The opening round of the NFL Playoffs brought the drama and a few upsets to satiate the appetites of football fans across the nation.
We were treated to four upsets across the weekend that included the fifth seeded Ravens defeating the fourth seeded Titans, the fifth seeded Buccaneers taking out the fourth seeded Washington Football Team, the sixth seeded Rams stealing one from the third seeded Seahawks, and the Cleveland Browns with the biggest upset of the slate coming away with the victory over the Steelers, despite being undermanned due to multiple players and coaches being on the COVID-19 Reserve list.
The matchups for the Divisional Round are set now, and in the AFC we will see the Ravens go to Buffalo to square off with the Bills on Saturday in primetime and the Browns head to Kansas City for a date with the defending Super Bowl champs. In the NFC we get the Rams at Green Bay on Saturday in the early game, and Brady v. Brees III on Sunday night as the Bucs and Saints play for a chance to reach the NFC Championship Game.
Now that we know who will be there, let's take a look at how they got there.
(2) Buffalo 27 - (7) Indianapolis 24
Game MVP: Josh Allen
Josh Allen has ascended to the elite tier of NFL QBsJames P. McCoy/Buffalo News
The Colts and Bills kicked off the playoffs in the first game of the weekend, and it didn't disappoint. Buffalo came away with a 27-24 win and Indianapolis had opportunities in the fourth quarter to score to tie or go ahead. The Bills defense made just enough plays to keep their team ahead as neither offense was able to keep momentum for too long throughout this one. A few costly drops by Colts receivers prevented the team from extending some promising drives and ultimately attributed towards their offense falling flat.
As for Buffalo, we saw a healthy dose of what got them there in the first place: Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs. Allen and Diggs hooked up for 6 receptions and 128 yards including a decisive fourth quarter touchdown that helped the Bills to the win. Allen ended the day with 324 yards passing to go along with two passing touchdowns and also picked up 54 yards rushing and another touchdown on the ground. Another MVP caliber performance from a dark horse candidate to take home the award this season.
Buffalo will get Lamar Jackson and the Ravens next round and will see a much different style of offense than the Philip Rivers led Colts. Lamar, or Big Truss as some call him, is starting to play closer to the MVP-level we saw out of him last year, and that could spell disaster for the Bills Mafia on their Cinderella run. Baltimore loves to run with both Jackson and their talented rookie back J.K. Dobbins, and a key for Buffalo should be establishing their rushing attack to prevent Baltimore from being able to control the pace of the game.
If Baltimore gets their run attack going, and the Bills have a few three-and-outs early in the game, Buffalo's defense runs the risk of getting gassed out too early, which would allow Lamar to run all over them in the second half. Zack Moss and Devin Singletary only had 10 combined carries in the game against the Colts, which should increase next week against the Ravens.
(6) Los Angeles 30 - (3) Seattle 20
Game MVP: Darious Williams
Darious Williams came up with a pick-six in the Rams upset WWally Skalij/Los Angeles Times
The Rams weren't given much of a chance in this game. With John Wolford having to start the game and then exit early with an injury, it forced Jared Goff into the game despite recovering from a broken thumb on his throwing hand. Wolford left with a neck injury and was brought to the hospital but thankfully has since been released. Neither of the quarterbacks were particularly effective, but Goff managed to hit Robert Woods late in the game for a 15 yard score to put the game out of reach.
It was Cam Akers who stepped up for his ailing QBs, as he amassed 131 yards on the ground, 45 yards on two catches, and a touchdown on the day. Russell Wilson again looked very average and was only able to post 174 yards passing in this must-win game. Wilson threw for two touchdowns but also had a pass intercepted and brought back for a touchdown by Darious Williams in the second quarter. Chris Carson did his job for Seattle, averaging 4.8 yards per carry while finishing with 77 yards on the ground.
Sean McVay's Rams will draw the top seed in the NFC next round in the form of the Green Bay Packers. At least Goff will have another week to nurse his thumb, but unless he's able to throw downfield more effectively against Green Bay, the Rams could struggle to keep pace with one of the league's highest scoring offenses.
