Wednesday Morning QB (NFL Week 11)

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The playoff race is heating up in the NFL as the first team has been eliminated from the playoffs with only six weeks left in the season. As teams continue to march towards the playoffs or simply towards the offseason they are starting to prove exactly what type of team they have. Whether they are a team that simply doesn’t have what it takes to compete with the best teams. More than that though are the emergence of the superstars of 2014 as the halfway point is gone and the top players begin to prove that they are for real. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, DeMarco Murray, and Andrew Luck are all proving to be the stars of the season. Most are the typical answers for the superstars while a few are surprises this year. They have all been solid throughout the year and many were expected to carry their teams. Whether or not they were expected to sit at the top of the league is another story. These type of players are always looked to at the start of the season but they do not always last the full season. Many times teams have to adjust on the fly after a major member of the team is injured. It can destroy an entire season for a team if they lose a player that they were relying on to make a run at the Super Bowl. The teams that survive these injuries are those that can find someone to fill in at the right time and make an impact. These teams have the depth that they need to make do without their #1 people. They also have a keen eye to find players that many missed in the evaluation process. They find the players that may need a little bit of work and time as they give the player that time to develop in the hopes that when the opportunity arises they are able to step in and the offence or defence won’t miss a beat. The New England Patriots are one of the best at doing exactly that as they can find talent out of nowhere. Sometimes it doesn’t work out the way they want it to and they put too much into these unproven players. Every now and then they find that player to come in and manage the position that they fill in. Then they find that player that can change the game when they get the chance to fill in. Week 11 saw that happen for the Pats as they gave the ball to Jonas Gray in their Sunday Night matchup with the Indianapolis Colts. Gray came out of nowhere in Week 11 to run for 199 yards and four touchdowns on the night. The Notre Dame product was considered a solid prospect in college but a knee injury in his senior year ended his chances of being drafted. Instead he was signed as an undrafted free agent by Miami and was allowed to rehab his knee while on the PUP list. After being cut in September 2013, Gray joined the Baltimore Ravens and was added to their practice roster for the rest of the 2013 season. The Patriots signed him in January 2014 as another running back in the system. He wasn’t expected to get a lot of action as he sat behind Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, and Tyler Gafney. Then Gafney and Ridley were hurt and placed on the IR giving Gray the chance to move onto the main roster and sit behind Vereen. Week 11 was his chance to break out as the Patriots had planned to give Gray the ball in the game. That proved to be a good choice as he surprised everyone in leading the Patriots to the win over the Colts. It also showed that the Patriots are a deep team that can find people when they need to. It was only one game for Gray but it could also show that the Patriots have found their running back for the playoffs. If Gray can continue to play well, not necessarily 199 yards and four touchdown good, the Patriots are a dangerous playoff team. Just as the season sprints towards the playoffs the Patriots may have found someone to lead their ground game which becomes that much more important in the cold weather of New England during the playoffs. The Patriots are excelling at finding these players to fill in and if they will get better with Gray that could mean only more trouble for everyone else in the NFL as they make a run as a favourite for the Super Bowl.

 

Fifth Quarter:
(Thoughts on Week 11 in the NFL)

Done for the Year
As Adrian Peterson prepared to return to the NFL the league made a decision that changed all of AP’s plans as Roger Goodell handed down a season-long suspension to the running back for violating the league’s code of conduct policy

Another Wasted Season for Raiders
The Oakland Raiders have yet to win a game this year and their season is now over before anyone else as they have official been eliminated from the playoffs with six weeks left in the regular season

Telltale Jerseys
Washington has not been the best team this year and a large amount of that has to do with their QB situation and local sporting goods stores are telling the true tale as both Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins jerseys are going on clearance

DEA Investigation
As if the NFL didn’t already get into enough trouble this year the DEA has launched an investigation into the league for players using and abusing prescription medication after claims from retirees of teams mismanaging prescription meds

standings-week-11

Key Scores:
St. Louis Rams 22 – 7 Denver Broncos
– The Rams have a tendency to surprise everyone this year as they continue to play their best football in important games after taking out division rivals, San Francisco and Seattle, they took out Denver in one of the biggest surprises of the week

Kansas City Chiefs 24 – 20 Seattle Seahawks
–  Many had wondered if the Chiefs were for real as they had not truly taken the step to becoming a threat in the playoffs but they came out to win against the Seahawks and proved that people need to watch them heading into the playoff race

Green Bay Packers 53 – 20 Philadelphia Eagles
– The Packers are getting hot at the right time as their offence has now put up over 50 points in two games since their Week 9 bye and are the hottest offence in the league which they proved against the Eagles

Arizona Cardinals 14 – 6 Detroit Lions
– The Cardinals and Lions were fighting for supremacy in the NFC as both were leading their divisions and sitting on top of the conference and with Drew Stanton under centre the Cards pulled of the win solidifying their spot as the best team in the NFC

 

Next Week:
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills (Sunday November 23rd; 1:00 pm ET)
– The AFC East remains a bit of a mess aside from the top team as the three other teams continue to fight for second place and a chance at the wild card including the Bills and Jets as they face off for an important division matchup

Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks (Sunday November 23rd; 4:05 pm ET)
– The Cardinals are having one of their best seasons ever and they hope to continue it by beating the defending champions who are just looking to get back to winning as they continue to fall further out of the playoff race a year after they won the Super Bowl to the top of the

Miami Dolphins vs. Denver Broncos (Sunday November 23rd; 4:25 pm ET)
– The Dolphins are trying to prove that they are for real as they continue to be overlooked and one of the best ways to do that is to beat the Broncos who are trying to recover from a bad loss to the St. Louis Rams in Week 11

Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants (Sunday November 23rd; 8:15 pm ET)
– The Cowboys and Giants continue their divisional rivalry as the Cowboys try to keep their great season going and move into the top of the division while the Giants try to figure things out and get back into the hunt

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