Thursday, December 15, 2016

NFL Week 15 - Jeff Fisher Gets the Boot


Mediocre quarterback play, juicy sound bites and our first head coach firing of the season highlighted Week 14. Just eight days after it was reported Jeff Fisher had a contract extension in place to remain with Los Angeles, the oft-criticized head coach was kicked to the curb by the Rams. While the decision to move on from Fisher was long overdue, the timing is a bit puzzling considering the aforementioned news that broke last week. With that said, the tension within the Rams organization is well-documented and a head coaching change was pretty much inevitable.

With three weeks of regular season games remaining, the playoff race is shaping up to be very entertaining. Despite a shaky start and decline in ratings, the rumblings regarding the NFL's demise appear to be greatly exaggerated. It's safe to say that people simply enjoy gambling on football, whether that be in the form of office pools, fantasy football or picking games, which is primarily why the NFL reigns supreme in comparison to the other major American sports leagues. Additionally, when the most popular teams, such as Dallas and Pittsburgh, are relevant, the macro sentiment surrounding the league won't have as much of an impact, but I digress.

Without further ado, let's jump into Week 15.

Los Angeles @ Seattle (-16) O/U 38.5

Fun Fact: Before leaving the office on Friday, I told my co-worker I wouldn’t be surprised if Atlanta came out flat against St. Louis (in Week 14), considering they had to travel across the country to LA and play outside the friendly confines of the Georgia Dome. That’s a true story.

Fast-forward to Sunday and the Falcons were up 42-0 before the third quarter ended.
This organization is a complete dumpster fire.

Pittsburgh (-3) @ Cincinnati  O/U 44

Lev Bell put up an NCAA-esque stat line in snowy Buffalo last week, carrying the rock 38 times for over 200 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Currently riding a four-game winning streak, Pittsburgh has the inside track to win the AFC North after Baltimore's loss to New England on Monday night. Despite their Jekyll and Hyde tendencies, the Steelers are a dangerous team that can contend with any of the AFC heavyweights come playoff time.



Last year's bizarre Wild Card matchup between these two teams was unfortunately littered with injuries and cheap shots. Vontaze Burfict was an absolute menace on the field that night (as shown above) and ultimately cost his team the game while receiving a three-game suspension in the process. I hate to say it, but considering Cincinnati is out of the playoff hunt with nothing meaningful to play for, this game could get ugly, especially since Burfict will be on the field after missing their first meeting due to said suspension.

It's safe to say Pacman Jones doesn't have much respect for Terelle Pryor. 

Detroit @ New York Giants (-4) O/U 41

While both of these teams possess a 9-4 record, the jury is still out on whether or not either squad is actually good. Eight of Detroit's nine wins have been decided by seven points or less, which is absolutely absurd. Ironically, the Giants have also won an unsustainable eight games decided by one possession. Historically, these types of games are often decided by a coin-flip and thus the numbers tend to revert back toward the mean from year-to-year.
After beginning the season running an offense revolved around a hurry-up style, Detroit has done their best Dallas Cowboys impression, adopting a ball control style in an attempt to mask their defensive deficiencies. As Evan Silva points out, Detroit is playing keep away with their opponents, which enables their defense to stay off the field, or at the very least, fresh and well-rested.
On another note, Eli Manning was my dark horse MVP candidate coming into the season and I drafted him in all three of my fantasy leagues.


via GIPHY

New England (-3) @ Denver O/U 43.5

Continuing our trend of fantastic postgame interview clips, below is Aqib Talib's reaction after Harry Douglas landed an egregious cheap shot on fellow Broncos teammate Chris Harris Jr.



If I were to construct a set of power ratings ranking the NFL players you would least likely want to beef with, Aqib Talib would be up near the top of that list (along with our boy Pacman). Not only does Talib have legitimate street credibility, but he also has the pedigree of an enforcer considering his Grandma is an East Cleveland legend. Come to think about it, maybe I'll follow through with this and create some rankings in an offseason post.

P.S. What a time to be alive