(5) Tampa Bay 31 - (4) Washington 23
Game MVP: Tom Brady
Tom Brady continues his winning ways in the playoffs with TampaBrad Mills/USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay came into this game the heavy favorites against Washington. On last week's episode of FindBet's podcast The Catch, The Catch, we discussed how we thought the Football Team would put up a better fight than one might think. Behind the play of backup QB Taylor Heinicke, Washington was never out of the game until the closing moments. Although Brady and the Bucs will head to New Orleans for a duel with the Saints, an interesting storyline will be if Heinicke has played himself into consideration to enter the 2021 regular season as the Football Team's starting quarterback.
Washington has a few young core players in Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, and Cam Sims on the offensive side of the ball and are really just needing a consistent presence at quarterback to solidify their attack. Already boasting one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL, the Football Team could take a big jump next year if they're able to build on the foundation they have begun to lay under Ron Rivera.
As for the Buccaneers, it shouldn't be understated that they went into Washington and took care of their business. It's not as if they overlooked Washington, but let's be real, Brady had Drew Brees and the Saints in his peripheral as he was staring down Chase Young during this game. TB12 is looking very comfortable in Bruce Arians's offense at this point in the season and has been able to successfully utilize any combination of the weapons at his disposal to result in victories throughout the season.
As they figure out how to best implement and deploy the talents of Antonio Brown, the Bucs have the look and feel of a Lamborghini roaring down an open highway. The only problem with a sports car going at exceeding speeds is that a little speed bump could cause a wreck. A healthy Michael Thomas and Drew Brees to pair with Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray awaits Tampa, and that's a big speed bump.
There has never been anyone better at winning playoff games than Tom Brady, and this is probably the most talented offense he's played with during his 20 year career. The Bucs got a strong performance from Leonard Fournette against Washington, as they saw him rack up 93 yards on the ground with a touchdown and added 39 yards on four catches.
Tampa will surely need a similar day from their rushing attack against New Orleans as Sean Payton will probably be sending blitzers to disrupt Tom Brady and try to slow down their passing attack. The Bucs would greatly benefit from a healthy performance from Fournette or Ronald Jones to help them come out on top next round.
For once, if you're stressed about your lineup this week, that's actually a good thing: Itmeans that you've maneuvered your way into the final round of playoffs.
Congrats on making it this far in the most replacement-laden fantasy season we've ever seen.
While making it this far is an achievement unto itself, you can't coast and bench your starters like an NFL first seed playoff team. If anything, this is the most stressful week of them all: one wrong move, and you've lost your Super Bowl (and a hell of a lot of money).
Take home the bag and the bragging rights by making these drops, pops and shops in the final round of playoffs.
New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman (22) stiff-arms Cleveland Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon (54) in the second half.Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC
While the Giants record has slowly been getting better as the season goes on, their options at running back seem to be dwindling. Many lost a first round pick with Saquon's early-season ACL tear, then lost backup Devonta Freeman to an ankle injury and COVID precautions. That left Wayne Gallman, Alfred Morris, and Dion Lewis to split carries.
While Gallman has been a must-start since Week 7, this Giants mysteriously sat him in the second half in favor of Alfred Morris. Gallman only got 9 carries for 29 yards, and if there's any question about his production in Week 16 against Baltimore, he may have to sit this one out.
Good Morning, my name is Amr, and I played Juju, Wayne Gallman, and Dallas Goedert in my Semi-Finals over JD McKiss… https://t.co/e6N7vH0hGH— Amr Gabr (@Amr Gabr)1608644365.0
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) warms up before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
JuJu is not a bad player, but he's brought about a nasty superstition of sorts that may have cost the Steelers their last two games. See, JuJu decided to dance on the Bills logo for the gram (or in this case, the TikTok), a move that's seen as disrespectful amongst athletes.
Noting that it gave them extra motivation in their 26-15 win, the Bills made it clear that JuJu's moves brought the Steelers bad juju. Going against the grain, Smith-Schuster decided that "being yourself" was the best thing for the team, and the Bengals definitely targeted him for it: he had one fantasy point this week. Whether Juju dances or not, it may be wise to sit him against a stingy Colts secondary this week for the championship game.
