Some of the things that went down on Sunday were unpredictable even by 2020’s standards. You had Seattle falling to an NFC East opponent, the 2020 iteration of the Patriots held a team to zero points, and the Browns can still mathematically win their division while the Ravens can’t. All that and more broken down below so keep on reading!
New Orleans Saints 21- Atlanta Falcons 16
Taysom Hill’s quarterback career may still be in its infancy but Sunday was a career day for him. The human Swiss-army knife completed 27 of 37 pass attempts for 232 yards and two touchdowns, as the Saints built on their nine game win streak. Their defense was as dominant as usual, forcing the Falcons offence to get off to a sputtering start that they couldn’t recover from. New Orleans have officially clinched a playoff spot, and with Brees set to return next week, we could see them challenge for the lone bye out of the NFC.
Minnesota Vikings 27- Jacksonville Jaguars 24
This was objectively the easiest game left for the Vikings, especially when you take into account that the Jags were led by Mike Glennon. Still, they needed the extra frame to pull their record to .500 to stay in the playoff hunt. To Glennon’s credit, he led a game tying drive as the clock ticked down to push it to OT, after his defence kept him in the game early. Although one of Jacksonville’s touchdowns was a fluke, the ball bounced off of a Minnesota defender to fall into the hands of Laviska Shenault, they put in a performance far above their single win record.
Cleveland Browns 41- Tennessee Titans 35
You knew this was gonna be a wild game as soon as Derrick Henry lost his first fumble in 375 touches, the precursor to the Browns scoring on their first six possessions. Baker Mayfield may be an inconsistent quarterback, but his Sunday afternoon showing was everything you could want out of a former first-round pick: 334 yards and four touchdown passes. Up until this point, the Browns had been relatively easy picking for any contending teams, but it was their turn to make a potential playoff squad look inept. The Titans bounced back in the second half to make a game of it, but had dug themselves too big a whole to climb out of, especially given that the Browns found a way to make Henry a non-factor.
Detroit Lions 34- Chicago Bears 30
Pro tip: if your team sucks, fire your coach. Detroit’s win makes it 3 for 3 in teams’ first games back after sacking their bench boss. The Lions finally played up to their name, storming back from a 10 point deficit in the fourth quarter and Matthew Stafford had a monstrous outing in which he threw for over 400 yards and 3 touchdowns. For all that Stafford did, it was the opposing QB, Mitch Trubisky, who secured the win for Detroit. With his team still up, Trubisky fumbled the ball on a third and four from his own 17, a mistake Lions’ defensive end Romeo Okwara made him pay for as he scooped up the ball. Just a few short plays later, Adrian Petterson galloped into the endzone to secure the win for Detroit.
Miami Dolphins 19- Cincinnati Bengals 7
After a forgettable first half, the Dolphins and their rookie QB came out flying in the third quarter. Tua Tagovailoa took charge of the no huddle offence to open the half with a touchdown drive, capped off by a dime to Myles Gaskin. There really are no expectations out of the Bengals now that Joe Burrow is out, but they still managed to underperform, especially in the second half. A series of punts and an inopportune pick left the Bengals no shot at an upset.
Indianapolis Colts 26- Houston Texans 20
The Colts bounced back from an embarrassing divisional performance against the Titans last week, but they had serious help from the incompetence of the Texans. It’s no secret that Watson deserves to be surrounded by better receivers, and everyone deserves to start out their career with a better head coach than Bill O’Brien, but Watson also deserves better than a muffed snap on his opponent’s two-yard line with the game on the line. As for the other quarterback in this contest, the notoriously streaky Rivers, he showed Indy fans that they have reason to be hopeful down the stretch. He threw for 285 yards, two touchdowns, and most importantly (and surprisingly) no interceptions.
Las Vegas Raiders 31- New York Jets 28
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a…Jets’ win? Yeah no…but almost! It looked like the Jets would finally end their streak in spite of Adam Gase still running the show, all until Henry Ruggs III hauled in a 46-yard bomb with 19 seconds left. For the first time in a long time, the Jets looked good offensively, thanks largely to their season high 206 rushing yards. But as the script has gone for the guys in green this season, a win wasn’t in the cards.
New York Giants 17- Seattle Seahawks 12
We all have that one friend that picks an upset every week that really has no shot at coming true. This week, this was a game that not even they would go near. A backup QB with the Giants’ offence taking on Russell Wilson, this shouldn’t have been a contest. Even with the Seahawks defence being shaky at best, Colt McCoy had no business stealing a win. And yet, here we are. For weeks, people around the league have been saying that the Giants are better than their record, and on Sunday, the G-Men proved them all right.
LA Rams 38- Arizona Cardinals 28
The Rams couldn’t have drawn up a better bounce back performance if they tried. Jared Goff had his highest completion percentage of the season (78.7%), the running back committee couldn’t be stopped, and Jalen Ramsey made DeAndre Hopkins all but invisible. Kyler Murray may not have had the yards we have become accustomed to, but he did what he needed to do to keep the Cards competitive. It looked to be a case of no matter what Arizona did, LA was simply not going to lose this game, as they sunk their horns deeper into the NFC West lead.
New England Patriots 45- LA Chargers 0
As good as Justin Herbert has been all season, Sunday was just not his day. The rookie looked overwhelmed straight from kickoff, and if there’s anyone you don’t want to show weakness to it’s Bill Belichick. For the rest of the afternoon, there was nothing there for Herbert, both because of the defense, but also because of the countless mind-numbingly stupid penalties his team kept taking. Adding insult to injury was the special performance put on by the Patriots’ special teams unit. Gunner Olszewski returned a punt for a touchdown to open the second quarter, and to close it, Devin McCourty returned a blocked field goal to the house. In a season where everything has gone wrong for New England, Sunday was a day where everything went right and then some.
Green Bay Packers 30- Philadelphia Eagles 16
Christmas came early for Eagles fans as Carson Wentz was finally benched in favour of Jalen Hurts. While Pederson may not have known how long this change would be for when he made it, the ferocity with which Hurts attacked the 20-point deficit he was handed makes the argument for putting him back on the bench virtually non-existent. Regardless of who was under centre for the Eagles it would hardly matter when they were taking on Aaron Rodgers and the Pack. Rodgers threw his 400th touchdown pass en route to moving his team to 9-3 and all but locking up the NFC North.
Kansas City Chiefs 22- Denver Broncos 16
If they can be patient, the Broncos may have their quarterback of the future in Drew Locke. Barring the pick at the end of the game, Locke played as solid of a game as you could expect out of a second year guy heading into Arrowhead against Mahomes and the Chiefs. He kept his team in it all night, in a game that not many people gave them a shot. While the Chiefs fired off another win, it was nowhere near what they know they can do, in part thanks to self-inflicted penalties. While these teams are heading in very different in January, if Locke is developed properly, this matchup has a chance at going down to the wire for years to come.
That wraps up yet another week of NFL action. Which result was your biggest shocker? Head over to our social medias to let us know!