Monday, November 30, 2015

NFL 2015-16 Week 12 Review

And then there was one.

Yes, as the NFL now enters December, there is only one undefeated team left, as they beat down the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving, while last night, the Denver Broncos pulled off a come-from-behind victory in the snow to force overtime, where they ultimately managed to defeat the New England Patriots.

There were other important games with playoff ramifications as well throughout the league yesterday, so let's take a look (excluding the Thanksgiving games, which I already reviewed):

Washington 20, NY Giants 14 - The Giants decided to show up in the fourth quarter with a relatively furious rally. The only thing is, where were they during the first three quarters? Had that team that showed up in the final quarter shown up in the other three, the Giants would be well on their way to a division title right now. Instead, they are behind Washington (in terms of the tie-breaker, having the lesser divisional record), and sink down to 5-6.

Oakland 24, Tennessee 21 - The Raiders were not looking good early, but they came all the way back to pull off a hugely important win that keeps their playoff hopes alive. Oakland got a rare road win out east, while the Titans suffered another close call loss.

Kansas City 30, Buffalo 22 - The Bills jumped out ahead, and looked capable of pulling off a big road win. But the Chiefs got going, and even though Buffalo hung in there, they could not come up with the goods at the end, allowing the Chiefs another win, which places them right in the position to be in the playoffs at this point. The loss, in the meantime, was a real hit for Buffalo's playoff hopes.

Minnesota 20, Atlanta 10 - The Falcons continued their collapse with another home loss, this one to the Vikings. This time, it proved extra costly, since they have now moved out of that sixth and final playoff spot for the time being, which means that if the season ended now, Atlanta would not advance.

Houston 24, New Orleans 6 - Two teams heading in opposite directions here. The Texans are hot and looking like a legitimate contender for both the playoffs and the AFC South title, while the Saints have been reeling. New Orleans actually tightened up a bit on defense, but they still got blown out in this game in Houston.

NY Jets 38, Miami 20 - The Dolphins are fading fast. They got pounded in an embarrassing game that was not even as close as the score would indicate. The Jets dominated Miami, with only garbage time touchdowns serving to make this look like a more competitive game than it actually was. The win kept New York's playoff hopes strong, while it seems to have largely extinguished Miami's playoff hopes.

San Diego 31, Jacksonville 25 -  This was a real hit to the Jaguars playoff and division title hopes. An embarrassing home loss to the lowly Chargers, who had not won in what felt like forever, pretty much should end the Jaguars slim hopes of pulling off a miracle.

Cincinnati 31, St. Louis 7 - The Bengals returned to their winning ways of earlier in the season, while the Rams continued their landslide back down to Earth after flirting with playoff status. The Bengals pounded the Rams, and this was never really much of a game. Cincy kept pace with the Broncos for that number two seed, and are only one game behind New England for home field advantage now.

Indianapolis 25, Tampa Bay 14 - The Colts had to win to keep on pace with the surging Houston Texans, while Tampa Bay is fighting with all that they've got to stay in the NFC playoff picture. The Colts managed to hold off the Bucs for a needed win.

Arizona 19, San Francisco 13 - This one was probably the final nail in the coffin of the 49ers playoff chances for this season, which were not very bright heading into the game, anyway. But the Cardinals managed to plug away, playing it safe and winning a solid divisional road game to improve to 9-2 and keep their three-game lead over the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers, wearing those ugly black uniforms, dropped to 3-8, and are pretty much eliminated from the playoffs now.

Seattle 39, Pittsburgh 30 - Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives. The Steelers were trying to hold onto that AFC Wildcard spot that they were in position to get heading into yesterday's game, while the 'Hawks were on the outside looking in. In a back and forth game between two quality teams, Seattle was able to get the best of the Steelers, with the obvious advantage of playing at home, where they are very tough to beat. Both teams come out of this game with identical 6-5 records.

Denver 30, New England 24 (OT) - What an exciting game this was! Perhaps the best active rivalry in the sport, between two of the teams with the best records in the league. The pats were hoping to more or less clinch at least a playoff bye, if not home field advantage, with a road win at Mile High. It would have put them three games ahead of Denver, and two ahead of Cincy. And it sure looked like that was where they were heading, jumping out to a 14-0 lead, and then having a 21-7 lead in the second half. But Denver came roaring back, taking a lead late in the fourth quarter. New England was able to get a field goal to force overtime, but it was the Broncos who managed to score the touchdown for the win, handing New England their first (and so far only) loss of the season. Brock Osweiler played extremely well, and C.J. Anderson broke free in a run for the winning touchdown. Now, the Pats are only one game ahead of Denver and Cincinnati for home field advantage.

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