Washington Football Team running back J.D. McKissic (41) carries the ball as Seattle Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs (37) defends during the second half at FedExField.Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
With Gibson out and Washington making a play for an NFC East playoff spot, J.D. McKissic has stepped up as someone to pop into the final round of playoffs. He's coming off a revenge game as a former Seahawk with 13 carries for 51 yards and 9 catches for 56 yards and a receiving touchdown. While Washington (narrowly) lost that game, McKissic has emerged as a fantasy winner—and he will likely make you one too after a Week 16 matchup against the Panthers.
2020 RB Target Leaders Alvin Kamara: 102 J.D. McKissic: 92 Mike Davis: 70 Nyheim Hines: 65 Ezekiel Elliott: 63 Cha… https://t.co/siu6CtfZ5A— 4for4 Fantasy Football (@4for4 Fantasy Football)1608612221.0
Kansas City Chiefs running back Le'Veon Bell (26) runs the ball against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium.Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Things are finally looking up for this former fantasy first-rounder: after escaping the burning building that is the New York Jets, Bell has been a quiet backup to Clyde Edwards-Helaire on a pass-happy Chiefs offense. However, Edwards-Helaire suffered a hip/leg injury in Week 15, allowing Bell to garner 15 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Bell is currently set to become the Chiefs' bell cow this week with CEH out, creating a tantalizing matchup against a Falcons defense that just gave up over 400 yards.
With Clyde Edwards-Helaire likely sidelined for at least the next couple of weeks, the Chiefs’ running back depth w… https://t.co/flqnv6U0wV— Jordan Foote (@Jordan Foote)1608650949.0
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17) moves the ball against New York Jets inside linebacker Neville Hewitt (46) during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium.Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Woods is the 11th overall fantasy receiver, so if he's on your roster, he's probably part of why you're here. But it's worth noting that the Rams are coming off a humiliating loss to the Jets as they face a bitter divisional rival in the Seattle Seahawks. Although Woods logged only 5 catches for 33 yards in their last Seahawks showdown, teams are motivated to come back from big losses—even more so against division rivals. As the Rams hunt for a playoff slot, expect Woods to get Top 10 numbers against a giving Seahawks secondary.
Darious Williams, John Johnson, Johnny Hekker and Robert Woods all deserve recognition for the outstanding seasons… https://t.co/1amJbaCipF— Daniel Starkand (@Daniel Starkand)1608596354.0
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The only thing hurting this week are Carson's chances of ever returning for the Eagles: Jalen Hurts impressed in a 300+ yard debut, replete with three magnificent touchdowns. There's not much else to say besides Jalen proved he's the real deal (for this season, at least).
QB1 Jalen Hurts showed out with 40.82 FPTS to earn the DraftKings Performance of the Week honors for Week 15, prese… https://t.co/scLSmBS88r— DraftKings (@DraftKings)1608656721.0
If you can get Hurts, get him before he faces a still-decimated Cowboys secondary. If you can't, pick up fellow comeback kid Marcus Mariota in case Carr doesn't start.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Greg Ward (84) celebrates a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half at State Farm Stadium.Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
A beneficiary of this rejuvenated offense, Ward was a popular end zone target this week with two touchdowns and 15 fantasy points. Although he only caught 4 catches for 15 yards, he's caught three touchdowns over the past three games. The good news is that he's already building chemistry with Hurts, and as a green quarterback, Hurts will likely get the ball to someone he obviously trusts. Ward remains a touchdown-dependent flex, but he could be worth it in a weak Week 16 game against the Cowboys.
As long as they keep Greg Ward... https://t.co/IyTZCPC0Jo— The People's News (@The People's News)1608656506.0
Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) runs the ball against San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium.Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
It seems like every quality backup running back has been rostered at this point, with the peculiar exception of Tony Pollard. Available in over half of ESPN leagues, Pollard racked up 28 fantasy points with 69 rushing yards, 63 receiving yards, and two rushing touchdowns.
