From a wild comeback in Minnesota to an unbelievable end in Las Vegas, Week 15 delivered an superior slate of NFL motion. Here is who’s trending up and down across the league.
The Eagles and Cowboys each entered Sunday as favorites of their respective highway video games earlier than their large NFC East matchup subsequent weekend. It was the proper setup for a lure recreation, the place you are looking forward to the next recreation and the hassle stage can wan in opposition to a weaker opponent. The Cowboys misplaced (extra on that under), whereas the Eagles dealt with enterprise, beating the Bears by 5 factors after being down for many of the first half. The Eagles had three turnovers and allowed the Bears to hurry for 157 yards. It was not their greatest effort, however they gained whereas their division rival misplaced. That’s what elite groups do. Win if you’re not enjoying your greatest. An Eagles’ win subsequent Sunday in opposition to the Cowboys will give them the division crown.
Hurts leads the Eagles to hard-fought win over Bears
Jalen Hurts had 315 passing yards and added 61 speeding yards and three speeding touchdowns in beating Chicago.
Reseeding of the playoffs
Playoff seeding is finished merely. The winner of every division, regardless of their report, will host a minimum of one playoff recreation. The wild-card groups are seeded 5 by way of seven primarily based on their data. Whereas I’m usually for construction in sports activities, it could be time to rethink NFL playoff seeding. An answer? Seed the playoffs by report, throwing out division data, and simply seeding by report prime to backside. This might be the proper yr for that to occur.
A staff has to win the NFC South. Not one of the 4 choices could have a profitable report. The Buccaneers at the moment sit at 6-8, with the opposite three groups within the division at 5-9. None of those groups should host a playoff recreation over a staff just like the Cowboys, who will end with a minimum of three extra wins than both of those 4 groups. The 4 South groups have 12 mixed wins exterior their division. These groups haven’t any pleasure. Nothing about them is enjoyable to observe. I can completely purchase the argument they need to not host a playoff recreation. Possibly after this yr, we get some change to the seeding.
Giants‘ postseason probabilities
As lately as final weekend, I known as the Giants a pumpkin, a staff that began scorching however has been molding the final six weeks of the season. Nicely, the pumpkin has been changed. After a grinding victory over the Commanders on Sunday evening, the Giants are again within the playoff hunt and personal the tiebreaker with Washington.
The Giants gained in opposition to the Commanders with their speeding assault and protection, highlighted by first-round choose Kayvon Thibodeaux. Kayvon has steadily improved with extra reps, one thing I figured would occur as soon as he was within the NFL. His enchancment was showcased on a strip sack and fumble restoration for a landing. He had a number of tackles for loss on this contest as effectively.
Kayvon was “purple–flagged” throughout the draft course of as studies surfaced about his character, work ethic and love of the sport. All of that was, excuse my language, B.S. And anybody who did a tad little bit of analysis would have figured that out. Maybe I am delicate to the way in which Oregon guys are mentioned throughout the draft course of as a result of we regularly hear draft pundits knock high-round Geese picks for character points. Keep in mind when Justin Herbert wasn’t vocal sufficient to be NFL quarterback? Simply nonsense. I am glad Kavyon has improved. He shall be an affect participant in New York for years to return.
The Cowboys all the time get me. Each season. I purchase into them being higher than they’re, after which they present their true colours. They’re flakes. They can’t be trusted. The Cowboys have been up 27-10 at Jacksonville. Simply play your recreation and get out with a win. Nope. The Cowboys turned the ball over, could not get a cease and ultimately misplaced on a walk-off interception for the Jaguars in time beyond regulation. Dak Prescott has changed into a turnover machine, and the as soon as fierce cross rush might be tamed sufficient to permit Trevor Lawrence to do no matter he needed within the second half. The Cowboys additionally determined to try a third-and-long with beneath two minutes left, as an alternative of working the ball, which might have pressured the Jags to make use of their last timeout. Guess how the Jaguars have been capable of cease the clock to kick a game-tying area purpose? Yep. That last timeout. This loss primarily price them the division, as they’re two again of the Eagles with a must-win subsequent weekend in opposition to Philly.
The dumbest play … in NFL historical past?
The Patriots and Raiders are tied at 24 with three seconds left in regulation. The Patriots are out of field-goal vary and name a draw to expire the clock. Rhamondre Stevenson takes the handoff on the New England 45 and sprints ahead by way of a Raiders protection simply attempting to keep away from doing one thing foolish to price them the sport. If Stevenson cannot rating, his job is to go down with out turning it over and ship the sport goes into time beyond regulation. That is not what he did.
In a mind fart second, Stevenson lateraled the ball to receiver Jacoby Meyers, who was trailing the play after blocking his project. That is when the play changed into one of many dumbest endings in NFL historical past. Meyers, who for no sensible motive, seemed to pitch the ball backwards to run the “lateral play.” Nevertheless, that play was not known as and completely not wanted at that second. The sport was tied. Time beyond regulation was coming. Meyers discovered his goal, his quarterback Mac Jones, who was 20 yards behind the ball simply hanging out ready for time beyond regulation. Meyers turned in the direction of Jones and let it fly. The ball floated in the direction of Jones, after which out of nowhere, Raiders defensive finish Chandler Jones stepped in entrance of the toss, picked it off, trucked Jones and bumped into the tip zone. I don’t consider Meyers began the play with the intention of constructing an all-time blunder, however as soon as the ball was pitched to him his instincts took over. It is time to run the lateral play, he will need to have thought. Simply utterly wild.
Vikings‘ Tremendous Bowl Probabilities
I do not need to be imply to the Vikings as a result of they’re doing what’s requested of them. Profitable soccer video games. That’s the purpose of this sport. Nevertheless, the Vikings are essentially the most blah profitable staff within the league (Saturday’s epic comeback notwithstanding). Minnesota is 11-3 and has clinched the NFC North. They’re a playoff staff who will host a minimum of one recreation this January. Nevertheless, make no mistake, they’ve zero shot to win the Tremendous Bowl, not to mention the NFC convention.
This turns into obvious the extra we watch them play. The Vikings are 10-0 in one-score video games, which is unsustainable. At the least in principle, as a result of the Vikings are proving everybody mistaken. For starters, what does the staff do effectively? They’re nineteenth in yards per play on offense and thirtieth in the identical stat on protection. They’re within the backside half of the league in cross rush and offensive line play. In fact, there is a high quality to profitable regardless of all of those shortcomings, however these catch as much as you if you’re enjoying higher groups. I simply do not view them as a viable competitor within the convention to the Eagles, 49ers or Cowboys. In addition they received smoked by the Lions, who they may play within the wild-card spherical.
Geoff Schwartz performed eight seasons within the NFL for 5 completely different groups. He began at proper sort out for the College of Oregon for 3 seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 choice his senior yr. He’s an NFL analyst for FOX Sports activities. Comply with him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.
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