Just three weeks remain in the 2019 NFL regular season. We wrapped up Week 14 of the NFL season on Monday night with the Philadelphia Eagles barley getting by the now 2-11 New York Giants in overtime.
Some of the matchup that headlined Week 14 were the Baltimore Ravens traveling to Buffalo to take on the Bills, and a battle of NFC powerhouses between the 49ers and Saints. The Chiefs also traveled to New England to take on the Patriots in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship.
All in all, it was one of the best weeks for football all year, and in case you missed any of the action here are the finals from every game in Week 14.
Ravens 24 Bills 17
49ers 48 Saints 46
Chiefs 23 Patriots 16
Giants 17 Eagles 23
Previewing Potential Playoff Matchups
AFC Wild Card Games
#6 seed Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) at #3 seed Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)
The Steelers and Chiefs would be an excellent matchup in the AFC Wild Card round if both teams hold on to make the postseason. Pittsburgh is a team that was written off by many after Ben Roethlisberger’s injury in Week 2 of the season, but after a 1-4 start Pittsburgh has been red-hot winning seven of their last eight games. The Pittsburgh defense has been the leading force in their turnaround, giving up just 18 points per game on the season. The team is 2-0 since moving to Devlin Hodges as their starting quarterback, but their limitations on offense will be tough to overcome in the postseason, especially if they play a team like the Kansas City Chiefs. Andy Reid’s team is 9-4 on the year and has the AFC West all but wrapped up. Kansas City have won four of their last five games, including an impressive win in New England against the Patriots on Sunday. Their offense, led by 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, averages 28.5 points a game to go with 381 yards of total offense. They have great talent at skill positions, and with Mahomes behind center are capable of beating anyone in the postseason. Their defense likely will determine how far they ultimately go. Kansas City has been awful against the run this season, and with potentially having to face the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs, this will have to change for them to make the Super Bowl.
#5 seed Buffalo Bills (9-4) at #4 seed Houston Texans (8-5)
The Buffalo Bills have been one of the biggest surprises in the NFL in 2019. Buffalo is in good shape to be heading to the playoffs for just the second time since 1999. Quarterback Josh Allen has been solid, and veteran Frank Gore and rookie Devin Singletary have had success running the football, but the defense is the story of this team. Buffalo is second in the NFL allowing just 16.3 points per game, and third in the NFL in total yards allowed per game and passing yards allowed per game. The Buffalo defense is top ten in the NFL in takeaways as well. Jordan Philips, Shaq Lawson, and Ed Oliver have combined for 18 sacks, and lead an extremely talented Bills’ defensive line. Much like Pittsburgh, the Bills have a great defense, but is their offense good enough to take them serious as a Super Bowl contender in the AFC? On the flip side, the Houston Texans are one of the most confusing teams in all of football. Nine days ago, the Texans beat the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. On Sunday, they lost at home to the now 5-8 Denver Broncos with rookie Drew Lock throwing three touchdown passes. Houston has beaten New England and Kansas City, but also lost to Carolina and now Denver. With Deshaun Watson and Deandre Hopkins on the offensive side you can never count Houston out, but they just don’t look like a consistent enough team to make a deep run. Watson has still been running for his life most of this season, being sacked 39 times, and their defense has only been able to get to the opposing quarterback 26 times. Without J.J. Watt, their defensive line lacks a big-time pass rusher, and opponents are throwing for 265 yards per game against them.
NFC Wild Card Games
#6 seed Minnesota Vikings (9-4) at #3 seed New Orleans Saints (10-3)
The last time the Vikings and Saints matched up in a playoff game nothing too exciting happened right? The Vikings come into Week 15 holding a one-game lead on the final wild card spot in the NFC. Minnesota has had a pretty solid year all around on both sides of the ball. Kirk Cousins has thrown for 24 touchdowns to just four interceptions, Dalvin Cook is fourth in the NFL with 1,108 rushing yards, and Stephon Diggs is three yards away from a 1,000 yard season. On defense, Minnesota has allowed just 19.7 points per game, seventh best in the NFL, and recorded 38 sacks, tied for eighth best in the league. Minnesota still has a shot to win the NFC North, but if they win two of their final three games with the Chargers, Packers, and Bears they are in great shot to get a playoff spot. The roster looks great on paper, but do you really trust Kirk Cousins in a playoff game? For the New Orleans Saints, 2019 has been a weird year. They lost Drew Brees in Week 2, then Teddy Bridgewater went on a tear, and now they sit with a 10-3 record, having already clinched the NFC South title. Led by Brees and Michael Thomas, the Saints’ offense averages 26.5 points per game, fifth best in the NFL, and their defense has been decent all season. On Sunday, they lost a shootout to the San Francisco 49ers, really hurting their chances of getting the number one seed in the NFL playoffs. With games against the Colts and Panthers down the stretch, New Orleans likely will finish 12-4 or 13-3, but the loss to San Francisco will make it hard for them to be better than the two seed.
#5 seed Seattle Seahawks (10-3) vs #4 seed Dallas Cowboys (6-7)
Finally we get to the matchup everyone has been waiting for. Sadly, just kidding. The Seattle Seahawks have been the NFL’s biggest surprise in 2019. Seattle holds a 10-3 record, in large part due to the play of their quarterback Russell Wilson. The Seattle signal-caller has had an MVP caliber season, throwing for 3,422 yards, 26 touchdowns, and posting a QB rating of 107.5 Seattle really has struggled on the defensive side of the ball, but Wilson has been so good more often than not it has not mattered. The suffered a tough loss to the Rams on Sunday, but have two very winnable games against the Panthers and Cardinals the next two weeks. The Week 17 matchup between the 49ers and Seahawks very likely will determine who wins the NFC West. For the Dallas Cowboys, things are about at rock bottom. Last Thursday, they made Mitch Tribusky look like Lamar Jackson, losing their third straight game. The Dallas defense is dreadful at the moment, and Sunday they have to face a Rams team that is starting to look like their old self. The only thing the Cowboys have going for them at the moment is how bad the Philadelphia Eagles have looked. Nonetheless, Dallas would much rather face Seattle than San Francisco in a playoff game. The Cowboys could move the ball against Seattle and possibly make things interesting.
Elsewhere around the NFC East
Outcome: Win 23-17 vs New York Giants
Next Game: AT Washington Redskins (3-10)
Outcome: Loss 20-15 at Green Bay Packers
Next Game: VS Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
New York Giants
Outcome: Loss 23-17 at Philadelphia Eagles
Next Game: VS Miami Dolphins (3-10)