What have we learned - Week 14
Philadelphia 20, New York Giants 14. This game really wasn't even close; the Giants scored on a blocked field goal and got a touchdown with 15 seconds left, while the Eagles had two field goals blocked. I thought the Eagles might play well, but they pretty much dominated from the beginning. Brian Westbrook, inexplicably, carried the ball 33 times and gained 8 fewer yards from scrimmage than the entire Giants team. Yes, 33 times! It's a miracle! In NFL games, you always have to be a little lucky, and the fact that Plaxico Burress, who dominates the Eagles, wasn't playing meant two things: the Eagles could play more aggressive run defense, and Dominick Hixon was Burress' replacement, and he dropped a deep ball early in the second quarter that should have been a touchdown. Just dropped it. Still, the Giants won the NFC East, but the Eagles have three winnable games coming up (Cleveland, at Washington, Dallas), so they still have a chance at a wildcard berth! That is, if Andy Reid doesn't lose his mind again and start having McNabb chuck it all over the field.
DeSean Jackson update! 0 catches (????); 2 rushes for -9 yards; 3 punt returns for 24 yards. On the season: 53 catches for 775 yards and 2 touchdowns; 16 rushes for 88 yards; 44 punt returns for 406 yards.
Turnovers: Eagles 0, Giants 0. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash, but it's nice to see Philadelphia holding onto the ball more. Another good result of running the ball!
San Diego 34, Oakland 7. Man, the less said about this game, the better. Oakland's only points came on a kickoff return. Of course, the Chargers still stink as well.
Turnovers: Raiders 4, Chargers 1. Turnovers = loss? Sure. 1-0.
Chicago 23, Jacksonville 10. As this was an early game and I was watching the Eagles game at that time, I missed this. I tuned in other games, but this was over fairly early. What the heck happened to the Jaguars? They've just given up on the season. Meanwhile, the Bears at 7-6 still have a chance to win the NFC North. There's no justice!!!!
Turnovers: Jaguars 1, Bears 1. Turnovers = loss? Another wash.
Minnesota 20, Detroit 16. Poor Detroit. They had a beautiful 70-yard touchdown pass to take a lead into the fourth quarter, but did anyone believe they would hold it? And so they take another step toward 0-16, which I'm rooting for, of course, but I still think it's sad what's happened to the Lions. Where's Bobby Layne when you need him? If you missed the big fight during this game, it was kind of fun. A Lion blocked Jared Allen of the Vikings at the knees, and Allen took exception to it. A few players were ejected - that's always fun! If you look at the replay, it's not a terribly nice play, but I'm sure if it was too dirty. The Detroit player was on the ground and he lunged at Allen, who was still in the play. It was dangerous, I guess, but I'm not sure how dirty it was. I haven't heard any ex-players on ESPN talk about the play, so I'm not sure what they would say. I wouldn't have liked it, but again, I don't know how dirty it was.
Turnovers: Vikings 2, Lions 0. Turnovers = loss? It's the Lions - of course they can't capitalize on turnovers! 1-1.
Houston 24, Green Bay 21. This game is why the Packers should have kept Brett "Risen Christ" Favre. Their defense is in shambles, but I'm sure everyone is blaming Aaron Rodgers for the Pack's implosion, even though he's played well. If Favre were still slinging for them, they might have one more win, but they still wouldn't be very good, and Green Bay would have a legitimate reason for dumping him next year. Now, everyone can blame Rodgers and maybe mess up his psyche a bit more, especially if the Jets go to the playoffs (which looks increasingly unlikely). It's not Rodgers' fault, Green Bayers! Of course, the offense wasn't that good in this game, either. The Texans gave the ball away four times and the Pack still couldn't win. At home, mind you. It looks like Green Bay has started a downward spiral. We'll see if it continues.
Turnovers: Texans 4, Packers 1. Turnovers = loss? No, sir! 1-2.
