by Ryan Meehan
In week eleven, I think I finally bought into Tim Tebow. Additionally, the Bills and Titans both lost, so hopefully we here at FOH are now getting others to realize they are toy. “Toy” is a term that taggers in the graffiti subculture use to describe artists who are just getting started and doing subpar or below average work. It’s supposed to be degrading because the more experienced, better practiced taggers don’t want any poor artwork done on their turf. Remind you of anything? The NFL has a lot of teams this year that are toy, and in some cases it’s more obvious than others. Keep that in mind as we span the globe and take a look at what happened in week eleven.
Broncos 17, Jets 13
As I write the intro to this piece, it’s Thursday night. Tim Tebow just drove the ball 95 yards right through the middle of the heart of the New York Jets defense to score the game winning touchdown with just minutes remaining. I was one of the writers who honestly did not believe that Tim Tebow was not capable of one twentieth of everything that he’s accomplished up until this point. But you have to hand it to the kid, he wins football games. The Jets are in serious, serious trouble. They can still make the playoffs and put together a run like they have the past two years, but they are going to have to take advantage of that soft schedule in order to do so, making almost no mistakes along the way.
Eagles 17, Giants 10
As a Giants fan this game was frustrating as shit to watch at the end. Nothing like getting your heart ripped out after a solid boost of adrenaline. Eli Manning got the ball back with two minutes down 7 points to go, poised and ready to make yet another one of those 4th quarter Manning family comebacks we’ve all become so accustomed to. So he completes this forty-five yard pass to Victor Cruz and the Giants are at the Eagles 20 yard line and appear to be in great shape. But then on the very next play Eli has the ball knocked out of his hands and Philadelphia recovers, winning the game. And such is the life of a Giants fan. I could almost see it happen before the ball was snapped. To be brutally honest, the Giants just weren’t the better team here at all. Vince Young did a masterful job working the clock on that last Eagles drive and for a guy who hadn’t taken a snap all season he looked awfully good doing so.
Cowboys 27, Redskins 24
For a second, it looked like Washington might pull this one off. They were in place for Graham Gano to boot a 52 yarder in overtime to win the game but the kick went all Scott Norwood and the Cowboys were able to flip the switch and create the same opportunity for themselves, only they cashed in and ended up emerging victorious. Sixth straight loss for the Skins, but it was nice to see Donte Stallworth in the endzone as opposed to behind the wheel of a car. Although the Packers are the best team in the league, the Cowboys are definitely the hottest.
Bears 31, Chargers 20
Although the Bears looked good winning their fifth straight in this game, about two hours after it was over word started to get around to the news outlets in Chicago that Jay Cutler had fractured his thumb and would miss six to eight weeks. So, thus possibly begins the much dreaded Caleb Hanie era in the second city. That’s of course if they don’t try and bring a veteran in there and see what they can make out of a really bad situation. When I was going to bed last night I heard ESPN’s John Clayton make the point that since Mike Martz is the Bears’ offensive coordinator he wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears brought him in for a tryout because of the current situation. Martz and Bulger worked together in St. Louis, but I just think that he may stay retired like he announced back on August 2nd. I would be calling David Garrard now that Carson Palmer has already been extracted from his previous engagement. Chicago is playing some inspired defense and I can only hope for their sake that the whole Detroit Lions thing doesn’t pan out as I’d much rather see Chicago wild card weekend than have to watch the Lions take cheap shots at everybody on the field while their grounds crew is out in the parking lot slashing everybody’s tires.
Seahawks 24, Rams 7
Here’s the wrapup sentence from the actual NFL website regarding this game: “Seattle improved to 2-4 on the road in a game notable for sloppy play and 19 punts, including a season-high 10 by the Rams’ Donnie Jones.” The only thing that would have been noteworthy here would be the power running of Marshawn Lynch, but it doesn’t appear flashy this week as he missed the 100 yard mark. Seattle has won two in a row and just the thought of the Rams has put me to sleep yet again, a streak that looks as if it may never be broken.
Dolphins 35, Bills 8
If you weren’t already convinced that the Bills were pretenders, I’m sure this did the trick. It seemed like just a month ago I was predicting the firing of Tony Sporano, but for a football team that clearly isn’t going anywhere he’s got them believing in something. I have no idea how the hell he’s doing it, but it seems to be working. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the Bills weren’t constructed for the long haul…I mean, how long can you win with an Ivy League Quarterback and a roster full of sixth and seventh rounders? Remember the toys I discussed in the opening paragraph? That’s the Bills in a nutshell.
Raiders 27, Vikings 21
And just like that, the Raiders are alone in first place in the AFC West. And for the most part, the way the Chargers are finishing (or not finishing) games has Oakland set up to enter the postseason quietly as a wild card team should the Broncos’ luck run out. Adrian Peterson got hurt during the first quarter, but it doesn’t matter as Minnesota’s season is toast already. Have they even cut Donovan McNabb yet? Michael Bush had another 100 yard day on the ground for Oakland, and more importantly Carson Palmer didn’t throw any interceptions. Darius Heyward-Bay got injured in this one so let’s hope it’s not too serious. (that’s a lie, I’m not really all that concerned about it)
Browns 14, Jaguars 10
Are you fucking kidding me? I shouldn’t even have to even write about this. The sad part for the Jaguars is that the rest of their team is so poor, we might never actually find out if Blaine Gabbert is any good at the pro level. If you’re a Browns fan and you chuckled at that, just remember that the same thing could likely be said about Colt McCoy. Of course I’m kidding, nobody talks about Colt McCoy.
