NFL Week 11 Takeaways

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The Texans still have a ways to go

Maybe the Ravens are just that good. Maybe the Texans are not ready for primetime. We’ll say it’s a little bit of both. In this weeks’ most anticipated NFL matchup, the Texans were a no-show from the kickoff. The Ravens outgained the Texans 491-232 and dominated the time of possession throughout the entire game. Deshaun Watson was not himself, accounting for only 181 total yards, 1 INT and 0 TDs. Lamar Jackson continued to show why he’s among the league’s frontrunners for this year’s MVP by accounting for 308 all-purpose yards and 4 TD’s. This was supposed to be the game the Texans put the rest of the AFC on notice, and they fell flat on their faces.

 

Playoff hopes for Oakland?

Don’t look now, but the Raiders are 6-4 and there’s playoff talk around the bay area. After winning their past 3 games, the Raiders have a very winnable game next week against the Jets followed with a tough matchup against the Chiefs the week after. The last 4 games of the season leave the door open for the Raiders to sneak in the playoffs: Titans, Jaguars, @Chargers, @Broncos. A 10-6 finish prediction may be a bit rich, but would a 9-7 finish be good enough to make the playoffs?

 

Steelers/Browns fiasco bad for the league

It’s a shame that the last 14 seconds of a game can overshadow the 59 minutes plus before it. But that’s exactly what happened this past Thursday night in Cleveland. The result was a few fines and suspensions, with Myles Garrett obviously being the headliner with the indefinite suspension that could very well go into next season. As it stands, he’ll miss at least 6 games and will have to personally meet with Roger Goodell before his suspension will be uplifted. In a day and time where the league is progressively looking for head injury solutions, actively seeking newer, safer helmet options…Myles Garrett decided to use a helmet to inflict damage to another player’s head. Some feel as if Mason Rudolph didn’t get punished enough for his involvement, which is also a bad look for the league, but the league has since announced that his status moving forward is still being evaluated.

 

Saints, Bills get back on track

One week after suffering a defeat, the Bills and the Saints got back in the win column on Sunday. The NFL is a week-to-week league, but you have to know the Saints are keeping their eye on the 9-1 49ers and the 8-2 Packers during this last stretch of the season. Even the 8-3 Vikings or the 8-2 Seahawks could still create playoff seeding havoc in the loaded NFC.

Meanwhile, the Bills continue to do just enough most weeks to have a grip on the 5th seed in the AFC. Sitting at 7-3, the Bills currently have the 3rd best record in the AFC. Let that sink in. But don’t get too comfortable Buffalo. The AFC has a gaggle of teams at 6-4, including the Colts, Texans, Chiefs (heading into MNF), and Raiders, along with two 5-5 teams in the Steelers and Titans that have to be dealt with as well. For a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in nearly 20 years, the Bills cannot afford to take the pedal off the gas if they want to end the drought this season.

 

Kirk Cousins continues to deliver the goods

What a turnaround for Kirk. After being publicly called out by teammates, all of the media scrutiny earlier this season, the Vikings are 8-3. This past weekend he led a 20 point comeback while going 29/35 for 319 yards with 3 TD’s. Oh yeah, no interceptions either.  After starting the season at 2-2, Cousins has thrown for 18 TD’s to only 1 interception while leading the team to a 6-1 record. If he keeps this up and Dalvin Cook stays healthy, the Vikings will be dangerous in the playoffs this year.

 

Carolina QB situation getting messy

Going into their Week 7 bye, it was an open question on whether Kyle Allen had emerged as the Panther’s future QB1. He had led the team to 4 straight victories, playing a huge part in all of them. The last 4 weeks have been an unfortunate slap of reality with the team losing 3 out of the 4, with his poor performances being a major reason why. At 5-5, the Panthers have to feel their once bright playoff hopes fading away. With 6 weeks left in the season, Allen undoubtedly has the chance to change the narrative back into the positive, but if he turns in another 4 INT performance, you have to wonder if the team will turn to 3rd round rookie draft choice Will Grier. It’s well documented that the Panthers would save 19.1 million in cap space if they release Cam Newton this upcoming offseason. So where would that leave Carolina for next year? Kyle Allen, Will Grier? Would they be open to drafting another QB, or possibly bring in an FA? Maybe they roll with Cam. What Carolina decides to do at QB could be the first domino to fall for what will be a fascinating offseason for QB’s across the league.

 

Mack injury a huge blow for the Colts 

During the week that Colts rushed for the most single-game yards in franchise history (264), they lost their RB1 and the league’s sixth-leading rusher. Marlon Mack has undoubtedly emerged as one of the better young RB’s in the NFL this season so this absolutely hurts the Colts. The good news: it’s being reported that his broken hand will only sideline him for 4 weeks, but Indy will miss his presence and production in the meantime while they look to lock up the AFC South. Journeyman ball carrier Jonathan Williams played well this Sunday (13 rushes, 116 yards), but it remains to be seen how he’ll handle a full-time workload in the NFL. The 6-4 Colts play the 6-4 Texans this upcoming Thursday in Houston for 1st place in the division.

 

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