I hope all of our readers were able to capitalize on the free pick NFL Pick between the Cowboys and NY Giants. It was an interesting week.
Oh how things have changed in Tampa Bay. On a sinking ship just a few weeks ago, with a win over the Lions on Sunday, the Buccaneers have now won three games in a row. Sure, it’s statistically impossible for the Bucs to catch up to the Panthers or the Saints in the NFC South, but wins against teams like the Lions are huge moral victories for a Tampa Bay squad that started out so poorly. The real story in this one was Matthew Stafford’s four interceptions. The final of those picks was in and out of Calvin Johnson’s hands, which was more than enough for the Buccaneers to hold onto their 24-21 victory. But rather than harp on the inefficiencies of the Lions, lets celebrate yet another win for Mike Glennon. The rookie quarterback has now won three straight, and four games ago he gave the Seahawks a close overtime scare as well. Even though it still won’t mean much in the way of the playoffs, keep an eye on the Bucs as they play the Panthers next weekend. Even though they are out of the postseason, stopping the Panthers winning streak would be a huge victory for a Tampa team that is hoping to finish the season strong.
Houston fans might as well stop turning on their TV’s on Sundays, and instead be more productive of their time. In what will go down as one of the worst seasons in Texans young history, a new low might’ve been hit in Week 12. Not only did Houston lose it’s ninth game in a row, but they did so to a Jacksonville team that only had one win to their name prior to the game on Sunday. Despite being benched for Matt Schaub last weekend, Case Keenum played the entire game on Sunday, even though he was only 18-34 for 169 yards, and he found the Jacksonville defense more times than he found his own end zone. Neither of these teams are making much of an impact on the league at this point. But you have to wonder what will be in store for the Texans this offseason.
The NFC North had by far one of the strangest weekends in recent memory. While the Lions and Bears both had chances to gain some ground in the playoff hunt, the Vikings and Packers played to a 26-26 tie that probably hurt the Packers more than a loss would have. Consider the Bears and Lions were both favored in their games, and the Packers are still without Aaron Rodgers, it’s likely that Green Bay might be approaching their next few weeks a bit differently. However, with the other teams losing, a win would’ve been huge for the Packers as they wait for Rodgers’ return. Maybe the one bright spot in this game was the performance of Matt Flynn. The former Packer, who then stopped in Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo, replaced Scott Tolzien and rallied the Packers to 16 points in the fourth quarter. If the Packers could get that same kind of performance on Thanksgiving Day against the Lions, they might even surprise some people with a victory that would make the NFC North playoff picture look even more confusing. As for the Vikings, Adrian Peterson had 146 monster yards and a touchdown, and Christian Ponder played the entire game, going 21-30 for 233 yards.
During the Chiefs surprising nine-game winning streak to start the season, maybe people claimed that they hadn’t played anyone of value to warrant a whole lot of fuss. After losing their second straight game, this one to San Diego, those criticisms might be proving to be true. In what Phillip Rivers called the type of game that could save the Chargers season, the quarterback had the type of performance that leaders are known for. Going 27-39 for 392 yards and three monster touchdowns, Rivers the Chargers were able to put up 41 points on a vaunted Chiefs defense. This win makes for quite the interesting scenario in the AFC West. The Chiefs will now face the Broncos, who beat them in Denver last weekend. Getting a bit ahead of ourselves maybe, but a third loss in a row would swing the door wide open for the Chargers to make a run in the final weeks of the season. Furthermore, if the Chiefs are to lose a third straight game, panic may start to heat up in Kansas City. But before we get to that point, lets keep in mind that this was a tremendous effort by the Chargers and, despite being a five-point underdog, they were able to get a huge win on the road against one of the top defenses in the entire league. Hold on tight AFC West fans, it’s going to be a good finish.
The Panthers would need all sixty minutes to beat the Dolphins on Sunday. But as Cam Newton rallied his team to a 20-16 win, the Panthers have now won seven in a row and remain one of the hottest teams in the league. Down 16-6 at halftime, Newton was able to run in a 5-yard touchdown in the third to make it 16-13. Then, on a fourth-and-10 from his own 20, Newton converted on a drive that would eventually lead to the game winner with just 43 seconds left. The seven game winning streak for the Panthers is their longest since 2003 and has fans in Carolina excited about the potential of this team. The Panthers will face a surprisingly hot Tampa Bay team next weekend. But assuming they can win that one, it makes for quite the interesting matchup in Week 14 when they Panthers will face the Saints. As for the Dolphins, they are surprisingly still in the hunt for a playoff spot, even at 5-6. A loss by the Jets to the Ravens also keeps the Jets at 5-6, and the two teams will play one another next weekend.
Things continue to roll for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their Week 12 27-11 win over Cleveland makes for quite the interesting matchup on Thanksgiving day for when they play Baltimore. On Sunday, it was Ben Roethlisberger’s 217 yards and two touchdowns that led the way as the Steelers picked up their third win in a row, and their fifth on the season. Now, the Steelers find themselves tied for second place in the AFC North. As for the Browns, two losses in a row may have sealed the fait for them for this year. Just a few weeks ago they were fighting for the top spot in the AFC North, but now they are at the bottom of the division and look to be all but completely out of it. The AFC North is going to get much more interesting on Thursday when the Steelers and Ravens play. Whoever wins that game will also match up against the Bengals at least once in the final weeks, making for a tight race for that division in the final weeks. It should be a great end of the season for the AFC North.
