The Kansas City Chiefs revenge is one of the main headlines from Week 14 as they went into New England and beat the Patriots. We’ll get to the Patriots a bit later but before then, we have five other things we’ve learned from this week’s action:
The Colts are Limited with Jacoby Brissett Under Center
I do think a lot of teams would be happy to have Jacoby Brissett under center. He’s a solid quarterback but now that we’ve seen him for 14 weeks, it’s safe to say that he’s good but not great. In terms of the Indianapolis Colts, they’re limited by him and they clearly miss Andrew Luck.
At the end of the day, Luck was special and Brissett simply is not. Luck was able to carry the team when necessary – even as some injuries piled up – and he would elevate the play of his teammates. Brissett can make a lot of throws but he’s not a guy that elevates the roster. He’s a guy that needs good conditions to excel. Brissett has really faded of late as he has just four touchdowns and three picks in his last four games; he had 14 touchdowns and two interceptions in the team’s first six games. A lot of it is the injuries as he’s not playing with a full deck but it feels like Luck would find a way where Brissett can’t.
The Colts have faded with losses in three straight and five of six. I’d be very careful betting them these last few weeks – even with a couple of easy games against Carolina and Jacksonville to end the year.
The Browns Have Big Problems
I know, I know: this isn’t breaking news. However, it continues to shock me just how dysfunctional this Browns team is. They were supposedly outfitted with an easy schedule down the stretch of the season but they barely beat the Cincinnati Bengals last week and made a massive mess along the way.
Even in a win, the Browns can’t keep it together as Baker Mayfield criticized the team’s training staff in handling Odell Beckham Jr.’s injury after the loss. Speaking of Beckham Jr., a report surfaced by NFL insider Jay Glazer that the star receiver already wants out of Cleveland.
The Browns hung on for the win and claimed their fourth win in five games. Even still, the mood was sour after the game given the shaky performance and the continuous off-field issues. If you see props on the board regarding Freddie Kitchens getting fired, bet them all. He’s a goner.
The Bills are a Complete Fraud (In Terms of Being a Contender)
The Bills have had a nice season. If they can eke out a 10th win, it would the first time since 1999 that they’ve done that and you can’t take that away from them. They’ve beaten the teams they’re supposed to beat and are slowly developing this young roster, which has some promise.
At the same time, if you’re looking at Super Bowl futures or thinking that this team can make a run of any sort, you’re mistaken. They’ve really only played about four or five decent teams this year and they’ve lost almost all of those games. Their win against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving was supposed to give them credibility but Dallas is a mess.
The Bills weren’t exactly blown out on Sunday at home by the Baltimore Ravens but they weren’t really a threat to win the game either. Baltimore held them at arm’s length the entire way and the Bills offense did virtually nothing (209 total yards).
It’s time to start getting concerned about Josh Allen, too. Sure, he’s taking steps but he also has too many games like this where opponents know he’s not a real threat passing the ball. He completed just 17-of-39 on Sunday with 146 yards, a touchdown, and a fumble. He’s now completed less than 20 passes in six of his last eight games.
This week, the Bills are at the Pittsburgh Steelers. Next week, they’re at the New England Patriots. If they lose both, they might not even make the playoffs – let alone make any noise when they get there.
The Packers’ Run Defense Will Do Them In
I’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again: the Packers run defense is one of the worst in the NFL. When they eventually lose in the playoffs, it’ll be because they weren’t able to stop anyone on the ground.
On Sunday, they coughed up 121 rushing yards to the hapless Washington Redskins, who averaged about 100 rushing yards per game going in. The Packers are giving up 122.8 per game but they’ve been far worse than that average in many games. They’re also giving up 4.7 yards per carry; only four teams allow more.
Beyond that, their offense has again hit a rough patch as Aaron Rodgers has been held under 200 yards passing in three of his last five games. On Sunday, they scored 14 points in the first quarter and were held to just six points the rest of the way. This team has more problems than you might think for a 10-3 squad.
It’s Time to Worry About the Patriots… But They Have Time
Forget that they were robbed on Sunday. It’s true, the refs did screw them. At the same time, this team has some serious offensive issues that will likely crop up in the playoffs.
For a second straight game, Tom Brady was shaky as he finished with just 169 passing yards against the Kansas City Chiefs. Brady had 10 touchdowns and two picks in his first five games; he has nine touchdowns and five picks in his last eight contests. Worse yet, Brady hasn’t had a passer rating above 100 since Week 5 against the Washington Redskins.
A big issue here is, of course, the wide receivers. There’s not enough speed there and there are no reliable options outside of Julian Edelman. However, the running game is nowhere to be found too. The Pats are 23rd in rushing offense with 96.2 rushing yards per game. They averaged 161.7 rushing yards per game in the playoffs last year, so that shows just how big of a drop-off they’ve endured.
The defense is still great and they have three relatively easy games to end the year. They’ll get wins and look like they’ve gotten right, and probably have a first-round bye as well. A month is a long time for this team to sort out their issues and remember, they’ll probably end up hosting a team like the Kansas City Chiefs. At the same time, I’d be concerned. Not a lot is working, Brady’s QBR is 18th and the defense can only do so much.