Sorry for being so late with the recap this week. I got behind on sleep with the new overnight job and couldn’t stay awake when I got home. I had the night off last night so I’ve had a bit of shut-eye and I can finally get this underway.
If you don’t count(and I’m sorry here, coach) the Revenants, this week was the closest week of any we’ve had all season. And just in time for the race to the playoffs. The total spread for the week was 40.54 points. Still close, but if you exclude the Revenants, the distance between the Horsemen and the Great Whites was a mere 13.08 points!
Given that I’m writing this recap so late, one game this week has already brought the playoffs picture into a bit more clarity, but we won’t count them out yet! You’ll find out Monday night!
Great Whites – 209.08 [MVP: Giants QB Eli Manning – 37.66]
Revenants – 181.62 (L) [MVP: Redskins RB Alfred Morris – 31.30]
Spread – 27.56
The least close game of the week was actually between the fifth and sixth best teams of the week. And for all the ripping that I did on Eli in last week’s recap, he put up 37.66 points against Green Bay, and finished as the sixth best QB on the week, behind only the other 5 primetime QB’s of the week. Good job, Eli. You’re back. And three of your next 5 games to end the regular season are against the three worst secondaries in the league. Giants in the playoffs, after all. Despite Eli’s great showing, the Revenants had Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton in, and the Great Whites’ other QB was Philip Rivers(here’s a fun fact: he is the only QB started in our league who has a free agent on the waiver wire doing better than him[two free agents, in fact, and one of them hasn’t played the last two games]), so the Revenants actually took QB by 7.04. The Revenants traded Josh Freeman just before the deadline for Willis McGahee’s apparent replacement Ronnie Hillman, and woke up Sunday afternoon to find that the Broncos were simply smokescreening, and fully intended to use Knowshon Moreno. As such, the Great Whites took RB by 37.90, but it should be noted that if the Revenants had Moreno, the Great Whites still would’ve taken RB by 15.20, and the game by 4.86. It should also be noted that, overall, if the Revenants had coached a perfect lineup this week(as the Great Whites did, and not including Knowshon Moreno), they would’ve added 19.66 points to their total, and the Great Whites still would’ve won by 7.9. So it’s not a case of coaching or Ronnie Hillman. It’s a case of Eli Manning and the two best RB’s in the league. The Great Whites won WR by 2.9(Julio Jones was 9 better than Reggie Wayne, but AJ Green was 7 better than Victor Cruz) and Defense by 1(yep, over the Bears). The Revenants won Flex by 5.20, and Kicker by 2. This game would’ve given the Revenants a competitive advantage to get into the playoffs, but alas, they remain facing an uphill battle, and the Great Whites get a little bit more comfortable going into their 1-1 rematch against the Spectres. This effectively ends the Great Whites/Revenants rivalry at 3-0, and a bitter taste of revenge hanging in the Revenants’ mouth going into the next season. MVP: Giants QB Eli Manning led his team to a crushing 28 point victory in both the NFL and the LOS this week, with 249 passing yds and 3 TD’s, silencing the critics at least for the time being, and solidifying his team(both in the NFL and the LOS) as playoffs contenders. I should also note that Eli’s last 3 games combined totaled 33.18 points. This week he achieved 37.66. That’s a statement if ever I’ve heard one. Now let’s move on to the close games.
