What We Learned - In the First Half  

 

What we learned in the first half of Week 15

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The first half of Sunday's Week 15 slate included the first two division championship celebrations of the season. The Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots are headed to the playoffs, which is no surprise.

Here's what else we learned in the early games:

1. The AFC North is officially a three-team race. The Browns were embarrassed in a 30-0 loss to Cincinnati. Johnny Manziel held the ball too long, walked into a few sacks and threw a number of "rookie" passes. This was a sobering moment for every Browns fan wanting a QB change. The Browns looked more lost on offense than they have all season with Manziel behind center.

2. It's very easy to imagine three AFC North teams making the playoffs after Sunday's results: Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati have all reached nine wins with two weeks to go.

3. On a day when Cleveland and Houston's realistic playoff hopes ended, the Buffalo Bills picked up the upset victory they needed against Green Bay to stay in the mix. This is a game the Bills' defense deserved. They made Aaron Rodgers look like a rookie. Buffalo probably needs another huge upset Week 17 in Foxborough, but this defense is good enough to provide hope.

4. The Miami Dolphins could be headed for a coaching change. Now 7-7, they are almost certainly headed for another season out of the playoffs. They have been better than their results have indicated all year, but they find a way to crumble against the best teams. Both sides of the ball collapsed during a 24-0 third quarter barrage for New England.

5. Perhaps Jonas Gray is out of Bill Belichick's doghouse for good. He looked good while carrying the load in the second half of Sunday's win over Miami.

6. If Derek Anderson only started against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he would be a quality NFL starting quarterback. Anderson picked up his second win of the season for the Panthers against Tampa, putting Carolina temporarily in first in the NFC South with the Saints on tap Monday night against the Bears.

7. The Colts won the AFC South, but they have struggled to put together four quarters of impressive football in a while. They struggled to put Houston away despite rookie Tom Savage taking over for an injured Ryan Fitzpatrick in the first half. The Texans, now 7-7, will start Savage the final two games of the season because Fitzpatrick broke his leg.

8. Just hand Odell Beckham the Rookie of the Year award. And the Fantasy MVP after his 143-yard, three score effort against Washington.

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