Week 16 NFL Quick Takes
Aaron Rodgers deserves some of the blame
Let’s get something straight, Rodgers can’t control the inconsistent play of his teammates (I’m looking at you Eddie Lacy) or the injuries that they sustain. There really is only so much that a player can do when everything else around him is falling apart. However, Rodgers apologists too quickly turn to this to explain the Packers struggles and to that I say, look at Cam. Newton is working with far less talent in Carolina and is producing at a significantly higher rate than Rodgers is in Green Bay. Rodgers’ play certainly hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been elite either, something we are used to from him. In order for the Packers to make any noise in January, Rodgers needs to take his game to a new level. If he can’t, then we have to hold him at least partially responsible for how his season ends.
The Jets can make a serious run
Who in the league wants to play the Jets right now, especially in the AFC? Truthfully, the Jets are probably the sixth best team in the AFC if they make the postseason, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see them beat any of the teams they play. Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing just well enough for his team to succeed and he has found a fantastic rapport with what may be the best one-two punch at receiver in the league. Combine this with improved play from the defense and the Jets look like a team that is ready to make some noise. Let’s just hope that they don’t do typical Jets things and lose to Bills this week, because I think they’d be fun to watch in January.
The Chiefs do little to inspire
I don’t know what to make of this team. On the one hand, they continue to win games and are now officially in the playoffs after taking down Johnny Football on Sunday. However, a lot of these wins (particularly against Cleveland) have been thoroughly unimpressive. The Chiefs have all of the pieces to perform well in January: a solid defense and running attack to grind out tough wins. That pass rush will likely come in handy when going up against the many inexperienced quarterbacks in the AFC playoff picture such as Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler, and AJ Mccarron. However, I have a hard time putting my trust in the combination of Alex Smith and Andy Reid. Smith has often performed poorly when the lights are brightest, and Reid is notorious for poor game management in big games. Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs get bounced early.
Cam Newton is still the MVP
Similar to what happened in Baltimore with the Steelers, the Panthers ran into a Falcons team that was playing it’s Super Bowl on Sunday. They had nothing to play for other than spoiling the Panthers’ perfect season, and spoil it they did. Cam and the offense had one of its worst showings of the year and looked out of sorts for the entire game. However, let’s not allow this poor performance make us forget how incredible this team has been all year. Cam has been the absolute front-runner in the MVP chase by turning a whole lot of something out of nothing. I imagine that this loss will give the Panthers the motivation they need going into the playoffs. It may seem impossible, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Cam switch into a gear that we didn’t know he had. Expect this to begin against Tampa Bay.