“Merry Christmas, you are fired!”
I am unsure if that is really how Jon Gruden fired Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther yesterday, however I might positively see it taking place like that, and to melt the blow of the firing, I wager he even threw in a Hooters present card for good measure.
I might say the Raiders have been the most important catastrophe of Week 14, however the Jets additionally performed, the Vikings kicker missed three discipline objectives and the Dolphins blew a double-digit result in the Chiefs. Additionally, the Texans misplaced by 29 factors to a workforce quarterbacked by Mitchell Trubisky and the Giants performed like they did not spend a single day working towards final week.
I would like to go over each catastrophe from Week 14, however we have got a e-newsletter to get to. As at all times, if you wish to share this text with everybody you recognize — it is an affordable and simple Vacation present — simply click on right here to seize the hyperlink after which ship that hyperlink to everybody in your e mail record or simply signal them up with out telling them. That is what I did with my spouse’s household. Let’s get to the rundown.
1. Immediately’s Present: Week 14 winners and losers plus full recap
It is Monday, which might solely imply one factor: I stayed up till 3 a.m. final evening recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson that touched on the whole lot it’s essential find out about Week 13, and let me simply say, it is most likely for the perfect that you just hear. We dissected the playoff image, we dissected all of the video games that have been performed Sunday, and to be sincere, the one factor we did not dissect was a frog.
One factor we do each week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday’s motion. For our winners this week, Wilson manned up and picked the workforce that beat his Steelers, Brinson went with a coach of an NFC East workforce and I went with an precise NFC East workforce. And no, I positively did not assume we might see two NFC East winners this week.
- Winner: Payments. Not solely did the Payments cement themselves as a legit Tremendous Bowl contender, however they’re additionally on the cusp of successful their first division title since 1995. To place that in perspective, Josh Allen wasn’t even born but (If you wish to really feel tremendous outdated, he was born in Might 1996).
- Loser: Giants. The Giants have been within the driver’s seat to win the NFC East, however then they went out and crashed the automobile. The 4 NFC East groups went a mixed 3-1 on Sunday and I am going to go forward and allow you to guess who misplaced.
- Winner: Ron Rivera. Not many coaches have needed to cope with greater than Ron Rivera this 12 months. Not solely did he get caught in the midst of Washington’s identify change controversy, however he additionally coached a part of the season whereas battling most cancers. Regardless of that, Rivera has Washington in first place, just some wins away from probably clinching their first playoff spot since 2015.
- Loser: Deshaun Watson. Watson acquired outplayed by Mitchell Trubisky, which is unquestionably a sentence I by no means thought I would have to put in writing. Watson needed to play this sport with out Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb, Kenny Stills and David Johnson, which is form of symbolic of his time in Houston. The workforce places nothing round him and expects him to single-handedly win video games. The largest drawback for Watson is that it is going to be onerous for the Texans to make this workforce higher within the offseason, particularly within the draft, and that is as a result of the Dolphins have Houston’s first-round draft choose this 12 months.
- Winner: Eagles. I perceive why a workforce would not need to bench their $128 million beginning quarterback, however generally, you gotta do what you gotta do and the Eagles lastly did that by sending Carson Wentz to the bench in Week 14. Jalen Hurts made the gamble repay by main the Eagles to a stunning win over the Saints.
- Loser: Anybody who takes a double-digit lead on the Chiefs. If you wish to know what it feels prefer to have your coronary heart ripped straight out of your chest, simply watch any Chiefs sport the place the opposite workforce jumps out to a double-digit lead. We noticed it occur thrice within the postseason final 12 months and as soon as once more, we noticed it occur on Sunday. The Dolphins led 10-0, which is a cushty lead towards most groups, however not the Chiefs, who reeled off 30 straight factors after falling behind. I feel the ethical of the story right here is that it’s best to by no means have a double-digit lead on the Chiefs since you’re simply going to lose. Patrick Mahomes is 9-5 all-time as a starter in video games the place he trails by double-digits. He is the solely QB within the Tremendous Bowl period with a successful file underneath these circumstances.
2. Jalen Hurts beginning once more after Doug Pederson takes time to assume it over
After struggling by way of 13 weeks of watching Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson lastly benched his quarterback this week and regardless that the brand new quarterback (Jalen Hurts) led some of the stunning upsets of Week 14, Pederson STILL WOULDN’T COMMIT TO HIM AS THE WEEK 15 STARTER AFTER THE GAME.
As a matter of truth, even after he had an opportunity to sleep on it, Pederson nonetheless would not identify Hurts the starter when he was requested about it on Monday morning.
“I am going to try [the Saints film]. I am going to take a look at numerous various things earlier than I make that dedication this week,” Pederson advised 94.1 WIP, by way of ESPN.com.
