STORYLINES TO FOLLOW AFTER WEEK FOURTEEN
Week Fourteen was a fun one as the storylines continue to write themselves. Jalen Hurts got his first start and win for the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Now the question is, can he be the future for the Eagles? The defense stepped up and did their part in slowing down the New Orleans Saints while Alshon Jeffery, Dallas Goedert, and Jalen Reagor stepped up to help Hurts as Miles Sanders tore it up in the run game. The Eagles offense looked so much different on Sunday. Doug Pederson is now 11-2 when Carson Wentz isn’t the starter so maybe it is best for everyone if they move forward with Hurts.
The Chicago Bears win big this week and now are the one that team continues to leave me confused week after week. I just sit and ask the question — what’s more likely — Matt Nagy or Mitchell Trubisky being in Chicago next year? It feels obvious that the answer is Matt Nagy, but who is the ownership blaming right now? Could they possibly think they need a head coach that puts Trubisky in a spot to succeed or does Nagy need a quarterback that can run his offense consistently? Seriously, who knows right now.
Andy Dalton got revenge this week in Cincinnati as the Cowboys were able to beat the Bengals. I do wonder if the Bengals were healthy or at least had Joe Burrow do they find a way to win? It would have made the game a lot more appealing to viewers as both of these teams are just playing to get the season over with and do their best to get healthy for next season. Next season will be fun for both of these teams once they are playing with all of their starters.
Who is wide receiver one this year — Devante Adams or Tyreek Hill? The honest answer would be Tyreek Hill. He is so dangerous in a multitude of ways and keeps defenses guessing. He can beat with you his speed, route running, and elusiveness. While Adams is a great route runner and has exceptional hands, the same could be said for Hill. Adams gets himself open in his routes and comes down with contested catches all the time. He will explode in games but he is strictly used in the passing game and downfield targets, while Hill is involved in every way possible. Some might say that is because of their scheme, but the advantage still goes to Hill due to the size of his role in the Kansas City Chiefs offense. Both are great players but for this season the answer is Tryeek Hill.
The colts are getting hot and are the team in the AFC to watch moving forward. Jonathan Taylor has exploded onto the scene after sharing a bulk of the load with Nyheim Hines all year. The receiving weapons for Philip Rivers are becoming more reliable and the defense has already shown how good it is this year. This is the team to fear going into the playoffs because they are getting hot at the right time.
Below is a look at my NFL Power Rankings after Week Fourteen.
32. NEW YORK JETS (0-13) — LAST WEEK 32
At least they will have Trevor Lawrence in the building in about six months. Joe Douglas will have this team competing in the AFC East soon. (Soon as in like 3 years)
31. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (1-12) — LAST WEEK 31
The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to take a quarterback in next years draft, the question is though, which one? The Jaguars will have to find a way to compete in their division because the Colts and Titans are running the ball exceptionally well this year and the Jaguars cannot stop it.
30. CINCINNATI BENGALS (2-10-1) — LAST WEEK 30
Cincinnati is missing their starting quarterback and running back. It shows so much with the lack of production from their offense. Once they fix the offensive line and develop their defense the AFC North will be a very fun division to watch.
29. DALLAS COWBOYS (3-10) — LAST WEEK 29
The loss of Dak Prescott was a huge hit to this team but the other concerning part for this offense is Ezekiel Elliott. There hasn’t been any consistent production from him this season. Yes, the offensive line has been banged up but Zeke has not been involved in the passing game either. The Cowboys might need to rethink the future of their star running back.
28. ATLANTA FALCONS (4-9) — LAST WEEK 26
Late game turnovers have been a killer for the Atlanta Falcons this season among other reasons due to injuries. The Falcons will have plenty to figure out moving into next season as they need to address their defense and ultimately decide if Matt Ryan is apart of the future.
27. DETROIT LIONS (5-8) — LAST WEEK 24
The Detroit Lions need to blow this thing up. Find a way to move on from Matthew Stafford and make this team younger. Build around D’Andre Swift and TJ Hockenson. This would be a favor for Stafford if they let him go play elsewhere to compete because it isn’t happening in Detroit anytime soon.
