What do we have to do to get a well played Thursday Night Football game? This week looked to be the week as we had the Dallas Cowboys coming in on a 10-game winning streak against the Minnesota Vikings who have been struggling, but where still a playoff contender. Even with these two teams we got a terrible 17-15 game that the Cowboys won. Now all I’ve had to listen to is the fact that the referees missed a call on the Vikings 2-point attempt and that cost them the game. Okay Sam Bradford did get hit in the face and there should’ve been a penalty called, but are you really confident that an offense like Minnesota’s would’ve been able to convert another 2-point conversion attempt. Then of course instead of focusing on the football game itself the media turns right to the missed call and played it over and over on highlights; so we know what happened. Now they did miss the call, but we’re talking about very large men moving very fast and calls are going to be missed. Do you think that the referees called every holding or pass interference penalty in the game. Remember it’s been said by many former players and referees as well that they could throw a penalty flag on every play. Do you want to watch that football game? I know I don’t. Now it wasn’t a blatant hit to Bradford’s head as the defensive lineman was trying to block the pass and his momentum carried him into Bradford with his hands up and they got into his face. Again it is still a penalty and it should’ve been called, but it was missed.
Let’s focus on the game itself. This was the first time that Dak Prescott didn’t look that great under center. Prescott only attempted 18 passes in the game and he did complete 12 of them, but for just 139 yards. He did throw a touchdown pass and had some success running the football. Prescott carried the football 6 times for 37 yards, but he had 2 fumbles losing one of them. Minnesota does have a very opportune defense; so the fact that Prescott had just the one turnovers is a plus, but he didn’t look like the quarterback people where in love with. Now I don’t know if you can say Bradford was much better. He did throw 45 passes and completed 32 of them with a touchdown pass, but in true fashion none of the passes where really downfield. Bradford average just under 5 1/2 yards a pass attempt. The Vikings have been having offensive line issues and Bradford is releasing the football very quickly to avoid being sacked, but it’s not producing much yardage. Bradford was sacked 3 times in the game, but with no threat of a downfield passing attack defenses can key on the other things the Vikings offense does well. I don’t know how to fix this, but Minnesota needs to find a way to give Bradford some more time to at least look downfield; so the defense has to respect it.
I need your assistance with this one. I heard someone say that Ezekiel Elliott didn’t have a good game. Elliott carried the football 20 times for 86 yards; so he averaged 4.3 yards per carry and he scored a touchdown. Elliott also caught 4 passes for 19 yards. Was it the fact that Elliott had a 30 yard run in the game and if you take that away from his stats he averages just 2.9 yards a carry? Don’t forget that the Vikings have the 3rd ranked defense overall in the NFL and are #18 against the run. Of course you have to add in that teams are already keying on Elliott and with Prescott having a down game the Vikings where able to look for Elliott even more. Overall Elliott’s game was fine and there are times even the best running backs have to bang the football against a defense to set up a big run. It wasn’t Elliott’s best game, but I think you take the numbers he put up and move on.
Dallas is now 11-1 and on an 11-game winning streak. There’s no doubt they’ll be in the playoffs and should get the #1 seed in the NFC. The Cowboys can clinch a playoff spot if week if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Washington Redskins lose. It doesn’t matter if it’s this week or not the Cowboys are going to the playoffs. Minnesota who you always have to mention started off the season 5-0 is now .500 at 6-6 and in 2nd place in the NFC North division. With 4 games left the Vikings are fighting for a playoff spot. They’ll face the Jacksonville Jaquars on the road next week. They’ll return home to take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 15. Then they end the season against two divisional rival; Week 16 they’re on the road against the Green Bay Packers and then they end the season hosting the Chicago Bears in Week 17. The Vikings should be favorite in three of those four games, but will 9-7 get them into the playoffs. Maybe the rumored return of Adrian Peterson helps the Vikings struggling offense down the stretch.
With Wilson Ramos injured and out on the free agent market the Washington Nationals addressed their catching situation by acquiring Derek Norris from the San Diego Padres for minor league pitcher Pedro Avila. Norris will be entering his 6th major league season. He spent the first 3 with the Oakland A’s before being dealt to the Padres where he’s played the last two seasons. Norris was an All-Star in 2014 with the A’s, but struggled with San Diego. Norris hit 14 home runs last season, but his batting average was just .186. Washington does have veteran catcher Jose Lobaton and 23-year old Pedro Severino on the roster. That duo replaced Ramos after he was injured. Lobaton is known for his defense and pitch handling, but is a career .226 hitter over 7 seasons. Severino is the Nationals catcher of the future and with this deal it looks like he’ll catch full time in Triple-A. Severino did hit .321 in 18 games for the Nationals last season. In Washington’s one post season series Severino went 1 for 10 while Lobaton was 2 for 9 in the post season. Now there are conflicting reports on when Ramos will return. When he was first injured it appeared as it would be the 2017 All-Star break before he returned, but now there are some saying that Ramos will be ready a month into this coming season. There is also some talk that Ramos won’t be able to catch full time because of this knee injury. It looks as though the Norris deal means Ramos will be looking for a new team next season.
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