With 4 teams vying for first place in the AFC North in Week 13, things are heating up to meltdown conditions even in the icy north…
The Bengals, who tied a game, are 7-3-1 while the Ravens, Steelers and Browns all have a 7-4-0 record with 2 division wins. These 4 teams will duke it out in their respective divisional games for supremacy over the AFC North.
Meanwhile, the New England Patriots (9-2-0) are running away with the AFC East (and the number 1 seed) unless someone can stop them.
A similar situation is developing in the NFC with the Arizona Cardinals (9-2-0) running away with the NFC West and the number 1 seed.
The NFC South is trying really hard to see how low a team’s record can be and still make the playoffs. The Atlanta Falcons (4-7-0) are leading the division with a 4-0 division record, having beaten each of its division rivals at least once (and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers twice).
The Philadelphia Eagles (8-3-0) and the Dallas Cowboys (8-3-0) are vying for first place in the NFC East. One of these teams will win the division and the other will likely make the playoffs as a wild card. This week’sÂ Thanksgiving game between the Cowboys and Eagles will decide who takes the division.
Another game with playoff implications this Thanksgiving DayÂ is the Seattle Seahawks (7-4-0) trip to San Francisco to take on the 49ers (7-4-0) for sole possession of 2nd place in the NFC West, behind the Cardinals. The winner will be hoping that the Detroit Lions (7-4-0) lose to the Chicago Bears (5-6-0), also on Thanksgiving Day!
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (8-3-0) are looking like the likely winners of the NFC North unless Detroit has something to say about it. But the New England Patriots (9-2-0) will be coming to town this weekend to see if they can knock them down a peg.
Heartbreaking news for the New England Patriots as their worst fears are realized: Tight End wonder Rob Gronkowski will be out the rest of the season and probably part of next season with a torn ACL and MCL… I could hear Tom Brady crying in anguish when the news broke on NFL Network. The playoff hunt must go on.
Jets Fly Over Raiders
Geno Smith continues to surprise with a 37-27 win over the Oakland Raiders at home.
Geno threw one pick, one touchdown and ran for another. It looks like having a fully healthy receiving corps is just what the Geno ordered.
Chiefs Scalp Redskins
After an embarrassing 45-10 loss to the Kansa City Chiefs, Washington Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan has had enough. He benched RG III during the game and allowed Kirk Cousins to play even though the cause was already lost by then. Shanahan has had to deal with rumors of his having reportedly threatened to leave the Redskins in January of this year after losing his QB and the playoffs to the Seahawks. He refused to fuel any of that speculation with any new information nor would he name a starting QB for next week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The recent job opening in Houston after head coach Gary Kubiak was unceremoniously fired following the loss to Jacksonville on Thursday night appears to be interesting to Shanahan, although the name that is currently circulating as a favorite for the job is former Bears head coach Lovie Smith.
In Baltimore and Philadelphia, the falling snow was the headline of the game as the field kept building up with the white stuff throughout the course of the game. The Baltimore Ravens hosted the Minnesota Vikings in a slugfest that included an injury to Adrian Peterson’s right foot. Ravens’ tight end Dennis Pitta returned from IR to make 6 catches for 48 yards and a touchdown in a game the ended with a flurry of scores from both teams in the final couple minutes of the game as Toby Gerhart (Adrian Peterson’s replacement) rushed for a 41-yard TD for Minnesota, followed by a Jacoby Jones 77-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and then with 45 seconds left, Matt Cassell caught Cordarrelle Patterson for a 79-yard touchdown. Leaving it up to Joe Flacco to drive his team down the field 80 yards in 41 seconds for the game winning touchdown pass to Marlon Brown with 4 seconds left.
The win puts Baltimore in a good position to grab the second NFC Wild Card spot. But with 3 more weeks to go, the playoffs are going to shake up a little more.
Philadelphia was not expected to do well against the NFC North leading Detroit Lions, but after LeSean McCoy’s 217 rushing yard game that included a 40 and 57 yard touch down run, the Eagles finished the game with the win and an 8-5 record. The Lions fell to 7-6 and still lead the NFC North by half a game until the Monday Night Football game where the Bears host the Dallas Cowboys. Both the Lions and the Eagles are hoping for a different outcome to tonight’s game since their division lead depends on the loss of their division counterpart. So the Eagles are rooting for the Bears and the Lions are rooting for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys vs Bears game is expected to be downright frigid as the game time temps are supposed to be in the single digits. Can anyone say frostbite?
The temperature in Denver yesterday for the Titans vs Broncos game was in the teens. That did not stop Peyton Manning from leading his team to a 51-28 blowout of the Tennessee Titans. Matt Prater took advantage of the extra muscle flexes of his shivering legs to kick an NFL record setting 64 yard field goal.
Manning completed 39 passes for 397 yards and 4 touchdowns while the Denver defense held Ryan Fitzpatrick to only 13 completions for 172 yards and 1 touchdown. Manning, who has been under constant criticism of his ability to play in cold weather, told his critics, “Whoever wrote that narrative can shove that one where the sun don’t shine!” He also told Denver Radio Station KOA-AM, “I felt pretty good out there today.”