"The Stack" 12-23-19

Dallas Goedert and the Philadelphia Eagles are flying high after beating the Dallas Cowboys 17-9 to take control of first place in the NFC East. Can they hang on next week?

The Stack is back on this Monday and we have a lot football today to get to. Reaction to all of the week 16 NFL action minus tonight’s big MNF game which we will preview and pick plus there’s a bowl game today that we need to pick so let’s get to it all in “the stack” for today, Monday, December 23rd:

Texans 23 Buccaneers 20

The Houston Texans were not very good offensively, but fortunately there defense was tremendous thanks in large part to Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston throwing four interceptions. Two of them were returned for touchdowns in the first half. How the Bucs were even in the game is a minor miracle. At the end of the day though, they fell short like they have much of the season.

Bills 17 Patriots 24

The New England Patriots had arguably one of their best offensive performances of the season. Buffalo, after a very slow first half got things going and had a 17-16 lead in the second half, but Tom Brady and the Patriots would not be denied. They drove down the field and scored and would win 24-17. They have now won their eleventh straight AFC East title. That is impressive!

Rams 31 49ers 34

The reigning NFC Champions will not be in the playoffs this year. The L.A. Rams started off great against the San Francisco 49ers, but things changed when the 49ers got a pick six late in the second quarter. The Rams would regain the lead in the second half only to see the 49ers respond. Then, on the 49ers final possession of the game, they converted not once, but twice on 3rd and 16. You can’t give up 3rd and 16 and expect to win the game if you’re the Rams. Robbie Gould kicked the game-winning field goal to eliminate the Rams from playoff contention. Not a good year for the Rams. Big disappointment.

Giants 41 Washington 35

What a wild one in DC. New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones had himself a day throwing for five touchdowns. Running back Saquon Barkley had himself a monster game with almost 200 yards rushing and almost 100 yards receiving plus two touchdowns (one rushing and one receiving), but Washington rallied after their rookie quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, went down with an ankle injury. Case Keenum came in and let the charge, tying the game on a touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. Alas though, it would be the Giants that would win in overtime. Impressive performance to say the least.

Saints 38 Titans 28

The New Orleans Saints started out really slow while the Tennessee Titans started out really fast. Even without running back Derrick Henry who was out with a hamstring injury, the Titans found themselves up 14-0. Drew Brees and the Saints though would not be denied. Running back Alvin Kamara ran for two scores and Brees would throw three touchdowns, two to tight end Jared Cook and one to wide receiver Michael Thomas. Thomas finished with 12 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown. He now has the most receptions in a single season in NFL history, surpassing Marvin Harrison. Very impressive. The Titans still control their own destiny fortunately. Win and they are in.

Steelers 10 Jets 16

It’s amazing that the Pittsburgh Steelers are still in the playoff hunt at all because their offense is abysmal. It’s not really head coach Mike Tomlin’s fault either. Injuries have really hurt them. Devlin “Duck” Hodges threw two more interceptions and was benched for Mason Rudolph who did a nice job in leading the Steelers to a tied game 10-10, but Rudolph got hurt and Hodges had to come back in, but could not get the deal done.

Bengals 35 Dolphins 38

What a wild game in Miami. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins were killing the Bengals. They were up 35-12 in the fourth quarter, but Andy Dalton and the Bengals rallied to force overtime after Dalton threw a touchdown on the final play of regulation and then ran in the subsequent two point conversion. Neither team was all that good in overtime, but the Dolphins ended up winning. The Bengals have now secured the number one pick in the NFL Draft. Paging Joe Burrow.

Panthers 6 Colts 38

My goodness the Carolina Panthers are no very good. Running back Christian McCaffrey is fantastic. He had 15 catches for 119 yards and that is largely because the Panthers were starting rookie Will Grier at quarterback, but the Panthers were overmatched everywhere else. Nyheim Hines had two punt returns for touchdowns (84 yards and 71 yards respectfully) and the Colts embarrassed the Panthers.

