It brings me no happiness to report that this will be my final column of the year. This was my first semester writing for the Emory Wheel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. When we come back in the spring, expect me to continue to write about football, but also begin to transition into a basketball column.
The NBA season is underway, and there are many hot topics of discussion that I cannot wait to write about when I return from winter break. I am sure that many of you are under the strain of finals at this point, unless you are a freshman. If you are a freshman, you probably have no idea what it means to pull an all-nighter, and you look at this weekend as a prime opportunity to get a booth at Maggie’s.
That is how I believe this year’s crop of rookie quarterbacks are transitioning into professional life. At a time when the most seasoned veterans are straining under pressure, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson have their teams either in a playoff position or making a run at a spot. These rookies are maneuvering comeback drives that would impress even the best signal callers in the league, and I believe it has to do with the fact that they were either handed or earned the job from day one.
From their first Sunday as professional quarterbacks, they knew that they had the keys to the franchise, and they proceeded without any lofty expectations. Without expectations, they were able to just relax and play the game like they would in their backyard. Now obviously this theory does not apply to most quarterbacks (see Sanchez, Mark) but, for this year’s class, it certainly does.
My bold prediction is that the Seahawks, Redskins and Colts will all make the playoffs this year led by their rookie quarterbacks. And after that final monologue of the semester, let’s make our way to the picks. (HOME TEAM IN CAPS)
Baltimore Ravens at WASHINGTON REDSKINS
There are only two ways to look at this game. On one side, the Ravens were just embarrassed by a third-string quarterback on a rival team that was just begging to get beat. There is no way they could lose this game. On the other side, you have a rookie quarterback riding a three-game winning streak in which he defeated all of his division rivals, playing at home where he has been stellar. With the Ravens just kicked by the Steelers, and the Redskins riding hot, how could they lose?
I am going to have to take the upset and go with Washington. They have the ability to stifle Ray Rice, which is huge. This will force Joe Flacco to throw, and I believe he will have trouble. As for the Redskins, they will run the ball all over the Ravens, managing the clock and minimizing opportunities for the defense to make big plays. This will not be a high scoring game by any means, and it will certainly come down to the end, but I think Washington is going to pull it out. Look for Alfred Morris to have a big day running all over the Ravens’ feeble excuse for a run defense.
REDSKINS 20 Ravens 17
New York Jets at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
I hate to make predictions on the Jets, but I feel like after last weekend’s debacle, I have to say something. The Jets are going to win this game. They are going to torture us fans, as they straddle in mediocrity between being an abomination and a fringe playoff team. They are going to gouge the life out of us, as they show spurts of brilliance amidst a hopeless performance. Sanchez will play well; Tebow will come in and take his place and ruin the momentum. This whole team has to be reevaluated this offseason and by a difference general manager. Mr. Woody Johnson, I am available. No, I do not have the experience of Mike Tannenbaum, but if you sat him in a room and had him attempt to explain the moves, he’s made during the Rex Ryan era, I’m sure you would be willing to hire anyone for the job.
The Jaguars have their issues, but I don’t care, I only discussed this game because I wanted to let the public know how tortured we Jets fans are. So sorry, Barstool-Philly. Just because you guys have stumbled over the past few years, doesn’t mean you can even contend with the struggles we Jets fans have faced. Go Knicks.
Jets 17 JAGUARS 10
New Orleans Saints at NEW YORK GIANTS
Now that I have sufficiently ranted about the Jets, it’s on to the biggest game this week in terms of playoff implications. New Orleans had been coming on strong, but after two straight losses, it looks as though they are out of playoff contention unless they can string together a few wins and get some help along the way.
Meanwhile, the Giants are in total disarray. They have lost three of their past four games and are looking like a team that is headed for disappointment after a quick start. Right? Wrong. Eli Manning has looked like an average quarterback except in crunch time where he has significantly upgraded his level of play. This is vitally important because the New York Giants are currently following the script of their last two Super Bowl victories.
Obviously, their defense needs help. Didn’t it need help last season as well? Jason Pierre-Paul just called out his fellow defensive teammates by calling them soft. Isn’t that the necessary fuel that will push them through to the playoffs? I think so, and I think this is going to be a big win for the Giants. Look for Reuben Randle to hold his own against the sieve of a secondary for the Saints.
GIANTS 41 Saints 27
Once again, this has been a great year. I have received a lot of feedback from my readers, which has made this a very fulfilling experience. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to read my weekly articles, and I look forward to writing for you next semester. Have a safe and happy holiday.
– By Jayson Patel