Put your fours up! The final quarter of the NFL regular season is here. Every single play is crucial at this point as teams jockey for playoff spots and playoff seeding. One bad play can be the difference between home field advantage and a tough game on the road, the difference between playing football in January and watching from home. Let’s see how week 14 unfolded.
Arizona Cardinals 23, Minnesota Vikings 20
If you picked Arizona to win this one, you were right. But it was probably a lot closer than you expected. The Vikings were down some key players in this one, but instead of getting blown out, they were able to rally together to contain the Cardinals offense and keep this one close. The Vikings even had a shot at sending this one until Teddy Bridgewater was strip-sacked to end it.
Philadelphia Eagles 23, Buffalo Bills 20
The LeSean McCoy revenge game. It was McCoy’s first time facing the team that traded him away in the off-season. He did manage over a hundred total yards but failed to find the end-zone as his team failed to get the victory. The Eagles continued their running back by committee approach and got the W on a late field goal from Caleb Sturgis.
Seattle Seahawks 35, Baltimore Ravens 6
Yikes. The Seahawks learned how to score? This is bad news for their opponents. For the past couple of years, they’ve relied on their tenacious defense to dominate opponents while scoring enough points to get the job done. But once again, Russell Wilson was on fire and chucked a bunch of touchdowns in the Seahawks’ torching of the Ravens. Look out for these guys!
Cleveland Browns 24, San Francisco 49ers 10
This was an ugly match-up. These teams are competing for draft picks, not championships – so does that make San Francisco the real winner here? The first half was particularly difficult to watch while the teams combined for 13 total points. Johnny Football and the Browns took over in the second half and held on for the W. I’m honestly not sure if that’s good for them or bad.
St. Louis Rams 21, Detroit Lions 14
Todd Gurley is back! Well, for one game at least. After multiple weeks of being held in check, Gurley exploded against the Lions for 140 yards and two scores. Detroit simply could not stop him. For these two teams that are out of playoff contention, it’s more about seeing what they have for next year and getting young talent some playing time – and if you’re St. Louis, Todd Gurley makes you pretty excited for next year.
New York Jets 30, Tennessee Titans 8
The Titans are just bad. There’s not a lot more to it than that. The Jets abused the Titans early and often, jumping out to a 27 point lead by halftime. Ryan Fitzpatrick torched their terrible secondary for over 250 yards and 3 touchdowns – he’s another guy who has been on fire lately. Mariota was decent but finished the game with no touchdowns and one interception. New York is staying alive on the wild card hunt.
Pittsburgh Steelers 33, Cincinnati Bengals 20
And the Red Rifle goes down with a broken trigger! Andy Dalton suffered a broken thumb while attempting to make tackle when his shovel pass was intercepted. The game and possibly the Bengals’ entire season hinged on that one play. The Steelers put it on Cincy from then on as AJ McCarron couldn’t keep the game close. The Bengals dropped to 10-3 and will be holding their breath while Dalton recovers.
Jacksonville Jaguars 51, Indianapolis Colts 16
Oh. My. Wow. What started out as a struggle between the teams ended in a second half slaughtering of the Colts. Blake Bortles and the Jags were held in check in the first half scoring 9 points, but they exploded 42 points after the break. That’s more than they’ve scored in a lot of games! There’s not much I can even tell you about the Colts because they were so busy just getting their doors blown off. The race for the AFC South title is heating up!
Kansas City Chiefs 10, San Diego Chargers 3
I know it doesn’t look like it, but this was actually the full game score – not the half time score. This really was a defensive struggle. The Chiefs held the Chargers without a touchdown for the second time this year but the Chargers D held their own as well. And it all came down to the final play of the game… and in true 2015 Charger fashion, they let it slip through their hands and the Chiefs escaped with a win.
Washington Redskins 24, Chicago Bears 21
You like that! YOU like that! Kirk Cousins strikes again as he leads the Redskins to another victory. Kirk threw for 300 yards and a score and Jordan Reed had a huge day with 120 yards and a score. This game also came right down to the final play – after Jay Cutler connected with Alshon Jeffery for 50 yards, putting the Bears in field goal range. In comes reliable Robbie Gould to send the game to overtime with a field goal, except he didn’t. Gould missed another late kick and the Bears lost again.
Carolina Panthers 38, Atlanta Falcons 0
Now this, was a butt-kicking. Carolina remained unbeaten while thrashing their NFC South rival Falcons. The Falcons’ struggles have been damn near legendary after starting the season so strong. They couldn’t do anything against the Panthers on Sunday. On the other hand, there’s nothing that Cam and Carolina couldn’t do. They only seem to be picking up steam as we close in on the playoffs.
New Orleans Saints 24, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17
This may have actually been the surprise upset of the day. With Jameis Winston playing well and the Bucs “surging”, they looked like they were a lock to beat the up-and-down Saints. Well, as we’ve seen so often this year, that’s why they play the game. The Saints were in control of the one from the beginning and never relinquished that lead. Tampa Bay was forced to try and keep pace with Brees and company which kept the ball out of Doug Martin’s hands, Tampa’s best player.
Oakland Raiders 15, Denver Broncos 12
I lied. This was the surprise upset of the day. The Broncos were taken down by none other than the Oakland Raiders (channel your inner Chris Berman voice on that one). The Broncos scored all 12 of their points in the first half while keeping the Raiders off the board – victory appeared imminent. But, not so fast. Oakland rallied after halftime to score 15 unanswered points and steal a win away from their division foe. After scoring just 12 points, the Broncos might be missing Manning after all.
Green Bay Packers 28, Dallas Cowboys 7
What can you say about the Cowboys at this point? Backup quarterback and backup running-back leave just about zero room to get the ball to Dez Bryant. And their point totals reflect that. Once again, the Cowboys struggled to move the ball and were held to just a touchdown by a decent Green Bay defense. Even though the Dallas defense has been respectable, Rodgers and the Packers were able to pile up 28 points en route to an easy W.
New England Patriots 27, Houston Texans 6
Just when it looks like the sky is falling in New England, Brady and company would like to remind you that it isn’t. Even without half their starting offense, they were able to post 27 points on the Texans and stifled their offense all night long. DeAndre Hopkins was double-teamed all night until late in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand. Without Hopkins, there wasn’t much Houston could do and it showed. The Patriots have reclaimed the #1 seed in the AFC with both Denver and Cincinnati losing.
New York Giants 31, Miami Dolphins 24
Odell. Beckham. Junior. That’s all you need to know about this game. Early on, he made a toe-dragging, gravity-defying touchdown catch that needed replay to showcase the fact that he had somehow made the spectacular catch. And later on he broke free against a busted Cover 2 defense and took it 84-yards for the touchdown to claim the fourth quarter lead. 166 yards and 2 touchdowns as Odell took over the game and didn’t let the Dolphins have a say in the matter.