Dec. 26, 2016
"The Stack" 12-25-16
Merry Christmas everyone! The Stack is back with a special edition of “the stack” on this Sunday recapping Saturday’s NFL action plus a look ahead to the two games today so let’s get right to the recap and reaction that you demand in “the stack” for today, Sunday, December 26th:
Dolphins 34 Bills 31
What an offensive explosion in this game by both teams. Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi had another 200 plus yard rushing performance and his long run in OT helped give the Dolphins a win. The Bills defense and special teams can probably be blamed for this loss. After Tyrod Taylor’s go-ahead touchdown pass, the defense gave up enough yards at the end of the game for the Dolphins to attempt a field goal and they made the 55-yard kick to take the game to overtime. Then in overtime Bills kicker Dan Carpenter missed from 45 yards out. The Bills could have won and kept their playoff hopes alive. Now it seems like Rex Ryan will be on his way out.
Falcons 33 Panthers 16
The threat of the Panthers upsetting the Falcons was over pretty quickly in this one as Matt Ryan (Matty Ice as we like to call him) was on fire early completing his first ten passes. One of those went for a touchdown. The defense picked off Cam Newton twice and the Falcons kept the Panthers at bay the rest of the game sealing it with Tevin Coleman’s 55-yard touchdown run. This Falcons team appears to be pretty legit.
Washington 41 Chicago 21
So much for the Bears possibly having a chance to win this one. Their defense failed to show up on Sunday allowing Washington’s offense to do whatever it wanted to them and quarterback Matt Barkley wasn’t much better throwing not one, not two, not three, not four, but five interceptions. Washington still keeps their playoff hopes alive.
Browns 20 Chargers 17
It’s Christmas time in Cleveland! They will not be joining the ’08 Detroit Lions as the only teams to go winless for an entire season. Plenty of people looked at this game and said that this could be the game the Browns won, but I couldn’t quite pull the trigger. Chargers kicker Josh Lambo pushed a potential game-tying field goal right in the games final seconds to lift the Browns to victory. Oh happy day in Cleveland!
Packers 38 Vikings 25
Aaron Rodgers said the Packers could run the table a few weeks back. He is looking extremely Nostradamus like on his words. Rodgers was sensational Saturday throwing four touchdowns and running in for another one as the Packers embarrassed the Vikings. The Vikings offense wasn’t too terrible. Adam Theilen had a breakout performance with 202 yards receiving and two touchdowns, but a strip sack at the end of the first half on Sam Bradford killed any chance they had of winning this game. Then comes the report that the Vikings defensive backs ignored coach Zimmer’s gameplan. That is unacceptable. Feels like a mutiny is happening. Something has drastically changed with this team inside the locker room from their 5-0 start to their now 7-8 record.
Jaguars 38 Titans 17
Jaguars players said that maybe if they had played a little harder or better Gus Bradley would still be the head coach. On Saturday they looked as sharp as they have in years taking down the Titans. Blake Bortles even caught a touchdown in this one. However, the headline in this game is that Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota suffered a fractured fibula and is done for the season. Probably no postseason for the Titans now.
Patriots 41 Jets 3
Don’t know if the illness surrounding Jets head coach Todd Bowles had anything to do with it, but the Jets failed to show up for their game against the Patriots. Bryce Petty threw a pick and had to leave the game due to injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t much better. Meanwhile Tom Brady and LaGarrette Blount steamrolled the Jets defense and that was all she wrote. The Patriots road to the Super Bowl has gotten significantly easier.
Raiders 33 Colts 25
Why has the Patriots road gotten significantly easier you ask? Because the Raiders, the team with the best shot at taking down said Patriots lost quarterback Derek Carr for the season with a fractured fibula just like Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. The injury was suffered in the third quarter against the Colts. The Colts came back to make the game look close, but this game was pretty much over prior to that. The Colts defense didn’t do anything really well and their offense put them in too big of a hole. The Raiders may have won the game, but their season now is somewhat lost with the loss of Carr.
49ers 22 Rams 21
With the Browns win, the 49ers could have secured the number one overall pick by losing out. The screwed that one up to giving the Browns an extra present on Christmas by coming back from fourteen points down to beating the Rams and sweeping the season series from them. That does not speak well of the Rams and I’m sorry to anyone who had to watch this game.
Saints 31 Buccaneers 24
Saints running back Mark Ingram found the endzone twice in this game and the Saints defense came up with some big plays like the interception early in the third quarter to put them ahead by two scores. The Bucs tried to claw their way back in it, but could never fully come back to tie or take the lead. Their playoff hopes suffer significantly with this loss.
Cardinals 34 Seahawks 31
Cardinals running back David Johnson had over 100 total yards for a fifteenth straight game and had three rushing touchdowns to help the Cardinals upset the Seahawks. This fourth quarter was wild with 41 total points scored. Doug Baldwin caught a touchdown and responded to Johnson’s second touchdown, but Johnson responded with another one-yard score. The Seahawks scored two touchdowns late to tie the game as Russell Wilson threw four touchdowns and for 350 yards and could have won it, but Steven Hauschka’s extra point try went wide left. The Cardinals drove down for a game-winning field goal. What a fantastic finish and game!
Texans 12 Bengals 10
This game was not a great one to watch on Christmas Eve night. Neither offense could really do much of anything. Brandon LaFell caught a long touchdown for the Bengals, but the Texans responded with an Alfred Blue touchdown run. The Bengals could have won with a field goal, but Randy Bullock missed it wide right. That’s the Bengals season in a nutshell. The win clinches the AFC South for the Texans.
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers 4:30 PM ET NFL Network
This may be one of the best rivalries in all of sports, at least in the NFL. These two teams have such a disdain for one another. The Steelers perhaps rushed Ben Roethlisberger back a little too soon when the two teams met earlier. Ben’s health is not much of a factor in this one. The Ravens have been an inconsistent bunch this year. They need to win to keep hope alive that they can win the AFC North. Le’Veon Bell will have a big game though and the Steelers will emerge victorious.
Prediction: Steelers 23 Ravens 17
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs 8:30 PM ET NBC
These two teams had an epic showdown in Denver about a month ago with the Chiefs winning on a last second field goal in overtime. Last year, the Chiefs essentially gave the game away. Last week they gave the game away against the Titans. While Tyreek won’t have multiple touchdowns like he did in the first meeting, he will be a factor and head coach Andy Reid will make sure he gets the ball this week unlike last week. Chiefs pick up an important victory.
Prediction: Chiefs 20 Broncos 10
Coming up Monday: Sunday NFL reaction, bowl game picks and MNF preview.