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Ten Thoughts on the NFL

Lester runs through his Thoughts on the week’s NFL games, right here, and be sure to share some thoughts of your own in the comment section.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

1) There are only half of the 14 playoff spots locked up with one more week to go in the 2020 NFL season, which is going to make for an exciting final week as 11 teams fight for one of those seven spots.

There are still two divisions up for grabs as the AFC South has the Titans and Colts still alive at 10-5, and the NFC East’s Cowboys, Giants and Washington Football Team still vying for first place and a home playoff game.

That East battle has been wild all year and to have it come down to the final week is fitting. If the 6-9 WFT wins against the Eagles they take the crown, but if they lose then the winner of the Cowboys (6-9) vs Giants (5-10) will get the nod.

That’s why the Wash-Philly game is getting the prime time Sunday night spot.

1a) Yesterday the WFT cut 2019 first round draft pick Dwayne Haskins after an odd few days, which has Ohio State quarterbacks getting some Twitter buzz.

So with another Ohio State QB set to be a first round draft pick this year in Justin Fields, I looked into the history of that program’s signal callers, and would you believe that former Chicago UDFA Mike Tomczak is one of the best they’ve ever had?

2) There has been a bunch of debates this last week about who the best tight end is in the NFL, and for my money it’s George Kittle. That’s not to discount the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce or the Raiders’ Darren Waller, because those two are outstanding, but Kittle can do everything those guys can do plus he can block his ass off.

3) Jalen Hurts, who was selected with the 53rd overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, continues to play well for the Eagles. On Sunday he threw for 342 yards and had 69 yards rushing against the Cowboys, which came one week after he went for 338 passing and 63 rushing against the Cardinals, and that made him the first quarterback since Michael Vick to have consecutive games with 300 passing yards and 50 rushing yards in NFL history.

Vick accomplished the feat in 2011 while also playing for the Eagles.

4) The Atlanta Falcons lost another close game, this one to the Kansas City Chiefs, and are now 0-6 in games decided by 6 points or less.

So are the Falcons one good offseason away from getting back in the playoff mix in 2021?

Atlanta is going to be an enticing spot for prospective head coaches, partly because they have a quality veteran quarterback already in place in 35-year old Matt Ryan, but also because they’re poised to have a top 10 draft pick. Right now they’re sitting at number 4, but regardless of where they land they could either draft Ryan’s eventual replacement, or trade the pick to aide a quick reload.

5) The Los Angeles Chargers are another team that has been snake-bit by close games this year, but they’ve won three straight and are building some nice momentum as they close out their season. Who ever ends up coaching them, they should be set up for a bounce back season with Justin Herbert at quarterback and nine 2021 draft picks to work with.

6) Speaking of the draft, how salty are Jets fans now that they’ve won 2 in a row and are no longer in the running for the top draft pick? With their loss on Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars clinched the top pick in the 2021 NFL draft, and it’s expected that they’ll select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

The Jets are locked into the second overall pick, so they’ll have their pick of the next QB, or the best offensive lineman, or they can work back to help rebuild for their next regime.

If they do draft a QB, that’ll mean another top drafted quarterback (Sam Darnold) could be on the move.

Too bad the draft didn’t come with a money back guarantee.

7) The Lions are another team set to draft in the top 10 that will be looking for a new head coach, and with 32-year old Matthew Stafford in place they’ll have some interesting options. There are some that believe it’s possible they trade Stafford to help the rebuild, but I think it’s more likely they keep him and build the offense up around him with an offensive minded head coach.

8) J.J. Watt gets it.

The Texans are another team that will have head coaches lining up to work with Deshaun Watson, but unfortunately for them, the last GM traded away their number one draft pick to the Dolphins.

9) This is one of the greatest plays in the history of the league right?

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

How Ryan Fitzpatrick was able to get enough on that pass is magical.

As was the ending to that game with the Dolphins knocking the Raiders out of playoff contention. Five 4th quarter scores and four lead changes in the final 3:56.

10) The NFL shared this nugget on Sunday.

Chicago linebacker ROQUAN SMITH registered two interceptions and a fumble recovery in the Bears’ 41-17 win at Jacksonville.

Smith is the fourth linebacker since 1990 with at least two interceptions and an opponent fumble recovery in a single game, joining CHAD GREENWAY (September 20, 2009), BRODERICK THOMAS (November 1, 1992) and MIKE VRABEL (December 3, 2006).

While Roquan did recover a fumble, it was his own fumble.

Here’s an interesting Bears nugget though.

Smith may have been snubbed for the Pro Bowl, but if he’s able to have a strong finish against the Packers I could see him making the All-Pro 1st or 2nd team. His numbers and his impact of the Bears entire defense has been that good.

Through 15 games he has 136 tackles, 4 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, 6 quarterback hits, 2 interceptions, 7 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery and 1 forced fumble.