Storylines to follow after Week Twelve
The Philadelphia Eagles fanbase and the media has made it pretty clear that they are over Carson Wentz. He leads the NFL in interceptions and fumbles — he also leads the NFL in sacks — 46 to be exact for a loss of over 300 yards. No starting quarterback wants to lead the NFL in these stats, but it’s really hard to look at all of this, watch the Eagles play, and put all of the blame on Carson Wentz. The number of injuries this offense has had to deal with to their offensive line and playmakers hasn’t helped either. Wentz was playing with a bunch of backups and an offensive line that can’t block. The play calling has been awful too, but in saying this Wentz has not been himself this season. I can make all the excuses in the world for him if need be, but the bottom line is that it has been an ugly season and maybe putting in a new face at quarterback for the Eagles would jumpstart this team? People are wanting Jalen Hurts to play and then have Philadelphia move on from Wentz or draft a quarterback in this year’s draft if Hurts is not the guy. Wentz might do better with a fresh start or maybe just a season with healthy teammates that are good at football. This situation is one to follow for the rest of the year because the NFC East is still up for grabs.
The Arizona Cardinals have had some shocking wins and losses this season. It’s hard to figure out if this is a team that can make a real push at the Super Bowl in Kyler Murray’s sophomore season. The Cardinals offense was once ranked as the best in the NFL, but has since then been slowed down and kept decently neutral. The explosion plays are not there and the defense is pretty inconsistent as well. This is a team to keep an eye on as we head into the last quarter of the season.
The Patriots want to be dream wreckers this year. It is clear they are not making the playoffs and Bill Belichick isn’t about to start tanking. New England has three more games this year that they could win and one they could lose that would create a mess in the playoff rankings and NFL Draft order. The Teams in effect for a Patriots win are the Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, and the Buffalo Bills. If they lose their last game of the year to the New York Jets, that would remove the Jets from the number one draft pick as long as the Jacksonville Jaguars don’t win any more games either. It would leave them both with one win on the season and due to the strength of schedule, the Jaguars would then claim the number one pick. Those two franchises are in a tight race for Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Belichick could play the ultimate power card by losing to the Jets in Week 17 and doing his part to make sure that Lawrence does not end up in the AFC East with the Jets and leave them scrambling to fix their franchise. Again. *Insert evil laugh by Belichick*
Derrick Henry’s production is not being discussed enough. He will be close to breaking the rushing record this season if he keeps up this type of play. Every year we all say “he’ll slow down at some point.” Here’s the thing — he doesn’t. The man gets stronger and more powerful as the season goes on and no one wants to tackle him. As Mello mentioned on Mic’d Up last week, Henry might be the one player that everyone fears in the NFL.
Below is a look at my NFL Power Rankings after Week Twelve.
32. NEW YORK JETS (0-11) — LAST WEEK 32
Who wants to make a bet on when the New York Jets get their first win?
31. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (1-10) — LAST WEEK 31
Did the Jaguars forget they are trying to lose this season? They almost beat the Cleveland Browns this weekend. The Jaguars don’t stand a chance the next couple of weeks as they play the Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, and the Baltimore Ravens.
30. CINCINNATI BENGALS (2-8-1) — LAST WEEK 30
Cincinnati almost had a comeback win on Sunday afternoon. The Bengals know this season is a wash and it’s time to start focusing on the draft. If the Bengals truly love Joe Burrow, they will spend a big part of this draft on the offensive line.
29. DALLAS COWBOYS (3-8) — LAST WEEK 29
The Dallas Cowboys stink and what an embarrassing performance by them on Thanksgiving day. They now sit in last place in NFC East. Now that Andy Dalton is back at quarterback, this offense should be putting points on the board. The Dallas Cowboys had super bowl expectations this season and now they are looking to be picking in the Top 10 in the NFL Draft.
28. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (3-7-1) — LAST WEEK 25
It is frustrating to watch the Philadelphia Eagles play football. With all of their offensive weapons coming back from injury the thought was that this offense would explode, but it’s honestly just gotten worse. The playcalling has also been an issue this year for them. This season is not over for the Eagles though as the division leader only has four wins. Good luck.
