The NFL Season is 2/3rds of the way complete and for some teams time is running out to make a push for the playoffs. One loss can take you from a fringe playoff team to completely out of the playoff picture…just like that. We also saw some contenders match up in big games this past week, as teams who are comfortably in the playoff picture battle for position as the top seed in each conference. Let’s take a look at what went down this past week.
Rams vs Packers:
Aaron Rodgers threw for two touchdown and ran for another (on his bad toe), as the Packers jumped out to a lead and held on for a 36-28 win over the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams have lost three games in a row, and it looks like they may not be able to make up ground in the NFC West race with the Cardinals. Matthew Stafford has been turnover prone during the Rams’ losing streak and had two more vs the Packers. The win for Green Bay keeps them a game behind Arizona for the top seed in the NFC. Green Bay has the tiebreaker with a head-to-head win over the Cardinals.
Tampa Bay vs Indianapolis:
The Colts will look back at this game and say they missed an opportunity. Indianapolis held a 24-14 lead at halftime and had possession with an opportunity to stretch the lead even larger vs Tom Brady and the Bucs, but the Colts started turning over the ball. Shaq Barrett forced a strip sack on Carson Wentz and six plays later the Bucs scored to make it a 24-21 game. On the Colts’ next possession Carson Wentz was intercepted on a jump ball pass. The Colts turned the ball five times vs the Bucs and still had an opportunity to tie the game late, but Wentz’s Hail Mary attempt was picked off. Leonard Fournette was the workhorse for the Bucs – carrying for 100 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns and catching another score. Tampa Bay is still in play for the top seed in the NFC as they sit currently 3rd in the standings.
Las Vegas vs Dallas:
The Raiders were able to stay in the AFC West and wildcard picture with a big win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Derek Carr threw for 373 yards and the Raiders’ offense torched the Cowboys’ defense for a total of 509 yards. In overtime, the game came down to a pass interference penalty on 3rd down that allowed the Raiders to get into field goal position. Dallas had 14 penalties for 166 yards. Las Vegas is in a tie for 2nd place in the AFC West with the Chargers and Broncos, chasing Kansas City who sit a game ahead. Dallas’ lead in the NFC East is now only 2 games and Dallas still has to play Washington twice.
Tennessee vs New England:
The New England Patriots may be the hottest team in the NFL right now having won six straight games. The Patriots’ defense made it miserable for Ryan Tannehill – holding him to only 93 yards passing and quarterback rating of 37.6. Mac Jones had his best game as pro, throwing for a career high 310 yards and two touchdowns. New England forced four turnovers and didn’t have any on their own end, as they surge to try to win the top seed in the AFC and have the road to the Superbowl come through Foxboro. The Patriots play their first of two huge matchups vs the Buffalo Bills next Monday night.
- The Carolina Panthers performance in Miami was unacceptable in all phases of the game. To add insult to injury, Christian McCaffery and Donte Jackson are both on season ending injured reserve. The Panthers’ playoff hopes are on life support and the heat is on for head coach Matt Rhule.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers’ performance Sunday against the Bengals was even worse than the Panthers. At one point, the Steelers were down 41-3 and Ben Roethlisberger looks like he is done.
- Baltimore was able to win ugly and hold on to the AFC’s top spot for now, but they won’t hold on to that spot playing the way they did vs the Browns
AFC Playoff Picture:
1) Baltimore Ravens 8-3
2) New England Patriots 8-4
3) Tennessee Titans 8-4
4) Kansas City Chiefs 7-4
5) Cincinnati Bengals 7-4
6) Buffalo Bills 7-4
7) LA Chargers 6-5
In the mix: Raiders and Broncos are 6-5, The Colts and Browns 6-6, Pittsburgh is 5-5-1
NFC Playoff Picture:
1) Arizona Cardinals 9-2
2) Green Bay Packers 9-3
3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-3
4) Dallas Cowboys 7-4
5) LA Rams 7-4
6) San Francisco 49ers 6-5
7) Washington Football Team 5-6
In the mix: Minnesota, Atlanta, and New Orleans are 5-6. Philadelphia and Carolina are 5-7
Week 13 Games to Watch:
LA Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
Washington at Las Vegas
Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Denver at Kansas City
New England at Buffalo