Week 13 of our NFL action is officially in the books. So before Week 14 kicks off Thursday, here’s a quick look back.
Cowboys 38, Redskins 14
The Cowboys kept their wild card hopes alive while waiting on the return of Ezekiel Elliott. This was, for all intensive purposes, a wild card contender game. Therefore, the ‘Skins are probably out of the running.
Vikings 14, Falcons 9
Atlanta’s hope of defending their division title was probably lost here. But, they are still very much in the running for a wild card spot, which means they can still defend their NFC title.
The Vikings, meanwhile, are gunning for home-field advantage. And their defense may just ensure they get it.
Patriots 23 Bills 3: The biggest highlight of the game was Rob Gronkowski throwing down perhaps the worst cheap shot in years. The final outcome is of no surprise to most.
The Jimmy Garoppolo era has begun in San Francisco with a fine performance from the ex-Patriot. He shows up rookie Mitch Trubisky who fumbled twice and was sacked twice.
Packers 26, Buccaneers 20 (OT)
Like the Cowboys, the Packers are trying to stay in contention for a wild card while a team star works on coming back from an injury. Aaron Rodgers could play soon. And, he remains the only hope for Green Bay’s wild card chances with Minnesota running away with the division.
For Tampa, it’s time to look ahead to next season.
Titans 24, Texans 13
With four games to go, Tennessee’s final game of the season is looking more and more like a HUGE showdown with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both teams are tied for the division lead.
Houston will hope that in 2018, Deshaun Watson is fully recovered.
Dolphins 35, Broncos 9
Denver has become a royal mess. It’s not often that you see the Broncos getting blown out repeatedly as they have in 2017.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins are actually getting by without Jay Ajayi. And with a sweep of the final four games, they would actually have a shot at a wild card. Standing in their way, however, are the Patriots this Monday night in New England, road games in Buffalo and KC, then finishing at home with the Bills.
Wild card? Probably not.
Jets 38, Chiefs 31
Kansas City’s free-fall is one of the most amazing collapses by an NFL team in years. A 5-0 start to 6-6. Before winning their sixth, they lost two consecutive games and have now lost their last four. The Jets were not supposed to win five games this season, but here they are.
Jaguars 30, Colts 10
Jacksonville and Tennessee are putting on a show for the division title unlike any other. A real test for the Jags comes this Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks come to town. For Indianapolis, it will be interesting to see if Andrew Luck returns next season.
Ravens 44, Lions 20
Detroit won three in a row after losing three in a row and at that point were 6-4. Now they’ve lost their last two, getting spanked Baltimore. Up until the final game of the season, their schedule is relatively easy (at Tampa, Bears, at Bengals). They finish with Green Bay at home.
The Ravens, meanwhile, have quietly moved to 7-5 and have a huge game Sunday night in Pittsburgh. A win here could solidify a wild card spot.
Chargers 19, Browns 10
In the 73 years since 1944, the National Football League has seen just four teams go through an entire season and not win a single game. The 1960 Dallas Cowboys did have a tie, finishing 0-11-1.
In the 1976, during their first-ever campaign, the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost all 14 games.
Six years later, the Baltimore Colts finished 0-8-1 during a strike-shortened season.
But the only team since a 16-game schedule was implemented to lose all 16 were the 2008 Detroit Lions.
For the Cleveland Browns, they are headed to a tie with Detroit. Unless, of course, they can defeat either the Green Bay Packers at home, Baltimore at home, the Bears on the road or Pittsburgh at Heinz. Good luck, Cleveland!
As for the Chargers, they’ve been red hot. How crazy is it that the AFC West now has three teams all 6-6?
Raiders 24, Giants 17
Ben McAdoo and his GM get fired. Eli Manning gets his job back. Unfortunately, the Giants season is all but over. Manning says he is not retiring but New York has plenty of work to do.
Oakland had played so well last season. But this year, they’ve been all over the map. In the west, it’s a division for the taking.
Saints 31, Panthers 21
This essentially was a game to decide the NFC South. Therefore, the Saints now hold the cards. Meanwhile, Carolina will battle for a wild card spot.
Rams 32, Cardinals 16
No more argument here. The Rams are for real. They have not yet won the division, but the title is in their hands. In fact, it might just be decided on December 17 when they play in Seattle.
The Cardinals will have to regroup in 2018.
Seahawks, 24 Eagles 10
The mighty have fallen. While some like me believe records speak for themselves, I still hold doubt as to how good Philadelphia really is. Looking back at their season, their only loss prior to this one was to the Kansas City Chiefs—who began the season at 5-0. The teams the Eagles have beaten this season have a combined record of 40-98 or a .289 winning percentage. So they travel to an 8-4 Seahawks side and get bounced, 24-10. Now what?
The ‘Hawks have set themselves up perfectly for winning the division if they can win the next two in Jacksonville and at home against the Rams.
Steelers 23, Bengals 20
If you like pain, you would have loved this game. Tons of hard hitting and cheap shots in this one. Plus, one of the most vicious blocks thrown down by rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster that you will see all season.
The end result would a never-say-die comeback from 17 points down by the Steelers. Not to mention, suspensions for Smith-Schuster and George Iloka. This is the kind of loss that will break the backs of a team like Cincinnati.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh continues to shoot for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. That could be determined a week from Sunday at Heinz Field when the mighty Patriots come to town.
And for more from Harv Aronson, be sure to check out his website here.