With Week 16 behind us, let’s take a look around the league on how the teams are closing out.
Arizona Cardinals: Tough break for the Cardinals…they put together a great season but
injuries have derailed this team. QB Musical Chairs: The Cardinals are planning on
starting Logan Thomas this week against the 49ers….Eeeeek.
Atlanta Falcons: Efficient play with no turnovers kept Atlanta’s playoff hopes alive until
Week 17. Defensively, the much maligned Falcons’ defense forced four turnovers while
holding the once high powered Saints to 14 points. In Sync: Matt Ryan 7of8 for 107 yards
targeting Julio Jones on Sunday.
Baltimore Ravens: Not a lot of positives can be said about the Ravens. They lost to a
Texans team who’s starting quarterback, Case Keenum, was out of the league and
hunting for deer one week before the game.
Buffalo Bills: In typical Bills fashion, Buffalo knocks off one of the best teams in the NFL
in Week 15 only to turn around and get eliminated from Playoff contention by one of the
worst teams in the NFL. Ground Game? The Bills rushed for 13 yards against the
Raiders….this was their fewest yards rushing since their 4 yard performance against the
Oilers in 1997.
Carolina Panthers: Less than two weeks after quarterback Cam Newton injured his
back in car accident, he led his Panthers team to first place in the NFC South. Newton
returned to the field and passed for 201 yards while adding another 63 yards rushing.
Weird Stat: Cam Newton is 31 in the NFL facing other Heisman Trophy winning
Chicago Bears: After benching starting quarterback Jay Cutler earlier in the week, the
Jimmy Clausen led Bears nearly pulled off an upset of the division leading Lions. Though
the Bears did well against Detroit’s passing game, but the Lions running game ran over
the Bears’ defense with ease. Crazy Stat: On Sunday, QB Jimmy Clausen had his first
multi touchdown game.
Cincinnati Bengals: A surprising and unexpected Prime Time win for the Bengals. After
Andy Dalton threw a pick six on the Bengals second possession, it seemed like only a
matter of time before the Broncos would stomp Cincinnati into the ground. However, to
everyone’s surprise, the Bengals stuck to their ground game (37 carries for 207 yards)
and played aggressive defense to force four Peyton Manning interceptions and escape
with a victory. Stats are Stats: With a victory on Sunday night, the Bengals clinched
playoff spot for the 4th year in a row….this is the longest streak of playoff appearances in
the franchise’s history.
Cleveland Browns: Johnny Manziel’s second start: knocked out of the game….Do you
hear that? You know….the echoes of Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, and Brandon Weeden. WOOF!
Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys dominated the Colts on Sunday to win the NFC East
and secure their first playoff berth since 2009. In the process they eliminated division
rival Philadelphia from post season contention. Defensive Domination: The much malign
Cowboys defense held the Colts to 1 yard rushing on 10 attempts and forced two Andrew
Luck turnovers before he was benched in lieu of Matt Hasselbeck.
Denver Broncos: The driving rain and Cincinnati’s defense made a miserable night for
Peyton Manning. Trailing 20-7 at halftime, the Broncos scored 21 third quarter points t0
take a 28-27 lead into the fourth quarter. However, Manning’s three fourth quarter
interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, sank the Broncos and their hopes
of getting the number one seed in the AFC. The Smell of Failure: Peyton Manning
posted a 0.0 QBR in the fourth quarter on Monday Night…WOOF!
Detroit Lions: On a day when Matthew Stafford was sacked four times and threw two
interceptions, the Lions’ running game, led by Joique Bell bowled over the Bears’ soft
defense. Offensive Red Zone: Matthew Stafford was 2 for 7 with 2 interceptions in the
red zone on Sunday….Ugh.
Green Bay Packers: After a disappointing road trip to Buffalo, the Packers went on the
road and racked up 431 yards, while allowing only 109 yards, to easily cruise past the
offensively challenged Buccaneers. Season Note: The Packers are 4-0 following a loss
Houston Texans: The Texans kept their slim playoff hopes alive when they unleashed
their defense against the hapless Ravens on Sunday. JJ Watt and company sacked Joe
Flacco two times and forced him into three interceptions. Historic Sack: On Sunday, JJ
Watts only sack put in 1st on the all-time Texans sack list.
Indianapolis Colts: By the way the Colts played on Sunday against the Dallas
Cowboys, the Colts seem like a likely candidate to lose their home playoff game on
Wildcard weekend. Ugly Outcome: The 35 point loss that the Colts suffered on Sunday
tied for the worst defeat that the Colts have suffered since drafting Andrew Luck.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles led two second half touchdown drives as
Jacksonville came from behind to beat the Titans on Thursday night. After losing 10 of
their first 11 games, the Jaguars are 2-2 in last four games.
Kansas City Chiefs: Having lost four of their last five games, the Kansas City Chiefs
now need to beat San Diego next week and get a boat load of help to make the playoffs.
Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill became the first Dolphins quarterback to throw for 4
touchdown passes in a game since Dan Marino. He also threw for a season high 396
yards….All nice things to do when your team is already out of the playoff race. Historic
Safety: According to Elias, The Dolphins fourth quarter safety was the first go ahead
safety in the final minute of the fourth quarter in NFL History.
Minnesota Vikings: Behind the efficient passing of Teddy Bridgewater and a steady
running game, the Vikings scored a season high 35 points on the road…Unfortunately,
their porous defense let an average Miami offense to equal that score. Add in a bad
special teams play and the Vikings came up short by a safety.
New England Patriots: It seemed that the Patriots were about to let the number 1 seed
in the AFC slip away against the division rival Jets. In true football cliché: Big players
make big plays in big games…..Players don’t get much bigger than Vince Wilfork and his
field goal block secured home field advantage in the playoffs. Skin of their Teeth: 4 of
the last 5 games between the Jets and Patriots have been decided by 3 points or less.
New Orleans Saints: After dominating the Bears in Week 15, the Saints returned home
and were thumped by the division rival Falcons and were eliminated from the playoffs.
Drew Brees was sacked 5 times, threw two interceptions and lost a fumble on the way to
losing five straight home games. No Place Like Dome: The last time the Saints lost five
straight home games was in 1980 with some bum named Archie Manning as their quarterback.
New York Giants: Odell Beckham Jr. led the Giants to their third straight win against a
very good Rams Defense. Beckham seems to be a sure lock for Offensive Rookie of the
Year. Giants have to be left wondering what their season could have been with better
quarterback play since the beginning of the season.
New York Jets: In what could be the final home game as head coach of New York, Rex
Ryan’s Jets played a hard fought game on Sunday and almost pulled out the upset win.
However, in the end, the Patriots were the Patriots and the Jets… well…they were the Jets.
Oakland Raiders: Well we knew that the Raiders were not going to make the
playoffs….Might as well take the Bills with them. Drought Bowl: On Sunday, the Raiders
and Bills combine for a 27 year playoff drought on one field (Bills – 15 seasons, Raiders –
12 seasons). Ugh.
Philadelphia Eagles: Mark Sanchez, Meet Mr. Reality. Besides the two turnovers that
Mark Sanchez served up the Redskins, the Eagles committed 13 penalties for 103 yards
on Saturday. That stellar performance gave Philadelphia their third straight loss and
earned them a trip to the couch to watch the playoffs this year.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers secured a playoff spot after outlasting the Chiefs on
Sunday. Offensively the Steelers were not overly impressive and were fortunate that their
aging defense found the fountain of youth long enough to sack Alex Smith six times.
December Football: The Steelers have, surprisingly, won six straight December games.
St Louis Rams: The Rams committed three turnovers on their way to losing back to
back home games for the first time this season. The recently stingy Rams defense
allowed a mediocre Giants offense to put up 514 total yards on Sunday. Defensive
Breakdown: After allowing 33 points in their previous 4 games, the Rams allowed 37
points to the Giants on Sunday.
San Diego Chargers:After three Philip Rivers interceptions and trailing 35-21 it was
hard to believe the Chargers could mount a comeback missing Keenan Allen and Ryan
Mathews. However, Rivers found play makers in Antonio Gates and Eddie Royal and
completed an unlikely comeback on the road. Cardiac Kids: The Chargers have had five
comeback victories this season when trailing by 20 points or more….1 shy of the NFL record.
San Francisco 49ers: Just when you think the 49ers would play the role of spoiler on
Saturday, San Francisco had a collapse of epic proportions and blew a 21-0 lead, at
home, to San Diego. Season Slide: The 49ers have lost 6 of their last 9 games….YUCK!
Seattle Seahawks: Seattle’s offense had an eye opening performance by racking up
almost 600 yards on a very good Arizona defense. The win puts Seattle in the driver’s
seat to win the NFC West and capture home field advantage through out the playoffs.
Defense Revved Up: The Seahawks have allowed fewer than 250 yards in each of their last five games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It doesn’t seem to matter if Lovie Smith is coaching in Chicago
or Tampa Bay…..Getting smoked by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers is old hats for Lovie Smith.
Tennessee Titans: Charlie Whitehurst gave the Titans offense some life early and the
Titans even took a 3 point lead into halftime. In the second half however, the Titans were
worn out the Jaguars defense and were only able to muster a field goal in the second
half. Season Lost: The Titans have the longest current losing streak in the NFL having
lost 9 games in a row.
Washington Redskins: The Redskins avenged their Week 3 loss by delivering a lump
of coal in Philadelphia’s stocking. Though being outgained by almost 200 yards, the
Redskins forced timely turnovers which let them squeak by with a 3 point win. Breaking a
Streak: With Sunday’s win, the Redskins snapped a 6 games losing streak.
On a quick side note, in case I don’t have a chance to say so, I wanted to wish everyone
a safe and Merry Christmas. Also, F’ck your team…Happy Holidays!
P.S. Vote for CK!!!