Like every Monday, we go with the conclusions after the seventeenth day of action in the NFL.
From the surreal scene in New York with Antonio Brown, to the remarkable moment that Joe Burrow goes through, among other topics.
TO) The Titans dominated the line of scrimmage and imposed their physical will with Dont’a Foreman as the flag bearer. In addition, they took advantage of the loss of the Chiefs and now control their destiny to be the first seed. An extra week of rest would be vital for Derrick Henry.
B) As has happened in recent history, the Dolphins don’t appear in a big game. Tua Tagovailoa looked doubtful all afternoon and played a bad game. With Miami eliminated from the playoffs, you can be sure the rumors around DeShaun Watson will return.
C) The Cincinnati Bengals are division champions for the first time since 2015. Ja’Marr Chase had a memorable performance with 266 yards and three touchdowns. Joe Burrow has a winning aura that is contagious and luckily his knee injury would not be serious.
D) After an inspired streak by the Chiefs defense, they have shown some old sins, like missed tackles, penalties and miscommunication, in recent weeks. Kansas City lost control of the first seed, although in my eyes they are still favorites.
AND) The Buccaneers again played poorly against an inferior opponent, but still managed to reverse a 14-point deficit against the Jets. Antonio Brown is no longer a Tampa Bay player, and I honestly think he’s been telling us for a long time that he needs help.
F) Zach Wilson continues to take steps in the right direction for the Jets. He didn’t throw INTs for the fourth game in a row. Without many starters, the Jets played one of their best games of the season. Questionable calls like the QB sneak in 4th and 2 cost him the match at the end.
G) Against all odds, the Raiders control their own destiny to qualify for the playoffs: If they beat the Chargers, they are in. Derek Carr threw two interceptions, but then led another recovery in the fourth quarter. Zay Jones had his best game as a professional.
H) The equation is simple for Colts: They beat the Jaguars and make the playoffs. The problem is, they haven’t won at Jacksonville since 2014. Carson Wentz was again fickle and Jonathan Taylor was once again over 100 yds on the ground. Bug Bunny would say, “What’s up Old Man?”
I) Although he ultimately guided the winning series, the tendency of Matthew Stafford to commit turnovers is becoming worrisome for the Rams. To secure the NFC West division, they have to beat the 49ers, to whom they have lost five in a row.
J) It was the first time in the John Harbaugh era that the Ravens lost five straight games. The defense forced three losses despite all losses, although the offense was unable to close the series effectively. Baltimore’s playoff chances hang by a thread.
K) New England sealed their ticket to the postseason. The Patriots defense had three interceptions and dominated again against a rookie quarterback, while Mac Jones got back on track against the Jaguars. Rhamondre Stevenson surpassed 100 yards rushing.
L) Everything that could go wrong for the Jaguars this year, went wrong. They had drama and a fired coach, your rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence didn’t develop as you expected and he doesn’t have a lot of goals around him. They only have to potentially be a party pooper for the Colts.
M) Philadelphia has gone three straight games without scoring in the first half, but the defense dominated the complement, including Rodney McLeod’s fabulous INT. Boston Scott scored two touchdowns and the Eagles have 24 TDs on the ground this year and are in the playoffs.
N) Washington is officially eliminated from the playoffs in what has been a disappointing season. Partly due to injuries and casualties from COVID-19, but those led by Ron Rivera did not measure up. Cole Holcomb of the few high points in a squad without depth.
OR) It was the world upside down for Buffalo, who sealed their playoff berth with the rare win over Atlanta. Josh Allen threw three interceptions, while Devin Singletary’s running game totaled 233 yards (the season’s best) on a snowy day.
P) The Falcons were eliminated from the playoffs. Kyle Pitts is the first rookie tight end to exceed 1,000 yards in 60 years, but he fell 59 yards behind Mike Ditka’s record, and a hamstring injury may keep him from playing next week.
Q) Robert Quinn broke Richard Dent’s franchise record with his 18th catch. The defense played a phenomenal game, had four sacks, forced four losses and posted a safety. Last home game for Matt Nagy at the helm of the Bears.
R) The Giants thing was an absolute bummer. It’s hard for me to understand why Jake Fromm wasn’t given a chance when Mike Glennon couldn’t seem to complete a pass. Offensive anemia is alarming going forward for New York.
S) Rashaad Penny is running so well that he may even have earned the starting title for next year; your problem is staying healthy. Russel Wilson had his best game since having his finger operated and DK Metcalf had three TDs. Bobby Wagner was injured.
T) Amon-Ra St. Brown has been in five straight games with at least eight receptions, and he is by far the highest point of the Lions season. They couldn’t stop the running game and Tim Boyle even made Jared Goff look good.
OR) Arizona snapped its three-game losing streak with its win at Dallas. Unlike in previous weeks, the Cardinals limited penalties and did not shoot themselves. Kyler Murray hurt with his legs and was effective through the air.
V) Every time Dallas can’t run, the Cowboys’ offense suffers too much. While the numbers on the surface are good for Dak Prescott, the reality is that the offense looked out of sync. They fear that Michael Gallup has torn the ligaments in his knee.
W) The Saints’ defense is the only reason their playoff hopes are still alive. They recorded seven sacks and generated two losses in another dominant performance. The offense, however, has scored a TD in the last three games.
X) Carolina has lost six straight games, and while the offensive line is a mess, there are plenty of signs that Sam Darnold is not the answer for the future. That’s why Carolina is another team potentially thinking of DeShaun Watson.
Y) Justin Herbert broke the franchise record with 35 touchdowns in one season. The Chargers already dominated the Raiders in Week 4, but they will have to do it again if they want to make the playoffs in an all-or-nothing divisional matchup.
Z) Vic Fangio has to be in the hot seat. While his defense isn’t the problem, I don’t think he’s the man capable of solving offense either. They rushed for just 83 yards against the worst running defense in the league.
AA) After a poor start, Trey Lance ended up having an acceptable game for the 49ers, although Kyle Shanahan has already announced that, healthy, Jimmy Garoppolo is his QB, and I agree with the decision. Elijah Mitchell is a potential star. They must win to qualify.
BB) The Texans offense was absolutely dominated by the 49ers defense. Brandin Cooks has had a great season, but Houston is missing a lot of pieces, and if I were the Texans, I would look to trade him to keep adding draft capital.
DC) The Packers made sure that the playoffs will go through Lambeau Field. And this version of Green Bay has versatility in the running attack; no one wants to tackle AJ Dillon in the fourth quarter. As if that were not enough, they recover important injuries in palyoffs.
DD) No one is going to convince me to start Sean Mannion, who you know has a limited ceiling, above Kellen Mond. It’s that kind of conservative decision exactly why Mike Zimmer is likely to be fired in Minnesota.