The month of December is here, NFL fans! That final month that decides who will live on to join the big dance, and who will miss out completely, as well as the teams who will end up with the best draft picks. Week 13 kicked off the final home stretch of the season, and it ended with the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting the Cincinnati Bengals, with the latter actually having a chance to actually move up to the #1 seed in the AFC. The Bengals played their second game without Joe Burrow, and regarding this outing, it was as back and forth as you can get.
Touchdowns. Nothing but touchdowns back and forth. It was a hell of a sight! Remember: the last Monday game only saw one touchdown scored, and the team who scored it actually lost to a team who kicked four field goals. It was dueling touchdowns for the most part; 7-7 after one, and 14-14 at halftime. Cincy actually took a 21-14 lead before Jacksonville put up two scores to go up seven. Jake Browning tied the game late with a QB sneak, and that's when the field goals started coming in. Evan McPherson gave Cincy the lead again, but with under a half minute left in regulation, Brandon McManus tied it. Cincy's last chance to win in regulation was thwarted, and we had overtime.
The Jags won the toss, but they ended up punting, turning the OT period into sudden death. The Bengals managed to make it to field goal range, and with about a minute and a half left in the fifth quarter, Evan McPherson nailed a 48-yarder to win it for the Bengals. For Cincy, this was a great win that may have resurrected their playoff chances. For the Jags, the loss was heartbreaking, and it would see them lose star QB Trevor Lawrence for the rest of the game. Here's hoping that T-Law doesn't miss any more time, and that he's back for the next game and more.
Remember when the Philadelphia Eagles got their payback over the Kansas City Chiefs a few weeks back? Now, they had to be on the receiving end of it this time. The San Francisco 49ers had about 10.5 months to prepare for their NFC Championship rematch, but it saw them have a horrible first quarter. However, the Niners followed that bad quarter with a touchdown surplus. They absolutely demolished the 49ers, winning by a score of 42-19. The star for the Niners was their everyman player, Deebo Samuel, aka every fantasy owner's golden ticket Speaking of fantasy, let's go to the numbers.
Fantasy scoring for receivers goes like this: 1 point per 10 receiving yards, and touchdowns are 6 points each, plus PPR applies. Rushing has the same formula. Deebo's stats against Philly: 22 rushing yards (2.2 points) and a touchdown (6 points), totalling 8.2 points as a runner, and as a receiver, four receptions (4 points) for 116 yards (11.6 points) and two touchdowns (12 points), totalling 27.6 points as a receiver. Overall, 35.8 fantasy points for Deebo, and I am so thankful that he's part of two of my six fantasy teams.
Week 13 kicked off with the NFL's last November game; an epic shootout between the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks. While it was quite an epic battle, it was a bit of a pain for those of us who started the Cowboys defense on fantasy this week. 41-35 was the final score, and that was the first piece of the Green Bay Packers' road to passing the playoff line on Sunday Night Football. As for the Cowboys, with this win, and the Eagles loss just days later, it's a one game deficit for Dallas in the NFC East, and guess what? Sunday Night Football, Eagles @ Cowboys! Get your popcorn ready!
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Angels won, 6-0, over the Boston Red Sox, with Shohei Ohtani hitting a pair of home runs in the victory. What's that? Oh right, Baseball's been over for a month. So this was an NFL game? It was the Los Angeles Chargers and the New England Patriots? Oh goodness. I don't know what this was, but this was not football. This was a total mess. The Patriots are a total mess. Get this. This is the third straight game where the Patriots have surrendered 10 or fewer points, yet they've lost all three! How is this possible?! The Detroit Lions scored three touchdowns in the first seven minutes of their game against the New Orleans Saints, which the Lions survived and won despite the Saints comeback. Yet the Patriots couldn't score one TD in this entire game.
Here's the thing. The Patriots could have been officially eliminated this week. Here's why they're not:
All five of New England's elimination scenarios involved a Pittsburgh Steelers win. However, a funny thing happened, though it's not really funny. The Steelers lost...to the Arizona Cardinals...at home. There are so many terrible attributes to this, but I'll list three. One, they can't, as the South Park song goes, "Blame Canada" this time. Secondly, this loss forced me to bite my tongue and actually apologize for burying Mike McCarthy for losing to the Cardinals, because this happened to Mike Tomlin, who is the best of the 32 current coaches. Third and worst of all, the Steelers lost Kenny Pickett, possibly for the season. There were two rain delays in this game. That can't be a coincidence.
The Cardinals also faced official elimination this week, but the win kept them alive for one more week (like they have a chance). However, one team did see their season end on the first Sunday of December.
It really sucks to be the first team eliminated from playoff contention, but that's the fate that befell the Carolina Panthers. Their close and nail-biting loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended Carolina's disaster of a season. Even worse, they literally have nothing to play for because their first round pick belongs to the Chicago Bears. A lot of people are blaming Bryce Young, saying that the Panthers should have drafted CJ Stroud. Yet Carolina's one win this season was against Stroud and the Houston Texans. Speaking of the Texans, they defeated the Denver Broncos in a close outing, and the Indianapolis Colts won an overtime thriller over the Tennessee Titans. Combined with the Jags' MNF loss, the AFC South has become quite interesting.
The Atlanta Falcons only needed 13 points to win over the New York Jets, and gain sole possession of first place in the NFC South at 6-6. Speaking of 6-6, that's the record that the Los Angeles Rams reached after defeating a Cleveland Browns team that started, of all quarterbacks, Joe Flacco. Yikes. The Rams appear to be bouncing back from their terrible 2022 and their shaky start fo this year, as the win actually moved them past the playoff line until the Packers won on Sunday Night Football. So as a result, we have quite a 6-6 logjam in the NFC, with some 5-7 teams with an outside shot. Oh, and the #1 seed in the AFC, that belongs to the Miami Dolphins after their beat down of the Washington Commanders.
Week 13 was crazy, and now that it's over and done with, there's now five weeks remaining in the season. Week 14 will kick off with the Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football, and we also have the aforementioned NFC East battle between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, and the winner will move into the division lead, and possibly the #1 seed in the conference. We'll have two Monday Night games, with one featuring the Tennessee Titans and the Miami Dolphins, while the other features the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants.
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For a recap of the Chiefs/Packers game, click the link below: