MAQB – Week 16

by NFL Gimpy

Did anyone else hear that loud “oh s%#$” that came around 10pm EST? That’s every single playoff contender reacting to the Seahawks-49ers game around halftime. This is the same 49ers team that beat the Patriots in Foxboro. They were getting thoroughly dominated on offense, defense, and special teams. I said on twitter that this Seahawks squad is a legit Super Bowl contender. Russell Wilson is no longer a “rookie” QB. He’s making confident, veteran throws. Add in Beastmode Marshawn Lynch, a strong defense, plus a great KR/PR in Leon Washington and you have a team who can beat anyone in the NFL any time. That’s a scary thing. Any team who can win any type of game or beat you in multiple ways will be a Super Bowl contender.

Take Green Bay. If you stop Aaron Rodgers, you’ve got a very good chance at beating them. Their defense is good, but not top tier. The running game is awful. The Falcons have an inconsistent at best running game and haven’t stopped it too effectively either. The 49ers are probably the team best suited to keep them away from New Orleans and it seems like the Seahawks have won a simple game of “anything you can do I can do better.” I see a lot of potential in Washington, but they need more time to build around RG3.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a team who has dropped 42+ points in their past 3 games is a contender. The NFC will be rooting hard for the 49ers to beat the Cardinals in week 17 so the Seahawks don’t get a shot at a bye week. If you give the Seahawks a bye and a home playoff game, it’s very possible the road to New Orleans goes through Seattle.

Next week is going to be very interesting because it determines 4/6 seeds for the NFC. The #2 seed is up for grabs and there are 3 playoff spots that have yet to be determined. I’ll start with the easiest one, Cowboys-Redskins. Despite losing this week, the Cowboys still control their destiny. Beat the Redskins in DC and you’re NFC East champs thanks to the Giants loss. Redskins are obviously win and in as the division champions.

The Seahawks are officially in after their dismantling of the 49ers. The 6 seed is quite interesting. At this moment, the Vikings control their own destiny. However, they’re facing a Packers team who is likely fighting for a first round bye. Vikings win and they’re in the playoffs. The bad news for the Vikings is that they play the Packers at 1pm and the 49ers, their competition for the 2 seed, plays at 4:25. This means no matter what, the Packers have to play all 60 minutes if they want a shot at a bye. They can’t rest players if the 49ers lost or are losing big.

If the Vikings lose, the door opens for the Bears. With a Vikings loss and a win over the Lions, the Bears are in. If both the Vikings and Bears lose, it gets confusing. If the Redskins win the division, the Giants are in with a win over the Eagles and losses by the Bears and Vikings (obviously the Cowboys lost to the Giants). If the Cowboys beat the Redskins and the Bears and Vikings lose, the Redskins are the last wild card spot. In so many words, today’s loss to the Ravens has made it absurdly difficult for the Giants to make the playoffs. They need 3 teams to lose in order for their likely win against the Eagles to mean anything.

Prediction: Packers, Redskins, and Bears win, meaning Packers get a bye, Redskins win the NFC East, and the Bears get the last spot.   

In the AFC, the Bengals won the battle of the uglies for the 6 seed in the AFC. I didn’t see much of the game and from what I saw I didn’t miss much. A lot of bad football was played by both teams. Bad turnovers, useless running games, questionable coaching decisions…this game had it all!

The only thing left to be decided in the AFC is seeding. Basically, of the Texans, Broncos, and Patriots, who gets home field, a bye, and none of the above. The seeding is in that order currently, so the possibilities are easy to figure out. I don’t put too much stock into seeding anymore since we’ve seen 6 seeds win the Super Bowl recently.

Year of the Rookie QB

Andrew Luck: 17/35 205 yards 1 touchdown. 6 rushes for 21 yards and 3 sacks for 7 yards. QB Rating of 76.5 and a playoff clinching win.

Robert Griffin III: 16/24 198 yards 2 touchdowns 1 interception. 2 rushes for 4 yards and 1 sack for 13 yards. QB Rating of 102.4 and a win.

Ryan Tannehill: 13/25 130 yards 2 touchdowns. 6 rushes for 44 yards and 2 sacks for 11 yards. QB Rating of 93.8 and a win.

Brandon Weeden: 12/19 104 yards. 3 rushes for 4 yards and 2 sacks for 16 yards. QB Rating of 77.5 and a loss.

Russell Wilson: 15/21 171 yards 4 touchdowns 1 interception. 6 rushes for 29 yards and 1 sack for 1 yard. QB Rating of 115.3 and a win.

Nick Foles: 32/48 345 yards 1 touchdown 1 interception. 4 rushes for 10 yards 5 sacks for 24 yards and a lost fumble.

Ryan Lindley: Back to being a joke not worthy of further mention. He got benched for Brian Hoyer.

I didn’t see any of Luck’s game since I was busy watching RG3 and Foles in person and Colts-Chiefs was a game that I didn’t have time to watch Monday morning due to other games taking precedence. I’m still very concerned about Luck’s completion percentage. He has had less than 50% of his passes completed in 4 straight games. Before that, he only had one sub 50% game. He has had 2 games under 6 yards per attempt in his past 3 outings, which he had never done previously. The Colts have 3 ugly wins in their past 4.

