NFL Best and Worst of Week 15

Best: Don’t look now but the Detroit Lions are on a roll! They’re 2-1 in the last 3 weeks. You know who else can say that? The Patriots, Rams, and Bucs. That’s a good list to be a part of, opposing teams beware. Jared Goff went off, having his best game of the season at most unexpected time. He finished the game 21 of 26 with 216 yards and 3 TDs against the team with the best record in the NFL. It’s not the first time Goff has beaten the Cardinals, he’s actually 7-1 against them, and 3-0 against Kliff Kingsbury, when he was with the LA Rams. He played like he was still a part of that franchise, because with that win, he helped the Rams get on step closer to a division title and the number one seed in the NFC. The Lions may have one of the worst records in the league, but this team has more fight in them than some teams with comfortable seats in the playoff race. The locker room speech by Dan Campbell is proof. At the start of the season, I thought he would either be a bumbling meathead in way over his head, or the perfect head coach to lead that miserable organization out of the basement of the NFL, and it looks like the latter.

Worst: Teams are 0-2 this season when standing on the opposing teams logo before the game. When will teams learn? After witnessing the massacre the Raiders suffered in Kansas City last week, the Titans must have looked at each other and gone, “Yeah, we need to do that too. We haven’t had enough go wrong for us yet.” And what do you know, they lost. Some good news for Tennessee, though. Julio Jones returned this week after spending half the year- oh, he hurt his hamstring again. Never mind. Offensively, the Titans ended up turning the ball over 3 times in 10 plays late in the game when they were trying extend the lead. That wont cut it against the real teams you will face in the playoffs. They had an opportunity to keep their 2-game lead over the Colts, but after this week, coupled with the Colts hot off a dominant win over the then #1 seeded Patriots, the Titans are at serious a risk of missing the playoffs entirely. Maybe during pregame, you should focus more on warmups and less on where you’re standing. Just food for thought, Tennessee.

Best: The AFC West is going to be exciting to watch for the next 10-15 years. Justin Herbert is a year or two away from being a truly elite talent, and Mahomes, despite his struggles earlier in the season, has still proven himself to be a top 3 QB. Round 3 of Mahomes vs. Herbert did not disappoint. Herbert started a little slow in the beginning but warmed up in the 2nd quarter. Mahomes started off slow, but dominated in the 2nd half and OT. But all anyone wants to talk about is Chargers HC Brandon Staley’s decisions to go for it on 4th down in the redzone. If you look at the final score, it’s easy to say “Oh, if they had kicked a field goal instead of going for it all the time, they would’ve won the game.” For those who have this argument, let me just say you have perfect vision, and probably wear the Hindsight 20 20’s. However, there is no guarantee the Chargers would have won if they did kick their field goals as that would have impacted the play calling of Andy Reid and the Chiefs offense. Also, when you are facing a juggernaut offense like Kansas City or Green Bay or Tampa, how often have you won by kicking field goals? You have to score touchdowns, and Brandon Staley knows that. He was right to play aggressive football because he knows that he cant afford to play catch up against that offense. Anytime these teams face off, there will be fireworks. In the 3 matchups between Mahomes and Herbert, the Chiefs have score 81 pts and the Chargers have scored 78 pts. Mahomes is currently 2-1 against Herbert, but Herbert has proven that he has the talent to go toe-to-toe with his AFC West rival and can win. If these teams face off in the post season, ho boy, you can bet everyone and their momma will be tuning in.

Worst: Welcome to the Worst column, Tom Brady. Throughout this season, and watching Tom Brady play, I noticed something odd about his play, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. But I can now. I noticed a majority of throws made by Brady have been short routes, like hitches, comebacks, slants, out routes, and his receivers are so good that they get the separation needed to make the completion and get an easy 5 to 10 yards every play. sometimes those receivers get so much separation that they break the 5 yard slant route into a 25 yard gain, therefore padding Brady’s stats and making him look so much better than he actually is. But those 5-10 yard passes every play are how the Bucs offense walks down the field and scores every single drive. Every now and then, Tom will throw the ball downfield but the pass will be off target, or it’ll be to a wide open receiver who has to slow down to catch it. Brady does not make any difficult throws anymore because he simply cant make those throws. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both left the game early due to injuries, and what do you know, Tom stunk. He didn’t have two top ten WRs to bail him out anymore. He failed to do what great QBs do, elevate the players around him. This, by no means, negates what he has done in the past, but people need to understand that Tom Brady does not make that team great. That team is stacked with talent, and Tom Brady rides that talent into the playoffs. And to make matters worse, Brady did not handle the loss well at all. After his late game interception, he runs to the Saints sideline to curse out a Saints coach. Yep. What a great role model. If that had been Cam Newton or Baker Mayfield or Odell Beckham Jr., they would be penalized, fined, ejected, lit on fire by the media, with their character being questioned and be called a poor sport, hot head and a bad leader. But Tom Brady is the NFL’s golden boy and he can do what he wants, including yelling at officials and get any flag he desires, because Tom Brady can do no wrong. After his altercation (that wasn’t flagged) with the Saints sideline, he storms back to his own sideline and throws a tantrum there. It’s a good look for the GOAT, to curse and complain and break things when things don’t go his way. Kind of like a toddler. You shouldn’t get a free pass act like this just because you are successful. Well, this rant has gone long enough, kind of like Brady’s career, so I’ll end it by wishing Brady good luck on the rest of the season without his top WRs and a blueprint on how to stop him now, courtesy of the Saints Defense.

Best: Another week has passed and another week of Jonathan Taylor making his case for MVP. He recorded 170 yards on 29 carries and a score. If you think the stats don’t do him justice, how about you actually watch the game. Taylor has been dominant all year breaking off big runs at crucial moments of the game. He single handedly put the game away with a 67 yard touchdown with 2 minutes left to go, against the stout Patriots defense. I said this a few weeks ago and I’ll say it again. There is no QB who’s playing at an MVP level this year. The list of QBs in the running are Mahomes, Brady and Rodgers. Mahomes stunk early in the season, Brady had a terrible game this week after losing the two receivers that made him look good, and Rodgers has played well but he’s not been incredible like he was last year when he did win. Jonathan Taylor is light years ahead of the every running back, except those with a broken foot, and he is that Colts offense. Give the MVP to the running back.

Worst: Covid has ravaged the NFL the past week. There have been so many players for each team that have been placed on the Covid/Reserve list that I literally cannot keep track of who’s playing and who isn’t because one hour its three players placed on the list and the next hour its half the team. If I tried to list off all the key players and starters for every team, my fingers would fall off. If you want to know who’s playing on your team this week, or who is out in your fantasy playoffs, here’s the link to the NFL’s Covid Tracker. Good luck and stay safe everyone!

Chaos!: I don’t even have the patience to write about how bad the NFL officiating is. It was on full display on Monday Night, funnily enough, against the Bears, again. Does the NFL have a vendetta against that team? What did the McCaskey’s do to Roger Goodell? Every week its something new, which I didn’t know was possible. Fields continued to take late hits, without receiving a roughing the passer penalty, until one hit was so blatantly late after the play was called dead, and Justin still had to plead his case to the ref before he threw the flag. This is under the Chaos! column because everyone knows the officiating is hot trash, yet the NFL does nothing. And they will continue to do nothing because they can. They will continue to defend their officials saying that the rules are just, and the fans will continue to justifiably complain about how terrible the rules are and the officials. And so the continuous cycle loops and loops and loops. Chaos, everyone.

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