Oh boy. What a week of surprises. A team, the Dallas Cowboys, that seemed incapable of losing, got shut down in primetime. A quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, who seemed physically unwilling to be broken despite being sacked ten million times since being drafted, suffered a potentially career altering injury. A defense known for it’s dominant secondary, Seattle’s ‘Legion of Doom,’ surrendered 38 points to a .500 opponent. It’s the NFL in December: when the contenders finally separate from the pack.
The Giants are the Cowboys’ kryptonite: Let the Dak vs. Romo debate recommence! Dallas played their worst game of the season in Metlife this week, as the offense was shut out for the final three quarters. The Giants shouldn’t beat their chest too hard after scoring just 10 points, but their defense finally looks worth the lucrative price tag.
Green Bay might be back: Aaron Rodgers looks like he got his swagger back. Maybe it wasn’t his girlfriend that led to his poor play. Maybe the front office shouldn’t fire a great coach in Mike McCarthy. Maybe the Seahawks defense isn’t elite without Earl Thomas. Seattle has a reputation of a Jekyll and Hyde team, so there’s no need for panic just yet. Still, getting lit up by a potential future playoff opponent is alarming.
Seven turnovers and sudden tragedy in Miami: All the Ryan Tannehill haters out there are about to see what the Dolphins look like with another quarterback under center. Matt Moore isn’t a world-beater, but he’s a top ten backup and shouldn’t alter the game plan too much. Adam Gase and the offense need to keep feeding Jay Ajayi and hope that the defense continues it’s surprisingly stout play.
Bucs and Saints was low scoring: Given the recent training camp and preseason limitations, most NFL teams really don’t hit their stride until the second half of the regular season. Apparently Tampa Bay’s defense falls into that category. After looking weak to start the year, the Buccaneers now lean on the unit to win games. Jameis Winston is a promising young quarterback and naturally nabbing all the headlines, but Mike Smith is the real man behind the team’s turnaround.
Harry Douglas going Jason Bourne on Chris Harris: It’s always hard to watch injuries in the NFL, making cheap shots additionally cringe-worthy. Unlike most dirty plays, which happen during a scrum in a crowd action, Douglas went for Harris’ knee away from the play in the plain light of day. Everyone saw it, but no one understood it.
Things that shouldn’t have surprised anyone
Talib wanting payback: There was a twinge of irony in the Nashville air on Sunday when Aqib Talib took issue with Harry Douglas’ low hit on Chris Harris. Talib is on a short list of players in the NFL known for toeing the line of clean football. Just ask any Carolina Panthers fan. With that said, seeing him play the role of enforcer when an opposing player targeted his teammate couldn’t have shocked anyone.
RGIII came back and the Browns still lost: Once again, the rest of America was reminded why Cleveland is a terrible place to live. The bi-annual Battle for Ohio was fought in a blizzard with nothing but brown, white, and orange visible on the television screen. Hue Jackson got his man back, but it still wasn’t enough. The Browns are dangerously close to adding a new benchmark to their notoriously inept resume.
The Chiefs won in Arrowhead: Kansas City has had one of the best home field advantages in the league since Arrowhead Stadium was built in 1972. Once you factor in Derek Carr’s injured pinky, the cold weather, and the fact that the Chiefs are already a tough team to beat, no one should’ve been to see the mighty Oakland Raiders fall. Tyreek Hill’s punt return was just icing on the cake.