Another week in the books! We are getting closer to that final playoff push. Carolina and New England remained undefeated, Thomas Rawls is making the best of his limited opportunities in Seattle, and Matt Hasselbeck is undefeated this season as the Indianapolis Colts starter. What else did we learn?
Almost 3 quarters of the NFL regular season is completed, and the MVP race is basically coming down to two players: Tom Brady (the favorite) and Cam Newton (the underdog). Tom Brady’s main argument is his stats (3,320 passing yards, 25 TDs, 4 INTs, 28 rushing yards, 2 TDs) and their team’s record (10-0). Another claim is that their team has looked dominant for majority of the year. Over the past few weeks, New England has started to lose their weapons; first Dion Lewis, then Julian Edelman, and now Danny Amendola. If they were to finish the regular season undefeated, that will show how impressive Tom Brady and this well-oiled machine really is. On the other side, you have Cam Newton. His stats (2,283 passing yards, 20 TDs, 9 INTs, 382 rushing yards, 6 TDs) doesn’t tell the whole story. His best receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, hasn’t played a single snap this year due to a torn ACL. Besides Greg Olsen, I’m not sure anybody else on that offense that plays a skilled position would start on another team. He has done the most that he can with working with arguably the worst supporting cast on offense in the league…not mention that they are undefeated as well. Even though Tom Brady is still the favorite now, this race can get really close, really soon.
The Brock Osweiler Era?
Brock Osweiler made his first start for the injured Peyton Manning this past Sunday against Chicago on the road. He didn’t look bad by any means. Actually, it was kind of impressive. He completed 20 out of 27 passes for 250 passing yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs. Osweiler is listed at 6 foot 7, with a cannon of an arm. Denver has announced they he will make his second consecutive start next Sunday against New England. Manning hasn’t looked like the Peyton Manning that we are accustomed to, and he hasn’t made the best decisions either. This may be the end of number 18 in the Mile High City.
Jameis Winston Ahead Of The Curve
For being the number 1 overall pick and being thrown into the fire, Jameis Winston has responded well based on the circumstances. Winston had his best game of his young career Sunday against Philadelphia (completed 19 of 29 pass attempts, 246 passing yards, 5 TDs, and 0 INTs). Over the past 4 games, he has 9 total TDs, 2 INTs, and most importantly 3 wins. Obviously, he still has PLENTY of room for improvement but compared to Luck’s Newton’s, and Manning’s rookies season (I won’t dare put JaMarcus Russell in that category), he’s in the mix, if not better. Fantasy football wise, he’s looked incredible during that span and moving forward.
Baltimore has now without their top 4 players, with injuries to Justin Forsett (fractured arm) and Joe Flacco (torn ACL) this past Sunday against St. Louis. The other 2 players are Terrell Suggs and Steve Smith Sr.
Johnny Manziel allegedly partying over the bye week via video. His status on being the starter is now uncertain. UPDATE: Josh McCown is named the starter and Johnny Manziel is 3rd string.
Green Bay is now tied with Minnesota on top of the NFC North with Green Bay owning the tie breaker.
Bonus: Thanksgiving Outlook
For the longest, Dallas and Detroit always host a team on Thanksgiving. Over the past few years, the NFL has added a 3rd game during the evening. First game is Philadelphia at Detroit. Sam Bradford has cleared the concussion protocol, but it has not been determined if he will start or not. Detroit hasn’t played up to expectations, but they have looked better the past couple of weeks. Second game is Carolina and Dallas. Dallas is actually favored to win this game (and I don’t understand why). Having Tony Romo back under center has given “America’s Team” hope to make a final push for a playoff spot. Cam Newton and the Panthers are looking to continue their perfect season. If Dallas can’t run the ball, things can get rough in Dallas. Third game is Chicago at Green Bay. The NFL’s Oldest Rivalry will face off again Thanksgiving night. Jay Cutler hasn’t won a game at Lambeau Field in Chicago, and he may have to give it try without Alshon Jeffrey (hamstring). Green Bay is looking to get on a roll again after losing 3 straight prior to winning this past Sunday.