NFL Week 13 Takeaways

1. Dak Prescott continues to struggle. When Zeke’s suspension was upheld, no one expected the Cowboys to flourish, but I am not sure anyone could have foreseen their quarterback regressing in the way that he has. Yes, Dallas won on Thursday night against a depleted Redskins team, but Prescott threw for just 102 yards, the fewest of his career.

2. The Chiefs season is over. I know they still have four games remaining, but for all intents and purposes it’s over. They have lost six of their last seven games and on Sunday against the Jets, even with their offense finding it’s groove, Andy Reid and company imploded. I have been saying for weeks that the Chargers are the most dangerous team in the AFC West and with the sudden demise of Kansas City, that is more true than ever.

3. The Ravens actually looked good. Baltimore has been in the playoff picture for a couple of weeks, but that was more so because the AFC is required to field six teams in the postseason and not necessarily because Joe Flacco and company deserved it. However, on Sunday at home against a threatening Lions squad, John Harbaugh’s team, for the first time perhaps this season, looked like a team that could be dangerous in the postseason.

4. Tarik Cohen channeled his inner Devin Hester. The Bears rookie return man had one of the most spectacular returns that I have seen in quite some time. In the second quarter against the 49ers, Cohen fielded a punt and immediately scampered to his right. After running nearly the width of the field, he stopped and headed back from where he came, before suddenly turning up field. As he did so, Cohen turned on the jets and raced for a score. I think the 49ers had a bit of a hiccup in coverage, but nonetheless, Cohen reminded me of an in his prime Devin Hester on this particular play.

5. Case Keenum played his best game as a professional in a hostile environment in an NFC showdown with the Falcons. The Vikings signal-caller was 25 for 30 for 227 yards and two scores as Minnesota beat Atlanta 14-9. There had been rumblings that Mike Zimmer might eventually hand over the reins to Teddy Bridgewater at some point this season, but at this point I don’t think he can. Keenum is doing everything that has been asked of him and the Vikings are 10-2 because of it.

6. Jameis Winston’s decision making is abysmal. I know he is coming off of an ankle injury, but that does not excuse the third-year quarterback. On one play, he was wrapped up and for the taking and he inexplicably attempted to throw the ball downfield. The ball was tipped and subsequently intercepted by a defensive lineman who returned it for a touchdown. Later in the second half on a third-and-goal, Winston was scrambling and after he was already clearly across the line of scrimmage he decided to throw the ball. Obviously that resulted in a penalty and the Bucs were forced to settle for a field goal. These mistakes were plentiful for Winston at Florida State, but I thought that by his third year in the NFL that he would have matured. I guess not. If I were in Tampa Bay I would be very concerned.

7. The Saints have the most potent running back duo in the NFL. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are both playing at an extremely high level right now as the New Orleans Saints find themselves atop the loaded NFC South. Drew Brees is still surgical, but having a one-two punch of Kamara and Ingram, who are both threats not only running but also receiving, makes New Orleans a legitimate Super Bowl threat.

8. The Raiders are somehow still alive in the AFC West. After starting 3-5, Oakland has reeled off three wins in their last four games to tie themselves atop the AFC West with both the Chiefs and Chargers. As I said above: The Chiefs season is over. The Chargers and Raiders square-off in Week 17 and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that that will be a de facto playoff game.

9. Frank Gore has quietly put together one hell of a career. Today, the thirty-four-year-old back in his thirteenth season out of Miami, surpassed Jerome Bettis and LaDainian Tomlinson on the all-time rushing list as he moved into fifth place all-time. Perhaps, what is most impressive about the veteran is his consistency. Gore has run for at least 1,000 yards in ten of the past twelve seasons and scored five touchdowns or more in all but three of those campaigns.

10. Russell Wilson is the NFL’s MVP. No one in football does more for their team than Wilson does for the Seahawks. Each and every week the offense rests on his shoulders and more times than not he delivers. Despite the glut of injuries to their defense, Seattle finds themselves at 8-4 after beating the high-flying Eagles on Sunday night and Wilson deserves the lion’s share of the credit.