We are at the quarter pole for the 2019 NFL season, there are four weekends of action remaining before the playoffs.
The good news for fans and punters is that there’s still a
lot to unfold in terms of who is going to be in, who will play who, and which
teams will be best positioned to play in Miami on the first Sunday in February.
All 32 teams were in action over the weekend and we came up
with these 5 key takeaways.
1 – Big Weekend for the Dogs
There were plenty of upsets in Week 13, however some would
have taken some remarkable foresight to have seen.
Washington and Miami were both 10 point underdogs in the
lead up to their games and both managed to pull off huge upset that would have made
punters very happy.
Plus the previously winless Bengals finally got their first victory of the season at home over the Jets.
Overall on the season, underdogs have gone 104-87-1 against
That gave us two reminders of things to look out for in the
run home, the first is watch out for the average teams, battered by injury and
look ready to give up.
Carolina, the Jets and it looks like possibly even the
Eagles just have taken a few too many blows to keep battling in December.
The second thing to watch out for are the teams that are
looking to build something for 2020 and no team embodies that better than the
Supposedly tanking after one of the worst starts in NFL
history, the Dolphins have shown they can be at the very least moderately competitive
week in, week out, even if they aren’t that good.
As it would so happen, the Jets and Dolphins are playing
each other next week and New York has opened up as 5.5 point favourites, maybe
worth considering there.
2 – Dallas’s Inconvenient Consistency
Moreso this year than in the past, there’s a whole lot of
teams all over the NFL that are still hard to get a read on.
One team that seems like the questions surrounding it might have
been answered though is the Dallas Cowboys.
While not an exact science, it seems like the Cowboys can
beat the bad teams it faces and will lose to the good teams.
In 2019, the Cowboys have beaten the Giants twice,
Washington, Miami, the Eagles and the Lions while losing to the Saints,
Packers, Jets, Vikings, Patriots and Bills.
Take out that Jets loss and it looks like there’s a pretty
clear line of delineation between the teams Dallas can beat and the ones it can’t.
Every other loss has come at the hands of a team that will
be participating in the playoffs after New Year’s Day.
So how does that impact the Cowboys’ run home?
This week sees them travel to Chicago to face the Bears
which you have to like their chances of winning with the Bears struggling, then
the Rams who are going to at least be in the mix.
They then close out the season with the Eagles and
Washington who will probably be preparing for their end of season holidays by
Based on that logic, Dallas should finish the season 9-7,
NFC East Champions and be perhaps the most exciting “bet against” team on Wild
Card weekend since the 2016 Oakland Raiders.
3 – A Super Bowl LIV Preview?
It was the most exciting game of the weekend, and one well
worth needing three coffees to get up for at stupid o’clock.
In the rain drenched M&T Bank Stadium, the 49ers and
Ravens battled out in a possible preview of Super Bowl LIV in two months.
What we did learn from that game is that both teams are
looking really good and you could certainly see them going all the way to
It was also a reminder of the ridiculous double threat that
is Lamar Jackson and why he is the MVP.
Sure he only went 14/23 for 105 yards in the air but he made
the throws he needed to in highly unpleasant conditions and ran for another 101
yards and a touchdown.
That ground game is what opponents will need to shut down as
the season goes on, the competition improves and the weather continues to
Up next on the Ravens schedule is a trip to Buffalo where
the conditions are notoriously tough at this time of year.
4 – Time to Write off the Patriots?
Don’t be silly, it’s the Patriots.
Unlike in previous seasons though, the gap between the
Patriots and the rest of the field is as low as it has been in a very long
Something needs to change with that offence and fast,
whether it is Tom Brady putting some more trust in his young receivers, the
offensive line opening up some more holes on the ground or pretty much any sign
They get a de facto playoff game this weekend against the
Kansas City Chiefs who scored 71 points on them in two games last season and it
would not be at all surprising if this side repeats that feat, fresh off
putting 40 on the Oakland Raiders.
These are not the unbeatable Patriots we are used to, they
are still in the mix, but certainly vulnerable.
Unfortunately the Patriots at the line is no longer the safe
bet it used to be when Brady was throwing for 4500 yards every season.
5 – The Niners Road Gets Tougher & Tougher
No rest for the San Francisco 49ers who have to back up from
their draining game in Baltimore for a trip to the Superdome to take on the
Saints who will be as well rested as you can get at this time of year.
The extra three days rest for New Orleans could be huge in
this game, especially with the heavy sledding San Francisco had to do over the
weekend while the Saints last game was in a dome.
It will be a good test for the 49ers who have amassed a 5-1
record on the road as they face a Saints team that has gone 5-1 in the
This is a huge game in terms of NFC Playoff seeding, the
Saints have already won the NFC South but will be looking to secure the top
seed and will need to beat the 49ers to help them out here.
Tied at 10-2 with the Seahawks at the top of the NFC West,
the 49ers are facing the possibility of needing to win out to get a first round
bye or face the possibility of having to travel on Wild Card Weekend.
In short, there’s a lot on the line.