Week Ten continued to surprise where the Jaguars surprised the Titans, the 49ers only conceded 10 points and still couldn’t win and Atlanta’s season is officially over now. Well, that’s less of a surprise.
It wasn’t surprising to me that the Buccaneers dispatched the Dolphins as that club is an utter mess right now although they should have an easier time of it against the equally matched 4-5 Chargers. With that said the three games to watch in Week Eleven are Washington at Philadelphia , Jets at Buffalo and finally Green Bay Packers on the road in New Jersey.
Redskins vs. Eagles. This will be a reverse fixture of the first week when the Eagles were electric and got off to a really fast start, but since then had really struggled, but are now back at .500 with some excellent performances of late, particularly from back up QB Nick Foles (who 2 weeks ago tied an NFL record with 7 TD Passes). Nick Foles also has more TDs in a months’ worth of games, than RG III has all season long. The numbers are extremely close overall, as the Eagles have 413 YPG, 260 Passing YPG and 153 Rushing YPG compared to Washington’s 410, 259 & 151 respectively. Eagles should find a way to win again as they are steadily improving all round to have the full team game in full flow, but it’s not going to be as easy as week one. RG III is finally showing that his injury is on the back burner and he looks able to plant and go at will now, which is something he rarely looked like in the season’s opening weeks. If the Redskins are to have any hope in this one, they have to stop McCoy , as he is their rushing weapon. His numbers of 932 yards, at an average of 4.8 YPC for 3 TD’s off 193 carries may not seem like much by way of TD’s, but what he does do is gets them first down in big spots, which is how the Eagles go on to score through the air mostly. Very important player. For the Skins, for them to win they have to fully utilise Alfred Morris who rush for rush is slightly better than McCoy with numbers of 825 yards, at an average of 5.2 per carry with 5 TD’s off 159 carries. RG III is also a run option and he should easily add a secondary threat. Eagles win by 5 points.
Jets at Buffalo. This is shaping up to be a fascinating battle between the two teams that will be fighting for second place in the AFC East. You can see why the Jets have a better record, and Jets have beaten New England already, and have a very favourable schedule the rest of the way. The Bills need a Win here more than the Jets, although the Jets need a Win to move 2 games above .500. With the Bills being 4 games under .500 their road to second place is really difficult, but they must start with a win here, to go on with a purpose. The Bills actually have more Yards per game than the Jets, but the Jets execute better. That seems like an obvious thing to write, but with 11 rushing yards per game more than the Jets, the Bills also average 332 yards per game, which is an advantage over New York by 2 yards per game. 11 and 2 doesn’t sound like much, but if it wasn’t for their strength on the Rush, they’d have negative splits all across the stats as their pass YPG is negative of 200. This one won’t be pretty based on what is at stake for both sides, but based on everything, The Jets will win this one by 2 possessions, and for what it’s worth, the Bills should at least get to third place as the Dolphins aren’t solid and their tow headed rushing threat totals over 1000 yards, they can play spoiler if teams don’t pay attention to them, and if it’s any comforter to them, if this were baseball, they’d have a competitive batting average.
Finally this week, Packers vs Giants. The Pack should make short work of the recently rejuvenated Giants and it will be a tougher task for the Packers with Aaron Rodgers still on the shelf with a fractured collarbone. Although even in this state, he’d be more useful than Eli Manning. The Packers already have an average of more than double Rush Yards than the Giants, and with Tolzien starting at QB I would like to think they’d run even more. Of course the old adage remains, that the NFL is a passing league, and Tolzien will do enough of that to keep the Giants guessing, though the Giants have won 3 in a row don’t look as useless as they once did. Eli is below the leagues average in Touchdowns and Completion Rate, but is above average in Pass Yards. Goody, he’s above average in something, finally. The Packers have the 3rd ranked O line, Mid range D line (18) and Top 6 Pass and Rush lines (5th & 6th respectively) which compares to the Giants 23, 11, 14 & 29 respectively. The Giants come into this encounter off the back of 3 straight wins, and the Packers are rather inconsistent at 5-4 and off 2 straight Losses. This will have huge implications on possible play off races in both the NFC East which is being co-led by the Eagles and the Cowboys [whom are on a Bye this week] and the NFC North in which while the Packers are sitting third currently, a few wins can get them back to the brink as the Lions currently sit in first place with a 6-3 and the Bears at 5-4.
To sum up, the AFC East is probably over with the Patriots winning the way [somehow] at 7-2 who will look to move to 8-2 on Monday Night Football at the Panthers who could also be playoff bound as they sit just behind the Saints [7-2] in the NFC South at 6-3. Go football !
* It got even more complicated as the Patriots lost to the Panthers last night , so they sit at 7-3, while the Panthers also now sit at 7-3.