Indianapolis vs. Denver
The Broncos look to be down to one QB going forward with Osweiler coming in and performing well in relief of Trevor Siemein (IR). Who knows what they are going to do with Paxton Lynch after his strange debut earlier in the year but it's certain they will be looking for better play out of the position going forward. Word through the grapevine is that they are/will be highly interested in Kirk in the offseason - we’ll see what happens with that. As bad as the Broncos have been this season the Colts have been worse. Their defense is still terrible and they have gotten below average play from Brissett despite the flashes he’s shown (the offensive line doesn't get a pass here either). With the #2 overall pick in their possession right now the Colts have a prime opportunity to boost their defensive talent - if I had to guess a player they would be interested in at that spot it would be Bradley Chubb.
Detriot vs. Chicago
Trubisky has a long way to go. To be frank he has not improved much since he got the starting gig in week 5. When you watch him play he still is making the same silly mistakes game after game. That continued on Saturday where he threw 3 INTs against the Bears. 2 of those were really bad one being into double coverage in the end zone and the other as a result of not throwing it completely out of bounds. Having started now a grand total of 23 games now between college and the pro’s surely the Bears are in this for the long haul or hopefully so for Trubisky’s sake. There is a 3-way tie right now for teams looking to surpass the Falcons for the last WC spot. The Lions are in the thick of things with the Cowboys and Seahawks. By the way, I’d take Marvin Jones on the Redskins any day I think he is quietly one of the best receivers in the NFL.
Los Angeles (Chargers) vs. Kansas City
The Chargers needed to win this game against their divisional foe to remain in playoff contention in the AFC. They underperformed against the Chiefs. The Charger defense which looked great in weeks past were on their heels in this one and got little pressure on Alex Smith and could hardly contain Kareem Hunt. If the playoffs started today the Chiefs would be the No. 4 seed in the AFC and would either play the Bills or the Ravens (if its the Titans please correct me) - if they can hold onto that scenario the Chiefs would be one of the luckiest teams in the playoffs as I think any other matchup doesn't bode well for them.
Philadelphia vs. New York (Giants)
This was probably the best effort the Giants have put forth since the beginning of the season. Their secondary wasn’t good enough to stop Nick Foles who’s showing shades of his 2013 form. A player I haven't really talked about that's come into form since they moved him to the slot is Nelson Agholor. He may not be playing ‘like a number 1 pick’ the way some people define it but he has been very effective in the offense this year and has carved out a significant role for himself after the fan base labeled him as a bust in his rookie year (sounds familiar). When Wentz returns next year I expect he and Agholor to have developed even more rapport.
Cincinnati vs. Minnesota
The Vikings are going to be a tough out in the playoffs but what I really want to talk about (again) is how many lives Marvin Lewis has. Not only is the Bengals organization letting him leave coaching basically on his own terms after the season but they are going to give him a position in the front office. How this will affect the Bengals and the product on the field I don’t really know but this is the first time I have witnessed anything like this regarding a below average coaching seemingly being so highly rewarded.
Arizona vs. Washington
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ a win is a win but as we all know something has been up with this team just about all season. Outside of individual performances like Anthony Lanier’s and Kendall Fuller’s and others this team still has a long way to go to get on the right path involving consistency and chemistry. I could rehash all the talking points from the board as to why this team has struggled and what needs to happen to start remediation on things but I won’t - cause there is plenty of that every day. Considering the level of play this team has sunk to at times, the injuries, and the inconsistency finishing out the season with 2 more wins and finishing at 8-8 would be a blessing.
Cleveland vs. Baltimore
The Ravens defense is carrying them to a WC spot potentially. Cleveland has a new and respected GM in John Dorsey - I’ll be interested if that actually matters at that organization.
Green Bay vs. Carolina
It’s strange that the Packers won’t be in the playoffs this year - Aaron Rodgers really carries that team to victory week in and week out when he’s healthy. He wasn’t in peak form this week coming off his injury against a tough Panthers defense. Rodgers was picked 3 times and the Panthers and though he had yet another comeback opportunity Geronimo Allison sealed the game with his catch and fumble. On the opposite end of things, Cam Newton and the Panthers seem to be hitting their stride late in the season. It should be an interesting matchup if they keep pace and play either the Rams or the Saints.
Houston vs. Jacksonville
From a competition standpoint, I think its really great that the Jags will finally be in the playoffs. There is hope for consistently terrible franchises if they get the proper management and have a plan and stick to it for developing their team.
Tennessee vs. San Francisco
The 9ers are on a roll! Maybe there is something to this Garrapolo guy. He at least is not hindering the team with his play and has actually been quite productive over the past couple of weeks. Marquise Goodwin has been pretty good for the 49ers despite his lack of TDs he’s on pace to probably break 1000 yards receiving before the season is over. The 9ers also need to give Robbie Gould props for how effective he’s been as a kicker these past few weeks as well. Tennessee took a hit with this loss but are still in the WC picture. I wouldn’t bet on them making it out of the first round if they make it though.
New York (Jets) vs. New Orleans
As long as the Saints remain tied with the Panthers as far as the record goes they’ll be the division champs because they beat the Panthers both times they have played this year. Marshon Lattimore should be in the conversation for DROY. He has played very well all season long and has notched some impressive totals in the stat column he’s going to the Pro Bowl. The Jets are going to have to pack the rest of the season in with McCown going to IR.
Miami vs. Buffalo
After coming off an impressive win versus the Patriots Miami and Jay Cutler come back to earth against the Bills. The Bills defense returned to form this week and picked off Cutler multiple times. Tre’Davious White deserves DROY consideration as well. These young corners that came out in the first round this year were ready to go.
Los Angeles (Rams) vs. Seattle
The Rams tore Seattle limb from limb in this one. Just about everyone on the Rams would have made Mark’s Stud list but Todd Gurley was on another level last Sunday and did something we hardly see against the Seattle defense. He ran for over 150 yards and had 3 TDs. The Rams defense also came through and embarrassed Seattle's o-line and got to Wilson at least 5 times. Seattle is still in the playoff picture - we’ll see if they can hang on these next couple of weeks.
New England vs. Pittsburgh
The catch rule has to make a primetime appearance at least once a year I guess.
Dallas vs. Oakland
I really hate that Dallas is able to squeak out wins like this - thankfully despite their record they basically would need a miracle to get into the playoffs.
Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay
Jamies Winston finally had a good game and the Falcons still somehow pull this one out. The Falcon run game was much better than the Bucs thanks to Devonta Freeman plus they got a bit of a boost from their special teams from our old friend Andre Roberts on returns. I can’t believe Atlanta is going to get into the playoffs with how blah they’ve played all year.