NFL Week 15– 32 Thoughts
With Week 15 is in the books…Lets review what happening around the league with teams trying to make their playoff push.
Arizona Cardinals: You almost have to feel sorry for the Cardinals. After missing the playoffs last year with a 10-6 record, they have best record in the NFC (11-3) and due to all the injuries, may end up bowing out early in this year’s playoffs. QB Musical Chairs: With the loss of Drew Stanton, the Cardinals are planning on rotating Ryan Lindley and Logan Thomas this week…against Seattle. Ugh.
Atlanta Falcons: With the exception of a pick six, Matt Ryan had a pretty decent day. Unfortunately, that pick six ended up being the difference in the game. Surprising Stat: Matt Ryan has 17 touchdowns to 0 interceptions in the red-zone. The only quarterback with more touchdowns – Peyton Manning.
Baltimore Ravens: A real uninspiring game by the Ravens. Despite sacking Blake Bortals 8 times, they barely squeaked by the Jaguars. Secondary woes: The Ravens lost S Terrence Brooks for the season. This makes an already paper thin secondary, even thinner.
Buffalo Bills: For the second week in a row, the Buffalo Bills defense held a top tier quarterback to zero touchdown passes in a game. Thankfully for the Bills, the defensive play made up for a sputtering offense that was not able to move the ball consistently all day long. However, the Bills are still alive for the playoffs and have guaranteed themselves their first non-losing season since 2004.
Carolina Panthers: Thanks to a mid-week car accident that left Cam Newton out for this game, Derek Anderson did enough to get the Panthers past the offensively inept Buccaneers. Defensively the Panthers harassed Buc’s QB Josh McCown forcing two fumbles and one interception. Winning Ugly: At 5-8-1, the Panthers still have an opportunity to get to the playoffs with a sub .500 record.
Chicago Bears: Yet another stinker by Jay Cutler and the Bears on national television has rumblings of a full house cleaning at Halas Hall this off season.
Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals welcomed Johnny Manziel to the NFL by unleashing a suffocating defense that held the Browns to 107 total yards. On the other side of the ball, Jeremy Hill was the lone bright spot on Cincinnati’s offense. He racked up 148 yards on 25 carries and added 2 touchdowns along the way.
Cleveland Browns: If the way Johnny Manziel played on Sunday is a sign of things to come, you might as well add his name to the likes of Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, and Brandon Weeden. WOOF!
Dallas Cowboys: After blowing a 21-0 lead, it seemed that the Ghost of Decembers Past came back to haunt Tony Romo. However, in surprising fashion, the Cowboys were able to whether the storm and take advantage of Philadelphia’s insatiable need to turn the ball over at every opportunity that they could. Injury Note: DeMarco Murray needed surgery on his hand following the game on Sunday. If Murray is out for an extended period of time, it could spell doom for the Cowboys.
Denver Broncos: Trying to work the sympathy vote for the MVP race, Peyton Manning had ‘flu like symptoms’ on Sunday and even gave Donkey Nation a scare by leaving for a few minutes with an apparent thigh injury. However, Denver’s new found running, efficient passing, timely turnovers got the Broncos the win, a division title, and a playoff berth.
Detroit Lions: After falling behind 14-0 ten minutes into the second quarter, the Lions slowly climbed their way back and escaped with a 16-14 victory. Offensively the Lions looked sluggish but their defense was able to harass Teddy Bridgewater by sacking him four times and forcing two interceptions. Playoff Seeding: The Lions currently have the 2nd seed in the NFC. The last time the Lions had a playoff bye week was all the way back in 1991.
Green Bay Packers: On a day where Green Bay could have won their division and secured a playoff spot, Aaron Rodgers decided to take a day off and let Buffalo’s defense run rough shot all over the Packers’ offense. The worst part of this loss for the Packers is that they now lost control of getting the #1 playoff seed in the NFC. Crazy Stat: The Packers have never won a game in Buffalo (0-6).
Houston Texans: The Tom Savage era begun and ended in Houston when Ryan Fitzpatrick was carted off the field with a broken leg. Tom Savage, unfortunately, joined Fitzpatrick on injury report shortly there after. The Texans defense had kept this team competitive but the offensive injuries, especially at the quarterback position, has all but eliminated the Texans from the playoffs.
Indianapolis Colts: A sloppy offensive performance was enough to get by the quarterback challenged Texans. The Colts won their division and clinched a playoff berth for the third time in Andrew Luck’s short career. Texas Sized Domination: The Colts are 13-0 at home against the Texans.
