Wednesday, 04 December 2013
COMMENTARY | The Green Bay Packers are currently sitting at 5-6-1 on the season and likely need to win out in order to have a chance at a playoff appearance. Their road to the playoffs begin on Sunday against the 3-9 Atlanta Falcons, who are living a nightmare season as well. There are three players in particular that the Packers need to have step up against the Falcons in order to come away with a big win. Eddie Lacy, Running Back
Read more... [Three Players Who Must Step Up for the Green Bay Packers in Week 14 (Yahoo Contributor Network)]
Sunday, 01 December 2013
Welcome to the Fifth Quarter, the only NFL recap column youâ€™ll ever need. Itâ€™s the only one to provide a full dayâ€™s supply of Vitamin C, after all. Hereâ€™s what was going on around the rest of the league while you were selfishly focused on your home team and your fantasy players.
Peyton Manning has had the MVP award on layaway pretty much since Week 1, so much so that we ought to have a secondary MVP, non-Peyton division. And if we were going to have such an award, it would go to Philadelphia's Nick Foles.
Foles wouldn't look out of place wandering out of the Georgia pines on "The Walking Dead," as either survivor or zombie. Looks-wise, he's as far from the traditional Unflappably Cool Pro Quarterback as you are. But he's uncannily accurate, having thrown 19 touchdowns against zero interceptions this year. Zero. He's thrown 233 consecutive passes without a turnover. One more touchdown pass, and he matches Peyton Manning's record of consecutive TDs without an interception. It's always risky projecting out stats, but Foles' 125.2 QB rating would be the highest in NFL history, and his career rate of interceptions, only five in 461 attempts, is also a league record.
Some quarterbacks, like the Brothers Manning, Robert Griffin III, and Matt Ryan, come into the league and find their position waiting for them. Others Wally Pipp their way into a job, taking the place of the injured incumbent and then pushing said incumbent out the door. Tom Brady fits into this category, and quite possibly, Foles does too. Foles took over for an injured Michael Vick earlier this year, and now it's impossible to envision a non-catastrophic scenario where Vick starts again.
True, Foles came very close to ending his gaudy streak on Sunday afternoon, but a pass that ended up in the hands of Arizona's Patrick Peterson got overturned on a penalty. The streak lives on, and so too do the Eagles.
Philadelphia is now 7-5, tied with Dallas for the NFC East lead. There's no way two teams from the division are making the playoffs, so it's win or go home. Like New Orleans' Jimmy Graham, Foles is putting together one of the great seasons in recent memory in the shadow of Peyton. If he's able to lead the Eagles into the playoffs, though, Foles won't be under anyone's radar much longer.
Running down the biggest stories of Week 13. We'll try not to catch you offsides.
â€¢ Vernon Davis has no patience for your defense. You gotta love a guy who treats the NFL like a Madden game, as Vernon Davis did in San Francisco's win over St. Louis:
â€¢ Knowshon Moreno turns on the waterworks. Man, what on earth made Moreno cry like this? The last scene of "Old Yeller"? The last scene of "Field of Dreams"? The end of the McRib? Whatever it was, Moreno absolutely unloaded. Give that man an Emmy, stat.
â€¢ Mike Glennon, master of the sling-fake. Ever play catch with a three-year-old? They fling the ball much like Mike Glennon does here. They also have absolutely no closing speed and can't hit worth a flip, either, which incidentally also makes them qualified for the Buccaneers. Anyway, kids, don't do this:
In which we recap every game in seven words. Ready ... go!
Detroit 40, Green Bay 10 . Franchise quarterbacks: worth even more than believed.
Dallas 31, Oakland 24. Tony Romo demands your attention, right now.
Baltimore 22, Pittsburgh 20 . Mike Tomlin cuts in grocery store lines.
Carolina 27, Tampa Bay 6 . Panthers take care of business without overtime.
Jacksonville 32, Cleveland 28 . Like watching kittens fight, but not cute.
New England 34, Houston 31 . Silly Texans. Nothing good happens for you.
