V for Vendetta – NFL Week 11
The revenge factor in pro sports is commonly overlooked – athletes love nothing more than sticking it to their old teams. Revenge cannot be measured by statistical analysis, but one thing experienced DFS players know – revenge is real! Football and basketball provide the perfect setting for one player to make the ultimate difference in any given game.
Each week this article will explore certain players, coaches, and teams with something extra to play for. I am not necessarily advising everyone to play these guys, but the extra motivation will be there, so these plays are something to consider.
Dan Quinn (ATL HC) at Seattle
Quinn will always be remembered as the coach who surrendered the biggest lead in Super Bowl history – the man who’s team pulled the ultimate choke – the worst choke in sports history. Make no mistake, Quinn is a helluva football coach, and his legacy should always go beyond “28-3”.
Quinn was the hands down favorite to take over the Atlanta franchise after the 2014 season in which he earned a Super Bowl ring as defensive coordinator of the Seahawks. In only two seasons as DC, Quinn invented the Legion of Boom – taking the Seahawks to back-to-back seasons as the #1 defense in the NFL. He didn’t simply transform a franchise and create the top defense in the league, his unit was feared across the NFL. Grown men were scared to come over the middle, and QBs tap danced in the pocket out of sheer fear of getting blown up.
The Legion of Boom hasn’t been the same since Quinn departed, and they’ve been torn apart this season. Who would ever have guessed this late in the year Seattle would be ranked 13th in total D and Atlanta 7th? On top of rankings, the standings show this game is massive in determining the NFC playoff picture – Seattle at 6-3 must keep pace with the Rams (don’t act like you predicted this one), and Atlanta at 5-4 still trails New Orleans and Carolina in its own division.
I will be shocked if Quinn doesn’t receive a standing ovation from the 12th Man. He deserves as much. The Falcons should be fired up to win this game for him and knowing their season is on the line. The problem is Quinn’s offense remains entirely too vanilla and will be without stud RB Devonta Freeman. On the other side, the Legion of Boom will desperately miss Richard Sherman, and his season-ending injury should greatly benefit the Atlanta passing attack. Say what you will, but the Falcons are not the same team as last year, and they never will recover from the Super Bowl chokejob. I see Seattle dominating this game, but I hope I’m wrong.
New England at Oakland
January 19, 2002 – The Tuck Rule Game – this game changed the course of modern day NFL football. We all remember exactly where we were watching when Charles Woodson hit Tom Brady with 1:50 left in the game, forced a fumble, and Raiders’ LB Greg Biekert jumped on the ball, thus sealing a 13-10 Oakland win at Foxboro in the Divisional Playoff matchup.
Except the game wasn’t over. Although Brady had pumped the ball and clearly brought it down to his waste before Woodson crushed him, the officiating crew determined this instance qualified as the “Tuck Rule”, a rule no football fans had seen or heard about previously. Instead of game over, the Pats moved into field goal range, and Adam Vinatieri drilled a 45 yarder in 19 feet of snow to send the game into OT. He then won the game a few minutes later.
You know the rest of this story – Pats upset the Rams in the Super Bowl and have won four more since. The Raiders lost the Super Bowl the following season (to then-coach Jon Gruden and his Bucs) then proceeded to fall off the cliff into NFL oblivion. Stop and think – How would the last 15 NFL seasons be different if this call wasn’t horribly blown by incompetent officials? Would Brady even have remained the starter the next season?
Brady and the Pats are rolling everyone now, and the Raiders desperately need a win. I believe they’ll come to play, looking for the ultimate revenge for the Tuck Rule Game. Oakland should be able to match points for awhile in this one, but how can this atrocious Raider D slow down TB12?
Philadelphia at Dallas
How do you respond at home, on national television, without your two best players, in a game you must win, against your biggest rival? So many questions will be answered about the Cowboys Sunday night in Arlington. At 5-4 without the suspended Zeke Elliott and injured Sean Lee (and possibly LT Tyron Smith again), Dallas already trails Philly by three games, and must win this game to have a shot at the playoffs.
The Eagles are the best team in football, and they continue to beat everyone down. Dallas will be fired up, but without Sean Lee on the field they allow 35 points per game. Wouldn’t you know? Philly is 4th in the NFL in total offense, and QB Carson Wentz is cruising into league MVP honors.
We saw Dallas struggle to consistently move the chains in Atlanta Sunday, scoring a season low seven points. Zeke remains suspended and Tyron Smith is questionable. Serious question – which is the bigger loss?
Without Smith, Dem Boys have zero shot in this contest – Philly’s defense knows how to cause havoc on QBs, and Chaz Green will be exposed again. Either way, Mr. Wentz will be a popular DFS option this week against a lousy Dallas D. Remember the number – 35 PPG without Sean Lee.