An upsetting lack of upsets, some more Mahomes magic and a big statement from Mr Irrelevant highlight Week 14 of the 2022 NFL season.
Vikings 23 - 34 Lions
Now I didn't quite believe the odds, placing the 10-1 Vikings as the underdogs in Detroit. Maybe I was blind to their flaws, but the truth is, I think I just love to hate Jared Goff.
The Lions have now won 5 of their last 6 after going 1-6 to start the season. They still trail Minnesota by 4 wins in the division, but don't sleep on Detroit down the stretch.
As for the Vikings, their offense was as explosive as ever - Justin Jefferson led the way as usual with 223 yards from just 11 receptions. But the defense struggled to defend the endzone against the Lions top 5 offense. (Yes, the Lions have a top 5 offense)
No.18 is the best receiver in the league right now, but there's only so much he can do to carry his team to a win, and the refs making calls like this doesn't help...
Did the refs just rob Justin Jefferson with an amazing touchdown here by saying he stepped out??— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 11, 2022
Just let the play finishpic.twitter.com/o4smTADdeR
Ravens 16 - 14 Steelers
Baltimore may have snapped their four-game losing streak, but with Tyler Huntley now sidelined along with Lamar Jackson, they'll be back in the losing column in no time.
I trusted Huntley to keep the Ravens from drowning, but undrafted rookie Anthony Brown is a completely different story. Gus Edwards, JK Dobbins and the defense as a whole, will need to step up to keep playoff hopes alive in Baltimore.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh's plan to run a successful campaign may be dead in the water with Kenny Pickett now in concussion protocol.
Mitch Trubisky replaced the injured Pickett, only to throw three interceptions in the matchup and hand the Raven's a win... Good luck to Mike Tomlin is all I can say.
3 INTs now for Mitchell Trubisky - This one goes to Marcus Williams pic.twitter.com/eamBrxvoia— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 11, 2022
Browns 10 - 23 Bengals
Cleveland is 5-3 when they rush for over 150 yards, and 0-5 when they don't. Why is Kevin Stefanski still putting the ball in the air? The Browns may have sold their soul to put Watson in at QB, but they don't need to throw away games just to prove a point (pun intended).
More Nick Chubb and less Deshaun Watson. This is the way.
Meanwhile, Ja'marr Chase and Joe Mixon are both back in business for Cincy. Chase logged 119 receiving yards and a touchdown, while Mixon clocked 96 yards on the ground.
The Bengals will go far if they stay healthy.
Jets 12 - 20 Bills
I said Mike White could be the Jets new franchise QB, but that's only if his O-line doesn't kill him first...
Jets Offensive line gonna get Mike White killed today pic.twitter.com/cLNsoUVP9c— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) December 11, 2022
In all seriousness, White isn't half bad. He even outplayed Josh Allen last night, who threw for just 147 yards, while White put up 268... Although, the Jets QB wasn't the only one flirting with death last night.
This is just not sustainable qb play— Billy (@Billyhottakes) December 11, 2022
Texans 23 - 27 Cowboys
Dallas should never celebrate this as a win.
The Cowboys almost fell to a team on its third straight 11-loss season. If it wasn't for a 98-yard 3-minute drive to end the game, they would be the laughingstock of the league.
Davis Mills was dishing throughout the first half, while Dameon Pierce racked up the yards on the ground. Dak Prescott should count himself lucky that the defense actually showed up after the break to hold Houston to just 3 points.
Regardless, let's not play down this 98-yard drive. It was almost as good as Baker Mayfield's from Thursday Night.
Eagles 48 - 22 Giants
Philly has officially clinched its first playoff spot in six years, and it comes at the hands of A.J. Brown who is now the Eagles’ first 1,000-yard receiver since 2014.
Though the real shoutout should go to Jalen Hurts, who still isn't getting enough love in the MVP conversation.
Hurts has 32 total touchdowns with only five turnovers and is the first quarterback to log back-to-back seasons with double-digit touchdowns on the ground. This guy is something special.
