Wednesday Morning QB (NFL Week 14)

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The playoff race is having its effect as week 14 in the NFL was a wild one with teams fighting and giving everything they had to win the game. It was a week where teams would make a statement as to whether they were ready for the playoffs or not. Teams would brave the weather conditions to take home wins and some would even try to overcome controversy to get what they needed to stay alive in the playoff hunt. As the games wind down with only three weeks of the season left every game is becoming more important. Every play is becoming more important for every team as anything can mean the difference between making a playoff push and missing the playoffs. That makes everything much more critical including calls from the referees. In 2012 the replacement referees would make a mockery of the game blowing call after call and leaving many teams with a loss. When the regular referees came back there was a lot of rejoice as the rules would now be followed and games would no longer be decided on a blown call by the referee. That would not last too long though as the referees would once again be the source of plenty of frustration. As usual the referees have taken headlines week after week with blown calls. Of course it is nowhere near the amount that came with the replacement refs and many are small calls that could have been missed by even the best of referees. Still there are times when these blown calls are much bigger and have cost teams some big games. Sometimes it can seem that certain teams get all of the calls and one of these teams has been the New England Patriots as they have been a team that has seen the most success in the last decade. This success has sometimes come with some big help and has even created some rules in the league. The “Tuck Rule” helped the Pats to their first Super Bowl in 2002 while they would also bring the low hits rule that is known as “The Brady Rule.” The Patriots seem like that team that gets all of the breaks and this week they would get one more as they would get a chance to win the game thanks to a phantom pass interference call. The game would not mean a lot as the Cleveland Browns were not going to make the playoffs this year and the Patriots were headed towards the playoffs regardless of the result. Still the call would be a sour note on a great weekend as the Browns were ahead of the Patriots late in the fourth quarter and would make a last-ditch effort to win the game. The Patriots would throw a bomb into the endzone that would miss but then would get a pass interference call that gave them new life and another chance to win the game. They would take advantage of the call and score the game winning TD in yet another chapter of the Patriots mystic. The pass interference was a simple touch on the back and not a lot more which left many to once again state that the Patriots receive the benefit of the doubt on every call. The Patriots would win the game in large part due to the call and despite the many times they have been on the good side of a call referees are not giving them the benefit of the doubt on every play. In fact only two weeks before they would lose a game to Carolina on a blown pass interference call in the endzone. The good teams will always seem to be on the winning side but that is what it sometimes takes to win games as skill has a big role but a little bit of luck doesn’t hurt. As the playoffs approach teams like the Patriots will need everything they can get to win a Super Bowl as sometimes being on the right side of a call can be the difference that a team needs.

 

Fifth Quarter:
(Four Quick Thoughts on Week 14)

Shanahan on the Chopping Block
The Washington Redskins seemed to be on their way to a recovery year as they were finally seeming to be on the right track but with Robert Griffin III not playing like he did in 2012 the Redskins have struggled and that has put Mike Shanahan on the chopping block

Big Man down again
Rob Gronkowski missed most of this season with an arm injury but would return and was becoming a major factor in the Patriots’ offence once again until he would go down this week with a torn ACL and MCL ending his season

A New Record
Kicking does not get a lot of respect in the football but that would change for a bit this week when Mat Prater would set a new record with a 64 yard field goal putting the record down for the first time since 43 years

 

Playoff Outlook 

American Football Conference
Division Leaders:
1. w-Denver Broncos (.846)
2. New England Patriots (.769)
3. Cincinnati Bengals (.692)
4. d-Indianapolis Colts (.615)
Wild Card:
5. Kansas City Chiefs (.769)
6. Baltimore Ravens (.538)
In the Hunt:
7. Miami Dolphins (.538)
8. San Diego Chargers (.462)
9. New York Jets (.462)
10. Tennessee Titans (.385)
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (.385)
12. Oakland Raiders (.308)
13. Jacksonville Jaguars (.308)
14. Cleveland Browns (.308)
15. Buffalo Bills (.308)
Out of the Running:
16. Houston Texans (.154)

National Football Conference
Division Leaders:
1. w-Seattle Seahawks (.846)
2. New Orleans Saints (.769)
3. Philadelphia Eagles (.615)
4. Detroit Lions (.538)
Wild Card:
5. Carolina Panthers (.692)
6. San Francisco 49ers (.692)
In the Hunt:
7. Arizona Cardinals (.615)
8. Chicago Bears (.583)
9. Dallas Cowboys (.538)
10. Green Bay Packers (.500)
Out of the Running:
11. New York Giants (.385)
12. St. Louis Rams (.385)
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (.308)
14. Minnesota Vikings (.269)
15. Atlanta Falcons (.231)
16. Washington Redskins (.231)

d-Clinched Division
w-Clinched Wild Card

 

Key Scores:
New England Patriots 27 – 26 Cleveland Browns
– The Browns seemed to have a win that could be a franchise changer as they would almost beat the Patriots but a bad call in the fourth quarter would give the Patriots a second chance to score the winning TD

Green Bay Packers 22 – 21 Atlanta Falcons
– The Packers were on a 5-game losing streak without Aaron Rodgers under centre but they would finally pull out a win with Matt Flynn leading the team and they would remain in the playoff hunt although just barely

Philadelphia Eagles 34 – 20 Detroit Lions
– The game would have been featured despite the score as a snowstorm would hit Philadelphia and leave 8 inches of snow at halftime but that wouldn’t stop LeSean McCoy who would run for a team record 217 yards and lead the Eagles to a win

San Francisco 49ers 19 – 17 Seattle Seahawks
– The Seahawks have been on a role in leading up to the playoff race and were the first team to clinch a spot in the playoffs but the Niners would end their run and would prevent the Seahawks from clinching the division

 

Next Week:
Seattle Seahawks vs. New York Giants (Sunday December 15th; 1:00 pm ET)
– The Seahawks will try once again to clinch their division if they can win this game against the Giants who are only playing to be spoilers at this point as they were eliminated in Week 14 and are looking to next year

New York Jets vs. Carolina Panthers (Sunday December 15th; 4:05 pm ET)
– The Panthers would come up just short of taking the lead in the NFC South after losing to the Saints and now they will look to get back on their winning ways and move towards earning a playoff spot

Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys (Sunday December 15th; 4:25 pm ET)
– The Packers need to run the table or they will lose the chance to make the playoffs and with Aaron Rodgers potentially returning they might have a chance while the Cowboys look to cling to their own playoff hopes

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday December 15th; 8:30 pm ET)
– The Bengals are looking like they may finally overcome the big two in the AFC North and a win against the Steelers will help to lock up the division title and earning a home playoff game ahead of the Ravens and Steelers

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