27. DETROIT LIONS (4-7) — LAST WEEK 21
Out with the old and in with the new for the Detroit Lions as they fire Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn after their disappointing performance on Thanksgiving day. The Lions were playoff candidates a couple of weeks ago, but since then they have collapsed from within. The Lions might as well blow it up and start all over after this season.
26. CHICAGO BEARS (5-6) — LAST WEEK 18
The Chicago Bears gave up in their game on Sunday night as the Green Bay Packers destroyed them in every facet of the game. The Bears defense did not hit or sack Aaron Rodgers one time during the game and the Bears’ offense is just bad. Fire everybody when you get back to Chicago tonight.
25. ATLANTA FALCONS (4-7) — LAST WEEK 27
The Atlanta Falcons defense decided to show up this week as they slowed down the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday afternoon and forced four turnovers from Derek Carr. An interception and three fumbles. The Falcons probably don’t win another game this season, so enjoy this moment.
24. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (3-8) — LAST WEEK 22
The Chargers have an offense full of weapons and a defense that can’t stop anybody. The Bolts have had an up and down season this year which has raised a lot of questions from the fans. Is it the head coach? Is it the injuries to the defense? I don’t have the answers but hopefully, they figure it out soon because they might be able to sneak out a couple more wins this year
23. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (4-7) — LAST WEEK 28
The Washington Football Team was leading the NFC East after their game on Thursday in Dallas. Their running game worked so well for them that the Dallas Cowboys just stopped trying. The sad part is, the rest of their schedule is tough and this might be the highlight of their season.
22. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (5-6) — LAST WEEK 23
The New England Patriots have decided to be dream wreckers this season as they beat the traveling Arizona Cardinals. The AFC East vs the NFC West matchups has been something to watch this season as the Patriots sneak out a win and continue with their inconsistent season.
21. NEW YORK GIANTS (4-7) — LAST WEEK 26
The New York Giants are leading the NFC East. If the season ended today they would be hosting a playoff game. The Giants have been playing better lately and improving every week and will have an opportunity to show the world they belong in the playoffs with their next four games
20. DENVER BRONCOS (4-7) — LAST WEEK 19
Honestly, the Broncos did not stand a chance this week as all of their quarterbacks were added to the COVID-19 reserve list. The Broncos are set to travel to Kansas City next week for Sunday night football and honestly good luck.
19. CAROLINA PANTHERS (4-8) — LAST WEEK 17
The Carolina Panthers lose a heartbreaker this week as Teddy Bridgewater led them down the field to set them up for a game-winning field goal. The Panthers are still figuring out how to win ball games together, so right now it’s about figuring out their weaknesses and what to go after in the NFL Draft.
18. HOUSTON TEXANS (4-7) — LAST WEEK 24
Houston had themselves a day on Thanksgiving as they toasted the Detroit Lions. The Texans and Deshaun Watson are figuring things out, but it’s too late. The Texans are another one of those teams that need to figure out who they are moving forward so they know what to build upon heading into the offseason.
17. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (5-6) — LAST WEEK 20
The San Francisco 49ers will just not go away this season as they pick up a big win against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The difference this week was the defense as they were to harass Jared Goff all game long. Deebo Samuel coming back for the 49ers’ offense was big too as they continue to move the ball downfield without George Kittle.
16. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (5-6) — LAST WEEK 16
Minnesota picked up a big win this week as their defense stepped up when they needed them most! In the last couple of weeks, the Vikings defense has come to life and helped this team by creating turnovers and giving the offense a chance to go score. The Vikings need to figure out if they want to fight for the playoffs, be season wreckers or call it and go for draft position.
15. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (7-5) — LAST WEEK 12
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose another one this week and are 2 and 3 in their last five games. Hopefully, they can figure it out as they go into their bye week because things are not looking good for the Bucs right now.
14. BALTIMORE RAVENS (6-5) — LAST WEEK 14
If Lamar Jackson played this week, the Baltimore Ravens would have beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens are missing too many starters right now to drop in rankings. They are still on the brink of missing the playoffs this season, but if the Ravens can get everyone back soon, they might be able to sneak in.
