Fancy Bags Football Mailbag: Week 14

Week 13 of the NFL season has come and gone. As always, Matt Drufke- who watches none of the games- has so many questions. Fortunately, Brendan Andreasen does. And he’s got all the answers Matt needs. Let’s get to it.

Let us talk about how the mighty have fallen. Last week, you wisely deleted a question where I talked about how amazing the Steelers’ season  was going. They were the last unbeaten team and looking pretty amazing and then, holy hell, the floor fell out. Losses to Washington and Buffalo not only showed that Pittsburgh was mortal, but in just six days, they’ve lost the easy path to have the number one seed in the AFC. So, here we go: What did Washington and Buffalo do to win, and why couldn’t the other teams the Steelers play do that? Can the Steel curtain return to the Super Bowl, and what does that path look like?

So the easy answer is that the Steelers finally had to play real teams. The Bills are probably the second best team in the AFC and possibly third best in the NFL. Washington has one of the best young defensive lines I’ve ever seen.

More importantly though, is that the Steelers are starting to get injured. Devin Bush and Bud Dupree were one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL. Both are injured. James Conner has been in and out of the lineup all year with various ailments.

Most importantly is that Ben Roethlisberger might be toast as an NFL QB. He can’t make accurate downfield throws. He is becoming increasingly dependent on his wide receivers going out and making tough plays. If Big Ben can’t hit a receiver 15 yards down field in stride, then this offense is in serious trouble.

A lot of people didn’t believe the Steelers were a Super Bowl contender when they were undefeated. This skid is creating doubt whether they will get out of round one of the playoffs.

Meanwhile, in the NFC, there’s kind of a rush to get the number one seed. But the Packers, Saints, Rams and Seahawks have all showed that they’re flawed and beatable teams, and I don’t think Kansas City (the presumptive AFC champion) really has anything to be scared of with any of these teams? Am I right? Do any of these teams match up well against the Chiefs? And, if so, which?

The Saints have a great defense but a quarterback that should have retired two years ago. Now they are being led by “we have Time Tebow at home” Taysom Hill. 

The Packers have a good defense, a great QB still performing at a high level, and one of the best receivers in football. 

The Rams can ruin anyone’s day on defense, but have a maddeningly inconsistent quarterback and a running back by committee that doesn’t work.

The Seahawks might suck. Every game is like watching someone jump out of an airplane with no parachute.

The Chiefs do have competition this year, in the form of the Buffalo Bills. They can flat out score points. Trading for Stefon Diggs is one of the best trades in years. The defense is fast and attacking.

I believe that, barring injury, the Packers win the NFC. But I’m not ready to concede the AFC, yet.

The Browns are 9-4 after Monday night’s nail-biter to the Ravens. Furthermore, they have games against the Giants and Jets, so having a ten win season seems likely. The last time the Browns had a season where they won over ten games, the nation was falling in love with Forrest Gump, and the smarter part of the nation was captivated by Pulp Fiction. Heck, Zootopia, the Disney film with the hit Shakira song “Try Everything” would come out 13 years after the last time they won ten games. What has happened that has allowed Cleveland to have their best season in over 25 years? Why did the Academy snub Pulp Fiction for Best Picture? And do you agree that the new name for Cleveland’s baseball team should be the Mevelands?

Call them the Cleveland Cuyahogas or set the team on fire in the river that bares the same name.

The Browns got good because they sucked for so long, they were consistently drafting high. Myles Garrett, Baker Mayfield, and Nick Chubb don’t fall to good teams. You have to suck for an extended period of time to get them.

They also took chances on guys like Jarvis Landry and Kareem Hunt. What they ended up with is an endlessly fascinating team that can win against any team on the right day.

Let’s have some fun with this one: Who is the best team with a losing record? And who is the worst team with a winning record? And what is your favorite Christmas song?

The Patriots are the best team with a losing record and the entire AFC is praying they don’t sneak into the 7th seed of the playoffs. Nobody wants any of that Belichek smoke in January.

The Steelers being the worst good team is intriguing, but the answer is the Raiders, who are a dumpy mess right now. They are quickly burning their goodwill from beating the Chiefs. They got absolutely ruined by the Falcons. They should have lost to the Jets. They got slapped around by an aging Colts offense. There should be some concern that they don’t piss away either the Chargers or Broncos game because in between, they have to play the Dolphins. One misstep and the Patriots are on them.

Fun fact: the Raiders have gotten defensive coordinators fired in back to back weeks. Last week, the Jets fired their coordinator after blowing that game, and the Raiders fired theirs after losing to the Colts. If I’m Gus Bradley of the Chargers, I’m packing my office, just in case.

As for my favorite Christmas song, I’ve got to go with “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses.

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