Football Outsiders
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Week 15 Open Game Discussion

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

The Thursday night affair pits the Jets (5-8) against the Ravens (11-2) in a game that may not be important or dramatic, but hey, any chance to watch Lamar Jackson is worth it, right? The biggest contest on Sunday pits the Texans (8-5) against the Titans (8-5) in a battle for AFC South supremacy. Other big Sunday matchups include Chicago (7-6) at Green Bay (10-3), the Rams (8-5) in Dallas (6-7, but hey, first place), and Buffalo (9-4) at Pittsburgh (8-5) in a meeting of the two AFC wild-card leaders. Your Monday night game sees Indianapolis (6-7) in New Orleans to face the Saints (10-3). Use this thread to discuss them all. 

Comments

96 comments, Last at 17 Dec 2019, 6:24pm

1 If you needed a national TV…

If you needed a national TV campaign for MVP, watch this. Minus Quinnen Williams and starting CBs Arthur Maulet and Brian Poole, plus Jamal Adams (probably), it will not be pretty for the Jets D. Lamar Jackson is about to have a showcase national TV performance.

2 And going the other way, as…

And going the other way, as something of a Darnold apologist, I'll be happy if he makes it through healthy and with, oh let's say 3 interceptions or fewer. This will not be pretty for the Jets O, either.

92 I agree, Lamar is the most…

I agree, Lamar is the most likely MVP at this point.  This has me torn though.  On the one hand his high performance and statistics make a clear cut case.  On the other hand, there is the argument for what "valuable" means to each voter.

It could be said that my personal favorite Russell Wilson, or Aaron Rodgers, possibly Patrick Mahomes are "more valuable" to their respective teams success.  I believe without a doubt Lamar's presence has raised the level of performance for Baltimore and that the design of the offense is based upon his specific skill set.  I also believe the talent surrounding him could thrive while be directed by others.  I'm not so sure the same can be said for the Seahawks, Packers and Chiefs.  Though the Chiefs do have considerable skill players on offense, the defense is a substantial anchor.  This sites DYAR + DVOA provide good tools to measure them all, along with ESPN's QBR (I'm still not a huge fan of this one), and PFF's new WAR metric linked below. 

https://www.pff.com/news/nfl-what-is-pff-war-and-why-it-shows-russell-wilson-is-the-mvp

I'm very curious to see how it all shakes up in the end and what others thoughts on the matter are?

96 "This roster" has added Mark…

"This roster" has added Mark Ingram, Earl Thomas, Marcus Peters and Hollywood Brown since Flacco left.  Again, Lamar has raised there level and more importantly I'm impressed with his own growth.  He clearly put in the work to address his own weaknesses over the off season.  That said, he's not playing with a bunch of scrubs and he has an outstanding offensive line.

The Seahawks are in year two of what everyone believed would be rebuilding mode.  Instead they have made the playoffs in both years and could secure a freakin bye.....

 

95 Without Lamar, I think…

Without Lamar, I think Baltimore's middle-of-the-pack, somewhere between Pittsburgh and Cleveland.  The offensive scheme is built around his unique talents.  I think he's a clear case of making the other guys on the field look better.

Tough not to acknowledge Wilson's year, but I'd give the nod to Jackson.  I see Mahomes trailing those two in the vote getting.

5 Bit of an ironic sequence…

Bit of an ironic sequence. Crowder drops an extremely easy TD pass because he looks down to see if his feet are inbounds. The next play he makes a much tougher catch while getting both feet down falling out of bounds.

6 Yeah that was funny (since…

Yeah that was funny (since it had a happy ending, anyway), he had so much time to overthink the first one he forgot how to hold something in his arms. That second catch was remarkable, the defender had his arm in there too and he still held on on his tippy-toes.

7 The Ravens offense looks…

The Ravens offense looks incredible. Not so much the defense. The Jets are last in the league in overall offense and 31st in both rushing and passing. They don't look nearly that bad tonight against Baltimore.

14 I've been trying to figure…

I've been trying to figure out if the Jets kick off team is really good or the Ravens coverage team is rather bad, but of course the TV camera angle doesn't give you any decent information.  Someday I'll be able to select Madden-view for my video I guess.  I've given up on the networks switching to it for their main feed.

27 They did very little of what…

They did very little of what they did against Buffalo with max pressure and cover 0. Then again, the Jets have WRs that can put a little fear in DBs, which Buffalo doesn't have. When they did blitz, Darnold made several inexplicable throws, tough, so you'd think they would have stayed on it.

