That’s right, Bryan and I are back again with our What We Learned article series, where we look back at what went down in the NFL and clue you in on some things we learned. And yes, we are competing with our other article series, Who’s Winning, to see which one is the most popular NFL article series on the site.

Jaguars Man Up In Loss

Pigskin Pig – When Las Vegas set the line at 28 for the Broncos / Jaguars game, a lot of people were offended, and it wasn’t just the Jacksonville Jaguars. I could’ve told you that the Broncos weren’t going to cover the spread, and I’m not sure that Peyton Manning wanted to beat them by 28. It was offensive, and the Jaguars did what they could to ensure they weren’t beaten that badly. They were professionals out there, and if Cecil Shorts hadn’t gotten injured, the score might’ve been a lot closer.

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – I’m not going to question the oddsmakers because, well, they know money WAS on the line. But I too doubted the Broncos would get there. When you have to score a touchdown a quarter AND pitch a shutout just to cover the spread, that’s tough. Factor in Jacksonville was probably always good for at least 10, and it’s hard to expect to put up 38 points, especially when the other team isn’t going to stay competitive.

Pigskin Pig – I’d say what we learned this week about the Jaguars is that with Justin Blackmon, they’ve got the potential to score points. The problems they had early in the season getting on the scoreboard is probably not going to plague them much going forward… especially since Cecil Shorts looks to be coming back this week.


Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – You certainly have more faith in the Jaguars than I do. My only point was that, if I’m Denver, it’s hard to get up and give it my 100% against an 0-5 team that Vegas says would need to be spotted four touchdowns to make it a fair fight.

Pigskin Pig – Yeah, I wouldn’t BET that Peyton Manning was looking at this as a statement game.

Head Giant Heading Out?

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – After another poor showing, this time on Thursday night, the Giants are now 0-6. It’s gotten so bad that strip clubs have announced they’re going to stop televising games. I’m not even making that up, it’s just the truth. And with everything as bleak as it is, Pigskin Pig, is Tom Coughlin’s job in jeopardy?

Pigskin Pig – I thought he was going to be gone a few years back when they had a rough start, and that crew turned it around and made things happen in a big way. This time, it feels different. I don’t know whether it’s the “veteran leadership” involved, but things aren’t looking good, and I’d say the odds are against Coughlin keeping his job when the season’s over. My big question is whether or not they’d consider making a change at the helm before the season’s over.

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – I’m on the fence about this one. On one hand, there’s a precedent, even within the division just last year, that when you struggle mightily in a year of high expectations, you get the boot. But Coughlin also seems to NEVER be on the hot seat. Maybe it’s the Super Bowls, maybe it’s the front office putting more blame on the players. Hell, maybe Coughlin has damning photos of the Mara family. I don’t know. All I know is, no matter how bad things get in New York, we never seem to be talking about Tom Coughlin being in trouble.

Pigskin Pig – Before the season started, most people would’ve thought that if anyone in New York was on the hot seat, it was Rex Ryan. You might be on the fence about Coughlin staying beyond this campaign, but you’d have to think that Rex Ryan is in a better spot right now to remain with his team.

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – That’s my point, though. In a way, at least. There are those volatile franchises out there like the Jets and the Eagles that always seem to put the coach in trouble. I just don’t get that from the Giants. They seem to be an organization that has to be convinced its hit rock bottom before they change horses.


Patriots Back On Track?

Pigskin Pig – Just as we discussed last week when we posed the question about the Patriots Bandwagon deserving to be a bit lighter… New England is back on track. Who was it I mentioned might need to gel with Tom Brady? Kenbrell Thompkins? Oh, right, the guy who caught the game-winning catch. Are they back to being the top threat in the AFC?

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – The funny thing in all this talk about the Patriots’ dramatic win is that Brady had a SECOND straight pedestrian day and, if it hadn’t been for that Thompkins touchdown, he would have gone a SECOND straight week without a passing touchdown. I’m glad the media has eased off the pass attack storyline, but, ironically, this wasn’t the game for them to do it.

Pigskin Pig – Think it’s about time Bill Belichick is going to switch over and rely a bit more on the rushing attack?

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – He’s wanted to since Week 1, the problem is he doesn’t seem to trust any of his running backs. I guess if he had the ‘Tom Brady’ of running backs, that might change a little.

