A Potential Super Bowl Preview in Baltimore
Jimmy Garoppolo and the NFC-leading San Francisco 49ers are headed to Baltimore to meet Lamar Jackson and the Ravens for a potential Super Bowl preview that, dare I say, will come down to the Wire.
Stopping Jackson is no easy task, but the 49ers’ defense has the best chance of anybody, leading the league in sacks (44) and total yards allowed. However, their 19th-ranked run defense will have its hands full with Baltimore’s QB1 and running back Mark Ingram. Jackson is averaging 7.1 rush yards per carry, and in Monday night’s 45-6 rout of the Rams, though he only completed 15 passes, five of them were touchdowns. Efficient AF.
The run game is key for both teams, as Baltimore and San Francisco rank first and second respectively in rushing yards and are the NFL’s top two teams in rushing attempts and rushing TDs. Not surprisingly, they also lead the league in time of possession. It’s the NFL’s hottest offense against the NFL’s hottest defense, so let’s get ready to rumble.
Everything’s Bigger in Texas, Including the Drama
To say the 6-6 Dallas Cowboys’ season is a disappointment would be a massive understatement. They have struggled with consistency and execution and have yet to beat a team with a winning record.
After Sunday’s 13-9 loss to the New England Patriots, owner Jerry Jones was openly critical of head coach Jason Garrett for the first time, like, ever. It was meant to light a fire, but instead, the Cowboys blew up to the tune of four turnovers and complete offensive inefficiency in their 26-15 Thanksgiving Day loss at home to the Buffalo Bills. Things in Jerry World are not good.
A visibly upset Jones said after the game that “[t]here will be no coaching change.” Defensive lineman Michael Bennett was heard yelling at his teammates from the locker room postgame. Good times. Lucky for everyone involved, the Cowboys are in the dismal NFC East and they are in the lead there. It should be an interesting month in Dallas.
Kings of the NFC South
New Orleans is very thankful for Taysom Hill, as it was behind Hill that the Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons, 26-18, on Thanksgiving night, clinching the NFC South.
Early in the first quarter, Hill blocked a punt that set up his own three-yard touchdown catch, while also running for a 30-yard TD later in the first half.
It was a tough night for Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan who fumbled twice (losing one of them) and threw two interceptions, one to Shy Tuttle, who stiff-armed Ryan like nobody’s business, as he was running down the field.
Congratulations to the Saints on clinching their division! Now they play for home-field advantage and that first-round bye.
Cousins vs. Wilson on Monday Night Football
Monday Night Football brings us an important NFC match-up between the Vikings of the North and the Seahawks of the West, starring the quarterbacks – Kirk Cousins for Minnesota and Russell Wilson for Seattle.
At worst, both of these teams should end up with Wild Card spots, but their divisions are in play. Seattle is one game behind San Francisco in the West, and while Minnesota is tied with Green Bay in the North, the Packers having beaten the Vikings once, so far, this season.
Back to the quarterbacks. Cousins’ passer rating of 114.8 leads the NFL, with Wilson’s 112.1 passer rating right behind him. Wilson has thrown 24 touchdown passes. Cousins has thrown 21. Both have thrown three interceptions (and that’s for the whole season). Do you see a theme here?
Victory will come down to which defense can throw (pun intended) the opposing quarterback off his game. In their last six contests, Seattle has forced 16 turnovers, while Minnesota has 12 for the entire season. The Vikings are 3-3 on the road this season, and with CenturyLink Field being such a tough environment, the Seahawks have the advantage in this one.
When Celebrations Go Wrong
And now Fangirl Nation, a lesson in humility.
Last night marked the 116th Egg Bowl, which is the annual Mississippi State–Ole Miss football rivalry game. After catching a two-yard touchdown pass with four seconds left in the game to bring Ole-Miss to within a point of Mississippi State, wide receiver Elijah Moore chose to, um, celebrate by re-enacting a dog urinating. Really, I can’t make this stuff up.
This decision was deemed worthy of a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty, which caused the kicker to miss the game-tying extra point, which caused Ole-Miss to lose the game. Perhaps next time, try a dance, posing for a group photo, or spiking a ball. Let’s make those golden celebrations indeed golden.
Have a great weekend Fangirls!