Wednesday Morning QB (Week 11)

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There is a pecking order in all sports as certain players tend to get a lot more attention than others and football is one of the most obvious ones.

From a young age, most players want to be the quarterback as they are the concentration of the team at every level.

The quarterback is the star and has been for a very long time as they are the face of most teams followed closely by the running backs and receivers.

Defensive stars can sometimes reach the same level and become the face of a team but there is nothing like the level of a quarterback.

It goes down from the quarterback as many positions are not nearly as recognised and often go unnoticed.

There are plenty of players who play important roles on the team but rarely get mentioned except for the analysts who mention them every now and then.

There is one that is and always has been at the bottom of the pecking order and many times have been the butt of jokes.

That is the kicker, the player that only comes on the field once in a while and rarely gets into any type of contact.

Kickers are often made fun of because they do only walk on the field every once in a while playing one down and then leaving for the sidelines.

They are also the player that tends to avoid contact with penalties tied to making contact with a punter or a kicker.

On kickoffs, they are the last line of defence and that often means a bad or lazy tackle that then becomes even more of a joke.

They are the players that are often not even considered football players for many because they don’t do the things that most football players do.

It seems like they are the butt of so many jokes but only when the kickers don’t have much of an effect on a game.

That happens often and so they remain the least important people on the team but when they are needed they are the most important player on the team.

They can be and have been the difference between winning a Super Bowl and falling short of a championship.

The history of the Super Bowl is full of games decided by a made or missed field goal and those kickers can be heroes or villains.

It might not be the position that everyone looks to as the biggest and best in the sport but it is one that becomes more important when looking at the finer points of the game.

It isn’t always an easy job either though as there is only one spot for a placekicker and one spot for a punter on the team.

If they are not cutting it there is a big line of prospects waiting to take someone’s spot as an NFL kicker.

It’s not getting any easier either as the NFL is only getting tighter over the last few years with closer games and kickers playing a much bigger role.

As it turns out the once automatic extra point is far from automatic anymore as well with the rule changes having an effect.football-sidebar

A few years ago it was the easiest down of football, kicking from the 9-yard line making it pretty simple to get the extra point.

In 2015 the NFL changed the rules moving the extra point back forcing kickers to kick from the 21-yard line.

It might not seem like much but the extra yardage allows for a lot more factors to work their way into the kick.

This week showed exactly how tough being a kicker is getting as there were more missed extra points than ever before.

Twelve times kickers missed their extra point attempts this week and it broke a record for most missed PAT attempts in one week.

It was a rough week for kickers but for the NFL that is exactly what they were aiming for when they made the rule change.

The league wanted these extra points to stop being so automatic created plenty of interesting situations along with the missed PATs.

An extra point was once considered the most automatic play in football but now the rule change seems to be making things more difficult.

It is showing even more why a good kicker is a big part of a team and although they may be the butt of jokes for many their importance is only coming into more focus.

Fifth Quarter:
(Thoughts on this week in the NFL)

Dangerously Close to the End
He has been considered one of the best players in football but J.J. Watt almost had his career cut short as he said in an interview that he almost lost a leg due to a staph infection in what would have been a tragic end to a great career only starting

Beginning of an Era
The Los Angeles Rams have not been a great team since returning to LA and the fans have not been happy but they finally got some good news as the first overall pick in last year’s draft finally stepped on the field with the Jared Goff era officially beginning

Success South of the Border
The NFL International Series headed south of the border this time as they returned to Mexico City for the first time since 2005 and for the first time on a Monday night with tickets selling out in only 30 minutes

standings-w11-fw

Key Scores:
Carolina Panthers 23-20 New Orleans Saints
– Two struggling teams faced off hoping to get back on track before it is too late and they find themselves out of the playoffs and it was the Panthers who finished off the game holding off a fourth quarter comeback by the Saints

Dallas Cowboys 27-17 Baltimore Ravens
– The Cowboys continued their strong run as the playoffs are in sight with their rookie tandem leading the way and they showed what they could do against the Ravens looking like a true contender

Miami Dolphins 14-10 Los Angeles Rams
– Jared Goff got his first start of his career stepping into a struggling Rams offence and although he couldn’t get the win in his first start there were signs of why he was the first overall pick with some hope springing up in LA

Oakland Raiders 27-20 Houston Texans
– It was their first trip to Mexico City since 2005 and it was a major success for the league and for the Raiders who moved to first place in the west and now look like they are headed to the playoffs

 

Next Week:
Washington vs. Dallas Cowboys (Thursday, November 24th; 4:30 pm ET)
– A Thanksgiving tradition continues as Washington travels to Dallas once again for the mid-afternoon game with Washington playing much better over the last few weeks but running into the Cowboys who have been unstoppable over the last nine weeks

Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints (Sunday, November 27th; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Jared Goff era continues as he gets his second chance to get his first NFL win against a team that has struggled throughout the year with the Saints providing a slightly easier challenge for the rookie QB

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos (Sunday, November 27th; 8:30 pm ET)
– In the AFC South, the battle is only heating up with teams playing great including the Chiefs and the Broncos who are trying to keep up with the Raiders in a big division game that could go a long way to putting one of these teams into the playoffs

Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Monday, November 28th; 8:30 pm ET)
– The mystery has yet to be solved about the Packers offensive struggles and they need to turn things around before they miss the playoffs for the first time in seven years as they take on the eagles hoping to get back to winning

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