Review NFL Week 16 overreactions

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – We’re getting to the end of it now. Once Monday Night Football is over, there will be only two weeks left in the regular NFL season 2021. If we want to overreact to things we’ve seen this week, you can not really blame us, wol?

So let’s start here, with the crucial AFC East game I handled at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. The Bills came back from their win-win, frustrating loss three weeks earlier to defeat New England 33-21 and take over first place in the division they won a season ago.

It was not the easiest campaign for the Bills, and it was not the easiest week. They put two important wide receivers and a few offensive linemen on the COVID-19 / reserve list and lost another offensive lineman, Ike Boettger, to an Achilles injury in the second half against the Patriots. But the Bills overcame all that to win their most important game of the season. So it’s worth asking if there’s still a chance we’ll see the Super Bowl nominee we expected to see in this Bills team when this season began.

In fact, it’s worthwhile to devote the entire column to Week 16 overreactions to candidate / pretender questions. We can not beat them all, and we have made a conscious choice to exclude the Chiefs and Buccaneers, who easily won Sunday and played in last season’s Super Bowl, and the Packers, who have the best record of the league.

Let’s look at teams that have more question marks around them, for whatever reason, and where they stand after the action of week 16:

Go to a team:
Bengal | Bills | Colts
Cowboys | Patriots | Rams

The Bills are a legitimate Super Bowl winner

No Cole Beasley or Gabriel Davis? No problem. Isaiah McKenzie, who spent a portion of the season on the inactive list, caught 11 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. Josh Allen played as an MVP with 314 pass yards, three touchdown passes and a team-leading 64 rushing yards. The Bills did not turn the ball over once – that is the key to defeating the Patriots. The Bills disagree punt once upon a time. Buffalo came in here to make a statement along with their win, and it did just that.

The verdict: NOT AN OVERREAKING. There’s one team in the AFC that looks like a dominator, and that’s the Chiefs. And even they have not been as dominant all season as we are used to seeing them. Buffalo still has sick feelings about losing the AFC Championship Game to the Chiefs last season. And if the Bills ended up in a critical playoff game against Kansas City, then it’s not out of the question that they would get into the fight if they were to defeat the Pats on Sunday.

All is never out there, and the Bills have a decent chance of being pretty healthy and wholesome when the post-season begins. The absence of injured star cornerback Tre’Davious White is a red flag, but Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier can plan a defense to stop just about anyone. I think these Bills – as they now feel about themselves – would take their chances against Patrick Mahomes & Co. Whether the Bills will win is another question. But they would not be jealous.


The Patriots are a legitimate Super Bowl winner

Two consecutive losses after a winning streak of seven games have put the Patriots back on a wild card. If the Dolphins win Monday night, they will only be one game behind New England for second place in the division. The Pats flew two months high, living on positive turnover differences and big games from their defense. But in the past two weeks, they have lost to a few teams that they may have to defeat after season after season. And if you do at this time of year, we have reason to question your playoff chances.

The judgment: OVERREAKING. There is absolutely no shame in the Patriots who are still a year away from true competitor status with rookie quarterback Mac Jones and a crime that was thrown together in the free agency. They will not be a fun team to play in January, and if you turn the ball against them then you are asking for big problems.

But if you do not, then I’m just not sure the Pats have enough places where they can go into crime to go toe-to-toe with the other AFC opponents in a turnover-neutral game. . And when they do come back, they do not look like a team built to overcome that. It’s striking that they’ve done what they did this season, and it offers great hope for the future. Again, they can be a problem in the offseason. But they do not look like the kind of team that can win four in a row against playoff-caliber competition.


The Bengals are a legitimate Super Bowl winner

For the second time this season, the Bengals defeated the Ravens in a 41-21 victory on Sunday. Yes, the Ravens are as short-handed as any team in the league, but there is no glossing over a 525-yard, four-touchdown attempt by Joe Burrow in Cincinnati’s greatest game of the season. This is only the second time in its history (along with 2009) that the Bengals hovered both the Steelers and the Ravens in the same season. The combined score of those four games was 147-58.

The Bengals’ only loss so far has been for Cleveland, and they will get a chance to avenge that in Week 18. The victory over Baltimore on Sunday left the Bengals only in first place in the AFC North, so everything what they need to do is win their last two games to claim a division title and earn a home playoff game. They play the Chiefs next week, so that’s not a given, but it’s a fact.

