Wednesday Morning GM, Week 12: NFL Scoring Is On Fire
As we entered the start of the 2018 NFL regular season, with the increased emphasis on player safety leading a slew of defensive penalties that inevitably made defenses play slower and more thoughtfully (instead of instinctually), many people thought that we’d see a boom of scoring taking place this year. And the people who predicted so were clearly accurate in such a prognostication. And this bodes well for the fantasy football players.
Let’s put aside the record-setting Monday Night Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, because there’s so much to unpack from that event.
But that clearly wasn’t the only high-scoring affair during Week 11 of the NFL season. In addition to the Monday night game, two other games resulted in combined scores of 55 or more points, and three different teams scored at least 38 points in Week 11.
By now, most people know that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have among the worst defenses in football (if not the worst outright), and even a team like the mostly-moribund New York Giants were able to take advantage of that. In their 38-35 win over the Buccaneers, Tampa Bay allowed Giants’ running back Saquon Barkley — easily the front-runner for the 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year award — to pile up over 150 combined yards on 29 touches, and three total touchdowns.
The game got out of hand thanks to an injury to the opposing quarterback, but in a pivotal AFC South matchup against the Tennessee Titans, the Indianapolis Colts blew out their division rival by a 38-10 score. Quarterback Andrew Luck had his seventh-straight game with at least three touchdown passes, and the Colts have now won three of their last four games by a margin of two or more touchdowns.
Speaking of lopsided wins: how about what the New Orleans Saints did to the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles? Thanks to a well-balanced attack, once again spearheaded by quarterback Drew Brees (who had his second game with four touchdown passes over the past three weeks), absolutely steamrolled the Eagles by a 48-7 score. The Saints ran up a 24-7 lead at halftime, and continued to pile on the savagery through the second half. The once-vaunted Eagles’ defense allowed a whopping 546 yards of offense to New Orleans.
And then there was the Monday Night game. Forget the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs became the first team in NFL history to score 50 or more points in a game, and still lose. Forget the fact that the Rams and Chiefs combined to score 105 points, which is now the third-highest combined point total in NFL history. What we saw between those two teams was a glimpse at the future of football: a game where the offenses are just so sophisticated, and defenses are just so restricted, that offenses are going to just get more and more dynamic while defenses are going to focus on generating sacks and turnovers (which ultimately spelled doom for the Chiefs). This is producing all-time highs on the fantasy front as well. Look at these stats:
In other words: if you’re an old-school football fan who grew up on the defenses of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970’s and the Chicago Bears in the 1980’s, today’s NFL is clearly not you remember.