Week 15 Review

Posted: 12/18/2014 by levcohen in Football

Here are my five takeaways from week 15, which gave the final two weeks of the regular season- and the bonanza we call the postseason that follows it- a lot more clarity.

  • Three AFC teams clinched their divisions last week, with only the wild AFC North yet to crown a champion. The Colts, Broncos, and Patriots were always favored to win their respective divisions, so this is not at all surprising. What will be more interesting, though, is seeing who between the Broncos and Patriots finish with the top seed (important) and whether the Colts will finish third or fourth (admittedly, that doesn’t matter as much).
  • I really enjoy watching the Bills and Vikings play. Neither gets great quarterback play, although Teddy Bridgewater has been pretty good for the Vikings recently. But even though neither has had much chance of making the playoff throughout the season, they have both proved to be nuisances to more talented teams, even as their peers started tanking to get, say, the 10th pick in the draft instead of #16. Last week was Exhibit A: the Bills played suffocating defense against a top quarterback for the second consecutive week, defeating the Packers 21-13 and holding Aaron Rodgers to 4.4 yards per attempt and a 17.2 QBR. Meanwhile, the Vikings outplayed the Lions and led for most of the game before some costly mistakes and coaching miscues cost them a chance to win it late, leading to a 16-14 loss. Still, both teams have fun defenses and a brighter future.
  • Why did we ever doubt the Seahawks? No, they aren’t perfect, and they might not even be the same team they were last year. But do they need to be? They’re now 10-4 after their early struggles and are now favorites to win the top seed in the NFC. This is the classic example of an experienced team peaking at the right time and not a post-Super Bowl letdown.
  • Johnny Manziel didn’t play well, but people are writing him off wayyy too quickly. It’s been one start, and while it was a horrific one, it’s rare to see a quarterback perform well in his first taste of the NFL. Troy Aikman joked that his debut was worse than Manziel’s, and while in actuality it wasn’t quite as bad, he did look bad that week and in the weeks that followed. His career turned out pretty well, and Manziel’s could too.
  • I don’t think this is how the AFC wild card race will turn out, but I really hope the Ravens and Chargers make the playoffs. To me, they are better teams than Pittsburgh (no defense), Kansas City (hopeless when 7+ points behind), Buffalo (no offense), and Cincinnati (the win over Manziel was their first impressive one in ages). If I had my pick of wild card weekend playoff matchups, I’d want the Steelers to play the Ravens (rivalry!) and the Colts to play the Chargers (shootout!).

I went 2-2 on my upset picks, moving to 28-32 on the season. The Vikings also nearly beat the Lions (that was my biggest upset pick of the week), while the Bears were embarrassed against the Saints. I won with Baltimore to move to 10-5 on locks, but the Ravens weren’t all that impressive.

12-4 straight up… 147-76-1 on the season
6-8-2 against the spread… 115-104-5 on the season
8-8 over/under… 101-121-2 on the season

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