I’ve been mulling this move for a while and it’s time – the Chiefs are the best team in football, boasting an offense that can seemingly score at will each weekend. Led by Patrick Mahomes – who is now the highest-rated quarterback in NFL history with a mark of 110.7 – KC are even more dangerous than in 2019.
The Steelers laboured to victory over Baltimore on Wednesday but it should also be applauded that they saw off a fierce rival in order to move to 11-0. I’ve not dropped the Steelers because of anything they have done of late – it’s just that if they and the Chiefs met in the AFC title game tomorrow I would back KC.
The Saints are playing tough on defense, although Sunday’s beatdown of the quarterback-less Denver Broncos is hard to judge. But what can be assessed is the fact that New Orleans have now won eight in a row and two without starting quarterback Drew Brees. That counts for a lot in today’s topsy-turvy NFL.
The Packers got back on track with a big win over the Chicago Bears last Sunday night and they reminded us that, despite a few bumps in the road here and there, this remains one of the best teams in the NFC. With eight wins in the books, Green Bay can push New Orleans all the way for the conference top seed.
Josh Allen is enjoying a career year in Buffalo, accounting for 29 touchdowns (22 passing, 6 rushing and 1 receiving. That is the good news. The bad news is that the Bills are heading back to Arizona to take on the San Francisco 49ers – that was the site of their Hail Mary loss to the Cardinals in Week 10.
The Seahawks tried to find a little more offensive balance during their Monday night win over Philadelphia, running 30 times while Russell Wilson threw the ball on 31 occasions. But they need more than 76 rushing yards out of their backs, especially as the playoffs draw ever closer.
The Rams were quietly looking ominous before stubbing their toe against San Francisco last week. But I trust in head coach Sean McVay and a big game beckons this weekend as they take on the Cardinals. Getting Jared Goff going again at QB would help – his rating over the past four games has been 79.7.
Derrick Henry has averaged 108 rushing yards per game this season and is running like some kind of beast from another planet. He cannot be stopped. All you can do is hang on and wait for help when tackling him, but the likelihood is that he will throw out the stiff-arm and send you flying before you can grab him.
The Bucs woke up and played the Chiefs tough in the end and that is a huge positive. But I wouldn’t share Tony Romo’s commentary assessment that there is a good chance the Chiefs and Bucs meet again in the Super Bowl in February. There is much work to be done before the Bucs can be considered contenders.
The defense was under-manned against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday so I came away from that loss confident that unit can get back on track. But just how far can these Colts go with Philip Rivers at the helm as their quarterback? He will have positive moments here and there, but that is a big concern for me.
I’m not slamming the Ravens for playing short-handed against the Steelers on Wednesday. Did we really expect this group to be anything other than hard-nosed and competitive? When they get their pieces back on offense, I think this will still be a playoff team… and a very dangerous one when they get there!
Coming into 2020, I expected the Dolphins to be a better team but maybe one that would still struggle to pick up wins given their tough schedule. The fact they are 7-4 is a credit to what Brian Flores is building. The defense is playing outstanding and Ryan Fitzpatrick can keep the offense ticking along for now.
I still have my doubts over the long-term viability of Baker Mayfield at quarterback, but the passing game did show some signs of life last weekend. But the real star of the show in Cleveland is running back Nick Chubb, who has stormed back from injury and is averaging 6.3 yards per rush this season.
Jon Gruden’s men had one of those games last week where there is no point looking at the film. Their 43-6 loss at Atlanta was excruciatingly bad and the key now is to avoid a repeat and to get back on the winning trail. Fortunately, next on the schedule is the winless New York Jets.
The Cards have lost two in a row since that amazing Hail Murray win over Buffalo in Week 10. And the little magic man at quarterback has not looked the same since. He endured one of the poorest displays of his young career in New England last week and must bounce back to get Arizona back in the playoff mix.
The 49ers got some of their guys back last week and immediate contributions were made. Richard Sherman pounced for an interception, Raheem Mostert scored a touchdown and Deebo Samuel caught 11 passes for 133 yards. It may not be enough for a playoff charge, but this is a dangerous team.
