By Joshua Hatt
Ravens Edge Browns in Thriller
The Baltimore Ravens claimed a crucial victory over their AFC North rival in Cleveland on Monday. Lamar Jackson recovered from cramps to help lead the Ravens to a late victory when Justin Tucker kicked a field goal with two seconds left. The win gives Baltimore the tiebreaker over Cleveland by virtue of beating them twice, however they are still one game behind the Browns with 3 remaining. Baltimore has games against Jacksonville, the NY Giants and Cincinnati remaining, which are games that you would expect them to win, although the Giants could potentially be tricky. Cleveland faces the Giants in a crucial Monday Night game next week, and still has to face the division leading Steelers and the winless Jets, so at the moment I would put Baltimore as slight favourites to take that playoff spot from Cleveland.
Buffalo Beats Pittsburgh on Sunday Night
The Buffalo Bills claimed a big win in primetime by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers at home. Stefon Diggs had an excellent game with 10 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown, and has been a great acquisition by Buffalo this year. Pittsburgh has now lost two in a row after winning their first 11, and are going into the playoffs in the worst possible form. Their offense is sputtering and needs to pick it up if Pittsburgh are to go far in the playoffs. Buffalo meanwhile is putting everything together at the right time and look to be a threat for any team come January.
Other Talking Points From Week 14:
Washington took the lead in the NFC East by beating San Francisco. However, QB Alex Smith was injured and it is unclear whether he will play this week against Seattle. The NY Giants suffered a heavy defeat to Arizona and their offence is struggling with QB Daniel Jones not 100% healthy. Philadelphia claimed an upset win over the Saints in QB Jalen Hurts’s first NFL start, and they are not out of the mix yet, and Dallas claimed a win over the Bengals to show they are not out of it yet either.
Kansas City struggled early against Miami, but ultimately proved too much for the Dolphins to handle. KC are very much favourites to defend their Super Bowl crown, but Miami are a young up and coming team that could pull off a shock or two in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay claimed a crucial win over Minnesota to boost their playoff hopes. Tampa sacked Vikings QB Kirk Cousins 6 times, and QB Tom Brady looked much improved from previous weeks. Tampa’s last 3 fixtures are winnable games against Atlanta (twice) and Detroit, so I would expect them to make the playoffs. Minnesota’s kicker Dan Baily missed 3 field goals and a PAT, something which the Vikings cannot afford if they are to remain in contention.