RG3 was pretty much a pocket passer against the Eagles. With only 2 rushes for 4 yards on a bad knee, he still got the job done. His touchdown pass to Santana Moss, which turned out to be the game winner, had great touch and accuracy as Moss toe tapped his way along the left side of the end zone. The Redskins offense lacked the explosiveness it possesses with a healthy RG3, but they got the job done.  He was healthy enough to avoid the Eagles pass rush (only sacked once) and a lot of that had to do with his quick release.

His opponent Nick Foles was a bit more up and down. Foles had a bad fumble when he should have simply thrown the ball away. His interception was on a tipped ball, however, from what I saw it was still a dangerous decision. There were several defenders in the area he was looking. He has shown a lot to build off of. His touchdown pass to Maclin in the 1st quarter was on a delayed offsides by the Redskins. Foles knew he had free play and hit Maclin with a perfect touch pass to the shallow right corner of the end zone.

He had a great 2 minute drill to put the team in a position to tie it in the 4th quarter and had 3 different shots to tie the game that failed for 3 different reasons. The first throw was a bit weak and Maclin couldn’t corral it in. Foles needed to step into the throw a bit more. The second had recently signed TE Evan Moore drop what was likely a touchdown. Then an intentional grounding penalty ended the game. Foles has a lot of talent and his mistakes can easily be fixed by coaching and experience. There’s definitely something there and Eagles fans shouldn’t let the immediate success of Luck, RG3, and Wilson cloud their vision, not all rookie QBs can lead their teams to the playoffs right away.

I didn’t see much of Tannehill or Weeden either. I’m not sad I missed Weeden, the Broncos defense handled him thoroughly. Tannehill put up so-so numbers against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Reggie Bush carried the Dolphins in the first half and set them up for the win.

Then there’s Russell Wilson. For my money, he’s the best rookie QB right now. As mentioned, I consider the Seahawks a Super Bowl contender. Wilson had 2 throws several plays apart late in the 3rd quarter that really showed you where he is. On 3rd and long, he completed a deep out to rookie WR Jermaine Kearse for 17 yards. The deep out is a great way to judge a QB because the pass requires accuracy, strength, and timing. Mess up on any of the three and the defender could easily intercept it. Wilson nailed it with confidence.

Later on that drive, Wilson threw a perfect fade in the back corner of the end zone to Doug Baldwin. A fade requires accuracy and touch. Wilson wisely put it where only Baldwin could get it. Worst case scenario is an incomplete pass, and when you’re up 28-6 and in FG range, that’s perfectly acceptable. I love it when you see a player who understands the situation.  Obviously it’s easy to see the situation here, but Wilson has excelled at situational football.

With 4 touchdowns and a win over a team many thought was the best in the NFL last week, Russell Wilson earns the MAQB Rookie of the Week Clipart Certificate.

Overpaid/Underpaid Players of the Week

Overpaid: Arian Foster, RB Houston Texans

I only make this call because Arian is healthy according to reports. Before leaving, Foster had 15 yards on 10 carries and a lost fumble. In a huge game to lock up home field advantage, Foster came up short. He left around midway in the 3rd quarter, with his team down by 2 scores.

Underpaid: Richard Sherman, CB Seattle Seahawks

Sherman has won this award before but I have a hard time finding a non-superstar player who had a better game than Sherman. 5 solo tackles, 4 passes defended, and returning a blocked FG for a touchdown. Sherman is confident he’ll beat his suspension for Adderrall and if he does, he’ll be a major factor in helping them make a Super Bowl run.

Quick Hits

-Great camera angles by NBC to show Russell Wilson’s eyes on read option. It shows him immediately reading the defense as he catches the snap.

-Congrats to Calvin Johnson for breaking Jerry Rice’s single season yardage record. It’s a shame it comes for a joke of a team. He could very easily top 2,000 receiving yards for the season. Matt Stafford is going to set a few passing records himself but when you watch him play he has had a very poor season.

-The Titans turned in one of the most pathetic performances of the season 55-0 before they scored a single point. For shame, for shame.

-The Rams are a playmaker on offense away from making the playoffs next season. The NFC West is the toughest division in the NFL right now and the Rams are a team who could be a very tough out with an improved passing game.

-Meanwhile, the AFC West is easily the worst. The Broncos are a very good team, but the Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders are 3 teams anyone would welcome in their division.

-I can’t stress how impressed I was with the Vikings performance. Christian Ponder made some plays, the defense was dominant, and they didn’t even need Adrian Peterson to break off a huge run. That’s the type of game the Vikings have lost in the past.

-I think Brian Hoyer could take a big step forward with a week of prep for the Cardinals. Let him force the ball to Fitzgerald and it should work out better than missing him by 5 yards like the other guys.

-Joe Flacco had his first good game in several weeks but he’ll have to do something in the playoffs before I change my mind that the Ravens shouldn’t consider looking for someone else.

-I wonder if the Falcons are worried about resting their starters in Week 17 now that they have home field advantage wrapped up. I think the reason Wild Card teams are winning so many Super Bowls recently is that the difference between teams is very marginal, the gap is nowhere near as wide as it was even 10 years ago. With 2 weeks off, you may be just a hair off and that could negate your marginal advantage.

-Without a deal between the NHL and the players in the next 2 or so weeks, the season will be gone. That sucks.

-No Monday night game this week or next week. Thankfully, I’ll be drinking both nights anyways.

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One Response to MAQB – Week 16

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