History was made in Week 15 and the playoff contenders continue to shrink after an exciting week of football.
- The Carolina Panthers can win so many different kinds of games. They can come from behind, blow you out of the water in the first quarter, or even after blowing a 28 point lead. After the Panthers went up by 28, I started looking for another game. The Giants have not shown they can put on the boost and really overcome a large deficit like they did on Sunday. I am glad I stuck around. The Panthers defense was not entirely to blame for the blown lead either. The Panthers special teams failed to block one of the fastest guys on the Giants which allowed a field goal to be blocked, and the offense fumbled in their own territory giving the G-Men solid field position multiple times. However, with the game on the line, in comes your future MVP Cam Newton to save the day. The throws he made were Manning/Brady like throws. Calculated trustful throws to his receivers and managed to play the clock perfectly. By the time they got into their own territory with a minute left, they still had two timeouts left which opened up the middle of the field to pick up first down after first down right until Graham Gano connected on an easy field goal for a veteran like himself. The Panthers now move into territory that only Super Bowl contenders have reached. They become the fourth team to go 14-0 in NFL history, every other team has made the Super Bowl. Here is to hoping the Panthers aren’t the first to break that streak.
- For a couple of weeks now I was thinking the Jets would stay on top of the Steelers because that is where the rankings had them. I did not envision a scenario where if they both win, the Steelers can overtake them in the standings. Where it stands now, if the Steelers win out, they are in. Same with the Chiefs. If the Jets want to make the playoffs, they will need to win out and hope either Pittsburgh or Kansas City will fall in the next couple of weeks. That could be problematic as New York hosts the Patriots next week in what I would consider a do or die game. The other big take away from the Steelers/Broncos game is with the Broncos falling again, they only sit atop the wildcard teams by a single game. Sure it is unlikely but you can’t ignore the possibility if they don’t pick up a win the last two weeks, they may not even make the playoffs.
- I wasn’t sure the Texans had it in them. They have been stuck behind the Colts since losing to them in week 5. On Sunday, they finally got the upper hand going into the last two weeks of the season. The only hope the Colts have of winning the AFC South is for the Texans to lose out and the Colts to win their remaining games. And if that is not convoluted enough, if the Jaguars win there next two games and the Texans and Colts BOTH lose, then the thee Jags get the south. Confused yet? Sorry. This is what we have been waiting for all season. The home stretch to the playoffs starts this week, how are you not excited?
- Washington has emerged from the NFC East to control their own destiny. A big win over the Bills might be all this team really needs for the final momentum push. With the Giants and Eagles both losing (the ladder looking sloppy in the loss) Washington is able to break free of the three way tie and can ensure themselves a playoff spot by winning one of their next two games. The Giants would need them to lose both games for a shot at the East title but with Kirk Cousins on the rise, I am certainly not picking against him.
- The NFC is just about wrapped up now. Seeding still needs to be determined but with Washington just needing to win one game to make the playoffs, the east should be the theirs. At the same time the Vikings also just need to win a game to hold off Atlanta who may try to make a final run at that spot. But if Teddy Bridgewater continues to lead like he did against the bears, Minnesota has nothing to worry about. When it comes to seeding, the biggest game to decide who gets the first round bye will be when Green Bay travels to Arizona. If the Cardinals are able to pick up the win, they get a first round bye. Of course should the Packers come away with the win, week 17 could go down as one of the most interesting final weeks in NFL history.