Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 15 in the National Football League!
- Very solid win for the Cincinnati Bengals against the Philadelphia Eagles in the final Thursday Night game of the season. No game is an “easy win” for any team and the Bengals needed to get the “W” at any cost. Now they are in the driver seat of playoff positioning with just two weeks to go, a win against Pittsburgh could all but close the door for them to play past Week 17.
- Talk about a “statement win.” This is the win Atlanta has been looking for all season long and it has come at the right time with just two weeks to go until the regular season closes out. Watch out for the Falcons, this could finally be their year.
- New York needs to stop play inconsistently and needs to stop now. The Giants are self-imploding and finding a way to back out of the playoff competition. New York entered Week 15 the 4th seed in the NFC playoffs and they walk out Week 15 as they 9th seed in the NFC Playoffs currently; rough loss for the defending Super Bowl Champions.
- Enter this season there were a lot of people out there who doubted the Green Bay Packers. They believe this would be the Bears season to capture the NFC North and it looked that way for most of the season. Since their loss to New York a couple weeks back the Packers have really turned it around by capturing the NFC North division and they are quietly emerging as a scary team entering the playoffs.
- Since Week 10 the Bears have gone 1-5 in their last 6 games. If they can’t make the playoffs with Arizona and Detroit on their schedule to close out 2012 then we can all say “good-bye” to Lovie Smith in Chicago.
- No RG III, no problem! Washington is now your new NFC East division leaders with two weeks to go and they made the right move to sit RGIII against a poor opponent in Cleveland. I will be shocked if Washington is not playing past Week 17 this year, I have really enjoyed watching this team grow in recent weeks.
- Does Nick Saban really want to return to Cleveland? Not sure if a loss like this entices a big-time College Football coach to leave his very cushioned job.
- The NFL needs to give Adrian Peterson the NFL MVP award. He is single-handily putting this team in playoff position with just two games to go. While Minnesota does sit in the 6th spot currently I will be very surprised if they can hold onto it. But then again, nothing should surprise us about this Vikings team.
- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t think Sam Bradford is the answer in St. Louis.
- Miami beats Jacksonville in a meaningless game in December, nice to see who the best team in Florida is.
- Can this season end any quicker for Jaguar fans? This team looked so much fun to watch a couple weeks ago and then they reappeared to what they always were…
- Welcome back to the NFL, Drew Brees. Where was this type of play the last couple of weeks when they needed it?
- Very tough to see how poorly this Bucs team has collapsed in recent weeks. They were so much fun to watch and a very dangerous team if they continued to be in playoff contention. I just continue to hope they are building forward for next season.
- I’ve been very critical of the Denver Broncos not beating good teams this season. Technically the Broncos beat a playoff clinching team in the Baltimore Ravens but did they really come off like a team playing past Week 17? I’m still not completely sold on this Broncos squad, sorry Denver.
- How is it that the Baltimore Ravens are a playoff team this year? Amazing how quickly this team has fallen in the last month or so.
- Loved seeing the Houston Texans bounce back after that rough Monday Night showing against New England in Week 14. They are the AFC South division champions yet again and are in the driver seat for that 1st round bye in the AFC playoffs. Maybe that Monday Night loss to New England is what this young team needed to get them back to focus.
- Indianapolis could’ve made the AFC South very interesting with just two weeks to go but that won’t be the case now. If I’m the Colts I just focus on preparing myself for the playoffs in these last two games. Indy can be a very scary team if they play their cards right because they weren’t supposed to be a playoff team this season.
- Seattle is the most dangerous team entering the playoffs right now. I have no issues with them running up the score on their opponents because they should never back down from their competitive nature. That Week 16 game against San Francisco is going to be very fun to watch.
- Fire Chan Gailey and consider looking into another starting quarterback. Buffalo has potential; they just need the right people to tap into it before this current crop disbands.
- How did Arizona get the win against Detroit!? Are the Lions really that bad this season?
- Do you believe me now Detroit Lions fans? Fire Jim Schwartz.
- Where was this Panthers team at the start of this season? Another solid week for the Panthers and I’m sure they are hoping this is something they can build off of in 2013.
- Can’t you just fire Norv Turner and A.J. Smith now? I really wonder if the next person in-charge keeps Philip Rivers around in San Diego for much longer…
- Huge win for Dallas and this is exactly what they needed with two games to go. It’s a big victory that can carry this team for the final two games. While they may not be the “media darling” that the Washington Redskins are right now, do not sleep on the Cowboys.
- The Steelers have found a way to back out of the playoffs and now it doesn’t look so good for this team with 2 games to go. They need to beat Cincinnati in Week 16 or they can all but kiss their 2012 season goodbye, should be a very interesting game next week.
- Oakland wins 15-0, congrats on not being the worst team in the NFL this season.
- All Kansas City has to do the next two weeks is play worse then Jacksonville and the #1 overall pick is theirs! Been a while since I wrote something positive about Kansas City…then again, do you consider being the worst team in the league honors necessarily positive?
- So San Francisco beats New England in a matchup that many people believed (including me) put the best team in the NFC against the best team in the AFC. So does that mean the 49ers are the best team in the NFL? I think so.
- New England did not look like New England in the 1st half but bounced back pretty loudly in the 2nd half. It looked like it was the Patriots game to lose at one point in the 2nd half as they were dominating the 49ers throughout their comeback but it just wasn’t meant to be. This loss is something the Patriots needed to motivate them and keep them on their toes with just two games left in the season.
- As weird as it sounded that the Jets were in playoff contention going into the Monday Night game, it made a world of sense when they went out there and performed like that against Tennessee. The fact that this team had a shot at a playoff spot was a shame.
For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at 979espn.com!
You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at www.979espn.com
You can follow Jeff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JeffPeck979ESPN
“LIKE” 97.9 ESPN on Facebook: www.facebook.com/979espn
“LIKE” The Bower Show on Facebook: www.facebook.com/bowershow
“LIKE” The Still Real to Us Show on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thestillrealtousshow