Tennessee 28, Cleveland 9. Cleveland took a 6-0 lead into the second quarter. Then the Titans said, "Hey, wait a minute - these are the Browns, for crying out loud!" I do like the field goal by Cleveland in the fourth quarter while trailing 21-6. Good move, Romeo! If the rumors are true, Crennel is gone after this season. Even if he doesn't believe it, wouldn't it be cool if he coached like he was already fired and just cut his kicker and his punter? What the hell does he care? A field goal while trailing 21-6 isn't going to save his job, so why punt on fourth down anymore? Or kick extra points? Just once, I'd like to see an obviously lame duck coach pull out all the stops. That would be cool. Of course, does Crennel deserve it? The Titans have shown what stability at the coaching position can do for you. Jeff Fisher is a fantastic coach, and even when the team was struggling a few years ago, they stuck with him. Now they're 12-1. Good job, Fisher!
Turnovers: Titans 3, Browns 1. Turnovers = loss? No, and those Kerry Collins interceptions are a bit of a worry, aren't they? 1-3.
Indianapolis 35, Cincinnati 3. The Colts were once 3-4. The way their schedule lines up, they might finish the year with 9 straight wins. Dang. Meanwhile, there's a web site up trying to convince Bengals fans to hold the team more accountable for their failures. I wonder if Woody! has contributed to the site yet? The Bengals are just terrible. I'm still in a daze that the Eagles couldn't beat them.
Turnovers: Bengals 4, Colts 1. Turnovers = loss? Yeah, even though Cincinnati didn't have much of a chance even if they didn't turn the ball over. 2-3.
New Orleans 29, Atlanta 25. You know, I barely turned this game on. I guess I should have. It looked entertaining. The NFC South is cannibalizing each other even more, if possible, than the NFC East. That might be good news for the Eagles!
Turnovers: Falcons 1, Saints 0. Turnovers = loss? Why not? 3-3.
Denver 24, Kansas City 17. How do you struggle with the Chiefs at home if you're a playoff team? Sheesh, Broncos. Of course, Jay Cutler settled down and completed 32 of 40 passes. That's pretty darned good. But they lost their latest obscure running back who happens to be awesome, Peyton Hillis, for the season. Shanahan will just plug in another guy from a Division III college and he'll rush for 150 yards!
Turnovers: Broncos 1, Chiefs 0. Turnovers = loss? Nope. KC continues to win the turnover battle and lose the game! It's so odd! 3-4.
Miami 16, Buffalo 3. So the Bills played a game in Toronto, indoors, against the Dolphins, in December. Why would they take away their homefield weather advantage like that? If you're going to schedule a game in Toronto, shouldn't it be earlier in the year? Or did the Argonauts object? Buffalo probably wouldn't have won the game anyway, as they're circling the drain and the Dolphins, shockingly, are in first place, but still. Don't schedule the game under a dome when the crappy weather is all you have!
Turnovers: Bills 2, Dolphins 0. Turnovers = loss? It looks that way! 4-4.
San Francisco 24, New York Jets 14. So where's the praise for R. C. Favre these days? After a huge beatdown of the Titans, they've lost two straight. The 49ers aren't total dogs, but they're still not very good. I watched a little of this game, and San Francisco dominated the game for the most part. It was a little surprising, actually.
Turnovers: 49ers 2, Jets 1. Turnovers = loss? No. Weird. 4-5.
New England 24, Seattle 21. Poor Seattle. With Seneca Wallace playing well, they took a 21-13 lead into the fourth quarter, but just couldn't hold it. New England should win this game, but the Seahawks were oh so close. The reason they're a losing team is because the Cheaters were just indomitable in the last 15 minutes. And Wes Welker is super-tough. Look out when Welker goes out on a route!
Turnovers: Seahawks 1, Cheaters 0. Turnovers = loss? Yep. 5-5.
Arizona 34, St. Louis 10. The Arizona defense outscored the Rams in this game, by the way. St. Louis is just awful. They don't even look like a professional team. Arizona has reached the playoffs for the first time since 1998, won a division for the first time since 1975, and will host a playoff game for the first time since 1947. Man, how can a team suck for that long? It will be interesting to see the Cardinals in the first round of the playoffs, because they have a home game. They're wildly fun to watch, and the nation hasn't seen them at their best.
Turnovers: Rams 3, Cardinals 1. Turnovers = loss? Arizona scored two quick touchdowns in the first quarter without the benefit of a turnover, but let's say yes. 6-5.
