Week 12 Monday Not So Morning Thoughts (A Day Late Again) – MVP Race, Officials, NFC/AFC Playoff Pictures

Another week in the books as more of the story unfolds for this NFL season. You know how it goes by now…

MVP Race

Right now, we have a two horse race for the MVP. Lamar Jackson or Russell Wilson. Now of course everyone is going to be debating between who deserves it more. That is a fun debate because they both have the numbers, wins and importance to their teams to deserve it.

On one hand, Wilson’s passing has been lights out this year. He holds the highest TD/INT ratio. He is near the top in completion percentage. He has some of the best numbers passing downfield. He also has the most game winning drives.

On the other side, Jackson has certainly proved he can be a proficient passer in the league. His running ability is something we haven’t witnessed in years. He is on pace to shatter Michael Vick’s QB rushing record in a season.

Honestly, we have seen the NFL decide on Co-MVPs before back in 2003 with Peyton Manning and Steve McNair. That race wasn’t as close in my opinion. Manning played all 16 games to McNair’s 14. He finished with 1,000 more yards and 5 more passing TDs. He completed 5% more of his passes. Both teams finished 12-4. The Colts beat out the Titans for the division.

This is a perfect concoction for Co-MVPs in 2019.

Wilson is lighting up not only a tougher conference by far, but he is lighting up the toughest division in football. While both make their teams infinitely better, Wilson elevates his receivers to be better. I think he is winning with a slightly less talented roster. He also lost one his best playmakers in tight end Will Dissly.

On the other side is Jackson. He has continued to just show up each week and absolutely stuff the stat sheet leading to massive offensive outputs with five games scoring 40 or more points. He is 9th in rushing this season. He also carries a high TD/INT ratio.

My vote is for them to get this right and go Co-MVP assuming both play lights out down the stretch. As of now, Co-MVP all day.

What Would It Take for a RB or WR to win MVP?

Michael Thomas is on pace for 150 catches (record) as well as 1,700+ yards, while maintaining an insanely high catch rate. It is a shame that he won’t be in the discussion thanks to the two QBs mentioned above. A buddy asked me, what would it take for a running back or receiver to win?

I think my other friend hit the nail on the head as far as receivers go, “for QBs to throw with their opposite hand.”

Being a receiver, you are dead in the water when it comes to the MVP unless the QB play falls off. As of now, I would have Thomas 3rd behind those two. It would take both of them completely falling off the cliff for him to even be in the conversation.

As for RB, I think a 12 win team where the RB goes for 1,200 rush / 1,000 receiving yards with 20 TDs would get them in the discussion and a strong case to win regardless. If the Panthers can start winning more in the next few years, I think Christian McCaffrey has that chance.

NFL Officials

They have been the talking point all year because they are easy targets. Every week, there is some call that fans and media blow up to ungodly levels. Sometimes it is warranted. Other times, not so much.

The overreaction is the NFL refs are awful. The Pass Interference review has added to that narrative.

Hindsight is 20/20, but the NFL set themselves up to fail. It is hard to overturn a call like pass interference which in many cases is a judgement call. Once you slow that down, you can get real ticky tack with it. Honestly, that is not what you want PI to be.

The refs are graded every single week and if they can’t keep their heads above water in grading, they are out as NFL officials. I wish the public had access to their grades as well as who is getting pushed out and who is coming in. It would be easier to back up my point here.

Just a few years ago, people forget how bad replacement officials were and it is not even close.

If people want to see bad officiating, check out the FCS in college football. I watched a Nicholls game this year where the back judge was being used to set picks on the defense. It affected the play on four occasions. One went for a touchdown for the opponent. The other led to a first down on a crucial play for Nicholls. Things like that don’t happen with NFL officials on a regular basis let alone multiple times in a game. That is my point. They aren’t as bad as people make them out to be.

Being an official is a tough job and they absolutely are held accountable. This week alone, there was a call for tripping late in the Dallas and New England game. The NFL came out and said it was a bad call. The angle that shows it was in fact a bad call is an angle the officials don’t get to see in real time when that call is made. That is something fans get lost in. They get the benefit of watching replays for every call on the field in slow motion and with multiple angles.

What is Wrong with the Rams?

Everything. Jared Goff is not the QB they paid for. Todd Gurley hasn’t been the same since the end of last season once we found out about the arthritis in his knees. They went all in to try and win last year and this year. They have failed. Miserably.

The NFC Strength is Unreal

This year, the NFC has five teams that have a real shot at the Super Bowl. Normally, you see one or two from each conference that you feel strongly about. This is such a freak year for the NFC. It has also been a roller coaster on all of them. The five teams are…

  • San Francisco 49ers (10-1)
  • New Orleans Saints (9-2)
  • Green Bay Packers (8-3)
  • Seattle Seahawks (9-2)
  • Minnesota Vikings (8-3)

At certain points this season, I was confident in all of them as the best in the NFC. Weeks 1-3, I thought Packers. 5-0 with Teddy, I thought Saints. If I had to rank them currently in my confidence level for them to go all the way, I would say in order Seahawks, 49ers, Saints, Vikings and then Packers.

I like the Seahawks because I believe they are the most consistent on both sides of the ball and I know what I am getting most weeks. Even if they finish with a wildcard, I trust them on the road because of Wilson.

The 49ers up front are tremendous on both sides of the ball. I want to see what happens when the pressure is on Jimmy G.

The Saints since Drew Brees has returned have been a model of inconsistency. I find they play panicked when they don’t have a lead and that is a problem. That being said, two minutes to go and the Saints have the ball, I am always confident Brees prevails. They need to be more consistent. One thing I find interesting is the time of possession in the 5 games of Teddy versus the rest with the Brees. Clock control is everything.

The Vikings have a defense, have an amazing run game and have the receivers. Do they have a QB to get it done against winning teams? Kirk Cousins is actually leading the league in passer rating as the Vikings fly under the radar still. I don’t trust him though. I want to because I like Kirk Cousins. He doesn’t have enough wins against winning teams to warrant trust.

Then there is the Packers, their defense has disappeared as the season trucks along. So has the offense at times. They still have Aaron Rodgers so it is hard to not trust them to some degree.

AFC Playoff Picture

Patriots. Until the Ravens actually beat them in the postseason, it is the Patriots.

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