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Bengals QB Joe Burrow throws for 525 yards against the Ravens, marking the third-most passing yards in a game in NFL history.

The judgment: OVERREAKING. There are a few bigger Burrow fans than the dude writing this column. I think he’s so tough and that his team adopts feeds from it and his identity. This is a franchise that is drawing well, and it has made great offseason free agent decisions this offseason. If the Bengals continue to build around Burrow, they will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

But to reach a competitor this season Super Bowl? Tough to look at a scheme that includes dumb losses for teams like the Jets and Bears and not be a little surprised. As dominant as Cincinnati has been in its division, it has lost too many games outside of it that it should have won. That makes me think the Bengals are still a year away, even if the Burrow fan inside me really hopes I’m wrong.


The Rams are a legitimate Super Bowl winner

They did not play their best game of the season Sunday in Minnesota. Matthew Stafford tried to keep the Vikings in check with three innings, and the defense had to make a bunch of big games to stop the uproar with a score of 30-23. But the Cardinals’ loss on Saturday night means the Rams are on their own in first place in the tough NFC West, and they’re going in the right direction as January approaches football. The Rams have legitimate superstars all over the list, and on days that Stafford and the offense could not deliver, Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey and the defense proved they can.

The verdict: NOT AN OVERREAKING. Yes, the Rams are top-heavy, and when one of those superstars comes down, they’re in trouble. But if that does not happen, they are as formidable as anyone. Sean McVay has shown an opportunity to coach a team to the Super Bowl. And whether you’re a Stafford believer or are still on the fence, you need to acknowledge that he makes the crime possible doing things he could not under Jared Goff.

This is a team that once made the Super Bowl and has been on the sidelines under McVay almost every year. Yes, Stafford was able to lay an egg in January and bring back all the negative stories about him. But if he does not, there is no doubt that his team is good enough to wreak havoc in the playoffs.


The Colts are a legitimate Super Bowl winner

Indy’s victory in Arizona on Saturday night was the eighth in the past 10 games after a 1-4 start to the season. Frank Reich has once again taken his team out of a hole of the early seasons and brought them to the brink of the playoffs. It will still take something of a miracle for the Colts to take on Tennessee for the division title, as the Titans defeated them both times they played and kept a one-game lead with two to play. But the Colts seem to be making a strong bet for a wild card, and with Jonathan Taylor running as he does, they will also not be much fun to play.

The judgment: OVERREAKING. Yes, I know Carson Wentz came back and made big throws to deliver the victory in the second half on Saturday. But man, he was absolutely horrible for most of that game, missed throws left and right (and high and low) – he went 18-of-28 – and looked like the kind of quarterback who probably made his team a play-off cost game then put it on its back and win it.

I just can not gather the same kind of confidence in Wentz that I have in some of the quarterbacks for other AFC wingers. And as brilliant as Taylor is, there must come a time when the game lies on Wentz’s shoulders. Maybe Wentz proves me wrong when that happens, but now I’m having a hard time seeing Reich’s set in Los Angeles in early February.


The Cowboys are a legitimate Super Bowl winner

I have to be honest. I write this at the break of the Washington-Dallas game on Sunday night. I will stay awake until it’s over, but I feel we have the data we currently need to address this. As I type this, it’s 42-7 Dallas and it does not feel like it has been that close. For goodness sake, a Cowboys defensive lineman en a Cowboys offensive lineman scored touchdowns in the first half.

The verdict: NOT AN OVERREAKING. Of course, Washington is not the kind of team that the Cowboys will have to beat in the playoffs if they want to go to the Super Bowl. That no, in-depth dominance of a decimated opponent who was initially some sort of average team is not, in itself, proof of a Super Bowl rival. But what appeared Sunday night was the explosive Dallas crime that we thought we would see this year (and actually did, for a while, at the beginning of the year).

Roof Prescott looked comfortable and in rhythm, the play was smooth and effective – it felt like the Cowboys could literally do anything they wanted to do in that first half, before Prescott was pulled halfway through the third quarter. The defense has been consistently impressive for a while now.

If the Cowboys ‘offense can play like The Cowboys’ Offense (capital letters) for a piece of January games, they will be as dangerous as any team.

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