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By Joe Kazmar
For the Record 

Kaz's Korner

Cream rising to the top in NFL's second half

 

Last updated 11/16/2021 at 5:11pm



The two National Football League’s Lone Star State franchises, which have been headed in opposite directions after Week One back in September, both just completed great weeks with the Dallas Cowboys crucifying Atlanta 43-3 while the Houston Texans enjoyed the good feeling of not losing.

Dallas came off of its bye week when the Denver Broncos came to idiot owner Jerry Jones’ Palace last week and scored at will while the Cowboys’ offense—with quarterback Dak Prescott returning after being grounded with a leg injury—couldn’t even score until they were behind 38-0 late in the game.

But Prescott lit it up early and often Sunday while the Cowboys’ defense did a complete turn-around and held the hapless Falcons to an early field goal and played like they did before their bye week. Dallas looked like the NFL’s top offense after taking a week off against Denver.

And after losing eight games in a row, the Texans’ halted their losing streak by having a bye last week and didn’t suffer loss No. 9.

But I bet they will look even worse than Dallas did in their first game back from their off-week Sunday because they will be facing the NFL’s hottest team when they meet the Titans—who have won six straight games--in Tennessee Sunday afternoon.

The Titans continue to win without two-time NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry, who was well on his way to his third-straight title when he hurt his foot and won’t be able to play until at least January.

Another red-hot team in the AFC is the surging New England Patriots with Bill Belichick really doing some coaching by improving his defense with each game and using rookie quarterback Mac Jones as a clone of Tom Brady by feeding him valuable information.

The Pats caught the Cleveland Browns when they were down and even lost quarterback Baker Mayfield to a knee injury and tattooed them 35-7 for their fourth straight win, leaving them only one-half game behind the highly-favored Buffalo Bills in the AFC East Division.

After the Pittsburgh Steelers lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to COVID-19, Detroit came up with one of their best games of the year which ended in a 16-16 overtime tie and halted the Lions’ eight-game losing streak.

Two divisions in the AFC have all team members with either five or six wins—the North Division and the South Division. Kansas City’s victory Sunday night over the Las Vegas Raiders put the Chiefs at the top of the West while Baltimore leads the North Division, each with six wins.

The Cowboys have a comfortable lead in the NFC East and Green Bay is ahead in the North Division also by a substantial margin. Arizona’s 8-2 record leads the West Division with the Los Angeles Rams right on their tails.

The Packers had won seven games in a row until quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed a game due to a positive COVID-10 test and still looked a little rough Sunday when his defense blanked Seattle 17-0 as Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson returned after missing several weeks with a middle finger injury on his throwing hand.

Green Bay is 6-12-1 without Rodgers since he replaced Brett Favre as the Packers’ starting quarterback in 2008.

I believe after the 17th games are over in January, the Packers and Cowboys will be playing for the right to compete for the Super Bowl trophy in the NFC. And I think that Belichick will have his Patriots ready to play in the AFC championship game against Tennessee.

KWICKIES…Orange still has two local teams in the state high school football playoffs with the West Orange-Stark Mustangs (9-1) favored to beat Jasper and Little Cypress-Mauriceville (9-2) slated to meet West Columbia this weekend. I believe both teams will still be around for the next round.

The Washington Huskies announced Sunday that they fired Head Coach Jimmy Lake for a variety of reasons both on and off the field.

Auburn’s quarterback Bo Nix will miss the rest of the season after suffering an ankle injury that will require surgery.

When Jacksonville lost 23-17 to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, it marked the 13th straight road loss for the Jaguars, which is the longest streak in franchise history.

The Houston Astros’ former ace starting pitcher Justin Verlander has rehabbed himself well enough to be throwing his fastball at 96-97 mph in an effort to lock up a multi-year contract with some contender. I don’t believe the Astros will offer the major bucks Verlander thinks he will command, but one never knows about things like that.

JUST BETWEEN US…The Texas Longhorns did the opposite thing in their game Saturday against 1-8 Kansas, but with the same results. The ‘Horns generally look like national champions in the first half and then die after the intermission, allowing the opponent to catch up and beat them in the late going. However, against the Jayhawks Saturday, the Longhorns fell way behind in the first half and then came roaring back to take the lead in the fourth period. But Kansas scored a late touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game at 49-49 at the end of regulation. Texas scored first in the overtime period and led 56-49. Kansas also scored when it had the football, went for the two-point conversion and made it, winning 57-56 and sending the ‘Horns to their fifth straight loss. I can’t imagine why the “big-money” alums aren’t asking for coach Steve Sarkisian’s head on a platter and be willing to buy out his remaining contract.

 

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