NFL Week 12 Ups & Downs
Six weeks ago the Dolphins were buried, a top 10 pick was almost certainly in their future, and some (myself included) were questioning the legitimacy of Tannehill as an NFL quarterback. Now suddenly here we are, six-straight wins for the Dolphins, sitting at 7-4 and in prime position for a Wildcard spot in the AFC. At the beginning of the season many were excited to see what Adam Gase could do with Tannehill, and it seems we are just starting to see the results of an Adam Gase offense. In the first 5 games of the season, Tannehill threw for 6 TD's and 7 interceptions. Since then, he has thrown for 1,302 yards and 7 TD's to only 1 pick. Could it be the quarterback whisperer is finally putting it together? Offensively the emergence of Jay Ajayi can't be underestimated, but could it be that Gase is finally getting the production out of Tannehill that we all expected? Either way, the team has scored at least 27 points in all but 1 of their 6 straight wins. Still a lot of questions left, but winning cures most things.
After losing an ugly game at home to Tampa, the Chiefs fell to 7-3. In a competitive AFC West, one game could be the difference in the division crown, or even the Wildcard. Winning on Sunday night in Denver was about as close to a must-win as possible in that division and the Chiefs survived and move to 8-3 on the season. They also have a key head to head win against the Raiders, and getting Dee Ford back from injury was a huge reason for that victory. Tyreek Hill is quickly becoming a dangerous weapon, and the defense sacked Trevor Siemian five times en route to the victory in Denver. They are now only one game behind the Raiders and with one head to head left at home, could very well wind up with the division crown. Sean Payton-
The Saints won, and although it was never in doubt, Payton made sure Greg Williams felt the pain. Up 21 points in the 4th quarter on 3rd and 3, the Saints ran a trick play tossing the ball to Willie Snead, who then tossed it downfield for a TD. Payton was clearly trying to make a statement. What that statement was exactly, is unclear. Is he upset Greg Williams got him suspended for a year? Was he just trying to prove he could outwit Williams? There really wasn't a necessity for the TD, but in my opinion, I love it. Sean Payton is one of the elite head coaches in this league and watching him completely out-scheme someone who had inside knowledge of the organization, is a thing of beauty. Well done.
3 down Seattle-
I do think injuries played a role in the surprising loss in Tampa on Sunday, but a bigger part to me, is the flaws the loss showed. Prior to (and in some minds still) the loss on Sunday, the Seahawks were the consensus number 2 in the NFC. However, after last week, some questions are raised. First, can Seattle's offensive line stand up to a super bowl contending defense? Secondly, can the offense get a running back going and get some pressure off of Wilson's back? Those are questions that need answers. Seattle will bounce back and beat Carolina, but the previous game brought more questions than answers.
In a must-win game for the Cards, they got punched in the mouth. The Falcons took it to them and with that loss they are now sitting at 4-6. The playoffs don't seem to be an option, Mathieu has suffered thru several injuries this year, and Palmer looks old. The Cards don’t really seem to have a backup plan in place to replace Palmer either. It would have done them good to draft a QB last year or this year to sit behind Palmer and learn. The one positive has been the play of David Johnson. He was good last year, but this year he has reached another level of stardom. There are quite a few players that are getting older with no viable replacements. We will see what this team does in the draft this coming year. Brock Osweiler-
The Brocket launcher is struggling. The 72 million dollar man hasn't done anything that makes you believe he can lead a team to the playoffs and beyond. For a team that thought they were a quarterback away from being legitimate contenders, the Texans are quickly finding out that they have a few other pieces missing. The Texans record isn’t bad at first glance, but of all the teams making the playoffs, the Texans have the weakest quarterback. Osweiler has plenty of weapons around him with Fuller, Hopkins and Miller, so he doesn’t have many excuses. Although the loss of J.J Watt is hurting them, the defense isn’t that bad. He has everything in place, but just isn’t making the throws or protecting the football. Looks like Elway made the right call.