 

Then again, 42-21 says it didn't look like they were too afraid.

8 That was frankly a more…

That was frankly a more competitive half than expected. Jets should have more points but 199 yards of offense results in just 7 thanks to a few big plays, chiefly that interception and the fourth down stop.

10 I was about to write a nice…

I was about to write a nice comment about how well Darnold has played so far, then he threw that... whatever that was. I guess he thought the TE was going to turn around? As it played out, there were 3 defenders between him and the target and he didn't try to throw it over them.

On the one hand, it should be 21-10 (or, I guess, 22-10) but for kicking miscues, and the Jets easily could have two more TDs but for some mistakes in the red zone. On the other hand, it's 21-7 because they made mistakes and miscues, and the Ravens didn't. Darnold handled pressure well, made big plays, and didn't make mistakes aside from the one huge brain fart, and Le'veon Bell showed up for once. The line is awful but that's a constant. In theory, if they iron out those mistakes, they could go toe-to-toe with the MVP's offense, but I wouldn't count on the Ravens failing to adjust. On the other side, the Jets D looks just hopeless. Not sure what else they can do besides just hope for some turnovers. They've had some success the last couple of drives keeping Jackson in the pocket, but he also had that huge bomb they couldn't really defend (example A why DPI needs to be a spot-of penalty). Even if they focus on containment and coverage, I can't imagine that holding up forever.

12 Three straight dominant TD…

Three straight dominant TD drives for the Ravens to start the game. On their next three drives they've managed just one first down and gained only 34 yards total.

15 This has been a pretty clean…

This has been a pretty clean/cleanly-played game, except for a weird amount of blatant encroachment. Just kind of odd.

16 It's not going to matter in…

It's not going to matter in a game like this but that's a terrible decision to not overturn the call on that punt.

EDIT: Also, they keep on talking about the shoulder but it looked to me like the ball hit Levine's foot even more clearly.

17 Yeah, that was baffling, it…

Yeah, that was baffling, it pretty clearly hit him twice. Darnold was also pretty clearly down on that sack-"fumble." It wouldn't change the outcome, but it's a pretty poor showing by the refs, and the Jets have the right to be a little miffed.

23 Darnold didn't have control…

Darnold didn't have control of the ball when his knee touched. That's that fumble.

The punt more clearly hit the shoulder than the foot. I don't think it hit his foot at all. That said, it did look like it touched him. Some sort of blocked into call?

40 The ball was rotating back…

The ball was rotating back to the player though and when it supposedly hit his shoulder, it was still rotating the same way, you would expect the rotation to change. I didnt think it was very clearly touched.

19 "I hate to say it, but …

"I hate to say it, but [delay of game on a 2-pt conversion] does typify this team."
--Hannah Storm, being way too kind

Darnold has made a lot of badass throws this game. Really only the INT was downright bad, and that's probably 5 Rodgersesque pinpoint deliveries into tight windows. Free this man.

20 I'm going to miss having…

I'm going to miss having Kremer and Storm doing the audio. I wasn't really watching the second half, but I found their chatter entertaining while I was in the kitchen cooking.

21 Pick

Came here late but mt pick was balti 29, nyj 16. Scored ended uo beijg 42 to 21. Jets too many key guys injured on defensr to stop Ravens enoufj to keep score close. Jamal adams, q. Williams, a. Maulet, b. Poole all important plauers
.
Ravens shouls get 1 seed now
. Special twams bad tonifjt so Harbaugh can curse about that. Can see Rabems being 13-2, nabbing 1 seed and having soem ultra vanilla just get it over wirh game in finale. J. Hill 25 csrries, RG III starts, throws 17 passes and runs 10 times. Ravens lose 28-13

22 They should definitely trade Bell.

If the Jets are keeping Gase they should trade or cut Bell because they have no idea what to do with him. 2 catches on 2 targets for 1 yard. If they just wanted a guy to run they could have paid much less for Jordan Howard.

28 Gase is terrible

I’m pondering a difficult question. Which team has the largest player talent to coaching skill ratio? (In other words, who is squandering good players the most with bad coaching?).

Cowboys, Browns, or Jets?

