Aaron It Out: ’04 Quarter-Blahs

The quarterback class of 2004 has some problems, man. Well, other than the fact J.P. Losman is out of the league, I mean. Welcome to Aaron It Out, Week 6.

Phil Rivers of the Chargers, Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers, and Eli Manning of the Giants have all fallen on tough times. I think it is an interesting coincidence but each team has had a confluence of events that caused them to be in the situations they are in.

Let’s start with the obvious: the Giants need help, man. They made a big free agency push year before last to shore up their defense and looked kind of good, but considering their entire offense centers on “please please please let Odell Beckham catch the ball” and he is done for the year, they are absolutely hosed.

The injury bug (along with the “not really doing anything at the running back position bug,” I guess) bit them big-time with losing three, maybe even four wide receivers for the rest of the season. It seems like Ben McAdoo is losing the locker room; he has been feuding with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie over the past several days and just suspended the dude (there is a full write-up on this with Tweets and everything here). Their defense hasn’t been playing well at all and people are already suggesting the Giants should just give up the year and play for draft position. In a division as competitive as the NFC East, any record below 9-7 gives you no hope for the playoffs, and the Giants already have 5 losses (and no wins, of course). Unless they mount a massive turnaround (they won’t), the season is pretty much over.

One writer (just one!) suggested that the Jaguars make a play for Eli Manning and give him a chance to win another championship, and every media personality in the league is talking about it. I sincerely doubt it will happen. Manning is heavily invested in the New York/New Jersey community and also has a small child. However, if there is someone that would give it a shot, it would be Eli, whose brother parlayed a late-career move into two Super Bowl appearances and one win. I personally think the asking price will be too high, though. The Jags like their draft picks and unless they want to make major headlines, they will likely keep their stockpile and make a run at Baker Mayfield or someone next year.

Let’s move on to Philip Rivers, who has been absolutely wasted with the Chargers. I liken him to Dan Marino, who had a solid and hall of fame career but never won the big game. That stinks for him; what stinks even more is his ownership uprooted the team in the worse move of the century so far and placed the Chargers in Los Angeles. Rivers has a large family and did not move them from San Diego, going so far as to commute from SD to LA every day. How ridiculous can that be? The Chargers are a joke in an otherwise strong division. Los Angeles didn’t care about the Rams until they started winning (in a surprising fashion), and it’s still hard to sell out the Coliseum. They are having to tarp off the soccer stadium that the Chargers play in, because they can’t sell 27,000 tickets so people can watch a team lose. Los Angeles is getting bored of the losing, and right now more people will spend their money on watching the Dodgers (GO DODGERS! ahem, sorry) in the playoffs than watching the Chargers mope their way to a 6-10 season.

And finally, there’s Big Ben, who got embarassed last week against the Jaguars. The Steelers are getting old and need some turnover on both their lines. They have good skill position players on offense, and a couple of good players on defense but otherwise, not much. And the Jags’ cornerbacks were able to basically shut down the Steelers’ wide receivers. Couple that with five interceptions and of course Ben is going to feel a little shaky. The problem in Pittsburgh, too, is that they have not drafted an heir at QB; Landry Jones just isn’t going to be the guy, no matter what happens. The organization is notoriously patient and will give Mike Tomlin time to rebuild, hopefully through the draft. The team is up against it, though: with only slightly less than $2 million in available cap space this season, so changes are coming. Will Ben lean toward retirement again? Nobody knows, but they still have to play the Chiefs, Lions, Packers, and Patriots this year, among others. Sounds to me like the (steel) curtain is going down on this iteration of the Steelers.

Now, it’s time to talk about the Jaguars. It’s hard to get constantly excited about them – every time I feel good about a game, I get disappointed (see: Titans, Jets matchups). Every time I think they will get beaten, I am surprised (see: Texans, Steelers matchups). I do not think they will get over their hump of inconsistency until they get a non-Bortles-or-Henne quarterback on the roster. But with the defense and Fournette playing the way they are, that sometimes doesn’t matter.

The Rams will be a hard test for this team. The Rams were a joke, until they weren’t, and Sean McVay has them playing decent football, except for when they lose. It looks like, despite their offensive firepower, a staunch defense can shut them down. The Rams put up at least 35 points on Dallas, SF, and Indy, who we know don’t have the best defenses at this point in time. However, they were limited to 20 and 16 points respectively against the ‘Skins and the Seahawks, the two games they lost in. They don’t seem to trust their defense (other than the Colts game, where Indy started Tolzien, it was a “who scored last” type of result) and Goff can probably be rattled by a defense who pressures often. What’s more, Todd Gurley could be capable of solid gains, but he is having ball control issues.

Do I want Jacksonville to win? Yes, yes I do. Can I pick them? I don’t know; every time I pick them to win, they lose. That streak will hopefully end this week. But the Rams game is a good chance for the Jaguars to return home to Jacksonville, make a statement, and show that their record is not a fluke. Here’s hoping it works.  I mean, they HAVE already matched their win total from last year.

SICK BURN OF THE WEEK
We may let our conversations about anthem protests come and go, but Brent Musberger was savage this past week:

There’s other reasons why the Niners are incompetent, including a bad quarterback situation, poor drafting, and changing coaches more often than some people change pants, but… wow. Ha.