Pittsburgh 20, Dallas 13. BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, I'm sorry. As a starter, Tony Romo is 22-4 before December, and 4-6 in December and January. Good stuff. Will the Cowboys fold like a cheap lawn chair and finish 8-8? We can only hope. The Steelers, by the way, have no running game and a quarterback who is getting pummelled, but damn if they don't keep winning. Man, I could watch that Deshea Townsend interception return for a touchdown forever.
Turnovers: Cowboys 5, Steelers 2. Turnovers = loss? You betcha! 7-5.
Baltimore 24, Washington 10. Boy, the Ravens are putting it on teams, aren't they? I don't know how they keep doing it with defense, considering how old some of those dudes are. I still don't like Baltimore, because they employ Ray "I Shot a Man in Reno Just to Watch Him Die" Lewis, but I was happy they beat Washington, as it helped the Eagles.
Turnovers: Washington 3, Ravens 2. Turnovers = loss? Ed Reed returned a fumble for a touchdown, so I guess so. 8-5.
Carolina 38, Tampa 23. I only watched the end of this game, but Jeff Garcia and his receivers didn't seem to be on the same page (except for the last Tampa touchdown, which was a magnificent catch by Antonio Bryant). And Carolina continues to smash teams with their two-headed running attack. It was 17-17 going into the fourth quarter, and the Panthers ground out three rushing touchdowns in the final frame (granted, one was in garbage time to put the game away, but still). Check out the stats: DeAngelo Williams: 19 carries, 186 yards; Jonathan Stewart: 15 carries, 115 yards. That's going to be tough to beat in the playoffs!
Turnovers: Panthers 2, Buccaneers 0. Turnovers = loss? Another one that didn't compute. Oh well. 8-6.
So, despite a lackluster record this week, teams that turn the ball over less than their opponents are still 118-37-1. I'll take that percentage!
Miami: 10 turnovers, +12 margin, 8-5 record.
Tennessee: 15 turnovers, +11 margin, 12-1 record.
New York Giants: 11 turnovers, +10 margin, 11-2 record.
Indianapolis: 15 turnovers, +8 margin, 9-4 record.
Baltimore: 18 turnovers, +8 margin, 9-4 record.
Cleveland: 18 turnovers, +8 margin, 4-9 record.
Pittsburgh: 17 turnovers, +7 margin, 10-3 record.
Green Bay: 17 turnovers, +7 margin, 5-8 record.
Chicago: 21 turnovers, +6 margin, 7-6 record.
Kansas City: 18 turnovers, +6 margin, 2-11 record.
Tampa: 21 turnovers, +5 margin, 9-4 record.
Arizona: 24 turnovers, +4 margin, 8-5 record.
Carolina: 18 turnovers, +3 margin, 10-3 record.
Philadelphia: 21 turnovers, +1 margin, 7-5-1 record.
Washington: 15 turnovers, +1 margin, 7-6 record.
San Diego: 17 turnovers, +1 margin, 5-8 record.
Oakland: 20 turnovers, +1 margin, 3-10 record.
New York Jets: 23 turnovers, +0 margin, 8-5 record.
New Orleans: 21 turnovers, +0 margin, 7-6 record.
Atlanta: 15 turnovers, -2 margin, 8-5 record.
New England: 20 turnovers, -2 margin, 8-5 record.
Minnesota: 25 turnovers, -3 margin, 8-5 record.
Jacksonville: 20 turnovers, -4 margin, 4-9 record.
Buffalo: 25 turnovers, -6 margin, 6-7 record.
Seattle: 20 turnovers, -6 margin, 2-11 record.
Cincinnati: 25 turnovers, -6 margin, 1-11-1 record.
Detroit: 23 turnovers, -7 margin, 0-13 record.
Dallas: 26 turnovers, -8 margin, 8-5 record.
Houston: 29 turnovers, -11 margin, 6-7 record.
Denver: 24 turnovers, -12 margin, 8-5 record.
St. Louis: 28 turnovers, -12 margin, 2-11 record.
San Francisco: 30 turnovers, -14 margin, 5-8 record.
Down the stretch they come! Who will live, and who will be left by the wayside? Isn't it exciting?!?!?!?