This unpredictable year has led to some interesting “bounces” of the ball and some never-before-seen moments. Here are just three of such crazy circumstances.
The “Arizona” 49ers and the “California” Patriots
The San Francisco team has left the state, while the New England franchise is coming to California and staying for a while. Due to the pandemic and local government decisions that ban contact sports, the 49ers have temporarily moved to Arizona to practice and play their next two “home” games. In the ultimate irony, the Patriots play their next two games against the Chargers and the Rams in the Golden State and will stay and practice in the Los Angeles area.
The bigger issue for the 49ers might be the current 14-day quarantine requirement whenever they do come home to Santa Clara County. After the next two games, the team goes to Dallas and then actually plays the Cardinals, so three of their next four games will be in State Farm Stadium. The question is whether the 49ers will return home for the Week 17 game. If the current order still applies, I don’t see how they can return home at all this season to play or practice.
Was yesterday’s game worse for the Ravens or the Steelers?
The game itself was a lot closer than some expected it to be, just as we predicted. Almost everyone focused on the Baltimore COVID situation, and with good reason. The Ravens were without reigning MVP Lamar Jackson among others. However, the Steelers were missing James Conner, Maurkice Pouncey and Stephon Tuitt for the same reason. The Ravens complained about their situation the loudest, but was Wednesday actually worse for the Steelers?
The Ravens played short-handed and lost, but they will have most of their players, including Jackson, back next week. The Steelers won and kept their perfect record, but they lost key linebacker Bud Dupree to an ACL tear. We opined as much in-game based on video.
This is their third ACL tear of the season, after having lost Devin Bush and Zach Banner. The Steelers might prefer to have Dupree healthy and take their first loss instead.
Teams have toyed with the idea of keeping a “spare” QB away from the team to protect themselves against a Broncos-like situation in Week 12. The Eagles had Josh McCown on the practice squad but kept him at home in Texas for most of this season until he signed with the Texans. Now the Seahawks will keep their practice squad quarterback Danny Etling away from Russell Wilson and Geno Smith.
This may sounds like a great idea, but I don’t see how it will work. The game of football is not that easy, especially at the QB position. It is hard enough to get good quarterback play when practicing and meeting in normal fashion. The chances a third or fourth string QB could be successful coming out of a quarantine situation seems less likely than completing a “Hail Mary” pass.
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