We could wind up looking back at Washington Redskins backup quarterback Kirk Cousins' two completions and two-point conversion against the Baltimore Ravens as the turning point in the NFC playoff race. The Redskins had only six points in their previous eight offensive drives, but the Cousins/Griffin combo platter put up eight points when it mattered most to force overtime. Cousins kept the Redskins alive, and now RG3 has three more weeks to finish the job.
Even if Cutler is on the field, Chicago has a lot to be worried about.
So you're saying there's a chance
- Adrian Peterson told SI.com's Peter King he's not going for 2,000 rushing yards. He's aiming for Eric Dickerson's all-time single season record of 2,105. After 154 yards against the Chicago Bears, anyone want to bet against him? (Peterson has to average 168 over the next three weeks. So it will be tough.)
- The St. Louis Rams have a long way to go, but they have reached .500 after winning in the final minute in Buffalo. We're entering Week 15. This is notable.
- The Cleveland Browns have not officially been eliminated from playoff contention at 5-8. They are 5-3 in the last eight games. Pat Shurmur is making himself harder to fire. It reminds me so much of when Cleveland won four straight games to save Eric Mangini's job after a front-office change.
That week has arrived. They are one game out of a wild-card spot.
- Andy Dalton misses a few wide-open throws and makes a few bad decisions every week. The Bengals had so many chances to put the Cowboys away and they couldn't get it done. A few key drops from A.J. Green also hurt. This is a good Bengals team overall, but I still think Dalton gets in the way at times. So does Marvin Lewis' conservative "play not to lose" style.
- Baltimore is such an uneven team. Their offense started out great, then stalled. Their defense did a lot of good things after an awful first quarter against RG3, but couldn't get a stop when it needed to at the end of the fourth quarter. They have an uphill battle to get a bye now.
They're real and spectacular
- We haven't quite fully bought into the Indianapolis Colts because they do things like fall behind by 13 points in the second half at home against bad teams like the Tennessee Titans. But they always come back. Indy essentially made the playoffs with this win. It's been an incredible ride. I'm pumped to watch Andrew Luck in the playoffs.
- Cam Newton has averaged over eight yards per attempt for four straight weeks. He has eight passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns, 286 rushing yards, and no interceptions over that span. I believe in you, Cam! (Deion Sanders voice.)
- So the Giants are either ready to go on a late-season run or they are in their usual second-half swoon. It all depends on what week you decide to write about them.
- The Green Bay Packers are rounding into form with so many of their stars on the shelf. Despite all the injuries, they still have a realistic chance to get a bye in the NFC playoffs. When the Packers fell behind 14-0, did anyone watching the game doubt they would climb back in it, much less win going away?
Some panic is acceptable
- Tampa Bay's playoff hopes are all but cooked after their home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Tampa is competitive enough to play almost any team tight, but this is what happens when you let every game come down to the final two minutes.
- The New Orleans Saints tricked us all when they got to 5-5, but they struggled in big spots all year. They have faced seven teams currently with a winning record, going 1-6 in those games. It wasn't all about the defense during this latest three-game slide.