A Look at the Top Ten Takeaways From This Weekend in the NFL
|Date & Time||Monday November 23, 2015, 12:00 PM (EST)|
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You’re lucky you have me functional this Monday morning, y’all. I’m running on four hours of sleep after flying in from the ATL after the Colts big win yesterday (at least the adrenaline is still pumping…and the coffee is flowing). As per usual to start the week, we’ll spend this morning taking a look at the top ten biggest takeaways of Week 11 in the NFL.
1. The Baltimore Ravens are in bad shape.
Nobody saw the Ravens sitting at 3-7 at this point in the season, but to add insult to injury, things have just gone from bad to worse for John Harbaugh’s club. In the span of a single game (which at least ended-up as a W), they lost starting QB Joe Flacco to a torn ACL and starting RB Justin Forsette to a gruesome broken arm. Next [men] up, Ravens Nation. Or, just start playing for draft position. I mean, at this point…
2. We may have seen the last of Peyton Manning.
Loyal Colts fan I am, the last thing I ever wanted was to see Manning go out like this. That said, for the good of the Broncos organization, I’m almost hoping we’ve seen the last of him. In yesterday’s narrow win over the Chicago Bears, Brock Osweiler went 20-27 for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns. No. 18 may be the greatest of all time, but that’s more than he’s managed in weeks. If Osweiler can keep it up, I won’t be surprised if he’s named the starter sooner rather than later.
3. The Cincinnati Bengals have got to get their penalties in-check.
Over the course of the past two weeks, following their impressive 8-0 start, the Bengals have started playing sloppy football, with 19 total flags. In last night’s three-point loss to the Arizona Cardinals, their ten flags amounted to 108 yards. That’s game-changing, people. If Marvin Lewis’s team actually wants to contend as the season winds down and the postseason commences, this is an issue they’ve got to correct or they run the risk of being the same Bungles team we’ve seen for the past 25 years.
4. There’s still work to be done in Oakland.
Y’all know by now I’m on the Jack del Rio-Derek Carr-Amari Cooper-Latavius Murray bandwagon. That said, I’m woman enough to admit when I might be wrong. In yesterday’s shocking loss to the Detroit Lions, the Raiders looked like the same team they’ve been for my entire life. Carr struggled to get into rhythm, going 13-25 and not even breaking 175 yards. Murray couldn’t find an open lane to save his life, even against the Lions’ horrific run defense. Everyone is entitled to the occasion off week, but this seemed indicative of bigger problems. In order to balance the young talent on the Raiders’ roster, now might be the time to start looking at some veterans to provide a little on-field leadership.
5. The Atlanta Falcons aren’t the team they were early in the year.
I won’t lie and say I’m sad about yesterday’s Falcons loss. Colts Nation travelled and there was a lot of blue in the Georgia Dome. However, Indy never should have had the opportunity to win the game, especially without the comeback kid (Andrew Luck, for those of you who have been living under a rock) at the helm. Atlanta’s four turnovers killed them, ultimately allowing Adam Vinatieri to kick a last second, game-winning field goal. Dan Quinn’s team’s playoff hopes are almost dead after they started the year 5-0, sticking right with the Carolina Panthers. They have a lot of work to do if they want to make a postseason appearance in January.
6. Tony Romo came, saw, and conquered.
The Dallas Cowboys went 0-7 without their starting QB this year, which made his return (and the W) yesterday that much sweeter. While Romo did throw two interceptions, he also went 18-28, racked-up 227 yards, and had two touchdowns, including one to my current favorite ‘Boys receiver, Terrance Williams. Romo’s return seemed to boost the morale of the entire Cowboys offense, which is great news for a team that’s still (amazingly) in the playoff race at 3-7. They’ve got some tough games remaining, including this week against the Carolina Panthers. Here’s Romo’s chance to prove how good he really is.
7. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be a playoff team.
Yes, you read that correctly. After yesterday’s insane 45-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Buccaneers are sitting at 5-5, which puts them smack dab in the middle of the NFC wildcard race. They also have a road win against the Atlanta Falcons on their side. This weekend, Lovie Smith’s team travels to Indianapolis, where they’ll face a Colts team who is also coming-off a big win. The fact that this squad is even in postseason contention after last year’s disastrous 2-14 campaign is impressive (even though I’m personally hoping they have a terrible Week 12). Sorry, Bucs fans.
8. The Green Bay Packers may have gotten their groove back.
In yesterday’s 30-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings, Mike McCarthy’s team looked like they may have finally found themselves. Although Aaron Rodgers only went 16-34, he also had two touchdowns and 212 yards. RB Eddie Lacy had a 100-yard game and WR James Jones (and his hoodie…) had 109 yards on six receptions. At 7-3, the Packers are now tied with the Vikings atop the NFC North. Things are about to get really interesting down the stretch.
9. The Kansas City Chiefs are dominating.
I haven’t said a whole lot about the Chiefs this year, but they’ve quietly won four games in a row by a total of 91 points, including yesterday’s 33-3 win over the disastrously bad San Diego Chargers. Alex Smith and Co. have a fairly easy remaining schedule, including Oakland twice, San Diego again, Joe Flacco-less Baltimore, and Cleveland, which could propel them into serious playoff contention. Keep an eye on these guys as we enter the final month of the regular season.
10. Jeff Fisher’s job ought to be on the line.
St. Louis Rams QB Case Keenum suffered an (extremely obvious) concussion during yesterday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Head coach Jeff Fisher opted to leave his current starter in the game following the injury, losing the respect of fans and colleagues alike. Furthermore, just two plays after the injury, Keenum lost a fumble that led to the Ravens’ game-winning field goal. Coincidence? I think not. I look for Fisher to be on the chopping block on Black Monday, if not before.