Minnesota vs. Detroit
Minnesota’s offense is faltering in almost every way. Their offensive line is a mess. The run game is near invisible and Sam Bradford is playing terribly right now. If Detroit played a mistake free penalty free game they probably wouldn't have needed that clutch field goal by Matt Prater. Would you have guessed the Lions would be division leaders at this point? I wouldn’t have.
Washington vs. Dallas
Sigh. Strategy and lack of execution is what cost the Redskins this game. On the plus side, the offense looks potent, that is until they get into the red zone. Red zone efficiency is a real issue and while we all should be happy Cousins is putting up 2 TDs and 350+ a game it feels weird asking for even more. How good would he be, how good would the team be, if we could convert those red zone chances. Dallas has the opposite problem. When they get into the red zone they score. Their offensive line completely dominated our defensive front. Zeke Elliott was three yards short of the century mark but he thoroughly embarrassed our front seven. This team is 3 or 4 players or so from being as dominant as Dallas has been. Let’s hope we win out surprise a lot of people and let Scotty M handle things in the offseason.
Pittsburgh vs. Indianapolis
This wasn't even a contest without Andrew Luck playing. I think most people know Scott Tolzien isn’t more than a backup from his days in Green Bay but that fact was exploited in primetime on Thanksgiving. You can’t know his effort but he just forced too many throughs and turned the ball over too many times. How about Pat McAfee’s fake punt / throw for first down. That was impressive for a punter. Le’Veon Bell once again had an impressive day for the Steelers. Big Ben simply had a field day against the Colts defense hitting Antonio Brown several times for touchdowns and linking up with pretty much all of his receivers.
New York (Giants) vs. Cleveland
Well, Cleveland looked like they were in it and had a chance for a good half a quarter but to no avail. To their credit, this looked the best they've played in a couple weeks. Both teams were cold coming out of the gate but the Giants eventually found their stride and OBJ had a big game. JPP also had one of the best games of his career. With the NFCE being one of the best divisions in football the Redskins need to maintain their effectiveness and success to keep pace.
Tennessee vs. Chicago
Tennessee got back on track this week defeating Chicago, kinda. All things considered, the Bears would have won this game if Bellamy could catch a ball that was thrown to him on target while he was wide open in the end zone. Matt Barkley far had his best game of his short career. Who knows what Chicago is going to do about the QB position at the end of the season but if Matt Barkley ends up throwing the ball well down the stretch can he make the franchise take a second look at him?
Marcus Mariota continues to impress me in the second half of the season. At the season’s end, I would be really interested to compare his production based on each half of the season. His first half play was nowhere near as efficient or good as how he is performing currently.
Atlanta vs. Arizona
Thanks Atlanta! The Cardinals are reeling. The Redskins have a great opportunity to send them retreating further back on their heels. I’m sure the coaching staff and the team will be prepared for next week’s matchup another statement game from the offense and if at all possible the defense would do wonders for momentum. Unfortunately, the strength of the Cardinals is David Johnson. Here’s to hoping the Redskins can contain him.
Houston vs. San Diego
Brock Osweiler isn’t playing well. His problem thus far in his career has been consistency. One throw will be a dime while the next will be a horrible interception. Sound familiar? The question for Osweiler and the Texans organization is if they think he can grow and change those habits. Having already signed him to a big contract in the offseason I’m sure the Texans would have preferred he figured things already but they will have to stick with these growing pains a few more years.
The established veteran, Phillip Rivers, knows what he’s doing and has developed a nice rapport with these receivers during the season. Tyrell Williams in particular has been a pleasant surprise for the Chargers. Hunter Henry may have been the Chargers best pick of this past draft judging right now.
New Orleans vs. Los Angeles
The Rams looked like they had something going early and Jared Goff was looking great but the Rams quickly fizzled on both offense and defense. The Saints were keeping up blow for blow in the first half before they eventually pulled away. Drew Brees had a great game but perhaps even more impressive was Mark Ingram’s day on the ground. Ingram was breaking off chunk plays with no Rams in sight. Michael Thomas definitely is the best rookie wide receiver in the league. If you are a Rams fan I guess you can take comfort in how Goff played in his second start but the team as a whole is definitely in disarray.
New England vs. New York (Jets)
This was a hard fought game by the Jets. I didn’t expect a full on blowout but I didn't think the Jets had it in them to keep up and even take the lead during several key times during the game. Tom Brady’s ability to lead a team to victory is just too good though. As expected with the game on the line Brady marched the Patriots up the field and scores on a touchdown throw to Malcolm Mitchell. The rookie WR has been impressive the past few weeks. The pats defense seal this one with a strip of Fitzpatrick.
Tampa Bay vs. Seattle
What a big time game by Jameis Winston. That kid showed up to play and was largely excellent all game except for a silly throw in the end zone that got picked off in the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay fans should be over the moon with his play this season. The Bucs find themselves in the playoff hunt right behind the Redskins in the NFCE. The Seahawks were downright awful. Russell Wilson and the offensive were on the run for most of the night without much production. The run game for Seattle was non-existent. The Bucs defense stepped up big time as well. They got pressure on Wilson and forced him into throwing several picks.
San Francisco vs. Miami
This was a pretty exciting game to watch. The Dolphins are rolling. Ryan Tannehill is on track and playing some good football right now. The 49ers led one hell of a comeback attempt though. Kaepernick is definitely not his 2012/2013 self. Despite some impressive throws and running he was a bit off all game. The 49ers need some more weapons too. Kap did way to much this game for the result to end how it did. How many of you think if 2012 Kap was playing he would have gotten into the end zone on that last scramble?
Carolina vs. Oakland
What a great game. I have to admit I thought Oakland would be more dominant than they were but their defense showed up when it mattered. Derek Carr looked as if he sustained a possible devastating injury on his hand but ended up coming back to the game. The QB looked good all game, he’s elite. Khalil Mack, wow. Not only did he have an impressive interception and score but he ended the game with a strip-sack of Newton. The Panthers defense also showed well. Thomas Davis intercepted Derek Carr and had a respectable return. The Panthers look a lot better than they did at the beginning of the season. Cam Newton’s deep ball is a thing of beauty and with a receiver like Kelvin Benjamin being able to go up and get it it’s going to be a tough one when we play them. I think of the Redskins remaining games Carolina will still be one of the tougher matchups.
Jaguars vs. Buffalo
What the hell Bills? I picked the Bills defense in a Fanduel contest and they dropped the damn ball. The Jaguars haven't been this hot on offense all season but they got off to a fast start against the Bills. Shady McCoy looked good as always. How long has it been since Sammy Watkins played? It feels like it’s been forever since he’s been on the field. If the Bills can string together wins during this last stretch it will be an interesting finish for second place in the AFC East.
Baltimore vs. Cincinnati
What a fall for the Bengals this year. Not nearly good enough. Bye, Marvin Lewis.
Kansas City vs. Denver
Justin Houston is back. As impressive as Houston was, Von Miller of course was just as impressive. What weapon Tyreek Hill is. The Chiefs use him in a multitude of ways as they should. His speed and agility is such a weapon he also has impressive vision. On that not, where the hell was Denver’s special teams? Do they want David Bruton back? Back to Tyreek Hill again, WHAT AN ENDING! What’s a catch? Whats control? What are cajones? The Chiefs tied on what looked like an improbable touchdown and then got the two-point conversion. Overtime was even more lit with that rock of a FG that actually went in. Great luck, or skill, or whatever Chiefs!
Green Bay vs. Philadelphia
Bye Eagles, Bye. Your team sucks! Praise Aaron Rodgers, Praise Devante Adams.