Well, another January without playoffs for Washington. And the hunt for a new Offensive Coordinator is in full swing.
The word on the street is that Pat Shurmur, Ken Zampese, and Atlanta’s QB coach Charles London were interviewed already. Darrel Bevell and Frank Reich were rumored as a possibility. But I heard Bevell isn’t interested, and Reich prefers a Head Coaching position. Also, Miami’s RBs coach Eric Studesville is in the mix. But surprisingly, he has never called plays as a full-time OC, and there are some nepotism questions surrounding the connection between his wife and Ron Rivera’s wife, so I’m not high on this possibility. Additionally, Rams TE Coach Thomas Brown is on the list of candidates. But I think they should consider Greg Roman and Byron Leftwich above those other candidates.
Overall, none of those names excite me. This coaching regime has done a poor job of creating an Offensive identity and sticking to it. But all in all, I didn’t think firing Scott Turner was merited; I would have given him another year with healthier players and some upgrades. After all, this is the same regime that let Kevin O’Connell walk away. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see Turner shine elsewhere and eventually become a Head Coach.
Not much news about the team sale — All we know is that Jeff Bezos hasn’t officially put on a bid for Washington, and all the other bidders are meh. I really hope Bezos buys out Snyder by Spring.
NY GIANTS 31 — VIKINGS 24
Danny Dimes had his best game ever, throwing for 301 yards with 2 TDs, zero picks, and even rushing for 78 yards. This was an impressive showing by the NY Giants. Finally, this team seems to have found its groove. Next, the NY Giants visit Philadelphia. Advantage, Philadelphia Eagles.
It took 5 years for Kirk Cousins to take Minnesota back to the playoffs. But it was a disappointing playoff performance for the Vikings; their Defense could not contain Daniel Jones, and Offensively, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen were a non-factor. This was a massive choke job by Kirk Cousins and company. In addition, their awful Defensive efforts led to DC Ed Donnelly’s exit. Next, Minnesota needs to find a new Defense Coordinator and upgrade its Defense to become a legitimate contender in 2023.
COWBOYS 31 — BUCCANEERS 14
The Cowboys hit the ground running and never looked back. They were up 24-0 by mid of the 3rd quarter; Dak Prescott torched Tampa Bay’s secondary all night long. However, this victory is all smoke and mirrors; Tampa Bay was a mediocre playoff opponent. Next, Dallas visits San Francisco. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers.
The Bucs were outmatched in all areas here. Their O-line could not protect Tom Brady adequately — the constant pressure on Brady was a critical factor for Tampa’s struggles on offense. Their running game was non-existent, and defensively, they looked anemic all night. As a result, they decided to fire Byron Leftwich and scapegoated him for all their Offensive struggles. Unfortunately, I think there is more to this firing than meets the eye. Next, Tampa Bay will entertain the possibility of life without Tom Brady.
49ERS 41 — SEAHAWKS 23
The 49ers destroyed Seattle for the 3rd time this season. Brock Purdy was impressive, throwing for over 300 yards with 3 TDs and zero picks. Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk are a formidable bunch. The Niners are looking like the most dynamic team in the NFC. Next, San Francisco host Dallas. Advantage, San Francisco 49ers.
The Seahawks had a legit chance to deliver an upset here. They were down 17-23 in the 3rd quarter, but a fumble near the red zone was costly for Seattle, and they could not figure out a way to stop the Niners’ dynamic attack. Nevertheless, this was an overachieving year for Seattle. They are in the middle of rebuilding and were not expected to come this far this season. Next, Seattle needs to build on this season’s success and make some upgrades here and there, especially on their running game.
JAGUARS 31 — LA CHARGERS 30
What an insane comeback from Jacksonville here — by the end of the 2nd quarter, they were already down 27-0, and Trevor Lawrence had thrown 4 picks. Things looked grim for the Jags. Still, Lawrence settled down and began to surgically chip away at LA’s lead. A magical playoff win for the Jaguars. Next, Jacksonville visits Kansas City. Advantage, Kansas City Chiefs.
The LA Chargers delivered a massive choked job here, blowing a 27-0 lead. However, their lack of running game made a difference in controlling the clock, keeping Jacksonville at bay while maintaining their significant lead. It was a complete and utter disaster. In the immediate aftermath of this loss, LA fired OC Joe Lombardi and QB coach Shane Day. But Brandon Staley should also have been fired. Next, the Chargers need to find an OC that can help Justin Herbert reach the next level.
BENGALS 24 — RAVENS 17
The Bengals were lucky to win this game. It took an insane goal-line fumble recovery for Cincinnati to edge out Baltimore by 1 TD. I expected Cincinnati to dominate this game, considering there will be no Lamar Jackson. But the score was a lot closer than I imagined. Their lack of a consistent running game is a cause for concern. Next, Cincinnati visits Buffalo. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.
The Ravens kept this game close; Tyler Huntley had a solid game throwing for over 200 yards, with 2 TDs and 1 pick. But his goal-line fumble was the difference-maker here. Baltimore’s chances to go far in the playoffs were slim without Lamar Jackson. Like clockwork, they pushed out OC Greg Roman as a casualty for their failures this season. Next, Baltimore needs to figure out the Lamar Jackson contract situation ASAP.
BILLS 34 — DOLPHINS 31
The Bills were highly fortunate to walk out with a win here. Buffalo was leading 17-0 mid-way through the 2nd quarter, but Miami refused to go quietly and put on a valiant effort. The Dolphins, under Mike McDonald, have played 3 close games against Buffalo this season. This might become the next must-watch AFC East rivalry for years to come. Next, Buffalo hosts Cincinnati. Advantage, Buffalo Bills.
The Dolphins overachieved in its first year under rookie Head Coach Mike McDaniel. Not much was expected from Miami this year, but they were a revelation. However, the concussion issues with Tua and multiple injuries on key Defensive players derailed their chances to make a deeper playoff run. As a result, Miami fired DC Josh Boyer and their Linebackers and Safeties coach. Next, Miami needs to urgently address Tua’s future in the NFL and upgrade its coaching staff.