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Scoring Is On Ice

Mill Woods

Posted on December 11, 2018 13:28

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With just three weeks left in the NFL regular season, I hope fans are excited by defensive duels, because they are the new trend. As we get deeper into December, the game is changing in the formerly-pass-happy NFL; colder and wetter weather are helping defenses hold down scoring. Over the next few weeks, teams that will outperform will be those who can run the football reliably, convert third downs, score in the red zone, and – perhaps most of all – win the time of possession.

Monday night in Seattle, the score stayed 3-0 for three quarters, as two good defenses completely ran the show. That capped a weekend where, in 12 of 16 contests, the winning team did not score over 30 points. Wow, things have changed quickly! 
 
A month ago in balmy Los Angeles, the Rams scored 54 points. Less than a month later, in freezing Chicago, the Rams managed just six. Yes, those stingy Bears brought a much meaner defense than the Chiefs had, but the weather also played a major role.
 
Only three teams are in the playoffs. In the many showdowns ahead – especially those played outdoors – teams will need to play a grittier and more patient style of football in order to survive the coming war of attrition.
 
As for the Rams, their addiction to passing may have been as big a problem as the weather. I have real trouble understanding why Todd Gurley only got the ball 11 times, especially in a game where weather affected the pass. Perhaps all those games with three and four passing TDs went to their heads?
 
Like the Rams, the Saints have locked up their division title, and are now positioning for home field advantage. The Chiefs have earned at least a wild card. Meanwhile, the Patriots, Bears, Texans and Cowboys are still in the driver’s seat.
 
In my view, the biggest game of Week 15 occurs on Thursday night: the Chargers challenging the Chiefs for top spot in the AFC West – the new toughest division in the NFL. On Sunday, the Vikings try to hang onto their wild card hopes against the surging Dolphins. And that Cowboys-Colts matchup also has strong playoff implications.
 
What about the defending champs? Desperately trying to stay in the playoff picture, the Eagles throw up a hail mary Sunday night against the Rams. The Monday night Saints-Panthers showdown (part 1) will certainly be another crowd-pleaser.
 
Last week, my picks went 9-7. Here are all the Week 15 matches and my picks:
 
1.   Chargers at Chiefs                 Chargers
2.   Browns at Broncos                Broncos
3.   Texans at Jets                          Texans
4.   Cardinals at Falcons              Falcons
5.   Raiders at Bengals                 Bengals
6.   Dolphins at Vikings               Vikings
7.   Cowboys at Colts                   Colts
8.   Buccaneers at Ravens           Ravens
9.   Lions at Bills                            Bills
10. Packers at Bears                    Bears
11. Redskins at Jaguars              Jaguars
12. Titans at Giants                     Titans
13. Seahawks at 49ers                Seahawks
14. Patriots at Steelers               Steelers
15. Eagles at Rams                      Rams
16. Saints at Panthers                Panthers
 
Who’s coming to town: Santa or the Grinch? Stay tuned.

Mill Woods

Posted on December 11, 2018 13:28

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