NFL Week 15 winners, losers and observations: Jets historic upset, updated playoff picture, Week 16 odds
The Patriots run is over, another nasty stiff arm by Derrick Henry and a peak at next week's point spreads.
The ramifications of the Rams loss at the Jets were comically numerous.
It cost bettors, many of whom weren’t afraid to lay 17 points and take the Rams.
It cost the Rams first place in the NFC West, which might not be a terrible thing since home-field advantage doesn’t mean much this year. If the playoffs started today, division-leading Seattle would host Arizona while the Rams would have to play at Washington in the first round.
The victory hurt the Jets. New York now has the same record as Jacksonville (1-13), but the Jaguars have the inside track to the No. 1 overall pick based on playing a weaker schedule.
It was just the sixth time, according to the database at Pro-Football-Reference.com, that an underdog of 17 points or more won outright. The Dolphins did it last year, but before then it hadn’t happened since 1995.
The Rams first six possessions ended in punt, punt, blocked punt, interception, punt, punt.
So while there was plenty of collateral damage from the season’s most unlikely result, it did give us this postgame gen from Rams coach Sean McVay.
“This loss will demoralize us only as much as we allow it to,” McVay fumed. “It’s going to be embarrassing. Sick to your stomach about it, but we do have two games left. ... It’s very humbling, but we’re going to move forward, and that’s exactly what we’ll do. That’s all I know how to do.”
Through Sunday. Pittsburgh plays at Cincinnati on Monday.
1. x-Green Bay (11-3, bye)
7. Arizona (8-6) at 2. y-New Orleans (10-4)
6. Tampa Bay (9-5) at 3. y-Seattle (10-4)
5. L.A. Rams (9-5) at 4. Washington (6-8)
1. x-Kansas City (13-1, bye)
7. Miami (9-5) at 2. y-Pittsburgh (11-2)
6. Indianapolis (10-4) at 3. x-Buffalo (11-3)
5. Cleveland (10-4) at 4. Tennessee (10-4)
x - Clinched division. y - Clinched playoff.
Winners & losers
AFC East weekend recap: Buffalo won the division. Miami is in position for a wild-card. The Jets finally won a game. New England is making tee times.
The Patriots run of 11 consecutive playoff berths has ended. The only other time they missed the postseason in the last 17 years was in 2008 when they lost Tom Brady in Week 1 ... and still won 11 games.
Speaking of Brady, his team did it again to Matt Ryan. The Falcons led 24-7 in the third quarter and lost 31-24 as Brady threw for a season-high 390 yards. It was reminiscent of Super Bowl 51 when Brady and the Patriots beat the Falcons after trailing 28-3 in the third quarter.
Dez Bryant scored his first touchdown since Dec. 10, 2017. That was the same day Carson Wentz ripped up his knee and had to be replaced by Nick Foles. In other words: a hundred years ago.
Eventful day for punters: The Eagles lost theirs with an injury, the Jaguars never had theirs because of illness, and the Colts’ guy, Rigoberto Sanchez, was coming back after having a cancerous tumor removed.
Jacksonville was without Logan Cooke, so kicker Aldrick Rosas handle the punting. Rosas netted only 29.0 yards on his three kicks and fumbled a snap as the Jaguars were routed again.
Miami’s Xavien Howard’s five-game streak with an interception came to an end, but he did force a fumble.
The Pro Bowl rosters will be announced on Monday on the NFL Network at 7 p.m.
Hold off on that Bears obit. Chicago has scored at least 30 points in each of the last three games and at 7-7 are one game out of the playoffs and play at Jacksonville next week.
David Montgomery ran for a career-best 146 yards for the Bears and in his last four games has run for 100+ three times and scored six touchdowns.
Drew Brees looked predictably rusty after missing four games with fractured ribs. The Saints still hung with the Chiefs, but both conference’s current No. 2 seeds (New Orleans and Pittsburgh) look vulnerable.
Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire left the game unable to put weight on his left leg after he was bent back awkwardly during the fourth quarter,
Cowboys’ long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur appeared in his 251st game, breaking former kicker Eddie Murray’s record for most by a Canadian-born player. The record holder in baseball is Larry Walker (1,988), in hockey it’s Gordie Howe (1,767) and in hoops it’s Rick Fox (930). Interesting, eh?
Washington hasn’t scored a point on any of its 14 opening-drive possessions. Not easy.
Next week’s San Francisco-Arizona game is being televised exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.
Justin Jefferson broke Randy Moss’s Vikings’ rookie record for receptions. He now has 73. Moss had 69 in 1998. Moss also had 1,313 yards, 17 touchdowns for one of the most prolific offenses ever. Jefferson has 1,182 yards, seven scores on a mediocre Minnesota squad (6-8).
The 49ers are the second Super Bowl runner-up in 13 years that will finish with a losing record. The 2016 Carolina Panthers went 6-10.
Philip Rivers needs two touchdown passes to pass Dan Marino for fifth all-time.
Detroit’s Matt Prater tied Sebastian Janikowski’s career record with his 58th field goal of at least 50 yards.
Kevin Stefanski and the Browns beat Joe Judge and the Giants in the first meeting of the two head coaches from our area. The Browns (10-4) play at the Meadowlands again next week to take on the surging Jets, who’ve won one in a row.
Cleveland needs one more win to establish a team record since the club was reborn in 1999. More importantly, they’ve put the heat on Pittsburgh (11-2) to keep pace for the division lead. The Steelers are at Cincinnati on Monday.
“The universe just wants me to win, and we’ve got an opportunity. That’s all I want is an opportunity.”
-- Seattle defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who had a key sack late and is going back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015 when he was with the Bengals. He’s 0-5 in the postseason, so the universe really wants to see him get a victory. I guess.
“I can play with pain and soreness, but with a tug [of his groin], I can’t be as explosive as I need to be. I’m not shutting it down. We’ll see how it goes and I’ll see if I can get out there next week.”
-- Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who missed his first game of his career due to injury. Dallas hosts the Eagles next Sunday (4:25 p.m.).
“He’s looking like Kyler Murray in a game against Kyler Murray.”
NFL Red Zone host Scott Hanson as Jalen Hurts nearly pulled an upset for the Eagles.
“It’s a wonderful life for Bailey.”
Fox announcer Chris Myers as Vikings kicker Dan Bailey made all his kicks Sunday (three PAT, two FG) after missing a ghastly seven kicks the previous two games.
“They wanted Notre Dame in there .... That’s that Notre Dame money.”
-- NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin’s exasperation shortly after the Fighting Irish were selected to the College Football Playoff.