For the recap of the Thanksgiving and Black Friday games that kicked off Week 12, click here.
We all love overtime, don't we? Overtime means more of the game we love. This season is actually a milestone: it's the 50th season of overtime in the NFL. It was beginning in the 1974 season that the overtime period was finally introduced to regular season games; before that year, overtime only took place in the playoffs. It was purely sudden death until 2010, which was the year that playoff games received the OT rules that exist even now. Those rules would be instilled into regular season games in 2012, and it was in 2022 that the OT rules were changed again for playoff games. In any event, the overtime period in the NFL is amazing, and so many football fans love it.
Then there's Josh Allen, who never wants to hear that eight-letter word again.
The Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles faced each other in a high powered, high scoring game that saw regulation end with the game tied at 31. So overtime was needed, and the Bills won the toss. Buffalo had to go all the way to win, and it looked like they would get touchdown. Unfortunately, Allen's pass to Gabe Davis did not connect, and Davis was wide open. Bills had to settle for a field goal, giving the Eagles a chance to even the score or win it. The Bills defense could not hold; the Eagles managed to march to the red zone, and Jalen Hurts ran the final twelve yards to win it. Eagles won, 37-34, in overtime, to improve to 10-1. WOW!
As for the Bills, this is yet another disappointing loss. With this defeat, Josh Allen is now 0-6 all time in overtime, and I think that includes that Divisional Playoff battle with the Chiefs two seasons ago. This was the last thing that the Bills needed. With December closing in, the Bills are 6-6 and behind the playoff line, with three teams ahead of them. They have a bye next week, but they have to go to Kansas City after that. There is a real possibility that the Bills may miss the playoffs. I'm not saying they will, I'm saying the possibility exists.
I didn't think it was possible, but the NFC South is actually worse than it was last year. I do love trainwreck divisions, but here's the thing: that trainwreck label usually lasts just one season and gets passed around. After 12 weeks, the NFC South collectively has fewer wins this year (15) than they did after 12 weeks last year (18). And guess who is leading the NFC South entering the month of December? That's right, the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons defeated the New Orleans Saints, 24-15, to move into a tie for first in the division, with Atlanta having the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to the suddenly hot Indianapolis Colts, and the Carolina Panthers, well...the less said about them, the better. Here's the thing about trainwreck divisions. When a team falls out of first place in one, they fall deep in the conference. Regarding the Saints, they entered Week 12 leading the division, and holding the #4 position in the NFC. With that loss, they fell from #4 to #10 in the conference. Ouch.
Speaking of "ouch":
This man, who can't catch a break, is Frank Reich, and for the second straight season, he's out of a job. Last season saw Reich let go as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts during the midseason, but the offseason saw him hired by the Carolina Panthers for the same position. Sadly, with the team 1-10, Reich was given the pink slip yet again. He is on the bad end of history: the first head coach to be fired in back to back seasons since the merger. Yikes.
Week 12 featured a game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. Sadly, there was no Eli Manning, no David Tyree, no Gronk, and no Tom Brady. Bill Belichick's still there, but he's waiting for the season to end. You know who else is waiting for the season to end? Mac Jones. My goodness, he's gone south. Here's how bad his game was...by fantasy standards. Jones only threw for 89 yards (3.16 points) and threw two picks. Most leagues deduct one point per INT, which would give Jones only 1.16 fantasy points. However, in some leagues, two points are deducted per interception, and in those leagues, Jones actually finished with a negative fantasy score: -0.84 points. Oh boy. Another thing that remained a constant: the Giants won over the Patriots.
The reason why I was happy to see OT in the Bills/Eagles game is because I was denied that in the AFC South battle between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans. I loved this. The Jags and Texans facing each other in an actual meaningful game; in this case, first place in the division was on the line. I wanted this to go to OT, because these teams are absolutely exciting, and it looked like we would get that. Unfortunately, Houston's attempt at a game tying field goal was just short--hit the bar and out. Can't get any closer than that. Jags held on to win 24-21.
The Pittsburgh Steelers won the first game in the post-Matt Canada era, while the remaining games in the late window saw victories from the Denver Broncos, the Los Angeles Rams, and the Kansas City Chiefs. On Sunday Night Football, the Baltimore Ravens faced off against the Los Angeles Chargers, and it was another disappointing outing for the home Chargers. It's been a rough season for the Bolts, and there are some who think that their QB, Justin Herbert, is to blame. Those people are idiots. Herbert is doing the best he can given the circumstances, the main one being having Brandon Staley as head coach. Chargers fans want Staley gone. He better be after this season. Staley is in way over his head. That season finale in 2021 proved that.
Week 12 ended with an NFC North clash between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings, and this was an ugly game. Nothing much to tell; it was 3-3 at halftime, and the Bears led 9-3 entering the fourth quarter, with Cairo Santos scoring all of the points. The Vikings finally found the end zone, but the Bears had one last chance to win it. Justin Fields long bomb to DJ Moore put them in the red zone with under a minute left, and with 10 seconds left, Santos nailed a 30-yarder to win it--12-10 was the final score in favor of the Chicago Bears. That's wonders for fantasy owners; while Santos scored 12 points in the game, he scored 14 points on fantasy.
As a result of the Vikings' loss, the Green Bay Packers are now just a half game behind the playoff line! Huzzah huzzah!!
Well, football fans, the season is two-thirds over. We are down to the final six weeks of the season, crunch time, and the home stretch begins with Thursday Night Football between the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys (the second straight Thursday game for both teams). Sunday Night Football will feature the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau, and on Monday Night Football, the Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Cincinnati Bengals. The playoff races will intensify in this final one-third of the season, and all I have to say is two words: buckle up!
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