26. HOUSTON TEXANS (4-9) — LAST WEEK 22
The Houston Texans are damaged right now. This season is over as they were dismantled by the Chicago Bears. They might as well start figuring out how they are going to compete in this division with no money or draft picks for the next couple of years.
25. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (4-9) — LAST WEEK 25
The Chargers defense finally stepped up this week with an interception late in the game to allow Justin Herbert to lead his first game-winning drive in the NFL. The Chargers will be a fun team to watch next season if they can stay healthy.
24. DENVER BRONCOS (5-8) — LAST WEEK 23
Drew Lock ended this game with four touchdowns and over 250 yards passing. That is quite the game after his multiple interceptions last week. The Broncos are another one of those teams that could be dangerous in the future if they stay healthy. Lock needs to take care of the ball and allow the offense to keep up this efficient style of play.
23. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (4-8-1) — LAST WEEK 28
Jalen Hurts picked up a huge win in his first NFL game as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. There was a clear spark in this team and it carried over to the defense as well. The Eagles still have a chance at winning this division so they need to keep playing at this level to do so.
22. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (5-8) — LAST WEEK 21
The San Francisco 49ers are all over the place this season, but it’s understandable as their superstars are/have been injured. Once they find a quarterback to run this offense effectively they will find their way back to the Super Bowl. The 49ers have so much speed and talent on this offense that they can score at a moment’s notice, but the lack of play at quarterback is hurting this team.
21. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (6-7) — LAST WEEK 20
New England benched Cam Newton once again in the fourth quarter after it was clear they had lost this game. The offense could not get the ball down the field but that is a credit to the Los Angeles Rams defense who have the best defensive tackle and corner in the NFL. The Patriots are most likely missing the playoffs for the first time in 11 years.
20. CAROLINA PANTHERS (4-9) — LAST WEEK 19
This was a disappointing loss for the Carolina Panthers as they had a real opportunity to come back and win this game. They continue to move down or up (depending on how you look at it) the board for the NFL Draft. They are in a position to possibly take a quarterback and that might be the best decision for them moving forward. The weapons are there on offense and they spent all of last year’s draft on the defense, now its time to fix the offensive line for your new potential quarterback next season.
19. CHICAGO BEARS (6-7) — LAST WEEK 27
The Chicago Bears had themselves quite the game on Sunday afternoon and continue with their inconsistent season. The defense stepped up and only allowed one score from the Houston Texans’ offense. Chicago’s offense also had a big game as they had over 400 total yards. I wish they would figure out if they want to be good or bad this season.
18. NEW YORK GIANTS (5-8) — LAST WEEK 17
Just when you start to think the Giants are putting it together they go out on Sunday and act like it’s Week One of the preseason. The offensive line forgot how to block and the offense didn’t stand a chance becuase of it. The Giants still have a chance though, but hell, who am I kidding it’s the NFC East — they all have a shot.
17. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-7) — LAST WEEK 18
Find a new kicker.
16. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (6-7) — LAST WEEK 16
Bottom line. This team will not win the division without Alex Smith at quarterback. The defensive line is stacked with studs. It is so much fun to watch them play, but without Smith, they can kiss this division and playoff hopes goodbye.
15. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (7-6) — LAST WEEK 13
Things have not been going well for the Las Vegas Raiders lately. At one point it was being discussed that this was a top 10 team in the league, but now it looks like they might play themselves out of the playoff race.
14. MIAMI DOLPHINS (8-5) — LAST WEEK 12
The price tag of the Miami Dolphins defense is paying off. The secondary picked off Patrick Mahomes three times and forced a fumble on Sunday. Brian Flores has this team competing at a high level. They are gaining attention this year but expect this level of play from here on out for the Dolphins.
13. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (8-5) — LAST WEEK 15
Honestly, they got lucky that the Minnesota Vikings kicker is not good. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might lose in the first round of the NFL Playoffs if they keep playing like this. The NFL has exposed their weaknesses and a big one is Tom Brady throwing deep over and over. The excitement of Tompa Bay is fading more and more with each passing week.
12. ARIZONA CARDINALS (7-6) — LAST WEEK 14
The Arizona Cardinals are back on track with a huge defensive performance on Sunday. This offense still needs to get things lined out and Kyler Murray said it best after the game on Sunday. “We have to out there and execute…Every game for the rest of the season matters for us..” Now go take care of business against the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco (Arizona) 49ers, and the Los Angeles Rams.
11. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (9-4) — LAST WEEK 11
Jonathan Taylor was back at it again this week with another huge performance and is looking to take on the full duties of RB1. The Colts offense is putting it together right now and is the one sleeper team to keep an eye on heading into the playoffs.
10. BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-5) — LAST WEEK 10
Lamar Jackson hardly threw the ball this week, but it didn’t matter because the throw at the end of the game won it for them. Now he did have himself a trip to the lockerroom (bathroom stall) before returning to the game to put the Ravens on top. The defense is something to watch moving forward as the Cleveland Browns were moving the ball effortlessly at times on Monday night.
9. CLEVELAND BROWNS (9-4) — LAST WEEK 7
It was another solid performance from the Cleveland Browns on Monday night as they left too much time on the clock for Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. The offense is real and it deserves our respect at this point. You do not go 9-4 by accident. Things are clicking and Baker Mayfield is a big part of it too. The lone interception last night did hurt them, but he needs to forget it and go back to playing smart football.
8. TENNESSEE TITANS (9-4) — LAST WEEK 9
Derrick Henry just doesn’t stop. The man had over 200 rushing yards along with two touchdowns. Now, they were playing the Jacksonville Jaguars, but that did not stop them from stomping on their throat and squeezing all hope out of them on Sunday. The Titans had something to prove after last week’s game and they need to continue to play with that same mindset if they want to win the AFC South.
7. LOS ANGELES RAMS (9-4) — LAST WEEK 8
Cam Akers had himself a night on Thursday with 171 rushing yards. Then Jared Goff followed that up with rushing and throwing a touchdown as well. The Rams are a week to week team of how this offense will perform, but one thing is certain. They will find their way into the endzone and put points on the board. Keep an eye on this team heading into the playoffs.
6. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-4) — LAST WEEK 6
Seriously. They played the New York Jets.
5. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-3) — LAST WEEK 3
It was a disappointing loss for the Saints on Sunday as they were beaten by a rookie quarterback getting his first start in the NFL. The defense struggled to contain the run game of the Philadelphia Eagles which is ultimately why they lost. The Saints should view this as a learning lesson and a wake-up call as they prepare for the return of Drew Brees and the defending super bowl champions this week
4. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (11-2) — LAST WEEK 2
Dancing on the opposing team’s logo is never a good idea, but that is exactly what JuJu Smith-Schuster did to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night right before they dropped back to back games. The Steelers offense has become stagnant. Dropped passes and interceptions do not help with that either as the Steelers have to find a way to get back on track the last three weeks of the season. It will not be an easy finish to the year as they play the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, and the Cleveland Browns.
3. BUFFALO BILLS (10-3) — LAST WEEK 5
Josh Allen is the guy. He is the Buffalo Bills franchise quarterback and the leader of this team. The Buffalo Bills will go as far as Allen can take them this postseason. The man is playing on another level this year and if he can make a habit of this, the Bills will find themselves in the playoffs again and again.
2. GREEN BAY PACKERS (10-3) — LAST WEEK 4
The Green Bay Packers are once again winners of the NFC North division and are looking for redemption after last season’s NFC Championship game performance. The Packers need to continue to play aggressive football on offense and find ways to create turnovers on defense. If they can do that, they will not have that playoff letdown we saw last season.
1. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (12-1) — LAST WEEK 1
The Kansas City Chiefs like to keep things interesting at the end of games, but it would be reassuring to see them put teams away late instead of letting them hang around. The offense and Patrick Mahomes had a bit of a wake-up call with four turnovers this week. They know they cannot play like that again if they want to #RunItBack. Luckily the defense stepped up this week and created enough pressure to force Tua Tagovailoa into some errant throws. Kansas City needs to get things clicking on all cylinders again as they travel to face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
Week Fourteen Awards:
Offensive Player of the Week: Derrick Henry, RB | 26 ATT | 215 yds | 2 TD’s
Defensive Player of the Week: Haason Reddick, EDGE | 5 Sacks | 3 FF
Rookie of the Week: Jonathan Taylor, RB | 20 ATT | 150 Yds | 2 TD
Coach of the Week: Sean McDermott | 26-15 Win over Pittsburgh Steelers |