Cam Newton Exhibits You Can Go Dwelling Once more
NFL Week 11 –
Andrew: Hey and welcome again to Scramble for the Ball, the place this week finds your humble Scrambleteers gazing wistfully at a two-touchdown “second debut” from a sure colorfully-bedecked character, and questioning “what if?”
Bryan: Who mentioned you possibly can’t go residence once more? There’s simply one thing proper about seeing Cam Newton in Carolina blue as soon as extra, and he regarded identical to the Cam of outdated in his restricted goal-line work. Contemplating the Panthers nonetheless have $17 million in useless cap from Newton’s alternative, Teddy Bridgewater, and are on the hook subsequent season for $19 million for Newton’s alternative’s alternative, Sam Darnold, it’s low-key hilarious that the reply to Matt Rhule’s ongoing quarterback search may effectively be the man he did not wish to start with.
Andrew: I do not know if it is the case in American sports activities, however it’s kind of of a cliché in soccer that you need to by no means return—that gamers who have been profitable in a earlier spell at an enormous membership should not return, for concern of souring these reminiscences. That has been considerably much less the case lately—have a look at Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Manchester United, Zinedine Zidane’s repeated profitable tenures as head coach at Actual Madrid—but it surely was at all times said in cautionary, virtually reverential tones after I have been a younger’un.
Bryan: It has been very hit-and-miss right here in actual soccer, too. Fran Tarkenton’s return to the Vikings within the Seventies was a smashing success. Randy Moss’ return to the Vikings lasted 4 video games earlier than he was waived, and just about everybody exterior of Minnesota has already forgotten that occurred. I would not say they soured reminiscences, exactly, however getting again collectively together with your ex is at all times a tough proposition to handle.
Andrew: Now there is without doubt one of the few errors I’ve managed to keep away from up to now in my life. I suppose it helps when the individuals they introduced in to switch you did not precisely work out. I am as large a Teddy Bridgewater fan as nearly anyone, however he clearly wasn’t fairly the reply for the Panthers final season. As for Sam Darnold, the much less mentioned about that call, the higher. I am genuinely intrigued to see how that every one works out, as a result of the on-field match makes a ton of sense.
Bryan: I am fairly certain Darnold has made Panthers followers lengthy for Bridgewater as soon as extra, so a reunion with Newton match that good Venn diagram between “makes a ton of sense” and “freaking hilarious.” That is precisely the place Scramble would love groups to land, so thanks, Carolina, for giving us this second.
Andrew: Even the restricted model of Newton that we’ve got seen over the previous few seasons can execute the offense Carolina is making an attempt to run, and he is getting to start out doing so in November with out all the wear and tear and tear of September and October beating him down. I used to be having fun with the discuss of anyone bringing Philip Rivers again simply after the clocks modified; we would as an alternative have discovered Newton’s good season.
Bryan: And, after all, Carolina is within the quagmire that’s the NFC playoff race, and had been fading quick. If Newton can stabilize the offense, that protection is robust sufficient to make them severe contenders. This is not a novelty signing to attempt to win a fanbase again, however a calculated transfer at a time after they actually wanted to make a calculated transfer.
Andrew: Briefly, this feels identical to the profitable Panthers groups below Ron Rivera: protection taking part in at a really excessive stage, with Newton getting simply sufficient out of the backs and receivers to make them a reputable risk. They did not get there within the ordinary method, however this group is correct out of that classic.
Bryan: It is a disgrace the opposite NFC contenders do not have franchise legends simply sitting there, not occupied with different groups, able to journey in on a white stallion to show issues round. Frank Gore’s too busy together with his burgeoning boxing profession and being outdated and never superb any extra to bolster the San Francisco backfield!
Andrew: I do marvel what a Drew Brees return at this stage of the season would appear like, have been the Saints to seek out themselves in a quarterback disaster. It is clear that Brees did not have a full yr in him anymore, however possibly the added freshness of coming in midseason would enable him to make it by way of the playoffs. Although after all, the Saints have already got their returning veteran in all-time franchise dashing chief Mark Ingram! Possibly it is an NFC South factor.
