Week 15 is almost in the books and now we’ll head down the home stretch of the regular season with just a couple of games to go for the teams. Let’s take a look back to Week 15 and touch on four things we learned:
Josh Allen is the Future in Buffalo
It seems a bit silly to be saying this in Week 15, no? Well, there were those who had their doubts.
Allen started the season like he was shot out of a cannon, throwing 12 touchdowns and just one pick in his first four games. He was in the MVP conversation. However, things leveled off after that. The Bills went 3-3 in their next six games while throwing nine touchdowns and compiling seven turnovers. It was at that point many thought Allen had reverted to his old self and that the first month of action was a mirage.
However, as they say: “it’s how you finish and not how you start”. Allen has finished strong, leading the team to wins in the last three weeks – including the team’s first AFC East division title since 1995. He’s cemented his status as a star and he’s the franchise quarterback the Bills had long been looking for.
The Raiders are on the Right Track But Still Need More Parts
There’s no question that the Raiders’ performance over the last month has been disappointing. After Thursday’s loss, they have now dropped four of their last five with the lone win being the miracle at the winless New York Jets. Had they lost that game too, some people might be putting head coach Jon Gruden on the hot seat.
For now, the Raiders still remain a franchise on the rise but they clearly still lack talent. That’s especially clear on the defensive side of the ball where they’ve given up 36.0 points per game over their last five. There are a lot of nice pieces on this roster but they need to spend the offense loading up this defense with talent. Johnathan Abram is nice and Maxx Crosby is a stud but there’s really not much else here. Fix that and they’ll push for a playoff spot next season.
Bucs Appear to Have Some Chemistry Issues
Something weird is going on in Tampa Bay and we might not figure it out until the offseason. They appear to be one of the NFL’s biggest Jekyll-Hyde squads and Sunday’s performance displayed that perfectly. They had just 60 yards of offense in the first half in Atlanta with zero points. They ended up winning the game 31-27. Of course, a 31-point outburst in the second-half puts a lot of worries to bed but something just isn’t quite right.
How is it possible that a Bucs offense that features Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski can only collect 60 yards of offense in an entire half? The Falcons defense is decent but this isn’t the 2001 Baltimore Ravens. It’s hard to figure out what’s with Tampa Bay and they remain one of the league’s most volatile teams. They could win the Super Bowl or they could lose their first playoff game and a lot of that is because of their offense. It’s hard to say exactly what’s wrong with it.
Rams are No Super Bowl Threat
The Rams are a nine-win team that’s likely going to the playoffs but they are no Super Bowl threat. In previous losses, I had done a deep dive and seen a pattern: turnovers were their downfall. On Sunday, they did lose the turnover battle with a -1 but it was not the main issue. The bottom line is that this is a good-but-not-great team. They have four wins against the NFC East teams (when they were all bad) and have also beaten the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots. Other than that, they’ve basically split their games in the division.
At the end of the day, they are capable of winning a playoff game if they win the turnover and things go their way, but I wouldn’t be betting futures on this squad. They’re not capable of piecing together a playoff winning streak against the NFC’s elite teams.
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