33 order of teams

think you oprdered them there,. Cowbiys loaded with talent and moist of player are healthy. Browns second. Jets have some talented players btu most all injured. Mosley played 3 quarters tis seaosn when healthy and was gerat in them,. came back weeks later for a 2nd ghame a nd  played briefly and non-effective in i t. all sorts iof other guys injured on jets rooster. Cowboys really not much of excuse. top runningb ack, maybe not top 5 now, btu rerally good. D. prescott very nice quatterback. tight ends WItten and Jarwin can do some things. Gallup, Cooper good receives. defense all sorts of good players. Quinn < Lawrence good. LB corps nice,. defensikve backs blowing hot and cold this seaosn although Byron Jones was 2018 All-NFL Raiderjoe selection. Kicker stinky but he went bye bye this week. Kai Forbath now Dallas kicker.

Copwboys have talent to be 9-4 not 6-7.

Borwns have head coahc who loooks like he just got off hovercraft and had wrestlign match with python in Florida swamp. "Dad gummit boys, let's egt this practice over with, I gotta cook me up a squirrel for supper." Baker Mayfield sophomore slump maybe, not too impressive this seaosn. Best guy ond efense a lttle wacky. penatlties for late hits on quartyerbacks early in season and now more rfecently hit opponent on head with helmet. that pretty m uch finished tema off. Bad karma for sure

Browns having lsoing record is about right.

 

Jets soft schedule, questionable head coacbh, numerous injuries. Mix that altogether and 5-9 seems right. 

 

    

34 "Borwns have head coahc who…

"Borwns have head coahc who loooks like he just got off hovercraft and had wrestlign match with python in Florida swamp. "Dad gummit boys, let's egt this practice over with, I gotta cook me up a squirrel for supper."

I'm speechless

37 SNF

Did they really flex out Vikings-Chargers for Steelers-Bills? I realize those are two playoff contenders, but that game is going to be well-nigh unwatchable.

38 Indeed. Texans-Titans would…

In reply to by TomC

Indeed. Texans-Titans would have been a much, much better flex choice for a playoff relevant fixture. Although I guess the Titans recent hot streak has likely caught the TV schedulers unawares.   

39 Pears 17 Pakcers 24Paytes…

Pears 17 Pakcers 24

Paytes 106 bengals -43

Seahaeks 35 panrheea 16

Dolphina 27 giants 19

Txnans 28 titans 36

Eaglas 14 red clouds 10

Zbroncia 35 vhiefs 36

Jagutad 17 raifera 20

Bikings 37 chsrgers 27

Ramwa 34 boys 21

Galcons 23 45wrs 45

Bupla 14 steelras 14

Colta 14 ssints 38

41 Week 15 picks

Ravems 29, Jets 16

Seahjawks 28, Panthers 17

Patriots 34, Bengals 10

Buccaneers 37, Loins 30

Bears 19, Packers 17

Chiefs 27, Broncos 24

Giants 27, Doplphins 22

Eagles 27, Squirrels 23

Texans 30, Tiotans 27

Raiders 51, Jaguars 9

Carduinals 31, Browns 26

Chargers 30, Vikinga 13

Rams 24, Cowboys 20

49ers 33, Falcs 27

bills 16, Steeelers 12

Saints 44, clots 31

43 Rodgers threw just about the…

Rodgers threw just about the most perfect deep ball you'll ever see, and Valdez-Scantling inexplicably short-armed it.

A couple sequences later, the Bears kick a really short punt, Tramon Williams scrambles to field it and is hit by Cordarelle Patterson just after he catches it, knocking it lose, and the Bears recover. Except the refs inexplicably/inexcusably call that "kick catch interference," giving the Packers the ball (and 15 bonus yards). Terrible call.

And it leads to a Packers touchdown a few plays later, after an odd hard count-timeout-go for it anyway sequence (nice throw and catch Rodgers to Adams, horrendous defense by Skrine).

46 Jameis Winston had 221…

Jameis Winston had 221 passing yards in the first quarter alone. The all time record for most yards in a quarter is apparently 251. Of course, he also had an interception, because he's Jameis Winston.

47 Trubisky has looked better…

Trubisky has looked better the last few times I've seen him. Maybe he's feeling pressure to improve, with his job status for next year in question.

But even improved, he's still just... off. He had a guy open on an out and he overthrew him both horizontally and vertically (receiver made it look closer than it was with a late adjustment). On 4th down he escaped a collapsing pocket and heaved a deep ball near the pylon that was about 18 inches too far out of bounds.

As I type this, he makes a great throw rolling to his right and throwing all the way across the field for about a 20 yard gain. That's the second time he did that, throwing clear across his body/direction of motion for a big gain: the other time he rolled left and threw right. (Seems like a lot of young QBs are better rolling than in the pocket, and not just because it simplifies the reads...) It's like he needs *really* open receivers (who doesn't), who can adjust to his imprecise passes; the rolling/scrambling seems to help with that (the fact that he's a good runner helps, because defenders have to leave their guys to defend that; it's also inexplicable/inexcusable how little they've had him run this year, it's the thing he's best at).

