This week we cover the return of Aaron Rodgers and the Steelers to the spotlight and examine the on going struggle with Darren McFadden and the Eagles. On a personal note, I had a rough week of picks, while my counterparts held court. In my defense, I couldn’t help but notice these numbers; Home favorites as a whole are only winning 40% of the games and home favorites against the spread were only 32-54 (37.2%). I bet based off of that and of course the favorites go 10-4. Sports drive me nuts sometimes …
Aaron Rodgers thrives off your doubts
Just how good is Aaron Rodgers?
Aaron Rodgers can flat out ball, despite notions from prognosticators earlier on in the season, the guy hasn’t lost a step, he hasn’t been figured out, and Green Bay hasn’t taken a step back.
So just how good is Green Bay? Real good, I’d probably even call them great at this point. With Greg Jennings nursing a groin injury basically all season, Jermichael Finely not getting it done, the Packers have done what other great teams before them have done, they’ve adapted. Although the production from his previously top two targets are not there, Aaron Rodgers is finding way to beat teams. The emergence of Randall Cobb has certainly helped by giving GB a dynamic playmaker you can hurt you from anywhere on the field. Possessing a Percy Harvin like skill set, Cobb is an absolute match up nightmare for defences. Guys like James Jones and Jordy Nelson give you the size you need in the red zone, and whatever running back they feel like plugging in that week is more than capable of picking up the tough yards. Above and beyond anything else, Aaron Rodgers is playing pissed off, he’s pissed off they lost a couple close games, but more importantly he’s pissed off because we all doubted him.
One of the longest tenured coaches in the league has been the subject of firing rumours after the halfway point of the season. Is it time for the Eagles to let go of the coach that has brought them 120 wins, a 0.609 winning percentage, 10 playoff victories, 6 divisional titles and 5 trips to the NFC championship game? Unfortunately it is. Even with this impressive resume, Andy Reid’s time has come to an End.
Reid has shown he’s a terrible play caller and decision maker. Watching the Monday night game versus the Saints, with McCoy rushing for over 100 yards in the first half you would think you would utilize your best playmaker, nope not in Reid’s case. When 5 red zone opportunities results in 6 points, you know there is a problem with the play calling. The hiring and firing of Juan Castillo also shows Reid’s terrible decision making. Why hire an offensive line coach to be your defensive coordinator? There was a lot of hype surrounding this defense, they had playmakers at all levels, DRC and Asomugha, the acquisition of DeMeco Ryans and pass rushing specialist Jason Babin. Unfortunately all this talent has led to a lackluster performance.
A lot of news has been made of benching Vick, in my opinion this won’t solve any issues. The problem doesn’t lie solely on Vick, yes the turnovers are killing them, but that pick 6 wasn’t his fault. Unfortunately the Eagles have had to deal with a ton of injuries to their offensive line, and that’s the killer. Put any QB behind that line and they’re going to be done for. 7 Sacks by arguably the worst defense in the league shows how bad this line is playing. Vick does need to learn to read a defense, if an NFL QB can’t pick up an all out blitz when playing out of an empty backfield…something is wrong with preparation. The blame can be placed on both Vick and Reid. Let’s not forget, the Eagles still did put up 447 yards…they just came up with 13 points. Terrible.
The Eagles will need a miracle to make it to the playoffs this year, so I expect to see Andy Reid fired by the end of the season. I think this franchise blows everything up and starts fresh, and hopefully they build around McCoy. I’m predicting Vick will be starting for a new team come next season, and he’ll become relevant again (I honestly don’t think he’s that bad) and Reid will bring relevance to whatever team hires him after this season. My bet is on the Cowboys or Bills.
Oh and for the record, I’m starting to hate fantasy football.
Stumbling DMC – The ongoing struggles of Darren McFadden
7 Rushes and 17 Yards is what Darren McFadden accomplished versus the thriving Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. A scheduled MRI on Monday delivered negative results, however his current Week-To-Week status is the latest in a laundry list of disappointments from the 25-year old Running Back of the Oakland Raiders.
A career-low, 3.3 yards per carry, 438 yards and 2 touchdowns, McFadden has not been able to deliver for Fantasy Owners and more importantly, the Oakland Raiders. At this point in his career and after his many injuries, how long can football fans and “The Black Hole” hope and pray for the moment when we can rightfully say “Darren McFadden” in the same breath as, Ladainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, Jamal Lewis, etc.? I’ve always believed that DMC has the talent and smarts to be mentioned amongst those names and could potentially be the best RB in the NFL; He has shown glimpses of it.
Unfortunately, injuries have been the biggest obstacle for the young back. I could easily blame Oakland’s atrocious O-line, the shell of Carson Palmer’s former self or disarray in the Raiders’ front office and other distractions in that franchise, but staying healthy should be of the foremost of importance to McFadden.
I know that 75% of the contributors of “Any Given” are huge fans of Darren McFadden and we hope to see his career blossom like we’ve always anticipated. It would be sad to see his once promising career be derailed by all of these agitating injuries like a high ankle sprain. I want readers to note the sullen mood of this week’s article — My last favourite RB in the league was Priest Holmes.
The Steelers never ending relevancy in the League
24 Steelers -20 Giants, but for those who watched the game, you know that the score showed it was much closer than it actually was. This was as convincing a win for the Steelers in a long time, holding Eli to the least amount of yards since December of 2008. They’re clicking on all cylinders offensively with Isaac Redman going for a career high 147 yards, and Mike Wallace catching his league leading ninth TD reception since entering the league.
To coincide with the start of the NBA season, the Steelers remind me more and more of the San Antonio Spurs, they always just seem to be “around” and never get the full credit they deserve. Last year everyone wrote them off after getting blown out in week 1 against the Ravens, only to have their season ended by the hand of God and a miraculous OT play from Tebow and Co. in mile high. Just like with the NBA, it comes down to possessions, and a team that gets offensive rebounds puts themselves in the best position to win. In the NFL, it’s third down conversions, and Pittsburgh leads the league at a 51% 3rd down conversion rate. With the Bengals and Ravens falling by their wayside, expect another big push for the Bowl in the new year.