This article is part of our NFL Observations series.
I went 4-2 ATS, and with the exception of starting Ronald Jones in one of my NFFC postseason pools (and while watching the condensed version Monday morning wondering why Leonard Fournette was getting all the work), it was an okay week.
- Philip Rivers played better than I would have expected. He couldn’t engineer a final drive, but he made some good throws under duress and didn’t make the catastrophic mistake while playing from behind. He might find a job next year if he doesn’t retire, but it’s a mobile quarterback’s game now, and his end-game Hail Mary that landed three yards short of the end zone showed his subpar arm strength. No idea why the Colts didn’t bring in Jacoby Brissett or try a 64-yard FG.
- Josh Allen played a great game until the disastrous 18-yard sack with the game nearly in hand. He and Stefon Diggs are automatic, and Gabriel Davis looks like a player. There’s room for four receivers on this team because they don’t throw much to their backs or tight ends.
- Like Jonathan Taylor and JK Dobbins, Cam Akers is justifying his draft pedigree late in the year.
- Sean McVay chose an undrafted QB in NFL start No, 2 over an injured Jared Goff, but was forced to turn to Goff anyway. Why even have Blake Bortles on the roster if you’re keeping him inactive in this scenario?
- Russell Wilson took a beating this game. It seemed like the Rams’ defensive line was on to his head fakes and other escape moves.
- DK Metcalf being upset on the sidelines reminded me of a young Terrell Owens, in a good way. He was a good start in playoff pools because the matchup guaranteed he’d be under-used relative to his talent.
- Taylor Heinicke looked great to me. His mobility, decision-making, accuracy, toughness – pretty much everything. I feel bad for people who laid the 8.5 or 9 on the Bucs, assuming Alex Smith were starting. The Football Team should bring him back to compete for the starting job.
- Cam Sims is a player. With Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas and Sims, the Football Team has a strong corps for whoever gets the job next year.
- The Bucs offensive line did a good job protecting Brady against that defense – he had a clean pocket most of the time even though he took three sacks.
- I didn’t expect a total of 33 between the Ravens-Titans. The Titans defense played well, but the Ravens throttled Derrick Henry.
- Mike Vrabel’s punt on 4th-and-2 from the Ravens 40 down four in the fourth quarter has been ridiculed enough in my Twitter feed. But it’s hard to disagree.
- The Saints are probably the best rounded team in the NFL, and it looks like Michael Thomas and Drew Brees are close to full health.
- The Steelers gifted the Browns a massive lead, but their comeback fell short in the end because their defense couldn’t stop the Browns offense in the fourth quarter.
- Mike Tomlin made some Vrabel-esque punts himself, given the large deficit he faced and that his defense was far from dominant.
- Ben Roethlisberger really filled up the stat sheet – 501 years, four TDs and four picks on 68 attempts. He doesn’t have much arm strength, and he’s slow, but his pocket presence and feel are very much intact. I’d take him over Rivers, but both are backup level at this point.
- It’s strange to see Nick Chubb rack up most of the receiving yards, but Kareem Hunt get both rushing touchdowns. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around.
- Baker Mayfield played a clean game, thanks to good protection from his offensive line which held the Steelers defense without a single sack.