Bryan: In that case, can the Falcons recall Julio Jones? I imply, they want receiving assist in the worst method. After all, Jones is banged up, however even a hobbled Jones on one leg could also be a stronger risk than Christian Blake.
Andrew: I’m wondering what number of Titans followers would even object to that, assuming the compensation was applicable. That commerce hasn’t actually labored out for the participant or for both group.
Bryan: I believe it’s a must to choose the Falcons the early winner of that commerce, just because Jones hasn’t actually been in a position to be on the sector a lot. The 2 sweetest phrases within the English language: De Fault.
Andrew: It does assist that the commerce was by no means actually meant to assist them proper now, so we’re but to essentially see the worth they gained from it. I suppose he is about as shut as you get to a Falcons legend who continues to be lively, too. Unsure anyone’s clamoring for the return of Vic Beasley.
Bryan: Yeah, not each group has an apparent candidate. What, the Buccaneers are pining for the return of Kwon Alexander to do … one thing, presumably? Some groups do not have a ton of gorgeous alumni across the league, both as a result of they’ve stored all their superstars for the quick time period, or they did not have any good gamers to start with.
Andrew: Or in Tampa Bay’s case, as a result of the present group is by far the perfect in latest franchise historical past and its few weak spots have been weak spots for the reason that heyday of Ronde Barber. You jest, however Kwon Alexander could be the most suitable choice for a returning former Bucs participant. Not one of the defensive backs from the Mike Smith protection are going to resolve their present injury-blighted weak spot.
This is a query, although, whereas we’re as regards to the Buccaneers: if you happen to’re a Patriots fan, is Tom Brady the veteran you carry again? Final season, the reply to that query would presumably have been a powerful “sure.” Now, Brady’s 44, and the Patriots are on a four-game win streak with a first-round rookie quarterback who simply had the perfect sport of his profession in a 45-7 demolition of one other playoff contender.
Bryan: Now, that is a query price debating some. I believe there’s a big group of Patriots followers who would say no, if solely as a result of they’re enamored with Mac Jones—the Monday morning speaking level on the assorted reveals was that Jones was having a greater first season as a starter than Brady did, which, no, not but. Jones is coming off of the perfect sport of his profession by far and has had optimistic DVOA in 5 of his final seven video games, so he is undoubtedly trending very optimistic, however he is nonetheless in destructive numbers for the season and had below-average video games in opposition to the Chargers and Panthers earlier than final week blew everybody out of the water.
I believe if we’re speaking a long-term swap—come again, Tom, all is forgiven—the Patriots would in all probability be higher off not doing it. Presumably, ultimately, age will occur to Brady. Science backs me up on this. And the Patriots appear like they’ve discovered a stable quarterback, even when his ceiling continues to be to be totally explored. At this level, you roll with that, as a result of it’s a must to preserve him growing, and also you make the most of his rookie contract, and so forth and so forth. But when we’re speaking only for the remainder of this season, a late-year reinforcement that magically would not influence wage cap and stuff? Sit down for a pair months, Mac. You get your job again subsequent yr, and might watch the good one do it.
Andrew: It would not generate practically the identical headlines, however I wonder if they might be higher off including a unique former participant who was slightly lower-profile, say a Brandin Cooks sort? Broadly, I believe this form of dialogue is an effective argument for a a lot later commerce deadline. I believe it will be way more intriguing if, say, Houston was listening to presents for Cooks from the Rams post-Robert Woods and the Raiders post-Henry Ruggs, whereas these groups are playoff contenders and the Texans are clearly out of issues. It is a lot simpler for a group to persuade itself it is nonetheless in competition in late October than late November.
Bryan: I am unsure I’ll agree with that one. Whereas it is enjoyable to see Newton pop again up as a late-year addition, I actually do get aggravated when watching baseball and seeing a group unload mainly everybody even midway competent midway by way of the yr, after which wrestle by way of the remainder of the season with primarily a AAA-level roster. And watching gamers play in a wierd uniform for half a yr earlier than they transfer on once more actually enhances the sensation that you just’re rooting for laundry. Bringing Newton again has a stage of continuity; seeing Cooks go to the Raiders after which hitting free company once more feels extra mercenary than I usually like—not that Brandin Cooks has precisely stayed in a single place lengthy sufficient to generate a “he is our man” fanbase!
