NFL Hot Takes: 2016 Week 14

Arizona Cardinals: Funny what winning will do for you. Last year Bruce Arians was a breath of fresh air in a league that likes to sugar coat the truth. This year he sounds like the biggest jerk on the planet who throws his players under the bus.

Atlanta Falcons: There’s not many teams that have ever beaten their opponent so bad that they got a coach fired just days after that coach got a contract extension.

Baltimore Ravens: If you didn’t actually watch the game, the final score might have tricked you into believing this was a close game. It wasn’t. Aside from two turnovers deep in opponent territory, the Ravens actually only generated 9 points, while giving up 30.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills couldn’t stop Le’Veon Bell, so they turned to the snow plow. That didn’t work either as Rex’s defensive schemes gave up more rushing yards than any other defense in Buffalo history.

Carolina Panthers: The good news for the Panthers is that they jumped on the Chargers early. The bad news is that they almost blew that lead late in the game.  If you want a silver lining – that’s exactly how they played in the NFC Playoffs last year – but sadly their playoff chances are slim this season.

Chicago Bears: Matt Barkley is looking like the perfect interim QB for the Bears – and he’s doing it without a single household name at receiver. He might not be the long term answer

Cincinnati Bengals: Cincy kept their extra slim playoff hopes alive with a convincing win, but lots of teams have looked much better against the Browns than the Bengals did. Probably time to call this season a loss.

Cleveland Browns: The route to 0-16 is looking like a possibility, with two road games against the Bills and Steelers and a home game against San Diego. This team isn’t as bad as the last 0-16 Lions team, but that doesn’t matter much does it?

Dallas Cowboys: The loss doesn’t really hurt them in the standings, but it did make the Cowboys look beatable overall. Dak hasn’t performed up to MVP level, and Dallas really needed him to that game. Still a formidable team but maybe not the Super Bowl front runners everyone had them pegged for.

Denver Broncos: Denver couldn’t tally a score for nearly three entire quarters, which really negates the effectiveness of this defense. Built to rush the passer, with aggressive corners who aren’t afraid to get burned deep – the rush defense suffered and now Denver is in danger of missing the playoffs.

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Detroit Lions: The Lions have come from behind in the fourth quarter for eight out of their nine wins. Sure it looks sexy in the highlight reels, but that sort of play just isn’t sustainable.

Green Bay Packers: To use an old cliche, nobody wants to face this Packers team in the playoffs. They are likely going to make the playoffs, the way the rest of the NFC has floundered and have looked like one of the best teams in the league the past few weeks.

Houston Texans: Despite their awful quarterback play, the Texans are still winning games – and honestly, I have no idea how. Up next is a bumbling Jacksonville team, a luke-warm Bengals team, and then the game that might decide the division – on the road in Tennessee.

Indianapolis Colts: When the division is on the line, you can’t put up a stinker – which has been the story with the Colts for the past few years – never quite good enough to get that signature win to get them where they need to go. Maybe try drafting some offensive linemen this offseason.

Jacksonville Jaguars: At this point, it would take a miracle for Gus Bradley to keep his job. By all accounts Blake Bortles has regressed, and no way the front office lets Bradley continue to ruin him.

Kansas City Chiefs: Speaking of teams nobody wants to face in the playoffs, Kansas City is putting together a proven formula for winning in the post-season; a strong defense and an adequate running game.

Los Angeles Rams: I’ve heard stories about teams quitting on their coaches, but to see it happening live was truly surreal. Sure Fisher deserved to get fired – probably months ago – but the LA players made sure it happened this week.

Miami Dolphins: Huge win to keep their playoff hopes alive, but much like the weather in Miami on Sunday, the win didn’t come without some gray clouds. Ryan Tannehill sprained his ACL and MCL and could miss extended time. With three tough divisional games to close the season, it’s not looking promising for the Dolphins.

Minnesota Vikings: The news that Adrian Peterson is returning to practice has to be cause for celebration, considering the team failed to score on two possessions where it was first and goal from the 1 yard line.

New England Patriots: Don’t let the score fool you – the Patriots gifted Baltimore 14 points and still pulled out the win. This defense is under-rated and the offense looked strong even without Gronk.

New Orleans Saints: When your team relies on Drew Brees as much as the Saints do, it’s not a good look when he has failed to throw a touchdown in two consecutive games. Adding to that, he has also thrown six interceptions. Even if they do eke into the playoffs by some miracle – there’s no way that they win a game.

New York Giants: The off season investment in defense has certainly helped. It is concerning that Eli wasn’t able to carve up a Cowboys defense that is merely average, but handing the Cowboys their only two losses on the season has to feel really good.

New York Jets: In a game where somebody had to win, the Jets were that somebody.

Oakland Raiders: There’s little doubt that the Raiders will be a playoff team, come January – but the road to the Super Bowl is made up of a lot of steps – one of the first being the ability to beat good teams on the road. Sure Oakland is much improved, but they aren’t championship contenders. - Customized NFL Gear

Philadelphia Eagles: The outlook was so bright at the start of the season, but it’s very tough to win games when your receivers drop everything thrown their way.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Le’Veon Bell is a beast and is the only reason that the Steelers are leading the AFC North today. If he stays healthy, Pittsburgh is competitive, if he’s not, then they are in trouble because Ben just isn’t playing well of late.

San Diego Chargers: They mounted a valiant comeback, but let’s be honest – this Chargers team is too banged up to go on the road and win games, even more now that Melvin Ingram is injured.

San Francisco 49ers: Just when we thought that the Niners might play their way out of the second pick in the NFL draft, they remembered what is really important this season – and that’s stockpiling draft picks for the future.

Seattle Seahawks: Seattle is a team that can look like Super Bowl champs one week, and the worst team in the NFL another week. We can’t blame Russell Wilson’s poor performance on injuries this time.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Nothing flashy – just a win against a division opponent to keep pace in the tight NFC South.

Tennessee Titans: While they might not make a huge splash in the playoffs (if they even get there), beating the defending Super Bowl champs is a feather in the cap for this burgeoning team.

Washington Redskins: I’m not really sure what to make of this Redskins team, which is concerning considering the fact that they’ve played 13 games. I guess if I’m still undecided after three months, it means you aren’t a very good football team.

About Aaron Garcia

Aaron is an avid sports fan who passionately follows the NFL, NBA and MLB, in addition to NCAA Sports. He is an Arizona State University grad who loves the Dodgers and the Patriots.