Somebody should have advised Pederson that town of Philadelphia would actually riot if he did not identify Hurts the starter, as a result of simply hours after his interview, Hurts was formally given the job for Philly’s sport this week towards the Cardinals.
Pederson did not actually have a selection right here, particularly after the way in which Hurts performed towards the Saints. Earlier than Sunday, the Saints had gone greater than three years with out giving up a 100-yard rusher. Not solely did Hurts finish that streak by himself with 106 yards, however his mobility created room for Miles Sanders to run and Sanders took benefit of that by additionally topping the 100-yard mark with 115 yards and two touchdowns.
Naming Hurts the starter for Week 15 was such an apparent determination that the Eagles may need fired him on the spot if he did not let the rookie begin. The excellent news for Pederson is that he made the appropriate determination and he now will get to maintain his job… a minimum of till the top of the 12 months.
3. Monday preview: Prepping you for Ravens-Browns
If it is beginning to really feel just like the Ravens are taking part in on every single day of the week, that is as a result of they’re. Two weeks in the past, we noticed them play on a Wednesday. Final week, we noticed them play on a Tuesday, and now, to finish the early week trifecta, they’re taking part in on a Monday and so they get to play a Browns workforce that they beat 38-6 again in Week 1.
These are the top-two dashing groups within the NFL, so do not be stunned should you do not see a ahead move thrown tonight.
With that in thoughts, let’s check out a couple of keys for every workforce tonight in a sport the place the Ravens are favored by three factors:
- Ravens: When these two groups met again in Week 1, Lamar Jackson had his greatest sport of the season. Not solely did he full 80% of his passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns, however he additionally rushed for 45 yards on simply seven carries. If Jackson performs like that once more, it should open up Baltimore’s floor assault, and if that occurs, the Ravens ought to roll. The one factor to remember about Baltimore is that they are going to be coming into this sport on a brief week after taking part in on Tuesday in Week 13.
- Browns: The Browns sport plan is not going to be any secret right here: They’ve the second-best dashing assault within the NFL and so they’re going up towards a protection that has struggled to cease the run over the previous few weeks. Since Week 9, the Ravens have surrendered a mean of 127.4 yards per sport on the bottom, which implies their protection might be going to see a heavy dose of each Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Breech’s prediction: Ravens 23-20 over Browns.
For a extra in-depth preview of this sport from Jared Dubin, make sure you click on right here.
Each week, I workforce up with six of my colleagues right here at CBSSports.com at hand out grades, and this week, I am not going to lie, I paid far more consideration to the Cowboys-Bengals sport than I most likely ought to have. Because the president of the Andy Dalton fan membership and the resident Bengals homer at CBSSports.com, I used to be morally obligated to grade that sport sternly, however pretty.
This is a take a look at the grades from two video games that have been performed Sunday, together with that Dallas-Cincinnati sport:
Cowboys 30, Bengals 7 (Click on right here for full recap)
Cowboys takeaway: Whenever you’re taking part in a workforce just like the Bengals, generally you simply need to allow them to beat themselves and that is precisely what the Cowboys did. The Bengals misplaced three fumbles earlier than the primary quarter ended, which allowed the Cowboys to leap out to a fast lead. Andy Dalton might not be a top-tier QB, however he positively is aware of nurse a lead and that is what he did on this revenge sport win. Grade: A
Bengals takeaway: This sport could not have gotten off to a extra disastrous begin for the Bengals. Not solely did they fumble on every of their first three possessions, however a type of fumbles was returned for a landing as Cincinnati fell in a 10-0 gap earlier than 9 minutes had even gone off the sport clock. It was an unpleasant efficiency throughout for a workforce that can be fortunate to win any extra video games this season. Grade: F
Cardinals 26, Giants 7 (Click on right here for full recap)
Giants takeaway: The Giants might have simply misplaced this sport by 50 factors if not for a considerably valiant effort from their protection. The defensive efficiency was the one spotlight in a sport stuffed with lowlights. The Giants most likely introduced Daniel Jones again one week too early from his hamstring harm and that call would possibly find yourself costing them the NFC East title. Grade: D-
Cardinals takeaway: It took almost a month, however Kyler Murray lastly appeared snug within the pocket and cozy working with the ball. After carrying the ball simply 15 occasions over the previous three weeks mixed, Murray rushed 13 occasions within the win. Murray, who had been battling a shoulder harm, additionally appeared like he wasn’t too frightened about taking any hits. The outcome was a 244-yard passing day that included throwing almost each ball to DeAndre Hopkins, who completed with 9 catches for 136 yards. Additionally, Hasson Reddick single-handedly wrecked the Giants’ offensive line with 5 sacks. Grade: A+
As for the opposite 24 grades we handed out on Sunday, you possibly can test these out by clicking right here.
