Week 7 Review, TNF Preview

Posted: 10/27/2016 by levcohen in Football

It was fitting that last week start with a low-scoring snoozer and ended with another one. It was a week of low scoring games, featuring only seven (out of 15) that went over 41 combined points and the first 6-6 tie in NFL overtime history. It was also another week of dreary primetime games, with the tie joining the Packers’ win over the Matt Barkley (6/15, 81 yards, 2 INT)-led Bears and Denver’s obliteration of the Brock Osweiler (22/41, 131 yards)-led Texans. I will say that I enjoyed the Cardinals-Seahawks game more than most people seemed to have, because while it ended in a touchdown-less tie, I think it was actually a pretty well-played game, just one in which the defense had the clear upper hand. I don’t think I can eliminate anyone again this week. The fact that the AFC South is so bad that no team can be counted out and the strength and depth of the AFC West and NFC East really limit the number of teams who are already playing for next year.

Top tier: New England, Minnesota, Seattle, Dallas
Eliminated teams: Cleveland, Chicago, Buffalo, New Orleans, San Francisco, Miami, New York Jets

  • We treated London with another terrible game last week. The Giants and Rams were both 3-3 going in, but they were both awful last Sunday. The Rams took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, then saw quarterback Case Keenum throw four interceptions. Keenum’s stat line was bad, but he looked even worse. How long can the Rams — now 3-4 — wait until they have to plug #1 overall pick Jared Goff in at quarterback? I didn’t like LA’s chances going into the season and thus looked foolish after a 3-1 start, but now I think we’re starting to see how limited the offense is, especially when running back Todd Gurley (3 yards per carry this season) has nowhere to run. On the other side, the Giants went to 4-3, but they looked like the worst team in the NFC East. They’ll need improved play from Eli Manning if they want to make a playoff run.
  • Joe Flacco threw the ball 44 times. While that may seem weird for a quarterback who once led a run-first offense, it’s become commonplace this year. Flacco leads the league with 308 attempts, and nobody’s even close (Andrew Luck is #2 at 276). The problem is that he’s only averaging 5.96 yards per attempt and has thrown just five touchdown passes this year. When only 1.6% of your throws are going for touchdowns, you know your offense probably isn’t very good. Baltimore’s isn’t.
  • The Indianapolis Colts may well have the worst all-around roster in the AFC South, but I’m starting to think that they should be considered the favorites to win the division. I know that they’re 3-4 and 1-2 in the division, but they happen to have Andrew Luck, easily the best and most important player in the sorry division. We saw Houston on Monday. That team doesn’t look like it can string together two good drives, let alone do enough to win nine games (I know they’re 4-3, but I don’t know how). And we’ll see Tennessee and Jacksonville tonight, and I have a hunch that it might not be the most well-played game. Houston is still a game up in the division, but I like Indy’s chances.
  • The Browns might be the only winless team in the NFL, but I don’t think they’re the worst team in football. If you saw the Niners-Bucs game, you might agree with me. Playing at home against a mediocre-at-best Tampa team, I was encouraged to see San Francisco take a 14-0 lead into the second quarter. Less encouraging was the 34-3 romping that came afterwards. The game ended 34-17, sending the Niners to 1-6. Jacquizz Rodgers gashed the Niners for 154 yards, and they’ve now given up 1296 yards on the ground this year, 317 more than #31 Cleveland, on 5.1 yards per carry. It’s too bad that Cleveland doesn’t get to play San Fran. Now that’s a game I’d pay to see.
  • On the other side of the rushing defense spectrum are the Green Bay Packers. They’re holding opponents to 3.1 yards per carry and one touchdown all season, and that includes a 157 yard day by Ezekiel Elliot. In their other five games, they’ve given up just 240 yards on 104 carries (2.3 yards per carry). That’s a large reason that they’ve managed to start the season 4-2 despite getting alarmingly little from Aaron Rodgers and the offense.

Last week’s picks:
9-5-1 straight up… 58-48-1 for the season
10-5 against the spread… 54-48-5
7-7-1 over/under… 52-53-2

3-1-1 on upset picks… 12-14-1
1-0 on lock… 3-4.. Might just have to go against Cleveland every week.

Best picks of the week:
Patriots 27, Steelers 17… Actual result: Patriots 27, Steelers 16
Bengals 31, Browns 13… Actual result: Bengals 31, Browns 17
Chiefs 24, Saints 20… Actual result: Chiefs 27, Saints 21
Eagles 17, Vikings 13… Actual result: Eagles 21, Vikings 10

Worst picks of the week:
Jaguars 23, Raiders 17… Actual result: Raiders 33, Jaguars 16
Niners 23, Bucs 20… Actual result: Bucs 34, Niners 17
Ravens 24, Jets 20… Actual result: Jets 24, Ravens 16

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4, 3-3 against the spread) at Tennessee Titans (3-4, 2-5):
Spread: Titans favored by 3
Over/under: 43.5
My prediction: This will probably be a terrible game to watch, and it’s also a terrible game to have to predict. I really have no idea which of these bad teams is going to play better tonight. I think this is going to be a low-scoring game, and I love this matchup for Tennessee’s defense. They’re among the league-leaders in sacks, and now they get to key in on Blake Bortles and the horrific Jacksonville offense. The Jags’ run game is easy to neutralize, putting Bortles in must-pass situations far too often. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a breakout week from Jacksonville receiver Allen Robinson, but it’ll ultimately come in a losing effort. Big game for DeMarco Murray in a 23-17 win.
Titans cover
Under

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