Wednesday Morning QB (Week 15)

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The NFL season is nearing its end with fewer playoff spots remaining and only a few weeks to go to seal those spots.

A big reason for some of the spots remaining open is the failure of some very strong teams down this important stretch.

It is the worst time to falter as the final few weeks can make a big difference for a team heading towards the playoffs.

Teams will always be looking to head into the playoffs as the best team playing their best football.

More importantly than all of the momentum that they are trying to get heading into the playoffs is the fact that blueprints are being created.

These blueprints are already being loaded up by coaching staffs as there is now a path to beat teams that once seemed unbeatable.

The New England Patriots have always been that team as they have often been considered the greatest franchise in the league.

There is little doubt about that as they have regularly made deep runs into the playoffs and won more than their fair share of Super Bowls.

The combination of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick has been one of the best ever and no matter the year they tend to be favourites to take home the title.

This year was no different as they were looking like the dominant team that everyone had seen for the last few years.

Yet two weeks ago they were on the losing end of a massive surprise when the Miami Dolphins launched an upset.

That can happen as the Patriots aren’t perfect no matter how great they can be and sometimes those issues result in a big loss.

What is more concerning is that the Patriots followed that loss up with another loss, this time to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Patriots are far from collapsing but their first-round bye is in jeopardy and there is still a chance for them to lose a playoff spot.

It doesn’t seem likely but for two weeks the Patriots didn’t just lose, they looked like shells of themselves.

The team was not the same and they will need to figure things out as the most they lose the more than other teams find to beat them.

The Patriots are great at changing things up though and the concern is not big enough to think that they will suffer too much.

The bigger concern for many is in the NFC where the Los Angeles Rams were looking like the team to beat throughout the league.

They were the only team to remain undefeated throughout the start of the year until they ran into New Orleans.

Even that loss was understandable as the Saints were another one of the strongest teams in the league and were going to pose a problem for anyone.

The Rams continued on their journey throughout the league until they lost two straight over the last two weeks.

The offence that helped put up 100 points together with the Kansas City Chiefs is no longer the powerhouse they used to be.

That offence has struggled over the last few weeks and for the Rams, it is a major issue heading to the playoffs.

Throughout most of the season, the Rams were an unsolvable problem as their offence was simply too creative to shut down.

On the Saints could do it and heading into the playoffs that offence was going to be a tough thing to figure out.

That is no longer the case as two teams have already figured it out in the last two weeks and that gives any future teams a guide on how to solve the problem.

With more and more of those guides adding up it seems as though their amazing run could be coming to an end.

The playoffs are always an interesting battle between teams with everyone trying to find the weak spots.

Without that thought about them being unsolvable and with more plans to beat them the teams they will face are going to have an easier time.

There is plenty of time to get back on track before the playoffs and they will look to do just that in the final few weeks.

The Patriots and Rams will need to take these last few weeks to get back to what made them great.

If they can’t both could be quickly out of the playoffs with their opponents figuring out the way to beat them.

 

Fifth Quarter

Payback in Test Form?

Eric Reid found his way back to the NFL this year after years of being unable to find a place on any team. Much of that inability to find a home has been suspected to be due to his participation in protests alongside Colin Kaepernick. Still the Carolina Panthers needed a defensive back and they reached out to the veteran for help. Since being back though it seems as though he has remained a target. In the twelve weeks since he has been back in the league, Reid has been drug tested seven times. Two of those tests would have been a part of the physicals he went through when signing but for one player to be selected five times seems a little less random than it should be.

Career in Jeopardy

Alex Smith is finally back home after undergoing surgery for his broken leg suffered earlier this season. The injury reminded so many of the injury that ended a career before it really began as Joe Theismann suffered a similar injury while with Washington. Smith went into surgery looking to repair that leg and hopefully begin his way back to the field. If he can do it the comeback will be one of the greatest ever but there is that fear of repeating the same outcome as before. This is not a new injury but it has never been one that has been truly recovered from. Theismann lost what was seemingly a promising career that could have potentially ended with the Hall of fame, whether Smith can return to form is going to be a major question.

Another Run?

The Philadelphia Eagles are in the midst of a very familiar story as this week saw their star QB fall again. Last year, the future of the position went down with a major injury that ended his season and left the team with uncertainty under centre. Nick Foles filled in better than anyone expected as he helped the Eagles get into the playoffs and earned the Super Bowl MVP after guiding the team to their first championship. This week Carson Wentz went down again and once again Foles will fill in as the Eagles enter the final few weeks with a chance at making the playoffs. If Foles can guide the team to the playoffs this year the folk hero status will be solidified and a QB debate could develop.

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