A Pair of Surprises As We Reach The End of the NFL Season25 de Mayo de 2022 a las 06:09
Photo courtesy of NFL.com
Article by Scott Churchson, The Sports Den & The Sports Insiders
Host and Journalist Spanglish World Networks, Spanglish Sports World
New York. - In any other year week 17 would mark the end of the regular season. However for better or for worse (and to me it's 100% a mixed bag) here we are reaching the end of the new 17 game/18 week schedule in the NFL. Like most things in life this too blew past us in the blink of an eye and after 16 of the 17 games played we have a great view of what to expect going into the post season and beyond. With that, I'll be breaking down 2 surprises, 2 disappointments and 2 biggest “This shocked literally no ones” of the 2021-2022 NFL season.
Here we go:
The Titans win the AFC South despite losing Derrick Henry. In week 8 the unbearable happened in Tennessee when Derrick Henry, the RB I referred to as Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl went down to a broken foot on October 31. With 937 rushing yards and 10 Tds through 8 games he was Beast Mode for that team, and a lot of folks and myself included felt they were in deep trouble. But credit to Mike Vrabel, Ryan Tannehill and especially that defense for hanging in there; going 5-3 in their next 8 and winning the division with a 34-3 throttling of the Miami Dolphins last week at home to take the division. Now, with one game remaining and seeding still a factor, Derrick Henry is scheduled to play in this Sunday's finale against Houston after healing faster than expected. This is perfect timing I THINK for the Titans, as they can use a weaker opponent in the Texans to get Henry some reps and get him ready for the playoffs and yet still not rely on him to need a win. The Texans are 32nd in the league in offensive yards and 29th in yards given up so this is a glorified practice for the Titans, albeit with seeding implications.
Covid, Round 2. Last season was a ton of firsts in the NFL thanks to Covid-19. Players were diagnosed, games were rescheduled to literally every possible day of the week (Wednesday afternoon anyone?) and it frankly wreaked havoc on the NFL. Yet here we are, new season later, new variant, same chaos. As of 3 days ago per sharpfootballanalysis.com which provided the list of every player in the NFL who tested positive and when a total of 760 players have tested positive going back to July 2021. Yes Omicron isn't typically as brutal as the original variant and is easier to catch, but that's half the league and once again we have players out, games being moved to Tuesday and in some cases 3rd and 4th string Qbs getting starts. The New Orleans Saints, who lost Taysom Hill & Trevor Siemian to Covid and Jameis Winston to injury, started rookie 4th round pick Ian Book on a Monday night (it didn't go well) and even picked up Blake Bortles out of necessity (retired Qbs Drew Brees and Philip Rivers declined first). This has changed the scope of the league as the Saints needed that game to stay in the NFC Wild Card Hunt. Minnesota needed a win against the Packers Sunday night to stay in it and were forced to start backup Sean Mannion as Kirk Cousins went down due to Covid. Mannion to his credit did put up decent numbers in only his third start, even throwing his first career TD, but without Cousins that win went from difficult to impossible. Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz, Lamar Jackson, both Baker & Keenum in Cleveland, just to name a few and just sticking to Qbs. As a society we're certainly over it, but as the NFL goes, this would be an absolute PR nightmare of high profile players were to miss playing time during the Super Bowl if they came down with Covid. The Super Bowl ratings have steadily dropped even pre-Covid, having gone from 111 million viewers in 2012 to averaging 100 million in 2018-2020. Even worse in the highly sought after 18-49 market the viewership has dropped EVERY SINGLE YEAR since 2011 (in 2011 it was 52.5 million in the 18-49 market, 2020 Pre-Covid it had dropped to 38.7). The last thing the NFL needs right now is a poor Super Bowl, or one that's impacted by Covid.
Agree? Disagree? Hate it or like it? Lemme know. Coming up next I'll be discussing 2 massive disappointments in the NFL season this year.