Welcome to Week 12 Blitzers. Talk about two different games of the week from your Barkeep. Definitely two different reasons to drink; however, your barkeep got himself back on the winning track by picking the Bucs to come out victorious. No there were no cab rides or crab legs. Nor were there any Fitztragic sightings. But there were plenty of Blackbeard Cocktails on this week’s podcast. While it wasn’t an overall favorite from all of the guys (you can’t win over the crowd every single time), it did its job and delivered the desired effect. Gentlemen, your “Camille Mack” custom jerseys are en route as we speak, courtesy of the Blitzed Barkeep. It’s the least I can do for keeping me entertained each week. For the rest of you, if you’re wondering who Camille Mack is and how the guys got that drunk, you can catch it here:
This week’s podcast was highly entertaining and outlined three teams that are on the outside looking into the playoff picture. Stats Guy gave us an interesting statistic that as of Week 12 in the NFL, NO team is technically eliminated from playoff contention. Being Week 13, lets take a look at three teams that were supposed to be in the playoff picture, apparently went to happy hour a little too early, but are on the outside looking in and one that has surprisingly positioned itself rather nicely to make a playoff push down the stretch.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8)
Where do you possibly begin with this team? For starters, take a look at their 2017 defensive stats: 268 total pts (2nd), 286.1 yds/game (2nd), 55 sacks (2nd) 21 INTs (2nd), 17 fumble recoveries (tied 3rd), 2 TDS. To sum it up, they were dominant. In 2018, they are far from it. They are giving up 320 yds/game. Through 11 games, they’ve already given up 243 points, only have 22 sacks, 8 INTS and have only recovered 3 fumbles. The story this season is that the defense is not generating offensive opportunities for a shorter field, which is important for a team that does not field what we’ll call an efficient offense. That’s the difference between 2017 and 2018 Jacksonville. The Jaguars are the cocky drunk asshole at the bar that doesn’t know when to shut up. Eventually they get their teeth knocked in by someone who has no business being in the same fight with them. Jacksonville is losing to teams they shouldn’t be losing to. They need to do less talking off the field and more playing on it.
Blitzed Final Stretch: IND, @Ten, WASH, @Mia, @Hou
Final Record Prediction: 5-11 (miss the playoffs)
Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
What’s wrong with the defending Super Bowl champs? Overall, their offense is not performing as efficiently as last year. Their passing is actually up statistically this year (2017: 233 yds/gm 2018: 253.6 yds/gm) but that’s not always a good thing. It usually means they are playing from behind more than they should be. The fact that their rushing (’17: 132.2 yds/gm; ’18: 100.8 yds/gm) and scoring (’17: 28.6 pts/gm; ’18 20.9 pts/gm) are way down while they are giving up more points per game (18.4 pts/gm last year compared to 23 pts/gm this year) back that statistic up. Teams are punching Philadelphia in the gut right away this year causing them to go away from their game plans that worked so well last year. Less offensive balance coupled with worse defensive efficiency usually leads to one heck of a super bowl hangover. If the Eagles don’t want to become the 14th team all-time to win the Super Bowl then miss the playoffs the following season, they need to drink some water, cure that hangover and get back to their winning recipe from 2017.
Blitzed Final Stretch: WASH, @Dal, @LAR, HOU, @Wash
Final Record Prediction: 8-8 (miss the playoffs)
Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
The Falcons have struggled to replace the offense that Kyle Shanahan had in place during their Super Bowl appearance two years ago when he left for San Francisco. Either that or that come-from-behind loss permanently damaged the likes of Matty Ice and company so much that they’ll never be the same. What other excuse do you have for not giving Julio Jones (yes THAT Julio Jones who is 6’3”, 220lbs with a 38.5” vertical jump and a 4.39 40 yard dash) any red zone looks or touchdowns through the first 8 games of the NFL season? Clearly the offensive play-calling has left a lot to be desired in the ATL over the last two years and needs to be improved if the Falcons are to make the most of the Ryan/ Freeman/ Jones/ Ridley combination before its too late. There is entirely too much talent on this team to be 4-7 and only two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance. Playing Drew Brees and the Saints twice a year lately hasn’t helped either… just saying.
