Lester asked for someone to step in for him this week (and next week too, so look for someone else to guest write that) and I took up the chance. So you all get my scorching hot takes on the NFL and the Bears.
And the party horn. Yeah, it’s not just for the livestream anymore!
Sure the Patriots made it interesting at the end with a couple of late touchdowns to make the score closer, but anyone who watched it will know that that was a butt-kicking.
The Texans sacked Tom Brady three times and intercepted him once. They held the Patriots to 191 offensive yards before the Patriots scored touchdowns on their final three possessions.
By that time they were down 21-9 and then Houston marched down against the NFL’s number one defense and scored again to make it 28-3.
Houston is suddenly in the driver’s seat in the AFC South, however they still have to face the Tennessee Titans twice.
2) Speaking of the Titans, they’re right back in the thick of it as well, riding a resurgent Ryan Tannehill.
Honestly, raise your hand if you saw that coming at the beginning of the year?
Tannehill is 5-1 since taking over as the starter back in week seven and he’s playing efficient football. However, he’s not just a checkdown Charlie, he leads the league in yards per attempt at 9.4 and second in AY/Y and seventh in ANY/Y.
He’s also getting a ton of help from the criminally (in my opinion) underrated Derrick Henry.
Derrick Henry in the six games started by Marcus Mariota: 113 carries for 416 yards (3.7 yards per carry), 4 TDs.— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) December 2, 2019
Derrick Henry in the six games started by Ryan Tannehill: 119 carries for 724 yards (6.1 yards per carry), 7 TDs.
Who knew a more balanced attack would open things up in the running game?
3) The Jaguars announced Monday that they are turning back to rookie Gardner Minshew from Nick Foles.
I don’t feel too bad for Foles, seeing as how he’s getting $45.125 million in guarantees to sit on the bench. Plus he caught one of the two best heaters I’ve ever seen a quarterback catch (the other is Joe Flacco) and won a Super Bowl. Plus there’s those rumors that his wife is a very happy woman.
So, that is to say, I am not feeling sorry for him. He’s had a nice career. However, would you want him on the Bears?
I’m torn, he fit very well in Doug Peterson’s take on the Andy Reid offense and seemed to be able to play well enough to know his limitations. When he does that, he’s an effective quarterback.
That said, I don’t want the Bears to take on that contract. Maybe if he were to be cut loose or the Jaguars swallow a ton of his money.
Let me know what you think of that in the comments.
Luckily, I was in a market with the highly anticipated Lamar Jackson-Jimmy Garappolo match up. It certainly lived up the hype.
Huge offensive plays, big defensive plays, some bad weather and the game came down to the wire. It really felt like a Super Bowl peek, but those types of labels never seem to come to be.
How much would you pay (in dollars or draft capital) to have a kicker as good as Justin Tucker? He is so good.
On the other side, it appears maybe the Bears lucked out on missing out on Robbie Gould. He’s just two-of-eight from 40+ yards and his 63.6 percent FG rate is the worst of his career.
5) As it is now December and teams are making their final push for the playoffs, teams begin to separate themselves.
One team that’s going in the wrong direction is the Raiders. How quickly things change in the NFL.
The Chiefs make some sense, but the Jets? That’s not a good look.
6) Looking ahead to Thursday’s Bears game, it’s tough to get a read on the Cowboys.
They’ve played well against bad teams but haven’t defeated a team with an above-.500 record this year.
Among common opponents of the Bears, the Cowboys have only beaten one that Chicago hasn’t also beat: the Eagles. And the Bears were in that game until they punted the ball with 8:48 to go in the fourth and never ran an offensive play again.
Adam Shaheen muffed a squib kick in the final 25 seconds that Philadelphia recovered, denying the Bears a chance at a miracle finish drive.
The Cowboys are coming off their worst loss of the season, a home drubbing by the Buffalo Bills. Afterward, DE Michael Bennett gave an impassioned speech in the locker room that could be heard out in the hallways of AT&T Stadium.
It was supposedly positive and about how they need play through adversity and stick together. I don’t know how much it will resonate, but I do know there was once another locker room that Bennett’s brother, Martellus, was in where another speech was given. It did not end well.
It remains to be seen how the Cowboys respond though. Hard to see them rallying though when their head coach is on the hot seat and doesn’t strike as a guy that players are ready to run through walls for. Especially when the owner is the one leaving the door open for a dismissal.
7) Circling back to that game, I was very impressed by the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving.
I figured they were better than deserving to be a touchdown underdog on the road, but I didn’t expect them to smother Dallas like they did.
Josh Allen has been very impressive. He has thrown only one interception since week five, compared to 11 touchdowns. He’s increased his accuracy as well.
While they have the Ravens next and the Patriots in week 16, they also still have the Steelers and Jets. So they could still get to 10 or 11 wins. Should they get to 10 wins, it will be the first time the Bills have had double digit wins since 1999.
8) Granted, I think that it was helped by the Bears getting their victory early, but is there a better week of football than Thanksgiving week? I managed to watch parts of all three NFL games on Thursday, had to work on Friday but I still caught a couple of the later games and then watched a ton of college games on Saturday and the bulk of the Sunday NFL slate as well.
There were plenty of good college games, especially the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn, as well as Indiana-Purdue and Wisconsin-Minnesota in the snow.
The action continues this weekend with championship Saturday. I don’t know if there’s going to be any big upsets, but you never know.
9) I don’t know how I feel about the Bears heading into Thursday. Like I said in my No. 6 thought, it’s hard to get a read on this match up.
Both teams get a normal amount of rest and can treat this as just another game week.
I just can’t bring myself to trust the Bears. Mitch Trubisky still hasn’t shown he knows how to play against zone defenses, so I can’t trust that he will replicate his strong performance from last week.
My prediction will be out later this week with my colleagues and Jeff and I will have our thoughts on the betting line, but that’s where my head’s at right now.
If the Vikings can’t come back in this, it will actually be a severe blow to their playoff hopes and give the Bears a little more life.
But don’t get your hopes up too high. Remember this Bears team has only managed to score four more points than their opponents and they still need to go to Green Bay.
It would also give the Seahawks a leg up in the NFC West, by virtue of their win over the 49ers a few weeks back.
I’m thinking that week 17 49ers-Seahawks match up is going to be the final Sunday Night Game of the year, with the division crown on the line.
I’d watch the hell out of that, wouldn’t you?
What do you think? Are you enjoying watching the Ravens, 49ers and Seahawks as much as me? Would you take a flier on Foles? How are you feeling heading into Thursday?