Horsemen – 222.16 [MVP: Redskins QB Robert Griffin III – 52.56]Beatleteers – 215.44 (L) [MVP: Lions QB Matthew Stafford – 50.34]
Spread – 6.72
This, before Cam Newton Monday night, appeared to be the closest game of the week. Going into the Giants-Packers game, The Horsemen needed 9.6 points from Hakeem Nicks to seal the deal and put away their eighth win of the season. The Horsemen decided they didn’t trust Nicks and used their last add/drop of the season on Packers WR Jordy Nelson in hopes that he would save their first place lead. He did. Less than five minutes into the game, Jordy caught a 61-yard TD, which in this league is 14.1 points(6.1 for the yards, 6 for the TD, 1 for the catch, and 1 for a TD pass of 50+ yards). Hakeeem Nicks, however, ended the game with 18.70 points, more than Nelson. And Greg Jennings is suddenly back. So there’s a small victory for the Beatleteers. The Horsemen, possible playoffs rivals, wasted their last add/drop trying to beat them. But I digress. The Beatleteers took QB by 3.18, but it was a hard-fought battle. RG3 put up his second-best stat line of the season, right after putting up his second-best stat line of the season(which is now his third best), throwing for 304 yds and 4 TD’s before tacking on another 29 rushing yds. Interestingly enough, Matthew Stafford also put up his second-best stat line of the season, right after putting up his worst stat line of the season, throwing for 441 yds and 2 TD’s. One of these guys is on a streak. Then, however, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck disappointed equally in 32 points for Manning against KC, 26.60 for Luck against Buffalo. The 26.60 was enough for the Beatleteers to take the category. RB, however, is another story. With 35.70 and 35.40, Ray Rice and Trent Richardson dominated RB by a full 34.60 points(which means that the Beatleteers two combined RB’s would’ve been BARELY a point better than either one of these RB’s, despite being just behind them in season totals). Interestingly enough, both Horsemen WR’s combined would’ve totaled 35.80 points, a mere 5.8 ahead of Calvin Johnson, but Danny Amendola couldn’t make up the 5.8 point difference, so the Horsemen took WR by 1 point. Despite Jordy Nelson costing the Beatleteers the game in the end, Andre Johnson(both of them in Flex) was 13.70 points better than Nelson. The Horsemen took Kicker by a mere point, and the Beatleteers took Defense by 13. So, breaking it down, this game was actually lost at RB, simply by way of Rice and Richardson posting monster numbers by RB standards. This game clinches a spot in the playoffs for the Horsemen, who can now not finish worse than 4th, and makes the Beatleteers’ battle in just that much harder. They’re now tied at the bottom half of the league with 5-7(despite being .06 points away from going 4-1 on the week, and having the third best All-Play record in the league). If the Beatleteers get into the playoffs against you, fear them. They now have the highest point total in the league by 13 points, finally edging out the King of the Hill Revenants. MVP: Redskins QB RG3 put up the second-best week of his career at 52.56 points, moving him past Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers on the season into a spot as a Top 5 QB this season(he shares company with Peyton, Matt Ryan, Brady, and Brees), and that includes Ryan’s and Brees’ numbers for this week, so with a simple 33 points against the Giants, Griffin can take the number one spot in the NFL(if Tom Brady gets 17 less than RG3 and no other QB catches him Sunday).
Stompers – 215.50 [MVP: Cowboys’ QB Tony Romo – 59.34]
Spectres – 214.36 (L) [MVP: Panthers’ QB Cam Newton – 58.44]
Spread – 1.14
So, that 1.12 point game between the Great Whites and Beatleteers way back in Week 1 still remains our closest game of the season, but this is our closest game in 11 weeks of football!!! If I remember right, the Stompers had 203.50 going into Monday Night Football, and the Spectres had 155.92. If Alex Henery didn’t put up a single point(and his average was 7), Cam Newton needed 47.59 points to beat the Stompers Monday Night, and he hadn’t done that once this season. In fact, NFL.com(brilliantly accurate… *sarcasm*) projected him to get ~25. Then Cam goes out against the Eagles(the new Saints) and throws 306 yds for 2 TD’s, rushing for 52 yds and 2 TD’s. Luckily for the Stompers they chose Tony Romo this week in their myriad of QB decisions every week, and the Spectres chose the Texans over the Patriots. Otherwise, this game could’ve gotten ugly quickly. Here’s another thing. This marks the FOURTH TIME a Stompers QB has had the best week of all QB’s, and it’s been a different QB every time! One more week like this and they’ll