Necessary Roughness, Week 10: The Panthers Win Ugly (and That’s Okay)
Another week, another stressful-ass Panthers victory wherein they tried their best to give away the game in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. I sure wish they’d stop doing that. But hey, a win is a win, and my guys are 8-0. I don’t think anyone, including myself, expected this kind of start to Carolina’s season, and they are certainly the least favored of the undefeated teams. But that’s just how this team likes it. They win ugly, and I guess I’m okay with that. Sort of.
Week 10 doesn’t offer a ton of compelling matchups, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t amped up for tonight’s Bills/Jets contest. Not only is it a divisional game between two pretty decent teams, but the spectacle that is Rex Ryan sits front and center. And that’s always a good thing in my mind. Say what you want about him, but this foot-loving bastard is nothing if not entertaining. He’s been looking forward to this game all season, and it’s obvious he had a plan in place when his Bills picked up IK Enemkpali from the Jets. In a cruel, tasteless, and totally unsurprising move, Coach Ryan named Enemkpali team captain for tonight’s game against his former employer. For those of you who need reminding, IK Enemkpali is the guy who rearranged Geno Smith’s facial structure during the preseason. The Jets soon released Enemkpali, and Rex Ryan and company quickly snatched him up. All that drama leads us to tonight, and from the coin flip(where Enemkpali will be present) to the final play, this game should be terrific. The key for the Jets will be to protect a banged up Ryan Fitzpatrick, and perhaps most importantly, they need to get Chris Ivory back on track. After a blistering start to the season, Ivory has cooled off considerably. He’s only averaging one and a half yards per carry over his last 3 games. For Buffalo, I expect LeSean McCoy to have a big game in spite of his hurt shoulder, and if Tyrod Taylor can continue with his impressive passing efficiency, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bills grab an upset win on the road. As a bonus, the matchup of Sammy Watkins and Darrelle Revis should be a storyline of its own. I’m really looking forward to this game, although I feel like it’s only setting the stage for a slate of games Sunday that is filled with predominantly total snoozers.
One exception to my claim is the Patriots/Giants. This is almost ALWAYS a great game. New England is probably going to win, because they cheat, but the Giants are going to put up a fight in front of a raucous New York crowd. The key for New York will be trying to somehow get a pass rush on Tom Brady. These guys have the fewest sacks in the league, and the return of Jason Pierre-Paul was a non-factor last week against the Bucs as they totaled exactly zero sacks… which is coincidentally the same number of index fingers Paul has on his right hand. Don’t play with fireworks, kids.