But is that the guy you want to hitch your wagon to, when you could potentially have Cam Newton next season (and if rumors are to be believed, Tom Brady)? As a Packers fan, I really hope they make Mitch play QB in year 4 and beyond, but a competent GM has to at least do due diligence in the FA/trade markets, and try to find a developmental QB project in the late rounds of the next draft.

48 Moving for Cam Newton might…

Moving for Cam Newton might make sense. As for Tom Brady... Uh, definitely not. The Pats have 81 net yards passing on 23 dropbacks against the 30th ranked pass defense in the NFL right now. Brady's not Brady anymore and at his age signing him would be questionable even if he was still playing at a high level. Andy Dalton or Philip Rivers are other veteran QBs the Bears might look at though.

50 I wonder if Brady would even…

I wonder if Brady would even consider signing anywhere he would be in danger of a non-injury benching. I tend to think he will (and probably should) retire after this season, but if he decides to offer his services elsewhere, it would take a pretty bold GM to say, "No thanks, Tom Brady, we're happy with Trubisky/Minshew/FitzMagic/WhicheverMediocrity." It'd probably be the correct decision, but one that might be hard to sell to ownership and the broader fanbase.

61 I don't think you've watched…

I don't think you've watched enough Brady this year.  

 

There arent going to be any slots available where he's not at risk of being performance-benched.  He's just not a good QB anymore. 

 

He's been at about a 50% completion rate for half the season now, he's turning the ball over more, getting sacked more, and locking on to receivers and not going through his progressions.  

 

I'm hoping he just retires, but some team will give him a 1y $30m deal and immediately regret it. 

64 Yeah, I actually haven't…

Yeah, I actually haven't seen him all that much, but I believe you completely. " I'm hoping he just retires, but some team will give him a 1y $30m deal and immediately regret it." is exactly it. I could easily see someone signing him to keep the seat warm for a draftee, and to keep fighting with Brees for the various records while he mentors the young'n, if he's willing to do that. But if he thinks he's Manning '12 and not Manning '15, it could be a long and unpleasant offseason for him.

71 I haven't heard the rumours,…

I haven't heard the rumours, but it seems unlikely to me that Kraft would allow Brady to be let go if Brady wants to come back.

Belichick may be ready to move on, but this is one player I expect Kraft to have veto on.

75 Outsiders

Obviously were all outsiders here - but I really doubt that he retires this year. It's clear in watching this that Brady thinks the supporting cast is the problem, and it's hard to tell whether that's true (though he's definitely not at the level he was at even last year). BB has clearly been preparing to move on, and what choices he will have after the NFL gets done dinging them at least a draft pick over the latest bit of nonsense that would be a nothing except for the spygate memory. Not sure what to make of Brady himself - but the Pats may well win a superbowl if the offense can play average to slightly above average going forward, so it's a tough spot most teams would love to be in.

79 The rumor making the rounds,…

The rumor making the rounds, which no one should put any stock into at all of course, is that Brady himself wants to play somewhere else. It doesn't really make any sense unless he's intent on winning a ring with a second team/without Belichick, and Chicago's the only team that comes to mind that might be a QB away from the Super Bowl (well, maybe the Rams *rimshot*). Although I am finding it weirdly amusing to imagine him in like a Jaguars or Panthers jersey (so wrong it's right!).

84 Brady's contract auto-voids…

Brady's contract auto-voids at the end of the season and has a clause that they can't franchise him. I don't think it could be more clear that he wants to be an FA. 

 

He's gone.  And forcing the issue is probably a good thing for the Patriots 

49 Strange end-of-half sequence…

Strange end-of-half sequence in Packers-Bears. Packers have 3rd and 4 at about the Bears' 40, Rodgers gets flushed and hit as he scrambles trying to throw the ball out of bounds, so it doesn't get back to the line of scrimmage: intentional grounding with 9 seconds left. Packers use their last timeout to prevent the 10 second runoff, then line up for presumably a hail mary since it's now 4th and 14 from near midfield. Instead, Rodgers tries to throw a 20 yard pass in the middle of the field (???), but it's incomplete - did they forget they were out of timeouts? There's no way they could spike it even if it was caught. But since it wasn't caught, it's actually Bears' ball with a few seconds left. Mitch attempts to throw a hail mary, only gets it down to about the Green Bay 20, where it's intercepted. Packers try to do the million-laterals thing for awhile before Savage (smartly) decides to hold onto it as he gets tripped up; they kept getting pushed back and were in danger of a hilarious catastrohe.