tie the Revenants’ record of having the best QB of the week 5 times(3 Brees, 2 Ryan), because the Revenants aren’t earning it this week. That’s an accomplishment. That should tell you why they’re the best coach in the league by a full 25 points(and 54 points above third place). So, despite Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers only put up 18.96 points on the week, and the Spectres owned TWO of the top FIVE QB’s of the week. That gives the Spectres QB by 32.06. The Spectres also took RB by a marginal 4 points and Defense by 1(literally, one point to to the Jets’ zero). The Stompers then took WR by 31.40(Dez Bryant is an honorable mention MVP here with 35.60, his best game of the season, and the Stompers’ worst WR did 27.20 points to the Spectres’ best 21)., Flex by 1.80, and Kicker by 5(another reason Cam wasn’t able to take the win). I’ve heard talk of Cam Newton having just one more pass or Alex Henery just kicking one less extra point winning the game(both inaccurate), but in reality, anything happening or not happening over the course of the week that had been worth 1.15 points would’ve swayed this game. The Stompers are the only team of the four on bottom to move away from the tie, and one of only three teams in the league to have better than a losing record. They are also the ONLY team in the league that can finish the season at either first in the standings or sixth, so these next two games are tremendously important for them. The Spectres get knocked down a peg, but they’re still in it. They just have to fare better than the Beatleteers and the Revenants over the next two weeks and they’re in. MVP: Cowboys’ QB Tony Romo being the fourth(and last remaining) Stompers QB to be best on the week, and having the best week of his season.
So that does it. The Stompers move up to third in the standings, leaving the other three teams in the dust but not quite clinching the playoffs spot just yet. As for who will be in the playoffs, well, it just still isn’t clear. All six teams still have a shot(well, this Saints-Falcons game has put a big D(for doubtful!) on the Revenants’ chances, but I digress). In fact, I’d like to take just a paragraph to do a best-case/worst-case scenario for every team.
The Horsemen can finish between 1st and 3rd(I think. There are 64 possibilities over the next two weeks, but the Horsemen can’t finish better than 10-4, or worse than 8-6, and there are three teams that can’t finish better than 7-7, so I’m doing my math that way).
The Great Whites can finish between 1st and 5th(either the Beatleteers or Revenants have no choice but to lose this week’s game, so while either team could finish 7-7, they can’t both do it. The loser of this week’s game is absolutely not going to the playoffs.). The only way they could drop to 5th is if they AND the Beatleteers both lose both of their next two games. (The only way TWO of the three teams at the bottom can finish 7-7 is if the Beatleteers lose both of their games(they have one each against their fellow standingsmen.) Then, on top of that, the Spectres AND Revenants’ All-Play records would have to be at least one game better than the Great Whites’ to pass them in the standings. Whew. This is getting confusing for me too, don’t worry.)
The Stompers can finish between 1st(8-6, tied with the Horsemen, beating them in All-Play record) and 6th(at the bottom with the 6-8 Revenants and Spectres who both lost to the Beatleteers yet won against the Horsemen and Great Whites, and losing their All-Play record to both).
The other three teams can finish between 2nd(winning their next two, the Great Whites losing their next two, winning All-Play) and sixth(a multitude of options).
So the basics are that the Horsemen are in the playoffs, the Great Whites would need a lot to go wrong to get knocked out, the Stompers need at least one of the next two games to stay in, and every other team needs both games to get in. And the basics of that are that you’re all still in it! Well, the Revenants are unlikely candidates, but anything can happen. This should be an exciting week of fantasy football, leading up to our last game of the regular season, and the League Watch Party at the Stompers’ and Great Whites’ house all day on December 9th. Five teams are confirmed for the meet, but the Beatleteers still haven’t been reached for comment.
This week is big, guys! Of the 64 possibilities for the end of the season this week, the end of this week will bring it down to a mere 8 possibilities, and at least one team will know that they are out of the playoffs. You all need this win this week(except for you, Horsemen Head Coach, you dashingly handsome success story, you.) to clinch, so make it count!
League of Shadows