STORYLINES TO FOLLOW AFTER WEEK THIRTEEN
Week Thirteen of the NFL season was a busy one as the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys played on Tuesday night. The Ravens finally looked like themselves on offense as they effectively ran the ball against Dallas. It is nice to see them healthy again as they now have to fight their way into the playoffs and that starts next week as they face the Cleveland Browns.
The New York Giants and the Washington football team are sitting atop in the NFC East. That is not something we would have expected to say at the beginning of the season, but here we are. It was mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the winner of this division would do so with six wins, it just depends on who reaches it first because the remaining schedule for both teams is brutal.
Who can believe it? The Cleveland Browns are 9-3 and are currently set to be in the AFC playoffs for the first time since 2002. They proved themselves against the Tennessee Titans as Baker Mayfield had the best performance in his NFL career with over 300 passing yards and four touchdowns — that is a great stat line, but let’s see it again. The Browns will have an opportunity to get redemption against the Baltimore Ravens after being blown out in Week One.
Alex Smith is this season’s comeback player of the year. This is not that bold of a statement but after his comeback victory on Monday night, he locked in the award. Smith was even cleated by his own offensive lineman during the game and was literally gushing blood, thankfully it was his uninjured leg that was punctured, but he still played through the injury and brought the Washington football team back to beat the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. Alex Smith is a legend.
The Philadelphia Eagles have put themselves in an awful spot since winning a Super Bowl. They signed Carson Wentz to a huge contract extension and have since then dealt with his confidence issues. Some of Wentz’s teammates were vocal about wanting the Eagles to keep Nick Foles over him. Howie Roseman did not help that situation as he drafted Jalen Hurts, quarterback, in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Eagle’s last two seasons have been derailed by injuries but a player who has been deemed injury-prone in Carson Wentz has been available for these last two seasons. It’s clear that Wentz has not played well this year, but everything that could have gone wrong for the Eagles has. Now the Eagles are giving Jalen Hurts an opportunity to end the year and it will be interesting to see what type of offense the Eagles run and how much success Hurts can find behind this offensive line. I’ll assume it’s not much and then the Eagles will head into next year with a huge problem.
The division winner of the NFC West may find themselves in the Super Bowl. This is the most competitive division in football and these teams have been battling all year long amongst each other. The cross country trips and tough schedule has forced these teams to deal with plenty of adversity and really figure things out week to week to improve themselves. Now the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the outliers with that statement because there has been a huge learning curve for Tom Brady and Bruce Arians with this offense.
Looking at the rest of the NFC, how tough has the schedule been for the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints? Yes, they have dealt with their fair share of injuries, but they haven’t really had that moment of suffering a surprising loss like the teams from the NFC West. “Well, wouldn’t that make the Packers and Saints better since they are not suffering those surprising losses?”
The answer could simply be yes, but the point is to look at their playoff performances over the last couple of years. The Saints have had heartbreaking losses in the playoffs and were sent home after a great regular season. Look at the NFC Championship game last year as the Packers were spanked by the San Francisco 49ers run game and could not stop it. Again, this year the schedule has been pretty easy going for both teams and I won’t be surprised when these teams are ‘stunned’ in the playoffs.
All in all, the point is that the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams are primed for a run at the Super Bowl. Keep a close eye on this division moving forward because the Seahawks may finally have their running backs available for the playoffs and the Rams offense looks different each week with their game plan.
Below is a look at my NFL Power Rankings after Week Thirteen.
32. NEW YORK JETS (0-12) — LAST WEEK 32
31. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (1-11) — LAST WEEK 31
30. CINCINNATI BENGALS (2-9-1) — LAST WEEK 30
29. DALLAS COWBOYS (3-9) — LAST WEEK 29
28. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (3-8-1) — LAST WEEK 28
27. CHICAGO BEARS (5-7) — LAST WEEK 26
26. ATLANTA FALCONS (4-8) — LAST WEEK 25
25. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (3-9) — LAST WEEK 24
24. DETROIT LIONS (5-7) — LAST WEEK 27
23. DENVER BRONCOS (4-8) — LAST WEEK 20
22. HOUSTON TEXANS (4-8) — LAST WEEK 18
21. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (5-7) — LAST WEEK 17
20. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (6-6) — LAST WEEK 22
19. CAROLINA PANTHERS (4-8) — LAST WEEK 19 – BYE
18. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-6) — LAST WEEK 16
17. NEW YORK GIANTS (5-7) — LAST WEEK 21
16. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (5-7) — LAST WEEK 23
15. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (7-5) — LAST WEEK 15 – BYE
14. ARIZONA CARDINALS (6-6) — LAST WEEK 13
13. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (7-5) — LAST WEEK 12
12. MIAMI DOLPHINS (8-4) — LAST WEEK 11
11. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (8-4) — LAST WEEK 10
10. BALTIMORE RAVENS (7-5) — LAST WEEK 14
9. TENNESSEE TITANS (8-4) — LAST WEEK 6
8. LOS ANGELES RAMS (8-4) — LAST WEEK 9
7. CLEVELAND BROWNS (9-3) — LAST WEEK 8
6. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (8-4) — LAST WEEK 4
5. BUFFALO BILLS (9-3) — LAST WEEK 7
4. GREEN BAY PACKERS (9-3) — LAST WEEK 5
3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-2) — LAST WEEK 3
2. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (11-1) — LAST WEEK 2
1. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-1) — LAST WEEK 1
Week Thirteen Awards:
Offensive Player of the Week: Darren Waller, TE | 13 Rec | 200 yds | 2 TD’s
Defensive Player of the Week: Tyrann Mathieu, S | 7 Tackles | 2 INT’s
Rookie of the Week: Brandon Aiyuk, WR | 5 Rec | 95 Yds | 1 TD
Coach of the Week: Kevin Stefanski | 41-35 Win over Tennessee Titans |