Gridiron Confidential: What we learned NFL Week 15
We have just two game weeks remaining in the 2020 NFL regular season and week 15 proved to be very interesting as the Rams likely blew their shot at NFC West glory by allowing the Jets to get their first win of the season.
The Patriots will miss out on the post season for the first time in 12 years, the Jaguars are now in poll position to land Lawrence and the Steelers continue to struggle.
Here's what we learned from NFL Week 15:
Jets now losers at losing:
Well the Jets were the big surprise of week 15 as they proved to the world that they can't even lose right.
The NY Jets have been pathetic this season, no two ways about it but once they went the first eight or nine weeks without a victory, most expected them to completely tank in order to earn first pick in the 2021 draft to select projected superstar, Trevor Lawrence to lead their franchise into the future but sadly for the Jets and their fans, they couldn't even lose correctly.
Few were expected anything short of a comfortable victory for the Rams against New York but instead the Rams decided to hurt their hopes of winning the NFC West and the Jets went and blew their hopes at drafting no.1 in 2021. Final Score at SoFi Stadium, Rams 20-23 Jets.
The Rams are now one game behind the Seahawks in the race for NFC West glory but travel to Seattle to face the Hawks in week 16, where a win would cement their place back atop the division.
Steelers continue to stumble over the finish line:
Pittsburgh were 11-0 through 12 weeks of the 2020 season but after week 15 they now sit 11-3 and are truly stuttering through the end of the regular season.
The Steelers playoff place is secure but their form is gone out the window, two of the three defeats for Pittsburgh have come against teams with losing records (Washington and Cincinnati) and with their run game in hole their is even more pressure on Big Ben to deliver. Roethlisberger was not there to answer the call on Monday night however, throwing for just 170 yards one touchdown and one interception. Final Score at Paul Brown Stadium, Bengals 27-17 Steelers.
The Steelers were never going to go unbeaten for the season but it is the manner of their three consecutive defeats that will worry their fans and themselves. Bad form is not something you want heading into the post-season and with games against the Colts & Browns to come they are running out of time to put things right.
Bills clinch first AFC East title since 1995:
The Buffalo Bills have been one of the surprise packages of the 2020 season and with their dismantling of Denver on Saturday night they sealed their first division title in 25 years.
The Bills (11-3) have been one of the most enjoyable teams to watch this season with QB Josh Allen truly coming of age in his third year in the league. Allen hit 4000 passing yards in the win over the Broncos to go along with 30 touchdown passes and eight rushing TD's of his own. The 24 year old sealed the AFC East crown with a stellar performance, throwing for 359 yards and two touchdowns aswell as running in two touchdowns himself. Final Score at Sports Authority field, Broncos 19-48 Bills.
Saturdays win was a statement victory as Buffalo showed the rest of the league that they are the real deal. No doubt still underdogs in terms of Super Bowl glory in 2020 but nobody will want to face the might of Josh Allen and the Bills.
Patriots officially eliminated from playoff contention:
We could see this coming for quite a few weeks now but New England's week 15 defeat to the Dolphins confirmed to the world that the Patriots would not be playing post season football for the first time in 12 years.
To make things even worse they are also probably looking at a losing season for the first time in 20 years. It has been a struggle for the Pats in their first year minus Tom Brady, everything that could have gone wrong has and Brady's replacement, Cam Newton has struggled for form due to contracting Corona virus and battling injury.
Sundays defeat to Miami really summed up the year for New England as they couldn't even manage a touchdown against the questionable Dolphins defense. They can officially right 2020 off but their is a big off-season ahead for Bill Belichick and the Pats. Final Score at Hard Rock Stadium, Dolphins 22-12 Patriots.
Cowboys make push for NFC East crown:
Yes, amazingly the Cowboys are still very much in playoff contention despite a very poor season. Sundays win against the 49ers put the Cowboys just one game off top spot in the NFC East.
The Cowboys were already down Dak Prescott but they were also minus Ezekiel Elliot for their game against last seasons NFC Champions, San Fran. This seemed to inspire Dallas as they notched up 41 points without their star QB/Running back duo. Andy Dalton had two touchdown passes while Tony Pollard also ran in two TD's to earn a vital win for Dallas. Final Score at AT&T Stadium, Cowboys 41-33 49ers.
The Cowboys are now one win behind the Washington football team with games against division rivals, Philadelphia and New York to come in the final two weeks. Dallas very much has their destiny in their own hands with potential for a final push to earn a post-season berth. Keep on eye on the NFC East over the next two weeks.