14 Dec NFL Week 14 Recap with Matt Lownes
If 2020 has showed us anything, its that the unthinkable is possible. While much has changed throughout the non-sports world, there is still quarterback drama in Philadelphia, pandemic or not.
Hurts leads Philly to win in 1st start
Rookie Jalen Hurts got his first start for the Eagles, beating the Taysom Hill-led New Orleans Saints 24-21. The 2020 2nd round pick was given the nod to start over Carson Wentz and was able to do just enough to lead the Eagles to a victory in Week 14.
Hurts went 17-30 throwing for 167 yards and one touchdown. He added 106 rushing yards on 18 carries, which helped the Eagles rush for 246 total yards against the Saints.
If we are being honest the Eagles defense won this game, sacking Taysom Hill five times and forcing both a fumble and an interception. Hurts’ command of the offense and confidence in himself showcased an entirely different Eagles offense led by the rushing game of both Hurts and Miles Sanders. Sanders went off rushing for 115 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns, proving he is the RB1 so many believe he can be.
The Saints should have put Jameis Winston in this game at some point, but Sean Payton’s ego got the best of him….or maybe he is saving Winston for next week. One can never truly understand the mind of Sean Payton. The Saints will still make the playoffs but certainly lost a game they should have won.
Meanwhile the Eagles now have a shot in the NFC Least if they can win at least two of the next three games, but definitely need to beat the Washington Football team in Week 17.
Brady and the Bucs beat the Vikings
Tom Brady is old but still finds a way to get it done. He is not perfect anymore, as he missed several easy throws yesterday and throughout the season. Tom Brady is still Tom Brady though, throwing for 196 yards and two touchdowns including a 48 yard bomb to 5th string wide receiver Scotty Miller. The biggest thing for the Bucs to succeed is not falling behind. If they can play in a close game or play with a lead, they will probably win the game.
Tom Brady and the Bucs are not equipped to come back down 21 points; in three out of their five losses they were down 10-plus points. I do not trust this team playing from behind more than 10 points in the playoffs.
The Vikings playoff hopes dwindled with their Week 14 loss and still face the Bears, Saints, and Lions, all of whom have been competitive. The Lions have been extremely competitive in two games under Darrell Bevell, winning one and making the Packers play a full 60-minute sweatfest.
The Miami Mahomes Comeback, Part Deux
The Miami Dolphins picked off Patrick Mahomes not once, not twice, but three times. They started off the game leading 10-0, and managed to enter the 4th quarter down 30-10. That is how good the Kansas City Chiefs are.
The Miami Dolphins are a young team on the rise and we should not have expected much against the reigning champs, but after such a strong start by Miami it was something to watch the ease of the Chiefs offense scoring quickly and acting as if the mishaps had no effect in their game whatsoever.
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Chiefs now have a 93% chance of getting the AFC’s top seed after yesterday’s victory and the Steelers loss, giving the champs a first round bye in the playoffs.
The Dolphins will probably make the playoffs and probably lose early, but the culture Brian Flores is building with Tua at quarterback is something to keep an eye on for 2021 and hopefully longer.
Bills embarrass Steelers on SNF
For the second time ever in Sunday Night Football history the Buffalo Bills hosted a game. Unlike their 56-10 defeat to Tom Brady and the Patriots, the Bills did the dismantling this time. While the Bills offense was nothing spectacular, the connection from Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs troubled the Steelers all night long.
Josh Allen threw for 238 yards and 130 of them, or 54.6%, went to Stephon Diggs. Diggs caught 10 passes for 130 yards and 1 touchdown on 14 targets, absolutely lighting up the normally stellar Steelers secondary.
The game was ultimately over heading into the 4th quarter as the Bills led 23-7. The Bills defense had all the answers for Big Ben and Co., especially on 3rd down forcing the Steelers to a putrid 1-10 conversion rate.
While both team will make the playoffs, this game definitely put the Steelers on blast as many have pointed out their easy schedule en route to an 11-1 record going into Sunday night’s game. The Bills also needed a prove-it type game, ending the night on top in a pretty convincing fashion.
Packers clinch NFC North, Washington atop NFC Least
The Green Bay Packers had to play a tough tough game versus the Lions but got the 31-24 win in Detroit. The NFC North Champions still have the lead for the 1st seed in the NFC, so they will continue to play for wins. The Lions meanwhile have looked much better under Darrell Bevell, who at this point probably deserves at least an interview for the job.
Aaron Rodgers is the 7th fastest quarterback to 400 touchdowns and is arguably the favorite to win the MVP Award.
‘Riverboat’ Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team somehow left Arizona, yes Arizona, with a win over the San Francisco 49ers. Rivera’s defense played lights out with four sacks, a pick-six, and a fumble returned for a touchdown by rookie Chase Young. While Alex Smith got hurt and Dwayne Haskins replaced him, the defense for Washington has really picked it up the past few weeks and is now in the lead for the NFC Least title.
NFL Condensed Soup
The Rams got revenge on the Patriots in a 24-3 slobbering on Thursday Night Football.
Mitchell Trubisky had a huge game against the Texans and finally had a good moment versus another quarterback in his draft class. In a 36-7 loss, Deshaun Watson was in more pain against the Bears than I have seen him in a long time. He needs help.
Andy Dalton got his revenge game in Cincy, leading the Cowboys to a 30-7 win in an “aww” moment.
The Giants are fraudulent, or at least killed their hype very fast against the Cardinals. Kyler Murray led the Cardinals to a 26-7 victory over the G-Men in a game where Daniel Jones did not look 100% healthy.
The Broncos beat the Panthers, honestly who cares.
The Colts crushed the Raiders 44-27, leading to the Raiders firing defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and probably ending the Raiders playoff hopes. The Colts are much better than I thought they would be on offense and could be a threat if their defense plays up to their standards in the playoffs.
The Falcons pulled a Chargers after the Chargers pulled a Chargers, and the Chargers somehow made a game-winning field goal. Very weird game, a 20-17 victory in Los Angeles, but honestly who cares.
The Jets lost 40-3, giving them a perfect 0-13 record and first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
2021 NFL Draft
Last year a record 13 wide receivers were drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. Will the record be broken a year later? Possibly. According to out friends over at The Draft Network, they have 13 wideouts in the first 102 picks. While obviously 102 picks is into the 3rd round, it is not a stretch to say the latter five receivers could jump into the 2nd round with good draft preparation.
There are several teams out there that need wide receivers and with a poor free agent class overall and questions about the salary cap, you could see a boost in pass catchers being drafted earlier in 2021.
Right now five receivers could, and probably should, be drafted in the 1st round:
- Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
- Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
- DeVonta Smith, Alabama
- Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
- Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU
The next seven legitimately have a chance, in my opinion, of getting drafted in the 2nd round:
- Chris Olave, Ohio State
- Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC
- Rondale Moore, Purdue
- Kadarius Toney, Florida
- Seth Williams, Auburn
- Dazz Newsome, UNC
- Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
While it is unlikely the record gets broken in 2021 it is something to think about as offense is no doubt the priority in the NFL.
Matt’s Life Advice
You still have time to buy Christmas gifts on Amazon and getting them delivered on time. You are welcome.
Diehard Penn Stater, and unapologetic Jets fan.
Graduating from Penn State in 2019, his love for football is as strong as his hatred for Ohio State and the New England Patriots. “I’ll name my first-born son after Sam Darnold if he can win us a Super Bowl.”