5. NFL playoff image heading into Monday evening
In a span of simply seven days, the highest of the NFL playoff image has been turned the other way up. Final week, the Steelers held the highest seed within the AFC whereas the Saints held the highest seed within the NFC. This week, there is a new primary in each conferences, which is form of an enormous deal, for the reason that No. 1 seed is the one one which can be getting a bye.
So who bullied the Steelers and Saints out of their spots? Let’s take a look at the playoff image and discover out.
Two key issues to recollect earlier than trying out the standings under is that SEVEN groups can be getting in and that solely the highest seed can be getting a bye. Additionally, the “First workforce out” is being listed as a result of that workforce might find yourself making the playoffs if the NFL finally ends up increasing the postseason to 16 groups. That proposal has already been authorised, however the growth to 16 will solely occur if a number of common season video games which have a bearing on the playoff race get canceled.
Be aware: Groups with an asterisk subsequent to their identify have clinched a postseason berth. The Payments can clinch one tonight if Cleveland beats Baltimore.
I am unsure should you’ve observed, however the Steelers season is slowly beginning to unravel to the purpose the place Ben Roethlisberger is now threatening to retire if he cannot play higher. Not solely have the Steelers dropped out of the highest spot within the AFC, however they may tumble one other spot in the event that they find yourself in a tie with Buffalo on the finish of the 12 months. The one factor in regards to the present playoff image is that it will not change regardless of who wins tonight’s sport. The Browns cannot enhance their standing with a win and the Ravens will nonetheless be the primary workforce out in the event that they win. That being mentioned, the Ravens want the win much more than Cleveland does, which is one cause why I am choosing the Ravens.
For the third time in 4 weeks, we have now a brand new workforce on the prime of the NFC East in our weekly take a look at the NFL playoff image (The Giants have been nonetheless on prime final Monday as a result of Washington hadn’t performed its sport but). I might say Washington is in command of the NFC East, however let’s be sincere, nobody is in command of that division, it is whole chaos. For those who get to 10 wins within the NFC, that can assure you a playoff berth, which implies the Seahawks and Rams might each clinch a spot in Week 15.
6. Raiders fireplace defensive coordinator
For the second week in a row, the shedding defensive coordinator from the Raiders sport has been fired. Final week, it was Gregg Williams and the Jets. This week, Raiders coach Jon Gruden determined to dump Paul Guenther after watching Las Vegas’ protection give up 37 factors to the Colts on Sunday (The Colts scored 44, however one landing got here on a pick-six).
The final straw for Gruden was apparently the truth that the Raiders gave up 456 yards of offense to a Colts workforce that was being run by an getting older, motionless quarterback (Philip Rivers), who’s coping with turf toe. Rivers ought to have been a sitting duck on Sunday, however the Raiders did not sack him a single time.
On one hand, I completely agree with the firing. The Raiders introduced in numerous free brokers in the course of the offseason, however that did not assist issues because the protection has been an absolute catastrophe. By way of 14 weeks, the Raiders have are surrendering a mean of 30.1 factors per sport, which ranks thirtieth within the NFL, forward of solely the Jets and Cowboys. That is not a listing you need to be on.
That being mentioned, the timing right here is curious, if solely as a result of the Raiders are scheduled to play on a Thursday this week. With Guenther out, which means it is going to be as much as interim coordinator Rod Marinelli to rally the troops in time for the Raiders’ short-week sport towards the Chargers.
Guenther was employed by Gruden in 2018 after spending three years because the defensive coordinator in Cincinnati. And because you’re pondering it, I am going to simply say it, that is what you get for hiring a defensive coordinator from the Bengals.
7. The Kicker!
I virtually needed to cancel the ultimate phase of the e-newsletter this week as a result of it was a disastrous week for kickers: There have been 12 missed discipline objectives and 6 missed further factors over 14 video games on Sunday. At one level in the course of the day, I believed Dan Bailey was going to drag a Vontae Davis and retire at halftime. For those who’re not conversant in Bailey, he missed three discipline objectives and an additional level throughout Minnesota’s 26-14 loss to Tampa Bay.
At one level, he missed a discipline aim by probably the most I feel I’ve ever seen somebody miss a discipline aim by (You can see a photograph of the miss by clicking right here). Over the previous seven days, there have been three kickers who’ve missed three or extra discipline objectives in a sport, which is loopy when you think about that there was just one occasion of that occuring by way of the primary 12 weeks of the season (Stephen Gostkowski in Week 1).
If there are any extra missed discipline objectives in Week 14, I may need to take a private day on Tuesday to mentally get better. After all, we have now Justin Tucker kicking tonight, so I am guessing there will not be any misses (except Joe Buck jinxes him, however the sport is not on Fox, so he ought to be good). See you guys tomorrow!