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Week 18 Observations
After the letdown that was Week 17, I wasn’t sure how much football I’d watch yesterday, especially with so many meaningless games, including the one involving my team, the Giants (at least for them.) But at 6 PM Western European Time I sat down nonetheless, with only my home picking pool, Circa Millions overall record and Steak League at stake, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I had enough low-stakes rooting interest to care, but not enough to stress about, and that was a welcome contrast to playing — and failing to cash — in the Primetime overall.
As it turns out I won my picking pool week at 10-6, which was a double week, and it also got me second place in the pool, netting me $260. Actually, I should say “netting” because the entry fee was $125, but it was the first money I’d won all year in that pool despite being in second overall. (After the Super Bowl, I’ll tally up all my bets, pools and fantasy leagues to figure out how big a profit I made, but I still have some live bets like the Giants to win the NFC at 70:1, plan to have an entry into the NFFC’s postseason contest and I’m sure I’ll bet on the Super Bowl at the very least.)
The Steak League didn’t go quite as well — Pat Freiermuth and Romeo Doubs got me zeroes, so I finished as a single buyer (in third to last place) about 20 points short of being a self buyer which was in play. At least I’m not the double buyer, who will serve as a human shield for those who would otherwise show no mercy toward me.
I went 2-2-1 in the Circa Millions to put my final record at 48-40-2. For God knows what reason the Vikings and Chargers let their starters play much longer than I thought they would, and the Jets got jobbed on a very ticky-tack horsecollar tackle call (Jaylen Waddle was tackled forward!) that set up the Dolphins’ game-winning field goal. I don’t really care about the loss in what was still a 50/50 game for my mediocre record, but the Steelers might have made the playoffs had the refs not intervened.
I thought about using Boston Scott against the Giants in the Steak League but I can’t remember if I just forgot to do it, or if he was already picked up. More than half his career TDs are against them, and this was a Boston Scott-type game where the scrubs were playing.
I love how the Giants showed heart at the end with their scrubs. This is a well-coached team, and I expect them to beat the Vikings in Minnesota next week.
I also love how the Bucs left Tom Brady in the game to get the single season passing attempts (733) and completitions (490) record. I don’t know if that’s why they did it, but he got them. Granted those aren’t the most important records, but it’s hilarious younger QBs chasing his career completitions record not only fell behind in 2022, but Brady was adding to his totals with the highest single-season number in history.
Josh Allen had three touchdowns and 254 yards in a cold weather game against a tough defense where his team got two kick return TDs. It’s not just ceiling, but floor too.
It’s not ideal for the NFL that the Bills won because they would have had the No. 1 seed had they beaten the Bengals, but are forced to play this coming week instead. The neutral field conference title game isn’t a terrible idea, but the bigger advantage of the top seed is the bye.
The Ravens are also so well coached — they scrapped until the very end against a top team on the road, despite playing without their QB, top RB, WR and TE.
Justin Tucker finished the year as the top-scoring kicker. He’s single-handedly destroyed the idea that kicker scoring is random.
The Texans are hilarious. With the Bears having lost, they needed to lose also for the top pick in the draft, but they fought like they were defending the Alamo. Even better when they scored the ostensible game-tying touchdown with less than a minute left, they went for two and the win! I really thought they should have taken a knee on the two-point, conceding the game after providing the fans the entertainment and their players the proper showcase of their talents for next year. I mean why cost yourself the pick just for the formality of the try? It was the perfect chance to compete and tank at the same time. If you don’t think picking No. 1 vs No. 2 is a big deal, ask the Jets who coughed up the No. 1 seed in Week 17 two years ago.
I imagine he’ll retire, but it’s almost more amazing Joe Flacco, drafted in 2008, was starting a game in 2023 than Tom Brady. You expect a 20-plus year career for the GOAT, but Flacco’s carcass lasting this long is astounding.
I’m still annoyed about my 12:1 Panthers bet. They got jobbed on a terrible RTP call against the Browns Week 1, absolutely gifted away an overtime game to the Falcons in October and traded away their best player, while the Bucs pulled out a couple insane come-from-behind wins, to boot. But that’s why Brady is Brady, and Darnold is Darnold (though I thought I was betting on Mayfield.)
It’s pretty funny the 49ers drafted Trey Lance third overall and traded for Jimmy Garoppolo when their best quarterback is seventh rounder Brock Purdy. Quarterback play matters immensely, but investing resources in quarterback via draft (Lance, Wilson, Darnold, Mayfield) or contract (Russell Wilson/Deshaun Watson) is so often a massive mistake.
Jerry Jeudy’s two biggest career yardage games both happened in the meaningless last game of the year (2020) and (2022).
If Sean Payton takes the Broncos job, I’m back in on Russell Wilson.
Even after Mike Williams got carted off, Brandon Staley kept Austin Ekeler, Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen in the game. FFS, Brandon, I had Denver minus three, and all I got was push! Hopefully, discerning people realize paying respects to or making fun of “analytics” is not an especially relevant criterion for evaluating a coach.
The Team destroyed the Cowboys. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to lose like that and get it out of the system before the playoffs, though.
I should have used the Lions +4.5 in my Circa picks. Leading into the game, it was obvious, even with the Seahawks winning, that Dan Campbell’s team that showed up all year was going to give the soft all year Packers a rough time. I wanted to see Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs, but that Packers team didn’t deserve it. The Lions would have been a more dangerous team than the Seahawks, though.
Not only did I end up watching for seven hours, but I stayed up until nearly 1 am to watch the Rams-Seahawks overtime to find out what happened, even though I had nothing whatsoever at stake in it. Apart from all the fantasy games, contests and pools, I’m still an NFL fan apparently.