Eight weeks down and nine to go. Welcome back to the NFL in review. This week was brutal in terms of injuries to big time players. You’re lucky if your favorite team or fantasy team escaped unscathed. By now, I think we know what we’re dealing with around the league and teams are beginning to jockey for playoff position or begin planning for next year… Looking at you, San Francisco. After eight weeks, things are really started to heat up around the league. Let’s get to it.
New England Patriots 36, Miami Dolphins 7
You know how there are games where the final score doesn’t match the actual game play? Well, this wasn’t one of them. New England was all over the Dolphins from the coin toss (they probably dominated that too, somehow). Miami’s winning ways did not carry into their Thursday night matchup and their crippling loss was on display across the nation. Tack on the fact that Miami lost Cam Wake for the year to a torn Achilles and the Dolphins just might be toast.
Kansas City Chiefs 45, Detroit Lions 10
We keep giving London our garbage. We package it up and send it over in first class planes and drop it in Wembley Stadium. Why in the world did they sign up for this? Nonetheless, in the final battle of the bad across the pond, KC demolished the Lions. Detroit took a play out of their 0-16 season a few years ago and ran it every play. It’s hard to look much worse than they did this weekend – it’s incredible they even had 10 points.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23, Atlanta Falcons 20
Don’t look now but the Buccaneers might be competitive. They’ve been playing some good games lately and just outlasted the Falcons on the road. You could also make the case that the Falcons are going downhill fast, but I think the real answer is somewhere in the middle. Jameis Winston has limited his turnovers in the past 3 games and Doug, the Douggernaut, Martin has be resurgent. However, it will be hard to see them making the playoffs with Carolina running away with the division.
Baltimore Ravens 26, San Diego Chargers 23
For the third straight week, the Chargers have taken the game down to the final play… and lost. Another heartbreaker for San Diego is the fact that they lost WR Keenan Allen for the rest of the season to a kidney laceration. This officially closes the door on San Diego for 2015, I believe. Baltimore earned just their second win on the season, so they’re not exactly in contention either. Also in this game, Steve Smith’s career may have ended with an Achilles injury. Sad day.
Minnesota Vikings 23, Chicago Bears 20
The Vikings are looking formidable at 5-2 after a gritty road win at Chicago. This game was tightly contested down to the final minutes when Stefon Diggs broke a 40-yarder for a touchdown to cap it for Minnesota. The Bears are struggling and are about to struggle more, losing Matt Forte indefinitely to an MCL injury – the severity of this is yet to be determined. The Bears look decent with Alshon Jeffery back, but this injury keeps them mired in mediocrity (at best).
Arizona Cardinals 34, Cleveland Browns 20
This game was actually a bit more closely contested than the score would indicate. The Browns actually led 20-10 at halftime and looked to be in control. But that’s why they play two halves, folks, so that Arizona can drop 24 unanswered points. As bad as the Cardinals looked in the first half, they looked just as good in the second. Carson Palmer lit up the Cleveland secondary for four touchdowns and without the help of John Brown. Cleveland had Josh McCown and Joe Haden go down with injuries in this one as well.
Houston Texans 20, Tennessee Titans 6
This matchup was just as ugly as it looks. Neither team is going anywhere in 2015 and no one would blame you if you ignored this one on Sunday. Not much new here, DeAndre Hopkins is good, Brian Hoyer is decent and Tennessee is bad from all angles – and even worse without Mariota. Nothing to see here, move along.
New Orleans Saints 52, New York Giants 49
Yes, you read that correctly, 103 combined points. This looked like a Big 12 matchup if you just looked at the points. Wow. Brees and Manning will be icing their arms all week after throwing for an NFL record 13 combined touchdowns. This was fun to watch and even more fun if you had some of these guys on your fantasy team. The Saints are on a bit of a roll right now as the NFC is looking just as strong as the NFC East is sloppy.
Cincinnati Bengals 16, Pittsburgh Steelers 10
In one of the most heralded matchups of the week, we had ourselves a game. This one lived up to every bit of the hype and was an old-fashioned AFC North battle down to the wire. The defenses were great and held Dalton and Roethlisberger in check all day. Pittsburgh suffered a major loss though. Le’Veon Bell had his knee blown out and is done for the year. He has nightmares about the Bengals.
St. Louis Rams 27, San Francisco 49ers 6
The Rams rolled to an easy W in this one over San Fran. The 49ers have given up on the year – they traded away Vernon Davis and benched Colin Kaepernick after this one. The young athletes on the Rams offense were on display Sunday. Tavon Austin and Todd Gurley each scored long touchdowns showing off their agility and top-end speed. This one can be summed up in one clip – Google the clip where Kaepernick doesn’t see the uncovered receiver – it’s the epitome of the 49ers season.
Oakland Raiders 34, New York Jets 20
Just one week after the Jets gave New England everything they could handle and a run for their money, they forgot to show up in Oakland. While they made Brady work to earn every yard against them, the Jets were giving yards away to Carr and the Raiders. It was ugly. Adding injury to insult, Ryan Fitzpatrick, AKA Fitz-Magic, left the game with torn ligaments in his non-throwing hand and Geno Smith was knocked out of the game after that! Rough week for New York while the Raiders inch closer to the playoffs. That feels weird to say.
Seattle Seahawks 13, Dallas Cowboys 12
What can you say about this? Another difficult game to watch as neither team really came to play. Where the Giants and Saints scored thirteen touchdowns through the air alone, these two combined for one touchdown total. And it wasn’t due to stellar defensive play. Matt Cassell could not get Dez Bryant the ball in his return as he was blanketed by Richard Sherman all day. Marshawn Lynch was unimpressive, Russell Wilson was unimpressive and Luke Willson’s touchdown wasn’t even a touchdown (should have been ruled down at the 1). This one wasn’t pretty. On a separate note, Ricardo Lockette took a brutal hit on a punt and hopefully he will be okay.
Denver Broncos 29, Green Bay Packers 10
This was supposed to be the game of the week, when the juggernauts collide. But Denver was having none of that. The Broncos dominated early and often and the defense was absolutely suffocating as they held Aaron Rodgers under 100 yards passing. Yeah, they’re good. Peyton Manning had one of his better performances of the season and the Broncos rolled to 7-0, keeping pace with the Patriots.
Carolina Panthers 29, Indianapolis Colts 26
This game felt like it should have been a blowout, with as bad as the Colts have been, but ended up being decided in overtime. It poured in Charlotte all night long, making the ball tough to handle and it caused a few botched snaps and dropped balls. But that was no excuse for Andrew Luck’s poor play. Luck continues to struggle this year but was able to lead the Colts to two scoring drives to tie it up at the end of regulation. Despite Ted Ginn’s best efforts, the Panthers survived to remain undefeated after the field goal battle in overtime.
That’s a wrap for this week, everyone. Hopefully you were able to escape “Injury-geddon” and your team’s playoff hopes are still alive. Until next week!