Indianapolis vs. Baltimore
Joe Flacco played one of his best games of the season. The Ravens are in a win and in situation and Flacco will need to be just as sharp next week if not better for them to have a chance. With Baltimore being so hot and cold this season next week’s matchup against the Bengals should be interesting. One topic I haven't touched on at all with the Colts is their coaching situation. Not long ago we saw them get rid of Ryan Grigson who was responsible for a log of questionable personnel decisions during his tenure - what do you guys think the fate is or should be for Chuck Pagano? How much blame should he shoulder in this for the team not making the playoffs for the third straight year?
Minneapolis vs. Green Bay
It was one-sided all game. While I’m sure some will speculate on the value the Packers could potentially get for Brett Hundley with what he’s shown this year a nontrivial cloud looms over his performance at Lambeau Field which has been nothing short of unimpressive. Maybe some California QBs don’t fare well in cold conditions? Minny wore down Green Bay’s defense all game long with their rushing attack led by Latavius Murray. If they can sustain Murray with 21/22 carries a game with Case Keenum playing well AND their defense creating turnovers they are going to be a tough out in the NFC come the playoffs. The Packers could us upgrades along their DL and at the S position - they are currently projected to pick just before the Redskins - will they poach a fan favorite player?
Cleveland vs. Chicago
This one was a bit messy due to the weather as a result and as expected the team who committed the least mistakes came out on top. The Bears certainly knew how to capitalize their opportunities in the weather conditions when they fed Jordan Howard the ball and drew up only short and intermediate passes for Mitch Trubisky. On the flip side, there was very little run game for the Browns and Kizer made his mistakes tossing long passes. Its almost unfair what the Browns are unable to do with their high draft capital. They have the potential to have both the #1 and #4 overall picks this year. Where will they go with the rumors that Darnold and Rosen would not want to be there?
Buffalo vs. New England
The Bills started off great and had great momentum coming off Jordan Poyer’s pick 6. The Patriots came right back and Brady threw a great ball to Gronk who made an amazing one-handed catch and the Patriots never really lost control after that* (Kelvin Benjamin TD to end the half anyone?). Credit to the Bills for keeping this one close into the third quarter but eventually their defense broke under pressure from Dion Lewis on the ground.
Detriot vs. Cincinnati
Its a crushing defeat for the Lions. They are out of the playoffs with a somewhat stunning loss to the Bengals on what amounted to as a must-win game for them. Matt Stafford wasn't good enough and the rushing attack pulled a disappearing act once again. The Detriot defense also had little answer for Giovanni Bernard on the ground and as a receiver. The Lions have a good core of guys which has gotten them this far but they lack a couple of true playmakers particularly at RB and on defense.
Atlanta vs. New Orleans
This was one of the most entertaining games of the week. It's really something special to see how the Saints have carved out a feature role for Kamara and just how good he’s been in it. Even if you were a Kamara fan pre-draft it is very impressive to see how this kid has performed in all facets of the game. The NO offense runs through him essentially. The Saints defense was clicking as well. I’d kill to have a guy like Cameron Jordan at the DE spot and Marcus Lattimore continued his impressive season by hauling in an interception that landed on his rear end. Atlanta faces a sort of win and in situation next week. Win and they are in but if they lose and Seattle wins the Hawks will get the last WC spot.
Denver vs. Washington
Cousins was exceptional this week. I have to tell you seeing John Elway in the both gave me a feeling close to anxiety. Without Kirk here the team will regress barring excellent luck, chemistry, and fortune with the next signal caller. Being a fan that's interested in winning I really would rather the team focus its financial and draft capital assets building other problematic areas of the team. I’ve already talked about the organizational failure to sign Kirk up to this point but it's looking like the team simply isn't sold and/or isn't willing to make him the highest paid player. For a team that has no problem opening up its purse, they sure seem diligent in checking their ledger twice in regards to the most important player on the team.
Tampa Bay vs. Carolina
Jamies Winston played his best game of the season and nearly had the Bucs in position to upset the Panthers. Winston fired great passes to Evans, Humphries, and Chris Godwin all game long and had the Bucs offense moving early. Cam Newton was the luckier of the two QBs in this matchup and put his team over the top on a late snap/fumble/recovery/run in the red zone. It's going to be interesting seeing how far the Panthers can go in the playoffs.
Jacksonville vs. San Francisco
It looks like the 49ers have found their QB. Garrapolo isn't posting what we may consider eye-popping numbers but he is providing good consistent and productive play at the position - something the 49ers have lacked at QB all year. The Jags may have fallen victim to overconfidence and coasted in this one given their imminent playoff berth but 44 points against that defense is nothing to turn your nose up at.
Tennessee vs. Los Angeles (Rams)
Continuing the theme of win and in scenarios, the Titans need to do that next week to secure their spot from a Chargers team waiting in the wings. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley continue to be stars for this Rams team. I’ll be interested just how far they go with McVay in his first year. If Goff tosses 4 TDs and Gurley runs for over 100 yards a game as they have been it could be very far.
Miami vs. Kansas City
The Chiefs secured the #4 seed with their win over the Dolphins. They won handily with Alex Smith, Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce and other playing well. Since their position can get no better or worse the Chiefs are going to take a look at rookie Patrick Mahomes in this upcoming last game of the regular season. This is the luxury stable and successful organizations are afforded. I want it for the Skins.
New York (Giants) vs. Arizona
It was a blow out against the Giants for a Cardinals team that looks less than impressive last week. The Giants have a lot of problems to address in the offseason from their roster to the coaches to the front office. Even in Jerry Reese’s departure, he got the Giants a gift that keeps on giving if the comments Landon Collins made about Eli Apple are to be believed.
Los Angeles (Chargers) vs. New York (Jets)
As mentioned above the Chargers are going to need to win next week and will require some help in the form of a Titans loss and possibly another factor. I actually hope they can get in as I think they are a better overall team. The Jets are prime candidates to take one of these top QBs. Josh McCown was a good stop gap but Bryce Petty is not a guy you hang your hat on and Christian Hackenberg is still taking scout team reps.
Seattle vs. Dallas
I love that the Hawks eliminated Dallas during ‘America’s game of the week’ I can't wait for the day FOX doesn't feature the Cowboys all the time during that slot.
Pittsburgh vs. Houston
The Steelers defense had a field day against Houston - it was to be expected. I’m excited and hopeful that Deshaun Watson comes back healthy next year.
Oakland vs. Philadelphia
The Eagles are still a good team but they are beatable. I would have expected their offense to work more efficiently against the Oakland defense and despite the box score, the game was closer than it appeared. I can’t believe how bad Derek Carr has been this season. I lumped praise on him last year but his performance and the performance of the team around him has dived. I’m not sure where the Raiders will look in the first round to upgrade their team.