(Photo By: Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer
Written By: Matt Di Domenico
LinkedIn: Matt Di Domenico | LinkedIn
The race is tightening up even more. Seeds will soon be set and the playoffs in the NFL will be underway. Some NFL teams have now reached the point of lost hope or elimination. Some teams have taken a step back and are trying to find their footing for the last two weeks to punch their ticket into the dance. Like always though, there are winners and losers for every week. Below are those 3 winners and 3 losers for week #16 in the NFL.
1. Dallas Cowboys
What a game it was for the Dallas Cowboys as they took on the Washington Football Team on Sunday night. The Cowboys dominate this game and never let Washington get going. The final score ended 56 to 14. QB Dak Prescott had quite the night throwing for 330 passing yards and 4 TDs. The offense for the Cowboys is finally starting to click with their defense that has risen to the playing field this season. The huge question is and will be answered in the playoffs, will this team be like the past Cowboys teams? Will they fall in the playoffs to an opponent that will play all 4 quarters of football against them? Give credit to Dallas because they did show up and beat the breaks of Washington but next week is the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have been a struggling ball club for the past few weeks so we will see if this will be a good test for Dallas as they get ready for the playoffs.
2. QB Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Who Dey! Joe Burrow had a huge day against the Baltimore Ravens to get the Cincinnati Bengals to a record of 9-6. This was a big-time game for the Bengals to prove that they are for real. Burrow showed up and now has the Bengals sitting atop of the AFC North heading into the final two weeks of the season. Burrow went 37 for 46 with 525 passing yards and had 4 TDs. This is a Bengals team that has one of the best offenses in the league and can score with anybody. There is so much talent on this team, but they are inexperienced when it comes to playoff appearances of course. I cannot have the Bengals going too far in the playoffs just yet but they are looking good. Next week they can truly prove me wrong when they take on the Kansas City Chiefs.
3. QB Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen was the main reason why I picked the Buffalo Bills to win this game against the New England Patriots. Allen had to have a big-time game or else the Patriots would then claim the AFC East for their own once again. The Bills and Allen had to prove to the world that they can rebound from tough losses and beat a quality opponent. Allen went 30 for 47 with 314 passing yards and had 3 TDs. In the Final drive, Allen was able to capitalize and score to give the Bills the win. I do not think the Bills will be making a deep playoff run like last year because of the injuries that they have been dealt with. Losing their star CB in Tre White is what mainly is holding me back from putting the Bills on a deep playoff run. However, the Bills now are in a really good spot at 9-6 with two very favorable matchups for the final two games. Anything is possible and we will see how far Allen can take them.
1. New England Patriots Defense
Now flipping to the other side. The New England Patriots failed to stop the Buffalo Bills all day long in a 33 to 21 loss. The Bills did not have to punt once in this ball game. The defense was supposed to be the strength of this Patriots team and they just flat out failed to do their job. Too many careless mistakes after the whistle with late hits simply cannot happen in games like this. With this loss, the Patriots now have fallen to a wildcard spot. What makes matters worse is winning out is a must for this ball club. I expect the Patriots to bounce back from this loss but winning the AFC East may have just left their building unless they get some help. Next up for New England is the Jacksonville Jaguars.
2. Arizona Cardinals
Talk about a team that has taken a major decline after their hot start to the season. The Arizona Cardinals just look like they have lost their entire confidence in playing football as a team. With a 22 to 16 loss against the Indianapolis Colts, the Cardinals now have fallen to a record of 10-5 and are behind the Los Angeles Rams for the NFC West crown. Nothing is clicking for this ball club now. Kyler Murray looks completely off, and the defense cannot make stops when it matters the most. It doesn't get easier next week for the Cardinals because they will be taking on the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas. This is almost a must-win game for the Cardinals because they surely do not want to have to be in a win and in scenario heading into the final week of the season.
3. HC Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings took a tough 30-23 loss against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday and many think this could be Mike Zimmer’s last ride as Vikings head coach. There were many opportunities for the Vikings to win this game and they simply did not because of simple mistakes. Zimmer is known for having a tough defense and simply it is not this season. Zimmer will be coaching for his job these last two games because the Vikings desperately have to win them to get into the playoffs. The problem is, the Vikings will have to beat the Green Bay Packers and MVP favorite in QB Aaron Rodgers on Sunday Night next week. That is a super tough task for the Vikings. Zimmer will have to coach his best game yet or else this may be it for him in Minnesota.