1) The Houston Texans are kind of flying under the radar, but they’ve won eight straight games after starting out 0-3 and are sitting in the third seed in the AFC. They have an easier schedule down the stretch than the 8-3 Patriots so they could presumably sneak into the second seed and get the first round bye.
Their offense has played well of late, and their defense is still a top 10 unit. This could be a scary team come playoff time.
2) I ran through the NFC playoff scenario yesterday, and in looking at the NFC East, I think 8-8 will win that division. Washington was playing decent, but with no Alex Smith, they’re likely doomed, and the Cowboys and Eagles have some tough games to close out the season.
3) The Cleveland Browns have become a fun team to root for.
Their recently fired head coach, Hue Jackson, went to work for in-division and in-state rival, the Cincinnati Bengals, so they had a little extra pep in their step when facing them on Sunday. Not only did Cleveland’s Damarious Randall pick off a pass, but he handed his interception to his former coach.
Build Damarious Randall a statue today for handing Hue the INT ball pic.twitter.com/ZWRp1aDL2R— Bottlegate (@Bottlegate) November 25, 2018
Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield even snubbed his former head coach on the hug attempt.
The snub wasn’t all about Jackson going to Cincinnati, it was about some of the stuff he said to the media about his time in Cleveland.
4) Trash Talking 101 dictates that you be able to back up your words, otherwise you’re just a mouthy jackass. Jacksonville’s Jalen Ramsey had a lot to say this offseason, but his team is 3-8, his defense is no where near what it was a year ago, and he still has no mute button.
I am crying laughing at Jalen Ramsey yelling “YOU TRASH!” at the Bills sideline. pic.twitter.com/b4nGt1gb8N— Big Sad Country (@BigCatCountry) November 25, 2018
Those “trash” Bills, led by their “trash” QB Josh Allen, just beat the Jags, 24-21.
5) Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette was suspended for a game because of his part in an altercation in Sunday’s game, and the press release from the NFL included a portion of the letter sent by NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan.
“Sportsmanship is the cornerstone of the game and the League will not tolerate game-related misconduct that conveys a lack of respect for the game itself and those involved in it… Video of the incident shows that you were not a participant in the play and that you ran from your sideline to the opposite side of the field to insert yourself as an active participant in a fight. Once you entered the fight area, you struck a member of the opposing team. Your actions adversely reflected on the NFL and have no place in the game.”
Why include a part of Runyan’s letter? Maybe it’s just me, but that’s weird.
6) Tom Brady is now the career leader in total (including postseason) passing yards, eclipsing Peyton Manning. Brady is currently 4th all time in regular season passing yards behind Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre. He’s 2,750 behind Manning for second all time, so if he returns in 2019 he’ll likely settle in behind Brees, who like Brady, seems like he’ll play forever.
7) Rob Gronkowski played 69 offensive snaps in his return for the Patriots, because he’s Gronk and he has to stay true to the Brand.
8) Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens may not be polished as a passer, but that doesn’t mean the Ravens can’t win with him while he learns that part of the job. They’ve won two straight with Jackson under center, and at 6-5 they find themselves in the wildcard mix (currently the 6 seed in the AFC).
9) The Colts were a popular team to criticize this offseason for Bears’ fans, mostly because Indianapolis media personality Kent Sterling galvanized Chicago’s fanbase with his ignorant remarks, but they are playing some good football these days.
The biggest surprise to me is how they’re finally protecting Andrew Luck. They might be one more good offseason away from being a contender in the AFC.
10) There’s some talk that the Chicago Bears may not play Mitchell Trubisky again this week because of his shoulder injury, which is a different report from last week’s, ‘if the game was on Sunday he’d play.’
The way I look at it, is it’s a injury to his throwing shoulder, and that’s kind of important for a quarterback. If his ability to throw is hampered, then he has to sit one more week. Period. No trying to tough it out. No fighting through the pain. No playing if his right shoulder is limited in any way.