Gridiron Confidential: What we learned NFL Week 13
The NFC East teams were once again full of surprises in week 13 of the NFL regular season as both the NY Giants and Washington Football Team picked up huge wins on the road.
The Steelers perfect record is finished, the Jets are 0-12 and two teams have booked their place in the post season. Here's 5 things we learned from Week 13 of NFL Action:
Saints & Chiefs book places in post season:
No real surprise here to see New Orleans and Kansas City become the first two teams to confirm their place in the 2020 playoffs, but achieving the feat with four weeks to spare is very impressive.
Both sides entered week 13 knowing that a victory would secure their place and despite being without Drew Brees, Taysom Hill was up to the task of leading the offence against the struggling Falcons as he threw two touchdown passes to help the team to a five point victory on the road, Final Score at Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta 16-21 New Orleans.
As for Kansas City, they had a an easier game on paper and duly took care of business. Patrick Mahomes, leading candidate for MVP, took it rather easy on the Broncos after his unbelievable performances over the past few weeks. Mahomes threw for 318 yards and one touchdown as the reigning Super Bowl champions move one step closer to defending their crown. Final Score in Kansas City, Chiefs 22-16 Broncos.
Giants are really clicking under Judge:
The NY Giants are one of the form teams in the league right now, somehow, and Sundays shock road win over the Seahawks (which made it four wins in a row for New York) highlighted how the team is coming together under HC Judge.
The odds were already stacked against the Giants heading to Seattle to go up against Russell Wilson and his Seahawks but when they discovered QB Daniel Jones would miss the game, any chances of an upset appeared to be dead but once again the defense was the difference for New York after struggling early in the season. Final Score in Seattle, Seahawks 12-17 Giants.
Conceding 14 third quarter points without answer proved crucial for the Seahawks in week 13 and the defeat proved a crucial blow in their battle to win the NFC West as the Rams victory over the Cardinals put them top of the division due to their head to head record with Seattle. Russ will need to rally the troops and get back to the form they showed at the beginning of the season to stand a chance.
Jets move to 0-12 after defensive implosion late on:
The NY Jets fortunes show no signs of turning around despite putting together a spirited performance on home soil against the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Jets appeared to be down and out once again after going down 24-13 heading into the fourth quarter but almost for the first time this season they showed some pride. The Jets managed to put up 15 points unanswered in the fourth to put themselves in a great position to earn their first victory of the season but even with just a few minutes remaining a four point lead was not enough for the Jets thanks to another defensive implosion. Final Score at MetLife, Jets 28-31 Raiders.
This latest defensive disaster was the final straw for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was fired after the game. As for the Raiders they are very much in the conversation to clinch a playoff spot after Sunday's victory moved them to 7-5 for the season. A strong finish to the regular season and the Raiders first year in Vegas will include post season action.
Steelers are not unbeatable:
After winning every one of their first 11 games the Steelers perfect run was finally halted by the Washington Football Team. Yes I am serious, Washington produced a huge road win to keep themselves in with a playoff shot in the NFC East.
The Steelers were 14-10 to the good heading into the final quarter but for the first time this season they were unable to close out the win in the fourth. Washington managed to outscore Pittsburgh 13-3 in the final quarter to secure a major shock on the road. Final Score at Heinz Field, Steelers 17-23 Washington
The Steelers were confident of going unbeaten for the entire regular season and certainly had no thoughts of losing their perfect record to a struggling Washington team. How they re-group after suffering their first defeat of 2020 could be key to their post season success. Next up for the Steelers is a trip to Buffalo to face the Bills, who are absolutely flying this season (9-3).
Cleveland Browns turn a corner:
The Cleveland Browns will have a winning season in 2020. I know this doesn't seem like much without guaranteeing a playoff spot but the Browns have not achieved the feat since 2007 so this is huge for Cleveland.
The Browns had struggled in games against playoff caliber teams so far this season but a huge first half performance earned them a crucial ninth victory of the season against the Titans. Baker Mayfield's ability has constantly been questioned since becoming the Browns QB but he was at his very best on Sunday, throwing four first half touchdowns to put Cleveland into a 38-7 lead at the break. The Browns managed just three second half points but their elite first half performance was enough for a huge road win. Final Score in Tennessee, Titans 35-41 Browns
The Browns are now 9-3 for the season, have secured a winning record but there is still question marks over whether or not they will make the playoffs. Two of their final four games are against division rivals, Baltimore & Pittsburgh, the outcome of these battles could prove crucial to the Browns playoff hopes.