Crazy developments in a fun week
It’s been a wild NFL season with twists and turns that no one saw coming, along with some fun developments throughout the year. Week 13 not only provided fans with their first taste of football in December, it offered some crazy developments in a fun week.
It all started on “Thursday Night Football” with a game flow no one expected and a finish that changed the way we look at the NFL’s hierarchy.
Sunday didn’t lack for eye-opening surprises either with upsets and comebacks that defined a wild slate of games.
Here are the 10 craziest developments from a wild Week 13 in the NFL.
Dallas Cowboys emerge as Super Bowl contenders
Many might have been waiting for the Cowboys to be exposed against top competition, instead, Dallas proved itself as a Super Bowl contender against the New Orleans Saints.
The arrival of Amari Cooper has opened up this offense and allowed Dak Prescott to take his game up a notch. More importantly, this defense is playing at an extremely high level and looking like one of the best units in the NFL.
After shutting down New Orleans, it’s clear the Cowboys have the pieces in place to compete for the Super Bowl. Now they just need to execute more consistently and they could very well make it to Atlanta.
Josh Allen brings hope back to Buffalo
The 2018 season has been a rough one for the Bills and the first-round quarterback. Allen’s rookie season started off poorly, and before he could find any rhythm, he missed a month with an UCL injury.
Finally, we’re seeing signs of a future Buffalo can get excited about. Allen’s mobility led to a career-high 135 rushing yards in Week 13 and while he threw two interceptions in the 21-17 loss, he also suffered unfortunate luck when Charles Clay dropped a game-winning touchdown.
Buffalo needs to improve its offensive line and must surround Allen with talented wide receivers. Given the circumstances, Allen is flashing enough potential to give the fan base more confidence about his future as the franchise quarterback.
“Fat Guy” touchdowns takeover the league
Football fans hoped the return to a 16-game slate would bring more points and plenty of explosive plays. Instead, Week 13 will be remembered for the “fat guy” touchdowns.
It started in Chicago with defensive end Akiem Hicks doing his best tribute to William “Refrigerator” Perry on a touchdown run. A short time later, the Detroit Lions brought out the trickery and offensive tackle Taylor Decker hauled in a touchdown. If there is anything fans love more than explosive offenses, it is fat guy touchdowns.
Historic loss to Cardinals leads to massive change in Green Bay
Green Bay’s fan base played around with the playoff machine imaging scenarios where the Packers snuck into playoffs. Those same fans are now realizing this is one of the worst teams in the NFL.
The Packers were exposed as a terrible team in an embarrassing loss to the equally awful Arizona Cardinals. Mike McCarthy deservedly lost his job after the loss. However, plenty of blame must also fall on Aaron Rodgers.
A new head coach, a top-10 pick, lots of cap space and an additional 2019 first-round pick will help this team. Rodgers fixing some of his lackadaisical issues with his footwork, ball placement and attitude on the field are also needed for this team to rebound next year.
Indianapolis is worse off than we thought
Coming off an utterly dominant win over the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 18, many wondered if the Colts were back and ready to be a contender in the AFC. Fast forward to Sunday and it’s clear everyone got excited too quickly.
After a 13-point comeback in the fourth quarter against Miami in Week 12, Indianapolis couldn’t muster a single point against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite Jacksonville’s offense turning in its own inept performance, the Colts still couldn’t find a way to victory and averaged just 3.7 yards per play on Sunday.
Indianapolis now sits three games back of Houston in the AFC South, and that could stretch to four games with a looming matchup against a Texans squad that has won nine in a row. After initial hope for a potential division fight, it’s now clear the Colts are not as improved as we thought.
Odell Beckham Jr. is New York’s best quarterback
Perhaps the Giants don’t need a quarterback after all. OBJ got another opportunity to show off his arm strength on Sunday and proved he might be the best quarterback on the roster.
OBJ’s second touchdown pass of the year might even be more impressive than his first He unleashed a rope despite being in the worst possible positioning to throw a deep ball and there was more than enough arm strength to deliver the pass on target. Given how poorly Eli played in the first half, it’s no longer as funny as it used to be that OBJ might be the better quarterback.
Bears take a step back in New York
Chicago rolled into Sunday with a five-game winning streak and were heavy favorites against the New York Giants. The Bears simply had no answer for star running back Saquon Barkley and New York dropped 30 points against them on a day when Eli was horrendous.
The Bears might have been guilty of looking ahead to their primetime matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. Even if that’s the case though, it becomes tougher to trust this defense against Todd Gurley and Jared Goff.
The good news is Mitchell Trubisky should return to the lineup and his return is a significant boost for this offense, additionally, Minnesota lost to maintain Chicago’s lead in the division. So while there are some negatives, things still look bright for the Bears.
Kansas City is in trouble
Coming off a bye week and following the sudden release of Kareem Hunt, it is understandable that the Chiefs struggled. However, there is a massive concern going forward, as Week 13 further exposed Kansas City’s issues on defense.
Oakland gashed Kansas City’s defense for 171 rushing yards on only 28 carries. Meanwhile, Derek Carr ripped apart this secondary for 285 passing yards and three touchdowns. One of the worst teams in the NFL tore through Kansas City’s defense like it was a high school team.
Some are counting on the eventual return of Eric Berry to solve some issues. A piece of gum isn’t going to fix a boat with 15 holes in it. This is a very flawed Super Bowl contender and it’s not difficult to imagine all of these problems coming back to bite them in the postseason.
Houston is the hottest team in football
When the Texans lost 27-22 to the New York Giants and slipped to a 0-3 record, the team seemed lost. Everyone was prepared to write off their season and the need for a rehab of the coaching staff to take place.
Houston has now won nine consecutive games. Sunday’s dominant win over the Cleveland Browns showed just how good this defense really is. As the secondary gets healthy and the dominant pass rush is maintained, this group will cause even more problems for opponents.
Of course, plenty of credit must go to this offense. While Deshaun Watson isn’t posting jaw-dropping numbers, he is playing at a very efficient level, Lamar Miller is coming on strong and the offense is starting to find its rhythm. Given its light remaining schedule, a team that started 0-3 could finish 13-3 with a first-round bye and the league’s best winning streak going into the playoffs.
There are two elite teams in Los Angeles
We’ve known the Rams were one of the best teams in the NFL and a Super Bowl favorite since before the season started. Now we’re beginning to quickly respect and realize they aren’t the lone elite team in Los Angeles.
The Chargers played without star defensive end Joey Bosa for half a season and managed to stay within striking distance of the Kansas City Chiefs. This week is what really stands out, as the Melvin Gordon-less Chargers went into Pittsburgh and came back from a 14-point deficit to win.
This is one of the best teams in the NFL and a serious Super Bowl threat. Los Angeles is blessed with two great football teams, now it’s time for the fans to show up and support them consistently.