Week 14 in the NFL has come to an exciting conclusion! Let’s jump in and discuss some of the highlights in this week’s Fourth and Goal:
Both the AFC and the NFC top playoff seeds saw a changing of the guards this weekend, as the Pittsburgh Steelers 11-2 were replaced atop the AFC by the Kansas City Chiefs 12-1 when they fell to a strong Buffalo Bills 10-3 team that seemed to grow stronger right before our eyes. The New Orleans Saints 10-3 gave way to the Green Bay Packers 10-3 when they were shocked by an impressive and energized showing from the Philidelphia Eagles 4-8-1 led by rookie QB Jalen Hurts.
The Steelers look to get back on track in week 15 by visiting a floundering Cincinnati Bengals 2-10-1 who are just looking forward to next season, while the Saints, however, must decide whether QB1 Drew Brees is ready to step back on the field as they play host to the Chiefs in a game of major playoff seating implications. The Chiefs held off a very game Miami Dolphins 8-5, in a contest that showed us that Patrick Mahomes II is human after all, throwing 3 interceptions; the most he has ever had in a single game throughout his NFL career, but at the end of the day, the Chiefs rallied to come away with yet another victory and a fifth straight AFC West title.
The Chiefs will have to fight to stay at the top of the AFC as they visit the Saints on Sunday, and the Dolphins will look stay in a wildcard spot as they host a confused New England Patriots who took a shellacking at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams 9-4 on Thursday night. The Rams look to continue the shellackings as they welcome the 0-13 New York Jets, and are my Survival Pick’em for this week, are you seeing my strategy here?
Aaron Rodgers continues his push for league MVP as the Packers clinched the NFC North and stepped into the top spot of the NFC as they went to Ford Field and handled the Detroit Lions 5-8. The Packers’ three-headed attack of Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones, and WR Davante Adams look to stay atop the NFC as they travel to Carolina to face a struggling Panthers 4-9 team that couldn’t get the job done, at home, against a tough Denver Broncos 5-8.
The Broncos look to play spoiler this week as they welcome in the Bills who are coming off a huge victory and unseating of the former number one seed, Steelers. Buffalo needs to be leery this week as they are coming off two fantastic wins, and could be primed for a “trap” game going into Mile High.
Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks 9-4 kept me in my Survivor Pick’em league, by trouncing the Jets. However, Week 15’s outing may prove to be a bit tougher as the Seahawks go to a very stout defense in the Washington Football Team 6-7. The Football Team has been resilient over the last several weeks and sits alone atop the NFC East, and firmly in the playoff picture, after a returning Daniel Jones and the New York Giants 5-8 had a lackluster performance against what seemed to be a more focused Arizona Cardinals 7-6. The Cardinals look to move to .500 hosting the Eagles, and the Giants will try to keep up with powerful Cleveland Browns 9-4.
The Minnesota Vikings 6-7 find themselves just outside the playoffs and still struggling to figure out who they are on the field as they fall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-5 who looked refreshed coming off their bye week. The Vikings’ identity crisis may continue as they play host to the Chicago Bears 6-7 who came off one of their best showings this season against a struggling Houston Texans 4-9. The Bucs will look to stay in the wildcard hunt as they travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons 4-9, who are coming off a tough loss to rookie QB Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers 4-9.
The Chargers get set to travel to inner division rival Las Vegas Raiders 7-6 on Thursday night, which may end up being a very entertaining game, and a must-win for the Raiders if they wish to stay just outside the playoff picture after dropping yet another home game to the Indianapolis Colts 9-4. The Colts look to keep pace with Tennessee Titans 9-4 in the AFC South, and the Titans look to keep with running King Henry as they host the Lions.
Finally, the game that was billed as the “Main Event” of Week 14 and truly held up to that billing. The Baltimore Ravens 8-5 coming from behind to defeat the Cleveland Browns, with Lamar Jackson coming out of the locker room and leading the Ravens offensive down the field to take the lead 42-35 late in the fourth quarter.
Not to be outdone, Baker Mayfield answered with a game-tying TD pass to Kareem Hunt. I felt at that moment that the Browns left too much time on the clock for Jackson and the Ravens’ offense, and I was proved right as the Ravens marched down the field and set up the game-winning 55-yard field goal for their sure-footed kicker, Justin Tucker. Cleveland tried one last effort with a series of backward passes which ended in a safety, and the final score of 47-42 in favor of the Ravens. Even with the loss, the Browns had a great showing.
Even though the defense couldn’t get a handle on Jackson running the ball, which most NFL teams can’t, they answered score for score with the Ravens and showed that they are to be taken seriously in the upcoming playoffs. The Ravens really showed they are turning the corner as they look to push themselves back into the playoffs.