NFL 2011: Week 11 Thursday Night Football
I'm a bit late getting this post up tonight. (Parent-teacher interview.) The Broncos have the ball for the second time with about six and a half minutes left in the first quarter. I did pick the Jets to win the game well before the game started, however, and while they looked awful on their three-and-out (with a horribly bad punt) I still think they'll win.
Let's get to our picks.
(As you may know, my associate editor Richard, a friend of ours nicknamed Comfortable Kid, and I are tracking our picks this year, with posts going up each Sunday at 11 am. (You can see our Week 9 picks, along with an explanation of our scoring system, here.) For the rest of the season, we'll have a post up before each Thursday night game as well.)
Field goal. 3-0 Denver.
Here's the thing. I loathe Tim Tebow. Maybe he's a nice guy, but his sanctimonious right-wing religiosity annoys me enormously. Maybe I loathe the whole "Tim Tebow" thing more than Tebow himself, but it's hard to separate the two. But, then, I also consider the Jets one of the most loathsome teams in the NFL. Rex Ryan (a pompous, egotistical loudmouth), Santonio (a sulking egotist) and Plaxico (a prima donna), LT (an arrogant me-first guy even with declining skills), Jets fans and that annoying chant (J-E-T-S... Jets, Jets, Jets!). Ugh. I like linebacker David Harris and offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson, but that's about it. I don't dislike them as much as I do the Cowboys, but they're down with my most detested teams: Dallas, Washington, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Jets (in some order). There are other teams I dislike for rivalry reasons, notably the Ravens, but I still generally respect them. Other teams I dislike because of certain players and/or coaches, like San Diego (because of Rivers and Turner). But the Jets... I just hate them. And it doesn't help that they're a Steelers rival in the AFC. I should want them to lose. And I do.
But, then, I don't want Tebow to win. So how about this? I hope Tebow goes down with a minor injury (nothing career- or even just season-threatening) after sucking. Kyle Orton, who I think is underrated and generally disrespected, comes in and turns in a stud performance like he often did last year, leading the Broncos to a crushing win.
Will that happen? No. But one can dream.
Seriously, I'm picking the Jets because the simplistic college football offence Denver is running with Tebow has its limits and the Broncos are fast approaching them. A good defence -- and presumably the Jets' D is good enough -- should be able to stop it. Tebow has struggled even against bad teams like Miami and Kansas City, even if Denver won those games. He sucked against Detroit, a team with a better D, and they lost. The Jets have the corners, Revis and Cromartie, to handle Denver's receivers one-on-one, leaving the safeties to play near the line and help shut down the Broncos' running game. And all it should take to beat Tebow is to have a safety or fast linebacker (like Harris) shadow him. If I were Dick Lebeau and calling Pittsburgh's D against Denver, I'd just have Polamalu key on him. Let him try to beat you with his arm. Not. Gonna. Happen.
Missed FG by the Jets. Jets recover a McGahee fumble. Ugly game so far.
The point is, if you're an NFL defence, not matter how good you are you basically have to decide who to let beat you. Because you can't do everything. (There are exceptions, but I'd say this is the rule.) And when you're playing Tebow and its silly offence, you should just stack the line and force Tebow to the air. That may work against weak secondaries, but the Jets have the talent back there to blanket Tebow's downfield threats. Hey, if he makes some perfect passes, fine. What can you do? He want 2 for 8 last week but still made that one great pass to Decker for the winning TD. But Tebow has thus far in his (admittedly young) NFL career proven to be a terrible passer. As long as the Jets play a smart game and Sanchez doesn't make too many mistakes, they should win this fairly easily.
And, yes, I say that even though it's still 3-0 Broncos and we're already in the second quarter.
I'm going with the Jets for tonight's game. Yes, Tebow has had some success, and he's very new at being a QB in the NFL, so I should take it easy on him. What I will say is that he can be, and has already proven himself to be, a very exciting player. In that sense, he reminds me of Romo. Just like Romo, he'll probably win some games in heart-pumping fashion and then lose others because of a fundamental lack of consistency.
For the most part, the NFL is all about drop-back quarterbacks with great passing accuracy, presence in the pocket, and the ability to deliver game in and game out. I don't see Tebow as that guy.
Having said that, because he's so unpredictable, he'll win games against the odds.
Having hedged enough, I'll still say Jets.
Moral of the story, weird things happen, and with Michael and Richard putting on a "pick 'em" clinic here I figured this is an opportunity (a Hail Mary one at that) to make-up some ground. I'm taking Denver. I'm hoping Sanchez offers up some pick-sixes so that Tebow doesn't have to do it all... Yes, I'm working to maintain a straight face here.