Pigskin Pig – Maybe after the line Ridley put up against the Saints, he’ll be more willing to go there a bit more. The others put up decent averages the first few weeks of the season, I’m just thinking that if he doesn’t let one of them get more of the bulk of the workload, it’ll be hard to find a 100 yard rusher in the bunch.

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – The thing is, though, Belichick isn’t a feature back guy. He doesn’t want to give one guy 20 touches and see if he can hit the century mark. He likes finding these misfit backs. The Shane Vereen’s and Danny Woodhead’s of the world. I guarantee you that’s what he saw in Tebow that he decided was worth bringing him in.

Pigskin Pig – Well if he keeps this up, he’d better hope that whoever replaces Tom Brady a couple years from now is the second coming of Tom Brady.

The Texans Continue To Stumble

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – After getting thrashed by San Francisco, everyone, including us, expected Houston to bounce back against St. Louis. That didn’t happen and, in fact, for the second straight time in as many weeks, Houston has been routed. Pigskin Pig, what chances do you give these Texans of still making the playoffs?

Pigskin Pig – They’re under-performing, no doubt about that, and the fact that there are SEVEN teams ahead of them for Wild Card spots makes it seem like their odds are low… but I like their weapons more than some of the other teams. Miami with a suspect running game? The Jets with a rookie QB? THE CLEVELAND BROWNS?!

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – Let’s not focus on the Wild Card because between the divisional clashes of Baltimore and Cincinnati (for the AFC North) and Kansas City and Denver (AFC West), those wild card spots are likely already spoken for. What I’ll say is this: one, they’re only TWO games out of the division. More to the point, they have TWO games to play against Indianapolis. In a weird way, at 2-4 the Texans still kind of control their own destiny. Add in the fact that they have BOTH their Jacksonville games ahead of them as well as their Oakland game and Indy has already played Oakland and Jacksonville once, and I actually don’t think Houston is in dire straits YET. That being said, they still need to turn things around.

Pigskin Pig – Seems like you’ve got more faith in Baltimore than I do, and less faith in the Colts. I think they can compete, and the question in my mind is whether Matt Schaub can turn it around.

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – Well, more importantly, if Schaub will even be HEALTHY. Question Matt Schaub all you want, he’s a hell of a better option than Case Keenum if that leg keeps him out.


Packers Doomed With Injury Woes

Pigskin Pig – Over in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers are the squad that I’m a bit worried are going to fall by the wayside and miss out on the playoffs despite being really talented… though there it’s all about the injuries. They lost two key wide receivers this week. Do you see them making the playoffs?

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – Absolutely. There are still plenty of weapons on BOTH sides of the ball for Green Bay to get the job done. They have two losses just the same as the Bears and Lions. Calvin Johnson’s health has been wavering and we’ve seen just what kind of team Detroit is when he can’t play. As for Chicago? Ha, get out of here with Chicago. Call me when they beat someone meaningful besides Cincinnati.

Pigskin Pig – The word on Randall Cobb and James Jones has them both out at least six weeks. Over that span the Packers will face the Browns, Vikings, Bears, Eagles, Giants and Vikings again. If it goes seven weeks, that’s the second Lions game, and an 8th week would be the Falcons. They’ve already won three games, how many wins do you think they’ll add during those 8 weeks?

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – Well that’s what I’m saying. They are better than every team they play the next six weeks. Factor in a couple margins of error and they still go 4-2. There’s no reason with or without Jones and Cobb the Packers can’t go 5-3 the next eight weeks and be 8-5 with three games to play.

Pigskin Pig – I tend to agree. I think what we’re going to be seeing is a heavy dose of Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finlay and some of their weapons in the running game. You see any other wide receivers on their squad that fantasy football owners might want to keep in mind?

Bryan Lienesch (@BCLienesch) – Don’t sleep on Jarrett Boykin. I liked what I saw out of him at Virginia Tech and this Green Bay regime has been ridiculously good at finding undervalued commodities at the position. Just ask Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

Pigskin Pig – Well if Boykin is going to make a splash, he’ll have to do better than 1 catch on 6 targets like he had against the Ravens… though 43 yards on that catch? It shows SOME promise.