2018 NFL Week 11
Monday night should be an exciting evening in Los Angeles.
The Rams haven’t hosted a game at the Coliseum on a Monday since 1979 and they got here via some freaky circumstances. As we know, the upcoming showdown between the 9-1 Rams and 9-1 Chiefs was supposed to go down in Mexico City. Fans had bought tickets, booked trips and were counting down the days until they could head south of the border.
Then the improbable happened, and all because of the woman who sang “She Wolf.”
Shakira might be a terrific dancer, a marginal singer and a quality human being, but she’s a terror on stadium fields. The Colombian star hosted a concert at Estadio Azteca on Oct. 11. And all you have to do is Google the images of what the field turf looked like this week. That would be a whole month later.
What in god’s name happened? That field looked like someone hosted a tractor pull after allowing 400 dogs to pee on it for a month. I’ve never seen grass get like that without a hurricane. Did she shake her hips that hard?
Anyway, the NFL made the right call and moved the game to Los Angeles, to the delight of players on both teams who don’t want to tear their ACL in both knees. And now, Los Angeles gets the best matchup of the season dropped in its laps on short notice.
Southern California is struggling at the moment. There was just a mass shooting and at the same time, the worst wildfires in the state’s history broke out. While I’m in no danger, everyone here knows someone who’s had to evacuate their home and lives have been lost. The constant smoke in the air has driven the air quality down to alarming levels. There were moments when you could step outside 40 miles away from the blaze and be punched in the face by the smell.
So, while the field conditions at the Coliseum will be light years better than they would at Estadio Azteca, the game has basically traded Mexico City’s high elevation (2,000 feet higher than Denver) for the questionable air conditions in Los Angeles.
You should expect to see a full house Monday night on TV, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see blocks of empty seats either. The Rams have pledged to give away tickets to first responders, so let’s hope they get to see a good game.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
NFL’S TOP 10
1) Saints – It used to be fashionable to drone on about how the Saints can’t win away from the Superdome. And it was true once upon a time, but those halcyon days are over. They just hung a 50-burger on the Bengals in Ohio and have made me a true believer. I couldn’t be prouder to have picked this team to reach the Super Bowl.
2) Chiefs – Dude, they only scored 26 points against the Cardinals … says that one idiot in your friend group. The Chiefs caught a break when the game got moved to Los Angeles, but may have lost the advantage of having a neutral crowd in Mexico City for what is technically listed as a road game. Then again, it’s Los Angeles, so there should be more than a few Kansas City peeps at the Coliseum.
3) Rams – They shouldn’t be penalized for playing a close game against a heated division rival. The Rams are spending the week in Colorado as they were supposed to be playing a game in Mexico City and wanted to get adjusted to the altitude. The team stayed once the game was moved since the wildfires have affected the area where their headquarters are located. And the players’ and coaches’ families were flown out to join them. Classy move by the organization.
4) Chargers – Here’s a stat I found: The Chargers are averaging 7.6 yards per play on first down. It’s that kind of consistency, along with Philip Rivers enjoying one of the better seasons of his career, that have pushed the Bolts near the top of the league. And it seems nobody is paying attention.
5) Steelers – My first reaction when I saw some Steelers players plundering Le’Veon Bell’s locker was to laugh. Because I’m a terrible person. They made a mistake. You’re supposed to wait until the cameras are off before you raid a former co-worker’s office. Everyone knows that. It’s just good business practice. Besides that, the offense is fresh off a 50-point game and has finally rid itself of the specter of their now former running back. Must be a relief.
6) Patriots – This feels so stupid. Yes, they struggled and yes, they’ve been dropped in the ranking because they fell to 7-3 after an embarrassing loss to the Titans. We all know what’s going on here. In a few weeks, I’ll be writing about how the Patriots finished 13-3 and clinched at least a first-round bye.