Ravens 31, Bengals 24
Two words: Torrey Smith. Look, I get that a great wide receiver usually has a great quarterback to to throw him the ball, but Torrey Smith made everything happen for himself on Sunday. Even when the throws weren’t exactly where he wanted them, he still made the catches and Baltimore got the W. Most of them were anyway, and Joe Flacco should be commended for his role in all of this as well. Not to take anything away from the Bengals, they aren’t quite AFC North elite-level yet but you have to admit they are hanging with the Pittsburghs and the Baltimores pretty much all around the league. Controversial call at the end of this one that worked in the Ravens’ favor, I’m sure that you’ve seen it by now so all I will say is this: I’m not a big fan of the rule about having to make a “football move” to secure a touchdown. I was always raised to believe that if you broke the plane of the goal line, the play stops right there, the clock stops right there, and it’s six points. But the rules are the rules, and everyone has to abide by them.
49ers 23, Cardinals 7
San Francisco’s in great shape at 9-1 because if Green Bay slips up anywhere along the way, the 49ers are in perfect shape to steal that one seed and secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Tough road game ahead on Thanksgiving night against the Ravens that could go either way. Once again, Alex Smith wasn’t spectacular (267 but 20 for 38) but he didn’t need to be as their defense held Arizona to only eleven first downs the whole game. Frank Gore was back, but Michael Crabtree stole the show with 120 yards on seven grabs. I suspect that once the 49ers get to ten wins some of the skeptics will begin to take their season more seriously.
Falcons 23, Titans 17
Thank God. The Houston Texans finally got some good news. It came during a week where they didn’t play, which is a little weird but it still counts. Roddy White caught seven balls for 147 and Matt Ryan had a healthy and relatively mistake free day. Plus, their defense only gave up forty-one yards on the ground and you gotta love that. I think the way Atlanta performs in the next six weeks will say a lot about the way that franchise is headed in the decade to come. It seems insane to me that Michael Turner can be a part of the century club on Sunday, and then the very next day it’s not even mentioned on the radio. It’s like if the guy doesn’t bust one for sixty yards he’s a non-factor. Hmmm. Matt Hasselbeck suffered an elbow injury which brought in Jake Locker, the injury doesn’t appear to be serious but Locker did alright in relief considering it was his first game.
Packers 35, Bucs 26
This one was a lot closer than I had anticipated. I don’t believe that the Packers will run the table because about every other week or so they show this scary sliver of vulnerability. They’re still the favorite, but remember once the playoffs start no one cares what your record is. They need to be sure they don’t end up like the Falcons and the Patriots did last year. Aaron Rodgers had another great afternoon but once again here, it’s the defense I’m worried about, particularly that secondary. The Packers just need to avoid buying into all of the hype and they should be able to focus. As for the Buccaneers, I think this was it. Given how many bubble teams there are in the NFC, it’s almost unthinkable they will be able to win out, and even if they did they’d still finish 10-6 like they did last year when they also didn’t make it in.
Lions 49, Panthers 35
Well, Cam Newton certainly had a stat everyone is going to remember in this one: He threw four picks. On the other side of the ball, Carolina’s defense just doesn’t exist anymore. I get that the Lions are 7-3, but there’s no way their offense is really as explosive as they looked on Sunday. Five touchdowns for Matt Stafford? Come on, how many of you legitimately believe he’s really that good? The Panthers have a good running game, it just never seems to translate into enough points to win unless they are playing awful teams like the Colts, whom they’ll see next week. Have to give it up to Kevin Smith here for scoring 2 TDs and logging 140 yards during a very emotional week for him.
Patriots 34, Chiefs 3
The Chiefs never had a chance in this one. When your fans are your biggest weapon, and your playing almost a thousand miles from home on night during a short work week not a lot of your people are going to make the trip, and they didn’t. Rob Gronkowski is in full beast mode. What’s interesting about the Patriots is the fact that if Wes Welker does get hurt, they now have this other guy that’s an all pro who can instantly step in and take his place. Trouble for the rest of the AFC is, he doesn’t get hurt much so most of the time you have to worry about both of these dudes. Didn’t see much of this game but Tyler Palko had three interceptions. Wait, who the hell is Tyler Palko?
As of right now…
I know a lot of people can’t stand the “if the season ended today” argument, but I have to at least come up with an outline here to give you some idea of what the playoffs are going to look like. In the NFC, I see the division winners as Saints, Packers, Cowboys, and Niners. Your two wild card spots could be filled by any combination of the following four teams: Giants, Falcons, Bears, and Lions. So this has the potential to come down to the last week and get very exciting. In the AFC, I see your division winners as Patriots, Texans (they’ll get there, trust me), Steelers or Ravens (remember now, Baltimore owns the head to head tiebreaker), and the Raiders. Wild card spots are most likely to be filled by the Jets and whoever finishes second in the AFC North. The Titans and the Bengals aren’t mathematically eliminated just yet, but it doesn’t look promising.
I heard a rumor circulating on Monday about the possibility of the Washington Redskins picking up the remainder of Peyton Manning’s contract. Although it’s a great idea, it’s highly unlikely that it will happen because of the amount of guaranteed money involved. I can honestly say I don’t see him finishing his career in Indianapolis given what’s happened. Oh, how quickly the mighty have fallen…
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