Since the Cowboys are playing the Eagles in Week 16, this stands to be a good fantasy matchup for both teams if they can continue to move their offenses in Week 15 fashion.
We'll see if that is true, but it would be a bombshell considering Jerry Jones took that plunge, then paid Zeke tha… https://t.co/sM1vY8ghzt— WBG84 (@WBG84)1608657162.0
We'll see if that is true, but it would be a bombshell considering Jerry Jones took that plunge, then paid Zeke tha… https://t.co/sM1vY8ghzt— WBG84 (@WBG84)1608657162.0
We'll see if that is true, but it would be a bombshell considering Jerry Jones took that plunge, then paid Zeke tha… https://t.co/sM1vY8ghzt— WBG84 (@WBG84)1608657162.0
As Ferris Bueller might say: The world of sports moves pretty fast...
... If you don't stop and look around at least once a week, you could miss it. Here we'll review what you might have missed in the past week all in one place. Why spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news you want? We've already done that for you, so remember to check back every Monday to get your dose of weekly sports review.
We saw the Bills and Seahawks punch their tickets to the postseason in Week 15 leaving only four spots left to claim in both conferences. The Lions, 49ers, Broncos, and Patriots will not be among them as they all added their names to the list of teams mathematically eliminated from contention.
The Jets completed one of the biggest upsets of the season on their way to their first win of 2020 against the playoff-contending Los Angeles Rams, but with that victory gave up valuable ground to Jacksonville in the race for the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, also known as the Trevor Lawrence Sweepstakes.
The Jets front office watching their team win https://t.co/84aIlRVaZa— Reggie Chatman Jr. (@Reggie Chatman Jr.)1608509361.0
Miami, Baltimore, Arizona, and Tampa Bay all picked up important wins as they're vying for postseason spots in a highly competitive field. The Browns Sunday night win over the Giants kept them in the top Wild Card spot in the AFC. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs still look like the team to beat, but there's another gunslinger in the AFC named Josh Allen that may be planning to play the Grinch in Kansas City's championship sequel.
Can confirm that @JoshAllenQB looks good in shorts. https://t.co/yCQtGldySs— Buffalo Bills (@Buffalo Bills)1608505560.0
What to Watch For
The Baltimore Ravens (9-5) have been led by a resurgent Lamar Jackson over the past two weeks, and it may be just in the St. Nick of time for reigning MVP. The Ravens will play the Giants and Bengals over the last two weeks of the regular season which should give them a good shot at finishing 11-5.
My 2 year old son just looked at me and asked “Dad, do you know what I want for Christmas?” I told him I didn’t and… https://t.co/jLzZzkM6vS— Platinum Sombrero (@Platinum Sombrero)1608000026.0
Currently the Colts (10-4) and Dolphins (9-5) are ahead of Baltimore sitting in the final two playoff spots, but the Dolphins have an unfavorable final two games against the Raiders and Bills. If the Dolphins lose even one game the rest of the way out, we could see the South Beach fans on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
The NFC is a little murkier as nine teams remain in contention to reach the postseason. The NFC East is completely up for grabs as even the 4-9-1 Eagles could still win the division if they win out and everyone else loses out which as we've seen throughout this season, is completely possible. The Cardinals and Bucs helped their causes with wins in Week 15, and a loss by the Rams increased their chances to earn a playoff berth.
Playoff Matchup Predictions As of Week 15 (Only first seed in each conference receives first round bye)
1. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have looked like the best team in the league all season, and we expect their high level of play to continue into the postseason. Patrick Mahomes has been stellar, and the bevy of weapons at his disposal is simply not fair to the rest of the league.
Here's the list of guys to tally 95+ catches, 1,300+ yards and 10+ touchdowns multiple times since 2018: Travis Kelce— Matt McMullen (@Matt McMullen)1608563501.0
2. Buffalo Bills
7. Baltimore Ravens
Josh Allen has stepped into the elite category of NFL quarterbacks this season. The acquisition of Stefon Diggs has expedited his development and Buffalo might be the team to unseat the Chiefs in the AFC this year.