Andrew: With one other sidelong look at Mark Ingram, and as a fan of one other of Cooks’ former employers, I can say that I undoubtedly get the place you are coming from. What different gamers do we’ve got who’re clear selections? I suppose Zach Ertz, although that is a bit odd as a result of the Eagles solely traded Ertz a number of weeks in the past. Are there different present gamers Eagles followers would love again? Malcolm Jenkins, regardless that Jenkins is already in his former residence in New Orleans?
Bryan: I am certain they would not thoughts seeing Jason Peters come again round, regardless that each Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson are taking part in effectively. Possibly one of many three may kick into guard for the remainder of the yr.
Andrew: I get the sense that Eagles followers felt Peters was accomplished when he left, particularly given his harm file, so until he is coming with a TB12 Wayback Machine, they’re in all probability superb with out him.
Bryan: The 49ers would not thoughts in any respect if DeForest Buckner got here again to complete out the 2021 season. Javon Kinlaw has been superb, and I do know that resigning Buckner would have price the 49ers the likelihood to re-sign George Kittle or Fred Warner and so forth and so forth, so I am nonetheless OK with the preliminary commerce. However man, with Kinlaw out, having Buckner again in the midst of the defensive position would assist considerably, he mentioned, nonetheless remembering James Conner slashing by way of the center of the protection prefer it was made out of swiss cheese.
Andrew: It is humorous to consider, however the reply to this query for the Browns might be nonetheless Joe Thomas, regardless that he is not lively. Are there any lively gamers on different franchises who even had success on the Browns? Does Josh Gordon depend? Joe Schobert?
Bryan: Joe Haden, possibly? I do not suppose he’d be one of many Browns’ prime corners at this level, however he’d be helpful in some packages on the very least. I might argue for the Return of the Alex Mack, however JC Tretter has middle lined simply superb. However these are, what, two, three regimes in the past?
Andrew: If I am the Jaguars, I am wanting wistfully at what Allen Robinson has achieved with out a competent quarterback and questioning what may need been with Trevor Lawrence. Although I suppose I am wanting much more wistfully at Jalen Ramsey and what may need been however for the knowledgeable administration of Tom Coughlin.
Bryan: Any Chiefs Defender Which Acquired Away could be good, with Justin Houston in all probability being the one they’d most prefer to carry into the fold; the one-two punch of Houston and Chris Jones was fairly pleasing in 2018 and certain could be once more in 2021.
Andrew: With regards to Chiefs defenders, I wonder if Tyrann Mathieu is the reply for the Cardinals. Once more, they seem to be a group that’s significantly better now than they have been whereas most of their former gamers have been round.
Bryan: With the harm to J.J. Watt, possibly you are searching for Calais Campbell as an alternative.
Andrew: Campbell is an effective shout, although one other participant who’s now not fairly on the peak of his powers.
Bryan: Nicely, I’d assume that almost all gamers on their second or third group aren’t fairly on the peak of their powers, merely since you’re extra prone to attempt to transfer heaven and earth to maintain somebody in the event that they’re on the prime of their sport. And Campbell is having a reasonably darn good yr for a 35-year-old!
Andrew: Watt leads us onto the Houston Texans, and I am actually unsure.
Bryan: For the Texans, it’s a must to have a look at Watt. And DeAndre Hopkins. And Will Fuller. And Duane Brown. And Kareem Jackson. And Benardrick McKinney. And Jadeveon Clowney. And Nick Martin. Heck, if we may discover a quarterback, we would make the argument that the Houston Exans may beat the Houston Texans. And I suppose you’ve Brian Hoyer, Case Keenum, and Taylor Heinicke to select from.
