(Photo By: David Butler II/ USA Today Sports)
Written By: Matt Di Domenico
LinkedIn: Matt Di Domenico | LinkedIn
This league just keeps on going on! Each week happens and each time it has us all confused. The tight race in the AFC has us all scratching our heads wondering who is going to come out with the top seed. Then in the NFC, it is close at the top but a few teams that we thought were done have made a strong push to come back into the picture. Superstar players are starting to show that they will be the reason why their team will be in the playoffs. Below are the 3 winners and 3 losers for week #13 in the NFL.
1. Minnesota Vikings
You really cannot blame the entire Minnesota Vikings team for this loss against the winless Detroit Lions on Sunday. Sure, the Vikings offense started off slow, but they bounced back in the second half without Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook. The Vikings offense was able to score with around a minute left and it still was not enough to come away with the win. The Vikings defense led by head coach Mike Zimmer just played awful. Giving up 29 points to the Lions just cannot happen. The Lions just marched right down the field in the last minute and Goff was able to make a last-second throw for the win. The Vikings now have fallen to a record of 5-7. This loss certainly does not help the Vikings playoff chances. Zimmer is on the hot seat now, and if he doesn’t turn this season around, many people expect him to be out of Minnesota come January.
2. Buffalo Bills
The nightmare is real Buffalo Bills fans. The team that many people, including myself, had winning the AFC East is lost. The Bills have fallen behind the New England Patriots with this loss on Monday night. The Bills defense played an awful game. Even when they knew the Patriots were just running the ball, they still could not stop it. The offense for the Bills and Josh Allen just did not show up. The only time the Bills cashed in for a TD was off a turnover where a special team’s player for the Patriots barely touched the football on a punt. This team has dug itself into a huge hole and now is in jeopardy of missing the playoffs. Next up for the Bills is a very familiar foe in Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who look red hot.
3. QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
This was a huge game for the Baltimore Ravens and their star QB Lamar Jackson. Many wanted to see Jackson bounce back against the Pittsburgh Steelers after his 4 INT performance last week, but it was an ugly showing. Jackson went 23 for 37 with 253 passing yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. Jackson did make a drive to put the Ravens in position for OT, but they decided to go for the two-point try. Of course, the Ravens did not convert and now have fallen to a record of 8-4. Jackson has also fallen out of the MVP conversation after starting out pretty hot at the beginning of the season. The Ravens and Jackson must figure things out against the Cleveland Browns next weekend.
1. Los Angeles Chargers Defense
The Los Angeles Chargers have had no problem on offense led by their young star QB in Justin Herbert. Herbert again had a huge game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but I was expecting to see that from Herbert. The reason why I thought the Chargers would lose this game was because of their defense. The Chargers defense showed up against this high-powered Bengals offense. Even Joey Bosa was lost in the game and the Chargers defense was still able to generate a lot of pressure on Burrow. What allowed the Chargers to win the game was winning the turnover battle. The Chargers were able to get 2 INTs and 2 fumble recoveries. If this defense for Los Angeles can keep improving, then they will be a hard team to beat in the playoffs.
2. QB Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Yes, I know, the Los Angeles Rams played the Jacksonville Jaguars in this matchup. This was a game that Matthew Stafford had to bounce back in. If Stafford didn't, then there would be a lot of noise right now. Stafford had a big day, going 26 for 38 with 295 passing yards and had 3 TDs. Stafford even was able to get Odell Beckham Jr. involved more. Stafford now has the Rams at a record of 8-4. The Rams and Stafford will have a huge matchup next week when they take on the current #1 seed in the Arizona Cardinals. If the Rams win that game, then they are in striking distance in taking the NFC West crown back. Stafford has to build off this win and continue to play smart football or else the Rams will not win next week in Arizona.
3. New England Patriots Offensive Line
What a Monday night game it was for the offense of the New England Patriots. The Patriots went up to Buffalo and played the Bills in awful weather conditions that included up to 50 MPH winds. The offensive line for the Patriots does not get enough credit for the job they did in this game. The line completely took the Bills defensive line out of this game at ease. Out of 49 total plays, the Patriots ran the football 45 times for 222 total rushing yards. It is insane to see that the Patriots only threw the football 3 times and still won the football game. This win came at the perfect time for the Patriots, as they head into their bye week sitting atop of the AFC East once again. This team is red hot and look to continue their winning ways