Sunday, November 13, 2016

NFL 2016-17 Week 9 Review

Yes, I know that I have been writing a tremendous amount of political blogs lately. While Trump's victory was not entirely surprising to me, taking in the fact that, indeed, enough Americans voted for him to make him our next president. And let's face it, specifically white America generally voted for him. They were the ones who turned out in such numbers to vote for this guy, and empower him with the highest office in the land for the next four years.

I started to write this week 9 football review earlier in the week, but then completely forgot about it following the bombshell that was Trump's victory in the election. I had even forgotten about Thursday Night Football, where the Ravens took care of the still winless Browns, 28-7.

It is moments like these when you take in the situation that the world is in a bit more than usual, and simply put, the NFL, and all sports, really, were just not on my mind. 

However, life does go on, does it not? I mean, we cannot simply give in to despair, simply because an election does not go the way that  you expected, much less wanted.

Please allow me finish this summary up, and admittedly, it will probably feel a bit rushed, because now, I not only have to finish this up, but also have to do my picks for this upcoming week, minus the Thursday Night Football game that completely slipped my mind.

So, let's get to it:

Thursday Night Football - Atlanta 43, Tampa Bay 28 - Atlanta appears to be returning back to the form that they were in earlier in the season, when their offense simply could not be stopped, and almost could not be slowed down. They get past Tampa Bay surprisingly easily, and move still closer to essentially locking up the division, barring another late season collapse (which they have been known for in the past).

NY Giants 28, Philadelphia 23 - No team has been streakier this season so far than the New York Giants. They started with a tough road win at Dallas, and then beat New Orleans, before getting off to a hot start against Washington, and looking like they were well on their way to a 3-0 start. But instead, they got cold and wound up losing not just that game, but the next three overall, and sank firmly to last place in the NFC East. But they finally did win again against Baltimore, then hung on for another win in London against another streaky team in the Rams, and after getting the rest from the bye week, they came out and beat the Eagles in a big division showdown. Right now, the Giants have won three in a row and are alone in second place in the NFC East, and are the only team in the division (or in the league, even) at the moment that have managed to beat the division's top team, the Cowboys. As for the Eagles, that 3-0 start is starting to look like it was a very long time ago, and it almost feels like that was a very different team. In fact, it probably was, as the Eagles of the last month or so hardly look anything like that early season Philly team that sprinted out to the undefeated start.

Detroit 22, Minnesota 16 - Right now, no team has gone from one extreme of being on top of the league, to the other extreme of being on the brink of a disastrous season, as the Minnesota Vikings are right now. Just a little over two weeks ago, the Vikings entered a week seven well-rested from a bye week, and sported the league's best record as the only undefeated team remaining. They were 5-0, their defense looked overpowering, and everything seemed rosy for visiting Minnesota as they took the field at Philadelphia. But they lost that game, lost last week at Chicago, and then lost again this week at home to Detroit in overtime, and it seems like they cannot find it within them to win ever a single game again. As for the Lions, they appear to be one of those teams that has found improbable ways to win. They keep falling behind, and then coming back right when everything is on the line, late in the game. This is a team that has trailed in every single fourth quarter that they have played this season, but look at how often they come away with the win! This latest one was huge for them, because it was a road divisional game against the team that was leading the division. By earning the come from behind victory, the Lions have now positioned themselves to possibly take over in the NFC North, helped with the recent struggles of both the Vikings and the Packers, both of whom looked well ahead of Detroit just a few weeks ago. But while both Minnesota and Green Bay are struggling, the Lions are red hot and surging at the moment!

Miami 27, NY Jets 23 - Oh, boy! The Jets cannot manage a winning streak for very long. The Dolphins were hot going into this one, but if the Jets seriously wanted to recover from a miserable start to make a playoff run, they needed this one. They did not get it, and once again, their playoff chances are virtually gone well before Thanksgiving. 

Kansas City 19, Jacksonville 14 - Kansas City won a surprisingly tough game on the road, as the Jaguars finally seemed to show that they are made of sterner stuff then they had shown in quite some time. Still, KC pulls it off, and are now right in the thick of the AFC West race, trying to keep pace with the first place Raiders, and actually leaping ahead of Denver, at least for the time being. Good win for the Chiefs, this one. 

Dallas 35, Cleveland 10 - Was anyone really surprised by this result? Not I. One team is tied for the best record in the NFL, while the other stands alone as the sole remaining winless team. Even though this game is in Cleveland, you just knew this would not bode well. Dallas is now 7-1, and looking mighty still, while the Browns just cannot seem to find a way to win. 

Baltimore 21, Pittsburgh 14 - The Ravens keep winning, suddenly, reverting to their earlier season form, when they started off 3-0, and almost went to 4-0. For Pittsburgh, this was a disappointing third straight loss for them, dropping them solidly back down to the rest of the pack in both the AFC North and in the playoff race more generally.

Carolina 13, LA Rams 10 - The Panthers are back. At least, it seems so right now. They did not exactly light up the scoreboard with this win, but the defense finally showed some toughness and depth. Of course, this win came against the Los Angeles Rams, who themselves are struggling mightily, after a solid 3-1 start. Carolina can come away happy getting another much-needed win, while for the Rams, the season continues to spiral out of control, and they are pretty much out of the playoffs at this point, baring a miracle.

New Orleans 41, San Francisco 23 - New Orleans put together a solid game, and their offense showed the explosiveness that they are capable of, in a good road win at San Francisco. Granted, this is not one of the NFC elites. However, the Saints just need to keep piling up wins while they can, because that is what will be required of them to make a serious push for the postseason.

San Diego 43, Tennessee 35 - The Chargers seem to be getting the hang of this hanging on for the win in the fourth quarter thing. The Titans came in looking fairly good, and like they might contend for the playoffs, but San Diego tamed them pretty well in this contest. 

Indianapolis 31, Green Bay 26 - The Packers are another one of those teams who seem to be imploding at the moment. Not sure what it is, but something is going wrong there right now. The Colts are really not a very good team, but they managed to pull off a big win at Lambeau Field, which normally is a tough thing to do. Not so much so far this season, though!

Sunday Night Football - Oakland 30, Denver 20 - This was a statement win by the Raiders! Oakland more or less outlasted Denver in this big showdown and shootout. The Broncos D rarely gives up quite this many points, and their offense simply could not keep up. In the battle of two 6-2 teams battling for first place in their division, the Raiders come out on top!

Monday Night Football - Seattle 31, Buffalo 25 - Another game that pretty much was the result most expected. It was probably quite a bit more high-scoring than could have been predicted, although the results - a Seattle win - surely was not. The Seahawks pull off another win, and the Bills now suffer a third straight loss, essentially nullifying their earlier season, impressive winning streak. There was that controversy, though, with Richard Sherman running into the Bills placekicker, and then having those problems with Bills coach Rex Ryan. 

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