Coaching and toughness. Those are two things that can always be relied upon when Bill Belichick is in charge of the Patriots. What cannot be trusted is a passing game that features Jakobi Meyers and Damiere Byrd as its leading receivers. Cam Newton completed just nine passes last week but the Pats got the win.
The Vikings needed a late field goal miss by Joey Slye to see off Carolina for win number five of a season that could end in frustration. Minnesota are still alive in the playoff race but have no room for error and road trips to Tampa and New Orleans still loom on the horizon.
Sunday’s loss to Buffalo summed up the Chargers. There were moments of brilliance from rookie quarterback Justin Herbert but also too many mistakes across the board from burned time outs to turnovers and even a quarterback sneak called while all the linemen were retreating to pass block.
Last week’s loss to Minnesota dropped Carolina to 4-8 but I still say this is shaping up to be a successful year. Teddy Bridgewater is a serviceable quarterback and his receivers are very good. Christian McCaffrey will come back strong in 2021 and young players are emerging on defense. Signs of recovery.
Deshaun Watson got to rest his head on his pillow for three nights content in the knowledge that he was the highest-rated quarterback in NFL history. It didn’t take long for Mahomes to steal the crown, but it should serve as a reminder that while the Texans have work to do, their quarterback is a truly special one.
There is no special quarterback in Chicago at the moment and Mitchell Trubisky fluffed his lines on Sunday night football when the world was watching. It is clear now that he is not the answer, despite being drafted ahead of the aforementioned Watson and Mahomes. Stop me if you’ve heard that one before!
Washington are led by a safe pair of hands in quarterback Alex Smith and he can throw to a blossoming young receiver in Terry McLaurin or give it to a dynamic, young running back in Antonio Gibson, who scored three touchdowns on Thanksgiving Day. The defense is also good so this could be a playoff team.
New York’s three-game winning streak could come to an end this week as they head to Seattle, but this team is going to be alive in the NFC East race down the stretch. And unlikely stars are going to factor into this, most notably stand-in running back Wayne Gallman and a defense that ranks 10th in the NFL.
I’ve given up trying to work out the Falcons. Every time I jump on board and back them, like I did a few weeks ago when I suggested they could beat New Orleans in the Superdome, they stink. So, when I ignore them, they hammer the Raiders. Consistency has been lacking for years and it’s the same in 2020.
Denver’s defense has not been too bad in 2020 and that has been a pleasant surprise given the season-long absence of Von Miller. But they won’t have an answer for Mahomes and the Chiefs on Sunday, even with the return of three of their quarterbacks off the Covid-19 list.
Early on Thanksgiving Day – following the loss through injury of key offensive lineman Zack Martin – head coach Mike McCarthy looked towards the heavens as if to say, ‘What next?’ What next featured some desperate coaching decisions that hurt the team. McCarthy can coach aggressively, but must be smarter.
There are cracks emerging all over the place in Philadelphia. The owner is talking about the head coach, and vice versa, Doug Pederson is talking about Carson Wentz and backup Jalen Hurts and the media is talking about how the coach didn’t want the rookie passer in the first place. It’s getting a bit messy.
The Lions have fired head coach Matt Patricia and it was always going to be hard for him to survive after a lacklustre display on Thanksgiving Day. Darrell Bevell takes charge for the remainder of 2020 and needs to light a fire under this team to engender some hope going into the offseason. That is a tough ask.
Jacksonville’s 10-game losing streak cost general manager Dave Caldwell his job, but I still see a team playing hard for Doug Marrone. His future remains uncertain. But with Mike Glennon starting at quarterback and Gardner Minshew on the bench, the Jags are hurtling towards a high-end rookie passer.
The shine has gone off these Bengals with Joe Burrow gone for the year at quarterback and star running back Joe Mixon also sidelined. They are merely playing out the slate until their franchise passer can return in 2021. But what will a second-half-of-the-season slide do to head coach Zac Taylor?
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams remains on course for his second 0-16 campaign out of the last four. That is depressing, but not as depressing as an offense that mustered just three points in last week’s disappointing home loss to Miami. Thank goodness these Jets games are behind closed doors.