Photo Credit: NFL.com
Shorter post this week as for the first time FMQB falls on Christmas day. Merry Christmas everybody! For all you non-football fans, throw out a few of these stats to wow your family.
Panthers vs. Giants:
In the first of 2 great comebacks, this one fell just short. With 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Panthers took a 35-7 lead, and it looked all but over after scoring 4 straight TD’s. The Giants strung together a couple TD drives, and by the 3rd one where Shane Vereen scored to pull within 7, the crowd was absolutely on fire! The whole place was rocking when Odell Beckham tied it up with less than 2 minutes left. It was interesting to see Cam Newton’s expression, and I’m actually going to give him a compliment here GASP! Despite their last 4 drives ending in Punt, Blocked FG, Fumble, Punt, Cam Newton looked absolutely confident on the sidelines. You could tell he was just looking at his teammates and saying “Let’s go win this.” Four plays later they were within FG range, and merely got a bit closer to make the chance more of a guarantee to remain undefeated. On a side note, I’m not sure how I feel about the Josh Norman vs. Odell Beckham feud. It was chippy, and the helmet to helmet hit was terrible, but I kind of liked it. The flags probably had their coaches hating it, but it felt like a playoff atmosphere again between two great competitors.
Photo Credit: NFL.com
Sure they were only playing the Cowboys, but the Packers looked to return to a bit of their old selves. They showed improvement after a 2-4 six game stretch, and they probably shouldn’t have beaten the Lions. Mike McCarthy is back to calling plays, which seemed to help both Aaron Rodgers and the run game. In fact, the Packers ran for 230 yards on 44 carries (vs. 35 passes for 218). And 28 points will win you a lot of games in the NFL, but in saying that there was a stretch of 5 straight punts on offense in the 2nd half.
- Russell Wilson threw his 2nd 5 TD game in 3 weeks
- Brock Osweiler lost for the first time in his career. He has now led his team to 1 TD in 2 games
- Jacksonville has a legit shot at winning the division. They play the Falcons, Saints, and Texans. And the Texans and Colts are down to 3rd string QB’s
- Andy Dalton getting injured this late in the season nearly guarantees a playoff birth but 1st round loss for the 5th straight year
- Speaking of Dalton, didn’t it seem like he was in the locker room, back in street clothes, and fully casted up in about 7 minutes?
- Sending LeSean McCoy as the only Bills captain against his old team? Love it!
- Wow, Bengals Steelers felt like a playoff game. Very chippy! Rival-tastic! Bengals LB Burfict was fined $70,000 for 3 plays.
- Raiders are looking strong! Great couple drafts (Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper) and strong coach in Jack Del Rio. Should be a playoff team next year
- An unblocked Clay Matthews coming at you through the line must be one of the scariest things a QB can see
Photo Credit: NFL.com
Without trying to sound like a broken record, the final 4 or so weeks of the season is always the most exciting! We’re down to the nitty gritty, and one of my favorite websites is back up again! Head over to the Playoff Machinehttp://espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/machine where you can pick the final 4 weeks to see what the Playoff matchups would be.
- I have the Packers and Vikings tied for record entering their Week 17 matchup, which could bring the entire division down to that final game in Lambeau.
- The Broncos vs Bengals Week 16 matchup will determine who gets a first round bye
- I have quite the change in seeding for the AFC, with the Patriots pulling the #1 Seed (at 3 now), and the Steelers leapfrogging the Jets.
- The NFC is pretty much the same, with the Packers winning the division, Seattle and Minnesota flipping Wild Card spots, and the Eagles taking the East.
Photo Credit: ESPN/SportsCenter
In an FMQB first, I’m switching the picture and title after a Thursday night game (most of my blog is written by Friday morning). What a game last night! I would typically turn off any game that’s 20-0 in the 3rd quarter, but I’m sure glad I kept with it. Granted people will be harping on the facemask penalty on Rodgers to give them an extra shot, but it was an incredible final hail mary (albeit lucky) to end the game. Successful game winning hail marys are extremely rare in the NFL. The last one was the “Fail Mary” in 2012, then the Jags Titans in 2010, and then you have to go all the way back to 2002. So that’s only 3 endings like this in the last 13 years! Here’s a list of all successful hail marys if anybody is interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Hail_Mary_passes_in_American_football#Professional_football . Huge division game though, it was a must-win for the Packers (although they didn’t act like it in the first 40 minutes of the game).
We’re into the nitty gritty, with only 5 games left in the season. The playoff push will be strong, with most divisions having a fairly clear winner, but about 10 total teams vying for 4 total Wild Card spots. Let’s dive into last week.