Jacksonville Jaguars: One would imagine that the only thing on Blake Bortals’ Christmas list is an Offensive Line that does not allow him to get sacked eight times in a game. OUCH.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chief snapped a three game skid by pounding the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. While the game was close at halftime, the Chiefs pulled away in the 3rd quarter thanks to a 70 yard drive and some timely fumbles by Oakland.
Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins were upended by the Patriots when New England scored 27 unanswered points in the second half. Ryan Tannehill’s uneven performance resulted in 2 horrible interceptions that led directly to 14 points for New England. Along with Tannehill’s awful performance, the special teams, led by first round bust Dion Jordan, surrendered a touchdown on a field goal block as well. Ugly is Ugly: Since leading 10-0 in the 1st quarter against the Ravens, the Dolphins have been outscored 69-16.
Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater had a strong start but after two second quarter interceptions, Bridgewater’s play was erratic for the remainder of the game and little by little the Vikings let the Lions edge them for the win in the fourth quarter.
New England Patriots: After a pedestrian 1st half, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense destroyed Miami’s supposedly tough defense and shredded them for 27 second half points. Miami’s feeble offense had no answers for the Patriots Defense that sacked Tannehill 4 times in the second half alone. Historic Note: The Patriots won the AFC East for the 6th year in a row which is one short of the NFL record.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints put their playoff destiny in their own hands after a dominating performance against the Bears on Monday Night. At 6-8, if the Saints can win at home against the Falcons and on the road against Lovie Smith’s offensively challenged Buccaneers, New Orleans would win the NFC South and host a playoff game.
New York Giants: After losing 7 straight games, the Giants have won two games in row thanks to the emergence of Odell Beckham Jr. If Beckham was healthy all season and if the Giants were able to pair him with a decent quarterback, they might have had the opportunity for more than 5 wins.
New York Jets: After 15 weeks of football, the Jets squeaked out their first road win of the year and, barring something unforeseen, killed their chances of getting the 1st Overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Way to go Rex….Not only can’t win consistently, he can’t lose right either.
Oakland Raiders: Oakland followed up their big win last week against the 49ers in true Raider-esqe fashion by laying an egg against Kansas City. Handling Success: The Raiders have been outscored 83-13 in games following a win.
Philadelphia Eagles: After overcoming a 21-0 deficit, the Sanchez led Eagles crashed into the ground and very well may have taken their playoff hopes with them.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers won their second game in a row and kept pace with the division leading Bengals with a win over Atlanta. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 353 yards to make up for a sputtering running game that struggled against the Falcons’ weak defensive line. Season Stat: The Steelers were held for their second lowest rushing output (45 yards) of the season.
St Louis Rams: The Rams players should stop protesting events off the field and start protesting the offense they are putting on the field….UGLY. Defense, Defense, Defense: The Rams are the first team since the 2011 Dolphins (yes those Sparano led 6-10 Dolphins) to not allow a touchdown in three straight games.
San Diego Chargers: A lack of a running game coupled with two Philip Rivers interceptions resulted in San Diego getting their second home loss in as many weeks. The Chargers will need to win out and get some help if they have any chance of reaching the playoffs. History Lesson: Rivers went 0 for 3 in the 1st quarter…the last time Rivers had zero completions in the 1st quarter of the game was in 2006.
San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday when Seattle smothered Collin Kaepernick who was sacked 6 times. May be some off season tattoos will refocus Kaepernick for the 2015 season.
Seattle Seahawks: In a defensive battle with the 49ers, Russell Wilson made enough plays to beat the 49ers and lead the Seahawks to their fourth straight win. Stats are Stats: Sunday’s game was the first time that Seattle’s defense did not force a turnover since their Week 7 matchup against the Rams.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Thanks to yet another putrid offensive performance, the Bucs are making a push for securing the 1st overall pick in the 2015 Draft.
Tennessee Titans: After losing Jake Locker (again), the Titans needed a miracle to win in the final seconds of the game….which they almost got but came up a few yards short. Season Lost: The Titans have the longest current losing streak in the NFL having lost 8 games in a row.
Washington Redskins: The Redskins are finding new ways to implode and lose games week after week. This week’s escapade: After RG3 replaced an injured Colt McCoy, he fumbled the ball going in for a touchdown which would have given the Redskins a 10 point lead going into the half. New Week Same Result: The Redskins have lost 6 in a row and 10 of their last 12.
P.S. Vote for CK!!!