Black Quarterback: The What are you Fighting for Episode
By Brandon Simmons
Times have changed In the AFC West
It does not seem that long ago that the Kansas City Chiefs were the one of the premiere teams in the NFL and had a stranglehold on the AFC West. At 6-2, the Chiefs looked like a major threat to knocking off the New England Patriots for a Super Bowl title. However, a 3 game losing streak has put a shot into those hopes and brought them within reach to with their other division rivals. Before the losing streak, the Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers seemed to be withering away for the season; but now times have really changed.
The Chargers are leading the AFC west insurgence at 5-6 and some impressive wins as of late. Last week L.A. went on a short week 2 game winning streak with a 54-24 thrashing of the Buffalo Bills and ruined the Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving with a 28-6 win in AT&T stadium. It’s not like the Chargers have been playoff contenders for the entire season; but Kansas City ‘s recent collapse has softened the Chiefs’ spot as the division leader, mathematically and realistically. Meanwhile, the Raiders are still in the mix as well at 4-6 but their defensive struggles could hold them out of t
The next few weeks for Kansas City Is going to determine how good of a team they actually are. They finish their division schedule with home games against the Chargers and Raiders, but their season finale will be on the road against the Denver Broncos, who will be way out of the hunt by the time that point arrives. The Chiefs will most likely win this division but they have to get back to making plays on defense and certainly getting more production out of their offense.
Speaking of the AFC West, the only fight that the Denver Broncos have left is being spent on cornerback Aqib Talib snatching chains from Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Sunday, Crabtree apparently punched Broncos cornerback Chris Harris in the stomach, for reasons unknown, but a few plays later was confronted by Talib during a run play, in which Crabtree blocked his opponent into the sideline. However, during that tussle, Talib yanked his chain from him and a fight broke out between the two down the field. Somehow, Crabtree’s helmet came off but it did not stop both men from squaring before Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch came in to break it up and escort Aqib towards the locker room after him and Crabtree were ejected.
This was more than just a fight for respect between two rival players; this was a fight for respect between two teams whose season has been crushed by unmet expectations. Even though the Chiefs’ fall has given the other AFC West teams some life, it still looks like a lost cause for these two teams to get to the postseason after tremendous starts to the year. As cheesy as it sounds, the chain snatching represents any type of flash or praise the Raiders were given. They lost their quarterback for a few games and suffered a losing streak in his absence; their defensive coordinator was fired last week; and it appears that in response to that, two defensive stars, Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, protested by skipping practice.
Talib knew his team wasn’t going anywhere, so it’s only right he had to share that love with a hated, division rival. The Broncos losing their defensive leader for 2 games is not the same as the Raiders losing Crabtree for the same amount of time. I am on the side of “Why is Crabtree wearing a chain during a football game?”; there’s no real value added to doing that at all. Now I’m pretty sure he is not the only one that has done that, especially for this year, so Talib should’ve shown some form of restraint but it’s hard to show that when your season is washed and you’re trying to find some fire to warm up on those purpose-less late November/December games.
Doomed Day in Dallas
The Dallas Cowboys have been horrid since they lost running back Ezekiel Elliot to a 6 game suspension violating the league’s personal conduct policy. In the 3 games he has served so far, the Cowboys have not have put up over 100 yards rushing and have not managed to score more than 10 points in a game. That’s crazy to even fathom, considering they have wide receiver Dez Bryant and last year’s QB sensation in Dak Prescott; but neither of those gentlemen have performed to their expected level of play. Prescott has already surpassed his 2016 total of 4 interceptions with 9 picks and could break his rookie sack total of 25 as he sits at 24. Fourteen of those sacks came during this 3 game losing streak, including 8 at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. Right now he has a QB rating of 87.4 throwing for 210.7 yards per game; that is down from his 229.2 yards per game and 229.2 yards per game.
Yes, Elliot’s loss is a huge one for this offense, but why are they in such disarray even with a talented QB such as Dak? The answers could be found in another areas, starting alongside the “best offensive line in football”, which has been sort of lacking. During this 3 game stretch, they were without left tackle Tyron Smith for 2 games. Also, the defense has performed at it usual questionable ways during this stretch. The last 3 opponents have outscored Dallas 92-22.
In other words, it’s all doomed for the Cowboys right now. They got beat at home on Thanksgiving to A San Diego Chargers team that is rarely associated with defense; yet the Chargers put on a stellar defensive performance by holding the Cowboys to 6 points and picking Prescott off twice. Elliot should return to play on Christmas Eve at home against the Seattle Seahawks; but they have to get through the Washington Redskins, New York Giants and Oakland Raiders. They might beat the Giants but the Redskins or Raiders game could definitely put them out of the playoff mix before they get back Elliot, their lone hope for the season.
Bills player levitates – Buffalo Bills wide receiver wide receiver Zay Jones was not just floating on Cloud 9 because his team won; but he seemed to just float…out of nowhere:
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 27, 2017
Cleveland Browns – It’s just not going to get better any time soon for this franchise and that’s a damn shame.
There have been quite a few teams see their playoff chances die out this past weekend but a lot more that are actually still in it. The Cowboys host the Redskins Thursday night as both teams have their postseason hopes on life support. It’s already a good rivalry but both teams will be well-prepared coming off games from Thanksgiving. The Vikings take their defense to Atlanta for a playoff preview against the Falcons. The Carolina Panthers will go to New Orleans and battle the Saints to gather control of the NFC South. Both teams are 8-3 and could possibly face each other in the playoffs, whether it be a Wild Card or divisional round. Whoever wins this game, will have a leg up in the division race but will still have to hold it to the end of the year. But until then…I’ll holla.
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