Raymond James Stadium: the host venue for Super Bowl LV in FebruaryWikimedia Commons

With only two weeks of the regular season left to play, the divisions and play-offs are beginning to solidify. Eleven teams have now been officially eliminated and six have guaranteed themselves play-off games in January, meaning that the remaining fifteen teams are left to battle it out for the eight remaining spots. Seven more must go.

Week 14: Eagles Drop Wentz and Kickers Drop Points

Something was clearly in the air this week, something the kickers of the NFL didn’t like at all. Every now and then, usually once a season, we have a bout of missed kicks (a cardinal sin for those who train every day to do one job). And that is precisely what we saw this week. A total of twenty kicks were missed, amounting to 44 points that went unscored. The worst offenders were, predictably, the Jets, who missed three separate field goal attempts in the same quarter, the Vikings –who also missed three (as well as a point-after) and the Eagles, who only missed one but from a very short distance of 22 yards.

While the league’s kickers were dropping points, the Eagles were dropping their struggling QB, Carson Wentz, in favour of backup, Jalen Hurts. Having been the second overall pick in the 2016 Draft, the Eagles have pinned their hopes on Wentz for the last four years, having extended his contract just last year – promising him $128 million over the following five years. Just one year on and he’s warming the bench. Deciding to switch quarterbacks before facing the Saints was a brave call by Head Coach, Doug Pederson, but Jalen Hurts repaid the favour, leading the 3-8-1 Eagles to a surprise victory over the 10-2 Saints.

The Best Games of Week 14

Aside from the Eagles upset, the game of the week would have to be the Monday night shootout between the AFC North Rivals, the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens, which ended 47-42 to the Ravens. This was a game of two runners, one being the Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson, and the other being the Browns’ RB Nick Chubb, who scored two touchdowns each. With nine overall running touchdowns, the two teams matched the NFL record for most within a single game. The game was a back and forth affair, with each team racking up points at an almost identical rate. Despite the huge scores, no team was ever more than two touchdowns behind. With just over a minute on the clock, the two teams were tied at 42-42 and the Ravens were able to set up a long field goal which, unlike the majority of the rest of the league’s kickers this week, Justin Tucker was able to convert to give Baltimore the win.

Week 15: Jets Get a Win and Brees Returns for Saints

The biggest news of the week was the shock victory of the previously winless Jets. While the win against the play-off-chasing Rams might seem like a relief to Jets fans, it is, in fact, both a blessing and a curse. As the team with the worst record of the season is given the first pick of the draft, and the Jets were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs a long time ago, the sensible thing to do was ‘tank’ the season, ensuring that they retain the worst record. This would mean that they would have the certainty of choosing the best college player from this year, most likely QB Trevor Lawrence. However, it seems that the Jets can’t even lose properly this year and the Jaguars have since overtaken them in the number one spot for the draft in April.

In other news, Hall of Famer, Drew Brees, returned to the Saints starting line-up this week, replacing the impressive back-up Taysom Hill, but failing to get a win against the mightily impressive Kansas City Chiefs.

The Best Games of Week 15

This high-quality matchup was certainly one of the highlights of the week, ending 32-29 to the Chiefs, but with the Saints always just a few points behind. Arguably, the more entertaining game was the chaotic encounter between the Las Vegas Raiders and the LA Chargers, who, having missed two field goals in the final quarter, required an overtime period to decide the game, which was drawn 24-24 at full time. On each of their possessions, both teams were within 5 yards of scoring an overtime touchdown, but the LA defence forced the Raiders to take a field goal, which set the Chargers up to score a winning touchdown two minutes later.

A special mention must go to the stereotypical Brady comeback witnessed in the game between the Falcons and the Buccaneers. 17-0 down at half time, Brady and his Bucs were able to turn the game around to win 31-27, continuing Tampa Bay’s pursuit of a play-off place. Really though, what else did you expect from Brady? You might remember it wasn’t his first time successfully clawing back points against the Falcons (see Super Bowl 51).

Play-Off Picture:

The biggest news this week was that the New England Patriots, whose dynasty has overshadowed the rest of the league for the past twenty years, will not make an appearance in the play-offs for the first time since 2008. What’s more is that they will not have a winning record (more wins than losses) this season for the first time since 2000. The best they can do is 8-8. As a result of the Patriots’ poor season, the Bills have been able to win their division, the AFC East, for the first time since 1995, meaning they, alongside the Packers, Seahawks and Steelers, have secured themselves a play-off spot.

Fascinatingly, all four teams of the NFC East are still mathematically in with a shout of a play-off spot, considering how universally poor the division’s records are. Elsewhere, key battles include that between the Titans and Colts, who are both sitting on 10-4 and targeting the final divisional title (AFC South). The wildcard slots (of which there are six) are still very much up for grabs over the next two weeks and there are a number of crucial games (you might call them 6-pointers from a very English perspective) to be played. An exciting fortnight lies ahead.


Division Leaders


In the Hunt

Steelers (11-3)

Browns (10-4)

Ravens (9-5)

Bills (11-3)

Colts (10-4)

Raiders (7-7)

Titans (10-4)

Dolphins (9-5)


Chiefs (13-1)



Division Leaders


In the Hunt

Packers (11-3)

Rams (9-5)

Bears (7-7)

Washington (6-8)

Buccaneers (9-5)

Vikings (6-8)

Saints (10-4)

Cardinals (8-6)

Cowboys (5-9)

Seahawks (10-4)


Giants (5-9)


Mountain View

Rogue Sport of the Week: American Football