NFL Week 15 Ups & Downs

3 Up-

Tom Savage

After being drafted in 2014, the QB has now been given the reigns of the reeling franchise. Savage has had plenty of time to hold the clipboard and could represent an instant upgrade over Osweiler on Saturday. Savage's throws were on point throughout the rest of the game, although, the Jaguars defense aren’t exactly world beaters. Whatever the case, the fourth-round pick has a chance to make a name for himself. This Texans team has been a quarterback away for a while. Management obviously agrees as evidenced by the contract they gave to Osweiler, and with the stockpile of receivers, this franchise is right on the verge. Hopefully Savage can turn this team into a contender in the years to come. For now, what to do with Os and his fat contract is the question. One thing is for sure, he isn’t good.

Baltimore Ravens

This team again finds itself in the winner’s column and keeping its slim playoff hopes alive. In a hard-fought game, the Ravens improved to 8-6. This team is hard to beat at home, boasting a top 5 home record, while they struggle on the road. Despite that, this is one of those veteran teams that changes come playoff time. Right now, this team is flying under the radar. I don’t know if they have a shot at the super bowl, but for now winning cures all. If you were to ask the Patriots who they would rather play in the AFC championship, I can guarantee you, this team would be at the bottom of the list. They lack playmakers, but are well-coached and experienced, we’ll see how it turns out.

Jaguars

I know they lost, but they did what they needed to do- they finally fired Gus Bradley. The situation was very similar to Fisher's in LA, they have been “okay” with mediocrity for too long and they needed to make a move. Gus Bradley has done nothing to improve the team, and the regression of Blake Bortles this year is especially concerning. We will see where this team goes in search of its next head coach. I think they need to find a personality; someone to give them an identity again, very much like the Rams have to do. They are winners this week because they made the right move for the organization.

3 down-

Denver Broncos

With that loss the team falls to 8-6 and pretty much out of the playoff picture. It is possible they still make it, but they need a lot of things to fall their way. The quarterback situation is no clearer than it was at the beginning of the year, and the defending champs really miss a few of their linebackers. The team still has Von Miller, and that bodes well as a building block, but they need a few more pieces to get back to where they need to be. Also, what happened to Demaryius Thomas? He seems to drop anything and everything thrown his way lately. We will see what the future holds for the fallen star wide out.

Minnesota Vikings

Not only did the offense do nothing (they haven’t done much in a few weeks), but the defense got torched. Andrew Luck has one of the worst situations of any franchise quarterback in the NFL, and you let him do that to you? The man has no blocking, and no defense, and yet the Vikings only managed 6 points while surrendering 34. By far the worst margin of the season for the Vikings and what’s worse is the loss takes them even further out of the playoff race. With Green Bay surging, the Lions playing lights out (minus Sunday) and the Bucs still a strong 8-6, the Vikings look to be the odd man out in the playoff race. After such a fast start, it’s a disappointing result. Still time left though….I suppose.

The Bears

This team is a mess. Setting that aside, they had Green bay exactly where they wanted them on Sunday. At Soldier Field, in the 4th quarter having rallied from down from 17, they tied it up. Barkley looked like a breath of fresh air compared to Cutler, and Jordan Howard continues to shine. Everything was in line for a team that has nothing to play for, to stun a division rival and hurt their chances of making the playoffs. Not much motivation, but it should’ve been enough. Then, they let Jordy Nelson get behind the defense, and in one moment the lead was gone and another loss was handed out to the Bears. The draft picks aren’t the problem, but I do think the Cutler attitude is wrapped around this team.

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