Jalen Hurts today:— Word On The Birds (@WordOnTheBirds) December 11, 2022
- 21/31, 217 YDS
- 77 Rush YDS
- 3 Total TD
- 109.2 RTG
Just give him the MVP already. pic.twitter.com/7ocXUWF5S6
On the other hand, the Giants' hopeful season is quickly fading. They'll need a few more wins if they want to avoid getting caught by the likes of Detroit in the Wild Card race.
Jaguars 36 - 22 Titans
What did I tell you? The Titans are pretenders in a lousy division.
Derrick Henry may continue to bulldoze his way down the field - logging 121 yards on 7 carries and 34 through the air - while Tannehill's also makes endzone completions. But Tennessee's offensive success will remain overshadowed by their defensive downfalls - allowing four turnovers that led to 20 points for Jacksonville.
Sure, Trevor Lawrence is catching fire (10 TDs and no picks in his last five games), but this defensive performance should never be seen from a division leader.
The AFC South is a joke. Let's just hope the Jags make things a little interesting down the back stretch.
Chiefs 34 - 28 Broncos
Mahomes will forever treat the NFL like playground football. And I'll forever be grateful. (Alongside Jerick Mckinnon of course)
The Chiefs now have eight straight seasons with double-digit wins and a whopping 15 straight wins over Denver.
Even when Russell Wilson looks like Russell Wilson, the Broncos just aren't it. Surely he's looking at retirement homes by now...
Panthers 30 - 24 Seahawks
Without a solid run-game to rely on (with Kenneth Walker joining Rashaad Penny on the injury list), Geno Smith had all the work to do on Sunday night.
In fairness, he did a pretty good job - 264 yards and 3 touchdowns. But the Panthers keyed into this game plan early and took the opportunity to force 2 interceptions.
And just to rub it in, Steve Wilks decided to do exactly what Seattle couldn't - run the ball.
Carolina outrushed the Hawks 223 yards to 46, while Sam Darnold threw for a mere 120 on the night. Maybe they've found their strength? Maybe it was an off day in Seattle? Either way, the Panthers are still within reach of the playoffs. Somehow...
Buccaneers 7 - 35 49ers
Brock Purdy stole the show this week by outplaying the GOAT to become the first QB to beat Tom Brady in his NFL start.
I don't care about draft picks; everyone needs to stop calling this man Mr. Irrelevant.
Now, all props to Purdy for a solid performance facing a tough Tampa Bay defense - 185 yards and 2 passing touchdowns isn't an easy feat against the Bucs. But anybody could play QB in San Fran right now...
And it's all thanks to Christian McCaffrey, who will tear up this entire league so long as he's healthy.
The new red-and-gold running back rushed for 119 yards and a score, plus a receiving touchdown too. And with Deebo Samuel out of action, it's all on McCaffrey's shoulders.
The 49ers took a 35-0 lead against Brady before he made any sign of a comeback, but this one was a little out of reach, even for him. McCaffrey is undoubtedly a gamechanger for any team, but if the MVP could go to anyone, it would be the 49ers entire defense.
Dolphins 17 - 23 Chargers
Okay, I was holding back on this one... But now we can hype up Justin Herbert.
Herbert threw for 367 yards to carry the injury-depleted Chargers to a defeat over the red-hot Dolphins. This could be the kind of talent that takes LA to the playoffs, especially with Mike Williams leading the charge the way he is. (Pun intended)
Now, let's not take anything away from No.10, but as long as the refs are making calls like this, getting first downs will be easier than ever...
Meanwhile, Tua Tagovailoa failed to reach his usual gunslinging standards - throwing for just 145 yards on the night...
Though he can always rely on Tyreek Hill to make things happen.
This is a small bump in the road for Miami. I don't see any issues for them making playoff football.
So that wraps up our recap of Week 14's Sunday games.
Mr. RELEVANT makes a big statement for San Fran, the Cowboys look a little rocky against the worst team in the league and guess what...? The Broncos still suck.
Join me tomorrow as I recap a Cardinals-Patriots matchup that I'm finding impossible to predict, minus a bunch of field goals.