December 3, 2013 / 10:52 am

NFL Week 13 Round Up and Ten Takeaways

Thanksgiving has come and gone and all we have to remember it by is the extra poundage we now carry around thanks to eating ridiculous amounts of meat and taking part in the age-old tradition of watching football. Sadly, but probably for the better, Thursday’s games didn’t bring enough excitement to make us jump off the couch, not that we would have anyways.

For starters, two of these games looked intriguing way back in August, however, since then, reality has taken effect and the two games that were supposed to be quality matchups fell to the worth of the Dallas and Oakland game. The Packers, sans Aaron Rodgers, put up a pitiful show of offense with their new-old quarterback Matt Flynn, who managed only 10 completions and 139 yards. As expected, the Lions were able to carve up the Packers and beat them by 30 points in a game that put me to sleep before I had a chance to slip into my food coma.

Following the Lions show of power, which by the way ended up being an important win as the Bears lost on Sunday, the odd matchup of the Cowboys and Raiders was set to be the afternoon showdown. This matchup really didn’t deserve to be shown as the afternoon thanksgiving game as kids were going to be watching and people were going to be eating, it seemed cruel of the NFL to expose its fans to that poor of game. When the kickoff ensued after an off-key national anthem, it suddenly became interesting. Right off the bat, the Raiders were able to score on a kickoff return fumble for a touchdown. It was 7-0 Raiders and 12 seconds had barely managed to tick off.

Hold the turkey, there’s football to be played.

By the end, the game managed to be good enough for me to keep my food down. Matt McGloin was fun to watch, as was Tony Romo, and the many fumbles (four) made for an interesting game at the very least.

Come nighttime, and with a food coma kicking in, the Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Baltimore Ravens in a game that surly looked better in August that in late November. But once again, this game was good enough to keep me from falling asleep and provided some good football. Watching Roethlisberger play well was fun, as well as seeing his coach make headlines by interfering with a Jacoby Jones kickoff return. In fact, this game was the fifth straight game between the teams that was decided by three points or less and it showed as the Steelers looked like they were going to pull ahead only to have their touchdowns overturned by replay, twice. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Steelers game without some injuries; there were six Steelers injured in this game.

Overall, it was an interesting three games that provided some quality Thanksgiving entertainment. Sunday, however, was when the serious stuff happened.

Ten Takeaways:

  1. Nick Foles is quite the quarterback. So far this year, the Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback has thrown for 19 touchdowns and no interceptions. Zero. His passer rating is 125.2 and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down. In fact, in the five games that he has started and finished, the Eagles are 5-0. Other than Peyton Manning, Foles should at least get a couple votes for MVP if he keeps this play up.
  2. Speaking of Nick Foles, the Eagles are sure glad they kept Riley Cooper. Cooper found himself in hot water over the summer over what he said at a concert. After dealing with the backlash, the Eagles decided to hold onto him. Through 13 games, Cooper has caught 34 balls for 640 yards and seven touchdowns. That’s 18.8 yards a catch. What’s more, Cooper is clearly Foles’ favorite receiver on the field and he relies on him in pressure situations.
  3. Sunday Night Football consisted of a 4-7 team going against a 3-8 team. Even with the flex option, there were no other decent games to put into the Sunday night slot. The Denver-Kansas City game belonged to CBS so that puts them out of the question and the only other viable option would have been the Arizona Cardinals at the Eagles.
  4. Jacksonville is 3-1 since their bye. Too little too late.
  5. The Indianapolis Colts all but solidified first place in the AFC South. The Tennessee Titans are four games back with four to go, I don’t expect anything drastic to happen here.
  6. Peyton Manning. Back when Tom Brady had his 50-touchdown season, he had thrown 41 touchdowns through 12 weeks. Peyton Manning’s touchdown total through 12 weeks? 41.
  7. Poor RGIII. The Redskins sophomore quarterback was having a great game Sunday night against the division rival New York Giants. He was holding on to a 102 quarterback rating but that was about all anyone on the Redskins were holding on to. Down the stretch, Griffin’s receivers couldn’t come up with a catch to move the ball down field. It wasn’t as if his passes were bad, they were anything but bad; it was just his receivers that failed to help RG 3-8 win his fourth game.
  8. The Carolina Panthers have won eight in a row. At this point, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Panthers keep winning. For one, their defense has been tremendously solid through this stretch and that, in turn, has ended up helping Cam Newton find his footing both figuratively and literally. Right now, they are right on the tail of the division leading New Orleans Saints and they still have two more matchups with them to look forward to.
  9. Non-NFL thought of the week: I thought that this weekend was possible one of the best weekends in NCAA football history. There were too many exciting games to count. The Ohio State-Michigan game was close until the very end, as was the UCF vs. South Florida game, which ended up being more exciting than expected. Missouri was able to take down Johnny Football and Texas A&M and South Carolina, once again, was able to beat Clemson. The Oregon State vs. Oregon game not only looked like a bunch of nighttime runners playing football, but it was also an intense game all the way until the end. But, of course, the week wouldn’t be as remembered had it not been for the Alabama-Auburn game. H-o-l-y cow. What a game. I don’t have the space to dissect it but all I have to say is, as someone who was rooting for Bama, the outcome of the game wasn’t so disappointing considering the way it ended. Two historic rivals, playing for a conference championship spot and possibly a national championship spot, in a game that went down to the final one second that literally might have ticked away had it not have been reviewed. Amazingly, one second was all Auburn needed to change the course of the last 59:59. What a win, what a game, something that we’ll be watching on a “30 For 30” 20 years down the road.
  10. Marc Trestman is slowly losing trust in Chicago. After making some bad play calls two weeks ago in St. Louis, Trestman started turning some heads in the Windy City. However, there wasn’t cause for much alarm. It was one game where a rookie head coach made some mistakes; it’s bound to happen. Now, however, it might be time to start worrying. The normally offensive happy Trestman didn’t trust his offense enough to give them two more downs to try and get Robbie Gould a close kick. Instead, he opted to send the normally solid Gould out on 2nd-and-seven for a 47-yard field goal that was eventually missed. While Gould probably should have made the kick, Trestman is falling under fire from the Chicago fans and media, as well he should. As long as Trestman is playing scared, opposing teams won’t be.

-Ben Wittenstein