NFC Week 14 in review
NFC Week 14 in Review
By: Grant Poarch
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Football Team
This game was a blowout in favor of the Cowboys. Now at 9-4 and in first place in the NFC East, the Cowboys are just a few weeks away from clinching a playoff spot as well as the NFC East Crown. The week leading up to the game was filled with turmoil as Cowboys’ coach Mike McCarthy guaranteed a victory (and was right), while the Football Team’s coach Ron Rivera said he wasn’t scared of the competition. Maybe he should have been. The Football Team fell to 6-7 and are in a dogfight with New Orleans, Philadelphia, Carolina, and Atlanta for the 7 seed in the NFC playoff picture.
Seattle Seahawks @ Houston Texans
This game between teams who are fighting for an early draft pick was the closest of the early games. Seattle came out on top and are now 5-8. While still in the playoff picture, Seattle seems to be an afterthought at this point with a lethargic win over the now 2-11 Houston Texans. To make things worse, the Russell Wilson trade rumors are heating up as it is reported that Wilson would waive his no trade clause to go to the Broncos, Giants, or Saints. On the other hand, Houston’s season has been over for weeks, and this week solidified that. They were the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention in the league, and are in a total rebuild.
New Orleans Saints @ New York Jets
The Saints have won a football game. Yes, this sounds weird if you have watched them for a while. However, this much needed and expected win over the Jets snapped the Saints’ five game losing streak. New Orleans has improved to 6-7 and are in the hunt for the 7 seed in the playoffs. As a Saints fan, I don’t see them making the playoffs. At this point, getting a top draft choice is too far gone. On the same note, if they do make the playoffs it will likely be another disappointment. The Jets fell to 3-10, but that’s nothing to be too down about as they haven’t won three games since 2019. Coach Robert Salah has the Jets playing much better than they were last year. With some development of rookie quarterback Zach Wilson and early draft picks in the upcoming draft, the Jets have a nice rebuilding team on their hands.
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers
This NFC South showdown is always an interesting matchup, and Sunday’s edition of this rivalry was no different. Atlanta improved to 6-7 with the help of Cam Newton as he threw a pick-six and lost a fumble. Backup quarterback PJ Walker also threw an interception for Carolina. Atlanta took advantage of the Carolina miscues and it showed on the scoreboard as they won 29-21. Former Vol Cordarrelle Patterson shined again for Atlanta and has become a fantasy weapon as well as a vital portion of the Atlanta offense. Neither of these teams are very impressive, but they both find themselves in the hunt for the 7 seed in the playoffs. Look for both of these clubs to play spoiler in the upcoming weeks.
New York Giants @ Los Angeles Chargers
Herbert shines as the Chargers ease past the sputtering Giants. Los Angeles looked impressive and are ready to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in their Thursday night matchup next week. At 8-5 and how well they are playing, I would be surprised to see the Chargers miss the playoffs. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if they upset Kansas City as the Chiefs are bound to lose at some point. So, it makes sense for that to be a division opponent and someone they have lost to already this season. The Giants fell to 4-9 and have locked in another disappointing season. Getting a top draft pick is well in range for the Giants, and they may need more help than just that going forward if they are to become a team worth watching.
San Francisco 49ers @ Cincinnati Bengals
This game was a tale of two halves and an overtime, too. The Niners looked to be in control of the game from the beginning and essentially until midway through the 4th quarter. Down 20-6, Joe Burrow made a near impossible play by rolling out of the pocket and finding LSU teammate Jamaar Chase in the back of the end zone to cut the score to 20-13. Cincinnati scored the game tying touchdown with a minute to go in regulation. After winning the coin toss going into overtime it looked like Cincinnati was bound to win the game. The Bengals did not close out the game with their drive as they only got a field goal. This proved to be costly as the 49ers drove down the field to score the game winning touchdown. Both teams are now 7-6, but the playoffs are much more likely for San Francisco. San Francisco has almost no chance of winning their division. As the current 6 seed wild card, it is possible that they would play a division rival in the first round of the playoffs. Don’t be surprised if the 49ers pull off an early
upset and make a run deep into the playoffs. Cincinnati is a very young, but quickly improving team. There are so many teams in the hunt for the AFC wild card that the Bengals could easily miss the playoffs, but they are sure to be a threat to the rest of the league in the near future.
Buffalo Bills @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Another win for Tampa Bay and another tough loss for Buffalo. As expected, this was a pretty good game. However, most predicted that Tampa would come out on top. Early on, it was clear that the Bucs were a better team than the Bills. As the game went on, the Bucs seemed to let up on the gas which allowed the Bills to get right back into the game. Down 27-24 late in the fourth quarter Buffalo was driving for either overtime or the win. Josh Allen threw a pass to the front left side of the end zone that fell incomplete, but really was only incomplete due to the corner for the Bucs essentially mugging the Bills’ receiver. This forced a game tying field goal, which Buffalo converted. In overtime, Tampa had the ball and on a third and one seemed to have been stopped, but the refs called a first down for Tampa Bay despite running back Leonard Fournette never breaking the line to gain. Regardless, Tom Brady found veteran Breshad Perriman on a crossing route open on his way to the end zone which ended the game in favor of Tampa Bay. Tampa improved to 10-3 and will face New Orleans next week in a revenge matchup which also will crown them the champions of the NFC South if they should win. Buffalo fell to 7-6 and is in danger of missing the playoffs. They are in the hunt, but luck has not been on their side in the past few weeks. It is safe to say that Buffalo will need better mojo going into the next few weeks if they want a chance to play for the Lombardi trophy.
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (SNF)
If you bet the over, hopefully through BetMGM if you did, then you would be very happy with these two. This shootout went in favor of Green Bay, but Chicago and Justin Fields did show some promise on the offensive side of the ball. Although Chicago is likely just trying to get a good draft pick, if the offense that showed up on Sunday night shows up next year, they could be threat for the playoffs in the 2022-23 season. On the other hand, Green Bay improves to 10-3 and is fighting for home field advantage
Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals (MNF)
This NFC West showdown on primetime was no disappointment. As has been the trend in this division as of late, the road team came out on top. The Rams 30-23 win was much needed, and solidified them as a team to watch for come playoff time. The win improved their record to 9-4, but more importantly Matt Stafford and Odell Beckham Jr. have become a dangerous duo. Matt Stafford outplayed Kyler Murray who threw nearly 400 yards, but turned the ball over twice. The loss dropped Arizona’s record to 10-3, which is still good for first place in the NFC West. For Arizona, the bigger story is the news of the loss of Deandre Hopkins for the rest of the regular season. His return is likely for the playoffs.