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NFL Week 14: What We Learned

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 13:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers drops back to pass against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The SportmeistersAnalyst IDecember 12, 2016

By Ryan of The Sportmeisters


As the holidays approach, what teams are going to give their fans Super Bowl dreams for Christmas?


Distraught Dallas in December

One team hasn’t lost in December since their QB took the reins, compiling a 16-0 record. The other team is 5-9 since their QB has been the December starter. Can you guess who won when they faced off Sunday?

The San Diego Chargers, behind Phillip Rivers, ran their winning streak to eight games, improving to 10-3, after beating the Dallas Cowboys 20-17. Two long scoring drives broke a 10-10 tie, and allowed the Chargers to methodically destroy a Cowboys team who is looking for answers on their own.

For Dallas, despite a no-turnover performance from QB Tony Romo, they have now slipped to second in the NFC East, and could be on the verge of missing the playoffs. That would ultimately seal the end for Coach Wade Phillips.


Trouble in Paradise?

The New England Patriots are 8-5, leading the AFC East, and just defeated the Carolina Panthers 20-10 to improve to 7-0 at home. So why is there so much turmoil?

The Patriots have been nowhere close to the 2006 squad that eviscerated opponents. Instead, they’ve lost close games in the fourth quarter, and could very well still miss the playoffs, with both the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins a game back. Recently, players have started grumbling, and it has affected their on the field play.

Four players were sent home Wednesday after being late, one of those being Randy Moss. Now we hear he was not putting forth a maximal effort, and it showed in a one-catch, 16-yard performance. Linebacker Adalius Thomas was another member who missed the meeting, and after his bad mouthing of Coach Bill Belichick, watched the victory from the bench.

If the Patriots are expected to go deep in the playoffs, they need to quickly get on the same page. Players need to give 100 percent and buy into the coach’s message, or else all is lost.


Playoff Predictions

Every week until the end of the season, I’ll update my playoff predictions.



(with current record)

1. Indianapolis Colts (13-0): AFC South Division Champions, first round bye, home field throughout playoffs

2. San Diego (10-3): AFC West Division Champions, first round bye, home field for Divisional Round

3. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4): AFC North Division Champions, home field for Wild Card Round

4. New England Patriots (8-5): AFC East Division Champions, home field for Wild Card Round

5. Denver Broncos (8-5): Wild Card

6. Miami Dolphins (7-6): Wild Card



(with current record)

1. New Orleans Saints (13-0): NFC South Division Champions, first round bye, home field advantage throughout playoffs

2. Minnesota Vikings (11-2): NFC North Division Champions, first round bye, home field for Divisional Round

3. Arizona Cardinals (8-4): NFC West Division Champions, home field for Wild Card Round

4. Philadelphia Eagles (9-4): NFC East Division Champions, home field for Wild Card Round

5. Green Bay Packers (9-4): Wild Card

6. New York Giants (7-5): Wild Card


Contenders and Pretenders

The playoff picture is getting clearer, so who is in the snapshot?

The Philadelphia Eagles have now won four in a row, their most recent a 45-38 offensive
performance against the New York Giants. The Eagles now control the NFC East, with a one-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys.

The Green Bay Packers have won five in a row, and while the NFC North might be out of range, they are in good control to lock up a Wild Card spot. They won Sunday, 21-14, over division rival Chicago Bears.


Pretenders Come in All Shapes and Sizes

The Pittsburgh Steelers keep slipping, and have all but guaranteed a January at home. They lost to the lowly Cleveland Browns 13-6 on Thursday night.

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