Week 13 had plenty of meaningful games ... and plenty of interesting games ... and a few games that were both meaningful and interesting.
As 12s, our primary focus was on the Seahawks road game against the FTRs and while I have some thoughts on that game - and on the Seahawks in general, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t also shine a light on a few things that might have been missed outside the Pacific Northwest.
Starting with ...
On paper, the 4-8 Green Bay Packers facing the 3-9 Chicago Bears was a game that induced more yawns than excitement. In reality, it was actually a decent game. And, as it turned out, there were epic bragging rights on the line.
When the 2022 season started, the Bears had 783 regular-season wins - which happened to be the most in NFL history.
The Packers were one game behind them.
Fast forward to Week 13 with both teams sitting on 786 wins.
If you ask me, the NFL didn’t play up the historical nature of the game nearly enough - especially given the fact that the Packers had a chance to pull into the lead.
Which they did.
Green Bay 787, Chicago 786.
And that’s exactly how it turned out.
It was 21-13 at halftime and the Colts were within 2 heading into the fourth quarter (21-19).
Then the Cowboys ripped off 33 unanswered points.
Yep. 33-0 in the fourth quarter.
It. Was. Glorious.
And I say that as someone who is NOT a fan of the Dallas Cowboys.
I do like Scorigami though.
We can now cross 54-19 off the board.
We have seen a lot of amazing catches this year but this one, by Tennessee Titans rookie Treylon Burks is ... something else.
To start with, it was his first career touchdown.
Then there’s the fact that he was unconscious when he hit the ground.
And yet he still held onto the ball.
And also incredible.
Until this past week, no defending Super Bowl Champion had ever recorded 9 losses in their first 12 games.
And no defending Super Bowl Champion had ever lost 6 consecutive games.
That there makes Sunday’s win even sweeter!
It’s no secret that Alabama is a college football powerhouse.
But this is a bit ridiculous.
Granted, that Tweet is more than a year old and it’s not exactly a secret that all 3 QBs played for Alabama before entering the NFL Draft.
But I had somehow missed the fact that all 3 quarterbacks were on the team at the same time. And it sort of blew my mind a little bit.
Especially since 2 of the 3 are currently being talked about as potential NFL MVPs.
Along with Geno Smith, of course.
Speaking of Geno Smith and the MVP award ...
I completely understand that Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen have more cachet and (marginally) better stats.
But Geno has taken a team that was widely expected to be one of the worst in the league and positioned them to (a) make the playoffs, and (b) potentially have at least one HOME playoff game if he can guide them past the San Francisco 49ers in Week 15.
Oh, and the above Tweet from the Seahawks’ PR department was sent out before Geno posted a completion percentage of 71.8% and a passer rating of 116.1 against the Rams.
Right now, Geno is tied with Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning.
Come Sunday night, he should be all alone atop that list.
You read it here first ...
I think Geno will run the table on the season and finish every game with a completion percentage over 60 and a passer rating over 80.
Here’s another fun fact that should/could support Geno’s MVP candidacy: He’s thrown 2 or more touchdown passes in 10 of Seattle’s 12 games.
Here’s the list of other QBs who have thrown 2+ TDs in 10+ games this season:
There seems to be a belief across the internet and on social media that teams have stopped throwing at Tariq Woolen ... which would be pretty amazing if it were true given that he’s only 2/3rds of the way through his rookie season.
Here’s the thing though - even though teams probably SHOULD stop throwing at him ... they haven’t.
The following numbers are courtesy of PFF:
Targets (aka plays where Tariq the Freak was the closest defender):
- Games 1-4: 3 | 4 | 5 | 5 ... 17 total targets ... average of 4.25 per game
- Games 5-8: 3 | 7 | 5 | 4 ... 19 total targets ... average of 4.75 per game
- Games 9-12: 3 | 6 | 2 | 4 ... 15 total targets ... average of 3.75 per game
Is there a difference? Yes.
Is it a significant difference? Not so much.
I mean, other than the Las Vegas Raiders only throwing his way twice, the rest of his recent numbers are basically interchangeable with any other week / group of weeks.
Here are his full coverage stats for the season:
Note: It’s quite satisfying to see that the Rams game was his best game of the season ... so far. FTR!
Turning our attention to the upcoming game against the 4-8 Panthers ...
The Seahawks are currently 0-3 against the NFC South ... which ain’t good. The Panthers counter that with an 0-3 record against the NFC West. Barring a tie, one of them will be 1-3 against the other division come Sunday night. My money is on Seattle.
Because they’re favored! And because they’re playing at home! And because they kind of have to win in order for the next game to be as huge as we all want it to be.
But also because the Panthers aren’t very good.
And because the Panthers are 1-8 outside their division (with their lone win coming against the Denver Broncos in Week 12).
Oh, and because the Panthers are 0-5 on the road this season.
The Houston Texans and the Chicago Bears were both eliminated from the playoff chase on Sunday - the Texans by virtue of their 27-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns, and the Bears by virtue of their 28-19 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
The 3-9 Broncos and the 3-9 Rams.
Both teams have home games this week with AFC West teams as their opponents.
The Rams are currently 6-point underdogs against the Raiders and the Broncos are 9-point underdogs against the Kansas City Chiefs.
I don’t think I need to tell you who I’m rooting for in those two games.
Speaking of point spreads, here’s a fun one for you ...
Granted, it’s a home game for the Lions, and the Lions did almost beat the Vikings the first time around (Minnesota took their first lead of the game with 0:45 to play).
But still ...
Even as a Lions fan, I find that line a little bit questionable.
But also really fun!
Especially if the oddsmakers end up being right.
The NFC West is now a 2-team race.
Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks officially eliminated the Rams from repeating as the division winner since they’re now 5 games behind the 49ers and SF holds the tiebreaker(s).
Technically, the Cardinals are still mathematically alive but at 4-8 they would have to win out while the 49ers (8-4) lose out and the Seahawks (7-5) go no better than 1-4 over the last 5 games (since Seattle swept the season series).
Seattle’s remaining schedule (vs. CAR, vs. SF, @ KC, vs. NYJ, vs. FTR) is tougher than Santa Clara’s (vs. TB, @ SEA, vs. WA, @ LV, vs. AZ) but there is a clear path to the division title:
Step 1: Beat Carolina on Sunday.
Step 2: Win the rematch with the Niners 4 days later.
Step 3: Match the Niners over the last 3 weeks of the season and see if the tiebreakers fall in our favor.
The tiebreakers for division titles are: (1) head-to-head, (2) win percentage in division games, (3) win percentage in common games, (4) win percentage within the conference, (5) strength of victory, (6) strength of schedule, (7) best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed, (8) coin toss.
I’m not going to dig into all of the tiebreaker scenarios with 5 games to go, but in the extremely unlikely event that the NFC West title comes down to the 8th tiebreaker, Seattle has the advantage because Geno Smith is the KING of coin tosses.