AARON’S TOP FIVE, LOL I LISTED THE STEELERS LAST WEEK EDITION
1. Chiefs
2. Packers
3. Panthers
4. Eagles
5. Jaguars (not joking)

WEEK 6 GAME PICKS

EAGLES @ PANTHERS – For our first game of the week, it’s a doozy – two of the NFC’s 4-1 teams will tack on another loss after this game is over, but don’t be surprised if this matchup is eventually seen again in the playoffs. Wentz vs. Newton will be fun and likely a shootout. However, I think that Carolina will come out on top here. Newton seems to have found some consistency with his offense and they are back to their gunslinging ways. But don’t sleep on the Eagles – they are looking good and playing solid football so far this year. Panthers win, but I hedge my bet on this one for sure.

BEARS @ RAVENS – Chicago’s lone win has been against the Steelers, and despite getting skunked by the Jaguars, Baltimore is a surprising 3-2. They found their legs against the Raiders last week and I think they will continue to find at least some success until they start getting into more divisional games and the AFC North beats the tar out of one another like they always do. Well, someone’s gotta win the division eventually (not saying that will be Baltimore, though). Ravens win.

PACKERS @ VIKINGS – Always a fun matchup, and don’t sleep on the Vikings – they have had some great looking guys step into spots left open by injury and kept chugging along just fine. This will be a really fun game to watch but I think here the Packers are doing more with seemingly less right now, and Green Bay will win.

NINERS @ REDSKINS – Washington is just 2-2, but San Francisco has no wins. They will continue to have none – Redskins win.

LIONS @ SAINTS – Detroit has lost some heartbreakers this year and the Saints are still trying to figure themselves out – sitting at 2-2 is not the worst thing in the world but those two wins were engineered by Drew Brees (who is also kind of being wasted in my opinion). That said, I think the Lions win here – they have looked like the better team this far into the season.

DOLPHINS @ FALCONS – Atlanta had an early bye to address some nagging injury issues, and while they got a good chance to recharge, now they have to play straight into the postseason, without a game off. The Dolphins started the year looking pretty strong, but Jay Cutler remembered he was Jay Cutler, and despite them having good receivers and a solid running back, have regressed offensively. Atlanta should be able to put up some points against Miami. Falcons win.

BROWNS @ TEXANS – The Texans are not going to be good by any means because of injuries; their offense may be coming together somewhat (that offensive line is still a huge question mark), but there are massive injuries on their defense that will keep them from being above .500 this year, in my estimation. The Browns are bad, but we all know that. The Texans win.

PATRIOTS @ JETS – The Jets have surprised almost everyone this season by being… well, not awful, to be honest. They have a decent record and seem to be hanging well in the AFC East so far… but they also haven’t played New England yet. That changes this week, and despite the Pats’ defensive issues and their offensive troubles, they should have it in the bag. The Pats win.

BUCS @ CARDINALS – Not even a healthy, in-his-prime Adrian Peterson could save the Cardinals now. Well, okay, maybe he could, because a competent run game would almost definitely help them since they lost David Johnson and started sucking. AP isn’t Johnson, though, and the Bucs gave the Pats a good run for their money last week and are well-rested from an extra few days since they played last Thursday. Say hello to a Bucs win.

RAMS @ JAGUARS – I said what I needed to say up top in this matchup. So… Jaguars win (please).

CHARGERS @ RAIDERS – The Raiders are in a slump, but didn’t look horrible against Baltimore last week. They are still probably without Carr at QB but EJ Manuel is a surprisingly competent backup. If you ask me, though, the Chargers (as stated above) are in an even worse slump and situation, with a first-year head coach that seems to be in over his head and talent that hasn’t had the opportunity to gel. If you ask me, Oakland makes this a statement game, reminding people of their early-season status as one of the AFC’s favorites, and the Raiders win.

STEELERS @ CHIEFS – Oh, goodness – who’s ready for a two-game losing streak in Pittsburgh? I am! The Steelers are demoralized and headed into Kansas City, who, if you ask me, don’t look like they will face a major challenge until week 8 against the Broncos. The Jags pressured Roethlisberger last week, causing him to question his very existence. The Chiefs don’t have near the CB capability that Jax does but have the offense to keep the Steelers’ defense on their toes and then some. Chiefs win.

GIANTS @ BRONCOS – Looks like the NFL picked the evening of October 15, 2017, for everyone to get caught up on their DVRs. This game is going to be Denver’s to lose. New York is fielding Gavin’s second cousin over there at wideout and have looked lost all season. Denver’s defense is the story so far this year. Broncos win.

COLTS @ TITANS – The marquee matchup everyone was asking for – Matt Cassel vs. Jacoby Brissett. Good grief. The Titans lost to the Miami Jay-Cutler-Doesn’t-Cares last week, and without Mariota they are not a threat to anyone, even at home. The Colts have taken a couple of decent teams to overtime to pick up their wins. Tennessee has said Mariota may be back for this game, but I don’t think he will be anywhere near 100%. Here, I’ll say the Colts win.

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