13. ARIZONA CARDINALS (6-5) — LAST WEEK 11
The cross country trips have been brutal for the NFC West teams as the Arizona Cardinals fall victim to the New England Patriots. The Cardinals went from leading the NFC West to almost being tied for fourth place in a matter of weeks. The Cardinals need to find a way to get back on track soon.
12. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (6-5) — LAST WEEK 10
The Las Vegas Raiders played like the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. It was a poor performance by the Raiders after how well they played the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday night. Did they give everything they had last week?
11. MIAMI DOLPHINS (7-4) — LAST WEEK 15
The Miami Dolphins were back to starting Ryan Fitzpatrick and it paid off this week as the Dolphins pick up another win. It looks like Tua may be back next week against the Cincinnati Bengals.
10. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (7-4) — LAST WEEK 6
Oof, the Indianapolis Colts defense did not show up this week. They literally could not stop Derrick Henry this week. They were missing DeForest Buckner upfront, but who knows if he would have made that big of a difference this week. The Colts are still in a good spot but they can only afford one more loss this season if they want to make the playoffs.
9. LOS ANGELES RAMS (7-4) — LAST WEEK 5
The Los Angeles Rams were sitting atop the NFC West and then just threw it away by losing to the San Francisco 49ers. The biggest problem with the Rams this season has been inconsistency. The offense is rolling one week and then almost useless the next. They need to figure it out soon before it’s too late because the NFC is starting to even it’s self out.
8. CLEVELAND BROWNS (8-3) — LAST WEEK 13
Here’s the positive, the Browns are 8-3 and could end their playoff drought this season. The problem is, they will be bounced in the first round if Baker Mayfield continues to miss wide open throws in the endzone. This has happened more than once this season and the Browns are becoming one-dimensional. Also, they almost lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars who are trying to lose.
7. BUFFALO BILLS (8-3) — LAST WEEK 9
The Buffalo Bills defense stepped up this week to make the difference as they find themselves back in the win column. The Bills have won 4 out of their last 5 games, but the division is still up for grabs.
6. TENNESSEE TITANS (8-3) — LAST WEEK 8
The Tennessee Titans were back on track this week as Derrick Henry and AJ Brown led the way for them. Henry owned the first half and Brown sealed the victory with the kick off return. If the Titans can find a way to keep up this style of play they will find themselves back in the AFC Championship game. They have a real chance of winning out the rest of this season and ending the year with only three losses.
5. GREEN BAY PACKERS (8-3) — LAST WEEK 7
The Green Bay Packers destroyed the Chicago Bears on Sunday night. Aaron Rodgers was not hit at all during the game and the defense had their way with the Bears’ offense for a huge majority of the game. The Packers are sitting pretty comfortably atop the NFC North right now and should be just fine the rest of the season.
4. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (8-3) — LAST WEEK 4
Just like that, the Seattle Seahawks are once again the leaders in the NFC West. It was a sloppy win for Seattle on Monday night, but a win is a win in the NFL and they’ll take them any way they can at this point. The race for the West isn’t over yet as the Seahawks still have two more divisional games this season.
3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (9-2) — LAST WEEK 3
They played a team that didn’t have a true quarterback starting. The offense ran through Taysom Hill again and the Saints keep rolling. They are close to locking up the one seed in the NFC.
2. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (11-0) — LAST WEEK 1
The Pittsburgh Steelers are undefeated and just beat a Baltimore Ravens team that is missing a huge chunk of their starters. The offense has its weapons, but they have not been as explosive lately. The defense is good, but losing Bud Dupree is a huge hit to the Steelers’ pass rush and it will affect them moving forward. I get the Steelers are undefeated, but they are not playing better than the Kansas City Chiefs right now.
1. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (10-1) — LAST WEEK 2
The Kansas City Chiefs offense scored at will early in the game on Sunday but then became stagnant after the defense handed them two turnovers. Patrick Mahomes made plays and led this team to a victory, but that should not overshadow the issues this team has. The pass rush has not been there. This should grab the attention of the Chiefs Kingdom because they have a ton of money in Frank Clark and Chris Jones. The Chiefs are winning so there isn’t a need to worry too much about it, but it’s something to pay attention to as the Chiefs continue with their season.