7) Bears – Head coaching has never meant more in the NFL and Matt Nagy has done some wonderful things and deserves credit. It still feels as though people are sneering at Mitch Trubisky. At some point, people will need to throw some credit his way. You can draw up the most beautiful plays, the most wonderful plays, the best plays written by the best people … sorry, started doing a Trump impression and got carried away. My point is this: The coach can’t throw the passes. Mitch needs props. The end.
8) Vikings – They’ve won four of their last five, but they still have a tie. Ties are for tools. It keeps Uncle Sid from giving them more respect.
9) Texans – The team that people love, but only watch them during their short clips on Red Zone. I’m a Sunday Ticket snob, so I’m able to watch the Texans for longer stretches. It’s fun. I feel superior.
10) Redskins – Why not put them here? Nobody knows how they’ve done so, but they’re 6-3 and leading the NFC East. It’s either put the Redskins here or the Panthers, but they don’t deserve it after that disgrace of a game vs. the Steelers. That was awful.
WHAT’S THE CHATTER?
A matter of taste: This is why the media sucks. Everyone is all in a huff because Patrick Mahomes loves ketchup and puts it on things like steak and macaroni and cheese. I say, so the hell what? Dammit, Patrick is a grown man, this is a free country and if he wants to put ketchup on his mac and cheese, I say god bless him. He can put ketchup on his ice cream for all I care. I’m sick of people being judged for their tastes. I enjoy candy corn and I’ve been razzed for it my entire life. Enough, you judgy wudgy jerks’ reign of terror is over.
Dude, come on: The Lions play in a dome. Their next three home games are in a dome. So, head coach Matt Patricia, a piece of crust that fell off the Belichick bitter tree, made the logical decision to hold practice outside in the snow. And he wore shorts in the 33-degree in a Bud Grant-like tribute to toughness. Just stop it. Had he played in the NFL, he might be able to get away with this nonsense. You can’t pull that off when you probably have three-week-old cheesesteak meat in your beard.
Mexico still on their minds: The NFL won’t give up on holding games south of the border in the wake of this year’s fiasco. That’s good, they shouldn’t as there are a ton of football fans there. Just make sure that Colombian menace doesn’t perform there for at least 8 months beforehand.
True belief: Odell Beckham Jr. said his goal was to go from 1-7 to 9-7. He added that the prospect of running the table is “only crazy until you do it.” They did win on Monday night to move to 2-7. What if they actually did it? Stranger things have happened.
Really? Jalen Ramsey says he wants to spend his entire career with the Jaguars. That’s cool, but … why?
WHAT TO WATCH IN WEEK 11
Cowboys at Falcons: I feel like I’m playing “Street Fighter” when I watch the Cowboys these days. They’re bothering me for a reason I can’t put my finger on and every week I implore their opponents to FINISH THEM! But they’re still hanging around because their division stinks. The Falcons can do me a huge favor on Sunday, but I’m sure it won’t be enough. Won’t be surprised if everyone else in the NFC East loses as well.
Panthers at Lions: Cam Newton needs to make me believe again. This game should be easy enough.
Titans at Colts: Both teams are rolling and unfortunately, one of these teams will take a tough loss. Unless they tie. God, I hate ties.
Texans at Redskins: Hey! A battle of 6-3 teams and I fully expect Deshaun Watson’s boys to take care of business. The NFL rarely listens to me though so I can also smell another inexplicable Redskins win in the air. Another one of those games where it ends and you shout, “they won?!?”
Eagles at Saints: On paper, this one should get ugly pretty fast. Let’s see if the Eagles can pull it together and actually look like the defending champions.
Vikings at Bears: What a great Sunday night matchup. The Bears’ uniforms always look awesome under the lights.
Chiefs at Rams: Grab your popcorn. Maybe the punters shouldn’t bother to suit up. The over/under on the number of punts should be set at 0.
Currently a Mobile Editor at Yahoo, Saraf spent 5.5 years (Oct. 2010 - Feb. 2016) working for FOX Sports as an NFL Editor and Writer. Prior to that, Saraf worked for CBS Interactive for 4.5 years (May 2006 - Oct. 2010) as a Staff Editor.