Well, it looks like if you want to win the Superbowl this year, you’ll have to go through Baltimore. They’ve won 8-straight, are the leading scorers of the season to date, and have topped 20 points in every game they’ve played, meaning, if you want to beat them you better put points on the board.
Lamar Jackson was again crucial, whilst he only threw for 105 yards (and 1 TD), he backed that up with 101 yards rushing and proves to be very difficult to stop either on the ground or through the air. They have good receivers, a strong defence and know exactly who they are.
Elsewhere there was teams missing chances to push their play-off case, top teams dropped points, putting their seeding spots at risk and 3 of the bottom sides actually got wins.
It all started on Thanksgiving Thursday with 3 cracking games to get the weekend started. First up was the traditional thanksgiving game in Detroit and the Lions took on the Bears in a game where the Lions were just playing for pride, whilst he Bears were hoping to keep their slim slim wildcard chances alive.
The Bears started the better, scoring first through the much-maligned Mitch Trubisky with a pass to Allen Robinson II, however they couldn’t hold onto the lead with the Lions responding on the very next drive, levelling the scores. The Lions were able to take the lead late in the quarter with back-up QB David Blough again passing for a TD and things were looking up for the Lions. The were able to maintain the 7-pt lead at the half after both teams could only manage a field goal in the 2nd. However, Trubisky was able to get going in the 2nd half, through for 2 more TDs whilst holding the Lions to just a field goal to get the win taking their record to 6-6. The Lions are now done for the year and it’s about seeing who they have for next year’s roster.
Next up with had the Bills travelling to Dallas in a must win game for the Cowboys. Really, most games are must win for Dallas at this time of the season in what is the most competitive (or non-competitive depending on how you look at it), leading the NFC East by just 1 game. The Bills however are set in the finals for the wildcards however if results go their way, they could conceivably win the AFC East if the Patriots drop another game or two. The Cowboys started off the better, scoring first via a Dak Prescott pass and they held that lead till qtr time.
From there however the game was all the Bills. They may have found themselves a Franchise QB in Josh Allen, who was ultra-impressive, whilst the Bills defence stood up again as it has for much of the year. Having been down by 7, they scored the next 26pts to seal the win and keep pressure on the Patriots. It was a huge loss for the Cowboys though who needed to win to ensure they stayed in front of the Eagles who were playing on the Sunday, to ensure they win their division.
In the final Thanksgiving game, the Saints travelled to Atlanta for an inter-divisional game and the Saints would have wanted pay-back having lost to the Falcons in a week 10 shock. The Saints have been one of the best sides of season, with a strong offence with multiple threats, whilst the defence has been sound overall. Brees was outshone by Ryan on the night, but the Saints were still able to score enough, with 2 TDs and 4 field goals. The concern would be the inability to convert their chances into TDs, but whilst your winning, these concerns can be papered over.
Chicago Bears 24 defeated Detroit Lions 20
Buffalo Bills 26 defeated Dallas Cowboys 15
New Orleans Saints 26 defeated Atlanta Falcons 18
On Sunday, the winless Bengals hosted the New York Jets who managed to get the win last weekend. The Bengals were 0-11 and really hadn’t looked like it since week 1, but in an upset they were able to knock of the disappointing Jets and finally register a win for season 2019-20. It’s a good win for them, as it gives their fans something to at least celebrate at the end of the year, whilst they still hold onto the No.1 draft spot.’
The Colts would have been hoping to turn around their poor recent form when they hosted the in-form Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis. The Colts were the surprise team of the early season, however injuries have cruelled their season and whilst they started well in this game have the early lead, the Titans, see Derrick Henry, hit form late in the 3rd qtr and were able to run away comfortable winners and are making a huge push for the final wildcard spot, and possibly the AFC South title if the Texans slip up.
In Miami, the Eagles would have been confidant of levelling up with Dallas, having seen them lose on Thanksgiving Thursday, as they made their way to Miami to take on the lowly Dolphins. The Dolphins form has been sound of late, but as a side pushing for a divisional title the Eagles simply had to win. Sadly, The Eagles simply sucked as the Dolphins tried everything and it pretty much all came off. Even to the point the Dolphin’s Punter threw a TD pass to their Kicker and it somehow worked. The Eagles are now facing a massive uphill fight to win their division, which they’ll need to do if they want to play in the post season as their actual record is really poor.