A lot of sound and fury signifying nothing, but it was entertaining, if somewhat baffling from a tactical standpoint.

52 Up by three with the clock…

Up by three with the clock at 2:03 the Texans opt to run the ball right into the line instead of passing. Bad decision. The clock is going to stop at 2:00 anyway so running a play designed to burn clock makes zero sense.

53 Right as the announcers are…

Right as the announcers are waxing poetic about Trubisky's performance (in which he's managed 13 points against the 20th-ranked defense by DVOA), he gets intercepted by the lineman (Lowry). Not really tipped, just picked. Woof. They might be better off with Tom Brady's actual corpse propped up in the backfield, Weekend at Bernie's style.

Packers manage to do exactly nothing (blocking the DT, was that Hicks? with Jones alone was... ill-advised) but they do pin the Bears deep on the punt. Of course they're driving now, because not only is the Packers D not terribly good, they're getting gassed.

54 The Bears come pretty close…

The Bears come pretty close to scoring on a lateral-o-rama play with no time left. Looks like if Horsted had pitched it to his right Chicago would have got the TD.

55 Heh, the Bears end the game…

Heh, the Bears end the game with a lateralfest of their own and dang near pull it off. The TE fumbled (intentionally) inside the 5 and after a little kicking around the Packers recovered, just barely, at the 1.

56 Jameis Winston became the…

Jameis Winston became the first QB with back to back 450 yard passing game today. He threw four picks over the two games as well.

58 In the Battle of Undersized…

In the Battle of Undersized Heisman Trophy-Winning Quarterbacks Picked First Overall Out of the University of Oklahoma in the Last Two Drafts, Kyler Murray is frankly eating Baker Mayfield's lunch. At halftime, he's 12/15 for 150+ yards and a TD, with another 50 yards on the ground, and has generally been able to make things happen with both his arm and his feet (also had one pretty bad INT. hey, he's a rookie). Mayfield hasn't been terrible exactly, 9/12 but for only 80 yards, with only one nice ~20 yard pass standing out amidst a bunch of dink and dunk and a bad pick. DVOA seems to think the Browns D is much better than Arizona's, too.

Mayfield... well, he deserves a year with an NFL-caliber coach and ideally a better o-line. But with most of the other struggling young QBs, Trubisky, Darnold, Allen, even Dwayne Haskins, I at least have some idea what kind of player they could be with polish in ideal circumstances. I still don't have any idea what the Best Possible Baker Mayfield might be.

59 Overturned PI Alert:…

Overturned PI Alert: Cardinals successfully challenged that Damarious Randall interfered with Kirk on a pass in the endzone.

Kenyan Drake punches it in a play later (refs missed a false start).

The "interference" was really blatant, although I think it was a little uncertain that Kirk would have caught it even without Randall's interference (but not so much so that they would ever call it "uncatchable"). Bad play by Randall.

62 And the 49ers, who they…

And the 49ers, who they might play in the Wild Card round, are struggling against the Falcons. The Cowboys might still have a playoff run in them. It would be amusing if they got far enough to save Jason Garrett's job, which would infuriate most of the fanbase.

63 The Cowboys offense has been…

The Cowboys offense has been top notch all along, but they have faced a very tough recent schedule. I don't trust their defense (Jared Goff bullying notwithstanding), but at home they will be a tough match-up for anybody. 

65 Jags score late to take the…

Jags score late to take the lead over the raiders. The raiders losing their final game in oakland might be the raiderest thing ever.

73 That sucks.  I heard the…

That sucks.  I heard the refs blew an in bounds / out-of-bounds call leaving time on the clock for the Jags, but not sure if that's true?

If true, it would be a new entry in the litany of game changing goofs by refs this year.

68 NFC Wide Open

Based on what I saw today, anybody can beat anybody in the NFC. Dallas is a clear threat to win that first playoff game at home presuming they beat Philly next week. Either SEA or SF might be a one and done. GB somehow wins in spite of themselves-- defeating MINN means they could be the #1 seed. and at the least would be the #2 seed. Even if they lose at MINN, they only need beat the Lions to win the division, and in all likelihood play Vikings again in Round One. Except now the SEA/SF loser is in contention for the #6 seed... But if you told me the NFC Title game was MINN and DALLAS I would not think you were crazy...

