This article is part of our NFL Observations series.
I can't take it anymore. It was fun when there were 134 people remaining in our $6M Circa Survivor pool, but with 30 left, it's borderline unbearable to watch. We were on the Falcons, thankfully, and you can see our decision-making "process" here:
(Yes, that's Oscar, my dog in the top right corner, who has been part of it. And I have forced my 9 YO daughter to sit next to me on the couch in key points for "good luck.")
Poker players have a comfort level at certain stakes (I was borderline okay at 10-20K on our 1K investment), but now that the entry is worth $200K, it's torture. And keep in mind this was a game where the Falcons were up 21-3, and the Jaguars merely got the ball back down seven for a final drive, during which they didn't make it past their own 30-yard line. I can't even imagine the adrenaline levels had they scored and went for two or even kicked the PAT, and we had to deal with overtime.
Don't get me wrong – I'd rather be in than out, and it's been great seeing everyone root for the Team Of Destiny on Twitter (as well as my friends and family via text.) But it would be nice to have a couple blowout wins the next few weeks.
- Cordarrelle MVPatterson (16-108-2, 3-2-27-0) was a game-time decision, and thankfully he suited up. It boggles the mind he's bounced around so many teams before one figured out how to use him properly.
- Russell Gage (7-6-62-1) was the only other receiver of note, as Kyle Pitts (6-2-26-0) did little, though he came down with a tough catch on a key drive-moving third down.
- Trevor Lawrence showed some signs, and looked nimble running the ball. He just doesn't have great targets, and even Dan Arnold got hurt early.
- Lamar Jackson (four picks, lack of big play runs) has battled an illness on and off all year. It's not clear what it is, but he doesn't look like himself. He's had COVID twice, but this is something different.
- The Ravens badly miss Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins – the lack of a quality run game has also hurt Jackson.
- Mark Andrews (10-4-65-1) made some great catches but wasn't especially efficient.
- Devin Duvernay is a valuable player, both as an elite kick returner and also a quality depth wideout.
- I'm a broken record on this, but I never ceased to be amazed by how down the middle Justin Tucker's kicks are. If the goal posts were only 10 feet wide, he'd be the GOAT by an even greater margin than he already is.
- Baker Mayfield was okay, but the Browns cannot attack down the field. Accordingly, all the Ravens had to do was sell out to stop the run and blitz the pass. There is no price to pay for doing so.
- Jarvis Landry (10-6-111-0) had a nice game, but he's not likely to stretch the field.
- Elijah Mitchell (27-133-1, 6-5-35-0) was the guy on whom you should have burned all your FAAB. What a massive workload.
- Deebo Samuel (6-66-2, 4-1-12-0) had his day cut short by a groin injury, but was overtaken as a pass catcher by Brandon Aiyuk (6-3-91-0) for the second straight week. That said, the Niners attempted only 26 passes, nine of which were to running backs. Samuel is a monster runner near the goal line, though, and the Niners seem intent on using him there, assuming he can play next week.
- Dalvin Cook (10-39-0, 7-6-64-0) left with a shoulder injury, and at first glance it looked serious.
- Aaron Rodgers (toe) is the league MVP in my opinion, but he'll never win because of immunization-gate. The Packers beat the Cardinals, and one of their three losses was with Jordan Love at QB.
- Aaron Jones (10-23-0, 1-0-0-0) returned, but AJ Dillon (20-69-0, 5-5-21-1) was the workhorse. I'd expect the timeshare to be close to 50/50 after the bye, to keep both fresh.
- Matthew Stafford had three TD passes, but his pick six sealed the game.
- Cooper Kupp (10-7-96-0) had a quiet game until garbage time. Odell Beckham (10-5-81-1) caught a long TD and should be big part of the offense along with Van Jefferson (9-3-93-1.)
- Sean McVay bizarrely called a run play, down 10, with less than a minute left and no timeouts, burning 30 seconds getting the field goal team set up. Even had the Rams recovered the ensuing onside kick, they would have had time only for a Hail Mary.
- The Chargers had one of their "Justin Herbert has nowhere to throw" games. Their offense ceases to function roughly half the time.
- Zach Wilson got a win at least, though he didn't have much to do with it. Elijah Moore (8-4-46-0) needs anyone else to play QB, and it'll be interesting to see what the Jets do once Joe Flacco is available. I'd imagine they have to stick with and develop Wilson now that he's healthy.
- My Giants knocked six people of out the pool which was nice. Their defense picked off Jalen Hurts three times and held him to 4.2 YPA.
- Miles Sanders always looks great, but he hurt his ankle again.
- The Patriots cover the spread every week. The game was close for a while, and Mac Jones threw a would-be pick six that was dropped, but the Pats pulled away late.
- Kendrick Bourne (6-5-61-2) often made key plays for the 49ers, and he's doing the same in New England.
- Journeyman kicker Nick Folk is a beast this year.
- The Dolphins are the poor man's Patriots, getting better as the season goes on and covering every week.
- Cam Newton did his best Sam Darnold impression.
- I made the Colts my best bet (third loss in a row after nine straight wins), and it looked okay until Carson Wentz turned it over twice in the third quarter.
- Jonathan Taylor (16-83-1, 5-4-14-0) kept his TD streak alive, but didn't have a ton of room to run.
- Leonard Fournette (17-100-3, 8-7-31-1) had a monster game. He and Rob Gronkowski (10-7-123-0) were the entire offense.
- What a no-show by the Steelers.
- Diontae Johnson (14-9-95-0) always gets his, though, no matter how badly the Steelers are playing.
- I faded Joe Mixon (28-165-2, 4-4–2-0) this year, and that was a mistake. He's the clear bell cow in a decent offense.
- Over his first seven games, Ja'Marr Chase averaged 21.5 YPC, but only 10.1 YPC over his last four. Tee Higgins (8-6-114-1) picked up the slack, though.
- Hate to cut this short, but I have to go consult with Oscar about Week 13 Survivor.