Monday 23 October 2017 / 07:44 AM

Airing it Out: NFL Week 15

It’s hard to believe that just one short month ago folks were digging a grave for the Seattle Seahawks and flapping their jaws about the dreaded Super Bowl hangover.

Today, after five straight wins powered by Russell Wilson’s historically great play, the Hawks are not only back in the playoffs for the fourth straight year, they’re once again looking freaking unbeatable.

And it’s not just Wilson who’s getting the job done.

Despite losing upstart back Thomas Rawls last weekend for the season, Seattle was able to pound the rock to the tune of 182 yards on the ground, 127 of which came from two guys who were literally watching last week’s action from the sofa (Christine Michael, 84 yards on 16 carries and Brice Brown, 43 yards on 9 carries.)

I thought the Waiver Wire was reserved for Fantasy Football?

And what about Doug Baldwin? “Mr. Pedestrian” according to Deion Sanders…

He’s making history, too. At one point during Sunday’s game versus Cleveland the following unbelievable statistic was true: 10 of the last 30 Seahawks possessions ended with a Doug Baldwin touchdown.

Crazy.

He’s also now tied for the Seahawks record for most TD receptions in a season (13 by Daryl Turner, 1985) and has just as many scoring grabs as Odell Beckham to lead the NFL.

Seriously, they need to scrap the balloting and just put this guy into the Pro Bowl.

Along with Seattle, Cincinnati and Green Bay also qualified for playoff berths to go along with the already clinched Patriots, Panthers and Cardinals.

With the Vikings winning easily 38-17 over Chicago, Minnesota (9-5) is all but in, barring a complete meltdown and a late-season run by a Falcons team that finally won a game after their ridiculous mid-season collapse.

Except for the East, the NFC Playoff picture is all but set.

Tasty Tidbits from Week 15

Speaking of the East, the Eagles never stood a chance at home against the Cardinals, allowing Arizona to put up a 40-burger.

And the NY Giants?

They were on the cusp of pulling off a miraculous 28-point, come-from-behind upset of the Panthers before Cam Newton once again flexed his MVP prowess to will Carolina into field-goal range in the game’s waning moments.

Graham Gano connected from 43 yards out as time expired.

En route to the win, Newton added yet one more accolade to his stellar, undefeated season – he became the first player in the history of the league to throw for 300+ yards, rush for over 100 and throw 5 touchdown passes…in a single game. Over the past three weeks he’s completed an incredible 13 TD strikes to just 1 interception and his TD to INT ratio on the season is now an impressive 33:10.

The 38-35 victory puts a dagger into the G-Men’s playoff hopes while making the perfect season all but a formality with the Panthers traveling to the Georgia Dome to take on a Falcon’s team that can’t score before finishing up at home against the Bucs.

Forget about “Any given Sunday” – Carolina’s winning out and Ron Rivera won’t rest his starters and throw away the chance of becoming just the third coach ever to win every single regular season game.

Of course, all anybody’s talking about is Odell Beckham and Josh Norman behaving like preschoolers on the pitch:

In the AFC the Kansas City Chiefs won their eighth straight to inch within just one game of the division-leading Broncos, who fell to Pittsburgh 27-34 after a late Brock Osweiller INT set up Ben Roethlisberger to throw the go-ahead score.

With the Steelers, Chiefs and Jets all claiming victories in week 15, the odds have increased for having an 11-win team potentially miss out on the playoffs.

Offensive Player of the Week

I don’t want to be seen as beating a dead horse here but it’s hard not to give the award this week to Cam Newton and his Tecmo Super Bowl numbers.

Oddly enough he still hasn’t silenced the doubters.

But it was a tight call.

Runner up goes to the Cardinals’ David Johnson who piled up 112 rushing yards and two TDs in the first half before leaving the game with a knee injury.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that he came back, Daniel LaRusso style, to heap on another 75 yards rushing plus one more score, while 42 receiving yards puts his total for the game up to 229.

Not too shabby, rookie.

Defensive Player of the Week

Julius Peppers’ 2.5 sacks was enough to rattle David Carr and the Oakland offense as Green Bay maintained their slim one game lead in the NFC North after beating the Raiders 30-20.

It was far from Peppers’ most dominant performance ever, but he ended the night with 133.5 total sacks over the course of his career – passing Lawrence Taylor on the all-time list. That’s an accomplishment worth recognizing.

Team on the Rise

The Washington Redskins have won two games straight. Don’t laugh, they haven’t won in back-to-back weeks for more than a year.

And with great power, comes great responsibility. Primarily the responsibility of holding on to their thin NFC West lead.

But guess what? Win next week in Philly and it’s game over, Washington will be the 2015 NFC East champs with a game to spare. And win they will if they get more of the same out of surging quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

Cousins played the lights out in the 35-25 win over Buffalo, throwing for 319 yards with 4 touchdowns and running for another.

DeSean Jackson had his best game of the season, too, hauling in 153 yards on 6 catches to average 25.5 YPC with a score. Teammate Jordan Reed continued his hot hand as well.

I think it’s safe to say most preseason pundits (myself included) predicted Washington to wind up in last and not first place in this division – but I guess that’s why they play the games.

Team on the Decline

Matt Hasselbeck is too old for this shit.

“This shit” being trying to suit up when you’re realistically too injured to play.

The 40-year-old veteran gave it the old college try but to no avail as he took a beating all game long, having to be carted off the field late with a jaw injury – yup, a new one to add to his back, neck and ribs.

Don’t blame Hasselbeck for the 16-10 loss to the Texans that drops the Colts to (6-8) and puts them a game back of Houston at (7-7). Indianapolis is not a good football team and the front office will have a lot to think about over the offseason whether they sneak back into this playoff race or not.

After all, it’s not like they were winning ball games with Andrew Luck at the helm, either.

For the record the Texans took a blow of their own as backup quarterback T.J. Yates tore his ACL and is now out for the season. Houston fans will be crossing their fingers that starter Brian Hoyer gets over his concussion soon. The team’s next best option is Brandon Weeden – a guy who’s only on the roster because he was cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

It’s easy for piss poor quarterbacks to find a job than a McDonald’s fry cook…no offense, Tim Tebow.

Just in Case You Missed It

 

  • A.J. McCarron played alright in place of the injured Andy Dalton. He led the Bengals to a 24-14 win on the road in San Francisco and notched 192 passing yards with a TD and no interceptions. Not a bad first start. Not too bad at all.
  • New England has clinched a first round BYE with the Broncos’ loss.
  • Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota left Sunday’s game early with a knee injury and did not return.

 

Games to Look Forward to in Week 16

 

Redskins at Eagles –An Eagles win and we’re all knotted up again in the NFC East. A Redskins victory ensures that the division winner won’t be rolling into the postseason with a losing record.

 

Patriots at Jets –In all likelihood the Jets need to win out to qualify for the postseason. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski present the largest obstacle blocking their way. This. Game. Will. Be. A Good One. I promise.

 

Packers at Cardinals –This matchup has “Playoff Preview” written all over it.

 

Bengals at Broncos –So does this one.

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Michael Airhart

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