69 WOW, Atlanta gets the…

WOW, Atlanta gets the touchdown with 2 seconds left, thanks to a (correct) overturn after he was initially ruled down as time expired.

I actually thought they scored the previous play: Hooper made essentially a 1-handed catch, although the ball scraped the ground as he did, and he lost possession subsequent to that as he rolled over. IMVHO the ball moved in a separate event after the catch had been made, ie after the touchdown had been scored, but they ruled it was part of the same catch process, apparently.

LOL, then Atlanta scores another touchdown with no time left, as San Francisco's lateralfest goes awry. Not sure if that affects anything, gambling-wise, but suddenly a 1pt upset is a 7 pt upset.

Of course, it was only a 1pt upset because the Jaguars opted not to kick the extra point OR go for 2, I guess to not risk a 1pt safety on a catastrophically botched conversion attempt? If so, I guess kudos for considering all the possibilities, but I have to think the odds of getting the 2 and then SF getting to kick a FG on an untimed down (say, they quickly down the squibbed kickoff then get a big DPI) to only tie instead of win are higher than the defense scoring on the conversion attempt.

78 I don't think the Falcons…

I don't think the Falcons second touchdown changed anything gambling-wise, but it did apparently set a record for the fastest two touchdowns in NFL history. Two TDs in two seconds. Obviously for a record like that it helps to have one of the TDs scored as time is expiring on a half.

70 The Falcons have road wins…

The Falcons have road wins in New Orleans and San Francisco this season. There’s far too much talent on this team to not post a winning record, coaching changes must be imminent.

The Browns also need to urgently review their coaching situation. That was an embarrassing loss today, capping off a dreadfully disappointing season.

Houston appeared to have have learned nothing from the pathetic prevent defense that caused them to almost throw away the game against the Patriots two weeks ago. Good win though.

74 As a fan of defensive…

As a fan of defensive football, I've been looking forward to the Steelers-Bills game all week.

So far, it's shaping up well.

76 Well, it was shaping up well…

Well, it was shaping up well, and now the refs just discovered a phantom facemasking on the Bills.

Personally, I can't wait for every single call to start going to booth review.  It may slow the game down for a year or two, but NFL refs are just making sh*t up this year on a regular basis. 

The game needs to be taken out of their hands, because they're just not up to the job.

80 There should be a team of…

There should be a team of video judges watching everything from monitors. Have them check plays as quickly as possible. It's absurd that calls that everyone sitting at home knows are bad five seconds after the plays end are either not overturned, or take five minutes of laborious review to overturn. I want the whole challenge system gone too. Again, it's silly to have a blatantly obvious bad call stand simply because a coach is out of challenges.

82 There were some hilarious…

There were some hilarious ideas in a recent XP here. My favorite was a massive datacenter with hundreds of refs watching each play. If 78% of them see offensive holding, then it's a 7.8 yard penalty

77 Dumb

Dumb play calling by Steelers

81 Fumble luck really…

Fumble luck really benefiting the Steelers in this third quarter. EDIT: Even more so now. 3/3 on fumble recoveries in 7 minutes of play.

85 The Bills are in the…

The Bills are in the playoffs!

Honestly, I thought they'd collapse to like 3-13 this year. I was totally wrong. Congrats to them and their fans. They might be the AFC team I second-least want to face, after the Ravens; that defense is legit, and Josh Allen seems to be at least "effectively wild," dangerous enough with the arm that you have to respect his throws at every distance, deadly on his feet when he decides to take off, and all-around hard to take down. Even in their losses*, they've made their opponents play "their" game, keeping it a close, low-scoring affair.

*Except for getting blown out by the Eagles. What a weird year they've had.

88 Pretty close, yes. The only…

Pretty close, yes.

The only two games with differing opponents is the Pats lost to the Chiefs while the Bills lost to the Broncos, and the Pats lost to the Texans while the Bills beat the Titans.

In the common games, they have the same records except the Bills lost to the Browns, a game the Pats won.  And the Pats won the first head-to-head against the Bills.

I was impressed by the Bills last night.  In a game that looked from the start like it might be won by the team which made the fewer mistakes, the Bills managed to be that team.

That bodes well for this week's game in NE, which is shaping up to be the same type of game.  If Allen can avoid untimely INTs/fumbles, extend a few drives with his legs, and let the Bills D eat Brady's lunch (which they'll almost certainly do), Buffalo should be able to win this one.