Saturday 24 March 2018 / 07:15 AM

Airing it Out: NFL Week 11

The last third of the NFL season is where all the magic happens – now that we’re getting into the meatiest part of the schedule, wins become harder to come by and the margin for error is paper thin, particularly for ball clubs hovering around the .500 mark.

Week 11 was a wild one so let’s get you all caught up.

Tasty Tidbits from Week 11

Brock Osweiler performed well in Peyton Manning’s stead (20 for 27, 250 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs) to lead the Broncos to a 17-15 win at Chicago. While Coach Kubiak is tight-lipped about Manning getting his job back once he’s healthy, I’d be surprised if the gig wasn’t Osweiler’s to lose.

Despite having to wait four years to finally get his shot, big #17 looks ready to take the torch from Denver’s hobbled HOF quarterback. The team just announced that Osweiler will suit up next weekend against the Patriots, perhaps ending the Manning-Brady head-to-head rivalry forever.

Following a pair of poorly thrown passes that converted into turnovers, Carson Palmer got his proverbial shit together as he rallied the Cards to a last second 34-31 victory over his old team, the Bengals, on Sunday Night Football.

Palmer finished up with 317 yards and four touchdown strikes while his counterpart, Andy Dalton had yet another solid performance with 315 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions. The win allows the Cards to keep their commanding three-game lead in the NFC West while the once-undefeated Bengals have dropped two in a row to fall within reach of the surging (6-4) Steelers.

Jacksonville (4-6), Houston (5-5) and Indianapolis (5-5) all won this week, keeping the AFC South race tight – albeit less than inspiring. While a .400 winning percentage is hardly something for Head Coach Gus Bradley to write home to his granny about, it’s been a long time since the Jags were still in the playoff race this late into the season.

If only the Jaguars could play on Thursday Night Football every week!

The Packers ended their three-game skid in convincing fashion with a 30-13 beat-down of the formerly first-place Vikings. Minnesota’s run at the top of the NFC North lasting a whopping 7 days as Eddie Lacy churned out 100 yards on the ground, running with more power and determination than we’ve seen previously this season.

The Vikes will get one more crack at the division champs in week 17 at Lambeau, a game they’ll undoubtedly need to have any chance of dethroning Aaron Rodger and Company.

Chicago, St. Louis, Miami and Oakland all lost their sixth game this week, likely eliminating all but “mathematically possible” chances for reaching the post-season. While the Bears and Raiders weren’t necessarily expected to make the leap, both the Dolphins and Rams had high hopes of making 2015 a playoff campaign.

It was a good day for NFC South quarterbacks not named Drew Brees or Matt Ryan, as both Cam Newton and Jameis Winston had monster days in blowout victories.

Carolina improved to (10-0) following their 44-16 shellacking of the Redskins, while the Bucs’ 45-17 win over the floundering Eagles was good to enough to pull the club to .500. Tampa hasn’t enjoyed a winning season since 2010 and hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2007 – they are currently tied with Seattle at (5-5) just one game back of the Falcons (6-4) for the final Wild Card slot and catching Atlanta shouldn’t be too tough at all.

Matt Ryan and friends have lost three straight and still have two games to play versus the seemingly unstoppable Panthers. They’ll also take on a tough Vikings club and endure a three-game road swing.

Jamaal Charles, who? Talk about coming out of the woodworks. The Chiefs embarrassed San Diego 33-3 and have now won four games straight. At (5-5) Kansas City has quite literally salvaged their season.

Never give up kids.

Never give up.

Offensive Player of the Week

Marshawn Lynch to undrafted rookie free agent Thomas Rawls before the Seahawks’ tilt at home against the rival 49ers: “Look young ’un, I’m going to pass you the torch for the day. You know what to do.”

And then some.

Beast Mode #2 went off on Sunday to become just the second Hawks back ever to topple the 200-yard rushing mark with 209.

Believe it or not, Lynch has never rushed for 160+ yards in a game and Thomas Rawls has now done it twice in just four starts. Let that sink in for a moment. It appears as though Seattle’s game will be just fine, even if Lynch does in fact require sports hernia surgery.

Here’s an interesting stat. With 101 carries, Thomas Rawls is averaging 2.8 yards after the point of contact – should this number hold up for the rest of the year he’d have the highest YAC line for a running back over the past three seasons.

This kid can ball.

Are we looking down the barrel at the end of the Beast Mode era in Seattle?

9 mil sure would free up some coin to upgrade that offensive line.

Defensive Player of the Week

Miami linebacker Kelvin Sheppard was all over the field this week in a 14-24 loss to the Cowboys. Sheppard racked up an impressive 11 solo tackles with 4 assists for a total of 15 but he’s really got his name pumping through the news for something else – his post-game predictions.

Despite the Dolphins (4-6) record and inability to find any sort of consistency, Sheppard took the opportunity to announce that Miami would be running the table and eking into the playoffs.

Just enjoy those 15 tackles, mate, this team’s not going anywhere unless we’re talking 2016.

Team on the Rise

In his first start since 2011, Texans quarterback T.J. Yates looked OK. Not great. But OK. And certainly good enough for a pair of touchdown passes to DeAndre Hopkins and a 24-17 victory over the slumping New York Jets.

After an atrocious (2-5) start Houston has scratched their way back to .500 and into a first-place tie with the less than terrifying Indianapolis Colts.

They get the Saints next week at home before traveling to Buffalo and then returning to Houston to battle Tom Brady and the Pats before getting another shot at Indy.

Team on the Decline

The dream appears to be over for now as the Silver & Black have dropped three straight games and still have to play the red hot Chiefs twice as well as the Broncos and the Packers.

Better luck next year boys.

At least Raider fans keep things interesting even when losing:

Just in Case You Missed It

  • The DeMarco Murray saga continues in Philly as an unnamed player has leaked to the media that the team doesn’t feel he’s putting out his full effort.
  • For all his improvements and (10-0) record, Cam Newton is ironically sitting on the lowest completion percentage of his career with 56.9%.
  • All Matt Hasselbeck does is win. The 40-year-old QB is now three and oh in games he’s started in 2015.

Games to Look Forward to in Week 12

Panthers at Cowboys – Coach Rivera is less than thrilled that his undefeated Panthers are Vegas underdogs at the moment for their Thanksgiving battle against the Cowboys in Dallas. Yeah, sure, Romo’s back and Thanksgiving football in the Big D is tradition – but how about a little respect for a team that’s beating opponents by double digits on average every single week?


Vikings at Falcons – A game that could have serious Wild Card implications. Atlanta needs to stop the bleeding. Now. And Minnesota hopes to rebound from their “coming down to Earth moment” suffered this week versus Green Bay.


Giants at Redskins – The NFC East stinks. This means every inter-division matchup from here on out is choice.


Patriots at Broncos – If Osweiler replacing Manning proves to be just the serum Denver’s offense needed, this Sunday Night game could be an AFC Championship preview. The Pats held off the Bills 20-13 last night in Foxborough. Will this be the week New England finally gets a loss?


Other games with playoff implications: Bucs at Colts, Bills at Chiefs, Steelers at Seahawks

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Michael Airhart

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