We already mentioned once how weird the NFC North was on Sunday when the Packers and Vikings played for a tie. But things were just as interesting in the Bears 21-42 loss to the St. Louis Rams. Granted, the Rams had a huge win last weekend against Indy, but their still playing behind an inexperienced quarterback in Kellen Clemens. Speaking of Clemens, he was 10-22 on Sunday and luckily the Rams had rushing scores from Tavon Austin, Zac Stacy and Benjamin Cunningham instead. The Bears weren’t necessarily outplayed in this one, but instead it was an early lead that the Rams got that Chicago simply couldn’t come back from. Josh McCown did throw for 352 yards and two touchdowns, and 117 yards and a touchdown went to Brandon Marshall. However, considering the Bears didn’t make any ground in the NFC North this weekend, you have to consider this an all around frustrating loss that could shape the remainder of the season for the Bears. Luckily for them, they have a few easy games coming up, starting with Minnesota next weekend, that they could capitalize on to regain some leverage for a playoff spot. As for the Rams, they’ll head to San Francisco, but with wins against the Colts and Bears, they certainly shouldn’t be taken very likely against a rocky 49ers squad.
The Ravens finally put an end to the streak that the Jets have had all season long. The longest in NFL history, the Jets have alternated wins to losses since week one. However, after a loss to the Bills last weekend, and a 19-3 loss this weekend, the Jets now find themselves on a two game losing streak and in trouble in the AFC Playoff picture. The Jets didn’t get much of anything going on Sunday. The problem is, the Ravens didn’t do much of anything either. For the Jets, Geno Smith 9-22 for only 127 yards. And Joe Flacco was 17-26 for only 273. Smith had two interceptions and Flacco had one. The win is big for the Ravens, who stay right in the thick of the AFC North conversation. They’ll play the Steelers on Thanksgiving night, with the winner having a real legit shot at possibly catching the Bengals by the end of the year.
After seeing the Chiefs lose and the door opening in the AFC West, the Raiders were hoping they could steal a win against the Titans to get back in the playoff conversation. They had that chance for nearly the entire game. That is, until the birthday boy Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Titans down the field and scored a game winning touchdown with just 10-second left. The touchdown was Fitzpatrick’s second on the day, and the drive was part of 320 on the day for the quarterback. With the win, the Titans, along with so many other teams at 5-6, are still in the playoff hunt. It doesn’t hurt that the Colts also lost on the day, leaving room for the Titans to potentially catch them for the AFC South lead. As for the Raiders, they really could’ve used this win. They now have a short week to prepare for the Cowboys, who they’ll play on Thanksgiving. Then the following week will be against the Jets, and the remaining three games will be against their divisional opponents.
The Cardinals have flown under the radar for majority of this season, being overshadowed by the Seahawks and 49ers. But after their 40-11 blowout over the Colts, it’s unlikely the Cardinals will go unnoticed anymore. Carson Palmer usually gets the blame for the failures of the Cardinals and not enough praise during their successes. But it was his 314 yards and 2 touchdowns that were instrumental in the win on Sunday. 104 of his yards went to Michael Floyd, and both of his touchdowns went to Larry Fitzgerald. That sounds like a great recipe for making your star receivers happy, especially going forward. Depending on what happens on Monday night with the 49ers, the Cardinals could surprisingly find their way into the second place spot in the NFC West. But either way, they’ll be happy to be at 7-4 and on a quite four-game win streak. As for the Colts, they have now lost two of the last three, and they’ve given up 30-points in all three of their previous games. If Andrew Luck isn’t able to put up a handful of touchdowns on his own, then the defense is going to have to tighten things up on their side of the ball. The Cardinals will look to keep the ball rolling against the Eagles next week, and the Colts will look to get back on track with a huge AFC South game against the Titans.
You have to give the Cowboys some credit after their game on Sunday against the Giants. All things were tilted in favor of the Giants, coming in on a huge winning streak and favored to win in Arlington. And with first place in the NFC East on the line, this would be perfect timing for the Cowboys to fall on their face. But behind Tony Romo’s 250 yards and two touchdowns, the Cowboys were able to capture a 24-21 win on a Dan Bailey field goal that was good as time expired. We’ve seen that the Giants are able to go on a tear and win a few games in a row, so they still shouldn’t be counted out of the season. But this might’ve been the last straw for any chance they had to make a run at winning the NFC East. They’ll play divisional foe Washington for the first time this season next Sunday, and the Cowboys will play on Thanksgiving night against the Raiders. If the Cowboys can win again, they can keep things looking in their favor in the division, especially with game a game against Philly on the last day of the season.
Manning vs Brady didn’t quite start out the way that many would’ve thought. On a frigid night in Foxboro, the Patriots turned the ball over three times on their first three possessions of the game. All three were capitalized on, and put points on the board for the Broncos. At halftime, it was 24-0 in favor of the Broncos, and you could hear the boos ringing out from Patriot fans. But while a 24-0 may be an impossible task for some to overcome, it was just a minor setback for Tom Brady. Tom Terrific would come back to score 31 unanswered points for the Patriots, that would make this game one of the greatest comebacks on Brady’s career. When Peyton Manning hit Demaryius Thomas on an 11-yard pass, we were looking at the second overtime game on the day. In a big surprise, Bill Belichick would win the toss and select to go with the wind, rather than take the ball. This was an obvious sign because of the 20mph winds swirling throughout Gillette Stadium. Just when it looked like we might be heading to our second tie of the day, the Broncos’ Tony Carter would run into a kickoff that the Patriots would then hop on. This was enough to put the Patriots in field goal range, which they would drain for the 34-31 win. The Broncos still have the better record at 8-2, but with a game next weekend against Kansas City at Arrowhead, things get more interesting for Denver. If they lose, for example, we could be looking at a three way tie for first place in the AFC come playoff time. Things still have a way of shaking themselves out atop the AFC. But it could be interesting to see how Manning continues to play in cold weather, and whether or not this game will have an impact on how the season plays out.