"The Stack" 12-26-17
DeAndre Hopkins made the touchdown catch of the year against the Steelers Monday afternoon. It as the lone bright spot for the Texans.
Merry Christmas everyone! Hopefully everyone had a great Christmas. The Stack is back on this day after Christmas and while you are probably consumed with opening presents and spending time with family and eating plenty of delicious baked goods, in the midst of everything, week 16 in the NFL is in the books. Plus if you are in Maine or other portions of New England, you can’t get anywhere except by dogsled (maybe I’m joking about that), so let’s get reading and see what is in “the stack” for today, Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 26th:
Ravens 23 Colts 16
Weather was certainly a factor in this one which contributed it to being a closer game than most expected you have to imagine. Joe Flacco played a good game with two touchdown passes and Justin Tucker was his normal fantastic self. Adam Vinatieri for the Colts unfortunately was not. He had one field goal blocked and missed another one meaning now he will have to go 18-for-18 next week to get his five-hundred thousand dollar bonus for converting over 90 percent on his field goals. Oh and the Ravens got away with a pass interference on T.Y. Hilton that prevented the Colts from continuing their final drive and could have maybe tied the game up.
Vikings 16 Packers 0
The Minnesota Vikings recorded their first shutout in 24 years. Other than that, this was a very boring game. The Vikings offense wasn’t very good with Case Keenum missing several throws, but we can maybe attribute that to the cold. The Packers offense was awful and Bret Hundley failed to throw a touchdown pass at home this season. They suffered a lot of injuries too. Overall, boring game, but the Vikings got the win to stay in position for no worse than the two seed in the NFC playoffs.
Panthers 22 Buccaneers 19
The Buccaneers probably should have won this game. They had a lot of opportunities in the redzone and came away with field goals and a turnover. When Cam Newton left the game briefly with an injury, it seemed like the Panthers were destined to lose, but Newton came back and delivered the game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds left to keep the NFC South division title and second seed in the NFC playoff hopes alive.
Bears 20 Browns 3
Bad weather in Chicago, but Jordan Howard and Trubisky were up to the task accounting for the touchdowns. The Browns had some chances, but bungled them away in typical Browns fashion. Only one more game against the Pittsburgh Steelers stands between them and 0-16.
Bengals 26 Lions 17
Based on what the Bengals had played like the two games before against Chicago and Minnesota and what the Lions had at stake (a playoff chance), you would have thought that the Lions would have come out and played with more energy and passion. They didn’t. Several mistakes by both the offense and the coaching staff cost the Lions in this one and the Bengals picked up perhaps the final win for Marvin Lewis as Bengals head coach.
Chiefs 29 Dolphins 13
The Dolphins were game for a while, but the Chiefs were up to the task. Alex Smith made some big throws and Kareem Hunt ran for over 100 yards and a touchdown to help lead the Chiefs to the AFC West division title. Their turnaround from their mid-season swoon is somewhat remarkable. This is a dangerous team come playoff time.
Patriots 37 Bills 16
The Bills squandered several opportunities in the redzone having to settle for field goals or turning it over on downs. That cost them a chance to perhaps get up by more. Instead eventually Dion Lewis took over on the ground for the Patriots and Rob Gronkowski made an impressive one-handed catch to help the Patriots pull away and secure a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
Saints 23 Falcons 13
Had bad did the Falcons look in this one? Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense sputtered almost all game long. Devonta Freeman fumbled near the endzone. Ryan threw an interception and they just couldn’t get anything going against the Saints. In return it cost them the division and now they have to beat the Panthers just to make it back to the playoffs.
Chargers 14 Jets 7
It wasn’t always pretty, but Philip Rivers and company did enough to keep their playoff hopes alive. Bilal Powell was really the only good thing for the Jets as he finished with over 100 yards rushing and a touchdown. In the end though, the Chargers were just too much.
Rams 27 Titans 23
What a crazy game this was. Rams running back Todd Gurley was a man possessed finishing with over 100 yards rushing and receiving. The Titans had no answer to stop him. Whenever they blitzed, the Rams had a screen play or another play that worked perfectly against the Titans blitzes. The Titans had chances, but couldn’t get the job done. Their playoffs hopes are now on the brink.
Washington 27 Broncos 11
Well if this was Kirk Cousins’ dress rehearsal to be the new quarterback of the Broncos, he didn’t do a terrible job going for almost 300 yards and three touchdowns. Who knows if Vance Joseph is one and done with the Broncos. We’ll see if he John Elway gives him a little lee-way.
49ers 44 Jaguars 33
Just when you think Jimmy Garoppolo will be stopped, he continues to impress. Against the vaunted Jaguars defense, Garoppolo helped guide the 49ers to a 16-0 lead and then battled back after the Jaguars scored the next 19 points. Blake Bortles struggled and Garoppolo and Carlos Hyde helped lead the 49ers to their fourth straight victory. This team is definitely on the rise.
Cardinals 23 Giants 0
Adding injury to insult to the Giants season, their only Pro Bowler, safety Landon Collins, broke his forearm and is done for the season. The Giants played like poop in this one too, but let’s focus on Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald who if he played his last home game in front of the Cardinals crowd was absolutely magnificent catches nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. He’s still got it. Hopefully he sticks around.
Seahawks 21 Cowboys 12
Boy for getting Ezekiel Elliott back in this one the Cowboys sure didn’t play like their playoff lives were on the line. Dak Prescott wasn’t great, the play-calling near the goal line on one of the drives also was concerning as they didn’t give it to Elliott. That’s bad. The Seahawks weren’t great either, but the defense played better and they were able to pick up the win to stay alive in the NFC playoff picture. Hey Cowboys fans, at least Earl Thomas says he wants Dallas to go after him.
Steelers 34 Texans 6
No Antonio Brown, no problem for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell and company were too strong for the overwhelmed Texans who didn’t get much of anything going offensively. The game turned when the Texans threw it three straight times at the two-yard line. Dumb play-calling. But hey, that DeAndre Hopkins touchdown catch in the fourth quarter was unbelievable! Just think of him and Deshaun Watson and that combination for years to come.
Eagles 19 Raiders 10
The Eagles are not looking like a team that should be the top team in the NFC, but that is what they are after this win. Derek Carr should have to give some money back to the Raiders with how poorly he has played this year. What a disappointing season for Oakland. For Philadelphia, there should be concern about how far they can go with Nick Foles, but at least all roads go through Philly for the playoffs.
Coming up Thursday: New Year’s Six Bowl predictions and other college bowl thoughts.