Usually, I write reviews of the NFL week that was for Monday morning. This came a little later than usual. Apologies for that.
Still, better late than never, right?
So here goes:
(TNF) Jacksonville 19, Tennessee 13 - The Jaguars defeated the Titans to remain relevant in the weak AFC South, where no team presently sports a winning record. Tennessee, in the meanwhile, is solidly in last place within the division.
Tampa Bay 45, Philadelphia 17 - Tampa Bay shocked the Eagles, finding a way to completely blow them out before their home fans at Lincoln Financial Field. Tampa Bay looks red hot, and they are suddenly seriously in playoff contention. As for the Eagles, they are only one game out in the NFC East, but this game was not a reassuring sign at all for them.
Houston 24, NY Jets 17 - The Texans stayed hot following their stunning victory at Cincinnati with a solid home victory against the tough Jets. Houston is keeping pace with the Colts, while the Jets continue to slide in the AFC East, and appear to be sliding right out of the AFC playoff picture with yet another loss.
Detroit 18, Oakland 13 - The Lions were able to produce yet another surprising win, suddenly roaring to life after a miserable, winless start made them look like the worst team in the league. But no more. They will not make it back to the postseason this year, but they are looking much, much better now. As for the Raiders, this was a disappointing loss, but they remain very much in the AFC playoff picture - for now.
Indianapolis 24, Atlanta 21 - Talking about teams on the slide, what happened to Atlanta? They started the season with an undefeated 5-0 run, and were 6-1 just a few weeks ago. But they keep losing games that they are on the verge of winning, and are looking like a typical Atlanta Falcons team on the verge of another collapse. As for the Colts, an important road win keeps them the favorites to win the AFC South.
Denver 17, Chicago 15 - The Broncos were able to stop the bleeding even without quarterback Peyton Manning. Denver was able to earn a tough road win at Chicago to return to their winning ways, and remain fully three games ahead of their closest rivals in the AFC West. The Bears, in the meantime, lost a costly game that pushes their fading chances at the playoffs that much further out of reach.
Carolina 44, Washington 16 - The Panthers improved to 10-0 with a solid, blowout win against Washington. It was tight at first, but the Panthers really exerted control as the game went on, and eventually completely shut down Washington, while putting up some serious numbers and points in the process. A major step back for Washington.
Dallas 24, Miami 14 - Dallas finally managed to snap a winless streak that had lasted two months with a road win at Miami, with Tony Romo at the helm. The Cowboys defense played well, and the 'Boys managed to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive with the win, coupled with losses by other NFC East teams, Washington and Philadelphia. This was a major setback for the Dolphins, who were hoping to sneak into the playoffs, but fell further behind the leading teams for those AFC playoff spots.
Baltimore 16, St. Louis 13 - Both teams are hugely disappointing, but someone had to win. It wound up being Baltimore, although the win proved costly, as they lost starting quarterback, and former Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco for the duration of the season. As for the Rams, they fell farther behind both Arizona and Seattle in the NFC West, and have not won now in quite some time.
Seattle 29, San Francisco 13 - The Seahawks were able to get a solid win at home, completing the sweep against division rivals San Francisco. Seattle jumped out ahead early and built a 20-0 lead, although to their credit, the 49ers tightened up and then battled back, making the final outcome more respectable. Seattle remains solidly in the NFC playoff race.
Green Bay 30, Minnesota 13 - It was hard not to wonder where the Packers had gone to, but they returned with a vengeance in Minnesota, dominating the Vikings and making Minnesota look bad in almost every facet of the game. The Packers would have gone from two games ahead in the NFC North race to two games behind with a loss, but the victory allows them to share a tie with Minnesota atop the division, with another meeting between the two teams set for later in the season, at Lambeau Field.
Kansas City 33, San Diego 3 - The Chiefs have now fully recovered from their five-game slide earlier this year, and now are looking fierce, pulling off their fourth straight win. Of course, it helps when the team that you are playing is playing as badly as the San Diego Chargers are. That said, the Chargers are reaching new lows with a home blowout loss like this. As for the Chiefs, they are really resembling a playoff caliber team right now, and are clearly a team to watch.
(SNF) Arizona 34, Cincinnati 31 - Like the Packers and Broncos before them, the Bengals followed up their first loss of the season with another loss. At least this time, it was not a home loss to a much weaker team. No, the Bengals went to Arizona, which is a tough place to play, and were simply beaten by a solid team that has plenty to fight for themselves. Arizona remains comfortably ahead in the NFC West, while the Bengals, who still hold a fairly comfortable lead in the AFC North race, need to win to stop the bleeding.
(MNF) New England 20, Buffalo 13 - The Patriots remained unbeaten, but only just barely. New England hardly looked as dominant as they had for much of the season, held to their lowest point total of the season, and having to do everything possible just to hold off the Bills towards the end of the final quarter. But they remain undefeated now at 10-0.