Indianapolis 22, Tennessee 14 . Good foot: Adam Vinatieri 15, Tennessee 14.
Minneapolis 23, Chicago 20 . Peterson tops 10,000 yards. Career, not Sunday.
Miami 23, New York Jets 3 . Remember we thought the Jets were good?
Philadelphia 24, Arizona 21 . Eagles keep pace with Cowboys. Sloooow pace.
Atlanta 34, Buffalo 31 (OT) . Rob Ford: most interesting part of game.
San Francisco 23, St. Louis 13 . Kaep finds his groove at right time.
Denver 35, Kansas City 28 . You cannot defeat Peyton Manning, AFC West.
Cincinnati 17, San Diego 10 . Bengals throw wrench at Chargers' playoff hopes.
New York Giants 24, Washington 17: RG3! Eli! Battle of sacked QBs!
New Orleans at Seattle . Best game of the week, hands down.
Teams on bye: Nobody, thank heaven. We're done with that mess.
Champ: Eric Decker, Denver Broncos. Agents take somewhere around 15 percent of their clients' earnings, give or take. Peyton Manning ought to help himself to at least 40 percent of his receivers' paychecks. Case in point: Decker, who caught four touchdowns in the Broncos' key victory over the Chiefs. Manning should just get Decker's weekly paycheck direct-deposited into his own account and give Decker a stipend.
Chump: Geno Smith, New York Jets. Benched at halftime. Sweet mercy, the Jets are in the process of becoming a Springsteen song. And not one of those rousing uplifting ones, either; one of those acoustic downers where some dude gets fired from his job and sits in a dark kitchen contemplating eternity. Which may indeed be what's happening with Geno Smith.
Being ancestral Atlanta Falcons fans, we're all about lost causes around these parts. So we're happy to see these Giants fans sporting the blue loud and proud in the home of the Redskins. Still, "Vote Eli"? Really? That's a holdover from 2012, isn't it?
Got your own quality tailgate/party/fan photos? Hit us at
There's plenty of good writing every day on the NFL. Here are a few choice reads to keep you busy while there's no football. Because the other alternatives are talking to your family or doing chores, and nobody wants that. ( Send us your favorite words of the week.)
â€¢ Detroit laughs at Green Bay's "scumbag" commentary after Thanksgiving beatdown . (Yahoo Sports)
â€¢ What's it like spending holidays away from home? Go behind the scenes with the broadcast teams that do so every year. (The MMQB)
â€¢ If they're going to win, the Saints are going to have to play outdoors. That could be harder than you think . (Sports on Earth)
â€¢ Thanksgiving is done, along with (hopefully) your leftovers, but this "reasons to be thankful for the NFL" post still applies. (Grantland)
â€¢ When is having a mediocre quarterback worse than having a really bad quarterback ? Minnesota, we're looking at you. (NFL Philosophy)
Each week, weâ€™ll make a random Super Bowl pick based on trends, stats or general nonquantifiable gut feelings. One of these weeks, weâ€™ll be right. Probably right after both conference championships.
Denver vs. Saints/Seahawks . Yes, they let the Chiefs run up 28 points against them this week. Yes, they surrendered a 24-point lead last week. The Broncos remain the best team in the NFL; we may well be awaiting yet another Peyton January misfire, but for now, he's looking like the surest Super Bowl bet in the game. On the other side of the league, we'll defer our NFC pick until after the Monday night game. Winner of that (we say Seattle by 3) gets our nod.
Super Bowl picks, full season: Denver 5x, New Orleans 3.5x, New England 3x, Seattle 2.5x, Carolina 2x, San Francisco 2x, Indianapolis, Green Bay, Kansas City.
And that's a wrap for this week's edition of Fifth Quarter. Got a question? Comment? Concern? Rant? Hit me up at
or on Twitter at @jaybusbee . Weâ€™ll run your words here or in Thursdayâ€™s weekly letters column. For now, enjoy the week. It's not long 'til more football!
Read more... [Fifth Quarter, Week 13: Nick Foles is your NFL MVP, non-Peyton division (Shutdown Corner)]