You LOVE to see it. 😍 #GoBills | #BillsMafia— Buffalo Bills (@Buffalo Bills)1608483000.0
If Lamar Jackson is able to carry his team to the playoffs, you never know what he can do. The book on him so far is that he can't win big games. That has been the case for many high profile quarterbacks in league history, and it's always true until it isn't.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Tennessee Titans
The Steelers started the year with 11 consecutive wins. They're on a two game slide right now, but a Monday night matchup against the Bengals tonight gives them an opportunity to seal a division title and prevent the Browns from having a chance to overtake them.
Derrick Henry proved last season he is a problem in the playoffs and the Titans will certainly look to ride their star running back as far as he'll take them this playoff season.
Derrick Henry is the first RB in 12 years with 1,650 rush yards & 15 rush TD in a season... AND HE STILL HAS TWO… https://t.co/1cMArsLk1b— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS)1608563257.0
4. Indianapolis Colts
5. Cleveland Browns
The Colts have been surprisingly good on both sides of the ball this season. We think they'll overtake the Titans for the division lead by the end of the season. Unfortunately for them that would result in a matchup against Cleveland instead of Pittsburgh, and we think that the Browns are the better team in the AFC North at this point in the season.
Cleveland is a team that nobody in the AFC wants to see in the playoffs! 2020 is weird. But it's true. Nobody wants a playoff opponent that can run the ball down down your throats for 60 minutes and Cleveland has the best 1-2 punch in all of football in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. It's been a long time since we've seen brown and orange against the backdrop of crisp white snow, and we're here for it.
Happy Sunday #DawgPound #browns @Browns https://t.co/TVClveY9HZ— CJ McCollum (@CJ McCollum)1608524921.0
1. Green Bay Packers
In what will go down as one of Aaron Rodgers' best seasons, the Packers are trying to get one step further than they did last season. Losing to San Francisco in the NFC Championship game a year ago, Rodgers wants to add another Lombardi to his resume before he discount double checks himself into the Hall of Fame.
2. New Orleans Saints
7. Arizona Cardinals
Drew Brees is back and he pretty good in his return from multiple rib fractures and a punctured lung. Not good enough to best the Chiefs in Week 15, but Saints fans should have nothing to worry about. If Michael Thomas can get healthy for the playoffs it will boost their chances to make a run, but he was just recently placed on IR and will be out for the remainder of the regular season.
Kyler Murray and the Cardinals outlasted Jalen Hurts and the Eagles in Week 15 to earn an important win to keep them a game ahead of the Bears for the last playoff spot in the NFC. Although their level of play has slipped from the beginning of the year, a mobile quarterback like Murray can prove to be a tough matchup for any team in a must-win game.
Kyler Murray & Jalen Hurts really gave us a SHOW today 💯 Murray: 406 YDS | 27/36 | 3 TD 29 YDS | 1 T… https://t.co/DuMhXD9zTD— Overtime (@Overtime)1608510829.0
3. Seattle Seahawks
6. Los Angeles Rams
Remember when we were all asking for Pete Carroll to #LetRussCook? Well now we're just hoping he can work a toaster. We have serious concerns about this Seattle team from a defensive perspective, but if Wilson isn't able to provide the Superman heroics we've come accustomed to seeing from him Seattle will be looking at an early exit.
The Rams would make up the other half of this matchup and this combination is about as vanilla as it gets. We envision the line on this game being "bleh" and an over/under of "who cares". Whoever comes out of this the winner, will likely be outed in the next round. Let's hope for a different opening round 3/6 matchup.
4. Washington Football Team
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
While you may think that the assessment of a potential Seattle and Los Angeles was harsh and that this potential game is worse, let me tell you that you'd be wrong. Washington has been the best NFC East team for the majority of the season and that's with a rotating cast of quarterbacks and a rookie running back named Antonio Gibson.
Gibson along with Jacksonville's James Robinson, has been a pleasant surprise among this rookie class and his potential return from injury in Week 16 gives fans of the Football Team legitimate hope of winning the division and maybe, just maybe a playoff game or two. Chase Young leads an impressive defense, one that likes to get at the opposing QB which may not bode well for Tom Brady.
