It’s the 4th quarter of the NFL season!
19 NFL teams are within a game of a playoff spot, and 1 team is within a game of their first win of the season. There’s hope for many.
I bounced back like Big Sean in Week 13, going 11-4 to recover from my worst week of the season. There were still some bumps along the road in this first Sunday of December, so let’s review:
– Damn, the Vikings hurt my soul. The biggest play of their 17-15 loss to the Cowboys wasn’t the failed 2-point conversion, it was WR Adam Thielen’s lost fumble inside his own 10 in the 4th quarter. One play later, and the Cowboys took a lead they would not relinquish. Of course, Minnesota’s last chance was still controversial…
Officials missed hands to the facemask of Bradford there.
— Law Murray ? (@LawMurrayTheNU) December 2, 2016
– The Broncos won in Jacksonville 20-10 despite Denver QB Paxton Lynch barely moving the offense, and the defense forced three turnovers of Jaguars QB Blake Bortles, including Bortles’ 11th career pick-six. Bortles only has more pick-sixes than wins as a starter (10).
– Speaking of bad QBs, the Texans went to Green Bay and took their third straight loss, final score 21-13. Houston QB Brock Osweiler actually threw 2 TD without an INT, but he was under 6.0 yards per attempt again for the 5th time this season.
– Monday Night Football was a disaster for everyone not affiliated with the Indianapolis Colts, who won 41-10 on the road against the Jets. Colts TE Dwayne Allen scored 3 first-half TD, and New York QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched for the 2nd time this season on MNF.
The last time the Jets won at San Francisco was 1983, when Joe Walton was the head coach and Richard Todd was the QB. Back in 1983, the Jets had as many Super Bowl wins as the 49ers! And even if the Jets lose, they’ll have more wins than the 49ers this season. And that’s all we need to say about that game this week…
— Law Murray ? (@LawMurrayTheNU) December 7, 2016
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs: Well, I had the Chiefs, and this game is in the 2nd half. They’re trying to trick the game, and if they do, you’ll hear about it from me next week. In the meantime, here’s Reggie Wayne on Arrowhead Stadium:
— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) December 8, 2016
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers: The Seahawks haven’t won in Green Bay this century, and now they have to go there without FS Earl Thomas. Last year, Green Bay beat the Seahawks with SS Kam Chancellor holding out. Seattle will need their front seven to dominate this matchup, especially with Green Bay being as one-dimensional as they have been on the ground since RB Eddie Lacy was place on IR after Week 6. Green Bay’s leading rusher since Week 7 has been QB Aaron Rodgers, and their second-leading rusher has been WR Ty Montgomery. Seattle’s offense is coming off a season-best performance against the Panthers.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants: In Week 1, the Cowboys lost at home to the Giants. It was the only game this season that rookie QB Dak Prescott threw 40+ times, and New York held rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott to a season-low 51 rushing yards. Dallas hasn’t lost since, with Prescott compiling passer ratings of at least 100.0 in 10 of his last 11 starts and Elliott gaining at least 4.0 yards per rush in 10 of his last 11 games. New York saw their 6-game winning streak snapped in Pittsburgh as their terrible offense caught up with them, so they will need their top-5 run defense to hold it down while the scuffling offense hopes to hit some big plays. New York can’t afford any turnovers by QB Eli Manning.
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots: TNF may be the Game of the Week, and SNF may be the most talked about game, but my personal favorite is the final #Deflategate revenge game for New England QB Tom Brady on MNF. The last time these two teams played was in the 2014 AFC Divisional that saw the Patriots win on trick plays and possibly deflated footballs. Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh allegedly tipped off the Colts, and after Colts ILB D’Qwell Jackson intercepted a pass in the 2014 AFC Championship, the rest was infamy. (Also, Jackson is now ironically suspended due to PED use.) With New England missing TE Rob Gronkowski and facing the top run defense in the league, it will be up to Brady to make plays to upend a Baltimore team getting better as Ravens QB Joe Flacco gets farther removed from his 2015 ACL tear.
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 7, 2016