The Packers travelled to New York and easily accounted for the Giants, with Rodgers again impressive, the Redskins upset the disappointing Panthers, who’s season has pretty much imploded whilst the Rams, through a Goff masterclass, easily accounted for the Cardinals and kept themselves on pace with the wild card combatants. The exciting Tampa bay were able to travel to Jacksonville and get the points, and you have to wonder how Nick Foles is getting paid the money he is. He had one great month, which lead to an unlikely Superbowl victory, but since then has shown why he’s been a back-up for much of his career.
Pittsburgh were able to get the win over the Browns, who in a quirk of the draw, faced off against the Browns again just 2 weeks on from the infamous helmet hit by Myles Garrett. You have to give Mike Tomlinson huge credit for getting their Steelers in to the Wildcard spot considering the loss of Roethlisberger in Week 1. They’ll struggle to hold off the Titans I reckon, but they’ve been bloody impressive this season, especially after a really slow start.
The Broncos knocked off the Chargers, in a game between two teams that have been made it an artform to lose close games this season, Whilst the Raiders season is surely just about done as after a shock loss last week, they ran into a rampant Chiefs team who rushed their way to a strong win, even despite an average game from Mahomes.
The Final 2 games were this week’s best, with firstly the Ravens taking on the 49ers in Baltimore, whilst the Patriots took on the Texans. The 49ers have been arguably the form team of the season to date, whilst the Ravens have been taking all before them over the second half of the season. They both have two of the best young QBs in the game and both have been in strong form this season. In an enthralling encounter, the game was tied up at 3qtr time, however in the very last second of the match, the Ravens had a chance at a field goal to win them the game, which Justin Tucker converted truly. Incredibly, the loss dropped the 49ers from the No.1 seed in the NFC, to the 5th seed and sitting in the wildcard position with Seattle taking their spot atop the NFC West. The Ravens are now the No.1 seed in the AFC, taking top spot from the Patriots.
Speaking of the Patriots, there will be some concerns from their supporters after another loss against a legitimate final’s contender. The Texans have been good of late, and sit 3rd in the AFC seeding and atop the AFC South whilst the Patriots are leading the AFC East. The Patriots have had a soft draw to date, but have generally won the games they should, barring Baltimore (no disgrace there), but Deshaun Watson and the Texans were able to comfortably account for the Patriots here. Forget the final score line, the Patriots were down 28-9 with 10mins to play in the last and the game was over. Junk time points flattered them in the end and whilst Brady will be blamed, he was simply unable to find receivers and this will be the concern going into the play-offs.
New York Jets 6 lost to Cincinnati Bengals 22
Tennessee Titans 31 defeated Indianapolis Colts 17
Philadelphia Eagles 31 lost to Miami Dolphins 37
Green Bay Packers 31 defeated New York Giants 13
Cleveland Browns 13 lost to Pittsburgh Steelers 20
Washington Redskins 29 defeated Carolina Panthers 21
Tampa Bay buccaneers 28 defeated Jacksonville Jaguars 11
San Francisco 49ers 17 lost to Baltimore Ravens 20
Los Angeles Rams 34 defeated Arizona Cardinals 7
Los Angeles Chargers 20 lost to Denver Broncos 23
Oakland Raiders 9 lost to Kansas City Chiefs 40
New England Patriots 22 lost to Houston Texans 28
In the final game of the round, Monday night football featured a great game against the Vikings and the Seahawks. The Vikings are clinging on to the final NFC Wildcard place, whilst the Seahawks are atop the NF West. This game featured it all, with both sides dominating on offence. Both Wilson and Cousins were creating chances, however it was a big 3rd quarter that made the difference in the game, with the Seahawks putting up 3 scores (2TDs, 1 FG) to give them a 10pt lead at 3qtr time. Whilst Cousins and the Vikings were able to score twice in the last, so did the Seahawks and the were able to hold on in the end by 7.
Minnesota Vikings 30 lost to Seattle Seahawks 37