As always, thank you for reading. Have a good morning, day, afternoon, evening, night, dawn, dusk, and following morning!