Andrew: Ryan Fitzpatrick, too, if we’re assuming well being, which we’ve got to do within the case of Watt. Watt’s the best participant in franchise historical past, however merely cannot keep wholesome for greater than a season at a time anymore. Hopkins is unquestionably The One Who Acquired Away, courtesy of Common Supervisor Invoice O’Brien. And sure, the previous Texans squad would handily dispose of the present incarnation.
Who would you’re taking for the Jets?
Bryan: Nicely, Leonard Williams continues to be taking part in at a excessive stage for the opposite New York group, however by some means I do not suppose the Jets are a star run defender away from competency at this cut-off date.
Andrew: It in all probability would not assist that we’re making an attempt to consider individuals who had success their first time round, both. Not many present gamers have had precise success on the Jets. Sheldon Richardson?
Bryan: Demario Davis is an alternative choice; I am certain Robert Saleh wish to have a stable center linebacker to assist run his protection.
Andrew: Davis was underrated on the Jets, however I really feel like he actually got here into his personal after the transfer to New Orleans.
Bryan: All of the extra motive for a triumphant return now! The underrated participant who went out to seek out his fortune, solely to return again A Man. In theaters in every single place subsequent Summer time.
Andrew: Different apparent candidates? I really feel just like the Vikings are fairly proud of how the Stefon Diggs departure turned out, because it landed them Justin Jefferson.
Bryan: Actually, but when we’re simply bringing somebody again fairly than undoing offers, they might have Jefferson and Diggs! And Adam Thielen too. Good luck stopping that trio.
The somehow-revitalized A.J. Inexperienced to Cincinnati? Or possibly Andrew Whitworth, as a result of whereas Jonah Williams and Riley Reiff have been stable, Whitworth continues to be Whitworth.
Andrew: I really feel like Whitworth could be Rob Weintraub’s alternative there, although I am unable to say with 100% certainty. Detroit’s attention-grabbing, as a result of it may very well be Matthew Stafford however in all probability is not. You can justify Quandre Diggs or Darius Slay.
Bryan: If he hadn’t simply gotten harm, Ndamukong Suh is one other shout, although once more that looks like three eons in the past in spite of everything Detroit’s turnover since then.
I used to be going to say that I discovered a group that would not carry again anybody within the Buffalo Payments, however no, I forgot—Jason Peters performed for them from 2004 to 2008, and he’d in all probability plug again in over Dion Dawkins or Daryl Williams if he got here again.
Andrew: Stephon Gilmore may need been a alternative, too. Gilmore was the DPOY a few seasons in the past, in spite of everything, and as a 49ers fan ought to know, you possibly can by no means have too many good cornerbacks.
Bryan: As a 49ers fan, I am unsure what having even one good cornerback would appear like anymore, however that is hopefully a narrative for the Joe Thomas draft in a month or so. Fingers crossed.
Andrew: No, I might guess that even groups such because the Payments and Browns who’re much better now than at any level up to now 10 years may discover anyone they’d prefer to be reunited with, and that is a part of the enjoyable of the game. It might be primarily the laundry that we root for, but it surely’s not simply the laundry—each group has some fond attachment to guys who now play in several uniforms, and we get to think about the enjoyable “what ifs?” of them taking part in in our favourite colours once more. A few of us—Saints followers with Mark Ingram, Panthers followers with Cam Newton, heck, even Patriots followers with Jamie Collins—even get to see that occur.
Bryan: Name it karmic stability for the existence of the Houston Texans. Sorry, Rivers.
Maintain Choppin’ Wooden
Throughout time beyond regulation of Sunday’s tie sport, the Pittsburgh Steelers twice drove into Lions territory looking for what would have been a game-winning area purpose. Nevertheless, first Diontae Johnson then Pat Freiermuth fumbled the ball again to Detroit, denying their group that chance, on what was a sloppy sport throughout by the Steelers offense. Johnson’s was the extra spectacular play, but additionally the extra egregious mistake, whereas Freiermuth’s fumble with simply 10 seconds or so on the clock had arguably had probably the most direct influence on the end result. We will not separate them, so it is a joint award.