Ravens 31 Browns 15

Like the Saints, the Ravens started out really slow, but turned things around in the final two minutes of the first half. Lamar Jackson found tight end Mark Andrews for a touchdown to give the Ravens a 7-6 lead. The Browns went three and out on the ensuing possession and Jackson and Andrews would hook up again to get up 14-6 at the half. It wouldn’t stop in the second half as the Ravens cruised to the early victory over a disappointing Cleveland Browns squad, but the news wasn’t all good for Baltimore as running back Mark Ingram left with a calf injury. Tough to know how long he will be out for, but if he’s done for the year, that is a significant loss for the Ravens.

Jaguars 12 Falcons 24

Give the Atlanta Falcons credit. They have really turned things around in the second half of the season. Too bad it’s too little, too late. Devonta Freeman was great in the backfield and the Falcons won this game easily. Too bad so few fans were there to witness it in person.

Raiders 24 Chargers 17

Believe it or not, the Oakland Raiders still have a shot to make the playoffs. A lot of things had to happen for the Raiders on Sunday and they did, but the Raiders had to do their part and they did. It felt like a home game for them (when does it not feel like a home game for teams playing the Chargers in that soccer stadium) and they did just fine with a 24-17 win. Derek Carr was good in the win for Oakland. Philip Rivers needs to be done for the Chargers and they need to go back to San Diego. Bad mistake NFL. Bad mistake.

Lions 17 Broncos 27

Rookie quarterback Drew Lock is looking more and more like the future for the Denver Broncos. Lock was cool, calm and collected, throwing for almost 200 yards and a touchdown while Phillip Lindsay rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown as the Broncos were able to get by the Lions. Lock is nearing being a lock to be the starter going into next year.

Cardinals 27 Seahawks 13

This was the stunner of the day. How the Arizona Cardinals went into Seattle and beat the Seahawks is beyond impressive. Yes, the Seahawks lost running back Chris Carson to injury as well as C.J. Prosise, but still, they should not lose this game, especially with so much on the line. Plus, the Cardinals were without Kyler Murray for part of the second half as he left the game with a hamstring injury. Brett Hundley came into the game at quarterback and did very well. Not good for the Seahawks here going forward.

Cowboys 9 Eagles 17

What an embarrassing performance by the Dallas Cowboys. Dak Prescott missed plenty of throws, but his wide receivers dropped even more of them. This was just a terrible game by the Cowboys with so much on the line. It’s not the coaching staff. It’s the players. No other way around it. There’s still a chance they win the division, but it is very unlikely. The Eagles had to rely on tight end Dallas Goedert with Zach Ertz injured for part of the game. He delivered with nine catches and a touchdown. Huge win for the Eagles.

Chiefs 26 Bears 3

Don’t look now, but this Chiefs defense is playing really well right now and they are a dangerous team. Patrick Mahomes threw for two scores and ran for one more as Kansas City blew out Chicago. Not a good look for Trubisky and the Bears. This Chiefs team is fantastic.

11-3 Green Bay Packers @ 10-4 Minnesota Vikings 8:15 PM ET ESPN MNF

Both teams are in the playoffs, but a division title is still on the line. If the Packers win the game, they win the division. If the Vikings win, the Packers would have to win against the Lions to win the division. If they don’t, the Vikings would only need to beat the Bears. We’re getting ahead of ourselves here though. No Dalvin Cook is big for the Vikings, but if rookie Alexander Mattison can play, the Vikings will be okay. Even so, I like the Vikings at home to get the job done against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Prediction: Vikings 27 Packers 20

**Bonus Pick**

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa Bay, FL)

9-3 UCF VS 8-4 Marshall 2:30 PM ET ESPN

This is a pretty low bowl game for UCF compared to recent years. They don’t have to travel far either so how motivated will they be? They are the far more superior team and if they come in ready to play, they will run over the Thundering Herd.

Predicted winner: UCF

Confidence points: 40

Coming up Tuesday: MNF reaction plus Hawaii Bowl pick