NFL Week 13 starts here!
Welcome back to The Huddle, Place to Be Nation. After a glorious week of turkey, gravy, pumpkin pie, and pigskin, we hope you’re all rested up and ready for another amazing week of NFL action. This week our guys check in on Week 12’s results and peer ahead to Week 13 and beyond!
Grab some leftovers and get inside The Huddle!
1. What were the biggest victories from Week 12?
2. What to make of the Dolphins, their win streak, and playoff chances?
3. Which team/teams seem most likely to play spoilers these last few weeks?
4. Any “under the radar” team/teams that could sneak into the playoffs and make a good run once there?
J Arsenio D’Amato:
Kansas City pulling that rabbit out of the hat was huge. Alex Smith — with no timeouts against the Denver defense — driving the length of the field and converting the two-pointer to tie it on the road was stunning. Coach Kubiak deciding to kick a 62-yard field goal was not the brightest coaching decision of the week, though.
Also, coaches around the league have to train their players to recognize the score and situational awareness. Up by one point, Bennie Fowler should have stopped one inch before the goal line where Denver could have used three more downs to kill the clock. It’s always best to try and keep the ball in the hands of your offense and try and end the game, as strange and miraculous things can happen when you give a team one last chance with the ball.
John Harbaugh showed how to work the system on the last play of the game, instructing his punter to run out the clock while all ten other players got called for holding and the clock couldn’t be stopped.
Huge win for the Chiefs! It’s not the first time Smith has engineered that type of drive. Makes me wonder what he could do if they opened things up a little. Tyreek Hill is a Weapon with a capital W. In the end, this game could be looked back on as a positive for Denver due to Semian’s heroics. If he plays like that, the Broncos will be very, very tough to beat going forward.
Honorable mention to Tampa improbably taking out Seattle one week after winning in KC. The Buccaneers could be that frisky young playoff team everyone thought the Jags would be. Mike Evans is the truth.
It’s tough to take Miami seriously given how the team has put this streak together. Barely eking out wins against the Rams and Niners, arguably two of the four worst teams in the league. With that said, Devante Parker has started to deliver on his amazing raw ability. If he can step up as a true No. 1, it really opens things up for the Dolphins and they could be dangerous.
I hate to say it, but the Packers and Cardinals are your best spoilers. Shocking.
I think the Titans in the AFC and the Eagles in the NFC are the two under the radar teams who, if they get in, have the traits that make tough playoff outs.
The Chiefs’ win over Denver was huge for playoff ramifications. It keeps them in the picture for a division title and paces them ahead of Denver in the wild card, which is getting muddier by the week.
There were some lower level big wins too. Teams like Buffalo (not losing a very losable “Rex” game), the Patriots (snuck one out and kept pace with Oakland for home field) and Green Bay (keeping their dim playoff hopes alive while knocking off a team ahead of them).
I don’t believe in the Dolphins at all. They have certainly improved and are showing that they are buying into Gase’s system and playing more as a team, but Tannehill still sucks and they haven’t really beaten anyone that impressive in this stretch. They are good but fall short of the playoffs.
San Francisco seems to be playing better, thanks to the steady improvement of Kaepernick, so they could mess with the NFC playoff picture a bit.
I think the Jets have enough talent embedded in the roster that they could screw with a team or two as well ( they almost did this week and could certainly beat Indy on Monday night). Also, with their defense, the Rams can certainly pull an upset or maybe even seriously injure a major contributor on a contender.
Buffalo could maybe sneak in and cause some trouble if Watkins is healthy. I don’t think the Steelers are sneaking in per se, but they are scary-dangerous on offense and you don’t really want to see them in January, especially if they win the division and grab a home game.
J Arsenio D’Amato:
Green Bay saved its season and has a reasonable path towards winning the division at 9-7. If the Packers can go 3-1 over the next four games, they should be able to pick up a game on Detroit, which has to travel to New Orleans, the Giants, and Dallas. They can easily drop two out of those three, setting up the last game at home, where Green Bay at 8-7 can steal the division with a win at Detroit sweeping the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Until next week, Nation, enjoy the games and we’ll see you back here next time.