NEW YORK, NY – Week 14 was a nutty one in the #NFL with all sorts of surprises and lots of concussions. Things are looking bleaker for the Giants and Jets but they’re still sniffing around the playoff tent, hoping to get in. And hey, it’s meaningful football in December. We’ll take it. And don’t look now, but it is possible that the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars will be division champions in a month. Well, deflate my balls! I can’t say I saw that coming. Let’s have a look at the landscape after some wild happenings.
From the “I Sure as Spit Didn’t See that Coming” File
Geno Smith and Jarred Goff are 4th and 5th (tied with Hurts, Rodgers and Tua) in TD passes, with 25 and 22.
With his monster game, Giants’ castoff Evan Engram is 4th tight end in the league (tied with Mooooooooth) with 53 receptions. That’s with efficiency on only 74 targets. Dang, he used to drop half of his targets for the Giants.
The Carolina Panthers are one game back for the division lead in the NFC South. And they control their own destiny, if they can somehow win out. But with the way Tampa is playing, they likely won’t need to.
Only the Eagles, Chiefs, Bills and Cowboys have scored more points than the 349 scored by your Detroit Lions.
If the Jags can gain one game on the Titans over the next 3, the week 18 matchup between the teams in Jacksonville will decide the division.
From the “Slow Your Roll” File
Sure everyone loves the Brock Purdy, Mr. Irrelevant story. And he has looked good. But come on people, it’s been a game and a half. Slow down with the “Niners are better off without Jimmy G” stories until he has a few games under his belt.
Baker Mayfield is still Baker Mayfield. The Raiders choked hard. I’d be shocked if he’s starting somewhere next year.
From the “Local Teams Trying to Hang on” File
The Giants were done on the second Eagles drive when they completed the long TD on 4th & 7 for a TD. They attacked slot corner Darnay Holmes on the play of course, as teams have been doing all year. But safety Julian Love took an utterly brutal angle looking for the interception. Fourth down dude, just knocked it away.
When you’re an overachieving team like the Giants, it’s tough to overcome the lost of your best corner (Jackson) with a blitz happy DC, plus your best D lineman (Leonard Williams, and your up-and-coming playmaking safety (Xavier McKinney). And two of those losses were self inflicted. McKinney went down in an ATV accident and Adoreé Jackson was hurt returning a punt.
The Giants still hold a playoff spot thanks to Seattle’s loss. They’ve remaining schedule is: @ Commanders, @ Vikings, home vs Colts, then @ Eagles. The Giants probably need to beat the Commanders and Colts to get in. Maybe they’ll get lucky and the last game won’t mean anything to Philly. Where’s my man Nate Sudfeld at?
Had Zack Wilson taken the wicked rib shot that Mike White took on Sunday, how many seasons would have have missed? White is expected to play this Sunday. That’s a tough dude who doesn’t want to go back to the bench. And Wilson might not even be active, even after Flacco looked pretty flaccid in relief duties.
The Jets have home games vs the big kitties from Detroit and Jacksonville that suddenly look pretty tough. Then they finish @ Seahawks and @ Dolphins. That’s a much tougher finish than it looked in preseason. And they might need three to get in.
From the “QB Observations” File
Josh Allen has a much tougher road to an MVP because he plays in Buffalo. His stats are crushed a few times a year by swirling winds.
There were lots of QBs coming off the field on Sunday looking like Wile E Coyote after getting hit with a falling anvil. Kenny Pickett is a rookie who has already had two concussions. They need to shut him down. The Steelers ain’t going anywhere. Tomlin’s non-losing season record is done.
If Mr. Irrelevant Purdy comes back to earth and the season doesn’t end well for SF, I wonder if TB12 might end up in the Bay next year. It could happen. He doesn’t want to end his career with this crappy performance. He can’t go out on the Giselle Ultimatum year. I won’t remember anything else about Tom Brady except that Giselle broke him. And the Niners are the perfect landing spot. Jimmy G’s contact is coming off the books.
The Power Five
49ers – The Deebo injury hurts badly. I guess that’s why he didn’t want to run the ball so much. But they still have lots of weapons on offense and the league’s best defense. It’s all up to Purdy.
Chiefs – they’re definitely missing speed on the outside and could use Hardman back. Or Toney and his rubber band hamstrings. This team is dangerous but beatable.
Bills – Allen & crew haven’t quite been firing on all cylinders, but the everybody still has to go through Buffalo in the AFC at present. We should learn a few things on their Monday night showdown on January 2nd in Cincy. Mark your calendars.
Bengals – this team looks like a real threat. Joe Burrow is one poised son-of-a-gun. He calmly dropped a dime to Tee Higgins last week on a third and long to put away the Chiefs last week. Most teams wouldn’t dare to even throw it there. I expect them to win @ Tampa and @ New England. Then they’ll have huge games at home vs Buffalo and Baltimore.
Eagles – It’s been a few weeks since I could even pretend that the Eagles aren’t the best team in the league. That’s hard for a Giants fan. They can beat you in a lot if ways on offense and should get Goedert back too. The D does it’s part and then some.
There you have it. Leave your thoughts below and be sure to check out Angry Ward. Follow us on Twitter at @BenWhit8, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.