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Through Week 12 records...
The Computer: 95-76-5, Blazing Five: 45-15
Skolman: 92-79-5, B5: 30-29-1
RC: 89-82-5, B5: 39-31
Rabbitt: 88-83-5, B5: 31-28-1
Savage: 87-74-5, B5: 34-25-1
Katz: 83-88-5, B5: 32-24-3
Colin: B5… 31-23-1
Katz: This is probably the game of the week. Two of the stronger teams in the NFC.
Savage: I'm not sure what Atlanta has done to be considered an even matchup with the Vikings. I thought this line would and should be more like -1.5.
Is Atlanta good or did they just catch Dallas and Seattle the week after they lost 2-3 of their best players? I don't know, I wouldn't be shocked if Atlanta won this game but I'm taking the Vikings based on the value you're getting in the line.
RC: Atlanta is suddenly good. Their pass rush has been on fire, not just against Dallas. However, laying 3.0 to MIN is steep…and ATL missing Trufant, and ATL costing themselves opportunity with Devonta back. I couldn’t bet on this in the end because I fear I will get the game Keenum turns back to a pumpkin, but I’d bet MIN if I had to.
Katz: My fear with Minnesota is how good they've been playing. I know. That makes no sense. But Case Keenum is still one bad game away from being benched. That's not good for a team. I do think Atlanta is better, but I also actually think Keenum deserves to have some job security. If he makes one mistake early, he could press and the mistakes could avalanche as he fears for his job. It's my fear every time I'm faced with picking Minnesota.
Skolman: For all the reasons mentioned I plan to cash another easy Vikings ticket this week. Let’s keep this “Case Keenum is one mistake from doom” narrative going...it’s been very profitable! The fact that he’s been playing awesome and the Vikings players and coaches love him can stay back page news for at least another week.
Savage: Case Keenum has played every game of his career 1 or 2 mistakes away from the bench. Its nothing new for him.
It's also not as if he's playing at an MVP level as it is. He's the same OK/decent QB he's always been. Every week I see him miss 1 or 2 wide open guys. He's probably cost Thielen 150 yds and a couple TD's over the season. He's smart enough to not take unnecessary risks and let his elite defense and skill players win, which is everything Zimmer wants from his QB.
RC: I would add this in defense of Keenum…
First off, he’s not a ‘bad’ QB prospect. Never was. Not a classic franchise QB, but guy who wasn’t totally in over his head. In college, he wasn’t a stiff…he was an all-pass all the time guy for Houston, a record setter. He got plenty of throwing reps in college. So let’s say he’s a ‘C-‘ prospect entering the NFL. A likely NFL backup. Most ‘C-‘ QBs get buried, forgotten, never get a real chance…I think of guys like Ricky Stanzi, who I thought was a B+ prospect, or Davis Webb or any number of guys we could name. Most everyone of them gets 4th quarter preseason work with no O-Line protection and soon-to-be cut WRs, things don’t go well in their two series of garbage time plays and they are gone from the league in a few years…kicking around from team to team. However, look at the very strange journey of Keenum (for a C- guy)…
Instead of being buried/lost, he’s forced to start half a season for HOU his 2nd year. He goes 0-8 with 54.2% completions. That would normally be the end of the story for any C-/UDFA QB. Two years later, he’s in St Louis and is pushed in to start half a season when Foles gets hurt and then they bench Foles (because Jeff Fisher knows offense and QBs and coaching and flipflops & shorts). Keenum does OK/not great with STL. Somehow he’s the starter for the LA Rams in 2016 until it’s too painful to watch any longer. He then goes to Minnesota to be a 3rd string guy, maybe even cut if Teddy was ready opening day. Guys get hurt, he gets on a run and here he is.
What C- prospect looks bad for years, but still keeps winding up with heavy work? The guy got a master’s degree in learning the NFL…HOU/Kubiak and O’Brien…STL and LA, Jeff Fisher…now the Vikings. All these experiences and different routines and players to work with – no one gets that as a C- prospect.
How good would Brett Hundley be today with all those live NFL chances? What if ‘C’ grade QBs just need live game reps to figure things out, reps most of them NEVER sniff for various reasons?
Look at Josh McCown…nothing for years, has a shocking good fill-in for CHI and then is a pushed guy for Tampa and fails miserably. CLE next stop and does OK/not great, now thriving with the Jets. Josh McCown is playing way better than Keenum this year but nobody cares. How does McCown get all these chances? How is thriving with the Jets? What if reps/experience can take a ‘C’ and make them an occasional ‘B’? McCown has. Blake Bortles doesn’t look awful. Blaine Gabbert looks decent a lot of the time, now after getting away from JAX. Maybe the constant change of coaches, live game playing time…it’s all an education that helps grow QB prospects because the NFL is secretly a pretty easy league to be a QB in if you’re not afraid, you just need live reps to figure how to ‘work it’. It’s becoming an arena league under the new rules and all these quality WR prospects flooding into the NFL.
Instead of wondering when the shoe is going to drop because we’ve all been conditioned to think/know Keenum sucks…maybe the hardscrabble road he’s traveled takes a C-D grade QB, makes them a B-C and we’ve just not adjusted our dials because it’s happening right under our noses…but (for me) we all have our old grade on Keenum so we keep waiting for the regression? What if the road less traveled is making him a competent QB not likely to collapse, maybe not winning a Super Bowl, but not an immanent collapse.
Besides Nathan Peterman and DeShone Kizer…has anyone been a really awful, embarrassing, over-their-head QB this year…consistently not just one moment?
Keenum, because of his journey…may be the best QB in the MIN-ATL game?
Katz: That's one hell of an endorsement. And I like it. I've grown to like Keenum, too. He definitely belongs in the NFL and there is something to be said about learning on the job, which Keenum has done a lot of. My constant reminders of the possibility of Keenum being benched has nothing to do with his ability, but more to do with the Vikings powers that be wanting Teddy to be the guy at the first chance. That's my fear with Keenum. I don't think he deserves to be playing with such minimal job security.