What We Learned in week 12: The AFC West is a Beautiful Steaming Mess.

1. The Falcons are a team that should not only be considered playoff worthy but that should be feared. Julio Jones went off for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Steve Sarkisian has figured out his team and how to call plays for them. The big game comes next week against Minnesota. The Falcons with a Saints loss today now look like the front-runners in this division. If they can beat New Orleans at home and Minnesota, you could potentially see this team getting a first-round bye. Isn’t it shocking how fast things can change in the NFL?


2. The Bengals walked all over the Browns and now the road to 0-16 looks all to realistic for Cleveland. Still two teams going nowhere.
3. Though the Titans offense was slow to get going the defense was all over Jacoby Brissett all day. 8 sacks is not a stat you want to see a team give up. Chris Ballard needs to fix this offensive line, especially if he wants to keep Andrew Luck in Indianapolis. The Titans on the other hand are still a mystery. I just don’t trust them, to make the playoffs, or to win a playoff game.


4. The Panthers can win football games with this ugly formula, but they will be close. Pound the ball on the ground and play tight defense, that is the strategy for this team. The Jets played tough for three and a half quarters and then totally imploded, so we learned, they are still the New York Jets.
5. Carson Wentz and the Eagles rolled over the Bears. This is important because? Some teams struggle with bad teams, this tells us more of what we already knew the Eagles are the best team in the NFC. Although after a great win against the Lions on Thanksgiving people shouldn’t sleep on the Minnesota Vikings. Don’t sleep on Case Keenum either the guy is a legit NFL starter and a true star right now. Is he the sexiest name right now? No, but he is the name that could take this Minnesota game to a conference championship game against the Eagles. You have to love both of these teams to get to the Super Bowl.


6. In the other conference of the NFL, the Patriots continue to look like a lock for the Super Bowl, not a whole lot changes in New England but you knew that so we will move on.
7. The Seahawks demolished the 49ers, the highlight of this game was seeing Jimmy Garoppolo play. 2 throws 2 completions and a pretty looking TD throw, this guy is probably the real deal. The concern, not injuring him. CJ Beathard finally got battered around enough and broke open the door for Jimmy G. Next week the Niners must protect the QB better or risk losing their potential franchise future.


8. The Jags lost on the road in a shootout. That statement shouldn’t shock anyone, we should probably hold off on the Jags playoff talk right now, Blake Bortles will be this team’s eventual undoing. As good as a defense can be if you have a QB that is going to throw 2 interceptions every week you simply can’t win that way.
9. A big Rams win evens out the power balance in the NFC. The Saints loss was mainly on their defense, the loss of Marshon Lattimore hurt this team big time. The defense becomes what it was last year when Lattimore is out. He is the key to this team’s success although give Alvin Kamara credit he had an excellent day. On the other side Jared Goff threw for 354 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams defense also played an excellent game with 3 sacks. The Rams suddenly appear right back in the mix for that third seed in the NFC.


10. Let’s just talk about the AFC West to close this out. Beginning with the Broncos. The fact an all-out brawl broke out 3 minutes into this game tells you how much control Jon Elway and Vance Joseph have of this team. There need to be sweeping organizational changes made if this team loses out. Paxton Lynch looks to be done in Denver after suffering a nasty ankle injury that some speculate to be an Achilles. Trevor Siemian came in and played well in garbage time tossing two touchdowns. Siemian is not the future but he needs to be the placeholder until the Broncos decide what they are going to do at QB. The Chargers look like the best team in this division. Philip Rivers is hot and the defense is legit. They have a real shot to win this division after an ugly Chiefs loss at home to Buffalo. It is time to hit the panic button in KC, if they hadn’t already, the answer is not benching Alex Smith, the answer is improving the running game, offensive line, and receiving play. The Raiders have less of a chance to win the division but even without Michael Crabtree (the main participant of aforementioned brawl) and Amari Cooper (concussion) this team looked good on offense for most of this game. The AFC West is a mess, no one team stands out from the Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders right now as a team that could challenge Pittsburgh or New England, however within this division the race for the top spot is now wide open.


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