NFL Week 14 Notebook

Getting Hot at the Right Time

In sports, a lot of the time playoff success is about peaking at the right time of the season. The Buffalo Bills are doing just that.  Beating the 11-1 Steelers last night was the staple win the Bills needed to solidify themselves as a top team in the league, and a team that should be feared come playoffs.  If you were to take out Kyler Murray’s miraculous Hail Mary throw to end the game against Buffalo about a month ago, the Bills would be on a 7-game winning streak dating back to two months ago where they lost to the Chiefs. 

Stephon Diggs breaks tackle vs. Seahawks.

Last night, Stephon Diggs got his reception total up to 100 on the season, giving him the most of any receiver across the league. In terms of receiving yards, he is only behind Travis Kelce and DK Metcalf and is targeted more than any receiver aside from Keenan Allen. Josh Allen has looked incredible this season and a lot of it is due to his number 1 receiver, Diggs. The Bills offense is legit and I think they are one of the few offenses that may be able to keep pace with the Kansas City Chiefs. 

When you evaluate team statistics for the Bills they don’t do any one thing especially well. In the same breath, they don’t do anything bad.  They are a balanced football team top to bottom and they have very little weakness.  Bills Mafia has a lot to look forward to in the next couple of months.

Put the Nail in the Coffin

Travis Kelce stiff-arms opponent.

When talking about the Kansas City Chiefs there aren’t a whole lot of bad things to say. If I were a betting man (which I am) and you asked me to pick a Super Bowl winner right this second, I would tell you the Chiefs. However, there is one thing about this team that concerns me. What concerns me about the Chiefs is their inability to put the nail in the coffin against weaker teams.

Yesterdays game against the Miami Dolphins is a perfect example. The Chiefs jolted out to a 30-10 lead, but then let their foot off of the gas and only won 33-27. Now a win is a win, but against a team stronger than the Dolphins this could become an issue.

Another example of this came during week 12 against Tom Brady’s Buccaneers. The Chiefs were up 20-7 at halftime, but then only won the game 27-24 and were outscored in the fourth quarter 14-0. For such a talented team they have a real problem with pulling away from the competition.

The Chiefs offense is easily the best that I have ever watched and I ultimately think that it will carry them to another Super Bowl victory in February, but I’d like to see them start winning more convincingly like I know they are capable of.

Are the Steelers the Worst Great Team Ever?

Yes.

The Steelers are as confusing as any team in the league in recent weeks. After starting off their season with 11 straight wins, they have now dropped their last two. The Steelers are trending in the wrong direction at this point in the season and are seemingly playing their worst football right now. While I still believe that their defense can be legit, I have trouble believing that they will be able to run that ball with any success in the future.

Juju Smith-Schuster runs with football.

They have a legit receiving core with guys like Juju Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool and when Big Ben is at his best they can definitely put up points on the scoreboard. But last night, Roethlisberger did not look good.

Even when the Steelers were undefeated I had a hard time believing that they would be able to much against the leagues best. The Steelers are a classic case of getting blessed with an easy schedule, beating up weaker opponents, and then eventually starting to crack. I see the Steelers being an early exit in this years playoffs and they will likely drop another game or two before the regular season ends.

Breaking Down the NFC East

The NFC East, also known as the NFC BEAST, has been an absolute disaster of a division all year and not much has changed as we close in on playoff time. The division can still be won by any team, but the Washington Football Team controls their own destiny.

Alex Smith, QB for the Washington Football Team

After 13 games the Redskins have tallied 6 wins and 7 losses. They currently stand one game ahead of the New York Giants and 2 ahead of the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Of their 3 remaining games, if the Football Team wins 2 of them they can lock themselves into a playoff spot. Unfortunately for them, they are matched-up against Seattle next week which will be an uphill battle for them. They face the Panthers and the Eagles in weeks 16 & 17, respectively, both extremely winable games for them.

After a disgraceful blow-out loss to the Cardinals yesterday, the Giants find themselves a game back in the division. The next two weeks for the Giants doesn’t get much easier as they take on the 9-3 Browns on Sunday Night Football next week, and then travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens. I have trouble seeing a way that the Giants will get into the playoffs at this stage, but it is 2020 and anything can happen.

While the Eagles and the Cowboys are two games back, they are still very much in play for first place in the division and could surprise people down the stretch. The NFC East continues to be a see-saw and can finish up in a variety of different ways.

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