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Monday Night Observations
That game was almost the nut low. I was happy to see my prediction that the Team would show up against its undefeated rival come through and also happy it won outright, putting the Giants only one game out of first place. But despite the prediction I didn’t use it in the Circa Millions, so even being right had a tinge of disappointment.
Worse, I had AJ Brown going in the Primetime, and while I had already won the matchup, that hurt my point total. Heading into Sunday night, I had 130-odd points, plus Brown and Kittle. I thought I might be pushing first place heading into Week 11, but now I’m a distant second, a full 58 points back.
I was also 4-0 in my NFFC leagues heading into the night with one matchup pending. I was up 14, and he had Antonio Gibson who, thanks to a 12-yard catch and run on the penultimate drive, got 14.5 to beat me. I also had Miles Sanders in a league where I’m in third place too. Just a terrible all-around result except for the Giants who I have at +745 to win the division and 70:1 to win the NFC.
When I say a team will “show up” against its undefeated rival, what I mean is it’ll play its “A” game. What that typically looks like to me is the offensive line blocking and the defense getting pressure and tackling better than you’d expect. The Team wasn’t efficient on the ground, but rarely got stuffed — even two three yard runs puts you in third and manageable — and converted 12 of 21 third downs. Getting three yards per carry isn’t bad per se — the distribution also matters. A three-yard average when you get stuffed three times and have one 12-yard run is much worse.
If the Team goes back to Carson Wentz, it’s malpractice. Taylor Henicke isn’t great — the delay of game on 4th-and-1, causing them to kick the field goal was inexcusable — but he gives them a chance. To put it crudely, Heinicke’s ratio of fatal mistake to crucial play is close to 50/50 while Wentz’ is more like 20/80. One underrated heads-up play was when the Team was killing clock and decided to throw for it on 3rd-and-long, but the rush got through. Heinicke scrambled, but instead of throwing it away, which would have stopped the clock or getting sacked and risking a fumble, he took a knee. As it turned out, the Eagles defender was so surprised, he hit him anyway, drawing the flag and giving the Team a first down essentially ending the game. But it showed a lot of presence and situational awareness from Heinicke.
Terry McLaurin (11-8-128-0) has been a star since he set foot in the league, and nothing’s changed except whether he’s had a total or only partial zero at quarterback.
Brian Robinson (26-86-1) doesn’t have much wiggle, but there’s a role for a tough runner who doesn’t go down. I mean the defense could shoot him, and he’d still be lunging forward for extra yards! Antonio Gibson (14-44-1, 3-3-14-0) is more skilled, but I can’t argue too much with the balance as Gibson’s been injury prone.
The worst part about AJ Brown’s one catch for seven yards is that he got hurt on the first catch and might not have been 100 percent the rest of the way. Hopefully, it’s not a nagging problem going forward for him or me.
DeVonta Smith (8-6-39-1) picked up the slack somewhat, but the Eagles ran only 47 plays (26 passing attempts) all game.
Jalen Hurts is a great fantasy QB. On only 26 attempts, he generated three total TDs and 28 rushing yards. It’s not just the ceiling but the floor.
I’ve remarked often about the kicking inflation in the NFL the last few years, and there was no better example than Joey Slye, a league-average kicker at best. Slye was 4-for-4 on field goals including bombs from 55 and 58 yards. And the kick he came closest to missing was the 32 yarder too.