Two of these three statements are true, can you guess which ones? 1) The Green Bay Packers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs. 2) The Indianapolis Colts beat the Tennessee Titans. 3) Cats love dogs. If you think you have the NFL figured out, let me know what your formulas are, because I sure don’t have many explanations for what went down in Week 15. Let’s try to figure it out anyway. Here we go…
FIRST AND GOAL
The four biggest stories in football this weekend. As always, use the comments section below to answer my questions!
PACKERS IN PAIN
The Packers perfect season just went poof, but did Green Bay’s loss to the Chiefs also show the rest of the league the blueprint for how to beat the defending champs? The Chiefs knocked off the Packers with an aggressive pass rush that harassed Aaron Rodgers and a consistent offense that took care of the ball. So sack the quarterback and don’t turn the ball over. DUH. That’s not just how you beat the Packers, that’s how you beat everyone in the NFL. I think the Chiefs played inspired ball, but the Packers have much bigger concerns than just their first loss of the season. The offensive line suffered two more injuries and Rodgers looked rusty in his first game without Greg Jennings. We have two more regular season games and then the bye week to see if the offensive injuries will be too much to overcome for Green Bay. What do you think: is this loss the beginning of the end for the Packers or is it just one fluky loss?
The Broncos win streak came screeching to a halt and it’s pretty clear why: they finally played a team with a capable starting quarterback. Let’s run through the list of quarterbacks Tim Tebow beat during his winning streak: Matt Moore, Carson Palmer (in his first start with the Raiders), Matt Cassel (who was replaced by Tyler Palko during the game), Mark Sanchez, Philip Rivers (without his second best receiver), Christian Ponder and Caleb Hanie. Only Rivers has any chance at making the Pro Bowl this year and its probably been the worst year of his career. So when Tebow went up against a team with a veteran QB like Tom Brady who knows how to put points on the board, the Denver signal caller couldn’t keep up. Tebow has the floundering Ryan Fitzpatrick next before closing out the season against Kyle Orton. In other words, I still think the Broncos are going to make the playoffs, but once they have to play against a competent starter in the post-season, it could be a very quick exit. What do you think: can Tebow score enough points to go round-for-round with a tested playoff QB?
Speaking of Tebow and Rodgers, with all the attention going to the Broncos in the AFC and the Packers in the NFC, nobody has been paying attention to the two teams who now hold the longest winning streaks in the league. The Saints and the Pats have both reeled off six in a row and seem to be playing the best ball in both conferences. New England has cranked out 31 or more points in each of their wins during the streak while Drew Brees is on pace to set the NFL record for most passing yards in a season. It’s a quarterback’s league this year and these two “New” teams have some old gun slingers playing at the top of their game. Tom Brady has two more rings than Brees, but I think the Saints might have a little more help on defense. What do you think: which streaking team looks better right now?
8-8 IS GREAT
I don’t know how many times I can type this in one season, but the Philadelphia Eagles are still alive in the NFC East. Even though we’re almost unwrapping Christmas presents, the Eagles have yet to win more than two games in a row. But that doesn’t matter when you play in the wide open NFC East. Philly grounded the Jets and can get into the playoffs with just a little magic and an 8-8 finish. With Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy, the Eagles have some of the most explosive offensive talent in the league, so if they can get into the playoffs…well, who knows? What do you think: do the Eagles have a chance to make some noise in the playoffs or are they too inconsistent to finish of their improbable playoff run?
HEROES AND ZEROES
Who excelled and who came up short this week. Nominate your own in the comments below!
Tamba Hali, OLB, KC:4 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Reggie Bush, RB, MIA: 209 total yards, 1 TD
Roddy White, WR, ATL:10 catches, 135 yards, 2 TD
Caleb Hanie, QB, CHI:10-for-23, 111 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs (two of which were returned for TDs)
Eli Manning, QB, NYG:23-for-40, 257 yards, 0 TD, 3 INTs
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, BUF:31-for-47, 316 yards, 2 TD, 3 INTs