Highest-graded defensive rookies: 1. Chase Young, Wash: 79.8 2. Doug Costin, Jags: 75.6 3. Mykal Walker, Falcon: 79… https://t.co/WCRqObWoau— PFF College (@PFF College)1608486000.0
The Bucs were a preeminent favorite to win the Super Bowl after their offseason acquisitions of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Leonard Fournette. Antonio Brown signed on with the team once he was eligible, coming off a league imposed suspension. This added to an already solid group that included Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Ronald Jones.
What we've seen from Tampa has been a team trying to find its identity all year. Through ups and downs however, Tom Brady has been low-key great. He's thrown for 3,886 yards and 32 touchdowns so far, and has been a steady figure for the team as they are attempting to lock up their playoff position.
We won't get to see Tom's old coach and team in the playoffs this year, but we will get our annual postseason dose of Tom Brady.
The Saints and Chiefs have clinched their spots in the postseason already, but most of the league is still in the hunt for a playoff berth.
The Steelers had a chance to punch their ticket against Washington on Monday night but were upset by the Football Team 23-17. That allowed the Browns, who are currently sitting in the top spot for the AFC Wild Card, to draw within two games in the AFC North. The Bills picked up an important win over the 49ers to keep a slim one game lead over the Dolphins in the AFC East. The Titans and Colts are in a tight race for the AFC South, both with an 8-4 record but Tennessee holds the tiebreaker.
In the NFC there are two teams running away with their divisions in the Packers and the Saints who both hold at least a three game advantage over their nearest competition. The NFC East and West, however, should go down to the wire as virtually every team in those divisions still have a chance to finish with a division title.
As we start to see more teams secure their postseason spots, others will continue to be eliminated from contention. Let's take a look at the power rankings for Week 14 based on what we've seen so far this season.
32. New York Jets (0-12, Last Week 32 +/- 0) - Gregg Williams called an all-out blitz against the Raiders which resulted in cornerback Lamar Jackson being left on an island with Henry Ruggs III and got beat for the game-winning TD with 5 seconds left. That's so Jets.
2020 Jets Mood Ft. Bill Parcells #Jets #TakeFlight https://t.co/JeXbX4p5eb— NYJ Matt (@NYJ Matt)1607552081.0
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-11, Last Week 31, +/- 0) - 11 game losing streak, and nearly caught a break as the Jets looked primed to get their first win of the season. But unfortunately for the Jags, the Jets lost in dramatic fashion keeping them one step ahead of Jacksonville in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (2-9-1, Last Week 28, - 2) - Outside of a 72 yard strike to Tyler Boyd for their lone score, the Bengals were smothered by Miami in a bad loss in Week 13. Without Joe Mixon they only accounted for 40 rushing yards in the game.
29. Dallas Cowboys (3-9, Last Week 26, - 3) - Zeke turned in an OK performance, but the Cowboys were handled easily by the Ravens on Tuesday evening 34-17.
28. Chicago Bears (5-7, Last Week 29, + 1) - Somehow the Bears move up a spot this week following their sixth straight loss. It's only due to the four teams behind them are in such a mess. David Montgomery turned in his second consecutive strong performance with over 100 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. Mitch Trubisky looked slightly better than Mitchell Trubisky.
Chicago Bears QB Mitch Trubisky understands the storylines about him, Mahomes, and Watson. Trubisky: "It's always… https://t.co/gxFWrEWlFK— Daniel Greenberg (@Daniel Greenberg)1607552226.0
27. Denver Broncos (4-8, Last Week 27, +/- 0) - With Drew Lock, the Broncos looked like an NFL team again, but not a good one. 131 yards from Melvin Gordon in a losing effort was the lone bright spot.
26. Los Angeles Chargers (3-9, Last Week 24, - 2) - Officially eliminated from playoff contention with loss last week. Justin Herbert appeared to be human for the first time in his rookie campaign.
25. Philadelphia Eagles (3-8-1, Last Week 25, +/- 0) - Jalen Hurts has been announced as the starting quarterback for this week. Doug Pederson knows that his job is on the line, this move is going to determine a lot about the future of this franchise.
