Revisiting the Minneapolis Miracle

It’s been about 5 days now since what may go down as the best NFL playoff finish ever. The Minnesota Vikings, led by long-time backup Case Keenum, were able to shock the Saints after a back-and-forth 2 minutes which both teams kicked go-ahead FGs. If that wasn’t enough to believe, take a look at the win probability chart:

And well the rest is history…

Even Case Keenum can’t believe what Case Keenum did. I wanted to let this sit for awhile to not give it the early reaction of being the best finish ever. Obviously the Music City Miracle was the first thing to come to mind.  It’s still an early reaction but this is a no-brainer for me. This is the best finish ever. How could you not like this — unless you’re a Saints fan of course.

Odin.Thor. Keenum. All Vikings legends.

The tackle attempt by Marcus Williams was of course an awful approach but he’s 20 years old and made a key interception in the game — the kid will bounce back. This season has been a great storyline for the Vikings and Case Keenum, who may not even be on the team next year with Bridgewater & Bradford both coming back. The Vikings of course are not able to ride homefield advantage all the way to the Super Bowl as the Eagles won their game.

 

PS — Reaction videos will never get old

Chicago Bears Hire Matt Nagy

According to Adam Schefter, the Chicago Bears have hired former Kansas City Chiefs’ OC Matt Nagy. The terms of the deal have not been released.

The Bears have struggled offensively for years under John Fox, so it’s no surprise that they  went with a more offensive minded coach. Nagy had been with the Chiefs since 2013 where he was their Quarterbacks coach until 2015 when he was promoted to Offensive Coordinator.

This past year, the Chiefs had the league’s 5th best offense averaging 375.4 yards and 25.9 points per game. On the other end of the spectrum, the Bears were the 30th ranked offense averaging 287.4 yards and 16.5 points per game.

With Nagy now on board, let’s hope he can elevate second year QB Mitchell Trubisky the same way Sean McVay did for Jared Goff this past year.

 

The New Orleans’ Newspaper Was Ruthless Today

The Saints took care of business yesterday scraping out a 31-26 victory over the Carolina Panthers. The headline today?

Ruthless. Jerry Richardson was putting the team up for sale, which actually became official after the game — per Adam Schefter.

Love the banter from New Orleans here. The Panthers were very close to pulling off the upset but ultimately failed short with Cam Newton getting sacked on 4th down. The Saints move onto the next round and the 2017 Panthers season ends with 6 lossses — half of those to the Saints. That’s gotta hurt, especially watching the Saints celebrate like they won the damn Super Bowl after.

The NFC Absolutely Destroyed the AFC This Year

The NFL season is coming to a close and if you take a quick glance at the NFC — you’ll notice there are much stronger teams than the AFC.

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Of course, there’s years that the AFC is like this too and some of the strongest contenders (Patriots, Steelers) are waiting in the opposite conference — but take a look at this stat.

41-23! That’s wild, the most lopsided in 13 years — even with arguably the best QB in the NFC hurt for the majority of the season. Granted there’s not many inter-conference games as in conference but even the bad teams in the NFC did well. The Bears — yes the 5-10 Bears? Well they went 4-0 against the AFC North, usually one of the tougher conferences in the AFC. That means the Chicago Bears managed to beat both the Steelers and the Ravens while going 1-10 in the NFC

The Giants’ 2 wins? The Chiefs and the Broncos, both AFC teams. That means the catastrophe that has been the 2017 NY Giants even went .500 against the AFC. The AFC is certainly top heavy but that is not a good look.

The NFC however is 0-3 in the last three Super Bowls. At the end of the day, the NFC is going to end up beating up on each other and then the Patriots are going to get the battered remains in the Super Bowl. Business as usual.

Eagles Clinch #1 Seed in the NFC

On the last Monday Night Football game on the year, the Eagles managed to wrap up homefield advantage throughout the playoffs after beating the Raiders 19-10. Maybe the worst performance in a win to wrap up the #1 seed but I’m sure they’ll take it.  The Eagles wrap up the season against Dallas in a meaningless game for both teams so I’m sure some starters will be rested but Philly remains the only team to not be beaten at home, which does not bode well for the rest of the NFC.

The NFC, of course, is loaded with talent and any one of those teams can make it to the Super Bowl.

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If you told me one of these teams would make the Super Bowl (outside of Atlanta & Seattle), I wouldn’t be surprised. Having these teams have to come through a cold Philadelphia atmosphere in the playoffs is definitely a positive for the Eagles but Foles is going to have to play better if they’re going to win in January. He finished Monday night going 19-38, 163 yds and 1 TD. No chance that wins any games in the playoffs unless the defense plays out of their mind — the same defense which got EXPOSED again, this time by Amari Cooper en route to an easy 60 yd TD. They did hold the Raiders, who have been an awful underachieving team this year, to 10 points so there is some improvement there.

 

Also: stat of the year?

Foles, Keenum, and Goff — the Jeff Fisher effect.

