This NFL handicapper shares important insight from Week 11: the Falcons climbed back into first place in the NFC South; the Packers finally caught the Lions in the NFC North, and more.
Broncos Are Far More Flawed Than We Thought
Thought the Broncos electric passing game was unstoppable? Nope. Thought the Broncos new-and-improved defense would put them over the top? Think again. Thought the Broncos No. 1 rush defense was for real? Wrong.
The Shaun Hill-led St. Louis Rams totaled 131 rushing yards on Sunday while Hill went 20-of-29 for 220 yards and a touchdown. The biggest concern might be the play-calling as the Broncos threw the ball 54 times and only ran it nine times. Sure, they were trailing but that’s way too unbalanced to succeed in the NFL.
Want to complain that the Broncos suffered some injuries? Please, teams like the Arizona Cardinals have suffered as many significant injuries as anyone else, yet they continue to find ways. As for the Broncos, they showed exactly why they’re not going to be winning a Super Bowl this year: they’re not good enough.
Cleveland Browns Are A Fraud
The Browns have won five of their last seven games but one has to be very skeptical of this team. On Sunday, they got their lunch handed to them by the Ryan Mallett-led Houston Texans. Looking back, the Browns impressive stretch doesn’t look that great when you see who they’ve beaten: Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Cincinnati. A big issue is their run defense as were allowing 134.2 yards per game entering Sunday and then coughed up another 213 yards on to the Texans. On offense, they just aren’t consistent enough against quality defenses.
The Browns have been a nice surprise this season but their spell of positivity has ended. They’re at Atlanta this week, at Buffalo next week, then home to Indianapolis and Cincinnati, before ending on the road at Carolina and Baltimore. It’s not crazy to think that they won’t win again.
Sanchez Is Still Sanchez
All week long we heard that the Philadelphia Eagles offense was a system, that they could succeed with Mark Sanchez at quarterback and the Chip Kelly would help him shine. Well, on Sunday, we saw just how much the Eagles might miss Nick Foles. Sanchez had 346 passing yards and two touchdowns, but he also had four turnovers – two of which directly led to touchdowns. That’s now 95 turnovers in 65 career games. The Eagles are 7-3 and are still in good playoff position, but it’s hard to envision them going very far when Sanchez continues to be a turnover machine.
Packers Are The Best Team In The NFC
It’s a week-to-week thing but right now, the Green Bay Packers are the best team in the NFC. The Arizona Cardinals are still great at 9-1 but with Drew Stanton at quarterback, it’s easy to be skeptical. As for the Detroit Lions, well, they lost at Arizona and have been very lucky in recent weeks, so they’re definitely not the best choice when choosing your NFL odds. Then there’s the Eagles, who aren’t the best because of the Sanchez issues. Sure, the Dallas Cowboys have a case but that home loss against the Washington Redskins really stings.
As of right now, no team in the NFC is playing better on both side of the ball than the Packers. Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the conference and Mike McCarthy might be the best coach. This team has won six of seven and just looks lethal right now, so have them as part of your NFL picks. With a relatively easy schedule the rest of the way, the Packers should have plenty of momentum as they head into the playoffs.