Fletcher Cox on liking Tweet that supports Carson Wentz starting for Eagles over Jalen Hurts: "Carson is my best f… https://t.co/Cbruk4Kt1u— Barstool Philly (@Barstool Philly)1607560512.0
24. Detroit Lions (5-7, Last Week 30, + 6) - Interim coach, Darrell Bevell, got the W Week 13 v the Bears. Getting good performances from vets Matt Stafford (402 passing yards, 3 TDs) and Adrian Peterson (57 rushing yards, 2 TDs). With the win they draw even with Chicago T-3 NFC North.
23. Carolina Panthers (4-8, Last Week 23, +/- 0) - The Panthers are coming off a bye week and are hoping to get some players healthy for the home stretch in Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore.
22. Atlanta Falcons (4-8, Last Week 21, - 1) - With a loss in Week 13 the Falcons are all but mathematically eliminated from contention in a most disappointing 2020 season. Raheem Morris has made a case however to be retained as HC next season.
21. Houston Texans (4-8, Last Week 19, - 2) - Houston, like Atlanta, lost this past week and with that loss are virtually out of the running for a wildcard spot as the Titans and Colts have a significant lead for the top two spots in the division.
20. San Francisco 49ers (5-7, Last Week 20, +/- 0) - Lost Monday night to Buffalo, but didn't look bad in doing so. They're a much better team than their record indicates, and when healthy they're easily in the top 10.
19. New York Giants (5-7, Last Week 22, + 3) - The Giants have won four in a row and are positioning themselves to win the NFC East without Saquon Barkley.
Coach Judge is 'optimistic' about Daniel Jones, but his game status is still TBD 📰: https://t.co/noq6qBQdkd https://t.co/a6FNqC8h9C— New York Giants (@New York Giants)1607560233.0
18. Arizona Cardinals (6-6, Last Week 11, - 7) - The third consecutive loss by the Cardinals see their playoff hopes slipping away. The 49ers' loss to Buffalo helped the Cards avoid falling into a tie for last place in the NFC West, but it's on Kyler Murray to get this team back on track with only four weeks to go.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (7-5, Last Week 18, + 1) - The Raiders got a last second win on a Derek Carr to Henry Ruggs connection to keep them in the Wild Card race in the AFC. Darren Waller has been spectacular again this year elevating himself to the level of Travis Kelce in the realm of fantasy tight ends.
16. New England Patriots (6-6, Last Week 16, +/- 0) - Winners of two straight and back in contention for a postseason spot. Winning boring is still winning.
"Let me get this goddamn smile out of the way because I'm going to joylessly destroy everyone for the next 30 years… https://t.co/OwjJVd4DEd— Super 70s Sports (@Super 70s Sports)1607286909.0
15. Washington Football Team (5-7, Last Week 17, + 2) - The Football Team knocked off the previously undefeated Steelers on Monday night in one of the biggest surprises of the season! One thing is for sure. This Washington squad plays some great defense. I hope we can keep moving them up this list.
14. Baltimore Ravens (7-5, Last Week 15, + 1) - A much needed matchup against Dallas allowed the Ravens to get back on track with a win after a three game slide. Cleveland has done them no favors as they keep winning and creating more separation between the Ravens and a playoff spot.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5, Last Week 9, - 4) - Coming off a bye week, Tampa Bay benefitted from losses from Seattle, Arizona, Atlanta, and Carolina. We can't imagine a season where Tom Brady isn't in the playoffs, and the Bucs enjoy a soft schedule to end the year as they'll get the Falcons twice along with Detroit.12. Minnesota Vikings (6-6, Last Week 14, + 2) - A two game win streak calls for a two position jump in our rankings this week. Still in the hunt for a WC spot. Justin Jefferson became the second rookie Minnesota wide receiver to eclipse 1,000 yards.
11. Indianapolis Colts (8-4, Last Week 10, - 1) - The Colts picked up a division win over the Texans last week and gained valuable ground on Tennessee to draw even in record (8-4), but will need to pick up a win on them as the Titans hold the tiebreaker.