John Fox Award for Conservatism
Down by 11 factors in opposition to the Titans, Sean Payton and the Saints confronted fourth-and-goal from Tennessee’s 1-yard line. To be able to full the comeback, it was very possible that the Saints must succeed on a minimum of one all-or-nothing try from this distance—both this fourth-and-goal, or a later two-point conversion. Payton went with the conservative, considerably contradictory determination: by taking part in it protected with a area purpose on fourth-and-1, he thereby positioned all his chips on a future try from a yard farther out. In truth, it ended up worse than that, as an Adam Trautman false begin meant the two-point conversion required 7 yards fairly than 2. The Saints failed, dropping them to 5-4 in a decent NFC wild-card race.
Herm Edwards Award for Taking part in to Win the Recreation
A variety of bizarre stuff occurred on Monday night time. The 49ers had solely two non-kneeldown possessions within the first half but led 21-7 at halftime, giving them a really wholesome 10.5-point per drive common. The Rams, with each Von Miller and Aaron Donald lively, received just one hit on Jimmy Garoppolo, and that got here from security Taylor Rapp. Nevertheless, the weirdest 25 seconds of the sport could also be this weird piece of commentary from Steve Levy:
whats this play by play announcer speaking about?
spiking the ball on “the analytics neighborhood” as a result of… THEY WENT FOR IT ON 4TH DOWN & SCORED A TD… as an alternative of… punting?? pic.twitter.com/xPSYkoJ9lu
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) November 16, 2021
Positive, if “the analytics neighborhood” is infamous for one factor, it is calling for coaches to punt extra usually on fourth-and-makeable in plus territory. For what it is price, most fourth-down fashions had that call as one thing of a toss-up—seems, being up 24-7 within the fourth quarter with possession in opposition territory is a actually favorable spot to be, and never a lot will enhance these odds for any group that is not the Falcons—however just about each analytics man we will discover liked Kyle Shanahan going for it in that scenario, and the resultant landing. Groups ought to try this extra usually!
Jeff Fisher Award for Complicated Teaching
Um, Kevin Stefanski. In your opening drive, the Browns steamrolled throughout New England’s entrance, with D’Ernest Johnson rolling for 58 yards on the way in which to the opening rating. It appeared like, simply possibly, you discovered a matchup benefit. You are first in dashing DVOA, the Patriots have been seventeenth in rush protection DVOA. You simply signed your guards to bajillion greenback offers. Your quarterback has a gimpy shoulder. You simply noticed your prime receiver stroll. Pound the rock all day and all night time till the Patriots show they’ll cease it, proper? Nicely, no. Two of your subsequent three play calls have been passes. Seven of your subsequent 9 play calls have been passes. Ten of your subsequent 13 play calls have been passes. After which, hastily, you have been down 24-7, and the run sport was now not actually an choice if you happen to have been going to catch up. Um. What occurred, precisely?
‘Ah, Man, One other Unexpected Invoice’ Fantasy Participant of the Week
Wait, Payments working backs are allowed to be fantasy-relevant? When did that occur? And it is OK if it is Matt Breida, and never Zack Moss or Devin Singletary? I might prefer to ask somebody to triple-check that one for me. Breida scored not one however two touchdowns this week, the primary he has been lively since Week 2. This fulfills the contractually obligated “random Buffalo working again success week,” taking the torch from Antonio Williams’ two-touchdown day from Week 17 final season. Like Williams, Breida ought to fade again into obscurity; he hasn’t been related in any respect since leaving San Francisco in 2019 and that ought to proceed into the long run.
Matt Breida x2‼️
— Buffalo Payments (@BuffaloBills) November 14, 2021
Rubbish-Time Performer of the Week
The Browns opened their sport in opposition to the Patriots by beating them up on the bottom, however then went away with it lengthy sufficient for New England to open up an insurmountable lead. That did not cease D’Ernest Johnson from racking up a statline, thoughts you! Johnson ended up main the Browns in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving targets, all whereas taking 19 of their 20 carries; it is truthful to say that Johnson was primarily the complete Browns offense on Sunday. He had six catches for 65 yards and 12 makes an attempt for 35 extra yards within the second half, a valiant effort in a clearly misplaced trigger.
