You just never know what to expect in the NFL on a week to week basis. I guess expect the unexpected. What another fantastic Sunday of NFL football we witnessed yesterday. 7-8 so far this week. Ouch! Indicative of the chaos we saw yesterday. The Stack is here to break it all down so let's get right to some reaction from week 15 in the NFL in "the stack" for today, Monday, December 16:
Atlanta 27 Washington 26
Not sure how Washington made this game so close given the fact that they turned the ball over seven times in this game. Seven times! Speaks to Kirk Cousins' performance. Atlanta didn't do enough to put Washington out of it, but they hung on to win thanks to the decision by Washington to go for two after they scored what appeared to be the game-tying touchdown. Questionable decision to say the least. Only adds to the dysfunction in DC.
Chicago 38 Cleveland 31
Jay Cutler wasn't perfect in this game (two picks early on including a pick six), but he made some big throws and Cleveland made some boneheaded plays on defense that cost them this game. Offense didn't help either for the Browns. They find ways to lose games late. This one was no exception. Big win for the Bears as they keep pace with the Packers for the lead in the NFC North and put the pressure on the Lions to win tonight.
Indianapolis 25 Houston 3
It's a good thing Houston hasn't packed it in for the season. Oh wait. Quite an embarrassing performance by the Texans. Colts defense came up big. They will need that sort of effort next week if they want to beat the Chiefs in KC.
Buffalo 27 Jacksonville 20
Two teams playing simply for pride and draft picking order played a fairly entertaining game. Both defenses played well early and the Jaguars had a chance to tie the game, but threw a pick when they were at the one-yard line. Bills haven't been playing great as of late so this was a nice win for them.
Miami 24 New England 20
Despite big days from Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola (both with over 130 yards receiving), the Dolphins staged a late rally to beat the Patriots. The Dolphins now are in control of the final wild card spot in the AFC. Ryan Tannehill was impressive throwing for over 300 yards and calmly leading the Dolphins down the field on the game-winning touchdown drive. And Michael Thomas who was just signed Tuesday made the play of the day picking off Tom Brady in the end zone. Big win for the Dolphins.
Minnesota 48 Philadelphia 30
Some feared this as a trap game for the Eagles. They certainly got caught. No AP, no problem for the Vikings. Matt Cassel was brilliant. If he had only played the majority of the season, if not the entire season, the Vikings would be in the playoff picture. No question the Eagles laid an egg in this one. Fortunately, they received help later in the day. Still a bad loss for them. Love how the Vikings haven't quit on head coach Leslie Frazier.
Seattle 23 New York Giants 0
The Giants didn't show up for this one. Eli Manning was horrible! The Seahawks defense is good, but five picks is simply unacceptable. The Seahawks certainly look like a team that will be making a return trip back to the Meadowlands.
San Francisco 33 Tampa Bay 14
The 49ers were all business in this one. It was a tough day for the Bucs offense to get anything going and Colin Kaepernick played a brilliant first half for the 49ers who followed up their "statement game" with a big road win to stay in the driver seat for the six seed in the NFC playoffs.
Carolina 30 New York Jets 20
Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes provided bulletin board material for the Panthers this week when he said their weakest link on the Panthers defense is their secondary. That secondary scored a touchdown and Holmes didn't. Hopefull Holmes will be quiet now. Panthers have a huge game with the Saints next week that will determine who wins the NFC South.
Kansas City 56 Oakland 31
Thank goodness I wasn't going against Jamaal Charles in fantasy football. What a performance by Charles! Five touchdowns, four of them receiving! Alex Smith was great too throwing five touchdowns. If the Chiefs can put up offense like that, there's no reason to think they won't make a run deep in the playoffs.
Green Bay 37 Dallas 36
Oh my gosh, what a game! Demoralizing defeat for Dallas whose defense let them down once again and Tony Romo's December woes continue. Two inexcusable interceptions and why doesn't Dallas run the ball? Absolutely terrible job by everyone involved. Don't even want to get into Dez Bryant's issues. The Cowboys allowed the Packers, with a backup quarterback to come back from a 26-3 defecit to win. The Packers' season has new life! Despite Dallas' downfall, they still control their own destiny. Win out and they're in. They don't look like a team right now though that is ready for the playoffs. Nor do they deserve it.
St. Louis 27 New Orleans 16
The Saints can't blame the elements for this one. St. Louis got after Drew Brees who did not have a good game at all. Quite impressive by the Rams. Head-scratching loss for the Saints. They no longer are guaranteed to make the playoffs. They need to figure it out and quick. They may have a decent record on the road (the best in the NFL the last few years per Brees), but they are a different team away from home. That will hurt them in the playoffs.
Arizona 37 Tennessee 34
No reason Arizona should have given up a seventeen point fourth quarter lead to the Titans, but they did. Yet in overtime they rallied with an interception and then kicked the game-winning field goal to keep pace in the NFC playoff picture. An even stiffer test awaits next week against the Seahawks in Seattle. They can't play like this next week and expect to win.
Pittsburgh 30 Cincinnati 20
The Bengals had a golden opportunity to win this game and be in the driver seat for the two seed in the AFC. They failed miserably. The Steelers beat them up and whooped them in the first half and the Bengals could never receover. If it feels like they were punched in the mouth, they were and punter Kevin Huber paid the price fracturing his jaw when he get lit up trying to make a play on a punt return. The Bengals should be ok, but they need to win out to win the AFC North.
Baltimore Ravens @ Detroit Lions 8:40 PM ET ESPN
The reason the Bengals will need to win out to win the AFC North is if Baltimore wins tonight in Detroit. The Lions are eager to put last week's blizzard game behind them. In the friendly confines of Ford Field, Matthew Stafford and company will have a big game and the Lions will continue to control their destiny in the NFC North. They need to with the Packers and Bears each having new life.
Prediction: Lions 31 Ravens 23
Coming up Tuesday: MNF reaction, NFL power rankings plus other top stories in sports