10. Los Angeles Rams (8-4, Last Week 13, + 3) - We spent the first half of the season wondering how good the Rams really were after a weak early season schedule. Now atop the best division in football, they should be questioning us.
9. Miami Dolphins (8-4, Last Week 12, + 3) - Whether it's Fitz or Tua, the Dolphins keep winning games and have closed the gap with Buffalo to the slimmest of margins. Maybe Tua should grow a beard to see if he can create some Fitz-Magic of his own.
Here's a look at Tua Tagovailoa from #Dolphins practice today. He's no longer wearing the tape/brace on his thumb. https://t.co/bNqls7oyur— Ruthie Polinsky (@Ruthie Polinsky)1607541217.0
8. Seattle Seahawks (8-4, Last Week 5, - 3) - DK Metcalf stiff-arming the Giants' James Bradberry was a highlight play, but New York walked away with the win, and the lead in their division. Seattle lost the game and the division lead they entered Week 13 with. Another shaky performance from Russell Wilson, but the return of Chris Carson helped a struggling running game in his absence. Ultimately the Seahawks need to improve on defense if they have championship aspirations.
7. Tennessee Titans (8-4, Last Week 7, +/- 0) - Even with a loss and Indianapolis picking up a win to draw even in season record, the Titans still hold the tiebreaker advantage and maintain a small margin of error over the final four weeks of the season. Derrick Henry will be the key to how far Tennessee can go. Ryan Tannehill has played all-pro caliber football at times this season, and that's the guy they'll need if teams are able to put the clamps on Henry the way Cleveland did for most of the game in Week 13.
6. Cleveland Browns (9-3, Last Week 8, + 2) - Cleveland guaranteed their first winning season in over a decade with their win over Tennessee and also helped to silence some of their critics that have knocked their weaker schedule. They're currently holding the top WC spot in the AFC and have a favorable schedule to end the year before meeting Pittsburgh in Week 17.
The Dallas Cowboys are being replaced with the Cleveland Browns for a Primetime game... Only 2020. https://t.co/Tx7j1I10w9— NFL Memes (@NFL Memes)1607568086.0
5. Buffalo Bills (9-3, Last Week 6, + 1) - Beat the 49ers on Monday to stay a game ahead of Miami and they lead the league in 3rd Down Conversions. The Bills will be a tough matchup for anyone in the playoffs.
4. Green Bay Packers (9-3, Last Week 4, +/- 0) - Aaron Rodgers tossed 3 TDs in an easy win over the Eagles on Sunday. Rodgers is now 5th in the NFL in passing yards (3,395) and first in passing TDs (36). Aaron Jones had a breakout game, his first since returning from injury a couple weeks back.
"Whoever catches Aaron's next [TD], keep the ball." It was destiny for @tae15adams to catch @AaronRodgers12's 400t… https://t.co/T2Wjc8GKpF— NFL (@NFL)1607574600.0
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1, Last Week 1, - 2) - Washington handed the Steelers their first loss of the season, but the Steelers are still a legitimate threat to beat anyone. They have the pedigree to make a deep playoff run, getting James Conner healthy will be key in just how far they go.
2. New Orleans Saints (10-2, Last Week 3, + 1) - The Saints keep winning and have clinched a playoff berth riding a nine game win streak. Taysom Hill has been excellent during Drew Brees' absence, but the future hall-of-famer is close to making a return. New Orleans can now be conservative about bringing him back to make sure he's ready for playoffs.
Taysom Hill https://t.co/EEWC2vN9mK— ⚜️Mook☃️ (@⚜️Mook☃️)1607279112.0
1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-1, Last Week 2, + 1) - The Chiefs reassume the top spot in our rankings. Even though it's felt like they should've been here for a few weeks now, we simply couldn't disrespect the Steelers during an undefeated streak. Until further notice, the Chiefs are your Super Bowl favorites.
He was still in college. 🤯 https://t.co/J2xGEftbxZ— Arrowhead Pride (@Arrowhead Pride)1607623260.0