Pour one out for Eli Manning as his streak of consecutive starts ends at 222 games including playoffs. That’s third all time among quarterbacks behind only Brett Favre (321) and Peyton Manning (227).
I love constants in the NFL, because they help make the most unpredictable league just a little easier to predict. For the better part of 14 seasons, Manning was a constant in New York no matter how erratic his play was. You knew you were getting a volume passer who didn’t take many sacks, could lead the offense to a reasonable amount of points (until recently), and fourth-quarter drama was often high with Eli. I used to say he’d start games like Archie, but could still finish like Peyton. His A game was quite good, but we just never saw it often enough. Fortunately, he brought it against the Patriots in the best moments. It’s for that reason that his Hall of Fame debate is going to rage on for years, but I’m not interested in talking about that right now. This is about the end of an era in New York, because I don’t see how the Giants, who are in full collapse mode, can ever go back to Eli after the way this unfolded.
So which exciting, young quarterback prospect do the Giants have to turn their fortunes to? Oh, it’s Geno bloody Smith, a turnover machine in an era where many turnovers look like bad bounces more than anything. That’s not going to accomplish anything for this team this year, so here’s hoping the Giants find a new head coach and a new quarterback for 2018 to quickly turn this thing in another direction. Manning deserved a better ending than this.
Another era that begins this week that may have some staying power is Jimmy Garoppolo making his first start for the 49ers. Similar to the Giants right now, the 49ers don’t have much going in the way of a supporting cast, so I wouldn’t expect much, though beating the lowly Bears isn’t out of the question. I’d avoid that game in bets this week. There are quite a few I’d avoid actually, but also some teams I really like (Patriots, Steelers, Rams, Jaguars to name a few).
Vikings at Falcons
I think it’s safe to say that this is the top game on paper this week. Both teams have been playing well as of late, though I think the Vikings have been a bit better all season long. Minnesota is just as good as the other NFC teams that get a lot of attention this year (Eagles, Saints, and Rams). I think the reason Minnesota gets less attention is the quarterback situation. Drew Brees’ name speaks for itself, while the typical “build up a young QB into a superstar ASAP” is at work for Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.
People don’t want to believe in Case Keenum, but it’s December and he ranks No. 1 in DVOA thanks in large part to the way he’s making plays under pressure and avoiding sacks. The latter is certainly a quarterback skill that is highly repeatable, and the fact that Minnesota’s OL is holding up enough for him speaks wonders about the turnaround job they’ve done after 2016’s terrible unit let the team down. Not only are Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs the best WR duo going this year, but Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray have formed a pretty solid backfield after the team lost rookie Dalvin Cook so early. This is an impressive offense and the defense under Mike Zimmer is one of the best units in the league. This team is very balanced. I still think Atlanta is too offensive dependent, and Matt Ryan is still taking big sacks that kill drives. While Julio Jones went off last week, this isn’t Tampa Bay. He’ll see plenty of Xavier Rhodes in a good matchup. Meanwhile, I think the injuries in the secondary for Atlanta are big for Minnesota to take advantage of.
I like the Vikings in a close one.
Eagles at Seahawks
I’m honestly not sure this game will be that good to watch on Sunday night. More interested than anything in what the final margin ends up being given that the Eagles have won four in a row by 23+ points, and Seattle just almost never gets blown out. The Seahawks haven’t lost a home game by more than 7 points since a 2011 game against Cincinnati (pre-Russell Wilson). The Eagles haven’t been tested much, especially on the road. Five of their last seven games have been at home actually, so this is a step up in competition. It’s just that Seattle isn’t quite the same when there’s no RB/running game, and no Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor or Cliff Avril on defense.
That’s why Wilson has a pretty strong MVP case if he can finish well with a tough schedule ahead. He has to do so much for this team right now, and that’s why I think this is a bad matchup for the Seahawks since I think the pass rush is going to rack up a lot of sacks in blowing past this offensive line. No one really runs on the Eagles this year to begin with, and Seattle has the worst non-QB rushing of any team this season. So you pin a low point total to the Seahawks, maybe some turnovers that give the Eagles more good field position, and I think Philadelphia takes this one on the road.
2017 Week 13 Predictions
Well, Washington shit its pants on Thursday night. I wasn’t confident about picking that game either way, but that was a really poor performance all around from the Redskins. And to think some people on Twitter scoffed when I said Dallas would score 16 points (scored 38).
- Week 1: 8-7
- Week 2: 11-5
- Week 3: 9-7
- Week 4: 8-8
- Week 5: 6-8
- Week 6: 6-8
- Week 7: 11-4
- Week 8: 12-1
- Week 9: 6-7
- Week 10: 12-2 (Spread: 6-8)
- Week 11: 8-6 (Spread: 8-5-1)
- Week 12: 12-4 (Spread: 7-9)
- Season: 109-67 (Spread: 21-22-1)