Mark Ingram & Alvin Kamara are first RB Pro-Bowl Duo in 42 years

You have to go all the way back to the St. Louis Cardinals duo of Jim Otis and Terry Metcalf in 1975 to find another RB tandem that made the Pro Bowl together. Now we’re not even going to pretend to know who those guys are since they’re now irrelevant but I’m a little surprised the tandem of DeAngelo Williams & Jonathan Stewart never made it. Nonetheless, this is a huge accomplishment to a backfield that most people were ready to give to Adrian Peterson (ha.ha.) when the season started. The Saints obviously started off 0-2 and tons of people were ready to write them off. Nobody had even really heard of Alvin Kamara before the seasons tarted.

With the Saints primed for a divisional championship, you would expect Drew Brees to have the historic numbers he always has had. This season however, he’s kind of taken a backseat to let his backs do the punching for the Saints offense. Both Ingram & Kamara have had stud seasons. Ingram is sporting 1,045 yards and 11 TDs while the front-runner for rookie of the year has done it through the air and ground. Kamara has 652 yds, 7 TDs rushing while recording 684 yds and 5 TDs receiving. Of course, the Pro Bowl is always a consolation prize to a Super Bowl trip so the Saints would love to see these guys not be able to play — but still a huge accomplishment. The only worry for the Saints now is that if Ingram is selected to the first All-Pro team, he has a clause to be released from his contract — which is a great idea to cash in (shoutout whoever his agent is).

Week 14 Top 10 Power Rankings

With 3 quarters of the season in the books, the good teams are starting to separate themselves from the pack. We’re going to highlight the top 10 teams and who will be contenders in the playoffs that are fast approaching.


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  1.  New England Patriots (10-2)

The Patriots are back and doing the same thing they always do.  They started off slow and the defense was looking bad — now they can’t lose and opponents have failed to score more than 17 points in 8 straight games. Dion Lewis is back to form and Tom Brady is well…Tom Brady. Hard to see this Patriots team losing in the AFC playoffs.


Image result for minnesota vikings2. Minnesota Vikings (10-2)

The Vikings being in first place in Week 14 after losing both their starting QB and RB is about as improbable as the way Case Keenum is playing but we have arrived here. The Vikings have looked to be unstoppable and slotted in the #1 seed in the NFC after the Eagles’ loss. This team is for real and has the potential to never leave Minnesota during the playoffs — even the Super Bowl.


Image result for philadelphia eagles3. Philadelphia Eagles (10-2)

The Eagles have been beneficiaries of an easy schedule but have came out and took care of business. A road game in Seattle in the month of December is a very difficult but the Eagles got exposed a bit as they were outplayed in every asset of the game. I’m sure this team will bounce back but for now they’re going to have to accept that the playoffs may not run through the Linc.


4. New Orleans Saints (9-3)Image result for new orleans saints

The Saints check in at 4 after an impressive season sweep against Cam Newton and the Panthers. The Saints are firmly in control of their division race but they still have two matchups left with rival Atlanta Falcons. If the Saints win at least one, it’s hard to see them not on top of the NFC South when the dust is settled.


 

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5. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-2) 

The Steelers round out the top 5 after a tough AFC North Monday night game against the Bengals. The Steelers sport the same top record as the top 3 but they have been shaky in recent weeks, barely beating the Bengals, Packers, and Colts. This team does keep winning but the injury to Shazier is a huge blow. The Steelers-Patriots showdown in two weeks will decide home field advantage.


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6. Los Angeles Rams (9-3) 

The Rams clinched their first winning season since 2003 with the win over the Cardinals this weekend. Sean McVay has done a tremendous job turning around this team but it’ll be interesting to see how their offense performs when the playoffs are on the line. This is the same team that was only able to put up 7 on the Vikings.


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7. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4) 

Nobody is scared of Jacksonville’s offense but their defense is scary good. Calais Campbell just broke the franchise sack record .. in week 13. This team is definitely on the rise and probably will not be able to beat the AFC top contenders. Still fun to watch and deserving of the #7 spot.


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8. Seattle Seahawks (8-4) 

Speaking of defenses — the Seahawks check in right behind the Jaguars ahead of a showdown this weekend. The Seahawks, despite huge losses of Sherman and Chancellor are still ball-hawks on defense. Russell Wilson is having a MVP caliber season and they may have found their running back in Mike Davis. Watch out for the Seahawks in January.


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9. Carolina Panthers (8-4) 

The Panthers had a let-down game in which one that they could have made a solid statement in the NFC playoff run. They are however still in prime control of the first wildcard spot and with Cam Newton at the helm — anything can happen. Lack of receiving depth is going to hurt them but the return of Greg Olsen can definitely boost this team to dangerous.


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10. Baltimore Ravens (7-5) 

The Ravens are very quietly having a solid season in Baltimore. The defense has pitched 3 shutouts and made the Lions offense look foolish. The season-ending injury to CB Jimmy Smith definitely hurts but nobody should want to play against Joe Flacco in January. The Ravens have a Sunday night showdown against bitter rival Pittsburgh this week which will say a lot about where they’re at.

 

JUST MISSED: Tennessee Titans (8-4), Atlanta Falcons (7-5), Los Angeles Chargers (6-6)