Early-season overreactions are simple to chortle off as a result of, effectively, it is early. However late-season overreactions might be simply as harmful and deceptive.
The final 4 weeks of the NFL season are precisely as small a pattern measurement as the primary 4. (That is math, of us. You’ll be able to examine it.) Whereas December video games appear to carry extra import as a result of the stakes are better-defined and really feel extra fraught, they’ll produce overreactions each bit as foolish as those we’ve got in September.
So this can be a warning, as we embark upon our weekly train, for groups not to base an excessive amount of of their playoff planning or offseason decision-making on what they’ve seen from a few weeks towards the tip of the 12 months. Issues get wacky in December, momentum does not final 9 months, and it is necessary to preserve the entire 16-week image in thoughts whenever you’re drawing conclusions.
That stated, it is time for the Week 16 version of OVERREACTION MONDAY:
Nick Foles deserves to be the Eagles’ beginning quarterback, even as soon as Carson Wentz is wholesome
Is that this actually taking place once more? Is Foles actually stepping in for an injured Wentz in December and main the Eagles to necessary victories? Everybody’s favourite Napoleon Dynamite lookalike accomplished 35 of 49 passes for 471 yards and 4 touchdowns in a sport the Eagles wanted to win so as to preserve their playoff hopes alive. He beat the first-place Texans at house one week after beating the first-place Rams on the highway. The Eagles can nonetheless make the playoffs in the event that they win subsequent week and the Vikings lose to the Bears. And in the event that they get in, the defending Tremendous Bowl champs are loaded with guys who know what it takes to win large video games in January. Foles, the reigning Tremendous Bowl MVP, is certainly one of them.
Graziano’s verdict: OVERREACTION. That is the proper instance of “do not get fooled by the small pattern measurement.” Foles stands out as the excellent backup quarterback, since you recognize he can step in if wanted and win you just a few video games — even when a type of video games is the Tremendous Bowl. However did we overlook about how he began the season? Have we not but discovered our lesson about Foles and consistency? Was there one thing about the best way Wentz was taking part in earlier than he obtained harm that ought to lead the Eagles to doubt their long-term dedication to him? If something, the best way Foles is ending this season offers the Eagles, who ought to have traded him final 12 months when he was at all-time-high worth, a second probability to get one thing in return. In fact, if he leads them to a second straight Tremendous Bowl title, that is going to be a tough promote to the fan base. However the individuals who run the Eagles are a affected person, big-picture bunch, and the guess right here is that they are nonetheless all-in on Wentz for the long run. As they need to be.
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Victories from the Ravens, Titans and Colts imply the ultimate AFC playoff spot will come down to subsequent Sunday. NFL Nation dives into Week 16.
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The Ravens would be the scariest staff within the AFC playoff subject (in the event that they make it)
Baltimore is taking part in protection at a stratospheric stage on the tail finish of The 12 months of the Offense. The Ravens have won 5 of their previous six video games and are permitting a league-low 252.7 yards and simply 17.17 factors per sport over that point. Their solely loss in that stretch was to the Chiefs, who wanted a miracle comeback to beat them. That stretch additionally coincides with the quarterback swap from Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson. Over the previous six video games, the Ravens are averaging a surprising 218.5 dashing yards per sport.
Graziano’s verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION. Jackson wants a while to refine himself as a passer, however he is an absolute surprise to watch and a nightmare to defend. Everyone is aware of what Baltimore needs to do — run the ball down your throat all day — and proper now nobody is stopping it. Nobody has a practice-squad participant who can impersonate Jackson through the week of sport preparation. The Ravens is probably not deep or dynamic sufficient on offense to win the three video games they’d want to make to the Tremendous Bowl (and once more, they are not within the playoffs but — they get in with a win over the Browns or a Steelers loss subsequent week), however they are not going to be any enjoyable to play. The win over the Chargers and the close to win over the Chiefs show they’ll dangle with anybody.
Eli Manning will return because the Giants’ beginning quarterback in 2019
Manning was 25-for-33 for 309 yards and had two touchdowns (one passing, one dashing) Sunday in opposition to a Colts protection that shut out the NFC East champion Cowboys one week earlier. His QBR for the sport was 93.1 (bear in mind, that is out of 100), and because the begin of November he has 11 landing passes and 4 interceptions in seven video games. The Giants blew the sport on protection, however this one wasn’t on Manning. And since they did not draft Manning’s successor on this 12 months’s draft, they do not have one other in-house choice in the event that they resolve to let him go away at season’s finish.
Graziano’s verdict: OVERREACTION, although I am beginning to assume the wind is blowing that manner. The Giants of their latest historical past have a behavior of overreacting to the ultimate few video games of the season and making offseason choices primarily based on the best way issues have gone as soon as the staff was out of it. For many of this season, Manning was ineffective, and he enters Week 17 nonetheless in need of 20 passing touchdowns for the 12 months. The locker room may not purchase into the concept of one other 12 months of Eli, and Giants administration wants to assess that and issue it into the choice. A free-agent play for somebody like Teddy Bridgewater would make extra sense than bringing again Manning for one more 12 months, and clearly the entrance workplace ought to assume critically about drafting a quarterback of the long run it doesn’t matter what. However the Giants have missed the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years, and their 23 losses because the begin of the 2017 season are tied with the Browns for probably the most within the league. It is time to commit to the rebuild, and it is necessary to do it whereas superstars Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley are nonetheless younger sufficient to profit.
Roosevelt Nix takes the direct snap on the faux punt, however he comes up a yard brief giving the Saints nice subject place with beneath 5 minutes left.
The Steelers blew their season with the faux punt name
With four:11 left within the sport, the Steelers had a 28-24 lead on the Saints in a sport they wanted to win to keep in first place within the AFC North. On fourth-and-5, they lined up to punt, however they faked it. Roosevelt Nix ran for four yards, and the Steelers turned it over on downs on their very own 42-yard line. In 2:41, Brees led a landing drive that put the Saints forward for good. As a result, the Steelers now not management their very own playoff future and can miss the playoffs if the Ravens beat the Browns subsequent week and the Colts and Titans do not tie.
Graziano’s verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION. Received to like aggressiveness generally, however giving Drew Brees the ball in your individual territory down 4 factors with 4 minutes to go? Waaaay too dangerous, given how necessary this sport was for the Steelers. Pittsburgh was taking part in powerful sufficient protection on Brees & Co. that subject place may have mattered, particularly because the Saints wanted a landing and never only a subject aim. Not choosing up the fourth down on the faux simply made issues too simple for the Saints, who did not even want the sport as badly because the Steelers did.
The Dolphins will probably be within the quarterback market this offseason
Miami’s loss eradicated the Dolphins from playoff competition, and it is potential a variety of change is coming there, together with on the teaching workers. As for quarterback Ryan Tannehill, he was 15-of-22 for 146 yards, a landing and an interception in opposition to a Jaguars staff that mainly hasn’t been attempting for a few months. After the sport, Dolphins coach Adam Gase — maybe the world’s largest Tannehill backer — stated, “I want he would have performed somewhat higher. I want he would have made some choices that had been totally different.”
Graziano’s verdict: NOT AN OVERREACTION. It stays to be seen who’s making the choice, however I might anticipate the Dolphins to transfer on from Tannehill and have somebody totally different taking part in quarterback subsequent season. It could possibly be somebody like Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Tyrod Taylor … or it could possibly be a draft decide. Exhausting to see it from right here, given the entire variables and the uncertainty over the Miami scenario generally. But it surely looks as if a change is warranted there at this level.