NFL: Week 15

By: Shawn Davis

The season is winding down and the stench of Week 15 is grating on me so why don’t we get right into the games; shall we?

SF 41 @ NE 34: If there was any clamoring left in response to Colin Kaepernick taking over the job from Alex Smith…it’s done. In a signature win the 49ers built a large lead, witnessed in horror as Tom Brady made that lead vanish, and instead of folding like many expected, they threw one more haymaker to put the Patriots on their butts. In Foxboro of all places; they were not going to be denied and it was a game I’m glad I sat for all four quarters. If there truly is such a thing as a “signature” win, this is that for San Francisco.

Smith got a raw deal but he should be wooed via trade offers to the 49ers after the Super Bowl is played. There are a handful of teams he can run RIGHT NOW and I’m almost certain he’ll lead some franchise next season.

Brady could have not played any better than he did in the second-half against such a stout defense. He led four consecutive touchdown drives and the blame cannot be placed on him. The Patriots needed their defense to hold for a series or two – and if they did – the league would be horrified of seeing New England enter the postseason. I think the NFL still is, by the way.

PIT 24 @ DAL 27 (OT): Terrible throw in overtime which led to the fantastic Brandon Carr interception (that ended the game), Ben Roethlisberger. Bad seasons happen every so often and maybe the Steelers are just having a down year; yet they still have a great chance to make the postseason festivities.

NYJ 10 @ TEN 14: The Titans gained 12 first downs the entire game. The Jets committed five turnovers; oh yeah, they also lost and decapitated any chance they had for the playoffs. Mark Sanchez had 4 interceptions and a fumble – and he leads the NFL with 50 turnovers since 2011. You are all aware that there are two more games left in the season, right? As of today, Greg McElroy will start Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. (They were about three weeks too late with that decision.)

KC 0 @ OAK 15: I’m invoking my right to refuse to provide commentary for this game because it had no playoff implications…and it was boring.

SEA 50 @ BUF 17: I have no clue why I picked Buffalo to win this game in last week’s picks column. Why? You got me. I thought they would find a way to have one of those weeks where their defensive line would show up. I must have been drinking when I submitted the column.

Recognize Russell Wilson, he is just as good – if not better – than Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin; numbers don’t lie. He’s leading a beast of a team that’s balanced in every facet of the game. Over the last two games, they’ve won 108-17.

DET 10 @ ARI 38: What a game Matthew Stafford! Boy, do the Lions know how to compete or what? Maybe since Christmas is right around the corner, Stafford gave the Cardinals TWO interception returns for touchdowns.

On another note, with two games remaining on the schedule it’s almost a lock that Calvin Johnson will break Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yards record of 1,848 (set 17 years ago). He’s 182 yards away from the feat but I look at it as a hollow accomplishment because his defense kept the team from contending. Get the record though! Hooray.

CAR 31 @ SD 7: Where was this defense for the Panthers all season? Six sacks of Philip Rivers made the team look like the playoff contender most pundits felt they would be this year. Where are all the crackpots screaming for Cam Newton to be replaced? Now, to be fair, beating the Chargers isn’t like going up against a juggernaut or anything but they are a professional  football team. Correct?

I like the way he’s closing out this season; Newton might even save his head coach’s job – and be worthy of the preposterous expectations the television heads had for the Panthers, but only a year later.

NYG 0 @ ATL 34: I did NOT see this coming. All the Falcons want is respect and keeping the champions off the scoreboard is a way to gain some. I’m going to ignore this loss because the Giants have a track record of doing this throughout the Coughlin era – and then scaring the shit out of every team in the postseason. With that said they are cutting it really close with only two games remaining – and a three-way tie in the NFC East.

GB 21 @ CHI 13: The Packers are just humming along, winning the NFC North once more. The Bears are diving, once more, after opening the season 7-1; they have since limped to 1-5.

WSH 38 @ CLE 21: Cousins. Kirk Cousins. You know how most of the experts say something and never admit when they’re wrong? Shake your head. I’m calling myself an expert here and admitting I was dead wrong about this game. I thought the Browns would be a tough competitor in this one but Redskins just took it to them.

Most people killed the Redskins for drafting two rookies; who’s looking really smart now?

MIN 36 @ STL 22: Cyborg-back Adrian Peterson had 212 rushing yards, bringing his season total to 1,812 thus far – leaving him 294 yards short of the NFL single-season record of 2,105 set by Eric Dickerson.

Just because I wasn’t impressed with Peterson enough, check out this little nugget: Christian Ponder, the Vikings quarterback, is averaging 5.9 yards per completion while Peterson is averaging 6.3 yards per carry.

JAC 3 @ MIA 24: Joe Philbin remembered that giving Reggie Bush the ball (104 yards on 21 carries) is a good thing…but they did play the Jaguars. A win is a win in the NFL though. (I almost couldn’t get that one out.)

TB 0 @ NO 41: Maybe the final score is blowback for Greg Schiano having his linemen attack the kneel-down formation at the end of games. The Saints will be playing free from this point forward; too bad this isn’t Week 4.

DEN 34 @ BAL 17: I’m not sure how I feel about the Broncos running away with this game as they led 31-3 at one point. They’re primed to gain the second playoff bye as their two remaining games are at home and feature visits from the Browns and Kansas City, respectively.

Getting the win next week will probably mean they will rest starters for the final regular season game, have the bye and begin the postseason out of rhythm. Peyton Manning has been in that position quite often in his career…and has planned vacations shortly thereafter. As I said last week, I think losing to the Ravens wouldn’t have been bad. We’ll see how this plays out but if I was a fan of the Broncos (I’m a fan of Manning) I would be worried.

IND 17 @ HOU 29: Andre Johnson (11 receptions, 151 yards and 1 touchdown) is assured of ending his career as one the greatest Texans ever, having amassed 11,008 receiving yards (and counting). Provided Arian Foster (165 rushing yards on 27 carries) and J.J. Watt (10 tackles and 3 sacks) remain with the franchise – and healthy – they’ll be joining him on that list. They quickly put that loss to the Patriots behind them.

CIN 34 @ PHI 13: After the Bengals definitely seemed like they wanted to give away this game, they forced Nick Foles to look like the rookie he is, and increased their chances to make the postseason VIP list.

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