Consolation in Disappointment Stat of the Week
In every week of massive blowouts, we’re searching for a group that we have not but lined for this spot. That guidelines out the Browns, Falcons, and naturally the Jets. The Raiders, nonetheless, suffered their largest defeat of the season, 41-14 to the Chiefs on Sunday night time. It has been a tough few weeks for them, dropping their head coach and No. 1 receiver due to off-field points. From main the division two weeks in the past, they’ve dropped into third place, a mere half-game forward of the Denver Broncos. They’ve additionally sunk into the underside 10 of DVOA, the place they rank twenty first or decrease on every of offense, protection, and particular groups. At the least they received one other landing every from Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow, who’re tied for the group lead with 494 receiving yards apiece. Renfrow specifically is having fun with the perfect season of his skilled profession, whereas Waller has the fifth-most receiving yards of any tight finish. It is scant comfort from a tough few weeks, however the Raiders do have sufficient items on offense to get again into competition, even when just for a wild-card spot in a wide-open AFC.
Recreation-Altering Play of the Week
Sammy Watkins possibly ought to have simply stayed in mattress on Thursday. Early within the sport in opposition to the Dolphins, he short-armed a landing move, presumably as a result of he needed to keep away from working into the wall on the finish of the sector. Alright, truthful sufficient; it is simply Miami, Baltimore should have no drawback scoring in opposition to Miami, proper? Nicely, cue the fourth quarter, with Baltimore nonetheless down 9-3. Loads of time to make a comeback, and this is a pleasant, large catch-and-run by Watkins up the center to assist set the Ravens up…
THIS DEFENSE IS FOR REAL! Xavien Howard forces the fumble on Sammy Watkins and returns it 49yrds for the TD!!! pic.twitter.com/y4PnYu1Me2
— FinCuts (@FinCuts) November 12, 2021
… yeah, possibly he ought to have simply taken a rain verify on this one.
The Dolphins season is already kind of over, although I suppose any form of comeback narrative you could possibly give you would begin with an enormous upset over the Ravens. For Baltimore, nonetheless, this loss is an enormous deal. It solely knocked them from second to 3rd within the AFC standings, but it surely additionally means they’re solely a half-game above the Steelers within the division, with the Bengals and Browns every an additional half-game behind; it is a very shut race, and dropping to the Dolphins is not precisely the way you run one to the wire right here. As well as, it is a convention loss, which is especially unhealthy for tiebreakers. The Ravens are presently 4-3 in opposition to the AFC. The Titans are 5-1, with two video games in opposition to the Texans, one in opposition to the Jaguars and, sure, one in opposition to the Dolphins developing. The Titans at the moment are virtually assuredly going to have the convention tiebreaker over Baltimore, so if the Ravens need homefield benefit, they’ll must not solely catch Tennessee’s 1.5 sport lead, however move it. If they cannot, this loss to Miami will loom big after they must play, say, the Chiefs or Patriots within the first spherical of the playoffs fairly than taking every week off.
Bryan: Some extent of clarification: within the double survival league, our purpose is to seek out groups that win, not simply groups that do not lose. Neither of us thought the Steelers may presumably lose to the Lions and, to be truthful, we have been each proper! The tie, nonetheless, counts as a failed decide for each of us—which, coupled with Andrew’s Baltimore decide, means I’ve re-taken the lead, for now!
Cash-Again Assure Lock of the Week
All picks are made regardless of the FO+ picks, whereas all traces are courtesy of Bovada and have been correct as of time of writing.
Data to Date:
Andrew: In case it wasn’t already clear that my picks proper now are cursed, the Saints and Titans managed to completely thread the needle of the Titans failing to cowl, however the Saints nonetheless not profitable the sport, giving me the worst of each worlds. That is why I despise making predictions. This week, I am taking the Colts to make a sport of it in opposition to a Payments squad who’ve been feasting on cupcakes since their bye week. The truth that they misplaced to the lone out-of-division cupcake provides me encouragement that they don’t seem to be fairly the power they regarded when disposing of the Chiefs in Week 5, and the Colts are ok to lose respectably by lower than the landing margin. Indianapolis (+7) at Buffalo.
Bryan: Let me foretell the Vikings-Packers sport for you. The Vikings are going to leap out to an early double-digit lead, in all probability off of a Inexperienced Bay particular groups miscue—they’re, in spite of everything, the one group within the league who’ve had a seven-point lead in each single sport they’ve performed. They’re going to blow the lead by halftime however get it again within the third quarter, and the sport will come right down to the wire on the finish. That is each Vikings sport. It has been each Vikings sport for years. With Aaron Jones out and Dalvin Prepare dinner set for an enormous day in opposition to a Packers protection that, whereas stable, is prone to an enormous day on the bottom … I’ll take Minnesota (+2.5), and hope that Inexperienced Bay’s inevitable game-winning area purpose try comes with them down some extent or two fairly than tied.
Double Survival League
Data to Date:
Bryan: ATL, BUF, CAR, CHI, HOU, IND, JAX, LAC, LV, NYJ, PHI, SF, TB, TEN
Andrew: CHI, CLE, DAL, HOU, JAX, LAC, MIA, NO, NYJ, PHI, SEA, SF, TB, TEN
Bryan: Picks are getting slightly tight as we take the flip into the final portion of the schedule; there’s some difficult finagling to do to suit the final 14 groups into applicable slots. It means I am considerably caught taking a pair of groups coming off of great losses and hoping they bounce again this week, simply as a way to preserve from fully blocking myself off later within the yr.
Despite the fact that Ben Roethlisberger needs to be again from the COVID listing on Sunday night time, I nonetheless just like the Los Angeles Chargers to beat the Steelers. Roethlisberger’s absence explains why the Steelers could not end the deal in opposition to the Lions, but it surely is not sufficient, alone, to clarify why they let the lowly Lions cling with them. The Steelers had actual bother tackling D’Andre Swift (sure, he had a low-DYAR sport, however he pressured seven missed tackles), and I count on that to increase to Austin Ekeler as effectively. Joey Bosa ought to reside within the backfield and Justin Herbert ought to have the ability to discover some holes downfield, if the Chargers’ offense decides to kindly give him an try or two. Plus, the Steelers have about 10 key gamers who’re, a minimum of, questionable, occurring or off the COVID listing or coping with quite a lot of average to extreme accidents. Not all 10 will miss the sport, however there’s sufficient uncertainty there that I am OK taking the Chargers now fairly than taking over a slot in Week 14 (in opposition to the Giants) or Week 17 (in opposition to Denver) which can be utilized for lesser groups.
I am much less assured taking the Las Vegas Raiders over the Cincinnati Bengals, however frankly, I am starting to expire of choices there. I am not taking Vegas over Dallas, Kansas Metropolis, Cleveland, or Indianapolis, which simply leaves the Bengals, Broncos, and Soccer Group. Frankly, I do not like several of these matchups, with the Raiders showing to have begun what has change into their annual second-half slide into irrelevancy. However then, the Bengals have not regarded like the identical group that jumped out to a 5-2 begin both, and I am unsure their protection can gradual Derek Carr and Darren Waller down, whereas the Raiders’ move rush ought to have the ability to do exactly sufficient to maintain Las Vegas on prime on this one.
Andrew: My picks have been largely set from right here out, with some room to permit for catastrophic occasions. Although frankly, going 0-3-1 with Buffalo, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore in opposition to Jacksonville, the Giants, Detroit, and Miami was catastrophic sufficient for my style. Meaning I am choosing Cleveland to bounce again from their blowout in Foxboro with a victory over a Lions squad who could not fairly overcome the Mason Rudolph Steelers, and San Francisco to carry serve in what needs to be the simplest remaining sport on their schedule in opposition to the Jaguars. I swear, if I do not discover a win for the Jaguars however as an alternative lose two different groups to upsets by them…