Blitzed Final Stretch: BAL, @GB, AZ, @CAR, @TB
Final Record Prediction: 6-10 (miss the playoffs)
2018 Surprise Team
Chicago Bears (8-3)
Raise your hand, all you Blitzers outside of Chi-town, if you saw this coming this year. The two of you that raised your hand, you are cut off. Most NFL analysts, fans and experts had the Bears pegged for 2019 or 2020 as the year they blossom. But Trubisky has that offense dancing on a whole ‘nother level, thanks to the talent that was added this offseason. Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen form a deadly lightning and thunder combination and the wideouts are athletic, quick and most importantly catch everything thrown their way. On the other side of the ball, there’s that guy named Mack. He’s not a big deal or good or anything. He only forces a fumble and gets like 5 sacks a game. He single-handedly wrecks the opponent’s offensive line with a menacing glare. I don’t know about you, but I sure wish my team gave up those 1st round picks for him. Unless you’re from Green Bay, Minnesota or Detroit, these Bears are young, fun to watch and are going to be good for a while. I don’t plan on kicking them out of my bar any time soon.
Blitzed Final Stretch: @NYG, LAR, GB, @SF, @MINN
Final Record Prediction: 12-4, NFC North Champs, 3rd Seed Playoffs
This week’s Game of the Week has that playoff feel again after I punished you all with a boozy matchup last week. For that I apologize. Like a good game of beer pong or flip cup, sometimes its more fun to drink than it is to watch the game. I don’t think that will be the case this week. I present to you the San Diego Chargers (8-3) vs the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1). I’ve given up on calling them the Los Angeles Chargers because its just weird and I don’t want to do it anymore. They belong in San Diego. This game however is in Pittsburgh, so our drink of the week is the Bootleg Black and Gold Whiskey Cocktail.
Bootleg Black and Gold Whiskey Cocktail:
2 oz. Whiskey
1 oz. Kahlua
1 oz Grand Marnier
Dash Orange Bitters
Blitzed Build: In a shaker, combine Whiskey, Kahlua and Grand Marnier together with ice. Shake thoroughly.
Glaze the rim of a rocks glass with an orange rind. Strain the cocktail over rocks and pour a dash or two of orange bitters in. Garnish with an orange rind twist.
This is an important AFC battle between 8-3 and 7-3-1 teams. The Chargers are looking up at the Chiefs while the Steelers are on top of the AFC North yet again. Most importantly through all of this, both are trying to keep pace with the hated New England Patriots (also 8-3) and trying desperately to prevent them from gaining a bye or home field advantage in the playoffs. In this particular game, us Blitzers should be rooting for the division leader Steelers. The reason? New England visits the Steelers in Week 15 so keeping pace as the division leader is most important at this point.
So lets play this game out the Barkeep’s way after a few Black and Gold Whiskeys. Pittsburgh surprises its fans by having a Le’Veon Disappreciation Day for the first 5 fans that come through the stadium door. They each got one day contracts to play RB and rotate in behind James Connor to prove that a certain former running back was not missed, not even a little bit. Once Pittsburgh is comfortably up by 4 touchdowns, John Smith comes in and take the ball over the right tackle for 10 yards. Well done. Darren Powell, Greg Schmidt and Scotty Hamilton each run for gains of 8, 12 and 15 yards respectively. Kudos to you. Finally, Shawn ‘The Bug’ Freeman breaks free and busts a 40 yard touchdown run of his own as the final fan Disappreciation run of the day. The crowd goes wild waving their terrible towels. In a show of their German heritage, a pair of black and gold lederhosen gets thrown onto the field while an almost naked fan jumps over the railing behind the end zone. Only a terrible towel covers his terrible wienerschnitzel as he is tackled by security at the 50 yard line. Point made. Le’Veon Bell can be replaced and has been admirably by one James Connor.
I think we are tired of hearing about Le’Veon Bell. In case you don’t get my joke about Pittsburgh and their German heritage, there’s a wonderful invention called Google. You should try it sometime! As for the actual game prediction, I think this will be an entertaining, possibly back and forth affair and most certainly high scoring. I do think that with San Diego coming west, and with Big Ben playing at home that Pittsburgh will come out victorious. And because of the potential playoff implications with New England, the NFL thanks you.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 27 San Diego (Los Angeles) 24
Well Blitzers, that’s all from your Blitzed Barkeep for now. Remember to drink responsibly, take Brady’s name in vain and always give your keys to a friend if you’ve had too much. Tune in to the Blitzed NFL podcast this Tuesday to hear the guys review this week’s drink of the week and recap all of the action during Week 13.
The Blitzed Barkeep is a #TeamBlitzed All Pro from Bills Mafia. You can follow Blitzed Barkeep on Twitter here.