Aaron Rodgers will be in familiar surroundings. Andy Lyons
After a couple of weeks off the weather report is back this week. I know you all missed me dearly. And speaking of misses, boy did I miss out on getting something written about that Washington-Washington State game before it started. Well not to worry, I have some more snow for you this week. Lets get to that weather.
Bears @ Giants (12:00 PM Sunday): Temperatures will be comfortable, especially for this time of year, rising all the way into the mid to upper 50s. The issue here will be rain. Some potentially heavy rain will be moving through Sunday morning. It looks like the bulk of it should be out of the area by game time, however it is close enough that we could still see some rain lingering during the early portions of the game.
Cardinals @ Packers (12:00 PM Sunday): Ah December in Green Bay – and the conditions will be true to form here. Temperatures will be in the mid to low 30s, so not that cold relatively speaking. But the issue here will be snow. It looks like snow could be falling throughout the game and pick up to be moderate to heavy at times. In addition to the snow winds will be around 20 MPH gusting to 30 MPH. Probably not ideal for the dome team from the desert, not that they are any good at football anyway.
Panthers @ Buccaneers AND Colts @ Jaguars (12:00 PM Sunday): We’ll see typical Florida conditions at both of these games. Temperatures will be near 80 degrees with about a 40-50% chance of some passing rain during the game. Not looking for a deluge but it could be a bit damp at times.
Vikings @ Patriots (3:25 PM Sunday): Temperatures here will be in the mid 40s, again not so bad for the northeast in December. Similarly, to New York an area of rain will be moving through on Sunday. While the rain will linger a bit longer in the Boston area, the later start of this game will keep it from being a washout. Look for rain to be possible early on with chances declining as the game goes on.
Pac-12 Championship Game in Santa Clara, California
Utah vs. Washington (7:00 PM Friday): While California has received a nice drenching recently rain does not look to be in the cards here. The only potential issue will be winds early on which could gust up to 20 MPH. After halftime though winds should die down.
ACC Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina
Clemson vs. Pittsburgh (7:00 PM Saturday): Rain looks likely here and could possibly be quite heavy at times. Additionally, the potential exists for a few thunderstorms, so a lightning delay isn’t totally out of the question here.
As always you can find me on Twitter @stephenuzick for any other weather questions you may have.
“Another one!”- DJ Khaled
That's the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news of Tytus Howard being shut down for the season because of a knee injury. They've had more injuries on the offensive line this season than Nick Cannon has Father's Day cards. Almost every member of the offensive line has spent time on the injury report. Howard went down in the same game in which Juice Scruggs was finally on the active roster. He missed the first 10 games due to a hamstring injury. The irony of next man up has never been so in your face.
The other thing that came to mind was the soap opera As the World Turns.
Howard had just signed an extension this offseason. So did Laremy Tunsil and Shaq Mason. They drafted Juice Scruggs, and signed a few guys too. Those moves, along with other holdovers, were expected to fill out the depth chart. Then a rash of injuries struck. At one point, only one of the original five guys expected to start was playing! In fact, they beat the Steelers 30-6 with that backup offensive line!
One can't have the expectation of backups to perform as good as the starters. They're professionals and are on an NFL roster for a reason. However, the talent gap is evident. One thing coaching, technique, and preparation can't cover is lack of ability or talent. The Texans have done a good job of navigating the injury minefield this season. While the Howard injury will hurt, I have faith in the guys there still.
As of this writing, the Texans are in the eighth spot in the AFC playoff picture. The Steelers, Browns, and Colts are all in front of them at the fifth through seventh spots respectfully. They've beaten the Steelers already. They play the Browns on Christmas Eve and their starting quarterback is out for the season. The Colts are relying on the ghost of Gardner Minshew to steer their ship into the last game of the season vs. the Texans with a possible playoff trip on the line. The Broncos and Bills are the two teams immediately behind them. They play the Broncos this weekend. Even though they're on a hot streak, this is the same team that got 70 put on them by the Dolphins. The Bills are the old veteran boxer who still has some skill, but is now a stepping stone for up & comers.
To say this team should still make the playoffs would be an understatement in my opinion. I believe in them and what they have going on more than I believe in the teams I listed above. That includes teams around them in the playoff race that aren't on their schedule. The one thing that scares me a little moving forward is the sustainability of this line. When guys get up in age as athletes, it becomes harder to come back from injuries. The injuries also tend to occur more frequently when it's a knee, foot, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or another body part critical to blocking for C.J. Stroud.
I know they just re-signed three of those guys and drafted one they believe can be a starter, but depth and contingency plans are a way of life in the NFL. We see how important depth was this season. Why not plan ahead? Don't be surprised if the Texans spend valuable draft capital on the offensive line. By valuable, I'm talking about first through third or fourth rounders. Those are prime spots to draft quality offensive lineman. Whether day one starters or quality depth, those are the sweet spots. The only guy on the two deep depth chart for this offensive line that wasn't drafted in one of those rounds was George Fant, who was an undrafted rookie free agent. While I highly doubt they spend any significant free agency dollars on the group, I'm not totally ruling it out.
The bottom line is, this team will be okay on the line for the remainder of this season. The only way that doesn't happen, more injuries. Stroud is clearly the franchise guy. Protecting that investment is a top priority. I don't care about a number one receiver, or a stud stable or singular running back if the quarterback won't have time to get them the ball. If the pilot can't fly the plane, you know what happens. So making sure he's happy, healthy, and has a great crew is of the utmost importance.