Blog Entry

In The Trenches; Week 11 Thoughts

Posted on: November 21, 2011 5:33 pm
<span style="color: #6e8dcf;">Primetime Thoughts

Follow <span style="color: #3b5998;">David S. London on Twitter

A Giants dud t'was.

G-Men Fall Face First-There was certainly enough motivation for the New York football Giants.  An opportunity to deliver the knockout punch to a division rival who has been underwhelming all season would typically have any team chomping at the bit.  Instead, the Giants struggled against the alleged "Dream Teamm," who looked more like the Replacements with Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin out.  Vince Young came in and looked like, well, Vince Young, throwing 3 interceptions.  Lucky for him, the Giants were even less efficient, highlighted by an impressive 29 yards rushing.  The Giants seemed likely to win handedly, but matched the Eagles' incompetence every step of the way, until Young showed potential suitors in free agency something in an 18-play, 80-yard drive which took almost 9 minutes to give Philadelphia a 17-10 lead with 2:45 left.  The Giants blew a big opportunity to 1) knock the Eagles out for good and 2) keep a 1 game cushion over the Cowboys.  Things don't look promising for New York as their next two games are against the Saints and Packers.  10 points wasn't enough to outlast Young, it definitely won't be against Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.

Tebow Mania At Epic Proportions-If you were to tell me after 5 starts, Tim Tebow would be 4-1 nad the Broncos 5-5, I would've laughed in your face, called you crazy, then smacked you back into reality.  That's how inconceivable it seems, at least it did, before the Jets were the latest to fall over Tebow as Denver won 17-13.  The Jets stellar defense was supposed to absolutely crush the college offense.  It appears the Jets defense isn't playing quite as well as Rex Ryan would like.   It's one thing to get lit up by Tom Brady, it's another to let Tim Tebow lead a 95-yard drive at the end of the fourth quarter to beat you with his legs time and time again. 

Baltimore Rights Ship-Last week Ray Rice rushed five times, the Ravens were underwhelming on offense, and lost to the Seattle-Stinking Seahawks.  Yesterday Rice rushed 20 times, registered over 100 yards on the ground, and Baltimore took down surprising Cincinnati in a battle of 6-3 teams.  What have we learned here?  Rice is a pretty good player and when he gets the ball a lot, the offense fares well.  Why is this troubling?  Well, the Ravens have already been through this two times too many, leaving many concerned of a potential trend.  One that would leave them doomed come playoff time.

Watch Out for Oakland-One reason Tebow and the Broncos won't make the playoffs: the Raiders are a balanced offense with a quarterback who can pass the ball.  Carson Palmer has provided Oakland with its best quarterback since JaMarcus Russell, ahem, Rich Gannon was around.  Palmer hasn't even been able to utilize Darren McFadden who has been out essetially the last four games.  Michael Bush has filled in admirably and proven himself as a starting running back in this league, but he lacks the explosiveness McFadden brings to the table.  When he returns, Oakland will be even more difficult to contain.

Cowboys Sneak Past Redskins-A win is a win, but that one was ugly for the Dallas Cowboys, who pulled out the overtime victory against Washington 27-24.  The Redskins managed 20 points their previous 3 games, including a shutout, but put a scare into Dallas, tying the game with 14 seconds to go on a 12-play, 89-yard drive.  If Rex Grossman can hardly be contained, I can't wait for them to face a team with a quarterback who wasn't benched in favor of John Beck.

Lions Storm Back-It didn't look too promising for the Detroit Lions, allowing 27 quick points to the Carolina Panthers.  Lucky for them, Carolina's defense is as bad as their offense is good.  That and a running game for a change helped spark a massive 42-8 run once they trailed, 27-7.  Kevin Smith, a one-time Lions draft pick, was brought back from the dead and ran for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns along with 61 yards receiving.  Whether this will last is yet to be determined, but Detroit must feel better knowing they have the potential to manage the clock with Smith.  Facing the Packers on Thanksgiving, if the Lions can put points up early, which is likely given the Packers inconsistencies on defense, we may have an upset in the making.

Dolphins Feast On Buffalo-It was reported earlier in the week that LeBron James was quoted, regarding to the Dolphins win streak, as saying, "Not 0, not 1, not 2." Wait a minute, I got that wrong, but the Dolphins have put together a 3-game winning streak, which likely makes the season a success given the state of the franchise a month ago.  Although on the flip side, they have taken themselves out of the running for Andrew Luck, a supposed franchise quarterback/best prospect since John Elway.  Look at those wins as you wish.  On the other side of the field, the Buffalo Bills 5-2 start is a distant memory and the playoffs are becoming less and less likely.  Next up is the Jets, also a 5-5 team that will be fighting to remain relevant in the playoff hunt.

49ers Nearly Clinch NFC West-Another game, another win, the process has become routine for Jim Harbaugh and San Francisco.  A 23-7 victory over Arizona is not representative of the dominance the 49ers displayed over the Cardinals.  If not for 3 David Akers missed field goals or inept play in the red zone, this might have been a 30 or 40 point margin.  At 9-1, San Francisco is 5 up on the Seahawks with 6 to play.  San Francisco could mail in the last 6 games, finish 9-7, and likely win the NFC West.  That would be asking the Seattle Seahawks to win 5 more games, and I'd bet my life that they won't.  Nothing would be sweeter for Harbaugh to clinch the division with a win Thursday night on Thanksgiving against his brother John.

Falcons Steady Against Titans-The Titans 5-4 record coming into yesterday's game is misleading, simpy because it implies that Tennessee is a good football team.  Atlanta cruised throughout, despite only winning, 23-17, as the Falcons jumped out to a 23-3 lead in the 3rd quarter.  For Tennessee, Chris Johnson was once again irrelevant with 13 yards on 12 carries.  However, Jake Locker saw his first real action and left Titans fans feeling good about Locker going forward, as Locker went 9-for-19 with 140 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Bears Win, Lose Cutler-The Chargers season is going up in flames as Philip Rivers continues his worst season in the NFL.  In 10 games, Rivers has 17 interceptions this season, his previous career-high was 15.  The Bears win their fifth in a row, but I'm still not sold.  As you've read from week to week, I don't buy into what Chicago has going on right now.  I certainly won't now as Jay Cutler has a broken thumb on his throwing hand and will be out a while.  The reports conflict, but Cutler won't return earlier than Week 16.  Luckily, the schedule isn't terrible, as the four games Cutler is sure to miss include the Raiders, Chiefs, Broncos, and Seahawks.  But if Caleb Hanie proves to be a steep decline from Cutler, it won't matter who they play.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or