Week 12 might just be the most exciting week of football we’ve seen so far this year. With a little over a month to go for the playoffs, there’s a clearer picture of the potential wild card match ups. We also have an obvious view of the teams who really need to do some soul-searching and perhaps personnel changes in the offseason. Even if you didn’t get to watch all of the games on this extended weekend, statistically, some things stood out like neon signs.
1) Alex Smith might have lost his starting job for the next few weeks: I watched some of the 49ers game vs. the Saints. After the Giants obliterated them back in week 6, I had serious questions about Alex Smith. Now granted I did say earlier this month that he’s better than people give him credit for. BUT I didn’t say he was a great QB. In my opinion, a great QB is a guy who has an innate precision in his passing while still being incredibly dynamic. Colin Kaepernick definitely showed just how dynamic he is in the win against the Saints on their home turf. What I like about Kaepernick is he’s capable and unafraid to take on defenses. The guy’s got wheels and I think he made great use of the 9ers’ talent acquisitions; mainly Mario Manningham and even getting some nice looks to the quiet Vernon Davis. While Jim Harbaugh was hush-hush until late Sunday if Colin would start or not, it’ll be very interesting to see if he starts him vs. the Rams again.
I hope RB David Wilson doesn’t turn into Antrel Rolle in terms of attitude and arrogance. After being benched in the season opener against Dallas and being relegated to the Giants’ punt/kickoff returner, Coach Coughlin is finally forced to give the 1st round pick a shot. Goal line scorer RB Andre Brown is out for the rest of the season with a broken fibula. Obviously Wilson is excited to get this opportunity to shine and he might be a decent 3rd and 4th down back going forward. Teammate Henry Hynoski summed up my expectation on Wilson’s role going forward perfectly – “He’s a special back so once his maturity meets his talent we can expect a lot of great things from him”.
3) Welcome back, Megatron: As I said previously, this is not the Lions team we saw last year. However, Megatron is starting to look like the pre-Madden curse receiver we know him to be. He’s scored a touchdown in 3 straight games now. He’s the leader in receiving yards, with nearly a 200 yard separation between him and the #2 spot. He even had a monster game against Minnesota; who sits 3rd in the NFC North. The double, sometimes triple coverage has kept Calvin Johnson out of the red zone. However, I feel like he’s found his rhythm. Fantasy owners who have him can get excited.
4) Is Dez Bryant this underwhelming?: I can’t really answer this with statistics. I do think that this is 1 of those situations where Bryant, with a top 3 QB, would be up there with Megatron and healthy Hakeem Nicks. Alas, Tony Romo is plain awful. Bryant is right on the cusp of top 10 in passing yards though. He also has 6 TDs so far with his longest being the 85 yarder on Thanksgiving vs. the Redskins. I don’t know, I just feel like we’re not seeing the best of Dez Bryant yet because of where he’s playing.
5) It might be possible for people to hate the Giants as much as the Patriots: It’s hilarious to me how much vitriol NY teams get. It’s laughable that people think out of all the Superbowl teams of the last decade, only the Giants have been called “lucky” and “flukes”. Even Phil Simms went out of his way to say Eli Manning isn’t ELIte. With 2 Superbowl wins against 1 of the NFL’s Goliaths, postseason sweeps, and 1 of the premiere receiving tandems, it’s like what else do the Giants have to do to prove themselves? I’m 1 of the biggest critics of my hometown teams. When they play horrible, I can admit that. That season opener and the game against the Bengals were uncharacteristically horrendous. Our secondary is missing a huge void with Terrell Thomas out. But the fact is we’re still sitting atop the NFC East. Every year we find a way to fight the brutal schedule and get some crucial wins. Manning got everyone involved against the Packers on Sunday. I hope we see less drops from Cruz. I also hope we see TE Martellus Bennett and rookie WR Reuben Randle get more apparent in the offense.
6) Who knew the Bucs were going to be this good?: \o. Martin is extremely poised for a rookie RB. Tampa’s defense is #1 against the run, holding opponents to under 90 yards per game. But the real surprise is Josh Freeman. I’ve never been a fan of his. Although this year, I’ve been pleasantly shocked by his improvement. He’s been pretty accurate with 11 of 12 games better than 50%. In the NFC south, the story has been all about the Falcons. But the Bucs are silently playing a damn good season of football.
Any big plays you noticed from Week 12? Has this been the best week of football you’ve seen this season? What match up are you most looking forward to in Week 13?